147. More Questions you’ve always intended to ask about Orthodox worship but never got around to – Part Two

Today: Why do we sing so much? Why only males in the Altar? Why no pipe organs? Why do we sing so much? It’s hard to find anything in Orthodox worship which isn’t sung. This is because traditional Jewish services were (and are) sung. The Apostles were Jewish, and that’s how they grew up worshipping, so naturally that’s how early Christians worshiped. Orthodox Byzantine chant must have developed out of Hebrew chant.…

146. Questions you’ve always intended to ask about Orthodox worship but never got around to it – Part One

I originally intended this to be a short introduction to a new series on the Divine Liturgy, but somehow it got out of control, so we’ll make this an article by it’s own, and we’ll talk about the Divine Liturgy later. 1  Is Orthodox worship really “unchanging”? Today, yes. But long ago, no. Obviously how Our Lord celebrated his Last Supper with his disciples on Holy Thursday night was very different from…

145. Thirty Years Later, Part Two – What Being Orthodox for Thirty Years has done to me

Orthodox! To begin where we left off last time: I was chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church  on September 16, 1989 by his Grace Bishop Antoun (may his blessed memory be eternal +) and ordained deacon and priest that same weekend! (Really? they all cried.) Their reasoning was that I already had over 20 years’ positive pastoral experience and had been determined to be sound in the Faith. I had a small…

144. Thirty Years Later – Reflections after being Orthodox since 1989, Part One

First, let me apologize for all the spelling errors in last week’s Post (now corrected). I am recovering from Shingles (ugh!! If you can get the Shingles vaccine, please do!), and it was hard to concentrate. This concludes the medical segment of our program.  Part One: The Thirty-year Search   . I was chrismated on September 16, 1989. In 1999 I wrote an article giving my reflections “Ten Years Later”. Again in 2009, “Twenty…

143. Greece 2012, Part Two – All by myself, Wicked Church Hopping, then Home

All Alone Khouria Dianna flew home and I was on my own on Crete. The place where I stayed was over a mountain, down the cliff to the Libyan Sea on an incredibly scary one lane gravel road. Pictures don’t begin to do it justice. That’s a 500 foot drop-off to the left. The nearest grocery, petrol station and health care were thirty minutes away. I always liked isolated places, but was this wise…

142. Greece 2012, Part One: Too much Talk, some mild Philosophizing, and some Travel

Summer is about to flee here in the north, but September is the perfect time to visit Greece – not too hot, fewer tourists, lower prices, warm water. So in September 2012 I was off to my second favorite place in the world. (Wisconsin is first.) That was then. This is now. I can’t travel that far any more, and I get so homesick for Greece. At least I can read my travel…

141. Guns in Church, Part Two – Protecting Orthodox People, Contributing to Society

I know that most gun violence in America takes place at home. However, here we’re talking about church. Trying to Protect our People in Church I just read in a conservative on-line magazine that it’s absurd to worry about gun violence one way or another, since chances of any of us getting shot up are so slim. True. Chances of our getting hit by a tornado are also very slim, yet we take…

140. Guns in Church, Part One – 2009, Now, Statistics, Back in the Old Days

In summer 2009, when I was still pastor of Saint Nicholas, Cedarburg, I posted this notice at the three entrances to the church. Firearms are not permitted at Saint Nicholas Church. The Church is a sanctuary of peace. Here’s what brought this on: All churches and businesses in town had just received a letter from the Cedarburg Police Department stating that the Attorney General of Wisconsin had (rather suddenly) determined that the Constitution…

139. Why do we honor the Mother of God? Because the Bible says so! – Part Two

Last week we saw how often the Virgin Mary is mentioned in the New Testament. Nobody except her Son comes close. Then… well, go back and read it for yourself. We stopped in the middle this section. What the Bible teaches about Mary 5 Does the New Testament tell us that Mary is the Mother of Christians, the Mother of the Church? Yes. There is, of course, no distinction between the titles, since the…

138. Why do we honor the Mother of God? Because the Bible says so! – Part One

The Virgin Mary…? Those of you who were raised Orthodox or Roman Catholic cannot imagine how hard it was for most of us former Protestants to accept the Mother of God. I know, because when we try to describe it, you just look at us with puzzled looks on your faces! For most Protestants Mary is tabu. There’s no other word for it. She is just unacceptable, forbidden for reasons that cannot be…