Transformation, Conformation, Shame and Sexual Desire

When I first began visiting the monastery, after I had developed something of a friendship with the monks, I asked the brothers if they experienced any particular problems repressing their sexual urges.  They told me that they do not repress, but redirect.  That is, the desire and longing that, in the world, is generally expressed in sexual longing, they turn toward God as the One they long for most. When they told…

Happy Ignorance With Peace

One of the greatest frustrations in my spiritual life has been caused by a passion for certainty.  You might call it a need to know, a need to know what God is doing in my life, a need to have some explanation for or feeling for why my life is the way it is right now.  When I don’t know—or when I don’t have some explanation that I can tell myself is…

Beauty for Ashes

One of the books I am reading is called Beauty For Ashes: The Spiritual Transformation of a Modern Greek Community by Stephen R. Lloyd-Moffett, published by St. Vladimir Seminary Press.  The author is a professor of religious studies at a state university in California.  He writes from the perspective of a sociologist who is interested in religion and culture.  He writes as a scholar, not as a promoter of Orthodox Christianity.  Nonetheless,…