42. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths, Judaism Part Two

What follows now will be “politically incorrect”, at least in America. Last week we looked at the glorious Old Testament history of the Jews, the Chosen People of God. But the situation has changed. By rejecting their Messiah, the Jewish nation has cut itself off. The Church is now the true Israel, the new Chosen People of the New Covenant. The “succession of faith” that began with Abraham now continues not through…

41. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Judaism, Part One

“At inter-religious conferences, at first you find Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants together ‘over here’ and Jews ‘over there’. But as we get down to the nitty-gritty of what religion and life are all about, you find Orthodox Christians and Jews together ‘over here’ and Roman Catholics and Protestants ‘over there’.” The preceding is a quote from Father Thomas Hopko (of blessed memory+) who certainly attended more than his share of conferences.…

40. The War on Advent

So…they’ve taken Christmas out of Christmas and put it in Advent, and they’ve taken Christ out of Advent, except it’s not really Advent anymore, it’s Shopping Season, and then when the real Christmas comes, Christ is still in Christmas but Christmas is over. And who has done it is not who everybody thinks it is. (Are you still with me?) That is where modern American society is. The true Advent and Christmas…

39. The Bodiless Powers of Heaven, Part Two

“It was early morning, when I was seven years old, that I saw the angels. I am as sure of it now as I was then. I was not dreaming, nor “seeing things” – I just know they were there, plainly, clearly, distinctly. I was neither astonished nor afraid. I was not even awed – I was only terribly pleased. I wanted to talk to them and touch them. Our night nursery…

38. The Bodiless Powers of Heaven, Part One

“Mommy, does Grandma have wings now?” “Yes, dear, when Grandma died she went to heaven and turned into an angel.” Wrong! Statistics say 80% of Americans believe in angels, but I wonder what they believe about them. My wife wisely cautions that when people are grieving is not the time to argue the point with them. But nevertheless it’s wrong. Angels are angels, and people are people. I’m embarrassed to say I even…

37. Lazarus and the Rich Man

Yes, I know I promised an article on the Bodiless Powers of Heaven this week. But then I saw that this Sunday’s Gospel reading is the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), and I couldn’t resist. This is one of my favorite parables. Introduction Have you noticed how often our Sunday Gospels are about money and giving? Did you know that, except for the Kingdom of God, Christ taught…

36. Protestant Reformation, Part 2 – Where Luther was right, Where he went wrong, and What it all led to

To my surprise, I am impressed with Martin Luther. He made big mistakes, as don’t we all? and he was headstrong, as aren’t we all sometimes? But I think his intentions were honorable, his heart was good, and much of what went wrong with the Protestant Reformation (which was a whole lot) was not Luther’s fault. However, some of it was. Or at least that’s what I think, as follows: 1 Papal intransigence…

35. The Protestant Reformation, Part 1 – How Luther was right and why he went wrong: a case study in what happens when you turn away from the Church’s Tradition

OK, so it’s going to be very hard to find any icons to include in this article! This year Protestants celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. We Orthodox do not, of course, but may I be allowed to do a little analysis? What caused the Reformation Let’s start 2000 years ago. Saint Paul was a recovering legalist. Now every Jew knew that the heart of the Law was “Love God…

34. 2007 Trip, Part 2: Patmos – Revelation, Nektarios (on Patmos?!), True Religion

The Revelation I came home from Patmos with a great tan which must have been a miracle, because my last post implied that I spent all my time there in church – yes? No. Afternoons I found this little beach ‘way away from town – usually had it to myself – and I read. My spiritual project on Patmos was to ponder John’s writings, especially the book of Revelation, his Apocalypse, to…

33. 2007 Trip, Part One: Patmos, the Island of Saint John the Theologian

Homesickness: an unnecessary Introduction which has nothing to do with Patmos When I’m at home I’m homesick for Greece. When I’m in Greece I’m homesick for home. I think the Greeks have a word for this, which I’ve forgotten. Maybe the Germans too. I love home. I love my family. I love Wisconsin. I think I’m really a Wisconsin patriot. “The rocks and rills, the woods and templed hills”, the clean open countryside…