October 2021

It is the Relationship that Matters

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 08:42

As you can imagine, as an Orthodox Christian priest, I have regular interactions with people outside the Church. Sometimes they are Christians of other denominations, and other times they are not believers. I have noticed a trend that is concerning when it comes to discussions about God and faith. It seems too often we get caught in the “that’s not what I think it means,” trap. From elementary school science projects to graduate school papers, no matter what we are discussing, ‘it’ rarely means what WE think it means. We must be taught what ‘it’ means.

The Good Teacher

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Sat, 10/09/2021 - 09:04

Good teachers take the time to know their students. They watch. They listen. They learn. They do this, because they know if they can understand their students on a personal level, they can better teach them. It was true when I was young with my chemistry teacher in high school. After a few weeks of ‘not performing well in class,’ he approached me and said, “I don’t know why you’re here. You’ll never figure this out!” I was outraged, and spent the remainder of the year proving him wrong. At the end of the year, I approached him and said, “See? You were wrong.

Unreasonable People

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 08:38

One of the benefits of ‘growing up’ is that we acquire some level of wisdom. Not to be confused with intelligence, wisdom is based on experience. Wisdom teaches us to recognize all sorts of danger. Wisdom is why we don’t ‘go running into unknown places’ unless we are being chased. Even then, wisdom has shown us that being chased is a greater danger than the unknown path upon which we run. Wisdom has taught me one unique blessing. Unreasonable people are unreasonable.

The Power of Memory

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 08:47

Sit for a moment and remember a time when you were sitting quietly by yourself. Maybe you were on the back porch. Maybe you were listening to the birds chirping. Maybe you were watching the waves crash against the shore. You can still hear the birds, feel the breeze, and smell the air, can’t you? Memory is a powerful thing in our lives, but sometimes memories can get in the way.

Do You Have a Spiritual Father?

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:44

It is a popular mantra in the Protestant Church against the Orthodox to say, “Call no man father!” This is based upon Matthew 23.9, where Jesus says, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” When the issue is challenged with the obvious, “We all have a father listed on our birth certificate, so the passage can’t mean what you think it means,” in my experience the position is merely repeated with a flippan

Use Your Freedom for Good

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Tue, 10/05/2021 - 08:37

Living in the United States, we are accustomed to fighting for freedom, as it is enshrined in our founding documents. As a nation, freedom is part of our identity. Nobody will tell us what to do!….or think, or believe. It is what makes this the best country in the world, but it is also what makes being a Christian so difficult.

Episode 348 - The Platinum Rule

We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule as found in Luke 6.31-36, “As you wish that men should do to you, do so to them.” This perspective of doing good, so that others do good to us, is ultimately of no credit to us. It is when we do good when others do NOT do good that we are living as Christ desires. Christ commands, “Be merciful as your Father is merciful.” I call this the Platinum Rule, and it the only real way to live as a Christian.

Heaven is Worth the Wait

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Mon, 10/04/2021 - 09:05

Forget about heaven! Hey! Who needs heaven when you can have greatness right here on Earth? In this environment, it can be very tempting to believe Christ wants us to be comfortable. We are surrounded by the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ which teaches that if you believe in Christ ‘enough’ then you will achieve greatness on earth. You will be wealthy and comfortable. If you are suffering, that can only be true because you don’t believe ‘enough’ in Christ.

The Bible in Worship

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Sat, 10/02/2021 - 09:21

The other day I was having a conversation with someone about why we don’t have bibles in the pews of our Churches. As part of the conversation, it was noted that in the churches this person had visited, the pews had lots of liturgy books, but no bibles. “Shouldn’t we be encouraging people to read their bibles when they come to Church?” May answer may surprise you.

Trust Leads to Change

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Fri, 10/01/2021 - 07:44

Today is the Feast of St Ananias, one of the Seventy Apostles, who we hear about in Act 9. God sent him to meet with St Paul, bless him, and remind him that God had a plan for His Church. St Ananias was hesitant at first, because he knew that St Paul (when he was known as Saul) was a killer of Christians. He had gained a reputation to be feared by anyone in the Church.