Led Astray by Dumb Idols

Alexandre Solzhenitsyn once said “We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.” I wish I had learned this earlier in my life. I would have avoided some painful idolatries. But we humans are slow learners. And over and over again we come to the end of what we thought we could not live without and discover all too late that we certainly could live without it. We idolize the fantasy…

Those Murmuring Hellenes (Sounds Like a Great Band Name!)

It seems we humans have an ingrained “love”of fighting, defending ourselves, and drama. We are really good at it. Just look at the conflicts that are raging today in our world. We seem to love to fight, and that, in itself, should be a sign of a deep brokenness in us. Our impulse to fight, to demand our rights, to “get even” and “settle the score” all reveal a wound in humanity…

Four Labors that Make You Like Jesus

There’s just no substitute for contemplation. But it seems our modern world is moving at such a break neck speed that contemplation is impossible! That’s why authentic faith is the “last, true, rebellion” and the hardest and most rewarding path to being truly human! Listen to what Abba Evagrius says “A wandering mind is made stable by reading, vigil and prayer. Flaming lust is extinguished by hunger, labor and solitude. Stirrings of…

Before Faith Came…

For years I batted around words like “faith” and “believe” with such frequency and then discovered that I really wasn’t sure what these words meant! Imagine my surprise while, as a pastor, and a graduate with a degree in Pastoral Theology that I had to humbly admit, I didn’t really get these words at all. Or, to be more accurate, my understanding wasn’t so much wrong as too small. For years I…

Abraham Had Two Sons…

“Did you hear…” That’s the beginning of a moment that rarely turns out good! And that’s because this is usually the beginning of a conversation that is more gossip than true. But we do love to gossip, don’t we? Unfortunately, there are real consequences to spreading stories, especially when those stories are either untrue or, (sometimes worse yet) half true! And it seems to be so easy to not get the story…

Give FROM Gratitude, Not TO Need!

It’s just who I am. I remember my time at an Evangelical Protestant school for my undergraduate degree, and the 2 years of homiletical classes (how to give a sermon). It was a bit gruelling and my professor was particularly tough on me. One day, I was walking with another seminarian and he overheard our conversation. He stopped me and said “Brother Powell, you are a preaching machine!” I chose to take…

At His Feet

There is a story about a great man. He had searched the world over for wisdom. He had gone to gurus, and sought out great religious leaders and learned philosophers. But still his heart ached for more. Sure, he learned great and awesome ideas, and heard wonderful words, but still he felt empty from the searching. Discouraged, he cried out to God “Lord, where is true wisdom? Where is true knowledge of…

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

I love the scene in “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson’s character looks at the military lawyer questioning his leadership of his troops in Guantanamo. It’s at a pivotal part of the drama. The commandant, Colonel Jessup, was a rough and tough Marine leader. He was a strong man, and he didn’t have any respect for the Navy Colonel lawyer questioning his judgement in leading his men. In that moment Colonel…

You Hypocrites!

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?” You can almost hear the sneer in this question to Jesus in the passage for today! And, frankly, it’s a good question. You see, as a Church, we Orthodox place a great deal of confidence in the consistent witness of the Faithful through the centuries. And we get that honest, as my grandmother use to say. We inherited that attitude from the…

Making Masters Servants!

I know it is a bit “old fashioned” and it may be hard for those of this generation to understand, but the timeless message of the Faith is that we are called to battle and tame the passions SO THAT they are our servants and never our masters! So what are the passions? Some may say “I thought being a passionate person was a good thing.” Well, as usual, it depends on…