Three Sad Agnostics

The late John Harriot once said, ‘To abandon religion may be honest and honourable, but it is not exactly leaping a prison wall, more like jumping into the dustbin; not a grand illumination, more a putting out of lights.’  The truth of this observation is illustrated by one kind of the literature of regret.  From…

The Liturgiwacky

’Twas brillig and the Dolly Serves Did gyre and gimble up the Nave: So whimsy was the vesting craze That the moms’ couture hautegave. ‘Beware the Liturgiwack, my son! The rules that cut, the prose that flops! The Wacky fiends, they are not done,  Don’t wait until the next shoe drops!’ He put his aspergil…

Trinity XIX

Trinity XIX. S. Stephen's, Athens, GA. 23 October 2022 St. Matthew ix, verse 2 - And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed:  and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. In the…

Allegory, Analogy, and Icon

Protestants of Reformed and Anabaptist leanings have historically been hostile to religious icons and images, whether two- or three-dimensional.  Protestant iconoclasm often extended to depictions of the crucifixion or even to a bare cross.  The argument of Protestant iconoclasts, like that of the Byzantine iconoclasts before them, begins with an understanding of the Decalogue.  The…

Healing, holy, whole: Unction of the Sick

A clue, if not a key, to understanding some of the initially puzzling features of the sacrament of unction of the sick may lie in English etymology.  The English words ‘holy’, ‘whole’, and ‘heal’ have common roots.  The following information is taken from the website etymonline.com.  First, ‘holy’ comes from ‘Old English halig, “holy, consecrated,…

NPR and Abortion

In 1994 for the first time in decades the Republican Party took control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Some will remember that occasion as the ‘Contract with America’ election after which Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House of Representatives.  After the election National Public Radio appeared to have a brief…

Christ & Culture

H. Richard Niebuhr was a prominent theologian of the post-World War II flourishing of ‘Main Line’ Protestantism.  His brother, Reinhold, was better known still, both as a theologian and as a founder of the anti-Communist liberal political group, Americans for Democratic Action.  A sister, Hulda Niebuhr, was an accomplished theologian as well.  H. Richard wrote…