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…

Hopko on the Apocalypse (with a slight nod to Narnia)

I drive around a good bit covering the area of my parish. One of my great joys is to listen to various tapes or CD’s by Orthodox speakers. Over the years, none have fed me more than Fr. Thomas Hopko. I offer a short quotation here from one of his most recent CD’s. I highly recommend it. I’ll offer an observation or two in a moment.  Speaking on the Apocalypse of St.…

Raising Christians

I enjoyed the wonderful responses I got to my recent article, How Hard Is It?, in which I looked at our need to teach the faith to the next generation. In offering further reflection, it seems to me that nothing can be more fearful, frustrating, or rewarding as teaching the faith to our children. It is probably the great test of our faith. Stanley Hauerwas, whom I was privileged to study under…