The Challenges of Technology: A New Series

Critically reflecting and commenting upon the deleterious effects of television, computers, video games, smart phones, and all sorts of new smart gadgets is nothing new. Jeremiads are an incredibly popular genre. I myself am partial to them. I mean, who doesn’t love a good lament?!? Jeremiads especially come to mind having just read “There are Spying Eyes Everywhere – And Now They Share a Brain.” We apparently now have the computing skills to be able to fuse all sorts of information feeds and technologies so as to have an all seeing eye of surveillance trained on…

The Poor: The healer of our wounds

Let us hasten to cleanse the pollution of our sins, Through fasting, charity, and love for the poor, That we may enter the wedding feast of Christ the Bridegroom, Who offers us great mercy! Apostikha from Monday of Cheesefare Week The Lenten Spring has sprung for us Orthodox Christians. We now stand at the end of an intense week of services. Many of us spent our evenings this week hearing the penetrating voice of St. Andrew of Crete calling us to deepen our repentance. This Wednesday, with stomachs rumbling, we laid prostrate waiting for the entrance…

Waging War – A Call to Arms pt 4

We ended our last entry in this series with a string of questions regarding how Orthodox Christians should approach moral issues in the public sphere. How are we as Orthodox Christians are to conduct ourselves in public discourse, especially in disagreements and clashes over the meaning of our life together? Culture war at its heart is a conflict of meaning and how to order our lives together. There are grotesque and even cartoonish ways in which we can engage in disagreement. Slander, misrepresentation, and arguing from a place of bad faith pervade so many interactions. The…

Scripture and Discernment: The Royal Road of Discernment pt. 3

We have previously underlined the need for discernment and the necessity of serious scrutiny in discernment. I want to now examine St. Moses’s advice about testing what I am deeming “pious reasoning.” “Pious reasoning” is the trap of thinking that one can be simply guided by pious presumptions or seemingly pious logic while actually falling out of line with Scripture and the precedent of the Fathers. Further, one can deceive one’s self into thinking one is making pious decisions and yet have one’s heart full of pride and vanity.  St. Moses compares the life of discernment…

Culture War? A Call to Arms pt 3

We ended our last post in this series by pointing to “strategies of retreat.” But, I think it best we first address the infamous conflagration known as “culture wars.” For it is concern about “culture wars” that spurs other forms of retreat.  In some of the responses to this series, I was surprised to see this discussion labelled as “culture war.” Why was I surprised? Well, I have done little in the past two posts but assess how I think Orthodox Christians would hear and react to Robert George’s article. If I am being labeled as…

Escaping the West: A Call to Arms pt. 2

We are returning to an entry I posted a few weeks ago about Robert P. George’s article “The Pagan Public Square: Our Christian Duty to Fight Has Not Been Cancelled.” In conclusion there I stated that I wanted to “sketch out how Orthodoxy may fruitfully respond” to George’s article. Well, I believe I still need to focus on assessing Orthodoxy in North America…so my sketches will be postponed until I feel I have adequately drawn up some of the challenges facing the Orthodox Church as we engage with the North American public square.  Assessing George’s “Call…

Christmas Season and the Pandemic of Loneliness pt 3

We all desire to be connected, respected, and loved. Aristotle was absolutely right, humans are political animals, we are made for connection, and for living together. It is the rare individual who can go off and do it on their own. Those who do this successfully from the point of view of the Church are those who are immersed in prayer with the God of love. St. Seraphim’s exodus and return to the world was one marked by love and compassion, echoing with the Paschal greeting, “Christ is risen!”  But there is something even more fundamental…

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 screens. I want a place where everybody knows…

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 joy and yet we sit in a dark…