Christmas Season and the Pandemic of Loneliness pt 2

We continue from part 1… The Church as a Third Place? I often while reading older books or watching movies or shows about an older age pine for the spaces where people used to gather. My ideal space would be a nice wood panelled pub with absolutely no televisions or piped in music. How is this impossible to find here in the USA?! I remember when coffee shops used to actually be places of conviviality, now they exist as internet cafes, everyone with everyone else but staring at…

Christmas Season and the Pandemic of Loneliness pt. 1

A quick google search will yield endless entries of various websites and blogs giving advice as to how to stop feeling lonely during the holiday season. Our uber-connected world is lonelier than ever. This constant strain is exacerbated by the holidays, a time when the religious and the irreligious focus upon the home and traditions flowing from the hearth and table. The year end rhythm of joyous raucous gatherings, gift giving, and tables laden with celebration are for many absent. Our screens flicker with images and sounds of…

Orthodoxy and Neo-Calvinist Social Thought

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18 Who said it? “The man of faith acts, not as one endowed with free will, but as a beast that is led by the will of God.” Martin Luther? John Calvin? No, the answer is St. Peter of Damascus, from the Philokalia. He goes on to pray, “Do what Thou wilt to Thy creature; for I believe that, being good, Thou bestowest blessings on me, even if I…

Orthodoxy and a Call to Arms: Are we ready for the 21st century?

Robert P George, of Princeton University, in his recent essay, “The Pagan Public Square: Our Christian Duty to Fight Has Not Been Cancelled,” sounded a “call to arms” to faithful Christians to stand courageously against a rising and newly aggressive progressivism. This is not a call to physical arms, but a call to “boldly bear witness to truths that are unpopular among those controlling the levers of cultural, political and economic power.” It is a call to arms which we are beginning to hear from many corners more…

The wedge issue for Orthodoxy? Usury!?

“What must be implemented is not a ‘steadily expanding economy,’ but a zero-growth economy, a stable economy. Economic growth is not only unnecessary but ruinous…we must renounce, as a matter of urgency, the gigantic scale of modern technology in industry, agriculture, and urban development …” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Orthodoxy’s principled objection to Communism is widely known and understood and, given that Eastern Orthodoxy was the religious tradition that bore the brunt of the Marxist-Leninist assault upon religion and Christian culture, the fact that the vast majority of Orthodox thinkers…

Orthodoxy and Roman Catholic Social Thought

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” John 19:5 In a famed episode of The Twilight Zone in 1962, aliens known as Kanamits make first contact with earth, claiming that they come in peace. They offer advanced technology that eliminates famine, disease, and war. When they go, they leave behind a book, written in their undecipherable alien language. Naturally, the cryptographists get to work decoding it, led by scientist Michael Chambers. While some responded with skepticism toward the…

The Asceticism of Scrutiny: The Royal Road of Discernment pt. 2

We began this series by underlining the absolute necessity to develop the virtue of discernment in our spiritual lives. According to the St John Cassian and the Fathers he encountered in the deserts of Egypt, discernment is the “mother, the guardian, and the guide of all the virtues.” This may come as a surprise. Perhaps we would imagine another virtue to hold such a high office or maybe we just find ourselves at a loss in regard to the virtues and how they relate to each other. Whatever…