Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Nothing has greater importance in the Christian life than the place of Holy Scripture. On this, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant can agree. Even if one places emphasis on the role of Holy Tradition, they still have to admit that the most prominent manifestation of Holy Tradition in the Church are the Scriptures themselves. But, of course, having said a few kind words about the Holy Scriptures is not to have said very…

“Save Me Whether I Want It Or Not” – Justification and the Orthodox

One of my favorite prayers (from the “Morning Prayers” which is not one of the services, but one of many variations of private prayers used by Orthodox Christians) is to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and is quite clear on justification – at least in a way that should quieten any critics of Orthodoxy who think we are not clear enough on justification and faith. I first published this prayer back on October…

Prayer to My Guardian Angel and Some Other Thoughts

For an update and additional comments on this article see angels. O Holy Angel, who stand by my wretched soul and my passionate life: do not abandon me, a sinner, neither depart from me because of my lack of self-control. Leave no room for the evil demon to gain control of me through the violence of this mortal body. Strengthen my weak and feeble hand, and instruct me in the path of…

Solzhenitsyn on Sitting Down

In Twilight I well remember the very widespread custom, back in the South, of “twilighting.” Carried over from before the Revolution, it might have also been fortified by the meager, perilous years of the Civil War. Yet this practice had come about much earlier. Was it born of the months-long warmness of the Southern dusk? Many became accustomed never to rush lighting their lamps, yet, having completed their chores (or tended to…

The Loneliness of Modern Man

In the Benedictine tradition, a monk makes four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience and stability. Most people are familiar with the first three but not with the fourth. In classical Benedictine practice it meant that a monk stayed put: he did not move from monastery to monastery. It was not a new idea. Before Benedict had written his rule, there was already the saying from the Desert: “Stay in your cell and your…

God’s Justice and the Fathers

I am grateful for the responses yesterday that were posted on my article Once and For All, and particularly Ephrem’s passages from the Fathers on justice. I have certainly been among the Orthodox writers, speakers, etc., in America who have given short shrift to forensic (legal) imagery when thinking about God and how we understand Christ’s death on our behalf. I want to offer a short defense (for I think I have…

A Personal Note of Thanks

For a couple of years I was an occasional poster on Pontifications, the Blog created and maintained by my dear friend, Fr. Al Kimel, and it was he who suggested that I create my own. It was a friendly suggestion. Yesterday, after a little more than two months, we passed 50,000 views, which is far more readership than I would ever have imagined. It felt like a milestone, but mostly like encouragement.…

Once and For All?

I have been puzzling some lately about the doctrine of Justification, particularly as understood by some Protestants. I am not the theologian that my good friend, Fr. Al Kimel, over at Pontifications is, nor am I versed in late medieval scholarship, which is what early Protestant doctrine requires. My puzzle is perhaps a bit more existential, and a bit on the Scriptural side (I do try to study from time to time).…

The God of the Waters

I stood in the rain this afternoon, with twenty or thirty of the faithful as we blessed the waters of the Clinch River at Melton Hill Marina. It’s the same place that is pictured in the snow with the blessing of the waters on a few blogs down. Today the water was everywhere. In the lake, coming down from the sky, gradually soaking into us. There was a certain glory in chanting…