Of One Substance

We are used to confessing that the Son of God is of “one substance” with the Father – meaning that the persons of the Holy Trinity are of one “essence” or “being.” It is also true, however, the all human beings are of “one substance” with all other human beings. That is to say there is only one human nature, essence or being, and that each of us as persons share in…

Conversion Amidst Family Strife

My posting yesterday spoke of things we could do as a family to strengthen ourselves in the common mind of Christ, allowing for the possibility of greater unity, particularly when considering something as major as conversion to the Orthodox faith. Sometimes, all efforts to the contrary, no peace or common mind arise. If someone believes the Orthodox faith to be the true faith, then finally, it would be a tragic sin not…

An Orthodox Family

Yesterday, at least two of the comments on the post about my son’s birthday asked questions about the family and Orthodox conversion. This is extremely close to my heart – both because of the blessings we have enjoyed in our family – and the blessings and difficulties I have seen in others. I should quickly add that my own family then and now faces issues. In 1998, myself, my wife, my three…

Twenty Years Ago Today

Twenty years ago today, I witnessed the birth of our third child, our son, James. Always a joy to our heart and those of others he has become a young man of whom I am proud and whose company is a delight. He was ten years old when I announced to the complete family that we were converting to Orthodoxy. He had heard nothing of this before and had been blissfully enjoying…

On the Other Hand

On the other hand – irony is probably too much to ask of youth. If I can remember myself in my college years, the most I could muster was sarcasm. Irony required more insight. There is a deep need for the appreciation of irony to sustain a Christian life. Our world is filled with contradiction. Hypocrisy is ever present even within our own heart. The failures of Church and those who are…

Ironic and Sardonic

I am the father of two children who still (for at least the next day or so) measure their lives in numbers that fall in the “teens.” My son turns 20 on Monday. Be that as it may, I still qualify as the father of teenagers. They certainly hear plenty from me about God, about the faith, about Church, and I give thanks that they take it seriously and are committed Christians.…

The Necessity of Monastics

A month or so ago I received an email from a young protestant who wondered: “What good is monasticism?” His arguments and observations were pretty similar to others I’ve heard over the years. I recall my older brother once asking me, “If a hermit is in the desert and is very holy, what good does it do since no one knows he’s there.” These questions, of course, come from our modern mindset…

Praying with Icons

In one of our recent services (Paschal Vespers as I recall) we had a handfull of visiting Russian Nationals. I’ve noticed this before – it’s sort of a cultural distinction – but the women (they were all female) came in, and stood for extended lengths of time before the icons, as if waiting for something, and then lit their candles. It is not universally true, but I have often noticed that we Americans,…

Carolina in my Mind

Some readers might appreciate the fact that I was born in South Carolina. For some other readers, I think especially of our Europeans and others across the internet globe, South Carolina means little. It is “Deep South” in the U.S., with its own distinctives. Perhaps one of its striking characteristics is that it has a strong sense of place. I know many Americans who do not have a sense of place –…

Reflections on Florovsky

The following is from my earlier post of Florovsky on Ecumenism:  The entire western experience of temptation and fall must be creatively examined and transformed; all that “European melancholy” (as Dostoevsky termed it) and all those long centuries of creative history must be borne. Only such a compassionate co-experience provides a reliable path toward the reunification of the fractured Christian world and the embrace and recovery of departed brothers. It is not…