What is a Churching?
I mentioned that Christine was churched on Sunday; it was my first time back to church since she had been born. It wasn't my first time out of the house; I tried to stay at home as much as possible beforehand, but I wasn't as good at as maybe I could have been. So what is a churching anyway? Well, it's a short prayer service that blesses the new mother and the baby and it happens around the 40th day after birth. Beyond that I don't know a whole lot about it; I'm still lear
This is part of our No Longer Sola Series. "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." – 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Imagine you're a pastor. It is your job to be a steward of the Mysteries of Christ. Knowing that you hold in your hands God Himself, and that this gift i
As we prepare ourselves for our first Holy Week in the Orthodox Church I wanted to share something that was very helpful to me in understanding the Orthodox difference with regards to the meaning of the cross. This is reposted with permission from my personal friend Ben Harju who blogs over at Paredwka. You can find the original post here. Be Reconciled In Lutheran dogmatics a sharp distinction is made between justification and sanctification. Justification is to be declared
Drink of it All of You
This is a post in our ongoing No Longer Sola Series. Questions surrounding the Eucharist were an issue in my investigation of Orthodoxy. While communion of the baptized was not the issue that ultimately compelled me to leave Lutheranism, it was an issue that persistently caused me to investigate Orthodoxy after I would try to set it aside in order to remain Lutheran. This issue alone is not, I think, sufficient to cause one to leave Lutheranism for Orthodoxy. One can hold to
Click Bait: Cute Baby Pics
Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone! I have uploaded many cute baby pictures as an unabashed attempt at click bait. (It's working right?) But I really have a much more urgent matter to discuss with you today. I promise that baby pictures at the end but please read through first! These are dear friends of ours from seminary. Pastor Gillespie is no longer serving a congregation full-time, which means their medical insurance is no longer being covered. Four of the Gillespie'
Why Not Rome?
My recent experience of Western Rite Orthodoxy got the gears turning on a question I have been receiving since our conversion. Why not Rome? I remarked to one of the monastics last weekend how the Liturgy there felt very similar to a Lutheran liturgy. He agreed and said that if I was a Catholic it would’ve felt “very very similar” and if I was a good Episcopalian it would’ve felt “very very very similar”. I have great love and admiration for my Roman Catholic friends and th
The Weekend Getaway
Today is the feast day of Saint Benedict, the founder of Benedictine Monasticism! Last weekend I had the great blessing of visiting a western rite Orthodox monastery from the Benedictine Tradition. Founded on Holy Cross Day, 2013, the The Monastery of Our Lady and Saint Laurence strives to model its life on the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict of Nursia (d. 547 A.D.), modified by its own Constitutions, under the guidance of its elected Prior (superior). Father Theodore is the Pri
The Tragedy in Our Story
Iakabos, Hope, Evangelia and Stephen just got home from a monastery retreat this weekend with a group from church. That means that I was home with Jacob, Kyriaki and Christine (and, of course my lovely mom who was helping out!) We went to the store on Saturday to pick up a few things, and I left Jacob with Grammy for a few minutes in the shampoo aisle so I could go grab packing tape. When I came back what I saw was not surprising, but it was painful. Jacob was sitting in hi
Unity in Worship
In a previous post I promised to explore what unity looks like in the Orthodox Church. Although there are a set of agreed upon liturgies, it certainly is not an absolutist, mechanical approach. I’ve been to a diversity of Orthodox parishes over the years, and they have all been different. Some are Greek or Antiochian or Russian or Serbian. Sometimes the service has been in a completely different language, sometimes the service has all been in English, other times you will h
Smells and Bells
This post is part of our No Longer Sola Series. Sola fide. Faith alone. What does this mean? “Also they [our churches] teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight