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When St. Francis Built the First Nativity

From First Thoughts

When Francis of Assisi orchestrated the first crèche in Greccio on Christmas Eve in 1223 with its scene of infant child surrounded by living animals, the intention was to humanize the birth of the messiah and so remind medieval Christians how near this God was. As Francis states, “I wish . . . . Continue Reading »

A Liturgy, a Legacy, and an Anglican Band

From First Thoughts

During my doctoral program at Oxford, my wife and I had the good fortune of attending a wonderful Anglican church. Located just across from Christ Church, St. Aldate’s has a history going back to the twelfth century and St. Frideswide, which spoke to me given that I was writing on the canons . . . . Continue Reading »

Traditional Faith in Our Populist Times

From First Thoughts

Three events this past fall suggest the need to grapple with the nature of populism again, especially religious populism and its relationship to renewal and the life of the mind. While each of these events deal with different slices of Christianity (Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Catholic), they all . . . . Continue Reading »

Pentecostal Thoughts on Pope Francis

From First Thoughts

When Cardinal Jorge Borgoglio became Francis there was a ripple of excitement that ran through parts of the Pentecostal community. This excitement was related to then Cardinal Borgoglio’s actions in Argentina as represented in the picture of prayers being offered for him by Raniero . . . . Continue Reading »

Surprised By Sacraments

From First Thoughts

I love being part of ecumenical dialogues because I always learn as much about my own family of churches as I do about the other traditions represented. A few years ago I was involved in an ecumenical conversation as one of five representatives of Pentecostalism. The team members were from various . . . . Continue Reading »

The Bourgeois Are At the Gates

From First Thoughts

In 1939, the historian Christopher Dawson penned the essay ” Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind ,” a call for resistance to the bourgeois mentality. Dawson set a hostile tone almost immediately by declaring that “it is difficult to deny that there is a fundamental disharmony . . . . Continue Reading »