Category: Union with God

  • The One Thing Progress Cannot Do

    It is common among Orthodox teachers to identify prayer with the “one thing necessary” that Christ speaks of in John 11. This emphasizes prayer as communion with God – for communion with God is the very source of our life. I will expand this meaning of the “one thing necessary” to include the very “mind”…

  • Is the Universe Tragic?

    Tragedy is among the older forms of story-telling. The ancient Greeks can be said to have perfected it, and theorized about it with great care. One need only read the plays of Aeschylus or Sophocles to come away with a deep appreciation of the very nature of tragedy. I will not offer anything like the…

  • The Way of Shame and the Way of Thanksgiving

    The language of “self-emptying” can have a sort of Buddhist ring. It sounds as we are referencing a move towards becoming a vessel without content – the non-self. Given our multicultural world, such a reference is understandable. It is, however, unfortunate and requires that we visit the true nature of Christian self-emptying. Our self-emptying is…

  • Unavoidable Suffering and Salvation – The Way of Shame

    At the heart of the modern narrative is a concern to alleviate and even eliminate suffering. This understanding is rooted in the Christian virtue of compassion. In many ways, however, modern compassion has been detached from its original context and become a thing-in-itself. Modernity is an arena where compassion has run amok, and, ironically, promises…

  • Why We Fast

    This Sunday, November 15, marks the beginning of the Nativity Fast (40 days before Christmas). The following article offers some thoughts on the purpose of fasting. Fasting is not very alive and well in the Christian world. Much of that world has long lost any living connection with the historical memory of Christian fasting. It…

  • Unecumenism and the Sins of All

    The concept of the One Church shifted during the Reformation. I offer a case in point as well as a reflection on how it changes our current understanding. The old Anglican Book of Common Prayer offers one of the early examples of a subtle shift in Christian thinking and speech. In the Thanksgiving after Communion we…

  • Consequences of the One Church – Unecumenism

    In thinking through a theological question, I often engage in thought experiments. The Fathers might call it a form of theoria, but I won’t presume that word for myself. But what I do is to make a concerted effort to let go of unexamined assumptions. I look at a different set of assumptions and ask, “What if…

  • A Purpose-filled Life

    The project of modernity was to produce people who believe they should have no story except the story they choose when they had no story. Such a story is called a story of freedom – institutionalized economically as capitalism and politically as democracy. That story, and the institutions that embody it, is the enemy we…

  • No One Is Saved Alone

    “If anyone falls, he falls alone. But no one is saved alone.” – Alexei Khomiakov Roughly 25 years ago I quit smoking. I never think about it now – it has become a thing of the distant past. But I can remember a period of about 10 years in which I struggled to quit. I would…

  • Male and Female at the Cross – Part Three

    In my last article, I reflected on the hiddenness of our identity, including the meaning of being male or female. Our true life is hid with Christ in God. There is more to be said on this hiddenness and its relationship to the image according to which we were created. In the Genesis account, when…


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Latest Comments

  1. Thank you so much. This was a perfectly timed reminder for me. Also, I’ve been reading Revelation and realizing about…

  2. Fr. Stephen, thank you for this wonderful reflection on the judgment seat. I regularly pray the Orthodox morning prayers and…

  3. Matthew, I find it interesting what you say about your experience of the homily during the Divine Liturgy vs what…

  4. Thanks Fr. Stephen. Commonality as well a uniqueness. I like that very much. I simply wanted to express that as…


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