Sheep Dog or Guard Dog?

In an issue of the Road to Emmaus journal I read a wonderful interview with Fr. Artemy Vladimirov, a priest in Moscow, in which he spoke at length about the sacrament of confession. In it he spoke of the well-intentioned but ultimately false and unhelpful zeal of some confessors who felt “like the archangel with a burning sword guarding the entrance to paradise. If one of the descendants of Adam and Eve…

Whatever Happened to Psalm 58?

The 1962 edition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is very interesting. Along with the usual services of Morning and Evening Prayer and Holy Communion is a complete version of the Psalter. It is arranged for daily recitation at both Morning and Evening Prayer services so that the entire Psalter is recited liturgically every month. Well, more or less. For in the Prayerbook Psalter, right after Psalm 57 comes Psalm 59,…

On the Folly of Endorsement

Recently I read that a prominent Orthodox bishop spoke at the Democratic Convention, giving the benediction and endorsing the Democratic candidates for the next American Presidential election. Given the Democratic Party’s emphatic support of abortion and the LGBQT agenda, one wonders why his words did not include a prophetic denunciation of the slaughter of the unborn in that country or the sin of homosexual practices, given that his church is clear that…

Biblical Rebellion?

Recently the Public Orthodoxy blog published a post by Rodoljub Kubat, entitled, Rebellion at the Heart of the Bible. Usually I would not respond to a piece referencing a revolt spreading throughout a land as far away from our own as Serbia. But given the revolts and rioting happening here in North America in the name of righteous indignation and justice, I thought it worth addressing his issue. Mr. Kubat asserts that…

Praying to the Saints

When I first began to investigate Orthodoxy, my main stumbling block to conversion was prayer to Mary and the saints. My Protestant formation had trained me (well, brainwashed me actually, for it was long on insistence and short on argument) that it was WRONG to pray to Mary and the saints. Doing so constituted Idolatry (with a capital “I”), which got God very upset. And by the way, the prohibition applied to…

The Divine Council and Anthropomorphism

To unlock and truly understand the Old Testament one needs a number of exegetical keys, and one of these keys is labelled “Anthropomorphism”. This became painfully clear to me recently when I was asked a question by an intelligent and delightfully pious young girl in our congregation. “Fr. Lawrence,” she said, “it looks like God gets mad really easily in the Old Testament. Is that true?” As C. S. Lewis once observed,…