The Mother of God

One aspect of Christmas (including Protestant Christmas) that I always enjoyed was the increasing attention given to the Mother of Jesus. Christmas cards feature her; hymns of “Mary, meek and mild” are sung. And even though such popular treatments will fall far short of the theological fullness of the one who gave birth to God the Word, it has always, nevertheless, been comforting to hear her get at least some public mention.…

How Do We See Our Neighbor?

This is a short excerpt from the book, The Monk of Mount Athos, by Fr. Sophrony on the life of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos. It says much about how we see one another, and how the transformation of the world has to begin with our own selves. We see in others that which our own spiritual experience has shown us about ourselves, and so a man’s attitude to his fellow is…

Orthodoxy in the Postmodern World

It is a very different landscape we inhabit than our parents or grandparents. I am probably closer to my parents, generationally, than I am to my children. Though we share some songs of rock’n’roll, most of their music is lost on me. It’s not as foreign to me as mine was to my parents, but foreign enough. I find myself saying things that sound like my dad talking (it’s scary). Our religious…

Praying Like a Publican

Sometime back someone said to me, “Whenever I’ve sinned I never feel like praying. I feel unworthy and I just can’t pray.” The statement sounded correct – I’ve had the same feeling often enough. But I kept thinking about it until the question came to me, “What am I waiting to feel before I pray?” In the case at hand, I would suppose one would be waiting not to feel like such…

Why Pagans Aren’t Really Pagan

Pagan is one of those wonderful words. We Christians can use it when we mean people who have ceased to believe in monotheism but have started believing in lots of other stuff (forces, etc.). I thought a lot about this over the summer after seeing a group of druid-wannabe’s at Stonehenge. They were dressed for the part, except for the amount of polyester involved. We are in a season when people will…

When an Icon Finds Its Home

I’m not sure you’ll find any of this written in books about the Orthodox faith – it’s only an oral tradition, and I’m not sure you can exactly call it a “tradition.” All I can say is that I’ve “heard” it more than once. And I’ve seen it’s truth. It has to do with icons – with them finding us – which is not to be confused with us finding them. There…

The Atonement – It’s Still About God

I am greatly interested in the discussion stirred up earlier this week in my posts on the Atonement. The discussions were good, and well behaved. Indeed, I would say that the conversation was productive. What fascinates me, is the interest we have in the discussion of the Atonement. The popularity of any particular blog post is still a bit of a mystery to me. I run about 700 views a day on…

Whose Fault Is It Anyway?

I am publishing this post a day early for the sake of the conversation generated by my recent atonement posts. I hope the conversation goes forward well. My recent post on “Are You Saved?” generated perhaps our longest list of comments, thus far, and, by far, the most erudite and serious. The subject of the atonement, and the picture of God presented by the doctrine have been a touchy subject between some…

Inside and Out

Some continuing thoughts on salvation… One of the weaknesses of theology over the past number of centuries has been an occasional lapse into viewing the category of morality has simply a category of our actions. In that sense, moral has to do with behavior, not with existence. It is how we act, not what we are. As I say, this is a problem, because it leads us into very problematic ways of…

“Are You Saved?”

My life in the South has been marked by the question, “Are you saved?” As a child, street preachers from the local fundamentalist protestant college would hold forth in front of the Dollar Store (which was also the bus stop), guaranteeing something of a captive audience. The question in that context had a simple meaning: a. you are born with the sin and guilt of Adam b. you are thus deserving of…