Tag: asceticism

  • The Long Journey Home

    It’s not getting to the land of the dead that’s the problem. It’s getting back. – Capt. Hector Barbossa, Pirates of the Caribbean at World’s End It is possible to speak in great detail about the origins and problems of the “false-self” (ego). Once the characteristics of the ego, it’s narrative, defenses, aggression, and unrelenting…

  • How Do You Feel About That?

    In the near decade-and-a-half that I have been Orthodox, I cannot recall ever being asked, “How do you feel about that?” It is not a wrong question, but one that simply doesn’t come up much in Orthodox conversation. The Tradition of the Church is not set by feelings (at least officially). Neither is the Church…

  • Making the Journey

    The photo posted with this article is from Zion National Park in the American Southwest. I took the shot five or six years back when my wife and I were vacationing in the area. This blog started in late 2006 – this photo became a visual symbol for me of the journey toward Christ’s Kingdom.…

  • The Nativity Fast – Why We Fast

    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 or well in the Christian world. Much of that world has long lost any living connection with the historical memory of Christian fasting. Without the…

  • Living the Life of the Publican

    For many people in our culture, the idea of private confession is neither attractive nor comforting. We prefer “to put our best foot forward,” and make the best impression on others. Everyone is aware that everyone has faults. Those who have grown up Protestant may have been frequently reminded, “For all have sinned and fall…

  • Freedom and Slavery – A Word to Neurotic Christians

    Be both a servant, and free: a servant in that you are subject to God, but free in that you are not enslaved to anything – either to empty praise or to any of the passions. Release your soul from the bonds of sin; abide in liberty, for Christ has liberated you; acquire the freedom…

  • The Things We Share

    Modern culture frequently celebrates the freedom we each enjoy – in come cases going so far as to think of human beings as discreet individuals. Of course each of us lives in his/her own body – but even as such – we live in a common world. What I do and how I live affects…

  • Dying We Live

    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:24). The above quote is perhaps the most counter-intuitive thing ever said by Christ – as far as general human experience goes. We do not want to lose our lives –…

  • The Daily Battle

    More thoughts on the struggle with the passions: One of the essential understandings of the passions within the fathers of the Church is that they are not inherently evil. Gluttony may be a passion, but the desire to eat is a gift of God. Fornication is a sin, but the marriage bed is blessed, etc.…

  • Another Look at the Passions

    I have recently been reading Fr. John Chryssavgis’ In the Heart of the Desert, an excellent introduction to the teachings and spiritual practices of the desert monastics. His comments are interwoven with sayings from the Desert Fathers (and Mothers). I share here some of his work on the passions, very apropos of our conversations here…


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  1. Father, Sometimes, we hear about phenomena associated with Orthodox saints. Do any of those phenomena resemble those seen or reported…

  2. What does it mean to “experience God”? I think 1 Corinthians 2 is sorely overlooked in thinking about this question:…

  3. Matthew, Regarding the notion of testing the spirits: this is indeed a biblical reference. However when implemented within the very…


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