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Month: November 2021

Keeping theology coupled with cosmology

I was introduced to Dr. Ilia Delio a couple weeks ago on a podcast. Her thoughts about God, evolution, and the quantum realm fascinated me such that I went right to Amazon and bought three of her books. This morning I started in on the first one (The Unbearable Wholeness of Being) and ran across this stunning thought in the introduction:

Raimon Panikkar said that when theology is divorced from cosmology, we no longer have a living God but an idea of God. God becomes a thought that can be accepted or rejected, rather than the experience of divine ultimacy. Because theology has not developed in tandem with science (or science in tandem with theology) since the Middle Ages, we have an enormous gap between the transcendent dimension of human existence (the religious dimension) and the meaning of physical reality as science understands it (the material dimension). This gap underlies our global problems today, from the environmental crisis to economic disparity and the denigration of women.

Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, p. xix

She’s going to have to do some convincing for me to accept the conclusion of the last sentence, but the bigger thought that our theology needs to continue to develop along with our cosmology so that they can be coupled in a way that God is more than an “idea” in the modern age is one I’m going to be chewing on for a while. Looking forward to the rest of this book!

Beck: Nationalism and the search for meaning

Richard Beck, on his Substack today, on American nationalism resulting from the need for deep meaning:

…for most of human history, we achieved deep meaning by a connection with an ancestral people. Our tribe, kin, and clan. These relations gave us a history and roots.

But with the rise of the modern nation state, especially with such a rootless nation of immigrants like America, our identities have become increasingly associated less with a tribe than a state, a flag, a country. I am who I am–I matter, I have worth–because I’m an American.

It’s an easy observation that American nationalism is characterized by pride in the country, but Beck’s piece pushed me to think more about how Americans, and especially Christian Americans, could be helped away from the more vitriolic forms of nationalism by finding more meaning in other parts of their self-identity—perhaps specifically in their Christian faith.

Beck, again:

Without deep meaning Americans achieve self-esteem via the status of the nation. You elevate the stature of the nation and you elevate the worth, value, and dignity of its citizens. Make America great and you make its people great. There is a primal pull here, rooted deep in the limbic system. It’s not abstract, but a raw, visceral ground of dignity.

How can I encourage other Christians to find more deep meaning and identity in their faith instead of (or even more than) their country?

Fascinating: 5th Century Byzantine Basilica honoring Female Ministers found in Israel

Reported at on Monday:

The Holy Mother Sophronia. Theodosia the deaconess. Gregoria the deaconess. These are some of the women lovingly memorialized at a magnificent Byzantine basilica that Israeli archaeologists have uncovered in the southern city of Ashdod.

The splendidly mosaiced church, built in the fourth or fifth century C.E., is being hailed as one of the earliest and largest Christian basilicas found in Israel. It is also one of the most unusual, partly due to the number and prominence of graves and inscriptions dedicated to female ministers. Then as now, women in the clergy were usually overshadowed by their male counterparts.

Mosaics still covered by the collapsed tiles of the church’s roof

So much church history that is still lost to us… neat to see this glimpse into ancient Christian practice.