Ships and Saints and All the Company of Heaven

I offered a quote from Charles Taylor in a previous posting – as a small reminder I offer it again. One of the central points common to all Reformers was their rejection of mediation. The mediaeval church as they understood it, a corporate body in which some, more dedicated, members could win merit and salvation for others who were less so, was anathema to them. There could be no such thing as…

Falwell’s Death – the Passing of an Era?

When I was fresh out of seminary, the year was 1980, an election year. I was a newly ordained Episcopal Deacon, serving in a parish with a priest who told me on the first day, “I do not pray.” That same summer I began to get mailings from something called the “Moral Majority.” Those of you who are younger than I will not remember a time when American politics were less polarized…

The Ship of Salvation

One of the central points common to all Reformers was their rejection of mediation. The mediaeval church as they understood it, a corporate body in which some, more dedicated, members could win merit and salvation for others who were less so, was anathema to them. There could be no such thing as more devoted or less devoted Christians: the personal commitment must be total or it was worthless…. for Protestantism there can…

Living Large and Love

It is common to both the writings of Dostoevsky [particularly in the Brothers Karamazov] and in the teachings of the Elder Sophrony and St. Silouan, that each man must see and understand himself to be responsible for the sins of all. This can be a statement that troubles some – as if doing this were a mere spiritual game – or a violation of others’ responsibility. It is, in fact, a profound…

Truth and the Icon

Icons are very peculiar things as art goes. Those who do not understand them often find their “flat,” and almost “stylized” presentation of human beings and events rather stitled or off-putting. The non-Orthodox, I believe, realize that there’s more to an icon than meets the eye, but are not sure where to begin or how to frame the question. Not all Orthodox know the correct answers. We have many visitors to St.…

From A Spiritual Psalter

St. Theophan the Recluse collected excerpts from the works of St. Epraim the Syrian and arranged them as 150 “Psalms”. the following is Psalm 11. I Can Control Neither Myself nor the Enemy. Help Me, O Lord! No one can heal my disease except He Who knows the depths of the heart. How many times have I set boundaries for myself and built walls between myself and sin! But my thoughts transgressed the…

Scripture and Tradition – Fr. John Behr

The following is excerpted from Fr. John Behr’s lecture on the Orthodox Faith, delivered in 1998 at the University of North Carolina. A link to the full text is given at the end of the article.  Fr. John is now Dean of St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary. Rather than talking about the historical or external aspects of the Churches who have identified themselves as Orthodox, “Orthodoxy” in the first sense of the term, it is primarily…

See Paradise

This June I will be joined by Fr. Justin Mathews and his family here in my ministry at St. Anne Orthodox Church. Among other things, he is a contemporary Christian musician with some excellent work. I have a feeling that I’m going to know much more about contemporary Christian Orthodox musicians in the near future. I offer one of his songs here for your edification and ask you to remember him and…

The Problem of Goodness

From my first class in Philosophy 101 in college, the so-called “Problem of Evil” has been tossed up as the “clincher” in arguments against the existence of God. How can a good God allow innocent people to suffer? The most devastating case ever made on the subject was in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. Ivan Karamazov, in the chapter entitled “Rebellion,” which is the chapter preceding the famous “Grand Inquisitor,” makes the details of…