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…

Consider Jesus

Ever thought about giving up? Yeah, I know. What time is it? I confess to struggling with this temptation all the time. And the temptation to give up seems to come in all sorts of shapes and sizes; from small things to big things. Plus, it seems we live in a modern culture that celebrates and even encourages “giving up.” The “easy path” of abandoning that which is hard flows from the…

All Who Wander Aren’t Lost

Have you ever heard of the story of the donkey who saved a prophet’s life by talking to him? And you thought your dreams were strange! Seriously, this powerful story in the First Testament is worth your time! Read the whole story in Numbers 22. To make a long story short, Balaam is something of a prophet and some enemies of the Jews in the area want to hire him to curse…

For This Purpose

As we come to another infamous anniversary of September 11th, the perennial struggle with “purpose” comes to my mind. I was having a conversation the other day with a dear, educated man, who also happens to be an ordained clergyman in one of the many Protestant denominations in our fair city, and the conversation turned, as it often does, to the “struggle” in today’s religious landscape between the “conservatives” and the “liberals.” My friend…

For God So Loved the World…

The famous author J.K. Rowling once said: “I’m interested in that drive, that rush to judgment, that is so prevalent in our society. We all know that pleasurable rush that comes from condemning, and in the short term it’s quite a satisfying thing to do, isn’t it?” And she’s right! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ranted and raved at the TV news reports, or some post on Facebook with some asinine political opinion,…

Rights or Righteousness?

Real inspiration isn’t easy! In fact, I’ve become suspicious of the real lasting power of inspiration based on mere sentiment or even “good intentions.” It just always seems to be reduced to nothing more than making someone else “feel” better about “inspiring” someone else. And the sentiment seems to disappear in an instant when “real life” sets in. So, is inspiration really possible? Yes, I think it is, but it has to…

Suffering CAN BE Perfect!

A recent article on the Christian view of marriage is titled “Marriage is a Lifetime of Suffering.” You won’t see that on any Hallmark card for wedding anniversaries anytime soon. And yet, the idea of salvific suffering is so foreign to us as to be actually offensive to many. But the Christian understanding of life and salvation can be summed up in this quote from Elder Sophrony of Sussex “…in this world…

What Is Godly Grief?

Queen Elizabeth once said “Grief is the price we pay for love.” And that is true, in part, but not the whole picture. In fact, I’m convinced in our modern world of therapy and “positive thinking” we run the risk of falling into the false notion that we should never “feel” bad or sad. And that mistaken way of thinking always leads to disaster as we never learn how to grieve well.…