Should religion be physical?: Great Lent and Polycarp the Palpable

Today is the beginning of Great Lent for most Orthodox Christians (a handful of Western Rite Orthodox Christians will begin with their Ash Wednesday the day after tomorrow), and I’ve decided to try my hand at doing 40 days of blogging—posting at least once a day from today through the Friday before Lazarus Saturday. This is my first post for Great Lent. Today I…

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…

The Mass Cult of Big

The following is essentially a piecing together of selections from a Facebook thread in which I participated today. The following quotation led off the discussion: We have become fascinated by the idea of bigness, and we are quite convinced that if we can only ‘stage’ something really big before the world, we will shake it, and produce a mighty religious awakening. – D. Martin…

Conversions

Ten years ago today—April 26, 2002—I first sat down and had coffee with the beautiful woman in the picture above. This picture was taken about sixteen months later, on our wedding day. Our pairing was (and in some ways, remains) unlikely. When I met her ten years ago, she was actually an atheist with a Lutheran background she had left behind in her teens.…

The Transfiguration of Place: An Orthodox Christian Vision of Localism

Both parts of my talk, The Transfiguration of Place: An Orthodox Christian Vision of Localism, are now available via Ancient Faith Radio. Get them here: Part 1, Part 2 I have to say that this is one of my favorites among the things I’ve written. A number of folks have actually asked me to expand this into a book, but I don’t think I…

Why I Can’t Be Your Spiritual Father: A Localist Lament

As I think probably happens to just about every clergyman who has some sort of media presence (even one so minor as mine), I get requests every so often from folks essentially to do the job that their local pastor should be doing. Now, it may be that they don’t have a local pastor, perhaps because there is no Orthodox church near them, because…

Globalization: An Impediment to Salvation (The Transfiguration of Place, Part III)

The following is Part III of a talk I gave on April 2nd at the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference at the Antiochian Village. The full talk is entitled “The Transfiguration of Place: An Orthodox Christian Vision of Localism.” Read Part I and Part II. There are six parts in all. We use the word community to mean a lot of different things these…

“Spiritual But Not Religious” and the Path to God

I sometimes encounter folks who tell me that they are “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR). I wish I asked more often what exactly that is supposed to mean, though I am usually held back from asking by a strong suspicion that such a statement is not meant to undergo any sort of scrutiny. But what does it mean, anyway? This post is a reflection…