Fight The Illness! Be Healthy!

You’ve met them. They are the ones who always seem to have a criticism of how things are going AND they don’t jump in to assist, they just want to complain. Truth be told, I’ve caught myself doing the same thing. Isn’t it amazing how much insight into a problem you can have and feel completely comfortable standing on the sidelines offer all this free advice? I guess by all the nodding…

Let Your Word Be Your Bond

A wise leader was teaching a group of “leaders to be” and he made a provocative statement ” When someone comes to you and asks for permission to do something in the organization, let your answer always be ‘yes.’” Yes? Yes! In my years of ministry, both as a Protestant pastor and now as an Orthodox priest, I’ve found this to be solid advice for leadership. My main task as a parish…

Remembering Mistakes Wisely

In 1861 Robert E. Lee wrote, “With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.” In the end, he simply couldn’t raise his sword against his home state of Virginia, even though President Lincoln had offered him the command of the whole…

Be Suspicious of Power to Control

It’s amazing how quick folks get upset if they feel like they are being bossed around. I had a couple come to see me once about how to raise their child and they informed me they had decided to not say anything about God to the child so that he could make up his mind once he got older. Imagine their surprise when I pointed out that was not just foolish but…

But HOW?

“But, how does it work?” That was the question burning in my mind as a young, curious, typical pre-teen boy. So, I did what any normal kid would do. I took the clock apart! Still didn’t get my question answered because I didn’t understand the gears and spring system concept, and the clock never worked again because I didn’t know how to put it back together again! Needless to say, mom wasn’t…

Do You Have the Mind of Christ?

“We are of one mind about this.” I heard his words and I understood each word and its meaning, but I had never heard this put this way before – “of one mind.” What did he mean? But, hey, I was a kid of 22 and the situation was such that I was hoping he meant we were in agreement. Too embarrassed to ask, I assumed (dangerous, I know) we were, in…

Your Heart As God’s Temple

If you have a younger sibling then you’ve heard this before: “She did it! Why can’t I?” I know I’ve heard it in my house on numerous occasions, especially when the younger kiddo wonders out loud “What about me?” But sometimes (actually, many times) the younger child isn’t developmentally ready to take on the task that her bigger sister is doing. This happened recently as one daughter was walking to her bus…

The Unexpected Cure

When I think of the requests we make of God, I find my own requests break down into a few categories – Personal needs, Family concerns, Parish concerns, and Hopes and Fears. But one of the blessings of being Orthodox is that the wise prayers preserved in the Faith cause my prayers to ever expand to include the whole universe. The regular litanies of the Divine Liturgy and other services allow me…

Four Fantasies of Fairness

I don’t believe in “fairness.” Really! I really don’t believe in it at all. Oh, I get the concept, don’t get me wrong, but I simply don’t believe humans are capable of it. At least not yet, anyway. Frankly, I’m convinced the Evil One uses our innate knowing that fairness SHOULD exist AND our inability to produce it to enslave us to perpetual agitation or despair! Look at our lesson today in…

The Fantasy of Power And Pride

“Those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” So goes the saying that came to my mind as I considered today’s lesson. You see we humans are easily conned into believing “bigger is better.” We think that if some church has a lot of people then it must be successful. But how many times do we have to see these large groups disintegrate after a leader experiences some scandal…