July 29, 2013

While I was reading a bit of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s mammoth history, Christianity, my five-year-old son Moses walked up, pointed to the image of Christ on the cover, and said, “Why does he have a boo-boo?” “Well,” I said, “remember how Jesus died on a cross? They nailed his hands to the beam. And then they stabbed him here” — pointing to the gash by his ribs — “in the side.” “Is that him dead?” “No,” I said, “that’s Jesus resurrected.”… Read more

July 28, 2013

I came across this quote from Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica’s wonderful book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives. I couldn’t stop thinking about how it applies to my relationship with my kids. As soon as our mood changes, we no longer speak kindly to our fellow men, but instead we answer them sharply. We only make things worse by doing this. When we are dissatisfied, the whole atmosphere between us becomes sour, and we start to offend one another. No matter… Read more

July 26, 2013

Sinéad O’Connor is bringing the gospel to the Lincoln Center Festival, presenting a set of spiritual songs tonight and Saturday. If her public statements are anything to go by, she’s pretty excited about the opportunity. “In terms of maintaining my relationship with the Holy Spirit,” she said, “that’s going to be the biggest moment of my life, to be able to stand there and thank it.” It? That nondescript, divine presence Doing religious music well is a big deal to… Read more

July 23, 2013

There’s been a little dustup recently about people supposedly “cherry picking” the Bible. Holy writ, goes the charge, is the highest authority in all matters, provided we can isolate certain verses and use them to support our predetermined positions. Neale Donald Walsch started the ruckus at the Huffington Post saying that — surprise, surprise — people actually do this! In fairness, he invoked another loaded metaphor, the buffet. Thomas Whitley responded for the Associated Baptist Press, not only serving our… Read more

July 22, 2013

Spend any time reading the news, driving the interstates, or peering into the recesses of your own heart, and it’s clear that people are messed up. After hearing dusty tales of “a bunch of lowlife thieves and cowards and murderers,” a young man asks an old timer if people were meaner in the past than the present. “No,” says he answers, “I don’t. I think people are the same from the day God first made one.” The exchange is from… Read more

July 16, 2013

Anyone writing a satire on American politics would be hard pressed to improve on the plot already oozing out of the New York City comptroller’s race. If you haven’t been following the story, Eliot Spitzer now finds himself running against a woman who claims she formerly secured prostitutes for the former attorney general’s use. Inconvenience, thy name is Kristen Davis! Naturally, Spitzer denies Davis’ claims, but his call-girl history reasonably prompts doubts. Shall we hold it against him? It’s very… Read more

July 16, 2013

I am utterly captivated by this story. In the country of Georgia stands a 140-foot rock pillar, crowned with a small hermitage. Hermits have lived atop the Katskhi Pillar in ages past, doing little more than praying for the life of the world. But no one has lived there in 600 years. That might change someday soon. Watch this: Fr. Maxim has fixated on living atop Katskhi Pillar since he was a boy, something that is undoubtedly hard for most… Read more

July 14, 2013

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… Read more

July 10, 2013

If you have a spare hour (actually 50 minutes) and give two or more hoots about the abortion debate, it’s worth watching this Reason-hosted conversation between Nick Gillespie, Ronald Bailey, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Mollie Hemingway. Hemingway, as you likely know, writes for the excellent GetReligion blog, hosted by Patheos. Read more

July 10, 2013

According to Esquire magazine, Pope Francis is “kind of awesome.” To demonstrate the point, writer Stephen Marche cited a litany of bright moments from the pontiff’s first hundred days, starting with his insistence on paying his own hotel bill after becoming pope. Francis presents a refreshing blend of humility, charity, approachability, and compassion. “These little gestures make a big difference,” said Marche. Why? “The Catholic Church may be the last major institution in the world that makes a coherent argument… Read more

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