Is it good evangelism to ridicule “millennial” spiritual seekers?

David Koyzis’s recent First Things article, “Millennial Religion and the Sovereign Self,” disses the way that “millennials” purportedly want the trappings of ancient-feeling church without submitting to the authority of the hierarchy of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The author writes that “attending Mass and living as a Catholic is a matter of obedience, not merely of soaking up a ‘high-church’ atmosphere with ancient roots while continuing to live as one wishes and following whatever agenda seems most congenial to the sovereign self.” I understand the irritation at religious consumerism, but is this a good evangelistic response to people who are saying that they don’t want to have anything to do with church anymore? Continue reading

Is Pope Francis a universalist heretic?

Oh mercy! The evangelicals have so wanted to make peace with the Catholics, because they make for such great allies in the culture wars. They’re not just anti-abortion; they’re anti-condom! So we’ve tried to overlook the whole Mary thing. But then they elected this pope who washes the feet of criminals. And he says negative things about capitalism. And now he says that non-Christians are capable of doing good and are in fact redeemed by Christ. Is Pope Francis a flaming universalist heretic?

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My favorite Catholic hymn: There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy

Today at the basilica Monday mass like many weeks, our recessional hymn was “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” I really love this hymn and have been wanting to adapt it into a contemporary format. It affirms the basic goodness of God. Not just goodness in the sense that “God’s in charge so whatever He does is something we’re supposed to call good,” but the kind and gentle goodness Jesus exudes in saying “Come to me you who are weary.” I’m weary today so I was richly blessed by it. Here are the words.

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Wisdom from Henri de Lubac, part 2

I have been reading off and on through Catholic theologian Henri de Lubac’s Paradoxes of Faith for the past few weeks. It’s structured in a really unique way. It has chapters, but each chapter is basically a collection of 30 or so eclectic thoughts on a theme ranging from one sentence long to about one and a half pages. It’s a great thing to read when you’re somewhere you can’t concentrate super-hard to follow an intricate trajectory of thought for 100 pages or something. So I highly recommend it. This time I’m probably going to try to quote De Lubac more and do less commentary because he says so many thought-provoking things that desperately need to be heard in the church today. De Lubac was actually a huge influence on Pope Benedict (which honestly I find a little hard to believe because he’s so feisty). Continue reading

My Mondays with Mary

As I’ve shared before, I spend my Mondays in the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, which I call the basilica for short. I haven’t known exactly what to think about the dozen or so statues of Mary that are in the various chapels surrounding both the cathedral sanctuary and the crypt. In a different phase of my life, I would count them as proof of the idolatry of Roman Catholicism and a blatant violation of the second commandment, but I’ve decided not to judge what I don’t understand. I know that I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence quite strongly in the basilica. Something is going on in that place. Very devout Christians in the past have somehow had an experience of the Spirit that caused them to develop the ideas about Mary that the Church has today. So I decided to talk to Mary. Not pray to her, just to say hello. Continue reading

We are not all Catholic now

I’m sitting in the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. For the past couple of weeks, I have gone to the Monday noon mass. It’s been a deep spiritual struggle each week to decide whether or not to go forward for Eucharist, but I think God wanted me to do it. Each time I have been terrified to get “caught” as a Protestant infiltrator. But that fear has been overridden by a longing to be part of Christ’s true body, the one true church. So now that mass is over, against this backdrop of feeling like a filthy Samaritan completely unworthy of God’s mercy, I just read Glenn Beck’s declaration, “We are all Catholics now.” I’m not sure that anything more sacrilegious could possibly be said. Continue reading