When I opened the Amazon app on my phone recently, I ran
across this headline: “All you need to get holiday ready.”
Reading over that statement, my mind immediately moves to
the food, the gifts, the decorations, the home prep. And of course, Amazon has
asserted itself as a provider of all these things. I have benefited from
Amazon’s fast delivery system. I’m a Prime user. And I even have an affiliate
account set up with Amazon, linking to their website from this blog, which is a
good place to point readers to for a resource I discuss here (even as it can potentially
provide some affiliate fees for me). So the benefits of Amazon are not lost on
I do worry about its size and increasing power. And part of
the reason is that its philosophy of life conflicts with that given us by
Christ. In the Age of Amazon, we are hard pressed to escape the philosophy it
offers us—a world in which we can have so much at our fingertips, from
entertainment to unending possessions. And in this we are to find happiness (at
least, most of the people I see on Amazon’s website look happy).
And that brings me back to the holiday headline. Something
subtle lurks in this statement. “Holiday ready” for Amazon revolves around the
material world: I can be holiday ready if I buy enough material items.
Fourth-century Christianity is perhaps best remembered for the Trinitarian controversies that flared with the rise of Arius early on and continued until the Council of Constantinople in 381. In the East, some of the key figures involved in that controversy were the Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa. Lesser known is the life of Saint Macrina (ca. 327–379), the eldest sister of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, yet her faith influenced her brothers in profound ways. And her brother Gregory memorialized her in an account of her life, The Life of Saint Macrina, which offers readers today a portrait of female piety in the early church.
We’re two historians and graduates of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School who are interested in Christianity, theology, and history. We embrace an evangelical identity and value scholarly endeavors to deepen our understanding of the world in which we live.
In this blog, we hope to reflect aloud on the Christian past to help others think clearly about those who have preceded us and how they have shaped our world today. We believe that engaging the past offers beneficial perspective for the present and the future.
We invite you to join us in exploring church history.
~ David P. Barshinger and Hoon J. Lee