Reading the Nativity Story

I was right. I said in a sermon several days ago that my congregation should expect the usual presentations on various parts of the Christmas story, the thrust of the articles (and letters to the editor) being about how either they did not occur on a literal level or how they did occur. This goes on every year. Some scientist throws around the latest Christmas theory about the star, (comet, supernova, etc.),…

The Pontificator Posts Again – And It’s Worth the Read

Many of you know of my long friendship with Roman Catholic priest and blogger, Fr. Al Kimel, a.k.a. The Pontificator. I would not be writing today except through his generosity and encouragement. Earlier this year he ceased writing. But he posted an article today that I heartily commend. It makes me long for more such thoughtful and careful work from the heart on Pontifications. A quote: I do not believe God to…

The Forefathers of Christ

Among the greatest blasphemies ever constructed by humankind was that of Nazi Germany. Not satisfied with their political dominance, they also sought a religious dominance as well. The notion of an “Aryan Christ” was perhaps the depths of their theological blasphemies mirrored in their dehumanization and murder of the Jews. At many points in the past two millennia, the relationship between Christians and Jews has hit low points – with the Jews…

Keeping It Real

I have mentioned in earlier posts the new work by Aristotle Papanikolaou Being with God. It is not an easy read but brings its rewards. Papanikolaou offers the first comprehensive study of the works of Met. John Zizioulas and Vladimir Lossky, two of the 20th century’s most important Orthodox theologians, and offers a very helpful analysis and comparison. I was struck by his initial summary of the common assumption of both Zizioulas…

If We Walk in the Light…

Some further thoughts beyond nature… In my previous post I quoted: “For the Fathers, indeed, personhood is freedom in relation to nature: it eludes all conditioning.” Perhaps my favorite and most reliable theological “buddy” is my wife. No one has the same shared history (we’ve known each other since I was 19 – we met in prayer group) and I can think of no one with whom I’ve shared more of my…

Who Am I?

I ask a sensual man, “Who are you?” and he replies, “I am I,” and he thinks of his body. I ask a thinking man, “Who are you?” and he replies, “I see two sides in myself and I make my way between them, associating first with one and then the other,” and he is thinking of his instinctive and conscious soul. I ask a spiritual man, “Who are you?” and he…

In the Secret Place of the Most High God

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 There aren’t many secrets anymore. I live in a city that is known as the “Secret City,” because in the Second World War it was one of the main sites of the Manhattan Project where the atom bomb, or elements of it, were developed. I have lived here for 18 years…

Saturday – the Most Holy Mother of God and the Faithful Departed

On Saturdays, the Orthodox Church remembers the Most Holy Mother of God and the faithful departed. During Holy Week, the Church celebrates Christ’s descent to the dead and His trampling down death by death on Holy Saturday, just as a week before on Lazarus Saturday, it remembers Christ’s raising Lazarus from the tomb. Throughout the year, but especially during Great Lent, there are a number of Saturdays that are “Soul Saturdays,” or…

Thursdays – the Holy Apostles and Great Hierarchs

Thursdays in the Orthodox Church are devoted to the Holy Apostles and the Great Hierarchs, especially St. Nicholas of Myra, the Wonderworker. As someone noted earlier, Thursday is the “twelfth” day of the week (if Sunday is eight) thus the association of the 12 Apostles – though which came first – the designation or the reckoning is known only to the angels – but that was Monday… St. Paul states: the Church…