218. The Decline of Christianity in America – Part Two: the Rise and Fall of Mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics, the Rise of the Evangelicals

I really wanted to wrap up this topic in two parts, but I’ve got so fascinated by it that I can’t seem to get stopped. So: In Part One last week, we looked at the facts regarding the overall decline of American Christianity. Part Two today will cover the topics shown above, but this will be my personal account: What I have seen and experienced in my 82 years, and my attempt…

217. The Decline of Christianity in America – Part One

Part One: This week we’ll look at the depressing facts. The decline is unarguable. I don’t really intend to drive you crazy with charts and graphs and statistics, but we Orthodox need to know these things. Obviously we must go for Truth, not growth, but it is helpful to see what is not working lest we be tempted. Part Two: Next week I’ll share what I’ve seen and experienced in my eighty two years,…

218. Two October Saints: 1) A Deacon who couldn’t sing, 2) A Fool

October 1: Saint Romanos the Melodist “Melodist” means singer or composer of songs. Orthodox Advent doesn’t amount to much liturgically till the last few days, but when we hear this lovely Kontakion early in December, I don’t know about you, but I always feel a little Christmasy thrill. For which we should all say a thank you to Saint Romanos the Melodist who wrote it. This is from a site with much…

217. The Lukan Jump

Next Sunday is often called the “Lukan Jump”. I can almost imagine the Evangelist Luke interviewing the Theotokos and writing the first icon of her, and then as he headed for home jumping for joy at this extraordinary privilege and at all the wonderful, beautiful, exciting, first-hand stories she had just told him. Left above: This is not him. But no, actually it’s we who do the jumping here. This is the Sunday when we jump…

216. How to handle Politics

Well, if this won’t get me into hot water, nothing will. But, things being what they are this year in the USA, I think it needs to be talked about. So right here at the beginning, let me be clear: I am giving pastoral advice. I am not trying to score political points. I will try to avoid most of my usual attempts at humor, since I know how easy it is…

215. Four Days on the Holy Mountain – Part Two

If you haven’t read last Friday’s Post, please do. Day Three: Friday September 20 already, 75, sunny There are no mirrors in this place, not even in the bathrooms. (We get the point?) Today – up for Orthros at 3 – couldn’t see anything in church, finally Fr B spotted me & we sat in outer church through Liturgy. He found me a new prayer rope. Did Jesus Prayer. Thought service would…

214. Four Days on the Holy Mountain – Part One

My Travel Journal Though it is now September 2020, we are about to go to Mount Athos in September 2002. As you may know, I kept daily journals on my travels, mostly to Greece, so that when I got too old to do it any more, I could read them and experience it all again – as now I do From time to time I like to share my journeys with you. I…

213. Happy New Year!

Next Tuesday is September 1. Get your party hats out! Get ready to pop open the champagne, and stay up till midnight, and see the New Year in! Or not. For any who haven’t the faintest idea what I’m talking about: Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical New Year is September 1. But even Orthodox will think I’m out of my mind, because: 1  Orthodox have never paid much attention to September 1. Why not? Here’s…

212. The Trip to Greece that wasn’t and the Miracle that was

Saint Nektarios the Mischievous Beginning in 2002, Saint Nektarios of Silivria, the Wonderworker of Aegina, started doing mischievous things for me – some startling, some subtle. At first I might have attributed them to coincidence, but as they continued, I felt sure they were not. What in the world was he up to? I couldn’t figure it out. Ever since his death in 1920, he has been busy healing people, especially of…

211. Do we know what Jesus looked like?

Submit this question to the internet, and almost everybody will say: No, of course not. How could we possibly know that? All we know is that (if He existed, a few will say…) He was a First Century Jew. I think they’re wrong. I think the answer is: Yes, we do know what Christ looked like. Of course it can’t be proved. (What can?) But I think the evidence is all for it. I…