Getting Back to Here and Now

Schleiermacher: “The goal and character of the religious life is not the immortality desired and believed in by many. It is not the immortality that is outside of time, behind it, or rather after it, and which still is in time. It is the immortality which we can now have in this temporal life; itContinue reading “Getting Back to Here and Now”

The Truth of Symbols

Tillich: “Symbols cannot be produced intentionally. They grow and they die. Symbols do not grow because people are longing for them, and they do not die because of scientific or practical criticism. They die because they can no longer produce response in the group where they originally found expression.” Christmas Day provides an opportunity toContinue reading “The Truth of Symbols”

Lost and Found

Kierkegaard: “When the wanderer comes away from the much-traveled noisy highway into places of quiet, then it seems to him (for stillness is impressive) as if he must examine himself, as if he must speak out what lies hidden in the depths of his soul. It seems to him, according to the poets’ explanation, asContinue reading “Lost and Found”

Faith in the Wake of Tragedy

Excursus: The senseless slaying of innocent children and faculty at a Connecticut elementary school challenges our faith in a god who cares for us. Over the course of my conversations with Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard and Tillich, our working definition of faith has shifted away from nouns and deeper into verbs. Faith is something much more fundamentalContinue reading “Faith in the Wake of Tragedy”

The Birth of God

Schleiermacher: “Suppose there is someone who rejects the idea of a personal God. This rejection of the idea of a personal Deity does not decide against the presence of the Deity in his [or her] feeling.” Because personality is the filter through which we humans experience reality, our long-standing assumption has been that it representsContinue reading “The Birth of God”

Faith and Existence

Tillich: “If doubt appears, it should not be considered as the negation of faith, but as an element which was always and will always be present in the act of faith. Existential doubt and faith are poles of the same reality, the state of ultimate concern.” In our head-heavy, wordy and overly rationalistic traditions ofContinue reading “Faith and Existence”

The Trance

Kierkegaard: “There is an ignorance about one’s own life that is equally tragic for the learned and for the simple, for both are bound by the same responsibility. This ignorance is called self-deceit.” Each of us, regardless of our ethnicity, class, sex or education level, is living a lie. Well, maybe not an intentional lie,Continue reading “The Trance”