Sticks and stones

It may seem out of step to talk about insults during the season that is supposed to be about good cheer and “peace on earth.” But that’s what we get, I suppose, for having Election Day come so close to the start of Advent. Or specifically, this Election Day. Election Day, 2016. Because this one has been, to use a grandfatherly expression, a pip. From start to finish, it was unlike anything…

One fine Father’s Day

I wrote this some years ago back when I sometimes encountered wildlife by chance while walking my dog in rural Missouri. My location has changed and someone else is walking my girl Clementine these days, but thoughts about my dad on Father’s Day stay the same. Walking the hounddog Clementine in the June heat is a bit of a chore, so I waited until she was really fussing at me before I put on…

What is a Christian end to life?

In the old days, she would be propped up on a comfy pillow, in fresh cleaned sheets under the corner window where she would in days gone past watch her children play. Soup would boil on the stove just in case she felt like a sip or two. Perhaps the radio softly played Al Jolson or Glenn Miller, flowers sat on the nightstand, and family quietly came and went. These were her…

St. Porphyrios: Have Christ’s joy

On this, the name day of the recently canonized St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalivite, I have to share a little of my favorite thoughts of his. A goddaughter bought me a copy of Wounded by Love a few years ago, and reading it was like getting a prescription for a persistent ailment. For those who haven’t read it, the first portion of this book is an autobiographical account of how this amazing man grew up,…

Optimism, pessimism and the ‘little book’

The news right now has been absolutely awful. There isn’t anything that people can really do, and so we reach for social media campaigns and slogans to feel like we’re doing something. In the face of the mass killings in Beirut, in Paris, in Kenya, there isn’t much point in talking … and so we talk more than ever. And what do we say? We want to share upbeat messages, think about peace, reach…

Church fathers on the ‘right use’ of secular culture

In my on-going quest for Orthodox perspectives on culture, I ran across the following excerpt from St. Basil the Great’s “Advice to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature.” This is an Orthodox perspective on the non-Christian “culture” of the time. “For just as bees know how to extract honey from flowers, which to men are agreeable only for their fragrance and color, even so here also those who look…