Christian Outrage?

After my last blog post, John commented that the burning of Churches in Canada calls for “Christian outrage” now, while love and forgiveness can wait until after the crimes have been investigated and resolved.  I can honestly say that I know how John feels.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that until one feels outrage, one can’t honestly love and forgive.   Outrage is a natural human response…

Breaking the Cycle of Sin and Pain: A Letter To My Parishioners

Last night I attended a prayer service in the street in front of the Coptic Orthodox Church that was burned down early Monday morning. Although some evidence points toward arson, arson has not been proven and no motive has yet been identified. However, there has been a recent spike in violence against churches (vandalism, arson and threats), some sources report over 200 significant incidents in Canada since June. Many of us may…

What Does Success in Bodily Warfare Look Like?

Some of the most accessible and practical wisdom from the ancient Christian desert tradition can be found in the letters of Sts. Barsanuphius and John.  They lived in Gaza (Palestine) in the early sixth century.  Over 800 letters are preserved for us, and in these letters we get an inside look at what spiritual guidance looked like in the desert monasticism of those early years.  And although much is different in the…

“Just” Waiting on God

I haven’t been inspired to write anything lately, and I find that if I just force myself to write something, the product is much more filled with my passions that usual.  However, I do occasionally write to parishioners, or former parishioners and others who ask me questions about the spiritual life.  Seldom does the correspondence go beyond the first one or two exchanges.  I can be rather brusque.   But one young…

The Wrath of God According to St. John Chrysostom

One of the earliest writings of St. John Chrysostom are two letters written to a friend, Theodore, who had fallen away from Christ.  In these letters, St. John encourages Theodore to return to Christ and repent of his sinful folly—Theodore had run away from the monastic life to return to academia and a life of wealth, privilege and, most of all, fornication.  Theodore had become captivated by the beauty of a young…

Beginning To Sojourn

After my last blog post on the Great Reset, Anne Marie asked an important question, and instead of responding only to her, I will share my response with everyone.  This is what Anne Marie wrote, she begins by quoting the end of my blog post: “‘If we are comfortable in the world then an economic reset or political upheaval will evoke fear and anger… But if this world is not our home.…

What Should We Do About The Great Reset?

What should we do about the Great Reset?  About once a week I get a message from one or another of my parishioners with a link to a video that I “have to see.”  Many of these videos are of a monk on Mt. Athos (or a monk from some other place reputed for holiness), or it is a video by a conservative religious or political commentator decrying the loss of religious…

Fleeing To The Desert, A Little Bit

 Is it possible to flee to the desert a little bit?  No and yes.  No, you can’t flee a little bit, for fleeing a little bit is not fleeing at all.  But yes, you can flee a little bit, if that little bit is complete.  Here’s what I mean.  We are all called to flee the world, in the sense of fleeing the sinful ways of the world.  But we are not…

How (not) To Change A Corrupt World

The Prophet Samuel was one of the holiest prophets of the Old Testament.  But what I find most interesting is that Samuel grew to be a holy prophet while living in the midst of a very corrupt religious and political context.  Samuel’s holy mother, Hannah, was barren.  But God heard her prayer after many years and much humiliation.  God gave her a son,  and at the age of three, Hannah gave her…

Overcoming Temptations Through Low Expectations

St. Isaac the Syrian in his seventy-second homily tells us, “As soon as Grace sees that a little self-esteem has begun to steal into a man’s thoughts, and that he has begun to think great things of himself, She [Grace] immediately permits the temptations opposing him to gain in strength and prevail, until he learns his weakness…and seeks refuge with God in humility.” Our problem that we need to be saved from…