Exploring the paradoxes of suffering and salvation in Orthodox Christian spiritual life. +++ Suffering Hell for the Sake of Heaven Part 1 Suffering Hell for the Sake of Heaven Part 2 … [Read more...]
What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
"What do you want me to do for you?" is a simple question we often hear get asked by whoever we consult for the services or assistance they can offer. Then there's the magical version of the question which gets asked in the delightful stories we all know where the person who gets three wishes ends up having to use the last one to get rid of the … [Read more...]
Throwing Bricks At Jesus
In 7th grade, my friend Andy and I were looking down from the top of the football stadium seats as the 8th and 9th grade cheerleaders with their pompoms and clean white shirts were passing below. A split second before they disappeared into the stadium, I poured out part of the Coca-Cola in my hand and rushed back to sit down in the bleachers, … [Read more...]
What Will You Give Me If I Betray Him?
Everybody has their price. Everybody. Some forty years ago Bruce Metzger, my New Testament Seminary professor, quietly made a profound statement in class one day, the kind that finds a permanent resting place in the mind because it sheds light on an unfathomable mystery that remains obscure, yet keeps on tugging at the heart’s hidden longing. “No … [Read more...]
Sin and Grace Dwell Together In Us All
Today we enter the beginning of preparation for Lent called the Triodion which begins the tenth week before Pascha on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and ends with the Midnight Office on Holy Saturday. Triodion is from the Greek word Τριῴδιον, which means “three odes.” The season derives its the name from the Liturgical book which … [Read more...]
The Church is Not Organized Religion But Communion to be Constantly Pursued
How often have I heard variations on the theme of 'I’m spiritual, but not religious? You can be spiritual without going to Church. I don’t like organized religion because the church is full of a bunch of hypocrites.' It sure is. Got that right. There is no one alive on the earth who is not hypocritical. We say one thing while thinking something … [Read more...]
For the Love of Tuna II
On the Greek island of Kefalonia in the Church of Markopoulo, every year on August 6th, the Feast of the Transfiguration, the “snakes of the Panaghia,” as they are called, make an appearance. They move freely throughout the church especially favoring the icon of the Panaghia, remaining until the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on the feast of the … [Read more...]
For the Love of Tuna!
We tempted and led a raccoon into captivity briefly, relocating it this afternoon to a faraway country. The face of this shy little creature sitting in the cage, kept returning to me during the Divine Liturgy, along with the echoing refrain, “for the love of tuna.” Several varieties of grapes grow in our yard. Scuppernongs cover the fence along … [Read more...]
Not By Comparison
Adam and Eve created enmity with each other and the world around them when they started comparing themselves to God and each other. God found out about their dis-ease when He entered the garden looking for communion. Calling out for them, Adam answered, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I am naked so I hid.”  “Who told you, … [Read more...]
Treasure in Earthen Vessels: Prayer and the Embodied Life
Treasure in Earthen Vessels “In the following pages, Fr. Stephen Muse provides us, not with a manual of prayer, but with an opening into the life of prayer by unveiling for us “the mystery of embodied life and the uncreated divine life.” He provides an entryway for us, as human beings with all our brokenness, weakness and fear, to dialogue … [Read more...]