June 28, 2019

I was going through a pile of old papers and I came across a stack of interesting essays I had read in college and seminary. I wanted to share a paper I read long ago that helped me to see how Scripture Alone as a rule of ultimate authority in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod is not in line with the Confessions.

Many times when Lutherans today talk about the authority of the Bible they don't realize it, but they're doing it in a way that is different from how Luther and the 1st generation of reformers understood it. 

This paper was written by Fr Gregory when he was a pastor and seminary professor in the LCMS. He gladly gave me permission to share it.  It isn't an argument to become Orthodox or Catholic or anything else, but it is helpful in the sense that it shows how the understanding of things like Sola Scriptura has shifted in the Lutheran Church and no longer means what it did originally.

Anyone from an especially Lutheran background who wants to learn more about Orthodoxy can lis...

May 31, 2019

The following is taken from the life of St Paisios of Mt Athos by Hieromonk Isaac

Young Georgios from the Far East

Georgios, a young man of sixteen or seventeen, came to Mount Athos to look around the monasteries. Though Greek by blood, he had been raised abroad from early childhood among Tibetan Buddhist monks in their monastery. He had made a great deal of progress in meditation, and he had become an accomplished sorcerer, able to summon any demon he wanted. (*** See Note at the end of story) He was also an expert in the martial arts. Using the power of Satan, he made impressive displays of his abilities: he broke hazelnuts in his palm, and tossed away the shells while the nuts remained attached to his hand. He could read closed books. He struck large rocks with his bare hand, and they shattered like walnuts.

Some monks brought Georgios to the Elder so that he could help him. Georgios asked the Elder what powers he had, what he could do, and the Elder answered that he himself did not ha...

May 19, 2019

Christ's descent into Hell is a major theme of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church. I try as much as I can to look over the Holy Week service book before each one so I can meditate on the meaning of the beautiful texts that I will hear chanted and read that day.

In doing so I have had to rethink some of the Biblical texts that I thought I knew well.  I wanted to summarize and share some of what I've learned so far.  I am especially grateful to Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev and his teaching in "Christ the Conqueror of Hell: the Descent into Hades from an Orthodox Perspective." This doesn't come close to covering everything he has to say, but I'm following his outline of Biblical texts so that you can see his thought process. I hope it will be as helpful to you as it has been for me in understanding the Orthodox way of reading the Bible on this topic.

That Christ descended into Hades or Hell isn't mentioned directly in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John but it is indirectly in the Gospel o...

March 5, 2019

March is the perfect month for going green isn't it?!  St. Patrick's Day, spring is in the air, it's my birthday... ok so that last one is not quite relevant - but everything else this month is bursting with goodness and greenness!  Naturally, it's the perfect time for me to talk about one of my newer passions that I haven't yet shared with all of you.  I've kind of turned into an Environmentalist...

Now, at first glance, you may say to yourself "I knew it.  First veganism and now this..." But actually this started long before my veganism. Actually my family would probably tell you I have been a closet Environmentalist for a really long time.  When I was a kid I actually forced my brother to hold a funeral for an ant he killed without provocation... so... yeah.  But two years ago I had a bit of a catalyst that has really pushed me to come clean with own my greenie tendencies.  I took an Environmental Science class.

I'll be honest.  I didn't really want to, but I...

March 2, 2019

Back when I used to be interested in politics the phrase "controlling the conversation" was often on my tongue and ringing in my ears.  After all, you can't let the enemy (As if our neighbors and fellow countrymen were our enemies!) control the conversation.  If you let them use their terminology and their vocabulary they are in control and have an edge in the debate.

It's true.  And today I'm using the concept in a much more beneficial way.  Our adopted son was recently diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  This means that a close relationship with his caregivers is terrifying and he deeply struggles to have a healthy, meaningful relationship with anyone.

Whenever he and I have a moment of connection, or he enjoys a conversation with another adult, it is always followed by a severe backlash of rage.  Grief, anger and fear pour out of his little body in ways that no one should ever have to experience - let alone a small child.  Some days I feel like we are ma...

March 1, 2019

Hi Everyone!  I'm finished with my class and we finally seem to be getting into a school rhythm that I feel really good about, so Iakabos and I are now moving into taking more time for our own projects and creative outlets.  I'm so excited to share with you all of the things I am wanting to keep going on and the new things I want to start!

First of all, I need to finally get the blog in order.  I'm going to take some dedicated time at least once or twice a week to move over my old blog posts from my previous blog and also to finish our comprehensive resources page.  The resources page is a big part of why I started this blog, so I need to prioritize it.

Second, I want to start putting out more blog content.  Obviously that's a big part of it too!  I miss blogging about adoption and home school and living simply and nurturing the faith and all the crunchy alternative things I'm into.  So my second priority is to get new blog content out there and to reestablish our community,...

January 30, 2019

The meaning of the cross is central to our Christian faith. The Scriptures present many different themes for thinking about what God has done for us in the death of Christ and His glorious resurrection on the third day.

A fundamental difference between Orthodoxy and most of Protestantism is that Orthodoxy doesn’t believe the cross was about changing God’s attitude toward me, but rather about changing man.

As you begin your Lenten preparations I thought I would share this resource I saw on the website for St Mary’s Orthodox Church in Omaha, NE on Satisfactionism

If you’re near Omaha, be sure to check them out to discover the ancient church and Christian Faith!

If you’re like me a certain view of the cross called “satisfaction theory” was the dominant theme in your Protestant Church but it is a view that is, at the very least, highly problematic if not unacceptable to Orthodoxy. This theory is associated with Anselm of Canterbury and his work, “Why God Became Man”. I commend the resource b...

January 1, 2019

Hey all! I know I've been super quiet lately.  I'm going to just be honest here.  I'm struggling.  It doesn't matter how I work my schedule, I'm always short something.  Between Jacob and Hope's needs, homeschooling, making actually semi-healthy meals for my family, cleaning, church, appointments, dance, gymnastics, etc. there is literally no time for anything.

Unfortunately, that means that blogging usually gets kicked out.  I've had several posts I have really wanted to write over the last few months and I literally can't find the time to do any of them.  I am also currently enrolled in my very last college course to finish my bachelor's degree (YAY!)  So any small amount of computer time I get is dedicated to that.

That class ends in February, so I'm hoping that by March I will be in a better place to blog regularly.  But it will still probably be hit or miss.  I'm in a season of my life right now where blogging is very difficult to do. 

I love all of...

November 10, 2018

I recently watched an excellent video from Fr. Joshia Trenham called "An Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholicism". He's priest at Saint Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, California and founder of Patristic Nectar Publications.

I was edified by this video in multiple ways.

First, most of my perspective on Roman Catholicism is shaped by growing up as a Lutheran, so I appreciated getting an analysis from an Orthodox point of view.

Second, Fr Josiah brought up a reason I have cited before for why I didn't look more closely at Rome - chaos in the worship service.  He talked about a friend of his who is a traditional Catholic in southern California who has to drive by multiple parishes on a Sunday morning just to worship in a traditional Catholic manner. I wrote about this in my post, "Why Not Rome?"

Third, Fr Josiah goes out of his way to be complimentary of Roman Catholicism and faithful Roman Catholics where he can.  He certainly thinks that Orthodox have a lot to learn from Catholics in...

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