Showing posts from May, 2011

Parents for A Great Generation

Over the past couple of months, I have been listening to the Teaching Company's American Identity. It has been excellent. The professor giving lectures is from the UK (not University of KY-but Great Britain for my wildcat-centric friends), but currently teaches at Emory University. You can tell that he loves America and because of his background he has a unique perspective. In fact he often points out characteristics of America with Europe with the statement: "This is unique to America, they don't do this in Europe."

Each lecture is a short biography on an American that has been instrumental in the defining the nation. These are not the usual suspects but people that have shaped the character and course of this nation.

In listening, I have gained a new respect for the men and women at the end of the 19th century during post Civil war America. These are people that I have known little about but they truly are amazing individuals.

What is interesting about the people is t…

Egyptian Christians - the next Darfur?

Since the early evangelism of the Apostles, Christianity has permeated Egypt. It was vibrant and produced many saints and great theologians that the Church continues to honor till this day.
The expansion of Islam in 641 brought subjection of the Christian population of Egypt, and it slowly became a minority as Islam began to dominate.
Miraculously Christians have maintained their faith in Egypt for the last 1300 years. Oppression has ebbed and flowed over the years, but recently the Christian minority is under greater attack.
Unfortunately this gets little coverage in Western media, which is sad. Americans did a good job bringing to attention the oppression of Tibet, Rwanda, and Darfur, but the plight of Christians in Egypt remain unnoticed.
A friend and fellow church member has done a great job trying to bring this issue to light. He is a Christian with Egyptian roots and has family that still maintains their faith in Egypt.
Please follow his blog for more information: http:…

Give to Those Who Don't Deserve

This morning, the sermon at church was on the story about the healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethsaida. The sermon was excellent, but led a different direction than I expected. The focus was on the man healed, his response, and whether he deserved the healing. The man never offered thanks to Jesus, never concerned himself with Jesus' identity, and the account finishes with with him apparently accusing Jesus before the religious authorities.
How many times is it easy to question the need of those who ask for our charity and assistance? The conclusion is that none of us deserve the gifts of God, it is all mercy. So we should hold no judgment of those we call to help.
St. John Chrysostom's 21st homily on 1 Corinthians was quoted for support and it is excellent and convicting. The portions of the sermon that address this issue of giving and judging are found beginning in section 8 and continuing to the end. The full text of St. John's sermon can be found here:

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Have you seen the commercials? If you have a TV and a watch sports then I am sure you have. These are the Dos Equis commercials for the "Most Interesting Man in the World." I must be in the demographic they are targeting, because every time I see one, I want to be this man.
Clips of him rescuing people, climbing mountains, and doing adventurous things are on every scene. The narrated statements are hilarious because they increase his mystique and degree of "interesting".
His tagline says it all: "Stay Thirsty My Friend."
Here's several quotes that are my favorites: He lives vicariously through himself. It is never too early to start beefing up your obituary He never say’s anything taste like chicken… Not even chicken. His mom has a tattoo that says, "Son". Running in place will never get you the same results as running from a lion. Find out what it is in life that you do not do well, and then don't do that thing.Granted these are hum…

St. Gregory of Nyssa on the Tabernacle

Of all the posts I have written for this blog, one of my most popular is the one on the Tabernacle. As a Christian, we read those OT accounts of liturgy and sacrifices and know that somehow they are fulfilled in Christ.That is what that post was designed to accomplish.Since that time, whenever I stumble over a Church Father that addresses many of the passages I grab it and digest it to use later.Recently in teaching through Genesis and the life of Moses, I finally read St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses.If you have not read this, I promise you that it is accessible to the general audience and you don’t need an advance degree in religious jargon to understand.Gregory like many of the Fathers of the Church read Scripture slightly different than we do today.Today we often read scientifically, meaning that we only look for the literal, historical meanings.We brush aside anything that seems to allegorically because we fear its lack of objectivity, and it seems too slippery to give us cer…

What is America?

In a previous post, I discussed the need for us as Orthodox ministering in the U.S. to begin to understand what America is so that we might incarnate Orthodoxy in American clothes.I need to clarify some things. I don't envision Uncle Sam presiding over the Divine Liturgy or jumbotrons with rotating icons. This is not about becoming politically American or adopting our Hollywood/entertainment culture. Our liturgy, doctrines, and lifestyle have stood the test of time and are trans-historical and trans-generational. My intention is regarding ministry and how we take the gospel to the streets and neighborhoods of our countrymen.So back to the question that I asked in the last post: What is America? What are the true, good, and beautiful characteristics of America that should be adopted as we take the gospel throughout our country? It is easy to pick on the sins and excesses of our country. By now, they should be obvious to all, but can we identify what we love and what is good?…