Love and Freedom

...  most difficult aspect of love is the freedom it inherently requires. Love, in its ultimate and ...  Christian teaching (constantly affirmed in the Orthodox Church) that God’s intention towards us is to raise us up as equals. We say ...  tragedy but embraces its consequences in His death on the Cross. It is fully within our freedom that He addresses us and rescues us from ...

Irony and Belief

...  is probably too much to ask of youth. If I can remember myself in my college years, the most I could ...  is ever present even within our own heart. The failures of Church and those who are most closely associated with it can easily crush the ...  far too much to say about it. But it is the irony of the Cross: Love enduring all things. If you know the Cross and the Love that is ...

Why Mary Has Always Been Honored

...  Wednesday (August 15) is the Feast of the Dormition, the Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary. I offer this ...  is the place and role of the Mother of God in the Church and in my life. It is, on the one hand, deeply theological and even ...  be revealed. (Luk 2:34-35) Here, Mary is linked to the Cross of Christ in the piercing of her soul. I describe these stories as ...

Unbelief and Good Friday

  Christmas and Easter are often difficult days for those who do not believe in God. Christians ...  God rather than first about Christ and His death on the Cross and resurrection from the dead. It is a mistake because it presumes we ...  battles that are hidden from our knowledge. When the Church proclaims, “Christ is risen, trampling down death by death and upon ...

When Chaos Ruled the World – Part I

...  the ancient civilizations of the Near East there were strange stories about the place of chaos in the beginning of all ...  their later Christian descendants were glad to see the Church baptizing the trees as well as people. There simply is no “pristine” ...  made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over? So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with ...

Theophany – The Waters Were Afraid

...  I was seven years old, I "went forward" one Sunday morning in response to a ...  a strange thing to say (or contemplate) but it is how the Church contemplates it: The Lord refashions broken Adam in the streams of the ...  to Christ, for apart from Him, "we can do nothing." The Cross cannot be loved from a distance or theologized at arms-length. It is ...

The Morality of Christmas

...  moral society. I pray my readers to be patient with me as I explain what I think is the problem. First, I will note that morality is ...  but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. (Eph ...

The Tree Heals the Tree

...  are familiar with St. Paul's description of Christ as the "Second Adam." It is an example of the frequent Apostolic use of an ...  (largely written during the Patristic period) of the Church's liturgical life is utterly permeated by such a use of allegory. The ...

Get Your Soul Back

...  was the last time you heard someone express concern for their soul? When was the ...  a psychologized world-view. And even popular evangelical Churches presume that a born-again life will be a happier life. Jesus has ...  those who would follow Him that they must “take up their cross.” This is not a description of the road to self-fulfillment - it is the ...

A Better World is Within You

...  On their surface, these desires seem deeply religious. But as religions go, they are married more to hell than to heaven. And, just to ...  ability to bear suffering are of much greater use. For the Church, an abiding question must be, “How do we become the kind of community ...

The Sacrifice of Worship

...  God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Genesis 22), there was no ...  the same. Fast forward to the setting of an Orthodox Church. Here there are numerous icons of holy men and women (saints) adorning ...  Orthodox render to saints and holy objects (relics, the Cross, icons, etc.) is understood to be honor or veneration. No sacrifices are ...

Unbelief and Good Friday

Christmas and Easter are often difficult days for those who do not believe in God. Christians ...  God rather than first about Christ and His death on the Cross and resurrection from the dead. It is a mistake because it presumes we ...  battles that are hidden from our knowledge. When the Church proclaims, “Christ is risen, trampling down death by death and upon ...

Look Who’s Talking

...  it drowns everything else out. One simple question we can ask: “Who’s doing the talking?” This voice is not the product of ...  in hell from many of the greatest spiritual fathers in the Church. I have become all too accustomed to hearing extreme statements of ...

To Serve God

...  our very best, it is almost impossible to serve God. The reason is quite simple: when my goal is to be my very best, the goal is my God. ...  become. We are simply not up to the task. Arriving at Church on a Sunday with questions, “I wonder what Church will be like today? ...

Honor, Subversion and the Kingdom of God

...  who read the New Testament see it as advocating for and supporting the oppressive structures of its time. They ...  subversion: they are practical applications of the Cross to life in this world. They do not exist to uphold the powers that be, ...  of symphonia, the cooperative work between Emperor and Church that became a primary vision of the Byzantine synthesis. Its legacy is ...

To Sing Like a River

...  stood looking out at a river rushing past the rocks - a brisk morning in the North Carolina mountains, a rare setting for the Divine Liturgy. The tradition of the Church generally holds that services such as the Divine Liturgy are to be held ...  in the Church. There are exceptions. In monasteries across the world, it is not unusual for a major feast to be held outdoors to ...

The Slow Work of Grace

...  of the kindness of God in the forgiveness of sins. As such, grace is instant and complete. This fits well within the legal ...  indeed have a quality of "suddenness" - the thief on the Cross found paradise "in a single moment" according to the hymns of the Orthodox Church. But for most people - salvation is a life-long process in which we ...