A question I hope I’m never asked to answer before a very large audience is “what’s your favorite poem?” That’s because I’d have to admit that, instead of something by Shel Silverstein or Emily Dickinson, the poem that’s haunted me the most ever since I read it (as a high schooler) is a 1960 piece by Philip Larkin entitled “A Study of Reading Habits.” When getting my nose in a book Cured most things short
On April 6, 2012, Thomas Kinkade, who was among the most popular artists in the world at the time, died in his California home from acute intoxication from alcohol and Valium. His death shocked both his fans and the media, which was quick to point out the irony that the Painter of LightTM had lived and died in such darkness. Kinkade’s paintings were, and are, incredibly popular. At the peak of his popularity in 2001,
In my first and second posts in this brief series, I raised the classical question of ethics and walked through at least part of Plato’s and Aristotle’s answers. While gleaning much from them, I argued that neither help us much in our encounter with death. I need to be clear on this point. I am not critiquing them for not giving a full or adequate account of the afterlife. Although I suppose an argument like
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my family vacationed in Lahaina, a picturesque town on the western side of Maui. My parents and brother were drawn to the beach, but I was pulled in a different direction. There were Buddhist temples in town, and I was a starry-eyed, self-proclaimed admirer of Buddhism. One afternoon, my mother and I slipped away to take a tour of the closest temple I could find: the
“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). Over the Memorial Day weekend, I was watching a celebration on TV and at the same time reading Shane Claiborne’s book Beating Guns: Hope for Those Who Are Weary of Violence. Both celebration and book quoted John 15:13: “No greater love is this than the
When we commune with another, we forget self. We are opened to transformation. Change appears on the horizon of ego. It has deemed itself insulate, indomitable—impermeable to all that derails continuity. Yet in beginning and end, life is a gift. We receive our being from another. And we must all give up our being to another, placed under the care of those who will lead us where we do not want to go (John 21:18).
About five years ago, I sat in a coffee shop reading Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation. During the preceding weeks and months, I considered deleting my Facebook account on several occasions but never found the courage to follow through on my thoughts. I graduated from college in 2005. Somewhere around the second semester of my junior year, Facebook made its first appearance on my college campus. At that time, only users with a valid
God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore… He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish. People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of
I was recently perusing the latest edition of JAAR (Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 86 ) and was reminded of why I have been, shall I say, pessimistic about the current practice of so-called academic theology. Still, all is not without hope. And this recent article—a cause for such hope in my estimation— has put me in mind to write my own few lines about the subject of theology and the academy.
“What is your earliest memory?” the psychologist asked me. “My earliest memory is of my father holding me in his arms at a nude beach, and he was flirting with two topless women.” “Do you remember how that made you feel?” he inquired, pen and notebook in hand. “Confused, and angry,” I said, “especially since my mother was sitting there, helplessly watching with my little brother just a few feet away on the beach.” My
My previous post on the “Word of the Lord,” drew a few different comments encouraging me to expand on what I had written there. Many of them had to do with the fact that I hadn’t fully come to terms with what I wanted to say. I find that much of my writing reflects the fact that I am on a journey towards understanding, as Origen is fond of saying in his Commentary on the
Be sure to check out Part 2 as well! “Although it is impossible to give exact statistics, the enormous numerical growth of the church in its first centuries is undeniable. This naturally leads us to ask how it achieved such growth. The answer may surprise some modern Christians, for the ancient church knew nothing of evangelistic services or revivals. To the contrary, worship centered on communion, and only baptized Christians were admitted to its celebration.
Last August, my family and I transitioned into Anglicanism, and I began the process of ordination to the priesthood. For the last several months we have been fully immersed in an environment that is about as Anglican as it can possibly get here in the United States. At Nashotah House Theological Seminary, the Daily Offices are prayed every single day in chapel without exception. A Benedictine way of life is inhabited (as best we can,
This is the continuation of my essay series on St. Phanourios. You can read part 1 here.2 As it is for many, we often spiritually grow through suffering. Elder Sophrony3, when writing to his sister Maria, writes about what suffering can give us: Do you really think that my in my years of monastic life I have escaped periods when the vision of my ruin was so petrifying that it is not permitted to speak
(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church ~ The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II
Icon of St. Herman of Alaska from Holy Dormition Monastery. Icon of St. Herman of Alaska, made by my Ottawa Parish, from a print from Greece; Picture taken by author. Note: This is a continuation of my series on what I have been given in the (Eastern Orthodox) Church. Part One is found here. The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II: Saints Herman and Nicholas Saint Herman of Alaska While at St.
(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church: The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part I: The Mother of God
This icon is called the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Note: While I am new to Conciliar Post, I am here because of their commitment to dialogue between Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) with respect and Christian love. While I could write (and perhaps will later) on why I think this is the best way, suffice for now to say what I see my writing, including this series, to be about: to
I1 am nearing the end of a really beautiful book, called Dimitri’s Cross.2 Right now I am reading the letters he wrote his wife, Tamara, from his first place of imprisonment. I already know, from reading this book, that he is later sent to Dora, a camp called the “Man-Eater” where Fr. Dimitri is forced to work in horrid, extreme conditions, ages quickly, becomes very ill and at the end, speaks of feeling the abandonment of
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. – Frederick Buechner1 When I lived in Ottawa, I went through a time when I was unemployed, spent my carefully tended savings to survive and then ran out of money completely. For a few months I did not know how I was going to pay rent or buy food. Scary. Twice in my life I went through
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!1” A few years ago my wife and I went to a Greek festival hosted by a Greek Orthodox Church in downtown St. Louis. As we were walking around the building trying to decide which food looked most appetizing to us, we stumbled across a bookstore right inside the doors of the church.
Have you ever had the chance to take a look at your life with the knowledge that it was about to come to an end? Everything you know is about to change. The world was once a familiar, safe, beautiful, and even happy place, but you are moving on, choosing to let go—exchanging what you don’t know for the promise of something better. Most people come to the end of their life with a firm