Blessed Are The Poor

I love the old musical “The Music Man” and one of my most favorite scenes in when that old con man Harold Hill begins to spring his trap on the good folks of River City by pointing out they have a pool hall in their little town, and we all know that that spells “Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool!” You see, Harold…

What Are Your Priorities

I never will forget certain momentous times in my life. There are only a handful of moments when the enormity of a moment calls for an all night focus. One such moment in my life was when I was to be ordained as a deacon in the Orthodox Church. As I contemplated the implications of the changes that were about to take place in my life, I felt compelled to avoid sleep…

Will You Be Surprised?

My girls love when I do this. Well, not really, but they do laugh. Sometimes, when we are all in the car, just driving down the road, everybody minding their own business. Conversation has lagged and the music on the radio is boring, when no one expects, I’ll holler real loud and scare everyone in the car! Infantile, I know, but boy does it get the juices flowing and after the initial…

Go To Church!

In one of my retreats that I give around the country, I have a particular presentation about how to heal the weaknesses of our modern age. I use examples from sociology, psychology, science, and even religion. But then I get down to the timeless and purposeful answer from Orthodoxy: GO TO CHURCH! It usually gets at least a smile from folks, but it’s meant to be a wake up call for us…

How to BE Blessed

Ah the joys and the challenges of being from the American South! One of the greatest benefits is the versatile, catch all, phrase “Bless his heart.” When you hear this from a Southerner, your work isn’t done. It isn’t enough to hear this phrase, you must parse it correctly. Said in a certain context, it is a genuine prayer. Other times, it is used to “baptize” gossip. Miss the context and you…

Put Off Your Old Nature

It was an old suit, but I loved it! It had both sentimental value and the added benefit of actually fitting me! But my dear bride said it had to go! Sure, it had a few stains but I thought they were hard to see. Yes, there was a tear inside the jacket, but I was the only one who was going to see that. And, OK, so the pants were a…

Going From Bad to Worse

Well today we are doing something we rarely do. We are taking our daily lesson from our Epistle Lesson, and I pray it is a help to you! Let’s set it up! St. Timothy was a young, spiritual son of St. Paul, and Paul had placed Timothy as the head of a local Christian community. Now Paul is writing to his spiritual son to encourage him as he serves his first parish.…

YUCK! This Medicine Tastes Horrible

The story goes like this: A young man sees a beautiful woman and he desires to make her his wife. All the while, his best friend from childhood, the little girl next door, secretly has grown to love the man. As she watches him not see her as a potential mate and watches as he wastes his life and time pursuing this woman who doesn’t really care for him at all, her…

Oh NO! Not The Family Tree!

“Oh NO! Not the family tree scriptures again!” I can almost hear the congregation thinking out loud when we come to portions of the scriptures that have “and so and so begat so and so, and he begat so and so, and …” Just look at today’s Gospel Lesson in Luke 3:23-38, 4:1. Jesus has a real family! I’ve even been asked “why is that in the Bible?” The short answer: You…

The Heaven Was Opened

I never will forget the thrill of anticipation as we waited outside for the doors to open. It was my very first concert, and I was wide eyed at the spectacle of the crowd, the chance to see a favorite band, and to hear the music that rocked my world at that time. It seemed my whole self was attentive, anticipating, and alive. And when the doors opened to let us in…