Personhood, Communion, and Transcendence

We long for transcendence. We seem to be built to encounter realities that transcend us. Every time we have a moment of awe, we know this, intuitively. And once the encounter passes, that longing to encounter the transcendent lingers and never really leaves us. Each encounter just deepens the longing. But how can we […]

Advent Meditations: Wednesday, December 12

Psalm 38, 119:25–48  •  Isaiah 6:1–13  •  John 7:53–8:11 They brought the woman accused of adultery before Jesus not really to put her on trial but to put Jesus on trial. They did not know to whom they were presenting her. Isaiah knew. For in the year that King Uzziah died, he saw the Lord … read more

Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering

The last time I reread for my children my favorite young-adult novel, Lizard Music, by Daniel Manus Pinkwater, I made a joyful discovery only made possible by the age of the internet. This bizarre and wonderful young-adult novel (which, by the way, I highly recommend) makes several references to artists and writers – most of […]


I remember once waiting with my two-year-old son for my wife, his mother, to come home after being away much of the day. We were on the back porch playing together. When he heard his mother’s car pull into the driveway he stopped everything. He looked up. His eyes widened. I thought he would run […]

The Myth of Pure Evil

I’ve been reading some of the popular work of an excellent social and moral psychologist named Jonathan Haidt. He published his work, The Happiness Hypothesis in 2006 as a result of teaching “Psychology 101” at the University of Virginia for 10 years. He decided he wanted students not just to learn facts, figures and dates […]


Psalms 55; Isaiah 10:20-27; Luke 3:1-9   Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer: The Rev. Nathan Jennings, Advent Meditation   Advent means “coming.” The Greek would be “parousia,” showing up, arriving. What does it look like when God shows up? In our passage from Luke today, it looks like a prophet crying […]

The Rev. Dr. Nathan Jennings

Wednesday – December 2 Psalm 119:1-24; Amos 3:12-4:5; Matthew 21:23-32   Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer: The Rev. Dr. Nathan Jennings Advent Meditation The Psalmist sings, “oh, that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes.” In the face of the word from Amos today, we beg the […]

Patterns or Projection

There have been a series of popular bumper stickers in recent times with the words “coexist,” or “tolerance” or “believe” written with the various symbols of world religions. Much like the “Darwin fish” that have arisen to mock the once popular automobile Christian fish symbol, there has now arisen and interesting mockery of this series […]

Therefore, let us keep the feast

There are key differences between rest, entertainment and festival (I depend upon the insights of Josef Pieper for these distinctions). The celebration of a feast cannot be called entertaining because its object is not the participants but the transcendent reality acclaimed. That doesn’t mean that folks can’t have fun at a festival, quite the contrary. […]

A Blues Brothers mystagogy

A Blues Brothers mystagogy was originally posted on The Living Church's Covenant blog on May 19, 2015.

My wife and I recently had a chance to entertain ourselves by watching The Blues Brothers, that 1980 classic, again.

Every other time I’ve watched this movie, the repeating theme wherein the “brothers” insist that they are on a “mission from God” came across to me simply as part of the joke of the movie or as a blasphemy (as it did to Aretha Franklin’s character in that famous scene), especially when I found myself in a rather pious mood.

This time I felt rather differently. Between the last time I watched this old comedy and this recent viewing, a lot of life, growing up, sorrow, and spiritual direction has intervened. I believe the brothers were indeed on a mission from God. And I believe it is “proved,” time and again throughout the movie by the constant intervention of grace.