14 Jan 2016

Movement and Action, Growth and Change

“Become merciful (it says in the Greek) even as your Father is merciful.” There is movement and action. The word become implies change and growth and development. God is merciful and loving and he never changes. We are the ones who are changeable. The scary thing is that we have the same potential to become unmerciful as we have to become merciful. We are Orthodox Christians. I am very comfortable with that statement. I am also comfortable with

Fr Gregory Owen 0
12 Jan 2016

The Water Magician

Avestan was tired of the desert. Not the most astrologically-minded of the magicians, Avestan had wandered far longer than he had intended—not that any intend to wander to begin with, but once one starts wandering, it is hard to stop. Avestan had begun wandering one day when he tired of looking up all the time, and decided the stars really had nothing to say to him. Everything he needed was on his camel, his back,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Jan 2016

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Perseverance of the Saints

The final tenet of the Calvinist TULIP doctrinal statement is the “Perseverance of the Saints.”  This teaching contends that after having undergone a genuine conversion experience, a Christian, being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, cannot turn from the faith and forego that seal of salvific assurance, having joined the elect.  Christ stated that no one can be snatched out of the hand of God [John 10:28-29].  Since it requires irresistible grace and unconditional election for

Joseph Green 2
29 Dec 2015

Birth Pangs

Oh sure there’s the baby shower But after that there just the waiting Well, and the nursery decorating And the putting things in order And the bag for the sudden flight And all the fears for the future And all the perhapses of the past And all the pushing pushing push And the breathe I know it hurts When all you need to decorate Is fresh straw and a star window Your hospital births lambs

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
23 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Irresistible Grace

In my favorite scene of the Jim Carrey flick Bruce Almighty––after Bruce has been given Divine powers only to abuse them, then hit rock bottom and seek reconciliation with his girlfriend––Bruce asks God [played by Morgan Freeman]: “How do you make someone love you without affecting their free will?” To which Morgan Freeman responds, “Welcome to my world, son.  You find an answer to that, you let me know.” For the Reformed Calvinist, this problem

Joseph Green 4
17 Dec 2015

Good News for Hard Times

These are hard times. All we have to do is look around us and we see that our world is in serious trouble. Where can we turn, where can we go? People try to blame guns, abortion laws, or terrorism. But until we see ourselves in Christ as the solution to these problems we will never make any progress. We are not helpless. When it comes to sin, nothing is really new under the sun.

Fr Gregory Owen 0
15 Dec 2015

Mother and Child

Do the best things only happen when we pray? If so, from your lips to God’s ear; only you hear me. For every Rachael there’s a Leah For every Lot a wife and daughters For every Shunamite woman a Shunamite woman So we sit in the darkest place at the darkest time Rendering to Caesar our inheritance Marrying and giving in marriage Watching sheep and stars by night And Christ comes when nobody is looking

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 2
08 Dec 2015

Choices

On the Rich Man and Lazarus Our whole life is one of choices, and they all have consequences. Yet at the same time we did not choose to be male or female, short or tall. We did not choose to be born on the day or century we were born.  We are here at the corner of two streets, Lemon Creek and Garr, because we choose to be and yet we did not choose for

Fr Gregory Owen 0
02 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Limited Atonement

The Calvinist teaching of Limited Atonement is an understanding based upon a penal substitutionary model of Christ’s accomplishing salvation on the cross.  That is, salvation is understood to consist in Christ receiving God the Father’s wrath and punishment on the cross in the place of mankind, which results in a legal acquittal in the sight of the Father of people who accept this substitutionary gift.  However, since not everyone will accept this gift and be

Joseph Green 5
01 Dec 2015

Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife? She used to go to the market on the corner And on Tuesdays she played bridge With the girls in her play-date group – If wine glasses are playing cards, anyway Or sometimes they’d have margaritas With a nice thick salt rim Remember Lot’s wife? Three days a week she drove the carpool Took a minivan of kids to school And even, in summers, to the pool Dance classes on odd days

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
17 Nov 2015

Fruitcake

A dying Christmas tree in the living room In the front window so passersby can watch it die Has a pile of disguised boxes beneath it Each with another reminder of my mortality Here is a box that reminds me I stink to high Heaven Here a box so I can drink my troubles away Here a box to keep dung from dungarees There are boxes of distraction Gift cards for my lack of openness

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
11 Nov 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Unconditional Election

I have many thoughts and explanations to put forth on this topic so I will get right to it. THE DOCTRINE OF UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION I cite John Calvin to articulate what Reformed Christians refer to as “Unconditional Election” today: In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once for all determined, both whom he would admit to salvation, and whom he would

Joseph Green 7
28 Oct 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Total Depravity

While Tiny Tim’s song may be quite catchy, the following tiptoe through TULIP series is no light-hearted matter since, depending on how Christians respond to this Calvinist framework, our understanding of who God is and how we are saved can end up in radical opposition.  I was a five-point Calvinist from high school until my time at an Evangelical seminary, but subsequently, one-by-one I began to drop letters of the TULIP complex from my theology

Joseph Green 26
20 Oct 2015

Authorial Intent

I had the Bible down to a science: Six days exactly to create Seven years enough to destroy Three days and nights to recreate The Reed Sea or the Red Sea The Brazen Sea and the Dead Sea The sun stood still up in the sky The waters flowed while crested high Water to wine, crumbs to bread Sight to the blind, life to the dead From age unto apparent age From miracle to explanation

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
14 Oct 2015

Flash Flood Fiasco and the Virtue of Detachment

The cover photo of this article depicts a highway, near my house, running through a farm that is now an eight-foot lake.  In my region of South Carolina last week we received around 16 inches of rain in two days, 24 inches in the course of a week.  Across the state there have been at least a dozen deaths, 19 dam breaches, hundreds of swift water rescues, and over 1000 people are now in shelters.

Joseph Green 0
12 Oct 2015

Become Merciful

“Become merciful (it says in the Greek) even as your Father is merciful.” There is movement and action. The word become implies change and growth and development. God is merciful and loving and He never changes. We are the ones who are changeable. The scary thing is that we have the same potential to become unmerciful as we have to become merciful. We are Orthodox Christians. I am very comfortable with that statement. I am also comfortable with

Fr Gregory Owen 1
06 Oct 2015

I’m a Lot Like Peter

Ladder of Divine Ascent 3.5 In going into exile, beware of the demon of wandering and of sensual desire; because exile gives him his opportunity. I’m a lot like Peter: Firm in my conviction and my denial And weeping bitterly about both. But that’s not the Peter I’m most like. My spirit animal is Peter Rabbit, Hippity-hopping down the bunny trail, Enticed by all the carrot-tops… I blame it on Farmer McGregor. If he hadn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
30 Sep 2015

“Grant Rest To Thy Servants” – Are You Praying For Dead People?

A seemingly less discussed source of controversy within Christendom is the topic of prayers for the departed.  In fact, I had never even heard of such a practice until more recent years.  I believe that this is primarily due to a gaping paradigmatic difference in the understanding of soteriology [doctrines of salvation] from East to West that eventually led to the dispensing of this historically Christian practice from the memory of contemporary low-church Western traditions.

Joseph Green 4
16 Sep 2015

Is It Unethical To Construct Outrageously Elaborate Places of Worship?

The cover image for this article is from my recent pilgrimage to the cathedral-infested country of Poland, where I attended an Orthodox young adult conference, and it depicts the largest Orthodox church in the country of Poland; complete with a bell tower that could possibly compete with the Washington Monument.  I of course exaggerate, but it was a difficult process for me to come to terms with the lavish and ornate presence of the ancient

Joseph Green 1
04 Sep 2015

How To Be orthodox With A Small “o” – Part 2

In the first part of this study a discussion took place of the diaspora of Christian beliefs and practices within contemporary Christianity in the West, and the concept of independent exposition of the Scriptures in order to avoid allegiance to any group since all allegedly contain pros and cons.  It was concluded that some ultimate standard must be introduced in this confusion to avoid the complete dismantling of Christian “small ‘o’ orthodoxy.” This endeavor will

Joseph Green 1