Praying Before Communion with Children

I recently received an email asking me to recommend a communion prayer for children. That got me thinking about a Raising Saints podcast episode on this very subject from 2012.  Then on Sunday I took my kids to church, and as I stood in line with my eight year old and my five year old, and as I struggled to help them focus on the sacrament they were about to receive, I realized…

Merry Christmas!

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be Orthodox in America this December and it’s kind of making me chuckle. Forgive me, but we’re a little bipolar. Not in the medical sense, but insofar as we are vacillating between two states of mind, two cultures — you might say we are caught between Nativity and Christmas! I wouldn’t wish you a blessed Nativity today, I won’t call out, ‘Christ is born!’…

Gratitude

This originally appeared as a podcast episode on November of 2012. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This is such a beautiful holiday — all the more so because it’s so rare for just about everyone in the United States to stop moving, gather together with family and loved ones, and express gratitude to our Creator. In recent decades, our nation has begun to struggle against sharing religious experiences; freedom of religion is being reshaped into…

The Nativity Fast

This text was originally posted as a Raising Saints podcast episode in 2012. It’s November, and that means that it’s time to get ready for the Nativity Lent, the Advent Fast. For Orthodox Christians living in America, this is a very important fast, because in this society, we really need it. In our American culture, we love to pre-celebrate our holidays, especially Christmas.  Many stores are already pressing you to purchase your Christmas…

Teaching Prayer to Children

One of the very first Raising Saints episodes focused on how we teach prayer to children.  This was originally posted in June of 2012. Today we’re talking about teaching prayer to children. We need to develop a vocabulary to communicate the significance of prayer in terms that they can understand and apply to their own spiritual lives, and then we’ll need to offer them opportunities to put it into action: we should…

Modern Discoveries and Ancient Wisdom

Bookstore shelves are lined with self-help and child psychology books, and frankly, I tend to walk right past them.  I’m not attracted to their catchy titles and quick fixes, nor do endorsements from Oprah and Dr. Oz get me excited.  So much of what these books offer encourages us to center ourselves (read:  become more self-centered); there isn’t much interest in growing ever more Christ-centered. So I don’t pick up these books on my…