Defiled!

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?” You can almost hear the sneer in this question to Jesus in the passage for today! And, frankly, it’s a good question. You see, as a Church, we Orthodox place a great deal of confidence in the consistent witness of the Faithful through the centuries. And we get that honest, as my grandmother use to say. We inherited that attitude from the…

Passions CANNOT Be Masters

I know it is a bit “old-fashioned” and it may be hard for those of this generation to understand, but the timeless message of the Faith is that we are called to battle and tame the passions SO THAT they are our servants and never our masters! So what are the passions? Some may say “I thought being a passionate person was a good thing.” Well, as usual, it depends on definitions.…

You NEED to Marvel!

Welcome to the second day of the Dormition Fast! The wisdom of the fasting disciplines of the Church is meant to reinforce the reality that unless the faith is holistically practiced, that is it affects every aspect of your person, the real danger of compartmentalization exists! I know this is a constant temptation for me! This idea that the Faith is only one part of my life. When, in fact, the Faith…

Treasures In The Field

He looked at me right in the face and said the words I will never forget: “When you’re ready to sell all you have to have this faith, then, and only then will you be ready!” Whoa, wait a minute, let’s talk about this! Everything? Yep, everything. It was a turning point in my own spiritual journey and I was having to confront my own desire to “play it safe” or not…

Weeds in The Garden of My Heart

OK, let me confess something; I am not very talented when it comes to growing things. In fact, every time I’ve tried to plant and tend a garden, it has ended up either overrun by weeds or eaten by critters or over watered or under watered! I just don’t have the proverbial “green thumb.” I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a lack of patience or a lack of discipline. Or maybe it’s…

My Pawpaw Told The Best Stories

My grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He was always a larger-than-life figure in my eyes as a boy and still is even as a grown man. He had this ability to mesmerize us grandkids with his stories of being a police officer in Atlanta, and the stories of his adventures with his friends. To this day, I have no idea if any of these stories he told actually happened! He was that…

Do You Desire Healthy Relationships?

What is it about close relationships that either blind you or enlighten you? What I mean is, I’ve known folks who were so close to someone else that they were absolutely blind to that other person’s faults. I’ve seen it get so bad that the two people were so enmeshed with each other that they really were their own worst enemies when it came to other friends and relatives. There’s nothing like…

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.…