The Death of Dialogue

“Dialogue” is a happy word, along with other happy words like “inclusive”, “tolerance”, and “acceptance”. It is assumed by our culture that all reasonable people are open to dialogue—that is, open to hearing the other person’s point of view, and to a respectful exchange of views, and to possibly changing one’s own view in favour of the opposing viewpoint if the arguments of the other person are found to be compelling. Dialogue…

“Congratulations: It’s a Baby Girl…Maybe”

An article about a presentation made in my neighbouring province of Alberta some time ago made me wonder if I didn’t live in the Twilight Zone rather than Canada.   Twelve years ago, a baby girl was born in Alberta by the name of Wren Kaufman. Soon after her birth, the customary birth certificate was issued, containing the information that she was “F”, a female. She later said that she found it stressful…

The Passing of Father Tom

Today I joined the sad multitude of those mourning the passing of the Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, theologian, writer, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, known to the many who loved him simply as “Father Tom”.   Tributes will come pouring in soon enough, describing him in loving detail and outlining his many works and his lasting legacy. He takes his honoured place beside his illustrious predecessors at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Frs. Alexander…

I and Thou and the Veil

Those reading the title of this article will perhaps remember a book of similar name written by Martin Buber, I and Thou, first published in German in 1923. Buber’s main thesis in the book is that human beings have a choice in their relationships: they can either relate to another as to an “it”, an object to be used, or can relate to another as to a “thou”, experiencing true relationship with…

Reclaiming St. David (Feast Day March 1)

Devotion to St. David of Wales (and to all the western saints) serves a very important role in the Orthodox Church—it rescues us from the accusation that we are merely “the Eastern Church” (as some textbooks describe us), the eastern half of a sundered and broken body. Many in the west see Orthodoxy indeed as “the Eastern Church”—something exotic, foreign, exciting, mysterious. A wonderful church to visit (all that enriching symbolism!), but,…

A Christian Response to ISIS

It is difficult to tune in to a newscast or to social media these days without learning about the latest atrocities committed by ISIS (sometimes referred to as ISIL, “the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”). This jihadist group controls territory in Syria and Iraq, and claims to be the revival of the historical Caliphate or center of worldwide Islam. It is famous for broadcasting the beheading of its prisoners, including…