The Holy Gaze

Among the illustrations in this volume there is an AP news photo from the Russian district of Bogorodsk, dated 1950, of a crowd of people carrying icons out of a church. This isn’t a religious procession; instead, they are handing the paintings up to a man standing in a farm cart. Though it is cold—you can tell from the bundling garments and fleece-lined caps—the crowd looks energetic and happy, and a pretty young woman at the center of the photo looks particularly joyous. In the foreground a boy is holding a small icon, perhaps of Christ. The cart is already overflowing with these paintings of saints and biblical figures on wooden plaques. The load is going to be hauled out of town and burned.

Flipped

[Christianity Today Movies; August 24, 2010] Stars: 2 Rated: PG Cast: Madeline Carroll (Juli Baker), Callan McAuliffe (Bryce Loski), Rebecca De Mornay (Patsy Loski), Anthony Edwards (Steven Loski), John Mahoney (Chet Duncan) Can it be love at first sight if you’re seven years old? “Flipped” proposes that, yes, it can,…

Bounty

[Frederica Here and Now; April 22, 2009] When my daughter-in-law brought in the harvest from her very diligent vegetable gardening, she sent me a photo of the bounty. I felt immediate wonder and gratitude—that with the sweat of her brow (and the much smaller brows of her 6 little ones)…

No Regrets

[Frederica Here and Now; June 4, 2010] This week, I just had a pretty short thought. I get an email, an Orthodox Quote of the Day everyday, and it’s always something wonderful. And there was something about this one that really jumped out at me. Today’s quote is from St. John Chrysostom. I’m not sure where in his writings this comes from. And the quote is: A fearful thing is sin. Fearful and the ruin of the soul, and the mischief, oftentimes through its excesses, overflowed and attacked men’s bodies also. For since for the most part, when the soul is diseased, we feel no pain, but if the body receive, though, but a little hurt, we use every exertion to free it from its infirmity because we are sensible of the infirmity. ThereforeGod, oftentimes, often punisheth the body for the transgressions of the soul so that by means of the scourging of the inferior part, the better part also may receive some healing.

Dn. Barnabas Powell

Frederica:  I’m here in the living room of my son Stephen Mathewes’ apartment on the campus of Holy Cross Seminary, Hellenic College, and he’s a first-year seminarian, starting just a few months ago.  And we have daughter Ruthie who is almost two and son Lucas who is three months now, who might be making some sound effects in the background.  My husband is here as well, and little Alexandra Powell, visiting from upstairs.  And they’re watching Lady and the Tramp.  We’re hoping to create a little more quiet in the room thanks to that. I’m talking to Deacon Barnabas Powell, formerly Chuck Powell, and you just became a deacon—was it two weeks ago? Dn. Powell:  Yeah, exactly.  Actually, November the 8th—Sunday November the 8th—I was ordained in my hometown, in Atlanta, Georgia, in Annunciation Cathedral.  Pretty cool.

Marriage and Cohabitation

1. What does the marriage ceremony grant exactly to a couple that would help form a lasting relationship? The marriage ceremony is a Holy Mystery, a Sacrament, which means that something happens beyond what the human participants bring to the event. God intervenes with his Holy Spirit and creates something holy, something that did not exist before. The marriage ceremony is essential for Christians, so that this immensely significant relationship in our lives may be upheld and blessed by God.

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 is as good as any movie Pixar Studios has made, and better than a few of them. But when you consistently achieve excellence, there’s this problem: people start expecting more. A merely excellent movie is not enough. Each one must be more suspenseful, surprising, original, hilarious, and emotionally satisfying than the last. Each success becomes a rack on which the next attempt is measured.

Letters to Juliet

This is the dilemma of movie reviewing: a critic who has honed professional discernment by studying the cinematic arts will not be as generous toward a film as a happy audience that is just looking for a good time. When I picked up my daughter for the screening, I said, “I don’t know why I wanted to review this; it looks awful.” That opinion did not change—but while Meg and I were rolling our eyes and whispering witty critiques, hundreds of people around us, who had filled every seat in the theater, were having a ball. They laughed, they sighed, they cheered, they grew thoughtfully silent approximately 30 seconds after Meg whispered to me, “Now something devastating is going to happen.”

Kyria: The Jesus Prayer

[Kyria; May, 2010] “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thess 5:17) Have you ever wondered what St. Paul was talking about? How can a person pray constantly? Yet this wasn’t the only time St. Paul urged his hearers to constant prayer. “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” ( Romans 12:12). “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance” (Eph 6:18). “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”  Col 4:2. If he took the trouble to say this to four different communities, he must have thought it was important. And he must have thought it was possible. He wouldn’t have kept urging his hearers to do something that was completely beyond their capability.

Listening Skills

[Frederica Here and Now Podcast; October 1, 2009] Frederica Mathewes-Green: I’m sitting at my kitchen table today with my friend Katherine Mowers, a member of my church, Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Baltimore. She wanted to interview me about listening skills, and I’m recording our conversation for my podcast as well. Katherine Mowers: Here’s the first question: How can you do reflective listening in a manner that is more than just listening, but actively supporting the person?