TRADITION! Tradition!

I was on Broadway in New York City, and I had tickets to “The Fiddler on the Roof!” And I was as giddy as a school boy. This is one of my favorite plays, mainly because one of the deep vacuums in my life was a sense of rootlessness because I was part of the vast American population that didn’t know where my family came from, and I felt this missing identity.…

Countless Guides, But Not Many Fathers

We have over 30 families going through our A Journey to Fullness class at the parish and they keep hearing me say “This is a family, not a corporation or a club.” One of the key aspects of Orthodoxy that drew me to the Church was this mindset away from church as a religious club and a serious commitment to an actual community. In a society that is increasingly gripped in the…

Who Are The Other Sheep?

We have an annual Greek Festival at our parish that we have done for the past 14 years. It is exhausting and wonderful. When I first came to the parish about 8 years ago, we had to ask our neighboring parishes to send their Greek dancers to our festival so we could showcase this wonderful aspect of our culture. This year I looked and all our children were dancing, and almost half…

The Purposeful Discipline of Generosity

As someone who has spent most of my adult life either as a police officer or in the nonprofit world, I can tell you, generosity is both addictive and life giving. It really is. Studies have shown that there are real psychological changes in someone’s behavior and mood when they are generous. And it seems we Americans are more generous than ever, but our generosity is changing. In the past few years…

A Stranger They Will Not Follow

I was a nervous wreck! A 15-year-old teenager with his best buddies was sneaking into a movie theater without paying! I can hear the voice of my mother in my head “Young man, you carry your family name. That should make you think twice about doing things you know you shouldn’t!” We didn’t get caught. We loved the movie. We laughed, and we congratulated ourselves for our stealth and our “courage.” And I…

Made Perfect!

The word “asceticism” is something of a mystery to our modern way of life. We have lived with such plenty and such amazing comfort and ease for so long that now we assume that all of life is meant to be pain (and even effort) free. Just consider our attitudes towards marriage. We assume that marriage is meant to “fulfill us” or “complete us” as if the Hollywood version of romantic love…

To Whom Much is Given…

Listen to what St. Theophan the Recluse says in his brilliant “Unseen Warfare”: “Refuse to listen to the devil when he whispers to you: give me now, and you will give tomorrow to God. No, no! Spend all the hours of your life in a way pleasing to God; keep in your mind the thought that after the present hour you will not be given another and that you will have to render…

Freedom From Anxiety!

Well, the truth is I was worried (OK, actually worried and scared). I had never faced anything like this before and all I had ever heard was this situation was serious. And it was. But as I stood there waiting to face the music I so dreaded, I noticed something. My anxiety and fear were making things worse. These emotions and feelings were clouding my judgment, and that was dangerous. You see,…

When I Could Bear It No Longer

As a boy, I loved the old Popeye the Sailorman cartoons. Every afternoon, we’d come home from school and my grandmother would let us watch the Popeye Club on Channel 5. It seemed each episode would have the patient and good Popeye put up with some shenanigans from Bluto. But then Popeye would say his famous line: “That’s all I can stands; I can’t stands no more!” Then Bluto would get what…