Response To A Question on Buddhist Meditation

A reader wrote that he had begun to discover himself through Buddhist meditation despite 25 years of Orthodox Christian practice.  He asked for my perspective.  This is what I wrote him. Dear E, I don’t know enough about Buddhism or specifically about Buddhist meditation to make any sort of intelligent comment.  Neither do I know you personally nor your experience as an Orthodox Christian nor your actual practice of meditation.  Therefore, I…

Some Thoughts On Anger

If I were to venture a guess as to the most commonly confessed passion that I hear in confessions, I would say that it is anger.  Just about everyone is angry.  According to many of the saints, anger and misdirected desire are the two main passions from which all vices and passions come.  The sources of anger can be varied, but I think there are two sources of anger that are most…

The Resurrected Christ Comes To All

I wrote this today because it was on my mind.  It is probably too preachy and predictable.  Nonetheless, it may encourage someone, so I offer it.   There are five Sundays between Pascha and Ascension.  The first two Sundays focus on people associated with Christ’s resurrection.  The next three Sundays focus on Christ coming to people with various problems: The righteous who suffer, those who fail in their theology and morality, and…

Why Am I a Practicing Orthodox Christian?

Why do I do it?  Why am I a practicing Orthodox Christian.  It’s not because it’s the true faith, the oldest form of Christianity, faithful to the teaching and worship of the ancient Church.  It is these things, but that’s not why I’m a practicing Orthodox Christian.  It’s possible to be convinced of the verity of Orthodox Christianity and still not want to be Orthodox.  An acquaintance of mine is also convinced…

On Closed Communion

The following is my response to one of my catechumens to the question of why the Orthodox Church practices a closed communion. Basically, Communion creates and defines our community, our being one with one another in Christ—i.e. eating of the one bread and of the one cup.  Historically, some people/groups separated themselves from the communion of the Church through heresies or immorality or aligning themselves with a heretical bishop.  Therefore, they are…

On Not Trying Harder

There are many situations in our struggle for holiness that require us to try harder.  Some such situations might include getting out of bed to pray—assuming that you went to bed at a reasonable hour the night before and have slept adequately.   Not getting out of bed to pray just because one doesn’t want to is a classic situation that might call for one to try harder.  Another situation that might…

Hosea 14:2 and Blood Atonement

Sometimes letters are sent to AFR addressed to no specific person.  In such cases various authors, podcasters or bloggers are called upon to respond to the letter.  The lot fell to me for this one.  Of course, in selecting a person to respond to a question, you don’t necessarily get the best or even most correct answer to the question.  You get that person’s answer—given his or her current understanding, knowledge, ability…

What is Faith?

Faith is not the subject of scientific investigation and analysis, nor is it  the product of reason and our brains, but rather the ontological experience of the presence of God in our hearts and minds.  Faith is participation in the grace and glory of God, it is the Revelation of the Truth of God in our hearts and lives and in the world as a whole. Faith does not require complicated thinking,…

Renunciation for Beginners

The first three steps of the Ladder of Divine Ascent all have to do with aspects of detachment, of leaving the world.  For those of us not called to the monastic life, this detachment is played out inwardly more so than outwardly.  But even monks quickly discover that outward renunciation is only a tool, albeit a very helpful tool, in achieving inner detachment.  That is, whether one is in a cloister or…

Behold The Goodness and Severity of God

In Jesus’ parable about those invited to the King’s wedding dinner, we are both terrified and comforted by the fact that those who were invited did not come because their refusal makes room for us.  We the poor, the lame and the blind are ushured into the wedding hall, both the good and the bad (Matt. 22:10).  In most commentaries we are told that the invited guests refer to the Jewish people…