Evil and the Christian

Often we clergy are asked about the nature of evil—is evil a substance, a kind of positive negativity? Or is it the mere absence of good, as darkness is the absence of light? Strict dualists (like the ancient Zoroastrians) would say that evil is a power co-equal with goodness. Christians, while acknowledging the power of evil in this fallen world, say that evil is not co-equal with goodness, but rather evil is…

Magical Thinking in the Orthodox Church

In any sustained discussion regarding the progress of liberal theology in the Orthodox Church, one sooner or later encounters magical thinking. Magical thinking is defined by Wikipedia (that modern oracle) as “the attribution of causal relationships between actions and events which cannot be justified by reason and observation”.  In my experience, it often begins like this: someone (often a convert from a liberal Christian denomination, like the Episcopalians) warns that North American…

Charlie Brown and the Lonely Walk of Faith

If you are at all like me, it is not Christmas until you have seen the holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas, which has been shown seasonally every year since it first appeared in 1965. I have watched it faithfully every year since I can remember, and have the whole wonderful thing more or less memorized by heart. Who can forget Charlie Brown taking his seat at Lucy’s outdoor doctor’s office (the…

Is the LGBT a New Reality?

The battle between those who condemn homosexual activity as sinful and those who celebrate it as a valid alternative is heating up, and the sound of its fury is shaking the walls and rattling the windows even of the Orthodox Church.   It’s like Dylan prophesied long ago: the times they are a’changin.   And though our official Church pronouncements remain consistent with our Patristic past (such as the episcopal pronouncement on marriage, circulated…

The Gospels as Scripture

The climax of the first part of the Divine Liturgy is the reading of the Gospel. Unlike the reading of the Epistle, we do not simply read the Gospel. When the Epistle is read the reader simply stands in the midst of the people and chants the words of the apostle. But when the Gospel is read at the Liturgy, we make more of a liturgical fuss. Before reading the Gospel, the…

“I Made a Couple of Mistakes”

Lately I came across something online, a phone exchange between a man and his fiancée wherein he confronted her about her public infidelity and broke off their engagement. The whole exchange was set up and recorded by a phone-in radio show.   All humanity is guilty of stupidity and bad judgment, and fortunately most of our stupidities and bad judgments remain undocumented, perhaps only to be shared with others in the context of…