The Church of the Second Storey (And Why There Isn’t Really One)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may…

Some Further Thoughts on the Atonement

One of the most peculiar statements relating to the Atonement can be found in Revelation 13:8 where Christ is descibed as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.” In a similar fashion we read in 1 Peter 1:18-20: You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that…

The Fullness of the Cross of Christ

In writing about our union with Christ I offered the following as the response to a question. It seemed to me, worth a posting of its own, though it be short. I have, however, added a few thoughts to it. There are many ways of which to speak of Christ’s work on the Cross, all of them, of course, seeing it as central. In some ways, it is the whole of the Old…

Communion with Christ and the Union of Marriage

One of the clearest images of the relationship we have with Christ is that of marriage between a man and a woman. St. Paul makes reference to this in Ephesians 5: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are…

What Does It Mean to Have Communion with God?

I am sure that the title of this post seems obvious and as though I had pulled a question out of a catechism. And yet, my experience tells me that things that seem as though they ought to be obvious often are not, particularly the more basic and fundamental they are in our life as Orthodox believers. In an earlier post I noted that the world fellowship is often found in English…

Is Fellowship with God Possible?

Too little has been written about the politics (and theology) of Bible translations. From the very first instance, the goal of English translations has not been a primary concern with a faithful rendering of the meaning of the text. Much of the history of the English Bible has been precisely over the agenda carried by the translation itself. Most readers remain unaware of such issues. Most will not notice that the King…

Living a One Storey Life

I have chosen to use language of the “first and second storey” to describe the kind of bifurcation that the modern world has experienced over the past several centuries. Its results have been to smash the religious world into “sacred” and “secular” and to make believing both harder and disbelief more natural. Thus, to many atheists their world view seems obvious, while believers try to make leaps of logic and argument that…

Christ Crucified

Writing to the Corinthians, St. Paul makes one his most famous statements: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1Cor. 2:2). It is among the clearest definitions of the apostolic preaching to be found anywhere in the New Testament, or perhaps I should say, “everywhere in the New Testament.” For this is not a statement of the peculiar doctrine of St. Paul, but a plain…

Leaving the Secular Life – Part 2

It is one thing to describe the cultural mix in which we swim and quite another to swim in an opposite direction. One of my favorite icons is a Theophany icon (Christ’s Baptism). In it you can see fish swimming in the water. All of the fish are swimming downstream except one. A single fish, just beneath the hand of Christ, is swimming in the opposite direction. The first time I saw…

Godly Counsel from a Holy Elder

I am sharing here a few sayings from the Elder Amphilochios of Patmos, someone whose life and teachings I have heard spoken of before by Metropolitian Kallistos of Diocleia (Kallistos Ware). They are worth savoring. The quotes come from the volume Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit. I am especially fond of his attitude to trees. +++ My children, I don’t want Paradise without you. Whoever plants a tree, plants hope, peace,…