Speaking of Silence and Boasting of Humility

“For even profitable words, spoken without measure, produce darkness, how much more so does vain talk.” (St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 48) I feel a little crazy sometimes, like an idiot—not a godly, holy idiot, just a plain, old-fashioned idiot: the kind that boasts of humility and speaks about the virtue of silence. It seems strange to feel compelled to talk about the virtues of silence.  Perhaps I am my own negative…

When Apples Are Sometimes Oranges

One of my big confusions during the first few years of my journey as an Orthodox Christian was caused by an assumption I had that words used by different Orthodox spiritual writers would refer to the same thing. There may be a philosophical name for this way of thinking about words and reality (other than ignorance), but I don’t know what it is. It took me a few years and abundant consternation…

Speaking About Spiritual Things

He who is pure of soul and chaste in life always speaks the words of the Spirit discreetly, and in accord with his own measure he speaks of the things of God and of the things that are within him.  But when a man’s heart is crushed by the passions, his tongue is moved by them; and even though he speak of spiritual matters, yet he discourses passionately, to the end that…

Some Thoughts On Using The Word “Heretic”

Some of you may have noticed that I seldom use the word “heresy” or “heretic” when I speak of heterodox versions of Christianity and those who follow them. I have thought that, perhaps, some of you might have gathered the wrong idea that I do not think that heterodox opinions are heretical. This is not the case. However, I also think that the word “heresy” is not a very useful word when…