God Has All of Us in Mind

  I have recently returned from a seven-week pilgrimage, walking the traditional Camino Francés across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. I was part of a host of pilgrims that this year will number several hundreds of thousands. As we peregrinos passed through villages and...
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Appendix A: Why Have Children?

The point of having children is to increase the number of the saints. In the 1979 Prayer Book—which in this regard sets forth a more traditional exposition than its U.S. predecessors—children are one of the three intentions God has for marriage. “The union of husband and wife . ....
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The Optimism of Adam

When ashes are imposed at the beginning of Lent various words are spoken, but the traditional ones are “Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” These reach back to the first human being, the Adam, into whom God breathed life after forming him from...
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The Eighth Child

A family I am friendly with recently brought home their eighth child. A day or two later, as we sat around their dining room table, I wanted to find out what the other children were thinking of their new brother. “His ears are tiny!” “And his nose.” “He’s got pink skin. It’s...
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technician working on cancer research

IVF Extras

She was telling me about her friend, a married woman who, having found it impossible to conceive a child, had turned to IVF. Two embryos were implanted in her womb, but as they were developing problems arose, resulting in a highly dangerous pregnancy from which she could have...
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Prayers of the Faithful

In many contemporary churches, the liturgy of the Eucharist includes a time of intercession for the church and the world. Called by various names, including “Prayers of the Faithful” and “Prayers of the People,” these intercessions are the portion of the liturgy most likely to...
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sonogram in hands

Mental Pictures Catching Up with Our Minds

  “Our little guy is now the size of my thumbnail.” This fellow was telling me how his wife was doing during her pregnancy. They had recently visited their obstetrician and, as is customary these days, had seen their growing child via sonogram. I was struck by the change...
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IVF injection

The Trinity and Babies

  Classic Christian trinitarian doctrine is expressed by analogy with a distinction drawn from common human experience. Here’s the distinction: There are many things that people make—physical items (houses, say) as well as intellectual ones (musical compositions). And then...
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Good Friday and Jesus’ Conception

  You may have heard it said—even in a sermon, which should be free of such speculation—that Christians chose December 25 to celebrate Jesus’ birth because that was the day the Romans held a festival celebrating the sun god. The idea, oft proclaimed, is that Christianity...
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On Twinning

I. Twinning and Abortion I consider abortion wrong because it is, I judge, the taking of a human life. Like any other taking of a human life, it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong always, but there should be a strong presumption against it.1 Why does it seem to me that abortion is the...
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