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.

Prayer and the Playground

[2020-1-10] Talking to my grandkids about prayer, I said: “Imagine it is recess and you need to tell the teacher something important. But he is sitting and talking to the other teachers, and not paying attention to you. “But then he begins to pay attention. He turns to you and…

Rage and Statues

In June 2015 my husband and I went to Charleston, SC, to visit family. The shooting at Emanuel AME Church had just taken place and everyone was in shock and grieving. We walked around the area and saw the many, many flowers, crosses, and other tributes laid there.

Thomas Sunday

So think about the fact that “Thomas” means “twin” in Hebrew. (And I always wondered, what did they call his brother?) Thomas might have been *very* familiar with the fact that one person can be mistaken for another. A way to make certain is to check for scars.

An Eerie Dream

Frederica Here and Now podcast recording of this dream One aspect of getting older, for me, is that I don’t remember my dreams as well as I used to—there are just little scraps of dreams that fly away when I wake up. But last spring I had a dream that, even while I was having it, I knew it was important to remember it. Even as the dream was ending, I was already counting up the points I needed to recall. In my dream, we all knew we were going to die. Everyone in the world was going to die. A cloud of air bearing very fine, sharp particles was slowly encircling the earth; when people inhaled, it infiltrated the lungs, piercing the cells and destroying them. There was no way to stop the advance of this fog, and its effects were incurable. Wherever this fog had gone, it had killed the entire population. This cloud was gradually encircling the entire world, and eventually it would reach America.