8, December 2013 - If you don't mind, I've recycled these from 2011...
Who Am I?
(and, Who I'm Not)
Dear Souls -
Thank you for your patience. I'm not sure why you're here, but I'm
guessing you're curious about the world through the eyes of an ordinary
stumbling cradle Orthodox Christian. It's lonely writing here in
cyberland, and I prefer my life in the real world mixed among other
ordinary souls, Christian and not so. As you can tell by my nom de plume,
I prefer invisibility and my second choice is anonymity . . . if I get
the two together, I'm blessed with bliss. Sticking my neck out and
writing about my faith makes me squirm; I couldn't do it without the
assurance of wise spiritual parents promising to slap my hand when I get
out of hand. And I eagerly await the moment when they both tell me I'm a
big loser and should donate my laptop to charity. But so far, my laptop
remains here on my lap.
If you've spent any time around those born and raised as Orthodox
Christians, then you're aware of the tradition of silence. Metropolitan
Kallistos Ware believes this stems from the generations of persecution
experienced by Orthodox Christians throughout the world. His theory
works for me, but I also believe big loud Christianity is not consistent
with an Orthodox heart of humility. He is a monk, I'm an ordinary soul
living an ordinary life in the world. And he and I both must live our
faith from the angle suited to our position in life: different paths,
but headed in the same direction (I hope). He runs around town in a
black robe with a large cross on his chest. I prefer shorts and flip
I'm not a techie, and I don't loiter around cyber-Orthodoxy... it's not
the real world. Most of my friends are Christian or not so, but they
all have hearts of gold. My large family is immersed in Orthodoxy, and
includes lots of cousins, aunts and uncles: Orthodoxy runs through my
roots going back as far as time. But my family blends in the world and
does not live as an isolated fringe of society. I work as a nurse in a
hospital, raise my children, surf, swim, and cook dinner every night.
Christianity is not a badge I wear on my forehead, it's a seal on my
Starting a mission church is not my cup of tea. I don't fast like a
monastic, and I only take confession if I've murdered someone, or I'm
dragged to confession by the priest. I let my son wear flip flops to
church on Sunday, and I argue with my best friend that long shorts are
business casual attire. I prefer atheists to self-righteous Christians,
and I feel nauseated when someone asks me if I've been saved.
I know where God is, and I know where God is not. Sometimes I know for
sure He is at Liturgy on Sunday, and sometimes all I know on Sunday is
that I'm not out surfing. I'm writing this here, and you're seeing life
through the eyes of my soul.
This is all I know. . . the world through my ordinary eyes.
|Through My Eyes
Who Is God?
(and, Who God Isn't)
Dear Souls -
friends who lie somewhere on the atheist continuum have taught me more
about God, than my friends who believe Jesus is their best friend. One
dear, semi-atheist, friend says, "I'm not sure there is a God, but I'm
not sure there isn't." She has a heart of gold, and the God I know
wouldn't exclude her from anywhere. Another friend, a well known
philosophy professor, tells me humans have a need for a belief in some
greater power, and religion fills this need. He believes when we die, we
turn to dust. He also has a heart of gold, and God, not I, knows
whether or not this friend will turn to dust or soar far above us after
For myself, I'm a simple soul baptized soon after birth and raised on
an unwavering Orthodox Christian path. It's always been clear, and I
confess a lack of curiosity. God is, has been, and always will be. Maybe
I lack the pondering gene. Maybe God has a knack for tapping you on the
shoulder and letting you know He is there at your side. This tap has a
way of extinguishing your curiosity, in a single heartbeat.
I'm ignorant of much beyond the Orthodox Christian path, and I don't
believe Jesus is my best friend. He is God, and I'm in no position to
feel chummy with God. If God is not, then why does the subject of God
linger on since the beginning of time? Are humans really this persistent
about nothing? Or does God's tap on the heart of humans, at just the
right moment, keep a faith in God alight. And if we reduce God to
complex discussion, dissection, and analysis of the Word, then God is a
series of words and not much more. God is not a library, nor a best
friend. God is what He is, and is not what He is not.
If you're Saint Paul and God leaps out in front of you as you travel
down the road, then you're blessed with the knowledge of God in a
perceptible way. But if God does not leap out in front of you on the
highway, then you must find another path to God. I know one path, so I
cannot recommend any other. The path I know traces itself back 2000
years, and is unwavering in its Tradition. God is, has been, and always
will be . . . for me. And I'm not Saint Paul.
What Is Church?
(and, What Church Isn't)
Dear Souls -
It seems I've selected a theme, so I will continue along this path.
Although you must remember, nothing written here has been reviewed by
the editorial board of the American Journal of Theology. This is
just me with a dangerous tool called a laptop (but it isn't on my lap
right now, it's on a table). And the Church is about us ordinary souls,
and not just priests, deacons, and monastics. So, I have something to
say . . .
In my mind I picture Christ as the head, and the Church as his body.
Yes, I mean exactly this, and if I had the time I would fuss around with
some photos and give you this exact image (but it's Sunday morning and I
must get ready for church soon). Today Church means all sorts of things to all sorts of people, but for me there has only ever been one Church.
The Church began some 2000 years ago and has divided into some 33,000
branches. Are all 33,000 branches the same? And, do they all provide the
same body for Christ's head to sit upon?
Church has a particular feel for me in my bones, and not all churches
provide this experience. Some churches feel like classrooms, and some
churches feel like Heaven. The difference is speaking to your heart. I
believe you should feel church in your heart, but not in the same way
you feel your heartbeat at a rock concert. (I love hearing my favorite
musicians perform live, and most of them play soulful music in concert,
but this is not the body of Christ I'm referring to here.)
I'm not saying the only church that feels like Heaven is the Orthodox
Church. I've been to many Roman Catholic churches that provide the same
feeling in my bone marrow (St. Peters Basilica in Rome, St. Patrick's
Cathedral in NYC are two well known heavenly Roman Catholic churches).
Capturing this essence of Heaven is part of the church experience I
believe is essential for the Body of Christ. Different churches provide
diverse experiences of Christianity, but some churches provide a closer
tie to the neck that holds up Christ's head. And if a Church continues
along the path established by the Apostles, then this link holds
Christ's head to His body. (Maybe we could call this: Anatomy of the
Church for me is not a social club. And church is not my job. Church is
where I give thanks to God for all the blessings in my life. I also
give thanks to God when I'm out surfing, but it's not the same as at
church. At church there is a specific process to thanksgiving, called
the Eucharist. And this is the center piece of the Body of Christ for us
ordinary souls. But, many of the 33,000 churches have wandered along
other paths and feel this Eucharistic center piece is outdated. I don't
think this is true, because the Head and Body of Christ sit outside time
and space, so our earthly passage of time carries no weight in Heaven.
click here: Heaven
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Dear Souls -
In America we're blessed with freedom. Religious freedom. Others are not so blessed...
The Making of Malala
In the name of God, please do not oppress women, in the name of God.