Holy Tradition

One great difference between Orthodox and Evangelicals is their reaction to the little word “tradition”. The former regard it as a kind of armour and as an immune system, while the latter regard it almost as a disease to guard against. The Orthodox therefore usually speak of “holy Tradition”, while Evangelicals usually speak of “man’s tradition” or (more often) of “dead tradition”. For them, all tradition is dead, and even deadly, for…

The Great Unmasking

Everyone you meet and have ever met wears a mask. You do too. (And no, I am not talking about the current pandemic.) From the time we were children, we have been taught that certain things were acceptable and certain other things were definitely unacceptable. For example, when confronted with infuriating people or situations in which our will was thwarted, sarcasm was acceptable. Falling to the floor, flailing about, and screaming (aka…

Cooking the Cultural Books in Wonderland

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” This is from the famous dialogue found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Though Carroll’s book was written in 1865 its lessons are perhaps even more relevant today,…

Does God Have a Body?

Not so long ago I was asked by a very young child at church the question, “Fr. Lawrence, does God have a body?” She was not thinking of the incarnate Christ our God, but of God in the Old Testament, Yahweh, the pre-incarnate deity, the Father (though she did not express it in those terms). The answer, of course, is: No, God does not have a body. Next question? But when examining…

The Necessary Revolution

Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of receiving a number of people into the Orthodox Church—indeed, our own little mission consists overwhelmingly of converts and their children. Most of the converts come from various kinds of Protestantism, with Evangelicals predominating. Before receiving them into the Church, obviously some catechesis was required. One must teach them the differences between Orthodoxy and the churches from which they came—differences such as our views…

Zacchaeus and the Salvation of Sinners

Zacchaeus lives in the Church, abiding as an image of us all. In some sense, everyone of us is Zacchaeus, for everyone of us is a sinner at heart. That is why Zacchaeus is invoked and his example recalled every time the priest enters someone’s home to invoke the presence and blessing of Christ upon it (such as at the Theophany season, and when a new house is first blessed). Christ entered…