Sitting Lightly on Labels

I have just finished reading Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity:  The First Three Thousand Years.  It is a thoroughly enjoyable read, comprehensive, and engagingly written.  It is also a great doorstopper of a book, so large a hardbound tome that unless one has hands like those of the Incredible Hulk one finds it hard to hold the book in one hand while drinking coffee with the other.  The title (“the first three thousand years”)…

Adoption to Sonship

In the baptismal prayer in which the priest blesses the baptismal water, there is a line that baptism will bestow upon the candidate the loosing of bonds, the remission of sins, the illumination of the soul and “the gift of adoption to sonship”.  The phrase “adoption of sonship” is a reference to the words of St. Paul, who used the word to describe our salvation in Christ in Ephesians 1:5.  There he…

Prime Minister Trudeau and Q Spirit

In about 1968, Prime Minister Trudeau (not our current disaster, a previous one) famously declared that “the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation”.  Even then it was a touch asinine when you really thought about it, for it all depended on precisely what was happening in those bedrooms.  The sexual molestation of children, for example, doesn’t happen on the front lawn, but in the bedrooms of the nation,…

Long Live the King: in Defence of the British Monarchy

On September 8, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II reposed in the Lord at the age of 96.  She had reigned as the Queen of Great Britain and other countries (such as Canada) and head of the British Commonwealth for 70 years, which is somewhat longer than oldsters like me have been alive, and therefore set a record as Britain’s longest reigning monarch.  Given that Britain has had monarchs for about a thousand…

The Lights of an Approaching Rescue

On September 8, the Church sings that the Nativity of the Theotokos has “proclaimed joy to the whole universe”.  It is easy enough to sing, but somewhat harder now for us to understand.  Why, we may ask, did the birth of a baby girl in around 18 B.C. or so proclaim joy to the whole inhabited world? To fully understand what this birth meant, we must first understand the state of the…

A Continued Pentecost

In the late Metropolitan’s Kallistos Ware’s classic The Orthodox Church, he describes the Church as “a continued Pentecost”.  This is true, but it is important not to misunderstand his meaning. It is possible to understand the description of the Church as “a continued Pentecost” as meaning that the Church is an earthly organization founded by Jesus Christ and now run by clergy, an organization which exists as part of this world and…