Knowing Yourself is True Wisdom

The great, ancient philosopher Lao Tzu said “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” And I would, arrogantly, add that the first step in mastering yourself is truly knowing yourself. And that, my angels, is much more profound than what any of us might imagine. Of course, this is what’s behind all the Divine Mysteries of the Faith; the confrontation with…

The Exclusive Message of Christ

It’s never been “popular” to confront our very prideful and “autonomous” societies with the exclusive teaching that the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ. In fact, most societies and cultures have reacted rather badly to this message from the Christian Faith. And yet the scriptures and the teaching of the Church are unavoidable; Jesus Christ is the only “door” to eternal life and relationship with God. Even writing…

Timeless Wisdom

In 1968 The Zombies recorded a song called “Time of the Season.” In it, there is a great lyric: “What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me?” It was meant to communicate the moment in time of protest, a slap at the arrogant rich, and a move away from the hypocrisy the younger generation saw in the wealthy and even middle class of America at the time. Plus, it’s…

The Plain Truth

Someone can be truly sincere AND sincerely wrong. It doesn’t help good people to be more concerned about their fragile feelings and ignore the danger they are in by heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes, speaking the truth in love is unpleasant and unwelcome. But love DEMANDS I care more for the other than their opinion of me. Recently I told my own daughter that I am OK with her not liking…

A Special Message From Fr. Barnabas

Getting Back My Health Dear Friends of Faith Encouraged Ministries, I wanted to write you and let you know two very important things: First, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your faithful support over the last two years. You have been the backbone of our ability to continue on even in the face of both external and internal challenges! The external is easy! This health crisis around the world…

NOT Dressed For The Occasion

It’s not just my recurring dream (nightmare, really) but it has been found to be a common dream for much of humanity. You know the one I mean: I’m standing at a fancy party with either my pajamas on or no pants! In other words, I am NOT dressed for the occasion. How embarrassing! And that’s why this is such a common dream of we humans. We fear being embarrassed! And why…

Don’t Be Anxious!

Well, the truth is I was worried (OK, actually worried and scared). I had never faced anything like this before and all I had ever heard was this situation was serious. And it was. But as I stood there waiting to face the music I so dreaded, I noticed something. My anxiety and fear were making things worse. These emotions and feelings were clouding my judgment, and that was dangerous. You see,…

Staying Faithful

Our busy lives really do challenge us in keeping our priorities in the right order, don’t they? We moderns are a complicated mishmash of schedules, opportunities, affluence, and “freedom.” And that multiplication of events, desires, hopes, and advertisements don’t seem to be slowing down. It seems that each new day brings a new barrage of invitations, exhortations, and marketing all meant to fill up every available moment of our day with “You…

Marvelous In Our Eyes

I always wonder at those who constantly insist “You can’t judge me.” I don’t need to judge you. We always judge ourselves. Our words, our actions, and our thoughts all contain all that is needed to “judge” rightly the true state of our souls. It is also why the Last Judgement and our constant Orthodox prayer “For a Christian end to our lives, peaceful, without shame and suffering, and for a good…

The Kingdom of God

I love what I read recently about being famous: “Being famous on Instagram or Facebook is like being rich in the game Monopoly.” That is so true. But we have a shallow culture today that seems to be addicted to being famous or “great” in the eyes of the people we want to think well of us. Our young people go through that period of maturity where being popular and belonging to…