Chaplaincy: Levites

Strictly speaking, chaplaincy began in the pagan world and in all likelihood was brought into Christianity by Roman Christian patrons; this early history shall be explored in a future article. That said, we can examine two analogous examples from the Bible: the unnamed Levite from Judges 17-18 and Pinchas (also known as Phinehas) from Numbers 25. Both Levites ministered to the secular world: the unnamed Levite as a hired minister, and Pinchas by his own conviction. The Levite of Judges 17-18 resembles a chaplain in that he serves as a private minister to his patron, Micah. (Levites served not only … Continue reading “Chaplaincy: Levites”

Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be satisfied.” Where do we see righteousness? How do we measure faith? This is a question that transcends all times and all places. Philosophers have connected their personal faith to all aspects of their persons: to who they are, and to what they believe, and to what they do. What does the New Testament say about these things? Christianity, thank God, does not consider the aspects of who we are to have any role in righteousness or faith. Paul goes to great length explaining who he is in … Continue reading “Hunger and Thirst”

Chaplaincy: Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and Holiness in the Secular World

cave with tree

I want to begin my exploration of chaplaincy by recounting a story from the Talmud (Shabbat 33b:5-8). The story tells of the holiness of secular observance.* In a time when devoted Christians rightly contemplate the Benedict Option, this Jewish story may serve as an important reminder not to abandon the world God has placed us in. The Bar Kochba revolt (132-136 AD) against Roman occupiers ended in one of the greatest catastrophes for the Jews of the ancient world. A revered rabbi named Rabbi Akiva had made himself the spiritual leader of this revolt, even declaring Shimon bar Kochba to … Continue reading “Chaplaincy: Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and Holiness in the Secular World”

How Did We Get Here?

I came across a line from Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline stating, “The surest sign that it is God’s will for us to be where we are is simply that we are there.” Less wordily, God approves of every situation in which we find ourselves. Even between His engineered plan and His engineered punishment, I disagree. Setting aside the predestination/free will argument as far from this essay as I possibly can, I believe it is possible to screw up your life so badly that you knock yourself off course. Taking Jesus’s parables as examples, was it God’s will for … Continue reading “How Did We Get Here?”

Utilitarianism’s Lack of Utility: Part I

John Stuart Mill

In this article, I will lay the groundwork for my criticism of utilitarianism. In my next article I will explain why I think utilitarianism has very little utility. Ethics is a field for abnormal situations. Amongst the various ethical theories and philosophies put out there, there is wide agreement on most questions. Should I steal from my neighbor? Should I attack the man who honked at me? Should I burn down a hospital? All of these questions have a clear answer (of “No!”) for almost all ethical models. Is abortion moral? Should the government care for those who choose a … Continue reading “Utilitarianism’s Lack of Utility: Part I”

Chaplaincy: Intro

When I think of a chaplain, I picture Father Mulcahy, SJ, from M*A*S*H. He’s a pushover whom everyone likes but few respect. He wields no authority as a religious leader. He will perform services from any religion upon request, and he celebrates mass alone on Sundays. Father Mulcahy may represent an accurate stereotype of many real-life chaplains. In spite of this, I have a hunch that chaplaincy may become a growingly impactful medium of ministry, and I want to explore how this might be the case (or see if my hunch is wrong). I want to examine the history of … Continue reading “Chaplaincy: Intro”

True Love: How Utilitarianism is Severely Flawed

Konrad on Ski Trip

Father Karol Wojtyła, the future Saint Pope John Paul II, was born on May 18, 1920, and rose from the ashes of Nazi and Communist Poland to become a champion of human rights and dignity. His works are filled with themes of human liberty, dignity, and the character of the human person, all of which are connected to his own experience and that of his fellow Poles living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Fr. Wojtyła blended his pastoral responsibilities with his profession as a philosophy professor at the Catholic University of Lublin. He created Love and Responsibility based on a series of … Continue reading “True Love: How Utilitarianism is Severely Flawed”

Daydreams of Heaven 2 – Many Are Called

A Daydream of Flower Clouds

Nota bene: this passage does not necessarily apply to heaven as much as physically following Christ during His travels; still, it presents itself as food for thought. I awoke on a platform that ascended through the sky. I knew nothing about those who sat beside me, nor they of me. The near distance was obscured by infinite fields of clouds; I could not comprehend the rate at which we flew by them. I looked off the platform and could see no ground, only a great host of angels guiding the platform upward. I called out to them, but they did … Continue reading “Daydreams of Heaven 2 – Many Are Called”

躺平 and China’s Recent Video Game Restrictions

Chinese culture generally discourages standing out from the crowd and attracting attention. If you can “pass the days” (过日子) with your head down, swallow the pain, and survive, you have a better fate than a martyr. Although China’s long history has suffered rebellions, modern-day China sees few protests considering the grievances the authorities place upon the people. Of course, this may have a thing or two to do with the Chinese Communist Party’s history of violently shutting down protests. If you read The Art of War, you get the idea that a high-ranking commander cannot rely on lower-ranking officers to … Continue reading “躺平 and China’s Recent Video Game Restrictions”

Daydreams of Heaven 1 – The Amphitheater

I saw myself in a great amphitheater. I looked to my left and right. The great multitudes of people there measured beyond fathom, though it made little difference—miles off into the distance, the crowds became enshrouded in a bright light. I looked down at a small platform upon which a single individual was seen by the countless masses. I dared not look up, for I knew deep in my heart the great power that hovered above us all. As if by miracle, all the peoples who had gathered hushed as the one at the center of the platform beneath us … Continue reading “Daydreams of Heaven 1 – The Amphitheater”