An Orthodox Response to the Roman Catholic Decree on Ecumenism

On Saturday January 17 I had the pleasure of being part of an ecumenical panel and giving a response from the Orthodox perspective on a keynote address on Roman Catholic ecumenism. The year 2015 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Decree on Ecumenism from the Second Vatican Council, and the day was marked by a conference held at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Vancouver. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, gave the…

On Chastity and Abstinence

Our present culture, speaking through a thousand movies, magazine articles, and television shows, takes it for granted that people will be sexually active, and that sexual activity has little or nothing to do with marriage. This activity is called “hooking up”, and there is apparently a kind of behavioural code governing it—for example, one is required to check back with one’s sexual partner after a day or two to see how they…

Apologizing to Hitler

There is no doubt about it—Hitler was a very bad man. According to the traditional numbers, he was responsible for the slaughter of about six million Jews in “the Holocaust”, though of course responsibility for this massacre must be spread more widely than merely one man. Stalin, though not as demonized by the western media as Hitler, was responsible for the deaths of even more of his countrymen, but this hardly lessens…

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…