Children of Light and Paranormal Movies

OrthoAnalyika Shownotes: 13 December 2009

Note: be sure to subscribe to the podcast.

Homily/Lesson (26th Sunday after Pentecost)

Ephesians 5: 8 – 19

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “ Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

An Exposition on Today’s Epistle Lesson

[I actually began with a brief explanation of the implications of today’s Gospel lesson for people suffering from economic stress. Sorry about the sparseness of the notes.]

We have chosen the light over the darkness – therefore we have to walk as children of the light; “finding out what is acceptable to the Lord”

What is acceptable to the Lord? The Psalm we recite in our morning prayers says that it is not burnt offerings, but rather a “broken and contrite heart” that God does not despise. Other parts of our prayers speak of sins as something that you offer at the altar. Our offering to Him begins with continual repentance – to use the imagery of today’s epistle, we must “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them”: repentance requires opening up all the hidden closets – all the secret dark places – to the Light of Christ. And as this Light exposes the things that lurk in these places, we pull them out and offer them to the Lord in confession by name.

As we do this, as we find, expose, and sacrifice all the dark secrets, sins, habits, and histories that have blighted our souls; we walk more surely as “children of the light”, enjoying the blessings and joy that God has promised to those who follow Him.

In today’s lesson, St. Paul also encourages us to “redeem the time because the days are evil”. He is exhorting us to greater intentionality in how we live our lives – pointing out that if we just let life happen, then the “evil days” will not only work against us from the outside, but without notice, even find their way back into our hearts. Redeeming the time requires that we constantly evaluate the things put before and around us based on the full light of rationality.

Rationality: not just cost benefit, but grounded in true logic and a true understanding of “what is acceptable to the Lord.”

God’s standard and why it matters. (Perfect Love) God made the world good, and made us to thrive in it. This can only happen if we dedicate ourselves to this cause – and do so with purpose and resolve. Practically, this means avoiding taking pleasure in those things that God despises: deceit, hatred, darkness, etc. and reveling in those things that He has given us for our enjoyment and edification (community, light, joy, selfless service, charity, pursuit of truth, dedication to honest craft and creation).

And listen to these words St. Paul finishes with today as he describes both the method of sanctification and its enjoyment: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Let all of our thoughts, all of our conversations, and all of our actions become hymns expressing our joy of being in the Love of Our Lord.


From Greece: Excellent response to concerns about hygiene and the Eucharist. More dubious report about the devil’s passports.

From Russia: Archbishop Hilarion says that pants aren’t just for women anymore. Patriarch Kirill wants Russians abroad to maintain their identity (arguably a very good thing, especially when it is centered in Orthodoxy), but lauds the cooperation of the Church and “the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and between the Church and other departments which are responsible for work abroad” (a dangerous mix).

From Ukraine: UAOC clarifies their approach towards unity – continue dialogue with UOC-MP, renew dialogue with UOC-KP (problem w/ Patriarch Filaret is non-negotiable, but won’t be a problem forever…), look to EP to play a “key role” (and chastise those in the UOC-MP and UOC-KP who unjustly criticize the EP), and even refer to the EP as their “mother church.” The UOC-KP defends the canonicity of their ordinations. Here’s a really interesting interview Krista Tippet on paganism and neo-paganism in Ukraine (with a former? Ukrainian Catholic from Canada).

From the USA: dvoeveriye is alive and well here in the US (or is this an indicator of something else?). Fr. james Early has a new podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

Looking for Your Input: Paranormal Movie Picks
(Note that the division between “Believable”, “Science Fiction”, and “Spiritual Warfare” is artificial. I just did it so I could include more movies. Even as it is, I didn’t get many of my favorites in there!).

Top Ten Secular “Believable” Paranormal Movies:

Donnie Darko (multiverse)

The Mothman Prophecies (ambiguity of interactions)

Jacob’s Ladder (visions, psychosis, “toll houses”)

The Serpent and the Rainbow (science & the supernatural)

Frequency (time/dimensional slip)

Flatliners (good on parasites, sin, repentance)

The Village (intentional creation/manipulation of myth)

Men Who Stare at Goats (Project Stargate etc.)

Possible Worlds/Sliding Doors/The Family Man/Groundhog Day (multiverse)

Secret of Roan Inish (Folk/Myth)

Top Ten Science Fiction Paranormal Movies

The Matrix

Dark City

Monsters Inc (the power of positivity)

The One (intentional manipulation of the multiverse)

Sixth Sense

12 Monkeys


Slaughterhouse Five

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Spiritual Warfare

Lord of the Rings (fellowship and sacrifice defeat evil)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

The Island/Ostrov (how saints act/interact with the mundane)

Millions (intercession of Saints)

The Third Miracle

Viy (based on a short story by Gogol)

What Dreams May Come (reincarnation!?; but good on bleakness of suicide)

Spirited Away (global effects of sin and sacrifice on creation)

Constantine (turns sacramentalism into talismanism, but fun)

Batman: The Dark Knight (doing good in a fallen world)

Vol’ya Moment: Preparation for Nativity

Advent/St. Phillip’s Fast, 2009

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is tragic that the days surrounding the celebration of the Birth of Christ are marked with so much worry and stress; that the days commemorating the coming of the God-Man Jesus into the world are full of anxiety, frantic busy-ness, and depression rather than the peace, joy, and hope He came to bring. Hello, this if Fr. Anthony Perkins, the pastor of St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Woonsocket, RI (the church with the golden domes on Harris Avenue) [and I’m] here to encourage you to make the most out of your preparation for the Nativity; to encourage you be more intentional in

making your heart, your family, and your community, fitting places for the Christ child to rest.

Within the Orthodox Christian tradition, the Advent season mirrors that of Great Lent, with 40 days of humility, fasting, and charity. As during Great Lent, we use these ascetic disciplines to empty

ourselves of all the destructive passions and habits that have made their homes within our hearts and that have manifested themselves within our lives. Regaining self-control and living a quieter life [in Christ] are the only ways to avoid making the extra family get-togethers and Church services more than just additional events to squeeze into an already jam-packed calendar; and giving gifts to loved ones and those in need more than just additional lines on a credit card bill we already can’t afford.

We should not join this fallen world in marking the days leading to the Nativity of Our Lord with impatient frenzy, but by learning to do the very same thing He did for us: [to do this, we must] purify ourselves of all selfishness; center ourselves in God’s grace; and allow His peace, mercy, joy, and love fill our lives and spread to the world around us. Christ God was Incarnate as a baby in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, He lived, suffered, died, resurrected, and ascended into Glory so that we might

join Him in peace and love here and forevermore.

This is the gift of Christmas being offered to everyone in Woonsocket and in the entire world. Open your arms and open your hearts to receive Him.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the Nativity of Christ at St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We are located at 74 Harris Avenue in Woonsocket (with plenty of off-street parking). Most Orthodox still use the Old Julian Church Calendar, so Christmas falls on January 7th for us – well after the hustle-bustle of the Gregorian date has passed. Our Nativity Compline-and-Carol service is on Christmas Eve, January 6th at 7PM; our Nativity Divine Liturgy is at 9:30 on Christmas morning, January 7th and is itself preceded by thirty minutes of caroling led by our wonderful choir.

You can learn more about us and our worship schedule at our website: or by calling the rectory at 401-762-3939.

May God bless you as you prepare to receive Him.

+ Fr Anthony Perkins, pastor

St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church

This message was first prepared for broadcast on WOON 1240.