From Mud to Light – the Saving Work of Christ

Man is mud whom God has commanded to become god. – St. Gregory of Nyssa +++ How do you create a God? How do you create a being that has true freedom, true love and thus, true existence? This is obviously not an entirely rational question – but it is a serious question for Christian thought. … Read More ›

A Life of Thanksgiving

Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation. Fr. Alexander Schmemann   I have just completed a week in New Mexico, visiting a monastery and leading a retreat in Santa Fe. One of the retreat participants reminded me of this post on giving thanks and shared how helpful it had been for her. We are … Read More ›

In the Desert – A Time of Silence

I am in New Mexico for the remainder of the week and into early next week. I will be staying at a monastery and also speaking at a parish retreat. All said, it will be a fairly quiet week for me, often without internet. That said, my monitoring of comments and conversation will be quite … Read More ›

Empty Ritual

For the first two decades of my life I thought that “empty” always had to be said in front of the word “ritual.” It speaks volumes about a certain understanding of the world in which we live and the nature of its relationship to God. Time and experience have given me a radically different take … Read More ›

The Final Destruction of Demons

Final is not a word you often hear in Christian teaching. Most Christians leave the final things until, well, the End. But this is not the language of the fathers nor of the Church. A good illustration can be found in the Orthodox service of Holy Baptism. During the blessing of the waters the priest … Read More ›

The Restless Christian

Fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te. Thou hast made us for thyself and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. Augustine’s Confessions, 1.1 St. Augustine speaks of a restlessness within the human heart – an apparently timeless hunger of the soul. The story of … Read More ›

Church Scandals Must Come

Scandals must come (Matt. 18:7). These are the words of Christ. He tells us that scandals are not only likely to happen – but that they will happen. They are necessary (ἀνάγκη). Most readers will marvel that this is a quote from Jesus. The reason is simple: the Greek (ἀνάγκη γάρ ἐστιν ἐλθεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα) is … Read More ›

Where Orthodoxy Stands

Many of the postmodern challenges to the modern perspective are questions about the character and nature of knowledge. A particular focus has been on the concept of objectivity. When we view something objectively, we think of ourselves as standing outside the thing being observed. We are able to “walk around” it and examine it from … Read More ›

How the Church Reads the Church

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2 Cor. 3:2-3) The … Read More ›

History, Post-Modernism, and Orthodoxy

A first glance – history would seem to be straightforward. As one wag put it, “It’s just one darned thing after another.” But history is, oddly, a rather modern thing. Histories have been written for a very long time. Pharaohs described their exploits and had them carved on stone steles. Herodotus recorded the Persian Wars. … Read More ›

Orthodoxy: Ancient Orthodoxy and the Postmodern World

When does the modern world begin – and what makes it modern? When I was a child in the 50’s, “modern” meant the world of home appliances and chrome-laden automobiles. The modern world beckoned us to a future with personal helicopters and visi-phones. Today the visi-phones are everywhere (and do things we never imagined). I’m … Read More ›