A Guest Post by Matushka Donna Farley: Lenten Distancing

Church closed. Community members scattered widely. Weeks without normal daily and weekly routine, without spiritual instruction, without icons to venerate, without Sunday eucharist, without community agape meals. This was the deliberate practice of the monastery of Abba Zosima in the sixth century Palestinian desert, every Lent. On the Sunday of Forgiveness, the brethren would prostrate themselves to each other and ask forgiveness and receive a blessing from their abbot. Then each would…

“You Are Gods”

A dear friend of mine suggested that I might be interested in the Biblical exegesis of Mike Heiser (of whom I had never heard), so I looked up some of his works available on Amazon. Amazon allows one to peruse the initial chapters of the books they offer for sale, so I was able to look at the first chapters of Heiser’s The Unseen Realm. There I learned that “a watershed moment”…

Listening In

Recently I had two lovely conversations. The first was with Octavio and Claire, who work at Regent College, Vancouver.  Regent College is a Christian liberal arts college, where for many years I have given a talk as a guest lecturer each fall on the subject of Orthodoxy.  They arrange for interviews with guests on a number of topics, and they invited me to come and be interviewed by them about the history…

The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

Anyone wandering about near a freezing cold pond one night near the city of Sebaste in the year 320 would have seen an astounding sight: forty Roman soldiers, all members of the so-called “Thundering Legion”, were standing together naked in the icy waters throughout the night as they slowly froze to death. They were guarded by other Roman soldiers on the shore, who made sure that the condemned men remained in the…

Moses and the Ten Words

Recently I read an interesting critique of American Christianity. It pointed out that in an earlier day the schoolrooms for our children used to feature the Ten Commandments written on the wall, rather than (for example) the Beatitudes. The author thought this rather odd for a Christian nation, and evidence that something was wrong. I grant you that the preference for the Ten Commandments over the Beatitudes does invite comment. One begins…

The Good Place

I have just finished watching the series finale of a wonderful television show called The Good Place, starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. It features the fellowship and adventures of a few people who die and end up in hell, but who are told that they are in heaven, the Good Place—all the better to torture them in hell. Eventually they do indeed find their way to the Good Place (i.e. to…