Always a Gift!

“All is gift.” This phrase captures both the simple and profound message that embodies the mystery of living a Eucharistic life. You may ask “What does that mean?” And I understand. We moderns are far removed from a world where mystery and wonder and story dominated our human society. And we are impoverished by this reduction of true mystery in our lives. A Eucharistic life is a life lived on the firm foundation…

Come Away To A Lonely Place

Most of the time I feel pressed for time. A confession – I am addicted to saying “yes” to offers, invitations, and projects! I do this so often that my wife has to remind me that, as of now, I do not have the gift of bi-location! Because of this addiction, I frequently find myself stressed over deadlines, commitments, and projects yet to be completed. And, when I’m tempted with impatience (as I often am) I have to remind myself…

Our High Priest!

The whole notion of a high priest is so foreign to we egalitarian Americans and moderns. We are centuries removed from a time when hierarchy and royalty were the norm. But it’s helpful to remember that, for the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived, the notion of a hierarchy and even monarchy was the norm. Frankly, the jury is still out from my perspective if our modern way is any…

Fear is a Liar!

Red Reddington on The Blacklist said “Fear is a liar. It activates the enemy.” Now don’t be too mad at me for quoting a fictional TV character! Besides, the quote perfectly reveals the dangers of living your life gripped by fear! We humans are susceptible to the power of fear and its ability to cause us to overreact or be paralyzed into inaction. So, fear is an emotion we must control or…

What Draws a Crowd?

Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it good or right. William Penn said “Avoid popularity; it has many snares, and no real benefits.” In my previous religious circles, we were always working to build a big crowd so that we could assure ourselves we were doing the right thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with large churches AS LONG AS they are staffed properly so that families…

We KNOW!

I love learning big words. Ever since I watched “Mary Poppins” so many years ago and “learned a word to spite me aching nose” I have been fascinated with vocabulary. So, when I heard the word “epistemology” I was over the moon to learn all I could! Epistemology is “the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from…

The Paradox of Generosity

There’s one sure way for any politician to get an applause line in a stump speech. All he or she has to do is say “I support our troops!” And rightly so. The brave men and women who serve in our military perform a vital function in the preservation of our liberty, and we, as a nation, should always show our gratitude for their sacrificial service. The truth is freedom isn’t free,…

One Flock

St. John Chrysostom called the faithful “reason-endowed sheep.” Not having a lot of experience with sheep being raised in the rural American South (Now ask me about pigs, cows, and chickens and we got something there), I had to look up what is it about sheep that made this statement make so much sense to St. John’s congregation. First, sheep are a “herd” animal. That is they are most comfortable with other sheep. They aren’t “lone rangers.” In fact, a…

Received With Joy!

One of the most powerful prayers and hymns I’ve ever sung says “…For behold, through the cross joy has come into all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, we praise his Resurrection: for by enduring the cross, he has destroyed death by death.” Imagine that something as horrible as the cross producing such joy as a renewal of all the universe and the undoing of death! And yet, that message is at…

Bless Your Heart

As a “son of the South” I’ve heard people say “Bless your heart” all my life. And the irony is that this phrase that almost sounds like a prayer, is really a versatile phrase American Southerners use to both bless AND curse. And it all depends on how it’s used. It can be a genuine expression of concern or it can be used to cover with a thin layer of religiosity actual…