August 20, 2018

The Anguished Seriousness of Advent

Monday Merton Musings, November 28, 2011 The Anguished Seriousness of Advent Today, we hear some of Thomas Merton’s thoughts on the Advent season. The certainty of Christian hope lies beyond passion and beyond knowledge. Therefore we must sometimes expect our hope to come in conflict with darkness, desperation and ignorance. Therefore, too, we must remember […]

Advent I: What Fruit Remains

First Sunday of Advent November 27, 2011 Isaiah 64:1-9 Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Mark 13:24-37 Prayer of the Day Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection waken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you […]

iMonk Classic: Michael Spencer Helps Us Prepare for Advent

Classic iMonk Post by Michael Spencer From November, 2008 Original Title: “Riffs: Joseph Bottum on the End of Advent (and the horror of our version of Christmas)” Many years ago, we made a decision to, as much as possible, speak of Advent and not of Christmas, until Christmas. I’ve never been able to hold off […]

Advent IV: The Honor and Humility of Mary

By Chaplain Mike Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. • Isaiah 7:14, NIV It’s time again for the annual “Mary” discussion. This is the one time of year when Protestants are forced to consider her as they […]

iMonk Classic: The Unlikely Outrage of the Gospel of Light

Classic iMonk Post by Michael Spencer From December 20, 2006 Note from CM: This was a sermon Michael wrote for the Advent season. It was expanded from a talk he gave at soli deo on 1/19/06. “There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: the creator […]

Losers Who Win

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring […]

The Contexts of Faith

Much Christian piety and spirituality is romantic and unreal in its positiveness. As children of the Enlightenment, we have censored and selected around the voice of darkness and disorientation, seeking to go from strength to strength, from victory to victory. But such a way not only ignores the Psalms; it is a lie in terms […]

Nouwen on Waiting

By Chaplain Mike For your contemplation today during this season of Advent, here are some words of profound insight from Henri Nouwen. Advent is the time when we practice the discipline of waiting. We focus our attention on the hope to come. We set our hearts on God’s not-yet-seen promises rather than our unfulfilling circumstances […]

A Favorite Children’s Advent/Christmas Book

By Chaplain Mike My entry for a recommended Christmas book is one we read for our children when they were young. It was written by one of my favorite authors, a woman renowned in children’s literature: Madeleine L’Engle. Her award-winning book, A Wrinkle in Time, is a classic that still captures my imagination. L’Engle’s Christmas […]

The Imagination of Faith

By Chaplain Mike What part does imagination play in faith? Can “truth” be communicated through legend, folk tales, poetry, and music? Many Christmas songs have little to do with describing detailed historical facts. Instead, they evoke images from nature, the Biblical narratives, and the cultures from which they arise to help us not only understand […]