206. Father Thomas Hopko and his Fifty Five Maxims of Christian Living

Someone said “Everybody listens to advice. Nobody ever takes it”. But, oh, I hope you take this advice from the Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko. So my advice is: Put his Maxims in an icon on your computer screen, labeled in capital letters so you will see it and open it often. Or print out the Maxims and put them in your daily prayer book, or in your icon corner. Because this is good. But first,…

205. About Opening Up Our Churches Again

I have some suggestions and thoughts, based on my own reading and thinking and praying and personal experience. Take them for whatever you think they’re worth. So you understand where I’m coming from: 1  I have degrees in science (meteorology) and in theology and have been shaped by both disciplines. 2  I have much respect for our hierarchs. They are good responsible men. 3  For almost sixty years, first as an Anglican and now as an Orthodox,…

204. Apostolicity

This post will have three parts: 1 We will venerate the Apostles online. 2 What is Apostolicity? 3 How I found the Apostolic Church after I thought it had vanished from the face of the earth. The Apostles I’m sure you all know that next Monday June 29 is the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, because you are eagerly anticipating the end of the “Apostles’ Fast” which concludes on that day. For who wants to fast in the summer?…

203. Happy Birthday, John the Baptist!

The Nativity of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist – June 24 Gospel: Luke 1:1-25, 57-68, 76-80 It must have scared the old priest Zachariah nearly out of his wits. He was certain he had gone alone into The Holy Place to offer the evening sacrifice of incense *, when suddenly he realized he was not alone. Someone was there with him. And a voice: “Do not be afraid, Zachariah, for…

202. Why are there no Saints like Me?

I mean, just look below at the Saints on the Orthodox calendar for today Friday June 12 from Orthodox Wiki. Almost all of them are monks, hermits, bishops, royalty. God bless and reward them all. But why are there no “ordinary” people? We’ll come to that. Don’t go away.. But first today’s Saints, as always, are an interesting bunch, well worth learning about: Saint Onuphrius the Great; Venerable Peter of Mount Athos; Saint Arsenius,…

201. A Totally Inadequate Explication of the Holy Trinity

At the Methodist seminary I attended sixty (!) years ago, Dr. Philip Watson, one of our professors of Systematic Theology (he was the one who taught the Creed) remarked, “We do well not to delve too deeply into the inner Family Life of God”. I am probably about to prove him right. I’ll do the best I can, with my limited understanding and in 2000 words or so. Our finest theologians couldn’t…

200. A Special Message from our American Orthodox Bishops on the Civil Unrest

We just received this letter from our Bishops, calling for prayer for justice and peace tomorrow Wednesday June 3 at Noon EDT.  It is important enough that I’m sending it out quickly. I’d suggest that you offer this short prayer from the Ancient Faith Prayer Book: For Times of Trouble O Lord of hosts, be with us. For in times of distress we have no other help but You.  O Lord of hosts, have mercy on…

199. The Ascension of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ

The Time Jesus Ascended on a String You may find this hard to believe – but back in the 1940s, the public School Boards of Hancock County in Ohio (where I grew up) hired a teacher who went from school to school throughout the county teaching Bible stories to us children. I can understand why this no longer happens, but oh! our young people miss so much. In those primitive days teachers…

196. Sixth Sunday of Pascha: The Man Born Blind

Christ is risen! Students, we are now going to play a sort of Third Grade game, but with a serious purpose. So pay attention, and please do what I say. Now: Look around – forward, left, right, up, down – and take in and remember what you see. Next, close your eyes (wait, not yet!) and with your eyes shut do the same: look around – forward, left, right, up, down, and…

195: Fifth Sunday of Pascha: The Woman of Samaria

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! This is a contemporary Coptic Orthodox icon. The Samaritan Woman  This is one of my favorite Gospel stories. It makes me smile. Because:   1 The dialog is written so beautifully. It makes me wonder if the Apostle John was a frustrated dramatist. 2  I can see a quiet gleam in the Lord’s eyes as He so cleverly, so carefully “works” this Woman, so to speak, leading…