Becoming Personal

“Person” is among the most difficult words in the classical Christian vocabulary. It is difficult on the one hand because the word has a common meaning in modern parlance that is not the same meaning as its classical one. And it is difficult on the other hand even when all of its later meanings and associations … Read More →

Why the Orthodox Honor Mary

The most difficult part of my Orthodox experience to discuss with the non-Orthodox is the place and role of the Mother of God in the Church and in my life. It is, on the one hand, deeply theological and even essential to a right understanding of the Orthodox faith, while, on the other hand, being … Read More →

Begotten of the Father

No revelation is more central to the Christian faith than God as Father. Some might immediately respond that the Trinity should be seen as the central revelation. But, in Orthodox understanding, the Trinity has its source (πηγή) in the Father.  We should understand this not only as a matter of Trinitarian thought, but as the … Read More →

No One Is Saved Alone

“If anyone falls, he falls alone. But no one is saved alone.” – Alexei Khomiakov Roughly 25 years ago I quit smoking. I never think about it now – it has become a thing of the distant past. But I can remember a period of about 10 years in which I struggled to quit. I would … Read More →

Rational Sheep and the Word of God

I’m in a bit of a hiatus point in my summer. I am traveling and working, and even a little distracted. I will be posting a selection of articles reflecting on the nature of our humanity (in keeping with recent articles). For the doctrine of what it means to be human (anthropology) is as central … Read More →

The Voice of the Natural Will

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co 3:17) Though many speak of the “free will” of human beings, this is largely a misnomer, or misapplication of the phrase. The choosing that we experience is not the same thing as the will. It is the … Read More →

Male and Female at the Cross – Part Three

In my last article, I reflected on the hiddenness of our identity, including the meaning of being male or female. Our true life is hid with Christ in God. There is more to be said on this hiddenness and its relationship to the image according to which we were created. In the Genesis account, when … Read More →

Male and Female – Part Two

The truth of our existence is largely hidden. Much of what we do know is fleeting, restricted to the surface of our lives and subject to constant revision. Both St. Paul and St. John reflect this reality in their writings: Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and … Read More →

Male and Female Created He Them – Part One

Please note that I have made some changes in this article, in listening to comments and observations. Despite all social discussion to the contrary, the most irreducible level of our human existence is binary – we exist as male or female. This intuition, stated in the story of creation, has a profound place within the Christian gospel. … Read More →

Through the Prayers of Our Holy Fathers

It is a phrase that is heard frequently in Orthodox services: “Through the prayers of our holy fathers, have mercy on us and save us!” The meaning of that phrase is enlarged and enlightened in the writings of the Elder Sophrony. The following excerpt is from his book, St. Silouan the Athonite. Prayer for the … Read More →

Have You Lost Your Soul?

When was the last time you heard someone express concern for their soul? When was the last time you listened earnestly as a friend lamented a psychological or emotional struggle? The reason for the difference is simple: we have become a “soul-less” psychologized society. The classical concern for the soul has been replaced by an overwhelming … Read More →