Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On the Act of Rejoicing

I was recently asked to give the "Stewardship Minute" on rejoicing at the conclusion of my church's stewardship campaign.

Click here to listen to the audio.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

God Himself Violated the Law

I am re-posting the following, which I wrote last week on the Marriage Revolution blog. I'm hoping for some discussion! Please comment.

While reading through some of the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy recently I came across the passage below:
Deut 22:23 If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, 24 you shall bring them both out to the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.
I wasn't hunting for marriage related laws, this one just happened to jump out at me. Why did it grab my attention? Because according to this passage, God Himself violated the law.

Luke chapter 1 describes the occurrence.

Mary the mother of Jesus was in a city; the town of Nazareth. She was betrothed to Joseph. The Holy Spirit came upon her, overshadowed her, and planted a child in her womb. She did not cry out for help because she didn't want or need it. Joseph initially believed himself to have been wronged and planned to divorce her.

All of these facts line up to show a clear violation of the law laid out in Deuteronomy 22.

At the very moment the New Covenant was initiated, God Himself broke an Old Covenant law related to marriage. Perhaps it was a sign of it's passing, a shattering of a clay tablet inscribed by a Pharisee.

The Spirit must have whispered to Mary "Don't think about what you've been taught. Simply love Me with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Mary responded by opening to His request, despite knowing that she could be stoned.

I'm still pondering what this could mean. I don't have an answer. But since God Himself begins the very life of Christ through a violation of marital law, it certainly points out that the Biblical "view" of marriage is far from straight forward.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Initial Thoughts on Providing a Transformational Experience

I attended a Worship Committee meeting at church recently, and have been pondering ever since. One of the foundational questions had to do with whether we are providing a "transformational experience" to the congregation. The conversation led to a discussion of transcendence versus immanence.

I started thinking about particular aspects of what church looked like at various times in history.

In the very early church, God's immanence was a new thing. Emmanuel, "God with us", was a shiny new concept. Worship of Him became intimate; people met in homes, often in secret. They gathered to break bread together, and to honor the teachings of Jesus Christ within their Hebraic framework. He'd been there recently and they expected Him to return any day. The families of people who had been healed by his touch still lived to tell the tale. Traditions were actively forming as disciples passed on tales of how he looked and sounded. His closeness was still tangible.

His immanence was celebrated.

With time, the immediate memories faded. Christianity developed into it's own entity, separate from Judaism. Standalone churches formed. Cathedrals were built. Centuries eventually passed, and as they did, Church seems to have returned to a place for honoring the transcendence of God. Going there was an escape from the mundane. Instead of the low ceilings and cramped spaces of their dwellings, people when to stand within vaulted arches and open air. Instead of the smells of dampness, sweat, and animal droppings, people breathed incense. They went to church to see artwork and hear music, things they otherwise had no access to. Their souls responded to sung liturgies even though they didn't understand the language itself.

Church gave people a way out. They wanted otherness. They reached for a transcendent God who provided escape for them each Holy day.

Now fast forward to today. For most Americans, we no longer flee lives of squalor and drear in search of sensory stimulation. We are surrounded by it. We switch on lights or climb in the car to escape. We turn on music or television and find majestic views and entertainment of all kinds. Our babies no longer die in droves; when sickness falls we have hope of recovery. For the most part, the struggling of our poor in America is nothing compared to the poverty of the past.

Christian worship in recent centuries seems to have responded to that by shifting back toward immanence. Worship reflects a theology centering around having a personal relationship with Christ. You can observe this even within liturgical denominations.

So what does this mean for us as a community of faith today? 

More thoughts to come...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Only When the Innermost Heart of Man is Opened...

Hans Urs von Balthasar on chastity, from the book Elucidations:

Christian sexual ethics is best advised to keep to the quite simple outline of the New Testament. For this is as unchangeable as the nature of divine love which is become flesh in Christ. This is unalterable because a “greater love” than the one shown to men in Christ is not conceivable, not in any phase of our evolving world. So long as the Christian’s heart and mind are spellbound by this humble and totally selfless love, he has in his possession the best possible compass for finding his way in the fog of sexual matters. With the image of this love before him he will not be able to maintain that the ideal of self-giving—of true self-giving, not of throwing oneself in front of people—is unrealistic in our world and impracticable. It demands a very great deal: namely, to subordinate everything to the love which does not seek its own; but it gives a great deal more: namely, the only true happiness. One can use sex, like drugs and alcohol, to maneuver oneself into a state of excited, illusory happiness, but one is merely transporting oneself into momentary states which do not alter one’s nature or one’s heart. The states fade and disappear, and the heart finds itself emptier and more loveless than before. It is only when the innermost heart of man is opened that the sun of love can penetrate into it. “Fili, praebe mihi cor tuum, Son, give me your heart” (Prov 23:26).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hallelujah... How have I missed it?

I've heard this song a hundred times but never actually listened to the lyrics.

Turns out they are right up my alley.


I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Marriage Revolution

Marriages are imploding all around me. In some cases I could see it coming for years ahead of time. In a few cases, it has been a surprise.

Simultaneously, the airways are filled with chatter and clamor about gay marriage. As a result, I've come to a conclusion.

I want to start a marriage revolution.

The revolution would focus on three essential tenets:
  1. Choosing the right person.
  2. For the right reason.
  3. At the right time.
How much better off would our nation be as a whole, and each of our families individually, if we truly focused on these three things?

What if we started training our children from toddlerhood right up until they are launched?

What if our high schools offered classes in relationship preparedness instead of "sex education"?

What if our churches helped people understand God's plan for spousal union from the pulpit and through formation classes, rather than in a few counseling sessions before the marriage service takes place?

It seems so simple.

Tell me; am I missing something?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sex, Premarital or Otherwise

I've been thinking about premarital sex.

A friend recently confessed that she has been struggling with the idea of it's sinfulness. She's been beating up on herself for a number of things, for quite a while. I'm worried that if she remains in her current circle of Christian thought, she could give up on the idea of Christianity completely. Or at least put it on hold. After all, how much self condemnation can a tender heart take before retreating?

And that would hurt the also tender heart of The One who loves her above all else.

Hear me friend: it's not what He wants.

I'm not going into a sermon on how the blood of Jesus washes all our sins away, past, present and future. Though that is true. I'm also not going to talk about how God judges our actions based on the condition of our hearts, and has sympathy for all of their aches and motives. Though that is also true.

Instead, I'm going to take on this one point: the "sinfulness" of premarital sex. (Desire is, after all, the focus of this blog.)

Here's my theory: I don't think that marriage is really at the heart of the issue. Don't get me wrong; I'm a big believer in the value and importance of sacraments. But our designer and creator does not desire that a document simply be issued by a priest or a justice of the peace, as a sort of sexual learner's permit. His will is not that you simply fill out the right paperwork and say the right responses at the proper time, then whoopee! On with the whoopee!

He wants instead for us to recognize the centrality of the act to our design. He wants us to engage in the fullness of our sexuality. And the fullness of anything can only take place and be complete in the context of love. Real love, which always has it's root in Him who is love.

All of us can look around and see countless marriages in which this is not the case. Which is terribly, terribly sad.

He wants to be in the act with us, to be the third strand in an eternal chord. He wants us to understand that our sexuality is one of the ways we are most sacred. It allows us to participate with Him in creating new life and new souls. He wants us to be one as the persons of the Trinity are one, and here on earth, sexual union in a sacred context brings us as close to that union as we can temporally achieve.

Peter Kreeft tells us that there will not be sex in heaven, because it won't be necessary. It will be superfluous. Our union then will be complete and whole. Full. Until then our unions will all be partial. But the sexual union, in the context of a sacred oneness with the other and with God Himself, is the closest we can get here and now.

Is some premarital sex sinful? I'm guessing yes. Are other cases of sex before marriage unitive in the sacred way that He intends sexuality to be? Undoubtedly.

So my advice to you, my sweet friend, is to stop worrying about sin, and start praying for the person who can enter into sexuality with our Lord as the third strand. Someone who will pray with you before, during, and after the acts of love take place.

Set your heart on achieving the fullness of what God has in store for you.

And above all, remember that He loves you, and there ain't nothin you can do about it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Risk by Anaïs Nin


And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.

--Anaïs Nin

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Since He hath looked upon me...

Since He hath looked upon me my heart is not my own. He hath run away to heaven with it.

-- Samuel Rutherford

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Unvarying Splendor of John 1:1

And the Word WAS God.

Koine Greek Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος

Greek Transliteration En archē ēn ho Lógos, kai ho Lógos ēn pros ton Theón, kai Theós ēn ho Lógos.

Latin Vulgate In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum.

New International Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Living TranslationIn the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Jerusalem Version In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.

English Standard Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New American Standard Bible In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New King James Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

International Standard Version In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English In the origin The Word had been existing and That Word had been existing with God and That Word was himself God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

King James 2000 Bible In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

American King James VersionIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

American Standard VersionIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Douay-Rheims BibleIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Darby Bible TranslationIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

English Revised VersionIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Revised Standard Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Webster's Bible TranslationIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Weymouth New TestamentIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

World English BibleIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Young's Literal TranslationIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From My Temple to Yours

I've been wondering about being the temple of the Holy Spirit.

It's been a topic of interest for a long time, coming at me from all sorts of perspectives. I contemplate what it means in relation to healing prayer for others, what it means on a molecular level, what it means about Mary, what it means about the two becoming one...

So many questions.

Lately, I've been trying to figure out if there was a point scripturally which indicates a shift. Perhaps at Pentecost, perhaps elsewhere. But a point before which we were not temples, and afterward when we are.

If you can offer any suggestions for research or reference, I would appreciate it. Along with your own thoughts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Open Both Hands to Receive My Blessing...

I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying, and complaining about intolerance lately, as can be seen by recent posts.

My heart hurts for all the souls to which investigation of Christ's mysteries is closed, the door of the mind slammed shut, locked, and barred.

During these weeks I have tried to be His hand, knocking.

I'm sure I go about it the wrong way much of the time. But our God is such a lover that He rewards even the fumbled attempts. Here's how He rewarded me yesterday.

DiDi and I went to mass at the local Episcopal church, where the Holy Spirit is tangible, the music excellent, the preaching very good, and community and outreach are a central focus. (In other words, all of the things we've had a hard time finding in the nearby Catholic churches.) A time for healing prayer was offered before the Eucharist, with several pray-ers positioned near the altar. Neither of us felt led to go forward and request prayer, and so we sat in the pew, listening to the music and praying. As the time drew to an end, I started feeling the urge to ask Diane to go up and ask for prayer for her knee, not for her sake, but for the sake of the ministry. I told her it was not a burning need, but that I knew I should pass it along.

The healing ministry concluded and the service moved on. DiDi leaned over to thank me for telling her, and said to open my hands; that I would be blessed for my obedience in delivering the message. (He also convicted her about speaking to the minister afterward, which she did. But that is DiDi's story to tell.)

As the service continued, I prayed that my heart would be opened to anything our Lord wanted to give me.

We stayed for coffee hour, and chatted with a few people before beginning a conversation with one of the priests. Rev. Ollie is an easy conversationalist with a wide breadth of knowledge and a gift of encouragement. We mentioned our frustration with the level of fear that manifested when discussing issues faith from a catholic perspective. We described how the fear and discomfort reached a pinnacle when the topic was Mary.

Rev. Ollie's eyebrows shot up, and for a moment he looked like a young boy with a secret he couldn't wait to share. His eyes sparkled as he revealed it. Just that week they'd received a phone call from someone  trying to find a church to adopt a statue of Mary. None of the Roman Catholic parishes had accepted the offer, and so this church said yes. They took her in as an act of mercy, but had no idea what they were going to do with her. They aren't a church that really "does" Mary images.

He led us to a side room where she sat on a wide window ledge; a painted plaster statue about two feet in height.

And then Rev. Ollie said "Would you like her?"

I had to pick her up with two hands, and carry her in both arms. She is a bit heavy.

Mary now sits in the living room, waiting for a gentle cleaning. She is not the first Mary image in this home. From where I sit typing I can see five. (I'm a bit of a collector.) But she is the largest. And she is the first which I needed to open both hands to receive.

Sometimes His affirmations are soft and subtle, requiring you to lean in with heart and mind in order to recognize them. And sometimes they are so obvious that they need their own seat belt.

Thank you Lord, for your Mother, and for your love of those who seek to honor her. I receive her with open arms.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Holy Bible as Graven Image?

I have been puzzling something for the last few days, and my puzzler is nearly sore.

I'm interested in what you, faithful reader, thinks. Here's the question.

Is it possible for the Holy Bible to become an idol?

Recent interactions have made me realize that some people appear to equate the book with God Himself. As if the two are one.

But the two are NOT one. They aren't the same thing.

Jesus left us a church. The church eventually pulled together Jewish scriptures, gospel documents describing His life, and letters describing how to run that church. The church decided what documents were inspired and which were not. The church cooperated with the Spirit to develop the Bible, then published it, protected it, and promulgated it.

Jesus tells us that we are members of His body, the church. He says His body is the church.

Nowhere does it say that He is the Bible. It is an unbiblical premise. He is THE word, and the Bible is His inspired word. But those two are not the same things.

They disturb me, these recent conversations; the gesturing toward the Bible when speaking about God Himself. The comments about feeling hunger and longing, and finally realizing that what was hungered for was God's word.

The speaker was hungry for God. She explored who God is through the Bible, and that exploration of Him appeased the hunger.

The book didn't, He did.

The two are not the same.

We should not worship the Bible, nor any other graven image. And I think that in some cases, this is exactly what is happening.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mother of Whom?

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa 7:14) 
Immanuel. God with us.

I asked the question, and the question was asked back to me: Is Mary the mother of God?

It is an enigma shrouded in mystery. It leads to confusion on multiple parts of the brain.

There is the chicken and egg problem. How could someone be the mother of the person who created her?

There is the time and space problem. How could the infinite be "born" of the finite?

There are multiple theological problems. How could the holiness of God be present within the confines of a sinful nature? How could a mere human presume to claim such an important role over God Himself?

It boggles our human brains, brains which have been honed and refined by the Enlightenment. Our reason has been sharpened to such a fine blade that mystery is sliced into unrecognizable shreds and the truths it contains thrown out as rubbish.

So fine a blade that we even reject our own Enlightened modes of thinking, for example that if A=B and B=C then A=C.

When boggled and muddled with mystery, our minds go into a tailspin focused on rejecting the question altogether so as to simply make the confusion go away.

I get this. But it makes me sad.

Luke fades to black prior to Mary's being overshadowed by God. She was the only human witness to that event, and apparently didn't believe it was a matter for public consumption when she passed the event along for the record book. And so He trusts us to contemplate the moment, the method, the union.

The theme of marital union with Him is stressed from Genesis through Revelation. He gives us scriptural example after example of His view of what His bride must be like. Pure. Spotless. Reverent. Holy. He speaks to us about how the two become one when they consummate the marriage covenant. He promises us that we become one with the Body of Christ. John speaks to us of the marriage feast we will celebrate when the final trumpet calls.

Marriage, marriage, marriage.


Behold, a virgin shall conceive. In her body. When she is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

Gabriel, the friend of the Bridegroom comes to tell her He is on His way. And then, fade to black.

But here's what I envision, as I use the vehicle of imagining that the Father provided for this purpose.

Gabriel leaves. The Holy Spirit descends, overshadows her, wraps her in His wings. He steps into time and space and sweeps her into the scenes of the Song of Songs.

1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth
— for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
 your name is like perfume poured out.
 No wonder the young women love you!
 4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
 Let the king bring me into his chambers.

 2:14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
 in the hiding places on the mountainside,
 show me your face, let me hear your voice;
 for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.

16 My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee,
 turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.

4:1 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!
 Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
 Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.
 2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.
 Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.
 3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely.
 Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.
 4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built with courses of stone
 on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors.
 5 Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.
 6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee,
 I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.
 7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
 8 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon.
 Descend from the crest of Amana,
 from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
 from the lions’ dens and the mountain haunts of leopards. 
9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
 you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes,
 with one jewel of your necklace.
 10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
 How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
 and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice!
 11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
 milk and honey are under your tongue.
 The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
 12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
 you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
 13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard,
 14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
 with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices.
 15 You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.

She is His bride, as we will be some day. She is the first of the brides to come. She becomes one with Him, and conceives.

As a result of this union, this overshadowing, this indwelling, she conceives.

And the who of this conception is the Word. Immanuel. God with us.

Mary, mother of Immanuel. Mary, mother of God with us.

Mary, mother of God.

I Think People Want a Third Option

Last night I posted the following yes/no question on Facebook, asking my Christian friends to respond:

Is Mary the mother of God?

I asked for comments if the answer was "No." I got some responses but not enough, so I'm reposting it as a status, and plan to ask on a variety of Christian FB pages to get more. I think the comments would contribute to an interesting article, or book, or something.

One of my friends asked what -I- thought.

I'll answer that question in my next post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just Theotokos

"She was just a vessel!"

That's what a friend told me yesterday when we met to talk about the study she leads on women of the Bible.

She burst out with it after proclaiming a bunch of misconceptions about Catholic views, eyes on fire as if a procession of indulgence-peddling papists was hot on her heels.

She said that Catholics elevate Mary above Jesus. That they worship dead people. That they removed idolatry from the ten commandments in the "Catholic Bible".

The accusations flew so fast that it was hard to keep up, and her fear and discomfort were so intense that it was hard to know what to focus on. I didn't know if I should keep responding to each preposterous claim with facts, or work on helping her deal with her emotion.

So I tried to do both.

As it turned out, she denied having the emotions that I watched play out. And this wasn't the first time they'd been displayed.

In thinking about it now, I realize that our conversations must be disturbing. It must be threatening to consider that the things you've been taught for years and years and which you accepted as truth turn out to perhaps not be. When that question enters, the what if, it could shake foundations and send you scurrying for emotional, intellectual, and spiritual cover.

I suppose that if you learned these falsehoods from people that you revered and trusted and loved, from people who mentored you and maybe even brought you to Christ, it could bring up emotions that you just might not want to deal with.

I am praying for her. Praying that she not be afraid. Praying that she open herself to whatever God wants to reveal to her, and that He protect her from anything that is not of Him.

And I pray that this woman, a mother herself, will never again say that any mother is "just a vessel".

Especially not the mother of God.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wishing You A Blessed Epiphany

Given that today is Epiphany, Three Kings Day, I came across the beautiful image below, from the mid 1400s.

I also added the picture to the gallery of St. Joseph posted here: St. Joseph Art.

Wishing you the joy the magi experienced in their hearts as they discovered Him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Angelic Imagination

I wonder if angels and demons have imaginations.

Does He allow them to participate in the ongoing creation process in a way that requires imagination, as He allows us? Or are imaginations like bodies; restricted to those of us formed in His image?

Angelic beings are rational, and I wonder if imagination is required for independent reasoning. Can reason exist without the capability for envisioning outcomes?

Aquinas and Descartes didn't think so, but I'm not sure why.

I need to think about this more...