Christian Midrash: An Adventure in the Fusion of Theological Methodology

Given my staple here as a writer who submits to and defends the authority of the Catholic Church, I am taking a bit of a step back in these three articles, where I will explore some random theological ideas. The articles are based on a paper I wrote in college in which I hope to take what good has come from Midrashic texts and blend it with Christianity. In this article I will first explain what Midrash is and how Christian Midrash can exist. In the next article I will go into what I see to be a form of … Continue reading “Christian Midrash: An Adventure in the Fusion of Theological Methodology”

Parashat Vaera

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts. Torah: Exodus 6:2-9:35 Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21 Brit Chadashah: Revelation 15-16 Do you remember the early days of the Coronavirus? I remember studying Va’era last year, in late January, and thinking, “this virus in China might be kind of similar to the plagues we’re reading about.” Well, here we are, again reading the same parashah a year later with some hindsight. I hope this week’s parashah can give us some perspective on … Continue reading “Parashat Vaera”

Parashat Miketz

Joseph Dines with his Brothers by Yoram Raanan

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts, or the weekly the parashah. “G-d” is spelled with a dash out of respect for Jewish custom. Parashah Readings: Torah: Genesis 41:1-44:17 Haftarah (taken from the prophets): 1 Kings 3:24-28 Brit Chadashah (New Testament): Acts 7:54-60 “Sprezzatura,” “sangfroid,” “equanimity”: these are fancy words used to describe the ability of a courtier to remain casual and completely unphased by the petty worries and excitements of his peers. (A more familiar term might … Continue reading “Parashat Miketz”

Melchizedek in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Qumran_Cave_11_Entrance

In 1965, A. S. van der Woude published a scroll from Qumran named 11Q13. This scroll only came to us in fragments, so we do not know its full size or the main theme of the original manuscript. However, the second column of the scroll remains fairly readable, and I want to share some insights one might glean from the text. A character named “Melchizedek” figures prominently in the text of column two. This Melchizedek seems to play a priestly role: [Melchize]dek who will return them and will proclaim liberty to them to relieve them from […] all their iniquities… … Continue reading “Melchizedek in the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Obama, Trump, and Hayek’s Road to Serfdom

In the 2015-2016 Republican primary, Trump’s quick rise to the top surprised many who could not understand how a conservative could find a suitable leader in Trump. I was among those sorely disappointed with his nomination (I supported Cruz). Here I offer my explanation for his quick rise, an explanation that may trigger liberals and embarrass conservatives. One aspect of Trump’s rise that surprised pundits was his lack of credentials. He had no experience in politics or public administration. Yet his supporters felt he was highly qualified. Supporters kept saying “he’s a businessman,” and “he gets things done,” as if … Continue reading “Obama, Trump, and Hayek’s Road to Serfdom”

More on Words, Ecumenism, and Language

With deep regret, this article comes to you late, for which I apologize. Vlad and I recently resumed our discussion of words and the use of “ecumenism.” We both moderated our positions, and I want to present my position anew. I look forward to hearing Vlad’s take on my moderated position. First, on the matter of etymology, Vlad is correct that I brought this up in oral discussion. This occurred on a lakeside porch in a faraway country in the summer of 2018. I may have also brought up this point previously in an online discussion. In my article, I … Continue reading “More on Words, Ecumenism, and Language”

On God’s Hiddenness

The existence of God is not obvious. We often feel that we ought to encounter God himself—or at least tangible, overt evidence—if he truly exists. Many ask why God does not make himself more clearly known. Could he not write a message in the sky, or speak as an answer to prayer, or come like a thunderclap to display his power? In the midst of great trial even a Christian often feels, “a door slammed in your face […] After that, silence” rather than a reassuring presence of God. [1] It is a question I sympathize deeply with. I do … Continue reading “On God’s Hiddenness”

Fear of A Virus

The coronavirus has given us a very grim reflection of humanity’s worst traits. It’s shown us how quickly we are led to believe anything and everything. It’s shown how easily our leaders fall for the allure of power. It’s shown how flippantly we dismiss our neighbors as dumb or dangerous. Most importantly, from my diagnosis, it’s shown how fervently we succumb to fear. Far from keeping distance, far from avoiding cities and crowded spaces, we are afraid to leave the confines of our houses for brief weekly neighborhood walks. The hopeful, ill-intentioned or not, have been demonized more than terrorists. … Continue reading “Fear of A Virus”

Film Review: Onward by Pixar

Onward: Ian and Barley

With everyone cooped up at home, viewership on streaming services has predictably surged. My Mom and I recently finished Season 3 of Fauda (I highly recommend the series!), but today I want to review a kid-friendly film. Onward, Pixar’s latest release, is available on Disney Plus. Onward is worth a watch, as are all of Pixar’s films (except for Cars 2 and Cars 3). Even so, Onward is a bit of a let down, given Pixar’s high standards. Onward has all the necessary ingredients for a good film. There’s an attractive setting: a modernized suburban fantasyland. The story, about two … Continue reading “Film Review: Onward by Pixar”

Augustinian Predestination

At the moment, I am only going to post some objections to the Augustinian/Thomist view of predestination since I am starting to move away from that view due to the difficulties it poses. The Augustinian view of predestination suggests that after the fall all of mankind is destined for hell and that God, to show both aspects of his goodness, must either, by justice, condemn the great majority to their natural dwelling place or, by mercy, save a minority. At first, this view seems like a brilliant resolution of the problem of predestination but, later on, we can see that … Continue reading “Augustinian Predestination”