Woe, Nellie!

One of the greatest attractions to me towards the Orthodox Church was the continuity of practice and, more importantly, a real connection to the People of God. There’s an old story about a British journalist visiting the library of one of the ancient monasteries on Mt. Athos in Greece. He was walking among the stacks with the monk librarian and the old monk was talking about this and that saint or writer and…

God Had Mercy!

“The best-laid plans of mice and men…” Most of us at least try to achieve a “planned life.” We plan for college. We plan our careers. We plan our relationships. We are forever warned against haphazard living, and rightly so because a haphazard life tends toward chaos and misery. Even our faith has all the earmarks of a clear path; a way of life, filled with clear instructions and a narrow plan for…

I’m Glad! You Be Glad Too!

“Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note. Don’t worry! Be happy!” Yep, I loved that song, for about a day, and then it was being played so often I got sick of it rather quickly! But still, Bobby McFerrin captured in his “little song” a notion we Christians should explore today. And it is this: Happiness is a choice, just like love is a choice! While…

A Tent Was Prepared

I’m not a big, outdoorsy, guy. So, camping out was never something I really enjoyed, except for this one time. Me and my best friend, Mark, had a great “fort” in the woods near our apartment complex in Orlando when I was about 11 or 12. Being central Florida, the pine trees in these woods were kinda scrawny and they were lots of palmettos. But the clearing we had made seemed perfect…

Simple, But Not Easy

Life is simple. It is. Life is not complicated. Life is not hard to figure out. I know, amazing statements given the complexities of our daily lives, but it is true. Notice I didn’t claim life was easy! And that, dear one, is the difference. But it amazes me how much I complicate life, my life. I complicate my life in all kinds of ways by assuming that life is not simple. But life is…

To Live IS Christ!

St. Paul tells us today that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I confess, every time I read this passage and contemplate this phrase, it always drives me to reconsider my own life. Can I really say this along with Paul? Of course, the answer is “no,” but before I let myself off the hook here, I want to confront the all too easy cop-out I sometimes allow in…

Not Man’s Gospel

I’ve always been fascinated by philosophy and logical argument constructs. It seems to me that the ability to use one’s intellect to worship God through excellence and discipline is a very great accomplishment, one I’ve always lacked the patience and strength to fully embrace. One particular part of a philosophical argument that grabs my attention is the various logical fallacies that we humans use to “prove” our points or “win” arguments. I…

Excellent

Every time I hear the word “excellent” I think of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons and it makes me smile. Or, I can go back down memory lane in my mind to “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Either way, that word has a way of triggering several nostalgic images in my head. But the word also conveys all my training in marketing and business as well. It seems we are always striving…

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, there’s…

Salty Speech

“Salt makes people thirsty. People are thirsting for more of God’s word. We are the salt, the salt of the earth!” I remember hearing that song as a teenager and thinking “so THAT’S what that means!” Jesus did call we Christians the “salt of the earth” and in His days on earth, salt wasn’t just something that added flavor; it was a valuable commodity that was used to preserve food, provide for…