Prudence True

The Art of Wisdom

through Ancient Words


  Into the Light


3 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         When you leave the darkness for the light, your vision is transformed. This morning I stumbled through the darkness of my room until I turned on the light. Once the light was on my vision was clear. But all we see in the light, is invisible to us in the dark.

          Orthodox Christians are not invisible. We are here walking around right alongside you. You may not see us or hear us, but we have been here since The Church began . . . 2000 years ago, and we are not disappearing now.

            Tonight I will attend the Christmas party of a dear friend. Her inner circle includes the breadth and depth of the well known Evangelical Christian world. I will attend the party in full physical form and will not be invisible to other Christians at the party, but they will not see my Orthodoxy. Although they know I'm an Orthodox Christian, they are content with their own faith . . . as I am with mine.

            What you do not see is invisible to you, but is not invisible to those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear. God is invisible to some and transparent to those with a pure heart.

                                     "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." 

                                                                   (Matthew 5:8)


            To say Orthodox Christians have chosen to be invisible is incorrect and offensive to those who have lived as Orthodox Christians for generations. Orthodox Christianity is visible to those who have the heart to see the Orthodox Christians living around them, and is invisible to those with their heart sealed shut. 

        "No one has understanding if he is not humble, and he who lacks humility lacks understanding."                                                               (St. Issac the Syrian)

            A quiet humility as taught by the early Church Fathers is not obvious within contemporary Christianity, and the tradition of humility is invisible within our contemporary society. Sharing the Orthodox faith with quiet humility is unnatural in our present culture . . .  and is invisible to those stumbling in the dark.

2000 Years
            Just my own simple thoughts.
                Yours, Prudence


  Our Sturdy Walls


4 December 2010

Dear Souls -

          There is an old Orthodox joke:

           How many priests does it take to change a light bulb in the Orthodox Church?

           What, change?

            I think there are some who arrive here in the Orthodox Church elated to have come home, but after a time they get restless . . . and wish for change. Change within the Church is something they know well from their Christian past. Maybe they were tired of change when they first came home.

         But the Orthodox Church does not change. Orthodoxy will adapt to different cultures, it will adapt its languages, and it will fuss over petty details. But the Orthodox Church does not change. How can this stability be possible today within a culture which changes at a whirlwind pace? Just watch and you will see. Those who want rapid change will become frustrated . . . listen closely and you will hear their complaints. They want to witness 21st century change in an ancient Church.
          The Orthodox Church does not change.
Arriving 2000 years after the start of anything is exceptional tardiness. Give yourself time once you arrive to catch up on the happenings you can't understand right away. You arrived 2000 years late, rushing now will not help. And shaking the walls of a structure which has stood for 2000 years will not make much difference in the long haul. The walls of the Orthodox Church will not crumble no matter how hard you pound, criticize, or rattle them; the walls of the Church will withstand it all.

         The Orthodox Church does not change.
            My own simple thoughts . . .
                Yours, Prudence


  St. Katherine College

It is time . . .


5 December 2010

Dear Souls -

          As Orthodox Christians we strive to witness our faith to those around us and this witness takes various forms. St. Katherine College is a new undergraduate liberal arts college established to advance knowledge and promote Christian witness through inquiry seeking wisdom. St. Katherine College has strong ties to the Orthodox community, but is not funded by a particular archdiocese.

          It is time for us as Orthodox Christians to extend ourselves beyond the walls of  local parishes. For generations American Orthodox have built churches and worked within our archdioceses to deepen our faith, but we have not extended our reach as an academic community. There are Orthodox Christian seminaries, and an Orthodox college attached to a seminary, but no independent Orthodox Christian colleges. It is time.

         It is time for Orthodox Christians to support institutions of higher learning . . . which often lead the shift in existing paradigms. Gather together Orthodox Christian academics at a university, and you will see American Orthodoxy at work.     

          It is time.

          Link here: St. Katherine College

Photo by Misha Maslennikov
       My own simple thoughts . . .
                Yours, Prudence




6 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         Every year I try the same tactic at CHRIST-mas time. Not too much fuss. Keep the emphasis on the spirit of CHRIST-mas . . . and not too much fuss....

         Every year I fail.

         The spirit of CHRIST-mas gets lost in the fuss of the holiday season.

          No, I don't live in a monastery.


          I have social obligations.

          But this year I want to keep CHRIST in CHRIST-mas.

           If this were a pagan winter solstice celebration . . . it would be a pagan winter solstice celebration. But it isn't . . . it's CHRIST-mas.

           The birth of CHRIST.

           It's not about the family photograph on the front of the card.

           It's not about the gift wrapping.

           It's not about the cookies.

           It's not about the parties.

           It's not about the rush around town completing errands.

           It's not about Aunt Myrtle's old baklava.

           It's not about my annual contest for the worst holiday letter.

           It's not about Santa Claus fitting down the chimney.

           It's not about sprinkling reindeer food on the doorstep.

           It's about the birth of


                 Just my simple thoughts . . .
                 Yours, Prudence


A Receptive Heart


7 December 2010

Dear Souls -

          Yesterday I strolled through the internet peeking through the windows of exposed Orthodox hearts. As a natural eavesdropper I can't help myself on occasion, and there are plenty of spots where the mind of those newer to the Orthodox faith lay exposed.

          Writing here is unnatural for me; I'd rather clean my garage. But if you want to peek into the mind of a mature Orthodox Christian your best bet is to stand at the back-table bookstore at church on Sunday. The books providing peeks into the mature Orthodox mind are mostly written by those no longer alive, and strolling through the internet you do not find many open windows into the cradle mind.

          Opening a window here into my Orthodox mind is unnatural for me; I'd rather clean my garage. And cleaning my garage is a lot safer for my soul than writing here. But, my spiritual parents (yes, I'm a desperate case and require both a father and a mother) are keeping watch over me. And if I see others writing with a mature Orthodox Christian perspective, I'll shut my dusty window and let them take over.

            This is all just a prelude to a difficult topic. Receptiveness.

            As an Orthodox Christian matures there are developmental stages. Children progress through developmental stages identified by various theorists  (Erickson, Piaget, Kohlberg...), but we do not yet clearly identify the developmental stages of an Orthodox Christian. You see these stages when you peek through their open windows; and as with a child, they are unaware of their own developmental stage. But to an adult, the behavior of a young child is obvious.

            If all Christians were receptive to Orthodoxy, we would not have a billion varieties of Christianity. But, only some Christians convert to the Orthodox faith . . . those who are receptive. They discover the Orthodox Church (a well kept secret by 300 million sneaky Orthodox Christians) and become Orthodox. They then begin a journey through these unidentified developmental stages. 

          But progress through the developmental stages of an Orthodox Christian must be done with the same receptiveness which first brought them to the Orthodox faith. Without receptiveness, progress through the developmental stages is slow and awkward. Peeking through the windows of the convert mind, I see the limited receptiveness familiar to me from a lifetime around non-Orthodox Christians. The open windows expose a familiar streak of Christian ego and pride.

         The development of an Orthodox Christian begins with a receptiveness to the Orthodox Church, but continues with a receptiveness to those mature Orthodox Christians in their community. We must blend together young and old . . . and be receptive to each other.


              Just my simple thoughts . . .
                 Yours, Prudence


A Mature Christian


9 December 2010

Dear Souls -

          Maybe it is not clear to some what I mean by a mature Orthodox Christian. First, let me say it matters little to me if you are an Orthodox Christian or not. What matters is if you are a mature Christian. And I would be a fool to say the only mature Christians are Orthodox . . . that is untrue. But when I meet you, I know right away if you are a mature Christian or not. It emanates from your soul. . . even from across the internet. A pure soul is distinct.

         There are pure souls around us . . . I see them here and there. But for the most part there are lots of masqueraders, and the difference is obvious. The biggest and loudest Christians are often the masqueraders, it seems to me. The mature Christian has a quiet soul that emanates with peace. You cannot have a big loud peaceful soul, it's not possible. Being a monastic or a priest does not guarantee the maturity of your soul. If you believe it does, then you are a fool. Being an everyday ordinary Christian does not mean you cannot have a pure soul. If you don't believe this, then refer to the Bible (insert your proper Scripture here).

        There are some pure souls I see at church on Sunday . . . they may be elderly souls. After spending nearly a century within the walls of the Church, purity seeps into your soul unless your heart is made of steel. Some of the purest souls I see are also the shortest people at church. Maybe they are even carried in their mother's arms. But these tiny pure souls are not mature Christians.

        As Orthodox Christians we are all seeking maturity, though some started at birth and some began maturing much later in life. Just because you began your journey at birth is no guarantee. There are plenty of tarnished souls born into the Orthodox faith. And just because you found the Orthodox faith after years spent in the Western depths of Christianity, does not guarantee your maturity.

        The mature Christian soul navigates life intuitively with deep respect for others. Perhaps they are well educated, perhaps not. Perhaps they fast, perhaps not. Perhaps they are sweepers when they cross themselves, perhaps not. But they are kind, humble, and their heart emanates with peace. Maybe it's difficult for you to identify the mature Christian from a distance. But I guarantee you will like them right away when you meet them . . . because if you pause for a moment you will feel deep peace and wisdom flowing from their soul.

              Just my simple thoughts . . .
                 Yours, Prudence


An Ordinary Eastern Christian


10 December 2010

Dear Souls -

        Religion is not my world. I'm ordinary. I'm ordinary. I'm ordinary. But if I'm opening a window here into my Orthodox mind, I will speak the truth as I see it. And the truth is, Orthodox Christians do not hide in ethnic enclosures. They hide in Eastern enclosures.

         Christianity in the West, is Western, and if you are an Eastern Christian you are a minority. Now if you take Western Christians and convert them to Eastern Christianity, they must undergo a transition from a Western mind to an Eastern mind. This is a difficult transition for most Western Christians. So the simplest solution is to step into an Eastern Church and bring along your Western spirit. But this will never provide you with an Eastern heart.

        Although I live in a Western world, my spirit is Eastern. Within an Eastern enclosure we grow an Eastern spirit, which is a contrast to those around us here in the West. If I stood alongside you, my Eastern spirit would not draw attention. If you are an ordinary Western Christian, you have little understanding of my Eastern spirit. And in fact, you prefer to talk about your Western Christianity than to hear more than a few words about Eastern Christianity.

       But rather than engage in full warfare, Eastern Christians here in the West will not argue with you about their Faith. If your ears are shut to Eastern Orthodoxy, then your heart is shut as well. When your ears open, your heart will open too. And if you step inside the walls of an Eastern Orthodox church with open ears and an open heart, you will feel the Eastern spirit all around you.

        Remember, religion is not my world, and I'm an ordinary Eastern Orthodox Christian. But as I see it, many Western Christians who become Eastern Orthodox struggle to let go of their Western mind. This puzzles me. If you decided to become Eastern Orthodox, then why hang onto your Western heart? And if you want to acquire an Eastern heart, how will you do this surrounded by Eastern Orthodox who are also filled with a Western spirit?

       The Orthodox Christians with an Eastern spirit are not being heard today, just as they were not heard within Western Christianity for years. They are not clamoring for attention within the growing Orthodox media circle. And they remain quiet when those with a Western spirit stumble while acquiring their Eastern spirit. Because those with their ears shut, have their heart shut as well. Those with an Eastern spirit fear offending those from Western Christian backgrounds, as they struggle with their transition. But if you listen closely while acquiring your Eastern heart, you may be surprised by what you hear.

       Just my simple thoughts . . .
                 Yours, Prudence


   Beware of Masqueraders


11 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         This is not the place to read about fancy theology. All you will find here are my rambling insights into The Church, and they are not substantiated by anyone. But if you find them helpful or entertaining, sit tight.

          There are those I refer to as masqueraders, which I will describe for you. If you find traces of yourself in this description, then please accept my apologies.

                    masquerader: disguise, deception, pose, bluff, subterfuge

           Within Christianity there exists an infinite number of masqueraders. All Churches (including the Orthodox Church) have masqueraders, and they cluster around churches in large groups. Masqueraders give Christianity a bad reputation outside their cluster. Maybe you could say masqueraders have led Christianity to its current difficult position within secular society.

            A pure soul is distinct, the soul of a masquerader is in disguise. But if you pay close attention to the masquerader, they are distinct as well. The masquerader is right. The masquerader often wears Christianity as a big, loud badge right across the front of his forehead. And when he open his mouth, he reveals his disguise. But for me, sometimes I recognize a masquerader from afar. Masqueraders make me uncomfortable. A mature Christian radiates peace, but a masquerader radiates turmoil. Even when they are disguised by exterior peace, turmoil lies just under their skin.

           Masqueraders anywhere make me squirm, but at church they make me crawl out of my skin. Wearing a disguise inside the Orthodox Church is dangerous for your soul, it seems to me. The Church is a spiritual hospital for healing wounded souls. But a masquerader is often most concerned with the souls of others and not his own. The masquerader does not attempt to disguise his lack of humility, and this is on display for all to see. The masquerader is proud of his costume.

           Masqueraders will never vanish from the Christian landscape.The Church will always attract sophisticated masqueraders. I prefer to steer clear of masqueraders, since they are much further from the Light than their disguise suggests. Though they may be wolves disguised as sheep, you will know them by their fruits . . . 

Maybe a Wolf
            Just my simple thoughts . . .
                 Yours, Prudence


Just For Fun 


17 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         This popular musician chose to give a free impromptu concert . . . just for fun. 

                                            Link: Jason Mraz: Just Having Fun


Just Having Fun
        He also happens to be one of my favorite musicians.
        Simple thoughts . . .
                 Yours, Prudence


    First Among Equals


18 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         At times, with amazement, I find myself in just the right spot at the right time. Years ago I stood in the right spot to get the perfect photograph of someone Orthodox Christians have deep respect for as the First Among Equals. This simple statement First Among Equals has resonated across the centuries with a booming thud. As we approach the Nativity, I wonder if this booming thud should instead ring with tones of joy for the future of Christianity depends on all of us.

Photo Courtesy of Prudence True
        Simple thoughts . . .
                      and prayers for a less complicated future,

               Yours, Prudence
P.S. See link below:
                Beatification of Pope John Paul II




20 December 2010

Dear Souls -

Photo by Misha Maslennikov
Please God . . .
Let me hear Your voice
and do Your will

                    Just my simple thoughts . . .
                         Yours, Prudence



     Sharing Our Blessings


24 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         We each share blessings
         in our own best way
         some share BIG
         some share small
         but most of all
        be one
         who shares blessings
           far beyond
          the shopping mall

To Share
       Wishing you Christmas blessings.
                 Link here: Glow
                         Yours, Prudence


     Dear Wolf . . . 


28 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         Here is a letter I've written to a wolf dressed as a sheep. I will place it in the mail once I figure out the exact postage required:

         Dear Wolf:

             I saw you standing there, but at first glance I did not recognise you in the sheep's costume. The others never noticed you were a wolf, since your costume fits perfectly. You even spoke with perfect sheep dialect. The years of practice shows, and I'm impressed by your skilled deception.

            Wolf, I know right now your sheep's clothes suit you fine, but I see the day coming when your disguise is revealed. The others will be shocked by what they did not see right before their eyes. And as always, some will insist they knew you were a wolf all along. Hiding behind your sheep's clothes will not last forever . . . it never does.

             My suggestion to you, Wolf, is you discard the disguise right away. There is still time before the others discover your secret. You can change into the clothes of an ordinary soul, and although they will not feel the same as your sheep's costume, they will soften and mold to your skin over time. I'm sorry Wolf, but I do not see the point in your wearing a sheep's costume. Are you unaware of the costume concealing your soul?

             If you need help changing out of your sheep's costume, it's available to you from a variety of sources. The Church offers help for wounded souls, though do not expect immediate results. But the first step begins with stripping off the disguise and revealing yourself. I suggest you do this before disaster strikes.

            Please give my kind regards to the others . . .

            Your friend,




  At Year's End 


30 December 2010

Dear Souls -

         At year's end I often reflect back for a moment before I move ahead with thoughts for the next year. When I sat down at this laptop on the second day of January, I had no idea where I was headed with this website. Sometimes an idea outperforms it's owner . . . as this idea has.

        I continue to wait patiently for someone far more talented than I and much more politically correct than I, to set up a much better website than mine and let me retire to sit under a shady tree (on a beach with good waves). Yes, this is a direct challenge to other born and raised cradle Orthodox Christians. And no, you don't have to be a great writer . . . 

       If you don't mind my repetitiveness, I'd like to repeat myself over and over. If you want depth while visiting here, please listen to Fr. Jon Braun's homilies on TRUE WISDOM RADIO. My ramblings offer little other than my own simple thoughts. And thank you to those who have not chased me out of town; I hear you must do something really awful to earn yourself an exit ticket from the Orthodox Church.

       To those who visit here from all over the world . . . I see traces of you, but you're mostly invisible to my eyes which don't see you and my ears which don't hear you. Perhaps you appreciate my ignorance or like my photographs, but either way thank you for stopping by.

       Thank you to my behind the scenes guides . . . it's because of you I'm here.

       With all honesty, my goal was to write here for one year.

       Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I did it!


                 Wishing you many New Year's blessings.

                        Yours, Prudence


  New Year's Eve

   The Morning 


31 December 2010

Dear Souls -

New Year's Eve - A Morning Breakfast
                       A blessed New Year, 
                                 and looking forward to 2011 . . .

                                          Yours, Prudence