If You Want to Read Some Basic Zizioulas

The name of Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) came up in discussion on one of the other threads. He is well known in the West for his book Being as Communion, which is a difficult read. There is, however, a remarkable resource available in English from his lectures at the University of Thessaloniki. I would commend it to anyone who is a serious student of theology and wanted to form an opinion of Zizioulas’…

The Difficulty of Lent

Great Lent is one of the most important spiritual undertakings in the course of the Orthodox Church year. There is nothing unusual asked of us, nothing that we do not do the rest of the year. We fast; we pray; we give alms; we attend services, etc. But we do all of them with greater intensity and frequency and the Church’s contextualization of the season drives its points further and deeper. Of…

If You Love Dostoevsky

If you love Dostoevsky as I do, then you must read this article (actually a lecture) by Donald Sheehan. That’s his picture (which made me want to read the article in the first place – sort of ZZ Tops and Dosteoevsky) Forgive me. But it is exquisite. His own story and Memory Eternal is worth whatever time you give it. It’s hard to read too much Dostoevsky.

To Forgive is Divine

One of the more important verses in the New Testament, it seems to me, is Christ statement, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). I have noticed that there are some side discussions that some of my comments have been used in on the subject of “synergism” vs. “monergism,” which is not a debate I wish to take part in (I don’t think debates serve much of a Godly purpose),…

That One Must Be Watchful Not to Judge Anyone

From the Wisdom of the Desert Fathers. In a monastery there were two remarkable brothers who soon merited to see the grace of God descend upon each other. Now one day it happened that one of them went out of the monastery on a Friday and saw someone who was eating in the morning, and he said to him, ‘Why are you eating at this hour on a Friday?’ Later there was…

The Grace of Forgiveness

  I never know quite how these things work, but I awoke this morning with the tune and words of “Open to me the Gates of Repentance.” It invariably set the tone of my morning’s thought and the background for the better part of the day. It occurred to me, reflecting, that forgiveness, like repentance, is not automatic, or even the sort of thing we can “do,” in and of ourselves. We…

The Word of God

Every human thought, every human word, is energy, a force. And if this is true where human thought and speech are concerned, how much more so is it with the Divine word, the word of Christ. When we hear Christ’s Gospel sayings, so fragrant, so gentle and sweet – ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ or ‘This is my commandment, that ye love one another’ or ‘Learn…

A Brief Apology

If you’ve been reading today and wondering about articles appearing and disappearing I was doing some repair caused by my own damage. I apologize particularly to Jean-Michel for misunderstanding his translation (I am still working on my French – and non-verbal signals.) The internet can be a wonderful place and confusing at times. I have reposted the article Ignorance and God and posted its links to Jean-Michel’s French translation as well as…

The Great Mystery of Everything

I have written earlier that I am an ignorant man. I am now translated into Romanian and French on that very topic. Apparently my 15 minutes of fame will come as an ignorant man. That’s doubtless a good thing. But as we near the time that Orthodox Christians approach one another and ask forgiveness (Great Lent), we do well to remember the utter mystery that we confront. No one knows the things…

The Dread Judgment Seat of Christ

Though we do well to spend time speaking of the heart it is also important that it not be somehow viewed separate from the rest of us. The heart is not only the seat of our encounter with God, it is also the place where our own evil thoughts may emanate. What comes from the heart reveals the heart. In the 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus offers the parable of the…