Homily on Romans 15:1-2: On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand!

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. (Romans 15:1-2) This is one of the most wonderful pieces of advice in the Bible, but it goes against our culture and some of […]

Homily Notes: Like Politics, Salvation is Local

Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38, 19:27-30 Like Politics, Salvation is Loval The Problem: How do we reconcile the Gospel that we have just heard – a very demanding call that we give up everything and take up our cross – with something Jesus says just in the very next chapter; “Come to me, all who labor and […]

St. Thomas Sunday Homily; A Meditation on Love (and doubt)

Gospel Reading:  St. John 20:19-31 Love is Always Personal There is no such thing as love in the abstract; it is not a phenomenon that can be measured in a laboratory, isolated from everything else.  It is always personal.  You all know what sacrifice looks like.  You have done it in your lives and you […]

Specialization as a threat to spiritual growth

One of the problems I have seen in Orthodoxy is [excessive] clericalism, the idea that religious experts are responsible for our spiritual needs.  We are all members of the royal priesthood!  Bishops and priests provide necessary sacramental services, grace, and guidance [etc.] … but we are all responsible for the state of our souls and the health […]

A Meditation on MLK Jr and Our Own Cowardice

The Lord God stands in the midst of the Divine Council and judges among the gods.”How long will you rule unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?Defend the poor and fatherless, maintain the rights of the afflicted and the destitute.  Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 81/82:1-4) One […]

The Good-Idea Fairy has Run Amok

Full disclosure: I am a retired CW-3 (Military Intelligence, USAR).  I spent most of my time post-9/11 providing intelligence support to warfighters in Afghanistan.  It was important work.  However, colleagues and friends would be quick to point out that I got hit pretty hard by the good idea fairy myself, most notably in being part of a […]

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 […]

The Illiberal Demand for Kosher and Halal Bacon

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 fried salo, a sort of bacon cut so that it […]

Problems with Talking to the Rider

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 but actually playing the role of marketing guy for the decision the gut had […]

The Challenge of Post-Hoc Moral Decision Making

The Rational Decision-makerIn the post-enlightenment west, we have this idea that man is rational; that when he approaches a decision, he gathers the available data, calculates the costs and benefits of each alternative, and selects the one that he determines is most likely to be the best (i.e. expected utility maximization).   Very few people […]