13 Feb 2017

The Poverty of Sola Scriptura

I deeply appreciate the great benefits which the Sola Scriptura mindset in Protestantism has produced. The attempt to trust Scripture alone has resulted in a widespread love for the Bible, a love which appears to me to far outshine that of the elder branches. The most devoted of Protestants spend much time every day in personal study of Scripture. They flock to group Bible studies, and it is Protestants who do the majority of translation work

5
17 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part II)

This post continues my reflections on baptism, focusing on the covenantal and sacramental aspects of Christian baptism. Covenantal Theology Those beginning an exploration of historic baptismal theology will almost immediately run into the concept of covenantal theology. As commonly defined, a covenant is a formal agreement made between God and humans, typically one that only God is capable of upholding in its entirety. Christians of various stripes will interpret covenants and their implications differently, but,

Jacob Prahlow 3
16 Jan 2017

Repite, por favor

I recently mentioned an article I had seen in First Things to a Baptist friend of mine as we were driving around the Greater LA Area. The article points out that societies without a deep appreciation for ritual often find themselves on a never-ending quest for sincerity. This observation corresponded with the experiences of both my friend and myself; our common evangelical upbringing was steeped in a desire for “realness”—undoubtedly a good-hearted phenomenon, but a

Christian McGuire 2
11 Jan 2017

Water and Fire

There’s water in everything and everything is in water— except fire. Fire changes water completely: too much fire makes steam, which returns back to water as it cools; and too little fire makes ice, which melts. We are all steam engines: mostly water, with a fire in our bellies making us do more or less based on temperature and control. We can be hard to keep stoked up and fed with enough coal. Jesus didn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
05 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part I)

Baptism has been on my mind lately, not only because there are some intriguing conversations taking place in the blogging world about baptism and American Christianity, but also because a member of my family is being baptized soon. In this two-part article, I offer some reflections on baptism, beginning in this post with the Bible and history and wrapping up with some musings on covenant and sacrament in the next. Baptism in the Acts of

Jacob Prahlow 5
02 Dec 2016

Why Liturgy?

The crowd enthusiastically chanted, “TEN! NINE! EIGHT!” “SEVEN! SIX! FIVE! FOUR!” The smoke from the smoke machine filled the auditorium as the strobe light flickered with increasing intensity, and the giant screen above the center of the stage continued the countdown. “THREE! TWO! ONE!” Everyone immediately erupted in a glorious uproar as five hipsters ran onto the stage and began playing loud music with ripping guitar solos, cool sound effects, and a light show that

Wesley Walker 104
25 Nov 2016

Five Ways to Respond to Questions About Your Love Life This Holiday Season

The hashtag #OverheardAtThanksgivingDinner trended on Twitter recently. Of the first twelve tweets I saw, twenty-five percent mentioned vexatious comments from family members concerning one’s relationship status. It’s a universal phenomenon—you go home for the holidays, you see someone that you haven’t talked to for a few months or more, and they ostensibly voice their surprise that an attractive, young catch like yourself hasn’t made it to the altar yet. My late Grandma Louise was a

Logan Williams 3
17 Nov 2016

Saint Phanourios: a Friend in Suffering and One Who Finds What is Lost

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

Elizabeth Roosje 5
03 Nov 2016

Revealer of light: St. Phanourios

Years ago, in late September, I was at my sister-friend’s parish in Ottawa for a weekday liturgy. Afterwards, an older Greek lady gave out small pieces of bread called “Phanouropita” for St. Phanourios.  I have never had such good tasting bread. It was the perfect balance of sweetness and spices; surely it was made with prayer! Nothing tastes so good as when it is made with love and prayer. I remember the priest, after the

Elizabeth Roosje 3
20 Oct 2016

St Xenia and What Prayer Can Look Like

I went on a walk with a friend recently, we saw trees fully green and trees with delicate yellow leaves, falling in the wind, on green grass. Autumn in Northern New Jersey! While sitting on a bench, we talked about books, ideas and our dreams for life. I reminisced a bit. I told her how when I was in school, years back, outside Vancouver and new to the Orthodox Church. I saw 2 icons for

Elizabeth Roosje 0
18 Oct 2016

Reflections on Unity

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or

Mark Green 18
07 Oct 2016

Anglicanism: Catholic, Evangelical, or Both?

When someone who was raised in an Evangelical Protestant setting goes to an Anglican church, it might seem very Catholic. There’s a crucifix with Jesus’ body hanging on the cross, the altar is at the center, and the pulpit is off to the side. There may be icons and a rail to kneel at for Communion. If they stay for the Mass, they might see something that very closely parallels a Roman Catholic service. The

Wesley Walker 1
06 Oct 2016

(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.

Elizabeth Roosje 1
26 Sep 2016

What Can Statistics Teach Us About Tradition?

It seems that the headnote over my last piece was more judicious than I realized at the time. Several responses—one from Ben Winter and another from Jacob Prahlow (both of whom are authors on this site)—have taken exception to one part or another of my article, with generous asides that they might have interpreted my article incorrectly. In my opinion, this is precisely what happened; I utterly agree with the theological assertions made by both of

Christian McGuire 3
09 Sep 2016

On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

The proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus. Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which

Jacob Prahlow 1
05 Sep 2016

On the Catholic Use of Sacred Scripture

This is a response piece to Christian McGuire’s article entitled: “On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture.” Dear Christian, As we discussed privately when I first read your piece, I agree with your basic premise that Scripture cannot stand alone as an authority without the vehicles of the Church (her liturgy, her teaching authority) and Tradition (the Fathers, the Doctors). Together, these three prongs of authority (Scripture, Tradition, and Church Magisterium) balance to form and inform a community

Benjamin Winter 4
29 Aug 2016

On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture

Note: This article was originally published on my personal blog. Since then, several individuals (most of whom are Catholic) have kindly mentioned to me that this essay seems rather combative and extreme at points. However, I am unable to identify much that I can genuinely recant or replace, and thus have preserved most of the text in its original form. Nevertheless, my respect for the aforementioned individuals compels me to offer my sincere apologies to anyone who may share

Christian McGuire 3
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

Wesley Walker 1
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,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
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

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0