It would be conjecture to say how often or in what manner the Mother of God received the blessed sacrament. It is not hard to imagine that there must have been a flood of conflicting emotions that she would have experienced: grief at the loss she had suffered and that she could no longer hold her Son’s hand or kiss his face; joy that he was not lost to her; perhaps pride that in fact what he had already given her would now be available to the whole world through the transformation of something as simple as bread and wine.

What a curious and powerful experience it must have been for her, as the priest placed the body of Christ in her mouth, for her to realize that what she received was the very flesh that she had washed and cared for, the very flesh that had come from her body in the first place. When she received the body of Christ, what she received was her body as well, healed and glorified by the Incarnation. Surely, that had to be at least as awe-inspiring and shocking for her as the experience all those years earlier when the angel had announced God’s intention to her, and she had responded, “Be it done unto me according to thy will.”

If we are ever tempted to take the Holy Eucharist for granted, meditating on Mary’s relationship with the sacrament would be a fitting remedy. Her flesh is our flesh, after all. She is one of us, made in the image and likeness of God, as we are. When Christ took residence in her womb, he sanctified not just her flesh but all flesh. When we receive his body and blood in the blessed sacrament, we receive the fullness of him, but we also receive the fullest and truest of ourselves.

From Fr. Jonathan Mitchican in What Mary Received in the Eucharist

This is where we were sitting for the match winner in the 97' against Austin.

What a view, and what a night to bring the whole family! As you can tell by all the light sabers, it was also Star Wars night.

Of the myriad and wonderful ways in which people differ from one another in personality, there are some that are harder for me to understand than others.

Perhaps chief among them: using the speakerphone function in public.

Are you against computers, Socrates?

Socrates: Of course not. Am I against brains? I am against confusion—against personalizing instruments and instrumentalizing persons—which is what is at stake in this philosophical question about human and computer intelligence.

From Peter Kreeft’s brilliant book The Best Things in Life, which imagines dialogues that occur when Socrates visits a modern university campus. Even more poignant: this book was written in 1984.

This astonishment is indispensable if theology is to exist and be perpetually renewed as a modest, free, critical, and happy science. If such astonishment is lacking, the whole enterprise of even the best theologian would canker at the roots. On the other hand, as long as even a poor theologian is capable of astonishment, he is not lost to the fulfillment of his task. He remains serviceable as long as the possibility is left open that astonishment may seize him like an armed man.

Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology: An Introduction

One for the soccer diary ages:

When it was 4-3 Dallas in the 84’ and Messi had a free kick on his left foot from outside the box, 20,000 people all knew what was going to happen. And it did.

Tough loss, but soccer and FCD both showed really well.

Messi walking into Toyota Stadium

We encountered a Starlink Streak on a walk last night. I assumed it was Starlink, but enjoyed not knowing for certain for a moment.

Starlink satellites launching vertically in the night sky

I am entering my 14th year serving in some capacity in our school. Last year was my first not to teach any classes. It nearly drove me mad; D.V. that won’t happen again! I am looking forward to returning to the classroom this year to teach Latin to fifth graders and Theology to seniors.

If FC Dallas beats Nexaca on Tuesday and Nexaca beats Charlotte on Saturday and Atlanta beats Miami on Tuesday and Atlanta beats Cruz Azul on Saturday, then I might have a shot at having a shot at buying tickets to see Messi in Frisco, TX in the coming weeks.

So you’re saying there’s a chance! ⚽️

After not attending a soccer match since April, I will now be attending three in the next week: two FC Dallas League Cup matches, and a Barcelona vs Real Madrid friendly being played at AT&T Stadium.

This has inspired me to start a soccer diary that serves as a log of the matches I watch. ⚽️

Remarks: Rhetoric Capstone Presentations

Juniors at Coram Deo Academy research, write, defend, and present a rather impressive Capstone paper. The remarks below were shared the evening that our Dallas Campus Junior shared their capstones with our community.

I am encouraged by many things this evening, but I would like to name two of them.

First, I am encouraged to know that this is a place where students are trained to think deeply, slowly, and theologically about things that matter a great deal.

Juniors, your presence here this evening and your work this year is a testament to the many ways you are growing in wisdom and virtue. Well done.

Second, I am grateful that this is a place where adults take time out of their busy weeks to hear students share some of what they have learned this year.

Parents, teachers, and friends of our school: your presence here this evening is a testament to your desire to contribute to a more wise and virtuous Christian witness in the public square.

Our students have selected challenging topics to explore this year, and their teacher has demanded that they read, think, and write wisely about them.

All while many of their peers are being trained to think and write by social media, rash politicians, and celebrities who are famous for being famous.

Though you may—in some cases—find yourself arriving at different conclusions than our presenters, I trust that you will appreciate, honor, and be encouraged by the way our students have thought through these things.

Here is a fascinating essay about the life, faith, and legacy of Dr. John Goodenough, who (1) has an excellent last name, and (2) made the scientific breakthrough that led to the Lithium-Ion battery.

I have updated my Writing page to include quick links to a number of my recent written works, including a few Letters from the Headmaster that I have shared with our learning community over the years.

A birthday gift from my wife and several good friends. I sold my last guitar towards the end of undergrad, and have been meaning to pick one up for the past sixteen years or so.

It’s like riding a bike.

Year 10 of Adventure Trip of the South (ATOTS) in the books!

The first big hike from 8500 to 11500 was a beating, but worth it.

The Alite chair I purchased for ATOTS 1 in 2013 finally broke on the last day of ATOTS 10. It’s been a good decade!

Lionel Messi to the MLS is truly stunning.

An attempt to harness technology as a tool to accomplish what I find to be most important in life.

Blank App for shortcuts and Venite for the daily office.

The Mediterranean: a rather stunning cradle of civilization.

Pentecost

Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

The opening eleven chapters of the book of Genesis seek to explain why the world is the way it is. And though these stories were first told thousands of years ago, they offer a surprisingly accurate vision of our world, even today.

The final story of this opening section of our Scriptures is none other than the Tower of Babel. A capstone story told in a single paragraph.

Genesis tells us that the whole earth had one language, and few words. Though they did not say much, like today, mass communication was easy.

But what they did choose to say to one another speaks volumes. Only twice in this passage are the words of this ancient civilization recorded, and yet both times the same phrase is used by those building the Tower:

Let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.

And they had brick for stone. Then they said,

Let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens,

and let us make a name for ourselves.

Let us make is not neutral language in the narrative of Scripture.

It is God himself who first says Let us make in Genesis 1 when he creates the first humans in his image.

And in Genesis 11 we see humanity taking the creative reins.

It begins innocently enough: let us make bricks. The mandate given to humanity to subdue the earth has begun to play out. Humanity is learning to master the natural world through the use of technology.

Technology helps us accomplish our goals faster, more efficiently, and without getting our hands quite as dirty.

If your goal is to wear clean clothes to work each day, a washing machine and dryer will go a long way in helping you reach that goal.

If your goal is to live in Richardson but work in downtown Dallas, a highway system and motor vehicles will go a long way in helping you reach that goal.

But what happens when your goal is less than noble?

What does progress, advancement, and technology offer you if your goal is to gain power? Or punish those you don’t like? Or eliminate entire people groups from the face of the earth?

Technology offers you an opportunity to accomplish your goals faster, more efficiently, and without getting your hands quite as dirty.

Technology does not offer its own moral compass. It simply helps you do whatever it is you already want to do.

And sometimes, it can be scary what our hearts want to do.

Let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens,

and let us make a name for ourselves.

The story of the Tower of Babel is the story of humanity seeking to be the master of their own fate, the shapers of their own world, the judge and jury of what is right and wrong.

They set their minds to establishing a civilization that had no need of God. That’s why their tower broke the plane of heaven.

And it worked.

Genesis tells us that God saw the tower. And his response may surprise you. He did not laugh at their futile attempt. He did not rain down fire and brimstone in righteous anger.

He saw the tower for what it was: an ominous sign of what humanity is capable of accomplishing when left to its own devices.

And the Lord said, “…this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”

This shiny new tower—built by those who held power out of a desire to reshape the world into whatever they saw fit—was just the beginning.

So God confused their language, and scattered them across the world.

This story stands on its own as a compelling explanation for countless atrocities throughout history and today. Of what happens when an Empire sets their heart on ruling the whole world, when a people set love of country as the highest good, no matter the cost to others, when a leader’s ambition for power blinds them to the trail of destruction they leave in their wake.

The Tower of Babel is a prototype of the story of human history.

But it is not the end of the story.

The Tower of Babel explains why the world is the way it is.

The Day of Pentecost explains the world as it will be.

Against the backdrop of the Tower of Babel, the Day of Pentecost presents a stark contrast.

Instead of mankind charting their own course, the Day of Pentecost begins with God’s people awaiting his direction. Huddled together in a room, seeking His wisdom. Creatures relying wholly upon their Creator.

At Pentecost, Humanity did not reach up to God, attempting to grasp him in their hands. Rather, God came down. It was not human ingenuity that saved the day, but the very breath of God.

The Holy Spirit came to rest on God’s people. And then God’s people got to work.

And the results were extraordinary.

At Babel, confusion reigned supreme. One language became many, and communication became impossible.

At Pentecost, many languages did not quite become one—each maintained its distinct contribution to human culture—but despite these many languages, all barriers to hearing the good news of God in Christ were removed.

What happened next was no less miraculous.

Peter, who weeks earlier denied that he ever knew Jesus, preaches among the greatest (and shortest) sermons you have ever heard, and thousands join the Christian Church.

And it didn’t stop there.

If you can carve out a few hours over the course of this next week, read the Book of Acts.

You will be encouraged, surprised, and maybe even a bit confused. But one thing will ring true as you read: despite many obstacles, conflicts, twists, turns, and dead ends, God was at work in the world in a powerful way through his Church.

God was establishing a new way forward for humanity.

God’s people were given the Holy Spirit, not just to comfort them in Jesus’ absence, but also to teach them to have right judgment in all things. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, God’s goals can become our goals.

When God saw the Tower of Babel and all that it represented, he knew something had to happen.

This is only the beginning of what they will do;

But now that God’s Spirit lives within his faithful people, the same can be said of the Church.

and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”

The rise of the Christian faith was improbable, to say the least. As sociologist Rodney Stark once framed the question:

How did a tiny and obscure messianic movement from the edge of the Roman Empire dislodge classical paganism and become the dominant faith of Western civilization?

The Christian Church grew from 1000 members in the year 40—.0017% of the population of the Roman Empire—to over 33 million by the year 350. That represents over 56% of the population of the Roman Empire at the time.

But it was not just the impressive numerical growth that points to the power of God at work through the Christian Church to accomplish the impossible.

Deeply rooted practices of the Roman world were challenged head-on by the growing Christian community. The widespread and legal trade of young girls and boys for sex, the killing of unwanted infants, the dehumanizing of slaves, and the worship of the Emperor are just a handful of cultural norms against which Christianity demanded a different path.

These earliest Christians were not seeking ways to be counter-cultural. They were not interested in leading revolutions. They were simply living a life in submission to the God who made them, regardless of how backwards, how different they seemed to the world around them. And as a result of their faithfulness, many of these institutions and practices began to crumble.

The world has its own agenda. Its own temptation to view this life as ours to do with as we please. There are countless opportunities to build towers to make a name for ourselves. And with the help of technology, we might just succeed.

But God has sent his Spirit into the hearts of his people. And when God teaches his people to have right judgement in all things, to direct and rule them according to His will, their very lives will challenge some of the towers being built around them.

And all of this begins, for us, in our Baptism. If you have been Baptized, let the Feast of Pentecost renew in you a commitment to living in the power of the Holy Spirit. If you have not, the invitation stands for you just as it stood for those who were there on the Day of Pentecost.

God is at work in the world, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, you are invited to join Him.

This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.