Telling the Joke

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Rich_in_Church_Square.jpegTHE ONLY thing worse than a joke you don’t get is the explanation that is bound to follow: an explanation that, while it may help you see why you should have seen the humor that you so lamely missed, is little likely to make you laugh. It may provoke you to muster a sympathy snicker so as to avoid more of an already... Continue Reading


Anarchists, Biblical Kings, Clerical Clothing & the Color Black

Feast of St Sozon the Martyr

priest-wearing-tab-collar-clergy-shirt_SQUARE.pngOUR LATEST Presidential election cycle, and the subsequent media coverage of President Donald Trump, led me to think more deeply about my political beliefs and principles. I have discussed politics with trusted friends and reflected on my own thoughts more than ever. I want to offer you a powerful quote shared with me by one of my closest friends, Deacon Rico Paul Monge. Deacon... Continue Reading


Christianity: A Reflection on Its Relationship with Judaism, Islam, Paganism & Atheistic Secularism

Feast of St Cyprian of Carthage

Trinity_Square.jpegI'VE BEEN thinking about the way that Christianity relates to other religious traditions ever since I was in Middle School. A topic of perpetual interest for me, I have arrived at the following conclusions. (What follows is largely a summary and expansion of Fr. John Anthony McGuckin’s dense but excellent introduction to Orthodoxy, The Orthodox Church, and his treatment of Orthodoxy’s relationship to other... Continue Reading


To Forgive or Not to Forgive

Feast of St Myron the Martyr of Cyzicus

Extreme_Humility_Square.jpegTHEN PETER came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:19-22)

Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his... Continue Reading


Cur Deus Homo? The Motive of the Incarnation

Feast of St Euplus the Holy Martyr & Archdeacon of Cantania

Christ_2.jpegI AM THE Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 1:8). The Christian message was from the very beginning the message of Salvation, and accordingly our Lord was depicted primarily as the Savior, Who has redeemed His people from bondage of sin and corruption. The very fact of the Incarnation was usually interpreted in early Christian theology in the perspective of... Continue Reading


Why Bother with Books?

Feast of St Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer

Front_Cover_Original_Synaxis_Square.jpegI'VE BEEN charged with the task of explaining in some coherent form “why books?”—that is, paper and ink between covers—rather than “books” in some digital format, whether displayed on a conventional computer screen, a “tablet,” Kindle or Nook, iPad or any variety of handheld objects. I think I was given the task because I’ve held forth with friends on many occasions (sometimes after... Continue Reading


The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion

Feast of the Glorious Prophet Elijah

Day_the_Revolution_Began_Square.jpegEVERY SUNDAY morning, Christians across America listen to sermons from the Bible. Those sermons might include a well-known Old Testament story, or a dense passage from one of Paul’s magnificent letters, or a few poetic verses from the Psalms, or a quizzical parable from one of the Gospels. Either way, those sermons are typically from the Bible (as they should be), and, they are... Continue Reading


The Haven of Liturgy

Feast of St Sisoes the Great

Herman_Square.jpegWHAT could be better, higher, more worthy of love and more splendid than Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself...Who is Himself love. Should we not love God above all things, and wish for and seek Him?” [The crowd replied], “Why, that’s obvious, how can we not love God?” And Father Herman responded “I, a poor sinner, have been trying to learn how to love God... Continue Reading


Doom Dissertation: The Introduction

Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles

Florovsky_Square_8.jpgIN 1949, shortly before becoming dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, Fr. Georges Florovsky delivered the keynote address at the 23rd annual national Convention of the Federation of Russian Orthodox Clubs in Philadelphia, PA. The title of his address was “The Responsibility of the Orthodox in America.” It has been described by Andrew Blaine as a “charter for a responsible Christian witness in America,... Continue Reading


Metaphysician of the Concrete: A François Mauriac Primer

Feast of St Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata

Mauriac_Square.jpgFRANCOIS Mauriac (1885-1970) is an author whose work deserves to be better known amongst today’s English-speaking readers. Once considered one of the finest French writers of his day, Mauriac was awarded the Grand prix du roman by the Académie Française in 1925, and in 1952 received the Nobel Prize in literature “for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he... Continue Reading


Brief Musings on "Eighth Day Ecumenism" (and its Unsavory Alternative)

Feast of Aquilina the Martyr of Syria

Athonite_light_Square.jpegWITH APOLOGIES to Gus Portokalos, the term “ecumenical” does come from the Greek—meaning “the inhabited world.” Yet, our modern world has so laden the terms “ecumenical” and “ecumenism” with meaning and implications that everyone and no one can define them. One person may discuss “ecumenism” from a “let’s work together on social issues despite our very real differences” perspective with someone who believes... Continue Reading


The Dynamic, Immovable God: An Eighth Day Dialogue on Display

Feast of the Holy Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra

Abraham_Square.jpegRECENTLY, an old friend of mine wrote to me with a question about a difficult narrative in the Torah. Exodus 4:24-26 tells the story about God coming to kill Moses because of his failure to circumcise his son Gershom, resulting in Moses (or Gershom?) receiving the moniker “bridegroom of blood.” Alas, I’m afraid that the story ultimately defies any explanation that I... Continue Reading


On the Filioque: The Son as Origin or Place of Repose?

Feast of St Erasmos of Ochrid & His Companion Martyrs

Baptism_Christ_Square_3.jpegFR. DUMITRU Staniloae’s 1981 essay for the World Council of Churches is just as dense and tangled as its title: “The Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and His Relation to the Son, as the Basis of Our Deification and Adoption.” Nevertheless, it rewards the relentless bushwhacker. The essay is one of a handful of WCC papers collected... Continue Reading


Abba Anthony, Give Us a Word

Feast of the Ascension

Paul-and-Timothy-icon_zps240b47d4.jpgTHERE WAS a time in my life when I did not think favorably of the desert fathers. They seemed to do little more than promote a “way out” of the world, fleeing the controversial new establishment of Constantine’s Christendom. Such a response could only have come from pride or fear, neither of which were anything like Christ. Did they forget how and when God chose to... Continue Reading


The Mystic Dimension of Marvel Movies, Part III of III: A Reflection on Christian Cosmology and Cosmography

Feast of St Julian the Martyr

Click Here to Read Part I

Click Here to Read Part II

Marvel_Square_3.jpegIN THE FACE of such a broad cosmos, full of so many different kinds of beings with any number of attitudes towards us, all of them dangerous in their own right, one indeed desires to ask with the Psalmist, “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man... Continue Reading


The Mystic Dimension of Marvel Movies, Part II of III: A Reflection on Christian Cosmology and Cosmography

Feast of St Germanus, Archbishop of Constantinople

Click here to read Part I

Marvel_Square_2.jpegTHE CONTEMPORARY failure of many Christian traditions to engage in theological cosmology—possibly in large part due to the significant advances in scientific knowledge of the universe, which has presented challenges, though not necessary ultimatums, for faithful readers of Scripture who seek to embrace its worldview—has led to some misfortunes in on-the-ground cosmologies. We no longer make... Continue Reading


The Mystic Dimension of Marvel Movies, Part I of III: A Reflection on Christian Cosmology and Cosmography

Feast of St Pelagia the Nun-martyr of Tarsus

Marvel_Square.jpegDOCTOR STRANGE is yet another excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe ("MCU"), and allows the MCU to finally incorporate the Mystic dimension of Marvel to its visual comic book world (which also includes the Terrestrial and Cosmic dimensions of Marvel). The MCU is to be applauded as a superlative adaptation of the Marvel Multiverse—in all of its integrated, overlapping, and simultaneous... Continue Reading


God: The Prodigal Father (Lk. 15:11-32)

Feast of St Hilarion the New

rembrandt_prodigal_son_Square.jpgGOD IS dead, and we have killed him,” cried the Madman in Neitzche’s The Gay Science. The Darwinian century (the 19th) offered a way out from under the nagging worry that there just might be a God, and perhaps, contrary to the devil’s promise to Adam, men might not really be gods after all, technology notwithstanding. Darwin painted a picture of an utterly mechanistic... Continue Reading


St Patrick the Monk: Byzantine Influence on Celtic Monasticism

Feast of St. Patrick

Patrick_square_2.jpegWHEN I pulled out my copy of St. Patrick’s works (Ancient Christian Writers by Paulist Press, available at Eighth Day Books) to begin preparing for this evening’s Feast of St. Patrick, I found an assignment I wrote back in 1998 for Dr. Anthony Gythiel’s class on the Middle Ages. In each class that he taught, he required students to read three books and to write a... Continue Reading


Where Is Our Ezekiel? Pastor & People as Watchmen

Feast of St Procopius the Confessor and St Raphael of Brooklyn

Ezekiel_Square.jpgJUST AS the Q & A began at the close of the seventh annual Eighth Day Institute Symposium, it struck me that not once had Ezekiel’s name been mentioned. An ecumenical gathering of Christians, centered on the theme, Where Are the Watchmen? Theology in the Public Square, and not once does the prophet—explicitly called to be a “watchman” (Ez.... Continue Reading