The Inseparability of Church and State

A rare glimmer of truth appeared in The Washington Post several days ago when Kathleen Parker responded to yet another legal battle being waged across the country relating to the separation of Church and State: can government entities grant funds or contracts to religious adoption and foster care agencies who decline to place children into the homes of same-sex couples? Parker criticizes the city of Philadelphia for answering “no” to this question, but…

The Forgotten Beauty of Sacrifice

“Love is not sentimentality, but sacrifice.” -Archimandrite Vasileios The Language Barrier One of the greatest difficulties which modern Americans face when encountering Holy Orthodoxy is one of language. I do not refer, however, to the outward obstacle of the use of Church Slavonic, Greek, Arabic, or any other of the languages of Orthodox immigrants to this country. I refer rather to the colossal problem of the usage of the English language. For…

Pope Francis, Homosexuality, and the Love of God

A furor has erupted recently over a statement Pope Francis reportedly made about homosexuality during a private conversation with a victim of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Latin America: Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are. The reactions in society at large…

On Priestesses and Ecclesiological Deism

One of the most controversial issues in contemporary Orthodoxy is the question of the ordination of deaconesses — or perhaps even priestesses. The Orthodox Church is one of the few Christian bodies which has remained faithful to the once universal practice of ordaining only men to the priesthood. But the dominant belief in our culture that equality means interchangeability — and the urge to join step with the March of Progress — has led…

On Education and School Shootings

May God have mercy on us. Yet another school shooting yesterday, with 10 dead and as many wounded. And this time the murderer came from an Orthodox family. And even some the students who survived are not really surprised that it happened: A video interview with one student, Paige Curry, spread across social media, an artifact of a moment when children have come to expect violence in their schools. “Was there a…

The New Christianity

Mother Jones has an article today about a new movement of young evangelical Christians embracing left-wing social justice issues as an expression of the true heart of the Gospel. The title of the article is I Went To an Evangelical Revival and It Was All About Fighting Racism and Protecting LGBT Rights. The subtitle: “What if Jesus actually meant the stuff he said?” The movement calls itself “Red Letter Christians.” According to…

And We Shall See Christ

We have reached today the last Sunday of Paschaltide. On Wednesday we will celebrate the Leavetaking of Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, and on the following day we will celebrate the Holy Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading which we have just heard, we see a living icon of all that the Lord has accomplished for each human soul. All of us are indeed born blind, disfigured by…

American Apostasy

Here’s a question for you: which of the following two statistics, each indicative of the apostasy engulfing our nation, is more disturbing? A) Over the last 14 years, 11% of Americans have abandoned Christianity — 35 million people in terms of the US population level in 2017. B) 72% of the American people as of 2017 identify as Christians, yet 73% believe that divorce is morally acceptable, 69% believe that extramarital sex is morally…

The Desert and the City

The important conversation I have been having with a reader about finding Orthodox community in the modern world continues, and his most recent response is again so important that I thought that I should repost it from the comments section and reply to it here: Father, bless! Thank you for your responses. You’re right that I was referring in a glancing way to Dreher’s Benedict Option, and I appreciate your perspective and counsel.…

The Benedict Option?

In a recent article I responded briefly and partially to the following question from a reader: What vision in your view could the Orthodox Church offer to people who are seeking life? …Many parish churches that are filled with pious families with the best of intentions occupy such a small fragment of parishioners’ lives that they stand little chance against the array of forces pulling us downwards. At what point would it…