My Siblings

All are my brothers and sisters We must consider all people to be our brothers and sisters. If they are healthy or sick, they are our siblings. For those of our brothers or sisters who are caught up in the mire of sin and darkness, we must rush forward with our prayers, and with our love, lending support to them…

Chaplains

Manifesting God’s love in the midst of tragedy Chaplains minister to people whose lives have been turned upside down, with the loss of a child, the death of a spouse, the trauma of a fatal car accident, or a homicide. Chaplains serve as God’s presence on murder scenes, or house fires. They hold children whose parents have been killed, and…

Being Compassionate

None can be saved without being compassionate toward others We must not be so self-consumed as to have no compassion for others. Saint Basil tells us that a man who has two coats or two pair of shoes, when his neighbor has none, is a thief.  In the Holy Scriptures we read, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness…

Nous versus Ego

The true self versus the false self Reformed theology focuses on forensic justification, whereas the mystical theology of the Orthodox Church focuses on restoration to God through healing of the darkened soul alienated from Him. These are two very different models, but not really equal, because one can have faith in Christ’s sacrifice, but still not be healed and restored.…

Harmony

Creating harmony out of chaos The inevitability of death is particularly difficult to face for most Americans, as we’ve become a people that eschew traditional funerals, preferring to “celebrate the life of our loved one, while disposing of the body, and banning any sign of death from the memorial service should we even decide to have a service. Yet the…

Happiness

All we need for happiness is right in front of us It is easy to resist taking care of oneself if we run at full speed as though we are the only one who can get things done. We all need to set priorities, making sure we focus on Christ and not let that which is transitory rule our lives.…

The Orthodox Practice of Burial

Cremation versus the Orthodox Practice of Burial The first time I ever attended a funeral service where cremation of the body of the deceased had taken place was in Portland, Oregon, many years ago. An Episcopal priest friend had died and had requested his body be cremated. Walking into the church and seeing a small box sitting before the altar…

Isolation

Putting an end to isolation The Church is the Body of Christ and by Her very nature is anything but an institution wherein one can be isolated from others. We only let it be so if we fail to involve ourselves as the people of God, with one another. The greeting given by Orthodox Christians, passing on the holy kiss…

Knowing God

Hesychasm versus Aristotelian Scholasticism The 14th century dispute between Augustinian theologian Barlaam of Calabria, an Aristotelian scholastic, and Saint Gregory Palamas, whom he accused of heresy for his hesychasm (the Orthodox teaching on mystical prayer), was important because it demonstrated one of the major differences between the Latin West, and the Orthodox East. In the Latin West, God could be…

The Critic

The critic, fearing he will fail, does nothing It is easy to be critical of another person, finding fault with what we perceive they are doing, have done, or have not done. Yet the man who points out how another man has stumbled, finding fault in something he himself has not done, and in what he himself thinks he could…

Darkness

Avoiding this present darkness For those who embrace the enjoyment of partying and entertainment, all in an attempt to avoid the hardships and life struggles that make great souls, they will have failed to embrace the essential element that makes this life journey salvific. They will have avoided their service of love by enduring those difficulties that unite them to…

The Good Old US of A

Just whose country is it anyhow? As we Christians find ourselves more and more marginalized in our society, as increasing numbers of people are declaring themselves “none” on questionnaires, we must face the reality that we’ve, essentially, become a minority in a country that was traditionally identified as a Christian nation. As Orthodox Christians we look to the Holy Virgin…