No, Christmas is Not Pagan. Just Stop.

Well, it’s time for a good Christmas rant. This requires a rant, because every year, we see the same ignorant silliness. (Sorry, but it’s just true.) Supposedly, Christmas is secretly pagan, secretly syncretist, secretly a co-opting of pagan stuff and ignorantly claiming it to be Christian. But the truth about these things is so available that it’s literally staring out at you even from…

The Three Ways Christians Approach the World

There are generally three approaches that Christians have taken when it comes to their surrounding cultures: 1) Rejection, resistance, and hostility: This approach sharply distinguishes the Church from the world, emphasizing that the Church is so much “not of this world” that the world must be fled and an alternate community established. It is a posture that is fully closed to the world —…

Preaching Christ in a World That Doesn’t Need God: Orthodox Christianity and Secularism

The following is from a larger talk I am working on about Orthodoxy in the West. Secularism is essentially the idea that one can conceive of a world without God. It is the belief in an autonomous order existing apart from the divine order. It is not necessarily a denial of God’s existence, by the way. Such outright atheism has never been that attractive…

Come Out and Be Separate: Redeeming the World by Standing Apart

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost / First Sunday of Luke, September 27, 2015 II Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Luke 5:1-11 Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. I had a friend who was a Ph.D. student at a university in New York City. He was a brilliant, traditional Orthodox Christian who…

14 New Year’s Resolutions for Orthodox Christians

Editorial comment: This has gotten republished more times than I can count now, mostly without asking (which, while I won’t be hounding people, should still be noted as illegal in most countries). I don’t mind too much, but I do mind that in some places (like church newsletters), it’s gotten republished either without my name on it or having altered the text and still…

Jennifer Aniston Goes Makeup-Free. Liberation Ensues.

I read this morning that actress Jennifer Aniston (whose family name is Anastasakis and whose godfather is Telly Savalas) had declared that going makeup-free in her new film Cake was “dreamy and empowering and liberating.” I don’t normally bother with celebrity news, but of course when using social media, it’s hard to escape it. This caught my eye, though, because it struck me as…

Raising Authentically Christian Children: Good News and Bad News

My friend Seraphim Danckaert published an article today on the O&H site that I think every Christian (Orthodox or not) should read: Losing our Religion: On “Retaining” Young People in the Orthodox Church. Why? Almost every kind of church throughout America is losing kids. So read it first before reading the rest of this. Okay, done? First, some bad news: If you’re counting on…