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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Pearl 6:6-7 In The Covenant of Moses Is They Brightness Shadowed Forth

St. Ephrem's The Pearl 6:6 Since they have extolled thee too much,
Or have lowered thee too much,
Bring them to an even level.

Come down,
Descend a little that height of infidelity and heathendom;
And come up from the depth of Judaism, though thou art in Heaven.
Let our Lord be set between God and men!
Let the Prophets be as it were His heralds!
Let the Just One, as being His Father, rejoice!
That Word it is which conquered both Jews and Heathen!

6:7 Come, Thou Gift of Holy Church, stay, rest in the midst of Her!
The circumsized have troubled Thee,
In that they are vain babblers,
And so have the [false] doctrines in that they are contentious.

Blessed be He that gave Thee a good company which bears Thee about!
In the covenant of Moses is Thy brightness shadowed forth:
In the new covenant Thou dartest forth:
From those first Thy light shineth forth unto those last.
Blessed be He that gave us Thy gleam
As well as Thy bright rays.

The Spiritual Condition of Infants (a review)

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Have you ever taken a seemingly insignificant topic, idea, or person, and delved into that subject learning all the interactions and facets connected to it?Several years ago a friend lent me the book Cod, which did exactly as described above.The author took this ubiquitous fish and explored it in the history of Western peoples, and lo and behold, not only did you learn about this fish, but the whole of history began to open with connections and causes you never grasped in high school Western Civ.
Theology works in similar ways.Taking a small tangential subject and exploring how others have wrestled with one issue opens up the way that person thinks about God, Christ, Sin, Salvation and the Church.When all research is done and the topic is laid bare on the table, you end up with much more than you expected.
Adam Harwood did this with The Spiritual Condition of Infants: A Biblical-Historical Survey and Systematic Proposal.  Harwood is a professor at the Georgia Baptist college, Truett McC…

How The Foolishness of Atheism Changed My Heart

Over the past couple years there has been an atheist uprising.  Books, speeches, blogs, and even a recent “revival” in DC are determined at best to elicit more converts or at worst to ridicule the religious.  Some think it is funny to demean and belittle “faith-based” living, and unfortunately there is much silliness in the name of religion.  Sadly, the “god” often rejected by the new atheists is nothing but a religious fiction. 
Ps. 14:1 “The Fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.”
This passage screams through my head, whenever I hear these new atheist voices.  I can’t help but think of Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, or Christopher Hitchens (God rest his soul). 
How can they question the existence of God?  What are they thinking?  Isn’t it obvious?  This life, this universe, the eye in my head is too complex to emerge from chance.  Are the religious feelings arising from a hike through the mountains or a view of the ocean nothing more than random chemicals bursting through my bra…

The Pearl 6:5 - Not Understanding They Destroy

St. Ephrem's The Pearl - 6:5

By this would those who wrangle against our Pearl be reproved;
Because instead of love,
Strife has come in and dared to essay to unveil thy beauty.

It was not graven,
Since it is a progeny which cannot be interpreted.
Thou didst show thy beauty among the abjects
To show whereto thou are like,
Thou Pearl that art all faces.

The beholders were astonied and perplexed at thee.
The separatists separated thee in two,
And were separated in two by thee,
Thou are of one substance throughout.
They saw not thy beauty,
Because there was not in them the eye of truth.
For the veil of prophecy,
Full as it was of the mysteries,
To them was a covering of thy glistering faces:
They thought that thou wast other [than thou art],
O thou mirror of ours!
And therefore these blind schismatics defiled thy fair beauty.

What a Brutal Dictator Can Teach About Repentance

Imagine the most brutal dictator of modern times, one raised in a Christian culture, but rejecting his heritage for something more sinister, bent on conquest and control, imagining himself as godlike before his people, a man like Hitler or Stalin, then in a miraculous turn of events, he repents of his brutality, embraces his childhood faith, and begins to undo the horrors inflicted upon his people.

Enter King Manasseh.  Manasseh may be the the most evil of the Biblical kings, rejecting the faith of Israel, diving headlong into paganism, enforcing it upon his people, killing prophets, and sacrificing his own children.

Unlike our imaginary scenario, Manasseh is humiliated by defeat and imprisonment, leading to repentance.

His prayer is especially relevant during the Lenten season, and is found at the end of the book of 2 Chronicles, but only in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint).

The prayer has much to teach about repentance.  Prayerfully read the Prayer of Manasseh, and consid…