Suggested starting points include Creation and Holy Orthodoxy: Fundamentalism Is Not Enough, Exotic Golden Ages and Restoring Harmony with Nature: Anatomy of a Passion, Money, A Pet Owner's Rules, and "Religion and Science" Is Not Just Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.
G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."
Alchemy glitters on the outside, but it is only fool's gold. It's an easy way out that doesn't work.
No critique to Pseudo-Dionysius or apophatic / negative theology, but all theology is the same kind of thing as positive theology.
Amazing Providence (short)
- One thing I have learned as a Christian is what it means for God to look after you.
St. Seraphim of Platina is a newly canonized saint, and should be recognized as such.
However, some of his followers do not quite match his degree of holiness.
C.S. Lewis posited that the devils do not care about whether someone is a materialist or a magician, but suggested that they have an unholy grail in trying to find the materialist magician.There's a good case to be made that games provide just such a materialist magic.
Archimandrite Zacharias has written a number of books my abbot has recommended to me, and they have been tremendously helpful to me. Here is an appreciation of Archimandrite Zacharias's works.
This article endorses some rather interesting exercises for nature connection. They are worth trying.
Orthodox need not be afraid if some of their beliefs, religious or otherwise, are classified as "crank theories." However, may I make a suggestion?
Ecumenism has been formally anathematized as heresy, but heresies sport new masks: the very name of "New Age" is a lie, and Orthodox concerned about ecumenism might be interested in the particular permutation of ecumenism shown in this title and answered in a review.
St. Paul wrote, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Here is a look at branding that lies downstream of that truth.
That Beautiful Strength (medium)
A look at the hideous strength of C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, and the beautiful strength that is even stronger.
After ignoring an uneasy conscience, CJS Hayward tried to study a martial art on Orthodoxy-appropriate terms. Here is a retrospective that looks at the broader question of whether we can "smoke, but not inhale."
- A Comparison Between the Mere Monk and the Highest Bishop
The position of a simple monastic is that position which is to be most desired in the entire Orthodox Church. And that is what I am seeking.
We were made to enjoy contemplation, in more than one sense.
An ascetical look at how to avoid a constant go-to activity of going to screens whenever we need something to do.
A meditation as COVID was hitting the world.
Years back, I wrote a couple of pieces about origins questions. This is a more recent piece that addresses a very specific point about bringing Protestant fundamentalism into Orthodoxy, and it moves away from origins questions towards a more important issue.
You might also read the companion piece, Note to Orthodox evolutionists: Stop trying to retroactively
shanghairecruit the Fathers to your camp!.
Our Crown of Thorns (short)
Christ's crown of thorns has every relevance to our daily lives. Is it something we can have on our own terms?
Things that are tinged with occult themes seem to sparkle. But there is more to be had in life than chump change.
A meditation on covetousness, desire, and true happiness.
A look at two works that may reveal less about Orthodoxy than fashion.
When I was studying at Fordham, the question of dissent loomed large. This is an attempt to respond to what was "in the air" at that school.
Does God Suffer? (medium)
A grieving pastor, after the death of his son, wrote that God suffers with his Creation. This is a respectful look at his masterpiece that tries to explain why it is good news that God does not suffer.
Its central points revolve around what is called "theology proper," or "the doctrine of God." It responds to a powerful picture, in the masterpiece A Foot in Two Worlds, of a God who can handle creaturely suffering because he suffers with them. And it looks at what it means for God to be so great that he is beyond suffering.
Do We Have Rights? (medium)
We have a lot of rights these days. Or at least we think we do, and the list of our rights is growing longer and longer.
What if I told you that people can get along well without thinking in terms of rights?
The Eighth Sacrament (short)
In Orthodoxy, you can say that there are seven sacraments, or that there is one, or that there are a million.
In Orthodoxy, there are seven sacraments, officially speaking; but there's a great deal of truth in saying that there is only one sacrament, or that there are a million of them. This is a look at one among many of the "other" sacraments.
A look at what is always missing in fantasy.
Escape or escapism represent a devastating thing to give into. Here is a meditation about it.
There is a perennial cry in some quarters to reclaim former glory. We thirst for the exotic, but not always in the best places. Do we appreciate what we have?
Years back, the author was very attentive to Gandhi's writing, enough so that his first public speech was formed by that attentiveness. Now, years later, he has some second thoughts, and realizes areas where he was wrong.
God the Game Changer (medium)
A meditation on God as the Game Changer who responds to sin, evil, pain, and death by changing the game.
A Glimpse Into Eastern Orthodoxy (medium)
Eastern Orthodoxy is both Christian and Eastern. and sometimes other Christians, and the West in general, don't pick up on what exactly this means. A Glimpse into Eastern Orthodoxy is written in the hope of creating a spark of connection.
God the Spiritual Father (medium)
A collection of quotes and reflections on God the Father in light of the spiritual fatherhood in Orthodox monasticism, in its relevance to us today in an economic depression.
Halloween: A solemn farewell (short)
I enjoyed Halloween for many years, but it looks different as I begin to understand Orthodoxy.
Happiness is not only for easy times.
Happiness is available in times of crisis, too!
Many strange things have happened in relation to COVID, that may look strange in history books. Here's a heart-to-heart.
That Hideous Strength is perhaps the greatest example of C.S. Lewis reading as if he had plagiarized things written decades after his death.
A meditation on eternity and time.
It is possible.
A concise summary of both the sacred and secular dimensions to an Orthodox Christian's jobhunt. (Getting a job for Orthodox Christians calls for both.)
How to Survive Hard Times (medium)
- Would you like to know how to survive an economic depression? People have survived every kind of disaster from recessions to economic collapses. The way they have survived may have had something to do with spirituality and faith. Do you want to dig deeper into how to survive a depression? You might find some answers here.
This describes pretty much the current state of psychology. Elder Sophrony and Elder Zacharias are reticent to take psychology away from people for whom that is all they have, but there is better to be had.
The theory of evolution is ordinarily looked at through a scientific lens, or what is considered to be scientific.
Nonetheless, a look at evolution from the perspectives of the humanities can be very interesting.
On Humor (short)
- A look at humor (off-color and otherwise) in the light of Orthodox Christian classics.
The Hydra (short)
A look at a hydra whose heads include the covetousness of Romanticism's Sehnsucht or longing, escapism, fantasy, the occult, and the freedom that comes when one rejects all of these.
Sometimes ignorance stems from just not knowing yet. But there is another kind of ignorance that shuts its eyes to facts and acts more stupidly than it has to be.
Incarnation and Deification (short)
An written for the Feast of the Nativity and the Fast before it, about Incarnation that unfurls in deification.
Introduction to the Jesus Prayer (short)
When we pray the Jesus Prayer, God uses it to build silence in our hearts and untangle those things we have knotted inside.
Albert Einstein famously said, "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." The Law of Love exists on the scintillating plane of virtue and offers something better than the level of thinking represented by the Golden Rule.
An Orthodox artist looks at art as a variety of icon.
In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis argues that the foundations of science come from an unsavory neighborhood and are much closer than the occult than was commonly thought.
But there's a third shoe to drop, even if Lewis would not drop it for important reasons. The same neighborhood is the neighborhood the Reformation came from, and the age of the Reformers was seedy.
Otherkin identify as not simply human.
This is a theme interestingly engaged by the Orthodox Tradition and what it really means to be man.
One of several works on happiness.
A look about a mechanism by which we can influence others without needing to corner them in arguments.
We are seeking mindfulness from the East because we have rejected it in the West.
Boomers knew mindfulness as a department of manners.
Loss is a part of life. In fact, loss is a part of Divine Providence: "Every branch that bears fruit, [the Vinedresser] prunes that it may bear more fruit."
In truth, everything in life is either a blessing from God or a temptation which has been allowed for our strengthening.
Modus tollens explores this pruning.
A meditation of mystical theology about kings and kingdoms, monarchs and monarchy.
Monasticism is best understood by direct experience, and probably by someone who is a monastic. However, I wanted to write something to give some concrete face to my monastic aspirations when I might as well be describing something as foreign as living on the moon.
A homily touching on a subject that doesn't get much treatment for how important it is.
Did not St. Paul say we are "more than conquerors"? The same applies to royalty.
It has been said, and is true up to a point, that Orthodox are divided into Muslims and Buddhists. And the analogy is interesting.
G.K. Chesterton famously said, "If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution. Briefly, if you want the old white post you must have a new white post."
However, there are a lot of other interesting things he said, and most of his literary achievements are unknown to most people who parrot the new white post quote.
Wanting to have a child and not having one can be a form of profound suffering. There are one or things Orthodox couples should know about this cross.
Orthodox Christians may believe in evolution, but when Orthodox claim that the Fathers' overall teaching goes hand in hand with evolution, there is something fishy going on.
You might also read the companion piece, Creation and Holy Orthodoxy: Fundamentalism Is Not Enough.
There is something that is not quite right about the Western Rite in the Orthodox Church. (Really? When they are trying so hard to reconstruct the authentic Western Orthodoxy of the first millenium? Yes!)
An open letter about an elephant in the room that Orthodox are painfully aware of and Catholics seem not to see at all.
Some of us wish, or are tempted to wish, that we lived in the age of the great Christological controversies, or nineteenth century Russia, or perhaps the Middle Ages or the Baroque era.
But God has placed us here and now, and ordained for us our ordinary lives to live out. Has God made a mistake in doing so?
One perennial debate is about war and peace, just war and pacifism, violence and nonviolence, soldiers and armies, and figures like Gandhi. Listen to the mystical theology of the Orthodox Christian Church as She listens out of the depths of Her silence.
A look at Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica's title, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, as uncovering a more interesting secret than just Rhonda Byrne's The Secret' and the Law of Attraction, and a secret for inner transformation—and outer!
A Pet Owner's Rules (short)
God is like a pet owner who has only two rules.
The Pleasure-Pain Syndrome (medium)
A look at the pleasure-pain syndrome that for an instant crystallizes in the discussion of the Philokalia under a work attributed to St. Maximos the Confessor.
Being a holy fool is a solid and well-established tradition within Eastern Orthodoxy.
Here is a corrective to the thought that Pope Francis, by virtue of odd behavior, is a member of that tradition.
Porn can seem attractive enough and many of us have been ensnared by it.
This is a look at what's really at stake in the porn that seeks you out.
A look at the venomous hydra called narcissism and pride, by which Satan fell from being an Archangel in Heaven to being the Devil.
It isn't good for us, either.
There are certain kinds of interpersonal boundary issues that, among Orthodox, seem to happen only with conversations with former Protestants.
I received Stage 1 of Pfizer's COVID vaccine. It was by caving in to pressure, and being put into a delicate position pastorally by my bishop. However, this is my confession after I and no one else decided something I shouldn't.
A look at "religion and science" that takes a slow, careful look at how we should receive patristic attitudes towards what is now considered to be the academic discipline of chemistry. (Note: this has nothing to do with alchemy even if there is a historical relation between modern chemistry and alchemy.)
There's a lot that I connect with in C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.
Judas Iscariot had remorse. Would that he had instead had what Orthodox view as repentance!
As an undergraduate, I was asked, "How do you overcome the evidentalist objection to Christianity?" I answered, "What is the evidentialist objection to Christianity?" He answered that it was that we should only believe what was demonstrated by evidence.
I asked, "How do you overcome the evidentalist objection to evidentalism?"
Virtue is its own reward.
Repentance leads us into the rewards of virtue.
It is Heaven's best-kept secret.
- Science and Knowledge: Regenerate Science, Philosophia Naturala, and Human Ways of Knowing
A not entirely successful musing about the nature of science.
Soldiers entering a scenario are given a brief list of "rules of engagement" that often fits on a single card.
This work isn't quite so brief, but it offers rules of engagement for Orthodox spiritual warfare.
A Shaft of Grace (short)
A description of an everyday religious experience.
The Golden Rule is a feat in formulating ethics, a simple criterion that sheds light on a wide variety of situations.
The Silicon Rule is a tribute to such feats and asks a simple question relevant to almost anything containing silicon computer chips / electronics.
An article exploring the social issues surrounding technology and faith and inviting Orthodox clergy to provide pastoral guidance, in other words "social antibodies", for the internet, iPhones, and other features of the technological nexus that we are in.
Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Constantinople in the days of the Reformation, raided the Protestant armory for weapons and armor to defend Orthodox.
St. Seraphim of Platina may have done the same.
The Swiss Army Knife and God (short)
Do Swiss Army Knives offer a lens to see God with?
The Fathers see something in the Lord's command to Take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground, and it has every relevance to Great Lent.
What do the Fathers see? And what does it have to do with Great Lent?
People concerned about living simply may be wary of having a late model of a darling brand of phone.
Nonetheless, there is good reason to view our technology as part of our impoverishment.
Looking for an apocalypse and finding things in the Book of Revelation is a spiritual trap, even though what is written in the Book of Revelation certainly will come true and it is possible that such things in fact are coming true already.
Too much attention to tollhouses might fit in the same bucket.
This is a work I am still not happy with, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. None the less, it has its strengths as it discusses martial arts as a lens to see the Do / Way of Orthodoxy.
Everything we say of God is inadequate. Yet this God who is far beyond anything we can say has a vicar on earth: not the Pope, but every person who crosses our path.
- Treasure (short)
Calvin and Hobbes said, "There's treasure everywhere!"
And really, there is.
It is no blessing to say, "May you have all of the wealth in the world and the health with which to spend it." There are conditions in health where no money in the world is worth it...
...and there are blessings in the spirit that one would be utterly scorned to buy for all of the wealth in his house. It's not just love that is like that: humility, true humility, that someone who understands things would scorn rooms full of silver and gold to part with.
The proud person is enchanted with only one person, and the enchantment fails. The humble person sees the beauty in many people, and the beauty never ends.
"Do not store up treasures on earth," in the Sermon on the Mount, may seem to be the ultimate strict standard of sacrificial living.
It is a strict standard, but its plain sense may be the outer shell of an important inner meaning.
Not quite as concise as G.K. Chesterton's "Sir, I am," but concise.
True Woke is Repentance (long)
There are much better ways to wake up than becoming "woke."
Two Decisive Moments (short)
One of the moments is long ago. The other one can be right now.
Remembering something about Buddhism helped me when I was in a bit of a fix.
An article by someone who believes humans genuinely ARE a special flower and royal, on what evolution / revolutionary punk eek has to tell us who believe in the divine image.
- What Makes Me Uneasy About Fr. Seraphim (Rose) and His Followers (short)
A look at what exactly about Fr. Seraphim (Rose) and his followers could disturb an Orthodox Christian.
Extended comment on 55 New Maxims for the Cyber-Quarantine.
Among Christians, there's a debate about "headship". And those involved can miss something very important.
In the days of Luther, the Roman hegemony was strong enough that even Protestants had difficulties imagining how one could be at odds with the Roman Catholic Church and yet be right with God.
Feminism enjoys a similar position today for women's interests, but "the women's movement" is slipping, and there are signs a growing number find that "the women's movement" is not their movement.
Work offers something of a missed opportunity for many of us: drudgery we endure to get pay, rather than an opportunity to serve and enjoy in a very high sense.
It doesn't have to be this way, and there is in fact room for a mystical theology that encompasses work, and transforms it.
A brief look at why it may not be such a good idea to have something serving you as your personal genie.
It took years for me to be ready to write this, but God's maximum Providence includes just where he has placed me in the history and pre-history of our human race.
Why we Should Believe in Hell (medium)
Hell is something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, but there are excellent reasons to believe such.
A look at a current recent convert's work.
A topic that comes readily to mind for many of us.
Orthodoxy is for the here and now, and happiness is for the here and now, not some other place we think we should have been placed.
Hucksters claim to be able to see details of Revelation fulfilled in our day.
Here is another way of taking our day's singularity seriously without getting into murky grounds interpreting Revelation.