High School Football and Orthodox Christian Asceticism

            Where I live in West Texas, there is no shortage of asceticism, especially during the terribly hot month of August.  That’s when high school football players and band members spend several hours each day practicing in the blazing sun.  Members of the tennis team, cheerleaders, and other athletes do the same.  They want to become better at what they do, so they accept a good measure of discomfort without much complaint…

Christ’s Compassion and Integrity: Orthodox Homily on the Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 Luke 7:11-16             No one likes a hypocrite, someone who says one thing and does another.  As Christians, we must be very careful not to condemn ourselves and scandalize others by not living out what we teach to be true.   Instead, we must be people of integrity who live out our beliefs every day in what we say and do.             Jesus Christ is…

Be All That You Can Be: Character Development in Eastern Orthodox Christianity

            I was asked recently if it is still possible to raise children with character in our culture.  The person who asked wondered because many societal institutions—including many churches—seem to excuse all kinds of behavior because it is much easier and more popular just to pat people on the back than to call them to be all that they can be.  Okay, that sounds too much like those old Army recruiting ads. …

Baptism and Mercy: Homily for the 17th Sunday After Pentecost in the Orthodox Church

2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1St. Luke 6:31-36             We have witnessed today the mystery of our salvation as Lisa, Zach, and Isaac have put on Christ in baptism; they and Ed have been filled with the Holy Spirit in chrismation and are now fully integrated into the life of Christ’s Body, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.  They have renounced Satan and all the corruptions of evil in response to St. Paul’s admonition: …

Frustrated Fishermen and Barren Old Couples: Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Conception of the Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist in the Orthodox Church

Epistle to the Galatians 4:22-27The Gospel According to St. Luke 5:1-11                          Probably everyone who has a job or is in school has felt at some point like the disciples did when Jesus Christ found them washing their nets.  They had fished all night and caught nothing.  Things hadn’t turned out as they had hoped, and they were disappointed and frustrated to the point of giving…