Why People Leave Church When Leaders Fail

Back in August, (formerly) Roman Catholic political columnist Damon Linker announced that he’d left the Roman Catholic Church, and this past week, he explained why, noting along the way some of the reaction against his announcement: It’s hardly surprising that writers deeply devoted to the Catholic Church would reject the reasons for my decision to leave the church. The former editor of Commonweal Paul…

What if a heartbroken Catholic knocks on my church door?

I have watched now over the past few weeks as each awful page is turned in the growing sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. It’s been bad for years now, but what’s come out just recently is looking even worse. I have been very hesitant to say much publicly on this, because it is so fraught with possible missteps. So forgive me…

Why Do We Do Ministry Without God?

Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost / Tenth Sunday of Luke, December 10, 2017 Ephesians 6:10-17; Luke 13:10-17 In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of…

Whose Vineyard is This, Anyway?

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost / Thirteenth Sunday of Matthew, September 3, 2017 I Corinthians 16:13-24; Matthew 21:33-42 Very Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. If you have something truly wonderful to share with people, how do you get it to them? How do you get this wonderful…

Church Work is Mostly Disappointing

Clergy often share ministry stories and then say, “They didn’t teach me that in seminary!” One of the things that I wasn’t taught in seminary (and wish I were) is that ministry in church life is mostly a disappointment. We clergy don’t often like to talk about that. I mean, who would like to say that most of the time, the work they do,…

The Transfiguration as Model for Ministry

Holy Transfiguration of Christ, August 6, 2017 II Peter 1:10-19; Matthew 17:1-9 Very Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Today we see God. Today we see Jesus Christ standing on Mount Tabor before His three inner circle disciples—Peter, James and John—and He is transfigured before them, His…

Are All Orthodox Christians Supposed to Evangelize? (UPDATED)

The following is culled from comments I made on a Facebook thread in a private group in which it was being alleged that most Orthodox Christians aren’t meant to function as missionaries. The argument was mentioned that the Lord’s command to go into all the earth and preach the Gospel was given only (or mainly) to the apostles. Allowance was made for certain rare…