Dishonest Dialogue

The term “dialogue” (along with its synonyms, “conversation” and “discussion” and “engagement”) seems to have taken its place alongside the proverbial terms “motherhood”, “apple pie”, and “the flag” as sacred and untouchable. It used to be that no one in their right mind would speak against this Trinity of American values, and now no one is allowed to suggest that anything bearing the sacred word “dialogue” should be viewed with suspicion. A…

Dealing with Anger

The apostles’ hearts were filled with rage. The Master was heading toward Jerusalem, and He had sent messengers on ahead to secure lodging for Himself and His apostles. Some of the messengers had entered a town of the Samaritans, but when the Samaritan villagers learned that Jesus was making for Jerusalem, they abruptly refused them all hospitality, despite the age-old and sacred Middle Eastern obligation to offer hospitality to strangers. If Jesus…

“In the Beginning”: A New Look at the Origin Stories in Genesis

If there is one thing that is often calculated to get the polemical blood flowing in the veins and send one rushing to the barricades, it is the origin stories in the Book of Genesis. One’s understanding of those first eleven chapters in Genesis involves much more than simple matters of exegesis. It also involves how one views the interplay of science and religion (and possibly the topic of whether creation or…

The Defence of the New Deaconesses and the Rest of the Story

Those contending for the creation of a new order of women clergy in the Orthodox Church under the guise of restoring the ancient order of deaconess (such as those at the St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess) make up in tenacity what they lack in historical balance. Their recent piece in the Public Orthodoxy site makes a number of statements and claims about the ancient order of deaconess. These statements are not…

Reading the Song of Solomon Today

The Biblical Song of Solomon (also called the Song of Songs) has always been read by Christians on two different levels—that is, it has been read on an historical level and on an allegorical one. This is how Christians read the entirety of the Old Testament. Take for example the story of the passage through the Red Sea. Christians have read this on an historical level as narrating the liberation of Israel…

What It Was that Saved Thomas

Thomas had a heart that had taken one too many beatings. Despite his often being stigmatized by later generations as “Doubting Thomas” there is nothing in his past record to indicate such a defect of character. In John’s account of Christ’s raising of Lazarus, when the Lord said that Lazarus had died and that He was going to enter the cauldron of dangerous Judea to “go to him” (John 11:15), the disciples…