Three Things and the One Thing

In a comment, I recently described three dominant concepts in our modern culture. They are so dominant that questioning them can actually be disconcerting. I have questioned them before and been hammered more than once as a result. But I am sure of my ground and offer these thoughts for however they may be of use. The ideas: We define ourselves and our world by the choices we make. We have the…

A Progressive Marriage

How is your marriage progressing? This simple question is a way of focusing our attention on right-thinking about progress and the Christian life. I posed the question to myself – I have been married now for 40 years. My first thought was, “What would ‘progress’ in a marriage mean?” Do I love my wife more, or any less? What would more love look like? The truth of marriage is that progress is…

The Life of the Cosmos

What does it mean to be alive? This is a question whose answer would seem so obvious that it is hardly worth asking. And yet. A recent comment drew attention to a different way of thinking about what is “alive.” I will offer some quotes from the comment and then some observations of my own. I give special thanks to Justin. Everything is alive. Everything. We encounter the trees bowing to St…

Living in the Real World

Nothing exists in general. If something is beautiful or good, it is manifest in a particular way at a particular time such that we can know it. And this is our true life. A life lived in a “generalized” manner is no life at all, but only a fantasy. However, this fantasy is increasingly the character of what most people think of or describe as the “real world.” A monk lives in…

Atheism and the Imagination

Einstein was famous for his “thought experiments.” He worked his way into radical new insights, not through careful research in a laboratory, but through careful work in the imagination. The same is true for almost all work in cosmology. You cannot simply observe the data generated from particle experiments and announce a conclusion. What is required is a work of imagination to describe a universe in which what has been observed makes…

A Gifted Existence

You cannot give thanks for what has not been given to you. This simple maxim goes to the heart of the Christian life. If I steal your money and burn down your house, I cannot offer thanks for what I have done. It was not given to me from God. Anything that is not a gift has the nature of sin. I can give thanks to God that He meets me in…

Understanding Evil and Doing Good

The Fathers commonly spoke of three things together: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. The three are related. And it is necessary to understand these three in order to understand the nature of evil – both why it is evil and how it behaves. The root of Truth, Beauty and Goodness in the Fathers is Being and Existence. God alone has true Being and all things exist and have their being as a gift…

The Soul and the Hidden Weight of Glory

Everyone likes things for various reasons. This is perhaps my favorite piece that I’ve done this year. I’m not entirely certain why. I think that in some way it touches on the fragility of our existence and even of our belief. I hope that rereading it might be a blessing for you as well. From a Facebook conversation: Though I wish I believed otherwise, in the depths of my being, I do…

A Matter of Life and Death

There are very few categories more basic than life and death. For Classical Christian thinking, they are essential. There has also been a tendency in both theology and philosophy, however, to move away from these fundamental categories and become lost in the complexities of other language. Thinking about the moral life is a prime example. A word like “sin” becomes an obscure subset of legal wrangling and tortured logic. The legacy of…

Begotten of the Father

No revelation is more central to the Christian faith than God as Father. Some might immediately respond that the Trinity should be seen as the central revelation. But, in Orthodox understanding, the Trinity has its source (πηγή) in the Father.  We should understand this not only as a matter of Trinitarian thought, but as the proper grounding of the spiritual life as well. To be a Christian in the proper sense, to…