Category : Formation

Written on Apr, 04, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

When, as Orthodox Christians, we emphasize the importance of human freedom (and all the rights and privileges that we have come to expect as Americans) our concern is in defending is the ability of the soul to imitate either the Harlot or Judas. Human freedom is not for us an end in itself. It is rather for something.

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Written on Apr, 03, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

A “profitable” servant must also be of service to others. I must create value in the lives of neighbors. Just as in the marketplace, this means respecting their freedom. A profitable servant can’t compel others to accept his or her service. What is freely given, must be freely received (see, Matthew 10:5-8). This, in turn, requires that I offer my service to you freely (that is without coercion) that you freely received (or not) the offered service I would do for you.

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Written on Apr, 02, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Building on the work of depth psychologists like Carl Jung, [psychologist Jordan] Peterson argues that well-functioning human adult beings must hold themselves accountable to objective moral standards. They ask difficult questions of themselves that demand clear responses. What constitutes a healthy and attractive body? What does it mean to be financially secure? Why doesn’t Sarah want to go out with …

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Written on Apr, 02, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Because inner freedom–what the text refers to as the ‘freedom of soul’–is what matters, I might wrongly think that political or soul freedom is unimportant.

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Written on Mar, 30, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Tomorrow is Lazarus Saturday and the beginning of Holy Week. So today is the last day of the Great Fast. Given where we are liturgically, today’s Old Testament readings the Church are odd.

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Written on Mar, 29, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Sometimes I’m tempted to confuse the Gospel with a fairy tale in which “they all lived happily ever after.” Like the blessings of wealth and power, judgment and condemnation are part of God’s economy. To be sure, these are not the central elements of the Christian life. But neither can they be ignored much less dismissed.

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Written on Mar, 28, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Our ascetical efforts throughout the Great Fast have been at the service of removing from our own hearts anything the would limit our willingness to love sacrificially. This why, after Isaiah’s stern words on fasting, the Church puts before us the example of the Patriarch Joseph.

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Written on Mar, 27, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Solomon is clear. The wise man knows how to use wealth and exercise authority not simply for his own sake but for the sake of others. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. … He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be heard. … He who pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor” both in the eyes of God and neighbor.

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Unfortunately, being a decent human being doesn’t garner media attention. Ironically, what does get this attention is the same kind of narcissism and inflated sense of self-importance that leads to children being ostracized and humiliated by their peers.

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Written on Mar, 26, 2018 by in | Leave a comment

Grace is stolen not by injuring God but by spreading mistrust, hatred, and violence. Grace is stolen by wounding the heart of the innocent and plunging the guileless into despair. This is the sin of those who Solomon calls a “man of great wrath” who repay forgiveness by once again falling into the sin from which they were only recently delivered.

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