God can handle your anger–and your confusion, fear and doubt, too

An Egyptian court last week sentenced an author to five years in prison. His crime? Insulting religion. He penned a book entitled Where is God? which some Muslims deemed offensive.Egyptian law, according to one report, "gives all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated." But maybe God can take it. At least that's what Ian Punnett argues in his new book How to Pray When You're Pissed at God, a title that might spark similar offense in some … [Read more...]

Through the joy and sorrow of Christian death

when you lose someone you love

A friend of mine lost her mother over the weekend.When I hear of the passing of someone close my mind wanders to a handful of passages I find comforting and reassuring. Though any effort is bound to be feeble and unworthy in the face of such a loss, I've gathered some of those passages here for whatever balm they offer.When someone dies in the Orthodox tradition, the body rests in the nave of the church before the funeral. During the wake, parishioners volunteer to read Psalms over the … [Read more...]

Looking for the absent God

quapan, Flickr

The early Christians and later patristic writers read the Old Testament with a view to Christ. They saw his shadow in the law, the prophets, and the writings like Psalms. They also saw him in the Song of Solomon, seeing in the Hebrew love poem a picture of Christ and the church. … [Read more...]

Our ordinary, fascinating lives

Our ordinary lives, fascinating and wild

The Scripture says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." The psalmist uses the phrase to talk about our origins, how we were "skillfully" formed by God. I think we can view the sentiment as more than that, however. I think we can take it as an invitation to view all of a person's life as fearful and wonderful."Marvelous are Your works," says the psalmist, and that includes us, not only our conception but our whole lives. God not only makes us but also sustains us. Our development … [Read more...]

Following Jesus in the Psalms

Christ Preaching at Capernaum

Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow him, and he makes a striking provision for us in the Psalms to do so. The Psalter—in its own way as much as the Gospels—sums up Christ’s life and work while also making that life and work something with which we can identify in a powerful way. … [Read more...]

Praying the Psalms

Praying in the Synagogue

I wonder how often we find our prayers dead and lifeless. I wonder how often we come up dry and dumb with no words, no thoughts, no way of formulating the feelings, frustrations, and various shades of grief that we bear. Burdened and distracted, we can hardly remember to pray, and when we do we have nothing to say.What if someone could guide you to God in those moments, could take you before the throne, lean over and whisper, “Just say it like this,” and then unfurl a stream of words that mea … [Read more...]

The Psalms in Christian life

Icon of the Psalmist, King David

The American patriot leader Joseph Warren was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. Coming upon his bloodied and fallen body, a British soldier plucked a small psalter from his pocket.Warren had carried the little book into battle, a volume whose pages declare that God “maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the world: he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear, and burneth the chariots with fire.”It is fitting that a soldier should carry such comforting lines -- those from Ps … [Read more...]


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