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Posts tagged "Hans Urs von Balthasar"


When Your Friends Are the Devil

Do you ever dread meeting with a friend? Do you involuntarily find yourself imagining the ways this is going to go all wrong? Do you feel a knot in your guts when you receive a text message asking to “connect” later (why that word?) and zero elaboration is given? You feel the foreboding circulate through […]

Be Imitators of Me, As I Am of

You are looking for the thing that has meaning for them, and you are using that to get access to their inner world and draw their attention to interaction rather than solitary self-starvation. These are the words of Phoebe Caldwell, a renowned therapist, describing her work with people with autism. To communicate with nonverbal children […]

For Once in Your Life Just Let It Go: The Terrible Mercy of Lament

My all-time favorite YouTube comment has to be this one, left underneath a clip of the penultimate scene from 1982’s film, Blade Runner. Taking place immediately after an epic battle between Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, we are witness to a self-delivered eulogy: boxerking1000 Best…Death…EVER!!! I sometimes sit down in the shower naked and quote this […]

Between Death and Resurrection… He Descended Into Hell

Holy Saturday is probably for most Western Christians the most insignificant part of the end of Holy Week. Most churches let it pass without much of a thought. The irony is that this day in between Good Friday and Easter is the day that seems to correspond closest to the everyday experience of the Christian […]

How Hans Urs von Balthasar Stopped Up His Ears

An incisive passage from Hans Urs Von Balthasar’s Heart of the World, ht Clayton Hornback:

heart-of-the-worldI’ve been a person who has fulfilled his religious obligations. I am a practicing Christian. I am a good Catholic. Sundays I’ve always been in church. I’ve made my Easter duty. I’ve paid my tithes. I’ve given my alms. I’ve always said my morning and evening prayers. I have always been to confession and they’ve always been valid. I have made my nine First Fridays (which, after all, have given me a kind of insurance before God, sanctioned by the Church). I’ve gone to Communion every Sunday. I’ve communicated daily.

‘I have, I have’. What I’ve done with my religion is raised up walls against God. By my practices I have stopped up my ears to God’s call. Quietly, imperceptibly, everything which could have been life has become a mechanism behind which my soul has laid itself to rest.

But Which God?: Revisiting the Law And Gospel Debate

A few months ago, I wrote a brief piece entitled “When John Locke Turned Gospel into Law”, one that I considered to be true to the classic Mockingbird message: the unmistakably clear articulation of grace. Trying to connect that message with the philosopher John Locke’s vision of Christianity, I challenged his version of “the covenant […]

Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

1. Next week, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene is slated to release a new book on behavioral morality, examining the everyday irrationalities and subconscious biases that Kahneman, Tversky and company have popularized over the last few decades (aside: are all titles/covers copying Malcolm Gladwell?). A common behavioral problem, the “trolley experiment”, asks people to make a hypothetical […]

Hans Urs von Balthasar on Christian Defenselessness

From a profound little book called The Christian and Anxiety, on weakness, defenselessness, and the paradoxical, left-handed strength that may spring from them:

Of all things, defenselessness and, from the natural human perspective, weakness (and, last but not least, anxiety) now become the essential prerequisites for Christian fortitude. Right where I become serious about baring my heart and my life, the real power (which is not mine but God’s) radiates most purely. ‘But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show us that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.’ We are oppressed on every side but are not made anxious; ‘perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.’ (2 Cor 4:7-9), ‘but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weakness… for when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Cor 12:9-10). Ever-increasing defenselessness is an ever-increasingly open stance toward God and for God, and hence an ever-increasing influx and indwelling of God’s power in man. No one is as unarmed and exposed as the saint is before God, and therefore no one is as ready to be deluged by every anxiety; yet this is the quintessence of courage and armament – by God.