A Floating Axe-head

It is very easy to miss the story of the floating axe-head. Indeed, a book containing stories in 2 Kings that I found in a theological library which should have included that story in 2 Kings 6:1-7 completely omits it. The book comments on the story immediately before the story of the floating axe-head, and the story which immediately follows it, but entirely omits the story of the floating axe-head itself. The…

“It’s Like Déjà-Vu All Over Again”: Holy Week

As stated in this blog a day or so ago, I have recently been asked to make available material from previous years’ blog pieces about the days of Holy Week and Pascha. Acceding to this request, I provided links to a couple of pieces written about Palm Sunday. Today: reflections on the events commemorated in Holy Week. “The Apostasy of Judas” can be accessed here. “Holy Week Anti-semitism” can be accessed here.

“It’s Like Déjà-Vu All Over Again”: Palm Sunday

I have recently been asked to make available material from previous years’ blog pieces about the days of Holy Week and Pascha. The task reminds me of the memorable aphorism attributed to Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà-vu all over again!” (The baseball star was known for such wonderful malapropisms, such as “Ninety percent of baseball is mental; the other half is physical” and “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t…

A Psalm for the Despairing

There is a psalm found in the Six Psalms chanted at every Matins in the Orthodox Church that is unique among the psalms of the Psalter. Psalm 88 (87 in the Septuagint numeration) is a psalm that contains not a glimmer of light or hope. It begins with the words, “O Lord my God of my salvation, I call for help by day, I cry out in the night before You! Let…

Pentecostal Orthodoxy

I suppose that the adjective “Pentecostal” in the title should be placed in scare quotes, because by “Pentecostal Orthodoxy” I do not refer to a combination of Protestant Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy, but that Orthodoxy itself is essentially Pentecostal. In his book The Orthodox Church (then) Timothy Ware described the Orthodox Church as “a continued Pentecost”, and as “the temple and dwelling place of the Spirit” so that those who dwell in her…

Why I Am No Longer a Charismatic

I recently read two excellent books, Fr. Timothy Cremeens’ history of charismatic renewal in the Orthodox Church entitled Marginalized Voices, and Julia Duin’s account of the rise and fall of a prominent episcopal charismatic church in Houston, entitled Days of Fire and Glory. I had a personal interest in these histories of charismatic renewal, since that movement was the matrix in which I first came to faith in Christ. It was at…