Finding Your Way in Online Orthodoxy

A recent online debate (not linked to here for privacy reasons) has once again shone the spotlight on the phenomenon of online Orthodox communities, which unfortunately are all too often places where heated arguments, angry personal attacks, and prideful arrogance take the place of simple, reasoned discussions. What purport to be sources of information and answers for troubling questions provide disinformation and…

Losing our Religion: On “Retaining” Young People in the Orthodox Church

A recent article on the challenge of interfaith marriage in Greek Orthodoxy has been circulating widely on Facebook.[1] One reason for the article’s popularity is its startling claim that 90% of Americans with Greek roots are no longer in communion with the Orthodox Church. Similarly dismal statistics are likely true for most Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States, but the article in…

Is Our God Too Small? A Response to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos

On the night of March 9th, 2014, countless pop-science buffs like myself waited with bated breath for the premier of the rebirth of the Carl Sagan’s beloved science series Cosmos. Produced by Seth McFarlane of Family Guy and hosted by the popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the reborn series follows in the wake of many similar shows of more recent vintage, such…

Necromancy, Idolatry and the Superiority of Protestant Culture

Once in a while, someone writes or says something about Orthodoxy (and, in this case, several related traditions) that is just so incorrect in so many ways that one doesn’t really even know where to begin. This is one of those times. It’s one thing to disagree with a tradition. It’s something else entirely to get the basic facts about it so…

Gay Marriage and Eastern Orthodoxy

The historical and cultural context of the Eastern Orthodox Church has meant that She has not had to grapple with many of the same questions as Christians in the West. The instability of the West following the barbarian invasions, together with the role that the papacy played in bringing some measure of religious and political stability following the fall of the Western…

“Aren’t You Supposed to Hate Me?”: Calvinism and the Politics of the Damned

The following article was originally published on the Roads from Emmaus weblog in May of 2012, just after the passage of a constitutional amendment defining marriage by the state of North Carolina. Given recent national-level discussions about marriage in the United States and what they mean for the theology of man, and especially given that the Supreme Court opined that legal support…

Drawing False Moral Equivalence in “Rights” Politics

The irony of our culture is that when it comes to abortion and guns, the exact same political tribes simply change places and shout “Dead children!” “My liberties!” at each other. That’s insane. Both tribes, when riding their particular hobby horses, prioritize “My liberties” over dead children. Me: I think dead children (and all other dead innocents) always take priority over my…

Remembering St. Nicholas, Recovering a Christian Heritage

One of the unexpected blessings of becoming Orthodox is discovering a Christian heritage forgotten in the West.  One example of this is St. Nicholas of Myra, the original Santa Claus.  He is well known in the Orthodox Church.  Every December 6 (December 19 on the Old Calendar) the Orthodox celebrates the life of St. Nicholas of Myra.  When I was a Protestant…

Using the Bible Against Christians: Sola Scriptura Atheism

One of the things that struck me during the Chick-Fil-A debacle couple of weeks ago was a curious theme I perceived in the inundation of negative comments I saw on social media regarding the statements made by Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy, who came out (no pun intended… no, really) in favor of “the biblical definition of the family unit.” What was that…

“Spiritual But Not Religious” and the Path to God

The following article was originally published on the Roads from Emmaus weblog in March of 2011. It’s been revised for this publication. I sometimes encounter folks who tell me that they are “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR). I wish I asked more often what exactly that is supposed to mean, though I am usually held back from asking by a strong suspicion…