89. Demons

  Demons! Terrifying Destructive Evil Spirits! Now that we have your attention… let’s begin more gently and work up (down) to demons, the devil and the dark side. Hallowe’en Modern Hallowe’en has Christian origins. November 1 in Western Christianity is the feast of All Saints (“All Hallows” in old English), probably intended to counter a pagan day the dead, which took place at this time of year. Here in the mid-latitudes of the…

88. “How do we teach traditional Christianity so it is accessible to culture without selling out to culture?” – Part 2

As I said last week, this was the heavy topic assigned to me at an Anglican-Orthodox conference in 2009. If you haven’t read Part 1, please do or you won’t make much sense of Part 2. Last week I described (humbly, I hope) Orthodoxy’s multi-cultural unity in “traditional Christianity”. This week is trickier: How does the Orthodox Church remain faithful in all cultures? even in 1! When I first became Orthodox I…

87. “How do we teach traditional Christianity so it is accessible to culture without selling out to culture?”- Part 1

How’s that for a kicky title for a Blog Post? I hope you’re still reading. That was the ponderous topic I was given to speak on at an Anglican-Orthodox conference at Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary here in Wisconsin, on October 9, 2009. Prologue for Orthodox Readers… …since, for the most part, I don’t know who all reads this blog. Have you ever wondered exactly how our Orthodox Church manages to remain steady in…

86. The Seven Deadly Sins: #1 – Pride

A Description of Pride “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people except Christians ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do…

85. The Seven Deadly Sins – Introduction

Sin I think we Orthodox don’t talk enough about sin. Really – how many of our people actually go to Confession? And when we do speak of morality, we seem to focus mostly on sex. Our hierarchs often (and properly) criticize disordered sexuality and its effects: adultery, gay marriage, abortion and the like. As a priest, I have often warned people against watching trash on television and pornography on the internet. I’ve warned our…

84. The Elevation of the Cross, Part 2 – Hard Power vs. Soft Power

Pontius Pilate didn’t understand. “So you are a king, then?”, said Governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate understood none of this. He knew the Jews were expecting a new king of some sort. This could be dangerous. The Jews * had got rid of fake Messiahs before, but somehow they hadn’t stopped this one. Now here he was in Jerusalem, and a crowd had gathered wanting Pilate to take care of it. If this…

83. The Elevation of the Holy Cross, Part 1 – “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

“On earth”? During the first centuries of Christian history, there was little visible evidence that this – Christ’s final declaration before his Ascension – was being fulfilled on earth. Jewish persecution had scattered Christians in all directions. Then in the year 70 Jerusalem was leveled by the Romans. The remaining Christians apparently fled, taking heed of the Lord’s warning about the destruction of Jerusalem. Matthew 24:15ff During the next 2 centuries Christians remained…

82. Three Saints who made me love them: David the Tree-dwller, Martin the Merciful, the Venerable Bede

When God first made himself known to me it was like a swift kick where I needed it. Later when out of the blue the Lord Jesus showed me he loved me, it was sweet and gentle, and ever since I have loved him back with all my heart. Someday maybe I’ll tell you those stories. Maybe not. The point is that God works with us in different ways. Likewise with his saints.…

81. 2010 Trip, Part 2 – Saint Nektarios, Crete, Health Care

Hmmm… I notice that peoples’ “hits” on the Blog are down since we’ve started traveling again. Hey, folks, it’s not healthy to do “religion” all the time, much as I love it. Orthodoxy is experiential. There are other ways of learning about God. Travel, for example. When we’re in different places (if it’s only grandma’s and grandpa’s house) we see familiar things, including our faith, in a different light. Here’s the theological principle…