Christmas Time

The feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, draws near and the anxiety of the world increases. There are those who worry that the feast is surrounded by too much commercialism. Others fear that religion will once again invade their safely guarded secular spaces. These are only the most vocalized anxieties – busyness consumes our lives. I think of the words from the Dr. Seuss character, the…

Personal Issues

From 2009 The title of this post is quite misleading – for in proper theological language – there are no “personal issues.” Our culture is quite fond of issues – both the politico-entertainment industry – and many individuals. It is a word and a phenomenon that has been baptized by the culture such that “being concerned with the issues” makes someone sound as if things matter to them in a significant way. The…

The End of Religion

Christianity…is in a profound sense the end of all religion. In the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus made this clear. “‘Sir,’ the woman said to him, ‘I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’ Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, believe me, the our cometh, when ye shall neither…

The Secular Man and the Christian Man

Many Orthodox writers have spoken about the nature of the secular world, the defining form of modernity. I take here an opportunity to make a small comparison between the secular man and the Christian. The secular man may believe that there is a God, but he also believes that the situation and outcome of the world are dependent upon the actions of human beings. The Christian man believes that there is a…

A Culture of Remembrance

America is torn in a debate at present over the building of a Mosque at Ground Zero, the former location of the Twin Towers in New York, destroyed by an act of terrorism. At the same time, an Orthodox Church that was crushed by the falling towers has been ignored by New York authorities. It is a painful time, full of the anger and recriminations that seem to accompany all political discourse…

Fellowship and the Tower of Babel

I had an occasion last week to be confronted by a Protestant fundamentalist “street preacher.” Wearing a cassock and a cross in public clearly identifies me as a priest (though in this part of the world most people know nothing of Orthodox priests). It also makes you a target for some who want to have arguments about religion. Thus, last week, while doing work on the local university campus, I was approached…

Tradition and the Heart

He who possesses in truth the word of Jesus can hear even its silence. St. Ignatius of Antioch (To the Ephesians, XV, 2) The faculty of hearing the silence of Jesus, attributed by St. Ignatius to those who in truth possess His word, echoes the reiterated appeal of Christ to His hearers: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” The words of Revelation have then a margin of silence which…

The Crisis of Religion

The term “sacramental” means here that the basic and primordial intuition which not only expresses itself in worship, but of which the entire worship is indeed the “phenomenon” – both effect and experience – is that the world, be it in its totality as cosmos, or in its life and becoming as time and history, is an epiphany of God, a means of His revelation, presence, and power. In other words, it…

The Presence in Absence

This short post is among the first to appear on this blog – dating back to October of ’06. In the light of conversations about hiddenness – it seemed here timely to bring this back to our attention. I  have written on the topic of the absence of God (or our sense of it) since the beginning of my work. And even though conversations with contemporary non-believers can be tedious – they…

Hidden and Triumphant – Learning the Story

Orthodox Christianity has sometimes been called, “The World’s Best Kept Secret.” There is a certain truth to this – the ignorance in the Western world of Byzantine history, let alone Russian and Balkan history – is staggering. Many Orthodox are uninformed about the full story of their faith – as well as most modern converts. There is, at times, a make-believe history, created by lively imaginations of a pure Church somehow preserved…