The Beatitudes – Introduction

I was introduced to the Beatitudes very early in life—in my Protestant Sunday School class, we were given memory work (yep; I’m that old), and one of the things we had to memorize was the Beatitudes. For successfully reciting them, I was given a red star on my memorization certificate—better than the green star for memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, but not as good as the gold star for memorizing the names of…

Orthodoxy and the Environment

I remember in the balmy days before the pandemic struck and shoved every other news story out of the journalistic limelight that there was a lot of attention paid to the environment. Up here in Canada, for example, one day the news was dominated by the protests over the building of an oil pipeline and how this pipeline would spell doom for us all. Protestors had stopped the trains from running in…

The Fan and the Fire

Recently I was talking with a dear Christian friend of mine about the challenges presented by the Covid pandemic and he opined that the pandemic is winnowing all the churches. I couldn’t help but agree. For city-slickers like myself who might not know about the process of “winnowing”: in the agricultural world of past centuries, wheat needed to be winnowed after it was harvested before it was of any use. In those…

Creating Christian Counter-Culture

Every week I meet with our catechumens, inquirers, and other faithful for a time of instruction, which includes a Q & A session.   Lately we were talking about how Christians were to live differently than the world around them, and one of the catechumens asked the excellent question, “How do we teach this to our young people?” The answer: by creating a Christian counter-culture. Culture is one of those odd words. It…

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,…