Blue Valentine

September 28, 2012

“Blue Valentine” is a movie about how falling in love does not guarantee a future together.  It is about the fact that, even though two people may want to commit to one another for life, they may not actually be able to do so.  Cindy wonders whether the fact that she has been raised in such a terrible household will preclude her ability to ever trust her feelings when she thinks she is in love.  It turns out: she can’t.

Gabriel Marcel puts the problem in similar terms: Read the rest of this entry »

Some Theories of Atonement, or Love, not Honor or Substitution

September 14, 2012

Today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  Yet many of us have no idea what that triumph means, or what exactly the mechanism of that triumph was.  Without going on too long, I want to lay out briefly some theories of atonement.  But first I want to say one thing quite clearly: The New Testament never speaks of God’s anger in the context of the passion of Christ.  Never.  So nor should we.  The motive for God’s action in Christ was love, not anger.  More on that later.

Let me lay out three positions.

The first theory is that of Christus Victor.  This is an ancient theory, found particularly in the Fathers of the Church.  Here the dialectic is between Christ/Life and Satan/Death.  According to this theory, the Resurrection is the real salvific moment, the soteriological moment par excellence. This made more sense in the early centuries of the life of the Church because of the popularity of well known myths of resurrection such as surrounded Hercules, Apollo, Dionysius, and so on.  Either way, the focus was on Jesus conquering Satan and death by his death and resurrection.  Gregory of Nyssa’s The Catechetical Oration, for example, describes Christ as the bait on the hook that Satan the fish took, thereby destroying himself.  Or in Augustine, the cross of Christ is like a mousetrap that the devil bites into and is destroyed by.  In the East, this continues to be the main model.

The second theory is Anselm’s well known Expiation Theory of Atonement. Read the rest of this entry »

Australia Interview

September 12, 2012

I would like to share an interview from my time in Melbourne, Australia this summer.  You can learn a lot about my upbringing and some interesting things about my ministry as a Jesuit so far.  Enjoy!

Evangelizing Australia

September 2, 2012

Here is an article about the recent trip that my family and I took to Australia.  I will write more personal reflections soon, but in the meantime, take a look!