A great cry went up from Orthodox throats across the globe earlier this year when the Turkish government repurposed Hagia Sophia from museum to …Museums, Churches, and My Back Yard
I’ve been practicing yoga since 2007, when the demands of a growing church were stressful. We were in a building planning process at Trinity UMC, …Lessons from a Yogi-Preacher: Strength, Flexibility, Balance and Stillness
God took seeds from different worlds and sowed them on this earth, and His garden grew, and everything came up that could come up, but all growing …Seeds from Different Worlds
Some years ago I was in hospital for a time and not in the least bit happy about it. One sleepless night I was walking the halls of the unit, unable …Grace Enough
In my childhood, it was not unusual to hear someone ask, “Who are your people?” It was a semi-polite, Southernism designed to elicit essential …Every Generation
As a follow up to my last post (God Within Us), I offer this ancient prayer. Most people are probably familiar with it, and some may very well use it…Praying God Within Us
Creation has a sacramental purpose: it reveals God. For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that …Words As Icons
Every human being is an icon of God…so iconoclasm is a much larger matter than smashing statues and such. It also includes the hatred of others and …Beauty and Iconoclasm – Where We Find God
In our anxiety-ridden world it’s really difficult to talk about anything without causing a ruckus. It’s almost as if you can’t say the word “love” …Purposeful Pausing in Anxious Times
We invited Annie Dillard to contribute to the new How My Mind Has Changed series. She declined to write a full-length essay, but she did offer this short response to our query. —Eds.
How has my mind changed over many years? I identify as a Christian. Many Christians would dis¬agree that I can use the term honestly.
I can’t and don’t give intellectual assent to many very established and agreed-upon Christian dogmas, if not most of them, if not all of them.
That Jesus of Nazareth is “the only begotten son of God, begotten not made, God of God, light of light, true God of true God” is something I always enjoy say¬ing. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. I wouldn’t ren¬der it to Caesar. These are spiritual matters. Their lan¬guage merely resembles ours. They need not make sense in worldly terms.
Did God create people? Sure, if that’s how you like it. We didn’t create ourselves. We evolved, just as all other living beings evolved. Every creature alive today is a pinnacle of creation. So is every extinct creature.
Did a personal God—an unmoved mover—set cre¬ation in motion? I doubt it. (But I do like the term Deus absconditus for its vivid portrayal of God as a fox who absconds with the henhouse.)
Fortunately, in life no one ever calls upon us to give—or to withhold—intellectual assent to anything. No one cares about our intellectual assent.
I know only one thing for certain: there is holiness. Standing there, a person can sing myriad songs.
Maybe there is a divide between people who honor holiness—who bow down before it, who pray on their knees—and people who don’t. The opposite of holiness is selfishness, egotism, pride.
I live comfortably with paradox, that something can be both true and untrue. That annoys the daylights out of people if you proclaim it, but not if you don’t. People who are 75 years old don’t take to proclaiming. (We bore from within!)
As a serious Christian—humor me—I’m at home with Orthodox Jewish dogma, Hasidic dogma, Islamic dogma, godless Buddhist wisdom, and probably many other views. Christianity is huge. I’ve studied it for many years. I see no reason to leave the religion of my birth, the religion I know best.
If when I die Jesus says “I know you not,” he’ll be right, and I’ll eat my hat.