Homily – “What do you want?” vs. “Who are you?”

Homily for the Sunday after Christmas [“On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”] It is common for us to lament the commercialization of Christmas, complaining that we have lost the “reason for the season.”  I think this is true.  Many of us are thankful that we are on the “Old […]

Orthodox Help on Keeping Resolutions (from Sunday’s bulletin)

As Orthodox Christians, we can draw on a lot of wisdom on how to improve our lives.  As we go into the New Year and all its hopes, let me share some nuggets that I have found useful. Resolution (i.e. “willpower”) is not enough.  Our faith is built around this reality.  If we want to […]

Day Thirty-six – Hats

I was born and raised in Georgia.  Growing up there, just about everyone wore baseball caps.  It makes sense – they are really useful.   They are the best hair-style, bar none.  Why mess with your hair when you can just put a hat on and go?  I should point out that there were some […]

Day Thirty-four – Log Cabins

Have you ever heard of “thin places”?   The idea is that there are places where the barrier between our world and another are so thin as to allow us to sense its presense.  Mythology is full of stories about “normal people’ finding adventure (and often doom!) by slipping into places like fairyland and the […]

Day Twenty-six – Oil Lamps

Tending the Flame of Anor I’m pretty granola when it comes to certain things.  This is especially the case when it comes to church.  Being crunchy and being Orthodox go together like cream in coffee.  Because the Glory of God resonates throughout creation, objective science gives use plenty of reason to prefer the old ways; […]

Day Twenty-three – Christmas Trees

Despite my “Bah Humbug” post about gift giving, I actually love the rituals of Christmas.  The home ones are especially nice: hanging stockings (made by my Mom for my Pani, each of my kids, and me), putting up the Nativity banners, setting up the Nativity creche (are they statues if all the figures are pillows?), […]

Day Seventeen – Holiday Depression

[Please note that I am writing about malaise, not actual depression.  If you are suffering from depression, seek professional help.] Studies show that cases of depression and general malaise increase during the Christmas season.  It’s a real problem, and – unless you are some sort of saint (or Vulcan) – it’s probably one you struggle […]

Day Fourteen: Giving Thanks to Our God as a Nation

Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Archpastoral Message for 2013 Thanksgiving Day:We Offer Praise and Thanksgiving Once again, our nation pauses to celebrate Thanksgiving. Our tables will be spilling over with food and our homes will resonate with laughter and conversation as we gather to celebrate this special day. Thanksgiving […]

Day Eleven – Turkey

There’s a funny thing that happens every year among the Orthodox in America around this time of year.  Many Old Calendarists hop on their high horse and lord it over New Calendarists for breaking the Nativity Fast on Thanksgiving.  The built-in assumption is that there is no way any Tradition-loving, Real Orthodox Christian (TM) would […]

Day Nine – The Sabbath

We were made to work One of the great virtues of this nation is its commitment to work hard and to work well.  This virtue does not allow us to see work in purely economic terms; it isn’t just about paying the bills, providing for the family, or having enough to give freely to those […]