What ARE You Thinking?

“It is a great achievement not to be attracted by things. But it is a far greater achievement to remain dispassionate in the face both of things and of the conceptual images we derive from them.” St. Maximos the Confessor Isn’t that great? The ability to be free from a slavery to desires, but not just desires; to be free from the ideas these desires conjure in our minds! That’s the kind…

Three Questions God Asks You Today

“But I don’t want to!” My 5 year old simply didn’t want to go to school that day. She didn’t want to, and that fact alone should have released her from her obligation to attend class that day. “I don’t want to!” Imagine her surprise when her father, the mean ogre forcing her to do what she didn’t want to do, informed her that her momentary desire did not overwhelm the constant…

Cooties!

It’s amazing how perspectives change as you get older. When I was a kid in elementary school, we boys were absolutely convinced that the girls had cooties! Of course, we had no idea what “cooties” were, but if the girls had them then that meant we needed to be as far away from them as we possibly could! What was really nice was that, at that time, my initials were CP, and…

Go To Church!

In one of the retreats that I give around the country, I have a particular presentation about how to heal the weaknesses of our modern age. I use examples from sociology, psychology, science, and even religion. But then I get down to the timeless and purposeful answer from Orthodoxy: GO TO CHURCH! It usually gets at least a smile from folks, but it’s meant to be a wake-up call for us all. You see,…

Abraham Had Two Sons…

“Did you hear…” That’s the beginning of a moment that rarely turns out good! And that’s because this is usually the beginning of a conversation that is more gossip than true. But we do love to gossip, don’t we? Unfortunately, there are real consequences to spreading stories, especially when those stories are either untrue or, (sometimes worse yet) half true! And it seems to be so easy to not get the story…

The Whole Armor of God

I love this Armed Forces Motto: “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” Isn’t that great? In other words, when you put the time into preparing for battle, the more ready you are to face the fight. And what is true for physical fighting is also true for the spiritual battle each of us faces every day! What? You didn’t know this was going to be a…

We Did Not Yield!

There was a day when I relished a good theological argument. Jousting with this or that “opponent” over this or that doctrine was as much fun as it was challenging. My favorite fights were over questions about the Trinity or predestination or even the very question about what was salvation anyway. I’d pour over scriptures and read books about apologetics and hone my “arguments” until I thought they were ironclad! And then…

Examine Yourselves, Test Yourselves

It is said that Aristotle once declared “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” And yet, St. Basil taught that the most terrifying thing for a man to do was to look into the “abyss” of his own soul. It seems one of the most important activities of one’s life is also the most difficult. But that makes sense. We humans are notorious for noticing the weaknesses of others all the…

Don’t Make Me Stop This Car!

Every parent has heard themselves say this at one time or another: “If you two don’t stop bickering, I’ll stop this car and punish you both!” I mean, surely I’m not the only one! Please tell me I’m not the only dad that has threatened this! Seriously, as parents, we really do set expectations of behavior for our children. One of the most fundamental tasks of parenting is to both model and…

Now Is the Acceptable Time

“There’s no time like the present.” This and many other “time” quotes really get to a central wisdom we humans have learned: Timing is everything. I have a dear couple who are dating. And, on top of that, they are exploring becoming Orthodox. Talk about a double whammy! Their relationship is growing with each other and the Faith. They recently asked me a question I get a lot from folks exploring the…