Finding the Problems at Home – Its All in Your Mind

If you like history (as I do) then there is always a temptation to look to history for answers. It is certainly the case that the present has much of its situation from the givens it inherited in its history. But we are none us completely explained by our forebears. I certainly have aspects inherited from my parents, but my personal world is still not the sole result of long historical forces…

Leaving the Secular Life

The default position of America is secular protestantism. I say this is the default position and mean by it – that without effort and care – we all find ourselves thinking and acting out of a secular protestant mindset. Of course, I need to offer a definition for my terms. By secular protestantism (and I mean no insult to Protestants by the term) I mean a generalized belief in God – but…

The Unity of the Faith

It is said proverbially in Orthodoxy that “one who prays is a theologian and a theologian is one who prays.” This intends fully to say that an unlettered peasant may be a greater theologian than someone who holds many degrees and can offer page after page of published articles. There is only one reason this is so: theology is about God as reality and not God as a concept. Subtlety was an…

I’m Glad We Cleared That Up!

Pope Benedict XVI has just released a clarification on the documents of Vatican II where he explains what is meant by calling the Orthodox “Churches” while still maintaining that they are “defective.” In a major problem that exists between Orthodox understandings of the nature of the Church and Roman Catholic understandings of the nature of the Church – he reiterated that the recognition of the papacy as universal primate of the Church…

The Wonder of Communion

Despite the title, this post is not directly, or at least not yet about the Mystery of Holy Communion. Instead it begins first with the mystery of communion that can only take place when other persons are about. For yet the third time in my family’s life, a child is soon to marry, though this time it is a manchild (to use the Biblical expression). On Sunday week my son will marry…

The Church of the Unanxious God

The story of the conversion of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware to Orthodoxy has more or less passed over into modern Orthodox legend. He accidentally stumbles into a Vigil service in order to get out of a rain storm. Discovering Orthodoxy and its beauty he begins to inquire into conversion only to be told to go back to his Anglican Church (he was not a clergyman, by the way). When eventually he does convert,…

Why is Love so difficult?

As I’ve noted, I’m on retreat with about 15 youth at a monastery. Our topic has been freedom and love – the two most important things necessary in our journey to become fully what God has created us to be. It’s not a complicated subject. “Everybody’s in favor of love,” Fr. Thomas Hopko says. What then, is so difficult about love? Of course, love is not difficult as a topic. As discussions…

On the Shoulders of Giants

One of the peculiar things (though not really) about the Orthodox Church in America (and by this I mean all the jurisdictions) is the fact that in a little over 200 years on this continent, we have been blessed by the showing forth of many saints. And not only have saints been shown forth, but many of those saints have been among our hierarchs. Men such as St. Innocent of Alaska and Metropolitan…