Placebo Faith?

Have you ever thought about all those people Jesus healed during His ministry here on earth? They were so happy, grateful, and changed. In some cases (the illness of leprosy) they were now free to rejoin society, be reunited with their families, and finally, get their life back. They went on to live their lives. Some became great saints of the Church. And every one of them eventually died. Hey, why do…

What Do You Allow to Program You?

The old computer coder adage is “Garbage in – Garbage out.” It meant that if the computer programmer got his code wrong, then it just stands to reason that the program wouldn’t work properly. What is true for computer programming is true for all of life. That’s why the Faith teaches us to actively pursue the ability to discern! The gift of discernment, the wisdom to see clearly, only comes when we…

Accepting Responsibility to Support Your Priest

One of my favorites was in the 1969 comedy “Support Your Local Sheriff.” In this movie James Garner plays a character that becomes sheriff in an Old West town just for the money, and, well, comedy ensues. But, in the end, both Garner and the town gain a great deal as they learn to truly value what they already have! We are so susceptible to internal and external blindness of our blessings.…

The Hard Work of Love

I’ve heard this so many times: Why can’t I find love? What’s wrong with me? The expectations of some fairy tale notions wound us and wound our children. And that, dearest, is precisely the evil one’s intentions. Because the end result of these fantasies is the depressing lie that there is no such thing as love and that always leads to “there is no such thing as God.” Game, set, match kingdom…

Steady As She Goes!

“He’s steady as a rock!” With those words, the person giving the reference for this potential hire gave a strong and satisfying look to the potential employer. And she was right. The guy got the job. You see, everyone wants stability. But is that enough? After all, graveyards are “stable!” What if there was a way to live a life that was both Stable AND Dynamic? Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?…

Live In Harmony with One Another

Sometimes, I hate Facebook! OK, what I really hate is being misunderstood and then I have to scramble to be understood and end up making things worse! Ugh! It seems the harder I try the worse it gets. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever, with the best of intentions, tried to make a clear and cogent comment only to have it taken out of context or misunderstood in a…

The Unknowable Depths of God’s Mercy

I do this sometimes. When I’m checking out at the grocery store, I will read the outlandish headlines on the tabloid papers displayed there. Of course, that’s why they put those papers there so that you’ll read them while you wait in line. Smart marketing! But sometimes the headlines are so outrageous that I will actually pick the paper up and look inside! Why are we drawn to sensational stories? Why do…

Don’t Be Childish

“He who desires to worship God must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but bravely renounce his liberty and humanity.”  This comes from a Russian anarchist named Mikhail Bakunin who died in 1876. But does the worship of God require a renunciation of liberty and humanity? Well, yes and no. Yes, in the sense that if I am to worship God truly and with a mature seriousness, I will have to…

Devoted to The Body of Christ

The old saying is “You can pick your friends, but you’re stuck with your relatives.” Oh, the volumes that have been written about dysfunctional families! Family dynamics is one of the most interesting aspects of psychology to me because when I look at my own family I see a tapestry of joy, love, confusion, pain, good choices, bad choices, and a whole lot more. In other words, like most families, we have…

The GIFT of Suffering

Our American nation is suffering a time of chaos, fear, anger, and, yes, even the scourge of hatred. And this suffering can lead us to despair. But the message of the Orthodox Christian Faith is that suffering can actually form and shape us into Christ-like persons IF only we wouldn’t waste these moments of suffering. The Christian understanding of life and salvation can be summed up in this quote from Elder Sophrony…