To Be Truly Free

“Well, you should have known better!” Oh, how I hated hearing that from my mom. It was the tone in her voice as well as the words. You know the one. The tone communicated disappointment, disapproval, AND frustration all at the same time! Oh, I HATED it! But what made things worse was she was right! I SHOULD HAVE known better. In fact, I did know better, and yet, there I go…

Mother Mary Comes To Me

“In my darkest hour, she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom “Let it be.'” The song was on the radio as my best friend was driving away from the hospital where his twin brother had just died. His pain and grief washed over him and that Beatles’ song was just what he needed to start finding a way through his pain. Mother Mary always protects! Some so…

Willing To Die

This story always chokes me up: The girl needed a transfusion and the only suitable donor was her brother, he was just 11 years old! So, the family talked it over and said it had to be up to the brother to do this. The doctor approached the boy and asked if he’d give his blood to save his sister’s life. The boy thought for only a moment and said “yes.” So,…

St. Demetrios, Being Faithful

As I’ve traveled around the country speaking, one of the situations I’ve encountered is that very sincere and pious Orthodox Christians seem to be insecure about how to talk about their faith. They ask me “How do I share my faith and defend my Orthodox faith to the people around me?” It’s a good question, but it points to a deeper challenge – like most good questions do! While it may be…

Happiness Is A Choice

“Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note. Don’t worry! Be happy!” Yep, I loved that song, for about a day, and then it was being played so often I got sick of it rather quickly! But still, Bobby McFerrin captured in his “little song” a notion we Christians should explore today. And it is this: Happiness is a choice, just like love is a choice!…

What Is The Purpose of the Faith? Sunday’s Homily

On this Sunday we read of a man so enslaved to his passions, so gripped by his addictions, that he is inhabited by many demons. Christ heals him and he is found at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. The lifestyle of the Orthodox Faith is meant to empower you to be healed and changed and made a whole person. Are you being healed by the Faith?

With Fear And Trembling

My little brother and I were typical brothers growing up. We would engage in “sibling rivalry” now and again! But we were being raised by a single mother who worked full-time and cared for us full-time as well. One such event when we were a bit older elicited a phrase from my mom to us both that really stuck with me. I don’t even remember what we were fighting about but mom…

You Need Jesus

Several years ago there was a song that was popular on Christian radio stations that still strikes me as a powerful reminder of a central truth: People Need the Lord. “Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes. Empty people filled with care. Headed who knows where. On they go through private pain. Living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears. People need…

Don’t Hide From Reality!

“My Want-To is broke.” With that, my grandmother gave me another insight into real life. She was describing a very common problem all of us face. We know what we should do, but we don’t do it. Why? As my grandmother said, our “want-to” is broken. One of the central revelations to me when I was making my way into Orthodoxy is that the Faith answers the question “What is the main…

Let These Words Sink IN!

A quote attributed to Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, sums up our challenges with missing the point: “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” The truth is, with all the ways we can misunderstand, miss the point, and just not get what others are trying to say, is so…