I couldn’t help but grimace as I read the headline from Douglas Todd’s recent article in the Vancouver Sun (“Evangelicals Mostly Alone in Believing God Punishes with Earthquakes“).  It highlighted, once again, the lengths we will go to to find (or manufacture) moral meaning in times of chaos and suffering. Combined with news of some painful things happening in the lives of various people in the various domains of my life and work, I have been thinking a lot about the silence of God these days, and how we are to live and think and speak about God as people of faith in a broken world.

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Beautiful Quotes: ‘Silence’ by Shūsaku Endō


This novel by the phenominal Japanese writer, Shūsaku Endō, is by far one of the greatest books I have come across.

Inscribed on the pages of the book is a thought-provoking fictional journey of a Jesuit missionary sent to Japan during the time of Christian persecution. As the reader journeys with the missionary, both the character’s and the reader’s perspectives on Christ, and Judas the betrayer, transforms.

Let me share with you one of my favourite quotes from the Endo’s breathtaking novel. Most of my favourite lines from the book can’t be shared without giving spoilers, thus this is the best quote I could portion without giving too much away.

“Christ did not die for the good and beautiful. It is easy enough to die for the good and beautiful; the hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.”

-Shusaku Endo

The novel is currently in the process of being translated onto…

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An Irish Virgin


The Book of Kells’ miniature  folio 7 verso is the oldest image of the madonna in Western manuscript art. It is also one of the most complex. But while where see a simple picture of the Virgin and Child, its creators would understand the image as cosmopolitan, syncretic and deeply symbolic.

Painted by one of three artists who illuminated the Gospels codex around 800 AD, the full-page miniature depicts the Virgin enthroned with the infant Christ and attended by angels. The Virgin dominates the composition, her importance denoted by her large size and central placement. She is shown in the native Irish saffron veil and mantle rather than the more usual Byzantine maphorion, and the cross commonly found on the shoulder in Eastern depictions of the Virgin is stylised here as an Insular cruciform brooch. This is not mere culture-specific ornament: the Imperial purple mantle and the veil and brooch indicates her universality by referencing the…

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Rollo, Viking Count of Normandy

The Freelance History Writer

Fourteenth century depiction of Charles the Simple giving his daughter to Rollo Fourteenth century depiction of Charles the Simple giving his daughter to Rollo

As I wrote in an earlier post about testing my family DNA, it was revealed that on the patrilineal side, my ancestry was about ninety percent Nordic Viking. This was a bit of a shock as the family history always stressed our ancestors were from Ireland and therefore we thought we were of Celtic background. In addition to this revelation, a new television series has aired on the History Channel called “Vikings”. The Vikings were starting to creep into my consciousness. So I began reading “A Brief History of the Vikings” by Jonathan Clements. In recounting what is known of Viking history and the sagas which were written about in the Middle Ages, Clements tells the story of Hrolf the Walker, otherwise known as Rollo or Rolf.

Now this is a Viking I knew something about. He…

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The Christus Victor Theory of the Atonement

The Gospel According to Erik

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In my last post I gave a quick outline on the nature of the atonement, particularly highlighting Robin Collins’ “Incarnational View”, which has its roots in Eastern Orthodox theology of theosis. Another view that I find particularly helpful is the Christus Victor model, which also has its roots in the E.O.C. and the early church fathers. Before we look at the Christus Victor model, I think it’s important to contrast it against the main model over the past few centuries, and that is the Satisfaction or Penal Substitution model.

Penal Substitution

For the sake of space I’ll present a rough sketch of this view and point out some of its deficiencies. Developed by St. Anselm in the 11th century, the picture is that Christ paid the debt of obedience that we owe God for our sins.  Out of this evolved the Penal theory by the Protestant Reformers, and it’s basically…

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Saint George and the Dragon in Iconography

A Reader's Guide to Orthodox Icons

Russian Icon of St George, based on a 15th Century depiction

The wealth of images depicted in holy icons is overwhelming, yet one thing appears to unite them all. Despite not usually being painted in a naturalistic way, they are always concerned in depicting reality. In icons of the life of Christ, His Saints, or other historic events we are always presented with what happened, and the meaning behind what happened.

The image of St George killing the dragon, on the other hand, appears more like a fairy-story; indeed, it is a popular image in children’s story books.

So why are there literally thousands of holy icons surviving of St George killing a dragon, found in all parts of the Christian world, and spanning centuries?

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Andrew Garfield Is My Spiritual Director

Sara Holliday

ME: Wow—Hacksaw Ridge and now Silence—Andrew Garfield is my spiritual director.
MY SPOUSE: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

File Jan 17, 10 02 58 PM.png EYEBROWS.

That’s a joke. Andrew Garfield is not my spiritual director. Though if you’re reading this, Mr. Garfield, you’re awesome. Love the eyebrows.

But seriously: following an interestingly mixed career that swung (sorry) from The Social Network to The Amazing Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield’s 2016 releases provided me a one-two punch at just the right time. Interviews suggest that he made them right atop one another, too, using new and overlapping skills.

His two characters—Father Sebastião Rodrigues the 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit and Desmond Doss the 20th-century American Seventh-Day Adventist—share almost nothing other than their capacities to be played by the same actor and have problems in Japan. If they met, they wouldn’t be able to converse. They occupy the same religious tradition in only the broadest sense. But within…

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