“Everyone was a saint there”: Who are we in worship?

In a conversation I was having with my wife yesterday, she was reflecting on the funeral of a dear friend we attended recently, especially how, surrounding the funeral services, the love people showed each other and the bereaved was so deep and palpable (she didn’t use that kind of language, but that’s my “translation”!). And then she said this: “It’s like everyone was a…

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…

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…

12 Reasons Why I Became and/or Remain an Orthodox Christian

Lists like this are usually so much clickbait, I know, but I thought it was nevertheless worthwhile to compile a list of most of the reasons why I became and/or remain an Orthodox Christian. Some of these things were not really on my radar when I became Orthodox in 1998, but they are part of the reason why I genuinely do love belonging to…

What Does “Orthodoxy” Mean?

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of one of my lectures that I’ve also posted on my parish website. It is well-known among Orthodox Christians that the word orthodoxy—often used as a shorthand for our faith—has two parallel meanings. It is composed of two Greek words—orthos and doxa. Together, they form orthodoxia, rendered into English as orthodoxy. The word orthos literally means…

A Firm Foothold

I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again. —Frodo Baggins I happened upon this quotation again yesterday evening, while I was reading my daughter The Lord of the Rings. It seems a dauntingly long tome…

“Too catholic to be Catholic”: Communion with Idolaters?

A post of mine from March, Evangelicals at the Eucharist, has inexplicably been getting a bit of traffic again over the past few days. I was assured in the comments that, in my criticisms of Dr. Peter Leithart’s call to Evangelicals to return to putting the Eucharist at the center of worship, I was pinning the wrong guy. But a close reading reveals that…

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…