Don’t Be A Fool!

“Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes, they don’t tell the truth, smiling faces, smiling faces, tell lies, and I’ve got proof…” The Temptations did this song in 1971 and it’s a favorite. But its message is all too familiar. Sometimes, a friend turns out to be no friend at all. Sometimes, the smiling mask someone wears hides an evil and jealous intent. And too often we learn about this the hard way. It…

The Foolish Person VS. The Wise Person

Drama! I confess I am not a fan of drama in my house. And here I am living with three women! I guess the joke’s on me! OK, before I get in real trouble here, let me say that I have noticed the older I get, the more I like quiet and smooth sailing. And yet, I’m a parish priest of a growing congregation filled with dynamic people, the head of a…

A Birthday Request

Dear Faithful Partners of Faith Encouraged Ministries, Every year we reach out to you to help us celebrate Fr. Barnabas’ birthday during the month of April. This year he turns 62. Recently he told me these years approaching “retirement age” fill him with both hope and dread. Hope in the sense that the central desire of sharing this Orthodox Faith with as many people as possible continues to grow, and dread in…

Escaping Bad Choices

Why is it I keep having to learn wisdom the hard way? I mean, it isn’t like I haven’t had wise men and women and friends who have offered wise counsel. I’ve seen how bad choices can really wreck a life and then I’ve watched myself make those SAME BAD CHOICES! What gives? Well, what gives IS our common, human struggle. Our will, our “want to” is weakened by fear and death.…

Knowing WHY

If you’ve spent any time with me at all, you know I’m a big fan of asking the “WHY” question when it comes to our motivations for living. In fact, I’m convinced that no one sticks with a pattern of life that is effective without really understanding WHY it is effective. Getting to your “WHY” is at the heart of being able to be motivated enough, consistent enough, and faithful enough to…

You Can Have Joy!

Fr. Alexander Schmemann once said, “The greatest charge against a Christian is that he has no joy.” Frankly, the normal Christian faith is incompatible with a life without joy. It is specifically joy, regardless of the outward circumstances that should be the “normal” Christian life. Now I know what you’re going to say: “But father, we will be accused of being unrealistic if we are joyful all the time.” Well, sure we…

God Will Help You!

Nelson Mandela once said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” This is so true. I’ve found too many people who think that because they feel fear, they are not courageous. This isn’t true. Feelings come and go, but it’s what you do in reaction to feelings…

3 Questions

When I get discouraged, I can always trace it back to a loss of perspective. I mean, it’s inevitable. My challenges give me tunnel vision and I lose the ability to see beyond my own immediate pain. By the way, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. It becomes a bad thing when I get trapped in those moments. There are many times in my life when I need…

Attentive to the Moments of Life

They say there is a point of absolute clarity when a person is facing their own mortality. We’ve heard it all before; “Your life flashes before your eyes.” Of course, this is a moment in human life we humans regularly avoid thinking about. Our mortality isn’t something we like to dwell on. And yet, it is a part of life. St. Ambrose of Optina teaches “You must not be greatly troubled about…