See You in August!

Just a quick note to my dear online friends:  I will be on vacation and away from the office from July 19 to August 5.  During this time I will not be able to receive, moderate, or post any comments to my blog.  So, if you do post, please don’t wonder why your comments are not appearing immediately.  I am not ignoring your comments, but walking the beaches of Oregon and reading…

The Johannine Pentecost and the Social Context of the Early Church

Ever since my college days many centuries ago, I have been reading about “the Johannine Pentecost”, by which scholars meant John’s version of the Pentecostal bestowal of the Spirit. The reference, of course, is to John 20:19-23. In this post-Resurrection appearance of Christ to His disciples, Jesus greets them by saying, “Peace be with you”, adding, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you”. He then “breathed on them” [Greek…

Replying to Sr. Vassa’s Mail

Recently Sr. Vassa Larin (famous for her “Coffee with Sr. Vassa” podcast) has attracted much and varied attention from a correspondence she published in which she replied to a question from a woman of a fourteen year old boy about how to handle her son’s “coming out”. (The mother’s question and Sr. Vassa’s response may be accessed here.)  Her advice, prefaced by a disclaimer of sorts that it was but her “personal…

Barry McGuire, My Daughter, and the Moon

The moon has cast a spell over the human race since the time when we could look up and observe its haunting face shining in the night sky. Shifting, changing, waxing, waning, luminous with a beauty which pierces the heart, it has captured us for as long as history has been recorded, and longer. The righteous Job felt the temptation to worship the moon, though he had the orthodox sense to refuse:…

Appreciating Anathemas

The decrees and canons of the Provincial and Ecumenical Councils today often sound odd in our modern ears—the Council Fathers were so zealous, serious, intent, and well, intolerant. The Council of Gangra, for example, dealing with a movement in the Church which took a dim view of sex, decreed, “If anyone shall condemn marriage or abominate and condemn a woman who is a believer and devout and sleeps with her own husband…

Three Liturgical Questions

I sometimes cannot help asking myself three liturgical questions whenever I visit churches which serve the Liturgy in the “classic” pattern I learned in seminary—all of those questions quite rhetorical. I would like to share them here in a spirit of calm inquiry in the hope of provoking helpful discussion about things liturgical. My approach might be styled as motivated by a spirit of “liturgical reform” by some, or even “renovation” by…