One of the greatest practical jokes ever played on me was when some friends actually hid my car from me while I was at work. As a teenage boy, my car was my ticket to freedom. It represented my passage from a child to a man! Besides, I looked really cool driving it around the mall parking lot with the windows down, hoping that pretty girl would notice!
Politics in the US has really devolved into the competing desires and power of different “groups.” And it seems current political operatives are bound and determined to make sure every “American” is shuttled into one of several defined “groups” of competing “ideologies.” The “rich” against the “poor”; this “race” against that “race”; this orientation against that orientation; and so on.
Today our Lord Jesus says He has found more faith in a Roman Centurion than in all Israel. He goes on to say that many “outsiders” will come to the Kingdom of God while those who were offered the Kingdom first will find themselves “outside” the Kingdom due to neglect of the Kingdom. Which are you?
This is a video shot at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Los Angeles. I had the honor of speaking at this beautiful parish and meeting the young man who hosts the church tour in this video. Noah is a fine example of just how our Orthodox faith is reaching out to all people with the beauty of the message of Orthodoxy. Enjoy the video, but also pass it on![youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_z9NS-ivYI]
Janice Joplin had a hit record after her death in 1971 called “Me and Bobby McGee” that had a line that said “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Kind of a depressing thought, but then again, the song is about the memory of a happier time and the lose of that time, so I guess that makes sense.
The whole concept of freedom is at the heart of most of human history, the loss of it, the hunger for it, the celebration of it, or the suppression of it. The idea of “freedom” seems to be ingrained in the way we humans think.
“Uncle” Lawrence owned a farm, and when I was a boy, my brother and I would visit this magical place. It was the first time I’d seen how chickens were raised and eggs gathered and cows milked.
But what fascinated me most was when I saw the mule being yoked to a plow. The animal, use to this task, simply accepted the yoke and went about his work.
Life can feel like you are yoked to a plow sometimes. The daily routine, the expectations of others, the seemingly unending series of challenges life throws at us; all can pile on to us and overwhelm us. And what makes it even worse, if I’m going to be really honest with myself, I bring a lot of these burdens on myself because of shortsighted choices! That’s what really makes the burdens of life feel even heavier!
Starting TODAY, July 3, you see and hear the weekly homilies of Fr. Barnabas Powell on Ancient Faith Radio. Here are the links to the first podcast: Audio – http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/lifeencouraged Video – http://www.ancientfaith.com/video/lifeencouraged Of course, you can still watch the video homilies here at LifeEncouraged.org anytime. Please share this with friends and family, and stay tuned for more exciting news about LifeEncouraged.org coming soon!
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” This saying has been around a long time and been attributed to several famous and not-so-famous people, but the heart of ring of truth we hear in this saying is this: It’s hard to communicate AND easy to miscommunicate, especially if both speaker and hearer want to misunderstand!
We are a people strongly shaped by an inherent mistrust of all authority except our own and we hold to the notion of equality to the point of idolatry. This might be good for having a culture shaped exclusively by free market ideals and entrepreneurship, but it might not serve us well in embracing ideas much older than either of these two philosophies.
A More Excellent Way
I can’t help thinking of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when I hear the word “excellent.” That word got so overused in the ’80’s. It became the slang word used for anything one might like or admire.
But the word “excellent” is such a wonderful word, and shouldn’t be emptied of its value by overuse or misunderstanding. Something that is truly “excellent” stands apart and suggests a standard to be aspired to and attained through diligence, admiration, and emulation. If something or someone is truly “excellent” then that is a reality to be celebrated and embraced!
Your theology, whether you know it or not, ALWAYS shows up in your choices, your behaviors, and even your organizational structures. Hey, tell me what your pastor wears on Sunday morning and I can tell you what your theology really is.
It’s because what we truly believe isn’t what we necessarily say, but is best known by how we act and what we value. This is the truest way to determine what you truly believe. Because what you truly believe, regardless of what your mouth says, is always discovered in how you act.