Seeking the Light

I ended my last post by asking “Who can help us find a way out of the darkness that threatens to engulf us?” Looking back over history, we discover remarkable echoes of hope-in-darkness that often followed a similar path of recovery, a roadmap to re-illumination: re-grouping, remembering, re-igniting.  During times of danger and darkness believers faithful to Christ have repeatedly responded to descending darkness by coalescing into small groups in order to…

Growth Inhibitors: Loss of Expertise and Knowledge

We need to consider a few more questions before we turn to the question of finding hope in the midst of the descending darkness. If I am correct in suggesting that we are facing a new dark age, a darkness enveloping our society as well as our Church, then perhaps we need to consider the effects that darkness is having or, to put it differently, what the cost to the Church will…

Growth Inhibitors: Moral Darkness

In my last post I proposed a way for us to understand why it is so hard for believers to accept or even listen to the ever-growing charge of hypocrisy. Indeed, I know of almost no believers who accept the accusation or even consider the opinions of non-believers on this matter to be valid and worthy of consideration. But, as I suggested, they are, to a certain extent, justified in rejecting (ignoring)…

Growth Inhibitors: Changing the Rules

In my last post I suggested that the apparent decline in North American Churches might be caused by the fact that many today think Christians are hypocrites. One writer suggested that believers are “the single greatest cause of atheism today. You know who I’m talking about, right? The type of people who acknowledge Jesus with their words and deny him through their lifestyle.  The ones who preach the importance of traditional family…

Growth Inhibitors: Hypocrisy

As you can see from the title of this blog, my main concern has been the growth of the church. So over the last few months I have explored what we mean by growth and how it can be measured. I have examined some of the things that I think prevent that growth from taking place and considered ways of facilitating ecclesial health. As it so happens and in spite of my…

Orthodox Buzz Words 4: Lord Have Mercy

The next commonly used Orthodox catchphrase that I would like to take up is “Lord have mercy.” Some years ago I was standing next to a lady during the Divine liturgy. At one point she leaned over to me and said “If I have to say ‘Lord have Mercy’ one more time I’m going to…” So, good luck with that! The phrase occurs in every prayer, after every petition, and may well…

Orthodox Buzz Words 3: Glory to God

Another commonly used phrase in danger of being minimalized is “glory to God.” This is often heard in response to some positive development, good news, or narrow escape. “I just passed my test.” “Glory to God!” “I survived the crash with only minor injuries.” “Glory to God!” “So-and-so just won the election.” “Glory to God!” “I went out shopping without a mask and did not get the virus.” “Glory to God!” Anyway,…