The Secret Hand of God

Now Moses built an altar and called its name The-Lord-My-Refuge; for with a secret hand the Lord wars with Amalek from generation to generation  (Exodus 17:16 LXX). After a number of decades as a Christian pastor, I am convinced that most of what God does in our lives and in our world remains hidden. I … Read More ›

Beyond a Purpose-Driven Life

Americans are known to be “practical” people. Historically, our culture has seen problems, defined them, set goals and achieved results. Though the mechanics of this simple approach seem to have broken down over time, it is still a habit of thought. We like to plan. Businesses have retreats to develop goals and establish a vision. … Read More ›

Get Out of Your Mind!

I am not certain at what point modern Christians began to believe that “spiritual” and “mental” were the same thing. I know that it is a commonplace to interpret John 4:24 (“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”) to mean that outward actions and locations are of no … Read More ›

The Death of God and the Transfiguration of Man

Among the most lucid Orthodox thinkers in the contemporary world is Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. I recently listened to him for several days during a conference in Florida. He has a new book coming out this fall in which he takes his readers to the place of death – the death … Read More ›

No Wedding Vows

Few things differ more clearly between Eastern and Western Christianity than the service of Holy Matrimony. There are things found in Western Christian Marriage ceremonies that cannot be found in the East just as there are things in the East that cannot be found in the West. In many languages of the Eastern Churches, the … Read More ›

Back to the Future

History is tyranny. A seemingly inescapable part of human life is its history (and the baggage it brings with it). So much that shapes our identity: language, culture, economics, health, personality (and the list goes on), are largely products of history. As such, all of these things are outside of our control, not a part … Read More ›

My Daughter’s Blog

Yesterday I wrote on “My Daddy’s Demon.” It’s refreshing to title this short note, “My Daughter’s Blog.” Readers will have seen the guest post my daughter, Matushka Mary Holste wrote a month or more back. Today I’m posting a link to a new article on her blog – a very good read for any who … Read More ›

My Daddy’s Demon

I hesitated before I wrote “My Daddy’s Demon,” as a title for this article – I mean no disrespect for my father. But it is a reference to my own life, for as I’ve grown older, I discover that the things I wrestle with are not very different than those with which my father wrestled. … Read More ›

Are We Connected?

How connected are we? Do your actions, thoughts, feelings, have an effect on me even if I am unaware (or on the other side of the world)? Is my existence bound within the existence of other human beings, or are we simply sharing the same planet for a period of time? Connections between people, particularly … Read More ›

Reading the Real Bible and Notes on the Real Hell

This post began as a comment – a response to serious questions about the nature of hell (Is Hell Real?) and recent treatments of Scriptural literalism. I offer this edited version as a new post for the sake of those who don’t follow comments closely… Dear Reader, I want to state immediately that you should … Read More ›

Is Hell Real?

Because sometimes the people of God need a basic lesson in the nature of existence… On one of the roads leading into my small city a billboard has recently appeared. It is part of a larger campaign by a nationally known evangelist who is to have a revival in Knoxville. The sign is simple. In … Read More ›