Where I live near the Rio Grande, ecosystems of desert, river, mountains, and urban mixes of concrete and lawn meet together—portraits of conflict, coordination, creativity and change.
Change, life’s only constant, is stirring and shaking our churches. And not just Seventh-day Adventist congregations. Denominations across the Christian faith (and perhaps also across Judaism and other religious traditions) are undergoing a more than the “normal” dose of disruption.
This guide is one of a column series that invites Adventist readers to reflect on important classics of the Christian spiritual tradition. Each guide provides a brief biography of the classic’s author, a section on historical context, a short outline of the classic under discussion, reflection and analysis, and questions for personal spiritual reflection.
Biography of Julian
One day in January my husband Peter and I drive to the top of the Sandia Mountains near our home, 10,500 feet close to sky. Albuquerque is a warm 58 degrees Fahrenheit, but 5,000 feet higher the snow is deep in and out of shadows. Our snowshoes leave claw marks on the icy, crusted path where other hikers have walked, but sink in the woods where only squirrels and other light-footed creatures scamper. It is impossible to lose Peter in the firs and spruce trees. His neon yellow snow-pants (reversible to neon pink) shine between straight trunks and thick evergreen boughs.
I belong to a secret fellowship called The Friends of Saint Thomas. We have to be a secret society because in the church—not just the Adventist Church but in the larger Christian Church—Thomas' faith is regarded as defective. Nevertheless, Thomas is our patron saint, or to be more precise, our inspiration and model.
Thomas' defect is well known: he would not believe unless he saw the evidence for himself. This putative defect was rooted in his twin virtues of loyalty and hardheadedness.
Today, June 28, the Christian world remembers Irenaeus of Lyons, an early church father from the 2nd century AD. We do well to remember him, as we have Irenaeus to thank for much, including the ordering of our four canonical gospels, his contribution to the establishment of scripture’s authority and a theology of the unity and goodness of God within the Trinity.
This guide is one of a column series that invites Adventist readers to reflect on classics important to the Christian spiritual tradition. Each guide provides 1) A brief biography of the classic’s author and a section on historical context 2) A short outline of the classic 3) Reflection and analysis of the classic 4) Questions for personal spiritual reflection.
1) Biography of Boethius & Historical Context for the Book
The story of English Christianity begins with a man who was being called “the Venerable” within a generation of his passing. That story and even the very concept of “the English people” began with a monk who toiled for years writing one of the great historical works in early European history. While monasteries originated with a desire to withdraw from the world to worship God, Bede embodied the great civilizing aspect of the medieval monastery—the production and transmission of knowledge. He helped set the standard for learning and scholarship and demonstrated the importan