Chaplains

Chaplains represent the presence of God in the midst of tragedy I am grateful to God for all the friendships I’ve formed with other chaplains during these past seventeen years of service as a police and fire chaplain, and am privileged to count among my friends some of the finest people I have ever known. These are individuals who have…

World as Sacrament

The whole world is a sacrament if only we have the eyes of faith to see it Some of my earliest memories are of the camping trips we would take, as a family, and pitching our tent by the idyllic lakes in Northern Idaho. We would cook over a fire, catch rainbow trout for breakfast (nothing like a freshly grilled…

Sacred Things

What should be our attitude toward icons and other sacred things? One of the attributes of God is holiness, and is reflected in His people, and in physical objects that have been blessed by the Church for the use of His people in their journey towards Him. Therefore, reverence for these sacred objects and images is the manifestation of the…

Family

Staying connected to family It is always sad to lose a family member in death, but it is also sad that it often takes a funeral to bring together  relatives who haven’t seen each other in years. It is from this perspective that I realize I, as the oldest of the cousins, am perhaps the one family member who remembers…

Dads

On the importance of being a good father I’ll forever be grateful for the love and support I received from my father. My dad never let a day pass without assuring his two sons of his love and acceptance. Albert Parsons always imaged to his sons the importance of living an honest life, and being kind to everyone. Generous almost…

Imitating Christ

We must live as the Lord requires of us As we examine how we live our lives as Christians, we look to those who leave an impression of goodness, kindness, and humility, as examples of the person we would like to become. That saintly person, by their every example, exudes the humbleness of the Lord, and love seems to be…

The Mystery of Death

Death can be a mystery precisely because the triumph over death is not a mystery As a priest and monk of the Russian Orthodox Church, I am comfortable with the mystery of death, as all Christians should be. Death can be a mystery precisely because the triumph over death is not a mystery. As the Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann wrote,…

Fearing Love

If we fear to love we will remain dead There are those who fear commitment for fear of loss. They fear the other will either leave them, or be lost in death, so they remain aloof from any possible relationship. Some put on a facade of indifference, for fear of rejection, depriving themselves of any possible happiness. In fear of…

True Love

The willingness to suffer with the other person What does it mean to truly love another person? It means we carry the other person in our heart. If we do not bring the other person into our hearts, we do not really love them. If we are unwilling to help another person when they are in need of our care,…

Embracing Our Whole Self

We must embrace our material self, together with our soul Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of us as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, we must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this…

Salvation

More than acquittal and justification Salvation can not be explained in legalistic terms of acquittal and justification, for salvation is much more than simply being forgiven and getting into heaven. The close tie between faith and works, when it comes to the Orthodox view of salvation, is not about being “saved” by our works, for this is impossible. Works do…

Bringing Happiness to Others

Being happy ourselves we are more likely to bring about happiness in others Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness, for in our being grateful we affirm that there are good things in the world, and good people that are part of our lives. Our being grateful does not mean that everything in life is perfect, but it does mean that…