A quick lesson in effective communication from Basil the Great

Basil the Great effectively communicating with and Prince Vasili III

Remember that time you confused Hemingway with Basil the Great? I was reading something by St. Basil the other day and was amused by the overlap."[T]he excellence proper to discourse is neither to hide the things signified in obscurity," said Basil, "nor to be redundant and empty, turning in all directions while overflowing randomly."Clarity and economy. The thought reminded me of Hemingway's comment on writing as architecture.In his day, Basil was a popular writer and … [Read more...]

Meanwhile, St. Basil describes the Christian blogosphere

This morning I cracked open Basil the Great's slender book, On the Holy Spirit. Writing during a period in which the nature of the trinity was hotly contested, Basil started by describing the state of the debate. Addressing his treatise to one Amphilochius, he says,I admire your proposing questions not for the sake of testing, as many now do, but to discover the truth itself. For now a great many people listen to and question us to find fault. . . . [T]he questions of many contain a … [Read more...]

Zimmerman, Trayvon, and the tragedy of taking human life

As far as the Orthodox are concerned, the most fundamental reality of society is that people are made in the image of God. This has a bearing on how we see public policy, including matters of crime and punishment.My wife Megan and I have been talking quite a lot about the George Zimmerman verdict in light of this thought. Regardless of your take on whether he was justified in taking the life of Trayvon Martin, the fact is that he took the teen's life, and this is a profoundly awful fact. If … [Read more...]

Celebrating faithful mothers

Celebrating Mothers

The most obvious thing to do with mothers is to celebrate them.I watch my Megan day in and out striving to raise, nurture, encourage, protect, correct, and prepare our kids. It's a humbling thing to behold. When I say that I couldn't do it, I say the obvious. When I say that she does, I speak of the miraculous.God has a special concern for mothers, something apparent in both the Bible and the memory of the church, which tell the story of so many noteworthy mothers. Just start with the … [Read more...]

Hope that does not disappoint

Hope that does not disappoint

Our days are marked by trouble. Illness in the family, perhaps dire, a child struggling with unbelief, a bad job situation, turmoil in a close relationship -- the list is as long and varied as you want to make it. We're all facing something, a unique trial, a particular pain. And it's not surprising."Beloved," says Peter in his first letter, "do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you...." … [Read more...]

The gospel of radical submission

The gospel of radical submission

The Scripture commands husbands to love their wives, wives to respect their husbands, children to honor their parents, citizens to obey the authorities, employees to follow their employers, and believers to subject themselves to the elders of the Church.None of this has anything to do with how much or well the other party deserves it. There are plenty of unlovable wives, disreputable husbands, dishonorable parents, unworthy governments, ill-willed employers, and untrustworthy church leaders … [Read more...]

Where we turn to model our lives

Luke the Evangelist 'writing' Mary

According to tradition, the first icon-painter in the Church was the evangelist Luke, and the first icon he painted was of Mary. This is a big deal, so, naturally, there’s an icon of it. In that icon of an icon Mary stands with the baby Jesus to the side, while Luke sits, studies, and paints. I was reminded of this image when reading something in a letter from Basil about models for Christian living.Basil’s point is that we should look to the Scriptures for examples of Christian virtues, to … [Read more...]


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