People Talking Without Speaking…

At a recent spiritual retreat, I was asked to conduct, I was asked how one should prepare to deal with questions about the faith when others ask about it. Usually, many of our Orthodox brothers and sisters get very nervous when somebody asks them about our Orthodox Faith. It’s a good question, but it points to a deeper challenge – like most good questions do! While it may be satisfying to get some basic…

Prayer = Watchfulness!

My daughter sits in front with me in the car many times as I drive. And she is old enough now to notice that daddy sometimes has a challenge with patience with other drivers! She’s learned my “triggers.” Well, yesterday, she looked over at me when a person in front of us didn’t move when the light turned green and she said: “that person isn’t paying attention, is she, daddy?” It’s tough…

Good Fathers Give Bread

One of the greatest revelations I had in my journey to Orthodox Christianity was the powerful theological truth preserved in the timeless Christian tradition of calling our clergy “father.” You may object by telling me that Jesus commanded “Call no man ‘father’” in Matthew 23:9. And on the surface that might seem to be the end of the discussion but you may want to sit down here! If this were truly an absolute prohibition then I…

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…

The Delusion of Pride

There is a powerful word in the wisdom of the Orthodox Faith that acts as a real warning to you and me. It is the word “prelest.” It literally means “the state of spiritual delusion or deception.” This is a great spiritual illness in the teaching of the Church and is to be recognized and dealt with as quickly and as often as possible in relationship to a spiritual father. St. Ignatius…

All Flesh!

The Holy Spirit is a subject that I thought I knew a lot about in my early days as a Pentecostal preacher. I would preach sermons on the Holy Spirit and the power He was to give believers to be “holy” or to “do His work” or to “heal” sicknesses.” And all of this was suppose to motivate others to “get the Spirit” active in their lives. But it was only in…

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…

ALL MINE!

“MINE!” The toddler was adamant that that toy belonged ONLY to her! She had no intentions of allowing anyone else to play with her toy! Now that’s a familiar situation of any parent of small children or any teacher in kindergarten! But that’s also sometimes the unspoken attitude of too many of us when it comes to the spiritual treasures of our Faith. “THAT belongs to US!” Really? Look at our Lesson…

The Spear of Destiny

Everybody knows that whoever possesses the Spear of Destiny, has ultimate power! Their armies can never be defeated and power will be theirs forever, as long as they have the Spear! You know the Spear I’m talking about, don’t you? This is the Spear that pierced the Lord’s side at His crucifixion! Great Hollywood script material! Of course, this mythology surrounding the Spear of St. Longinus all depends on a view of the world…

Have You Learned?

Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album was one of my favorites years ago. And my favorite song on that album was “You Learn.” The chorus is going through my mind today: “You live you learn, you love you learn. You cry you learn, you lose you learn. You bleed you learn, you scream you learn.” Another quote going through my mind is “I’ve succeeded and I’ve learned. I’ve never failed.” Think about…