“Ask Me”

My son, Fr Steve Mathewes, told me that once a man came to him interested in Orthodoxy, but he couldn’t get used to our relationship to Mary. It bothered him that we praise her so highly, and he feared we thought of her as being as important as Jesus. That’s…

Charles Dickens: Virtuous Decisions in Life and Story

[November 6, 2021, lay keynote talk for the Doxacon Conference] I was very honored to be invited to speak at this conference. But I was also perplexed, because I don’t really know much about the world of sci fi and fantasy. So I talked with Mr. Daniel, and we came…

Found: The Church of the Glorious Martyr

[2021-11-19] Biblical Archeology Review has reported the discovery of a 1500-year-old church about 15 miles southwest of Jerusalem. It began as a simple chapel, built inside a cave where a saint was martyred (a “martyrium”) and buried. Archeologists found a large mosaic set in the floor of the courtyard that…

Establishing Your Prayer Rule

[2021-10-28] Here’s my strategy for making a prayer rule. A prayer rule is the plan you make about saying your prayers and reading Scripture every day. You might do it all at once each day, or you might (like me) split it up into many shorter times during the day.…

Dealing with Social Media

I thought I’d share something about how I use social media and the news media, to keep myself from getting “thrown around” inside. First, I stopped looking at my Facebook news feed. That endless scrolling, looking to see if the next one will be interesting–I think all that jumping about…

The Lost Gravestone

[June 2017] In June 2017 I got a phone call from my speaking agent, Cynthia Damaskos (director of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau). She said that a man called Jeff Gardner had phoned her trying to reach me. He said that he had some information about my grandmother. I was skeptical;…

How to Pray without Ceasing, by St Basil

[July 11, 2021] This is taken from St. Basil’s Homily 5, on St. Julitta. (It’s the old-fashioned translation by Philip Schaff.) Ought we to pray without ceasing? Is it possible to obey such a command? These are questions which I see you are ready to ask. I will endeavor, to…

Book Review: The Ethics of Beauty

[July 17, 2021] I’m a fan of Prof Timothy Patitsas’s new book, “The Ethics of Beauty.” It’s a beautiful reading experience. Here’s a mini-review:   What’s the point of Beauty? A practical-minded culture may be sure we need Goodness and Truth, but Beauty seems expendable. A drive around the beltway…

The Reason for the “Messianic Secret”

Theologian William Wrede drew attention to this pattern about a hundred years ago, and named it the “Messianic Secret.” It has puzzled bible scholars for a very long time. For one thing, Jesus occasionally he does the opposite, and tells the person to spread the word. What’s going on?  I think there is a simple and practical reason that Jesus does this. I’ll bet it makes sense to you as soon as you hear it.