Be Still and Know God

There is a point of stillness within us, though we rarely recognize it. We inhabit the world of our thoughts and feelings and rarely find them to be quiet. Almost nothing challenges the “normalcy” of this noisy world – almost everything we encounter is aimed towards it and markets itself with this reality in mind. Not so the gospel. Christ consistently and persistently speaks past the noise in a person’s head. He…

The Tradition of Being Human

Being human is a cultural event. No one is human by themselves and no one becomes human without the help of those around them. This is so obvious it should not need to be stated, but contemporary man often imagines himself to be his own creation. The exercise of individual freedom is exalted as the defining characteristic of our existence: “I am what I choose to be.” To suggest that most of…

America and the Perversion of Christianity

Many people in our modern cultures have only a vague or non-existent knowledge of history. This is especially true of Americans. The downside of such ignorance should seem obvious. Most modern Christians have very little acquaintance with Christian history – and strangely – even less with modern Christian history. Though some might be aware of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, or even the Great Schism, they know almost nothing about American Church history…

The Transformation of Orthodoxy

I apologize. There are many others who can write with far more knowledge and expertise about this topic. I write out of deep gratitude from within the limits of my situation. On July 1, the Very Rev. Peter Gillquist fell asleep in the Lord. His story, along with that of many others, is part of a modern transformation of the Orthodox Church, an awakening to the work of evangelism for the Church…

Evangelizing the Neurotic

I greatly appreciate the response and questions to the article by Fr. Meletios on parish life and ego-driven needs. I am working on an article with reflections.  I will be focusing particularly on the question of how we evangelize those whose egos are the driving force in their lives. If the ego (as defined by Fr. Meletios) has no true existence – what is there to be saved? Most of us have…

The Chariot of Israel and Its Horsemen – The Repose of Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas

And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall…

Crises, Dostoevsky and the Gospel

There is something of a common thread that runs throughout the novels of Dostoevsky, the 19th century Russian writer: personal crises. Dostoevsky has long been recognized as a genius of psychological perception, writing at a time before psychology was a formal academic discipline. Many of his novels carry a relgious theme, particularly Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. There are other personal crises in many of his other works – though…

Means and Ends

St. Seraphim of Sarov is quoted as saying, “You cannot achieve good ends through evil means.” I have taken this to be a given since I first read it. It does not mean that God does not work all things together for good. But it does mean that I must consider carefully how I go about seeking to do a “good” thing. In the history of Christianity there have been many tempatations…

Justice and Mercy – With Thanks to the Pontificator

Fr. Al Kimel has recently posted an article (The Injustice of Grace) on the triumph of God’s mercy that is well worth reading.  The following is an excerpt in which he quotes passages from St. Isaac the Syrian and St. Antony the Great: The seventh century ascetical master, St. Isaac the Syrian, boldly challenged the portrayal of God as one who rewards the virtuous and punishes the wicked: Do not call God just,…

You Can Never Be Too Kind

When I was first assigned as lay pastor, and later, as priest for the fledgling mission in Knoxville, TN, I asked my Archbishop for advice. He had served and been a successful Orthodox missionary in the South for better than 30 years. His simple advice to me was, “I have made it a rule always to accept an invitation to speak.” His method generally followed that model. He practiced hospitality and kindness…