28 Jun 2016

The Crisis in the Architecture of the Modern Megachurch and How to Fix It

Cookie-cutter houses and generic shopping centers are peppered across the fantastically unremarkable and uniform American suburbia. An appreciation of truly beautiful architecture has been jettisoned for the functionality demanded by a consumeristic culture. Alain de Botton, in his book The Architecture of Happiness, explains that “Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through the materials of the same tendencies to not understand

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20 Jun 2016

Charred Pillars

Have  not the poets said “The woods are God’s temple”? But throughout time man hath said, “The waters and woods are gods!” So they whisper in the wilderness, they shout from the mountain’s brow, raise arms in homage to the forest crown, and kneel to honour the ‘sacred’ ground Yet their precious Nature holds a scourge whipping fire-cords upon the earth; pillars of pine blaze a burnished bronze, the wood-god’s spirit spirals away in smoke

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15 Jun 2016

Dressing the Dead

This weekend, we buried a beloved member of our parish, retired priest Father Gregory Heers. As a member of our burial society, I had the privilege of participating in his preparation. We wash and anoint the body, and dress the reposed, in this case in the vestments he wore in caring for us. It is humbling to be allowed to pay your respects to another member of the body in this way; and, like Lent,

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06 Jun 2016

Named

O LORD, how weak I am, give me strength—Yours— to own You and to wear Your Name indelibly. Let me be Your own chosen bride, choosing to be covered by Your blood —Your name my identity.

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01 Jun 2016

Coffee Hour

An essential part of any Orthodox Sunday morning liturgy is the coffee hour. Whether it’s literally just coffee and baked goods, or a full meal, this is where the Church, renewed as Christ’s body through the Eucharist, practices self-care before going out to work in the world. Everything culminates in coffee hour Not that being on time isn’t important, But the Kingdom will be blessed before you’re there Just like the food will be blessed

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27 May 2016

The Shadow of the Sacred

The Shadow of the Sacred I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to tour Israel and visit a number of historical and sacred sites. And as I fully anticipated from the beginning, the trip’s most memorable moments by far were found within the city of Jerusalem. Seated at the intersection of three different faith traditions—Jewish, Christian, and Islamic—the city has been contested for centuries, and currently exists in an uneasy “status quo” arrangement predicated on mutual

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23 May 2016

The Blur in the Brushstrokes

Particulars matter. Of course, so do Universals and Forms. I hold to a healthy mix of Aristotle and Plato, tempered by Jesus and his word. I find it interesting that the particulars make up the whole, even if the universal was set into place first. For example, God said, Let there be light, and there was; then he went on to make the sun, moon, and stars. The universal preceded the particulars. However, we live

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18 May 2016

When You Give Death Its Sting

When you give death its sting And it is finished Nothing left but darkness and torn curtains And a bloody mess You’ve crucified Christ afresh And you’re both hanging dead How do you get to the resurrection? What gets you both down? Joseph and Nicodemus came sorrowful Begging for the body Can you feel that sorrow, too For your Lord’s death for you? When you realize you have killed him And so have no life

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04 May 2016

The Hart of the Morning

The Hart of the Morning – Memories of a Song by the Spectator’s of Christ’s Passion (click to listen) 1 For three long hours a darkness that could be felt pressed down on the land. Those who came only to see what they could see left those who came to love and those whose duty it was to look. The hillside was still as death. From a dying man, the necrotic darkness was ripped in

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27 Apr 2016

Celebrity Biologist Claims Aslan Did Not Rise from the Dead (Humor)

In a recent interview with The Telmarine Times, award-winning scientist and disgruntled Black Dwarf, Richikins, declared the resurrection of Aslan at the Stone Table “an impossibility, a silly load of you-know-what the size of a satyr, a myth for small-minded-fluff-for-brains nincompoops like Fauns and Giants.” He continued, “It is clearly a violation of nature to arise from the dead. I have personally squashed hundreds of bugs in my little dwarf hands and studied them for

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25 Apr 2016

Have You Noticed Beauty?

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I have noticed that many people claim that humans are animals. After all, we are mammals and are classified as Homo sapiens in the scientific realm. But that is

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20 Apr 2016

Jesus Prayer Rope

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, the sinner” + Up early in the morning to pray At the hour we can still half believe Our dreams and that the sun Still comes up after the darkness + Like an invalid by the roadside Almost unable to rise up from bed We grasp our rope to pull ourselves Knowing he’s holding the other end + We sit between the Pharisee and The

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06 Apr 2016

Great Lent 2016 Week 2

The poems below were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Sunday of Orthodoxy 2016 The first icon was written By the hand of God in red clay And the first kiss it received Was to fill it with breath But the first iconoclast Made the icon just a picture Removing it from the temple And preparing it for the fire And so the prototype came In

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25 Mar 2016

Betrayer

Hushed conversation is weaving itself all around me, yet I am nothing but a loose thread in the tapestry, cut off while still in the picture. A battle is waging within me, to go or stay. Do I keep my promise to the religious leaders, or keep faith with the master? If I break either faith or promise I will break into pieces. My palm craves the silver I have been offered, yet I recoil

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23 Mar 2016

Clean Week

For Orthodox Christians, Great Lent began just a little over a week ago. We begin Lent with a service called Forgiveness Vespers, during which we go around and ask each individual for forgiveness for all of our offenses. After this joyful and cathartic service, we call the next week Clean Week. The poems below for Clean Week were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Forgiveness Sunday

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14 Mar 2016

Lent: Week Five

Judica {Veiling the Icons}   Veiled, all veiled around the sanctuary, from the cross to the icons, to the spiritual Body and Blood: bread and wine   Veiled, all veiled inside my self, from my heart to my mind, will, and emotions; behind the mask of “All’s well!”   Veiled, all veiled within the Disciples’ understanding and hearts; the Master among them as they argue which of them is greatest   Veiled, all veiled in

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11 Mar 2016

Waiting to Rejoice

Laetare: O Rejoice! {Lent Week Four} Here I am— Waiting for God, Not quite ready For rejoicing yet; The shadows flicker, Darkening my soul, Still waiting for The rising sun This dark night —Not wholly black— Sprinkled with stars Streaming on me Diffused silver light, Promises coming Hope, As I wait Here for God I am awaiting With great expectation The rising Son —Myth made real— The glimmering sky Bursting fully alive With glory’s Hope…

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08 Mar 2016

By the Waters of Babylon

The waters of Babylon drip from hanging gardens where All that is beautiful in the world grows down from Heaven The headwaters of the garden river from which life flowed And we sit beside them inspired to refrain from singing Hanging our harps like ripened tears on the weeping trees And cry out for the war-ravaged fatherland we so love We stroke the sweeping willow branches with a rustle Sounding like the spirit of God

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01 Mar 2016

A Sonnet on the Occasion of Super Tuesday

For this pack of wolves, it is now the time To the cameras howl and bear shiny teeth All are future kings, if just in their minds But none are better than a common thief I’ll be at my desk away from all the din Fighting ignorance, which is our disease Not with sword and shield, but the humble pen. Let us not forget holy charities Love the Lord thy God with mind, soul, and

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26 Feb 2016

Remember: Lent Week Two

Reminiscere   Do you recall Our wedding day? Face to face, Clasping hands tightly, Your veil removed— You were mine, I AM yours   Why are you At this corner, Selling your worth, Eyes looking down? Why are you Naked and bloody, Abandoned and forlorn? You are mine   Don’t you remember That I AM Your Maker-Husband Who loves you? O! Let me Take your face In both hands Eyes meeting mine   Call to

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