To Tell the Truth

Abba Poemen said, “Teach your mouth to say that which is in your heart. +++ Speaking the truth is as fundamental as the Ten Commandments. It also receives a great deal of attention within the pages of the New Testament. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the…

The Christian Crisis

Any student of Church history should be well aware that there has been no century in which the Christian faith was safe, untroubled and not in crisis. To a certain extent, the Cross will always bring Christians into crisis. However, these are some thoughts on the present and some aspects of the crisis in which we live (at this moment in history). +++ One of the larger crises facing modern Christians is…

Doctrines and Opinion

From the Desert Fathers: Malicious sceptics visited Abba Agathon to see if they could annoy him. They had heard that Agathon possessed great discretion and self-control. They spoke directly to him, “Agathon, we heard that you are an adulterer and full of pride.” He answered, “Yes, that’s true.” “Are you the same Agathom who gossips and slanders?” “I am.” “Are you Agathon the heretic?” “No, I am not a heretic.” “Why did…

Being Famous Doesn't Make You Moral

The news story is so common that the name can be left blank.  “N. confessed today that he has been unfaithful to his wife and children and let down his fans. ‘I want to say I’m sorry for what I’ve done and ask God’s forgiveness.’” I do not believe that our nation is suffering a rash of infidelities. We are suffering a rash of cheap shots – easily made because the targets…

The Fullness of Faith

I prefer to use the term “fullness” when describing the Orthodox faith because it is far more explanatory than simply saying that we are the “true Church,” etc. “Fullness,” of course does not deny this, but it moves us onto more fruitful ground. In this post I offer a short list of what seem to me important consequences of giving one’s life to the “fullness of the faith.”  This is a reprint…

At The Edge of Tradition – More Notes from the Edge

There are many things that we see in our lives to which the word “traditional” may be attached. It can refer to a style of dress or an understanding of relationships. In Church it may refer to the use of certain kinds of music or a sytle of worship. Many years ago, pastoring my first parish as an Episcopal priest, I had a young couple who were Roman Catholics, who had come…

Orthodox Dialog

  Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is among the better known figures in English-speaking Orthodoxy. One of the Greek Orthodox hierarchs in Britain, he is an articulate spokesman for the Orthodox faith. In this small video he speaks about three areas where Orthodoxy in the contemporary world needs to be in “dialog” – not to learn what it does not know – but to bring the riches of Orthodox understanding to places that should…

What Is Man – That Thou Art Mindful of Him?

In 1839 the eighteen-year-old youth Dostoesvsky wrote to his brother: “Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to be a man.” From Konstantin Mochulsky’s Dostoevsky: His Life and Work A short time ago I wrote about the “soul as mystery” – the fear and wonder…

“And For Thy Whole World”

Anyone familiar with Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazovshould remember the teaching in that novel of the Elder Zossima. He states that “each man is responsible for the sins of every man,” and holds this realization as the key to the life of paradise. The great novelist is not inventing a new idea, but simply allowing one of his characters to give voice to a teaching that is essential to the Orthodox life. We…