Explosion in the Philippines

Business meetings all day today. I did learn that an “Old Catholic” university in the Philippines has asked to come under the Episcopal oversight of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. The Metropolitan of Australia Chrismated 250 of the 800 student earlier this year. There has been an explosion of interest in Orthodoxy in the Philippines. They have had to bring in a celibate priest (archimandrite) just to go around teaching (catechising) the groups…

A Man Plans His Ways, But…

Proverbs 16: 9–A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. Or, to put it another way: Life (God’s life, the life of faith, the life that we live and give to God) is what happens after we make our plans. This morning I looked at the conference schedule and realized that there were no meetings that I had to attend, so I decided that I would go for Divine…

Clergy Meeting with the Metropolitan

Today I was impressed by Metropolitan Philip. I watch him answer questions from the clergy, some of whom were aggressive in their questioning, with openness and willingness to accept suggestions. Metropolitan Philip’s answers were clear (although sometimes off point) and for the most part satisfactory. I do not agree with all he has done or is doing, but to my satisfaction he has explained why he has done what he has, and…

Restore to Me the Joy

Most people think the opposite of joy is sadness. I don’t think so. Joy and sadness can coexist—do coexist. One of the names for the feeling of mixed joy and sadness often used in the Orthodox Tradition is “bright sadness.” It is one of those feelings, or I might better say it is one of those experiences, for which words seem completely inadequate; so I will not try to explain it. What…

Am I an Evangelical?

In my Protestant days, when I began reading Medieval writers, I was often confused by their use of the adjective, “evangelical.” The reference was often made of monks and other holy people that they lived an evangelical life. At that time, the only meaning for evangelical I knew was based on my understanding of Evangelical Protestants. An Evangelical, I thought, was a Christian who emphasized evangelism: aka proselytzation. It took me quite…

A Redemptive Clint Eastwood Movie?

(Spoiler Alert!) I saw Gran Torino last night. Normally I do not watch Clint Eastwood movies. I struggle enough with thoughts of vengeance and violent impulses in my own soul: I do not need to stir up those passions by watching a misunderstood but basically good loner be pushed by evil men to acts of vengeance and murder which seem unquestionably noble in the context of the movie. At least that’s what…

On Washing Feet

St. John records for us the washing of the Disciples’ feet by Jesus before the Last Supper. Peter is embarrassed and doesn’t want to let Jesus wash his feet—not realizing that Jesus has already washed him entirely, for they are already clean because of the word Jesus had spoken to them [15:3]. Peter is already clean, he just needs a little clean up. That Peter needed a little cleaning is, of course,…

Money Problems?

“We’ve figured out how to solve the problem of our overcrowded little chapel. It will only take five million dollars.” With these words I greeted Lourie and her two small children as she swung by the coffee shop to pick up Andrew. Andrew and I had spent an hour and a half solving all of the world’s problems—especially as they touched our little parish—while Lourie took the car to run around town…

Envy, Self Righteousness and Pity

I am familiar with Envy—you might even say that Envy is a friend of mine. It’s not that I want to envy, it’s just that I often do. I don’t want to be friends, but we have spent so much time together over the years that it seems Envy has its own comfortable chair in the living room of my heart. Over the last little while, however, Envy has been somewhat uncomfortable…

Forebear Threatening

In Ephesians, as in other epistles, St. Paul fills the last half of the letter with practical advice for Christian living. Here he advises “masters” to “forebear threatening.” Most of us live in circles of relationships in which we are at various times and in various contexts master or slave, parent or child, elder or younger. Almost no one is always only “wife” or always only “child” or always only “master.” However,…