Those Who Quit Church: Why Do We Talk About Converts More?

Recently, someone wrote to ask why the Orthodox blogosphere and media seem to talk far more about converts to Orthodoxy than people who have been Orthodox and have left off coming to church. This is a hard subject, and it’s one I don’t recall seeing talked about much online. This (with some edits and additions) was my response: I will relate why I think…

I Can’t Always Fix the Broken, But I Can Do This

From today’s epistle reading: For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (I Timothy 4:4-5) In our zealousness to be righteous or pure, we can be tempted to forget this basic truth, a truth that everything God created is fundamentally good. It…

This Thing Decreased My Stress as a Pastor

This week an article about pastors quitting ministry and even Christianity itself circulated among some of the clergy I know. I see articles like this all the time. Among this one’s ominous passages is this one: [ExPastors.com] conducted a 2015 survey that found 60 percent of pastors consider themselves overworked and 81 percent feel unable to meet the demands of their jobs, Atkinson said…

Is Orthodox Education Really Necessary?

One of the things I’ve encountered among some Orthodox Christians in America is the idea that, since most Christians in history were basically illiterate—that’s one reason we have iconography, right?—then there really is not an urgency to teach people what we might think of as the “data” of the Orthodox faith. It’s enough to have a good piety, to be a good person, to…

Our Mission Is To the Person in Front of Us

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost / Fifth Sunday of Luke, October 30, 2016 II Corinthians 11:31-33, 12:1-9; Luke 16:19-31 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 continue to explore the theme we’re focusing on for several weeks: What is our mission? And with today’s Gospel from…

“The Netflix for the Church” Just Called My Orthodox Church

Since we do not have a parish secretary, I just fielded a marketing call from an online service that is billing itself as the “Netflix for the church.” (“Are you familiar with Netflix, sir?”) I asked who generates the media that they sell. A list of names was rattled off (Matt Chandler, Dave Ramsey, Andy Stanley, etc.), kind of a who’s who in popular…

#LivesMatter. But Why?

It’s been something of a rough week for news in America. Two very controversial police killings of black men were followed by a protest against police brutality in Dallas that turned deadly when snipers killed several police officers and wounded others. And not too many weeks ago was the deadly mass shooting in Orlando. Outrage. Politics. Hypocrisy. Outcry. Violence. Hatred. Injustice. Race war. These…