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,…

Orthodox Buzz Words 2: “God willing”

The next Orthodox catchphrase that I want to take up is the often-heard refrain, “if God wills,” or more often just “God willing.” This phrase and its many variants are so numerous that compiling a catalog of examples would require more space than we have allotted to us here. So, consider just a few examples: Have a safe trip home. OK, God willing. Get a good night’s sleep, I’ll try, God willing.…

Orthodox Buzz Words 1: “Come and See”

A few years ago I read a humorous article that suggested that we could identify the make of the motorcycle a person rode by looking at their clothing. Those with fine, color matched, full body leathers, and the latest hi-tech gear were put into the BMW category. Those who favored jeans and t-shirts were thought likely to prefer Asian sports bikes. Those who wore heavy, black, mismatched, tattered, and low-tech equipment were…

Participation During a Time of Crisis

How do we live with our deepest differences, especially when those differences are religious and ideological, and very especially when those differences concern matters of our common public life? In short, how do we create a global public square and make the world safer for diversity?[1] There can be little doubt that the Enlightenment concept of individual freedom is one of the key building blocks of our society. In fact, it is…

From Post-Truth to Post-Nous

A Reflection on the Incarnation (Mt. 2) One of the more positive elements of the Enlightenment was its insistence that we are free to use our minds. Immanuel Kant, for example, encouraged every individual to have the courage to use their own understanding, that is to freely apply reason publicly and in all matters. From a biblical and theological perspective, there is, of course, nothing wrong with that idea, since the mind/thinking…