The Moral Path of Being

If Christian morality is not a legal or forensic matter, how are we to think about moral behavior? Does the word have no use for Orthodox Christians? What do we think about when we confess our sins? If morality is ontological – a matter of being – what does that look like? To say that morality is ontological, a matter of our being, is to confess that the commandments of God are…

To Be or Not To Be – A Moral Question?

As I continue this series on morality (or unmorality) the conversation continues to push me back to basics. There are deeply important reasons for unthinking the morality of the modern world and rethinking its place in our relationship with God. The most important reason is because it is incorrect to think of us as primarily moral beings. So what would constitute a moral being? A Moral Being A being understood primarily as…

The Unmoral Christian Revisited

My article, The Un-moral Christian, along with You’re Not Getting Better, have continued to generate conversation around the internet, and within parishes. At least that’s the impression I get from numerous conversations, emails, social media, and even phone calls. Most of those conversations seem to be serious and are engaging the question of how Orthodox Christians should think about the moral life. A recent conversation in my parish has yielded some additional…

Gifts and Talents and the Road to Hell

At some point in my past, there was a survey used in parishes that was all the rage. It was a “gifts and talents” survey, designed to make everyone in the parish find their true ministry and to work together in fulfillment of St. Paul’s description of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians. The key in these surveys was to determine precisely what gifts and talents someone had, match them with…

St. Mary of Egypt and Moral Progress

The suggestion has been made several times recently that my criticism of moral progress is not supported by the example of the saints. Surely, it is said, the transformations we read about in the lives of the saints are clear examples of moral progress. A noted such example, perhaps the greatest story of repentance and asceticism known in the Church, is that of St. Mary of Egypt. It is worth looking carefully at her…

The Problem of Goodness

Though many struggle with the so-called “Problem of Evil,” the greater moral problem is that of goodness. How do we account for goodness in the world – particularly self-sacrificing heroic goodness? It is not uncommon for a person in a dangerous situation to place their own life at risk in order to save the life of another. It is by no means universal (some act first to save themselves or are paralyzed…

While We’re At It – An “Unmoral” Word from the Holy Mountain

In an effort to help my critics understand my articles, friends have sent me excellent links here and there. A link to a Lenten article by Fr. Alexis Trader (of Karakalou on the Holy Mountain) gives more witness to what has been said: The problem is that salvation and transfiguration are not a matter of morality. The publican and the prodigal were not moral people. They did all the wrong things, but…

Eschatological Eloquence – Fr. Aidan Kimel’s Response

My long-time friend, Fr. Aidan Kimel, has written a very helpful article on the topic of the “Unmoral Christian.” He enlists C.S. Lewis in the cause of a proper understanding. What could be better than that? I strongly encourage those readers who are still pondering all of this – to follow the link to his article. He adds meat to my bare bones!

Of Course We Are Called to be Moral – A Response to My Critics

Well, the firestorm has moved even to my host, Ancient Faith Blogs. There, you can find a response and a critique of my last article, The Unmoral Christian. I find nothing in the response with which I disagree. The author argues that externals are often important, certainly for beginners, and suggests that I have overplayed my hand in overemphasized the inner nature of our lives. That is perhaps true. Every child certainly…

The Un-Moral Christian

In recent articles I have challenged the place of contemporary morality in the Christian life. Some have had difficulty with this, wondering how we should then think about the commandments that are directed towards our behavior. Others have suggested that my challenge is merely semantic. There are certainly semantic distinctions being made here – but the reason for them is important and goes beyond mere words. But if it is not proper to think…