The Church Fathers

The purveyors of biblical teachings and Apostolic worship With the exception of a few dissenters, the first thousand years of the Church found a consensus among the Fathers on all the basic tenets of the faith, from Baptism, the Eucharist, and the role of Holy Tradition. These respected pastors and theologians of their day set the standard for what is…

The Problem of Evil

Darkness does not exist in its own right Our Orthodox Christian theology views evil not as a primeval essence that is co-eternal and equal to God, but rather a falling away from good. Evil does not exist in and of itself, and was not created by God. Our Orthodox Church rejects the Gnostic teaching that the entirety of being is…

Unbelief

The ultimate sickness Humankind’s ultimate sickness is that of unbelief. This world is the place of preparation for our life in eternity, the place where we are prepared for the Kingdom that is to come. Within this world, Our Lord Jesus Christ established a hospital in which the medicine for the cure of our sickness is available, and this hospital…

The Need to Mourn

God is with us in the intimacy of grief The recent massive deaths that have taken place in the horrible fires that have engulfed California has brought together whole communities in need of mourning. During times like this, we need to mourn. One of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of the priesthood is comforting people in their darkest moments…

Atheists

I’ve never met an atheist! The young man announced at the beginning of a college class, that he was an atheist. I’d been invited as a guest lecturer, and had opened the talk with the observation that everyone has a nous that hungers for God. This young man took exception, declaring there was no God, and furthermore stating that he…

Thanksgiving

A day set aside to give thanks to God Thanksgiving has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. The word Thanksgiving has it’s roots in the Greek word, εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), where the Church gets the word Eucharist.…

Holy Images

God infuses His Energies into the icons The Old Testament God was revealed to us by Christ Jesus. Prior to the incarnation of the Logos, God’s people were forbidden to make any image of Him, for no one had seen His face. Yet when Christ said to His disciples, “he who has seen Me has seen the Father”, the fullness…

Family

Staying connected with family A few years ago I attended the funeral for my Aunt Margie,  my mother’s youngest sister. The decision to drive to Spokane, a five hour trip from Vashon Island, was in part made because I wanted to support my cousins who’d lost their mother, and partly because it afforded me an opportunity to spend some time…

The Struggle

The struggle against the passions and our victory in Christ As we struggle with anger, gluttony, with judging others, sexual impurity and a myriad of others passions, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. We find ourselves feeling defeated and tempted to give up the battle. Sometimes we even tell ourselves that we have no choice, for we were…

The Incarnation

God sharing His Divinity with our humanity The idea that Christ would have incarnated in the flesh, even if Adam and Eve had not fallen, was taught by a number of early Church Fathers. Although not a formal teaching of the Orthodox Church, the understanding comes from the view that the Logos took on our flesh because God wished to…

Happiness

Gratefulness makes us happy We all know that money can’t buy happiness, yet many are not aware that practicing simple gratitude does bring about happiness. Being grateful for the people we have in our lives, and for the things that we have, brings about a happiness that can not come about by endlessly trying to acquire things. Researchers testing gratefulness…

Miracles

Living in expectation of miracles While just a little boy in the Lutheran Church, I remember asking the pastor why we didn’t see miracles in the church like had happened in the Bible. He told me they were used in New Testament times to jump start the church, and were not needed now. As a boy of about ten, I…