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 →

How the Scriptures Became the Scriptures

How did the Scriptures become the Scriptures? In particular, how did early Christians decide which books would be included in the Scriptures and which books would not – for there were far more writings of the time that were set aside than those that were accepted as being Scripture? Interestingly, the process did not happen … Read More →

Passionately Drunk

The Philokalia, that wonderful collection of writings by the fathers on prayer of the heart, has as its full title, The Philokalia of the Neptic Saints gathered from our Holy Theophoric Fathers, through which, by means of the philosophy of ascetic practice and contemplation, the intellect is purified, illumined, and made perfect. Little wonder it is … Read More →

Notes from the Underground

I have recently been reading in a classic work, Nicholas Berdyaev’s Dostoevsky. Berdyaev was a twentieth-century Russian philosopher (existentialist) and deeply sympathetic to Dostoevsky’s works. I find some of his treatment to be tremendously satisfying and “on the mark.” I offer an extended quote and some thoughts… Berdyaev quotes from Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground: … Read More →

Hiding and the Hidden God

I have written a number of times about the “hiddenness” of God. It is a very important aspect of how He makes Himself known (though I know that is a paradox). His hiddenness both protects our freedom and removes compulsion from our relationship with God. There can be no compulsion where there is love. I … Read More →