Homily – All Saints of Kyivan Rus’

Today we are remembering the Christian nation of Kyivan-Rus not just because they created a nation that built churches where they got baptized, married, and buried.  We remember them because they accepted Christ and they filled their lives with him. Christianity didn’t just give them something new to do on Sundays – it brought the Savior into every part of ordinary life.  It redeemed their lives by sacrilizing their activities through ritual.   These rituals comprised the infrastructure of their faith; this infrastructure – built on the solid rock that is Jesus Christ - sustained their faith and gave it form.  Over time, it created a Christian culture.  Every community, every nation, has a foundation, has an infrastructure of rituals that … [Continue reading]

Humanitarianism and Orthodoxy – a theological reflection

The Problem: the world (and humanity) groans in agony It’s a hard world.  It chews people up, divides them, deprives them, hurts them, and does its best to take away their hope.  It does its best to demean and dehumanize them.  We have all seen this and we are here because we want to do a better job helping all the world’s casualties, victims, and collaborators.  One of the problems is that it has done a number on us, as well; and this hampers our ability to help in ways both obvious and subtle.  We ourselves are both victims of and collaborators with the world; we ourselves need healing and the ability to absolve and distance ourselves from evil.  This is not easy, but by the grace of God, bringing comfort and succor to others works all … [Continue reading]

Homily Notes – Pentecost

Today is Pentecost, also known as Trinity Day.  Today we celebrate both the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples and the unity that is found in the One God who is Three Persons. The reality of today’s feast is not some abstract theology, but a … [Continue reading]

Homily Notes: Living Water Must be Shared

John 4:5-42 St. Photini (the woman at the well) Main lessons:  The example and result of Christian ministry. We are all called to it Not complicated; sacrifice of love and attention Leads to repentance and the ability to love Not the love of … [Continue reading]

Homily Notes – Myrrbearers (and Consecration)

Acts 6:1-7Mark 15:43-16:8 Intro:  Giving your life over to the idea of God vs. giving your life over to Jesus Christ. Compare to marriage: love the idea of marriage (or whatever) vs. unity with love through a relationship Judas loved the idea of … [Continue reading]

The Illiberal Demand for Kosher and Halal Bacon

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The Joy of BaconWith just a few days left before Pascha, the dominant logismoi distracting me from proper prayer (and analysis) is ... bacon.  I love it.  I especially love the really fatty kind that just melts in your mouth.  The best of the best is … [Continue reading]

Problems with Talking to the Rider

Ritual is a great way to train the elephant!

In a previous post, I shared the strong finding from psychology that many of our moral decisions are made pre-cognitively (i.e. by the elephant), with the active mind (i.e. the rider) pretending to play the role of objective and pious investigator … [Continue reading]

Becoming a Peacemaker

How can I become a Peacemaker?  Come, ye children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.What man is he that desireth life, that loveth to see good days?Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.Turn away from … [Continue reading]

Homily on St. John of the Ladder

Every Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated to person or event, with the sequence of these commemorations designed to prepare us for a deeper participation in Christ’s passion and resurrection.  This Sunday is dedicated to the life and work of St. John … [Continue reading]

A Plea for Pastoral Gentleness

Eko using his "Jesus Stick" (from "Lost").

Thoughts on the calling of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew Matthew was a tax collector.  When Jesus gave him the invitation to “follow me”, he responded with hospitality.  He opened his house to the Lord, his disciples, fellow tax … [Continue reading]