From Dostoevsky – Miracles

From Chapter 5 Elders …but it seems to me that Alyosha was even more of a realist than the rest of us.  Oh, of coure, in the monastery he believed absolutely in miracles, but in my opinion miracles will never confound a realist. It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not…

Prayer and the Name of Jesus

From Archimandrite Sophrony’s On Prayer. The Name Jesus as knowledge, as ‘energy’ of God in relation to the world and as His proper Name, is ontologiclly bound up with Him. It is spiritual reality. Its sound can merge with its reality but not necessarily so. As a name it was given to many mortal men but when we pray we utter it with another content, another ‘frame’ of spirit. For us it…

Why People Become Orthodox

Now this is indeed a presumptious title for a post – as if there were only one reason that people convert to the Orthodox faith. There are certainly many reasons, nuanced by the various personalities that come. And do they ever come! I was asked in Minneapolis, “What sort of Evangelism Events do you have at St. Anne?” I had to confess that other than making ourselves accessible and somewhat “convert friendly”…

Thoughts on Dostoevsky

I have begun re-reading The Brothers Karamazov, this time in the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, which, I am told is a great improvement over earlier efforts. I readily confess to being a great fan of Dostoevsky and easily touched by his novels. I find an occasional brilliance in them that reveals the world in greater clarity than I see almost anywhere else. I read the following today in the…

News Media Loses Its Mind Yet Again – They’ll Believe Anything

Roughly paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton: “When a man ceases to believe in God, it’s not so much that he believes in nothing, as it is he is willing to believe in anything.” Proving this maxim once again, the media have given splash to a completely discredited discovery of the “bones” of Jesus (including an assumption that they are buried in a tomb with his “wife,” Mary Magdalen). I have to admit this nonsense…

It’s Not Just the Details, It’s Not Just the Particulars, It’s Something Personal

I have long been intrigued with the notion of our common responsibility, or rather, that I am responsible for the sins of the whole world. I think I first came across the notion in a quote from the Elder Zossima in The Brothers Karamazov. And even there, Dostoevsky was only putting on the lips of his fictional Elder the sentiments of the saints and the common teaching of the Church. At one…

It’s Not Just the Details – It’s the Particulars

I wrote earlier of the details – and my own wrestling with the details of my travel. Slowly, I am decompressing and regaining my own composure. The difficulty of life is not really found in the details but in its very character as particular.  I think people do very well in general – that is to say – with things in general. When we think of things on the general level we’re…

In the Details – God Reigns

 For the second day, I am sitting in airports, just one of many thousands effected by a snow storm and a storm of flight cancellations. I cannot complain – I was comfortable last night and am so now. I will have missed my Tuesday appointments and responsibilities but it cannot be helped. But these are the events that precisely make up the stuff of our life. A plane doesn’t work. Traffic won’t…

If You Weren’t in Minneapolis – Thoughts on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

My weekend in Minneapolis was a tremendous joy. The Minnesota Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association is a wonderful brotherhood of Orthodox priests and deacons that has obviously helped foster a strong since of common Orthodox identity and true brotherhood. It was a pleasure Sunday evening to be in the altar with so many brothers from various jurisdictions. I long for the day, as do most Orthodox in America, for a single common jurisdiction…