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…

We Are Not Here to Help

My writings are sometimes treated as though I’m offering some new insight. That only tells me that the reader has only just begun to read. I pray God never to be original in my thoughts, for I long for nothing other than the Tradition. At best, I simply bring the Tradition back into the conversation again and again. I offer here a short passage from Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s For the Life of…

Excuse Me, You Are Not Rational

Words have a way of getting hijacked. Language refuses to stay unchanged and the result can be confusion, particularly when language is compared across the centuries. A common sentiment, written in one century, can be taken to mean something completely different in another. Such is the case with the word “rational.” The word was hijacked around the 18th century and has become a chief accomplice in the misdoings of the Modern Project.…

Human Tradition in a Modern World

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.  – Monty Python and the Holy Grail The comic genius of Monty Python often shows it face when interjecting the present into the past. The charming Arthurian legend of the transmission of Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake is demolished with the…

The Poetry of God

Whoever wants to become a Christian must first become a poet. – St. Pophyrios of Kavsokalyvia St. Porphyrios made this statement in the context of love and suffering: That’s what it is! You must suffer. You must love and suffer–suffer for the one you love. Love makes effort for the loved one. She runs all through the night; she stays awake; she stains her feet with blood in order to meet her beloved.…

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 Priest’s Wife

It is hard to explain to the non-Orthodox the position and role of a priest’s wife. As a convert priest, my family life extends to both Protestant and Orthodox experience.  I have been married for 40 years and ordained for 35 of those years. I cannot imagine my life or my ministry without my wife.  Despite the experience of married priests, the canons of the Church in the West began to insist…

Unecumenism – The Saving Union

My recent articles on the Church drew attention to the topic of union and its importance within the life of the Church – indeed, it is the life of the Church. Orthodox theology, when rightly considered, has a “seamless” quality: everything fits and one thing enlightens another. Perhaps the single most important thread in this seamless quality can be summed up in the term union. The word for union (ἕνωσις) does not actually…

Unecumenism and the Sins of All

The concept of the One Church shifted during the Reformation. I offer a case in point as well as a reflection on how it changes our current understanding. The old Anglican Book of Common Prayer offers one of the early examples of a subtle shift in Christian thinking and speech. In the Thanksgiving after Communion we read: Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us, in…