Suicide as “Death with Dignity”: The Power in Suffering at the End of Life

I recently came across this article, which tells the story of a 29-year-old young woman who has decided to end her life by her own hand rather than letting an aggressive brain tumor (the same kind that took my mother’s life) do its work. It’s suicide, but a lot of people in the Facebook comment thread where I encountered the article did not seem…

Unifying the Orthodox Church in America

I’ve got a new piece published today at First Things, where I discuss the problems and solutions of Orthodox Christian unity in America. Here’s an excerpt: Are you Greek?” This is the question I get asked the most when I tell someone that I am an Orthodox Christian. At first, this question rankled, because I am not Greek. (I am, among other things, Lithuanian.)…

“We speak one language: Antiochian”: More Thoughts on the Future of the Antiochian Archdiocese and Orthodoxy in America

If you’ve done any reading from modern Orthodox saints, you know that there is a certain tone among the holy elders of Greece, another from Russia and so forth. Each culture enculturates the Gospel in its own authentic way and speaks of the truth of Jesus Christ with its own voice. One of the things which makes the particular Antiochian voice distinct—although it is…

Raising Authentically Christian Children: Good News and Bad News

My friend Seraphim Danckaert published an article today on the O&H site that I think every Christian (Orthodox or not) should read: Losing our Religion: On “Retaining” Young People in the Orthodox Church. Why? Almost every kind of church throughout America is losing kids. So read it first before reading the rest of this. Okay, done? First, some bad news: If you’re counting on…

Ten (Possibly) Surprising Facts about Fred Phelps

Besides being a heretical hate-monger who pushed the envelope of the definition of constitutionally protected speech, Fred Phelps, the late leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, had a number of perhaps surprising facets to his life. Here are ten of them, all culled from the Wikipedia article dedicated to him. 1. In the ’60s and ’70s, Phelps was a notable civil rights lawyer in…

Thoughts from just south of Dunder Mifflin

I watched the series finale of “The Office” (US) last night (yes, after watching the entire series). And I have to admit that I got a little sentimental at all the Jim/Pam stuff of the last few episodes. I very much appreciated that, during the course of their marriage, the writers gave them some real problems and that Pam even says in the final…