Religion

Religion is one of those things that, depending on who you are, can mean almost anything. It’s simultaneously so personal and so broad that it feels almost impossible to talk about.

And yet that’s what we do here. We talk here about the stories of religion – the stories that we tell ourselves and each other about where we’re from, and what life means. We talk about the stories that shape the lives of believers all around the globe.

To date, we’ve only really been talking about Christianity. That’s my background, my heritage – it’s the only one where I feel like I have the understanding and authority to talk about it in depth. Eventually we might broaden our range – but for now, that’s where we are.

Check out some of the quick-start topics below, or scroll down for the most recent – updates every Sunday.

On Now: 20th-C Catholics

Catholic thinkers from across the 20th century.

The Big Four

Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin

By author

All the texts we’ve discussed, listed by author

Most recent:

Von Balthasar: On Sex and Women

Alright, time for a weird one. One of the things about metaphor in the Christian tradition – and I suppose probably elsewhere as well – is that the material form of the metaphor carries meaning alongside the primary metaphorical idea. We’ve talked about this previously with Maggie Mae Fish and the book of Hosea – […]

Von Balthasar: Time is for Waiting

This week we’re looking at Hans Urs von Balthasar’s A Theology of History, a title with possibly the funniest elevator pitch I’ve read in a book of theology. This is the first little bit of the blurb: “It is not surprising that, as a Christian, Hans Urs von Balthasar finds the meaning of history in […]

Von Balthasar: Anxiety and the Church

In The Christian and Anxiety, the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar largely focuses on the relationship between anxiety and the individual. However, in the closing pages, he touches on anxiety and the church. We might when we’re feeling a little snippy describe the church as a key source of anxiety in the world. […]

Von Balthasar: On Anxiety

In his book Catholicism, Cardinal Henri de Lubac comments that “for all of us today the coming of Christ in the person of his church is at the same time both autumn and spring.” We live, he suggests, in both the beginning and the end of history – in both the autumn and the spring […]

Péguy: Hope and Repetition

The axiom is that madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But, suggests Charles Péguy, repetition is actually the core of hope. We talked about the French Catholic Péguy last week – looking at hope and the future in his free verse poem The Portal of the Mystery […]

Péguy: Hope and the Future

Charles Péguy was a French Catholic poet and essayist over the turn of the 20th century. Born in 1873, he died in battle in the first year of WWI. We’re looking today at his The Portal of the Mystery of Hope, which – is a bit of an odd duck. It’s a free verse poem, […]

Congar: On the Magisterium

In Melbourne General Cemetery, up in Parkville, the dead are separated by denomination. The logic is that burial grounds are often consecrated by the faith, and different denominations of course have their own consecration rituals. You can’t just bury a Catholic in a grave blessed by a Baptist. It’s a funny example, I think particularly […]

Yves Congar: Tradition vs the Bible

As we move through Catholicism in the 20th century, it’s probably worth touching on some of the differences between Protestant and Catholic thought – outlining the movement in terms of its differences to other denominations. For that task, we’re going to turn to Yves Congar. A French Dominican, Congar was a major figure in Catholic […]

Guardini: Poor People Ruin Culture

You might be aware that we’re currently working through Catholicism in the 20th century – that’s our mood right now, our place of residence. And one aspect of the 20th century that we haven’t really touched on so far is the rise of mass culture. It’s the shift from the parlor room witticisms of Oscar […]

Romano Guardini: Technology vs the Human

Alright – I was going to get into Yves Congar today, but I got caught up reading Romano Guardini’s Letters from Lake Como. Guardini was a 20th century German Catholic theologian, and his book, subtitled Explorations in Technology and the Human Race, is a collection of letters from the 1920s, dealing with the rapid changes […]

De Lubac: Why Wasn’t Jesus Earlier?

When we’re talking about the practicalities of salvation, there are usually some common objections or questions that come up. For instance, people often ask – well, why didn’t Jesus appear earlier? And why pop up in some obscure little backwater Roman province? The implication is that people aren’t getting a fair shake if they don’t […]

De Lubac: Social Salvation and the Afterlife

Last week we talked about social salvation – the idea that salvation is experienced collectively, as a reunification of all people. We talked about Cardinal Henri de Lubac and his book Catholicism, where he makes this argument for social salvation – in his words, sin is a “breaking up, an individualisation,” and salvation is the […]

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