The Bible, that powerful book, has many effects: it comforts, counsels, instructs, and brings us into the presence of God. But trying to erase offense as one of its functions is a fundamentally misguided task.
The Church is the safe place to be. I can safely believe everything the Church teaches. It will not harm me, and in fact it will equip me to grow and grow and have a better and better ability to experience that direct presence.
After I graduated from college, while traveling around Europe, hitchhiking, doing the tourist thing, I went into a church in Dublin.
People don't do theology in a vacuum but in a community with other theological thinkers, where there's jealousy, vanity, hurt pride, all those things.
My mother was an unbeliever – and still is. My father was a nominal Catholic. We would go in to church at the last minute before the gospel reading, take Communion, and walk right out again.
I think intellectualizing annoys me because it is the enemy of experience; you cannot experience the presence of God and analyze it at the same time. You can't analyze anything and experience it simultaneously.
Easter tells us of something children can't understand, because it addresses things they don't yet have to know: the weariness of life, the pain, the profound loneliness and hovering fear of meaninglessness.
God is not looking for repayment, but repentance. What heals a broken relationship is sincere love and contrition.
Lots of Orthodox go to church every Sunday but don't know much about the faith. Yet they know that there is something that they don't know much about.
Someone who wanted to challenge Orthodoxy would not be able to locate a building to hold a protest march in front of. The faith is too diffused.
People just don't realize how much peer pressure, the desire for peer acclamation, influences them.
The New Testament Scriptures are full of references to the malice of the devil, but we generally overlook them. I think this is because our idea of salvation is that Christ died on the cross to pay His Father the debt for our sins.
As a teenager and a student, I totally cast away the Christian faith. I just believed it was stupid, and only stupid people could believe it. I actually became an anti-Christian, and very antagonistic.
The devil's main purpose is not to scare us, in a horror-movie way; when we're scared of him, we're alert to him, and that might undermine his plans. Instead, he wants to quietly, subtly lure us into stepping away from God.
God's presence is not just Light, and Life, but Love. And Love invites, but does not compel.
A segregated spiritual subculture does women no good, even if it does have adorable butterflies in the logo.
Women don't need to have our own little corner of the church where we can feel precious or, alternatively, cranky. In every essential thing, as far as life in Christ is concerned, the differences between men and women are irrelevant.
The Orthodox hierarchy doesn't have the kind of power that high-ranking clergy do in other churches. There isn't even a worldwide governing board to hold all the various Orthodox bodies together.
The Christmas story has such power and such appeal every year. There are other stories we get tired of. You think of your favorite movie; you don't want to watch it 15 times.
There are lots of things to like about being Eastern Orthodox – incense, liturgies, all the baklava you can eat – but you know what I like best? None of that stupid 'women's ministry' stuff.
I know by experience that Jesus Christ is a very powerful spirit – I know by experience that he is probably the most powerful spirit in the universe. I know by experience he is not a mere human being. He is something beyond that.
Easter may seem boring to children, and it is blessedly unencumbered by the silly fun that plagues Christmas. Yet it contains the one thing needful for every human life: the good news of Resurrection.
It is tragic that some Christians have been so battered with stories of a prideful, vindictive God that they have fled from Jesus' fold.
The Church's teaching isn't an official statement, but the cumulative understanding of all the people who have loved and experienced Jesus through time.
Somehow we just don't make the same boisterous fun of Holy Week that we do of Christmas. No one plans to have a holly, jolly Easter.
Women and men just aren't that different. Oh, we're different in some intriguing ways, and it can be fun to band together for all-gal or all-guy projects. But when it comes to the tragic mess Christ came to heal, we're pretty much the same.
I was raised in a nominal Roman Catholic home, but without any really strong faith there.
Jesus showed us how to be courageous and sacrificial while we die for our beliefs, not while we kill for them.
Of the seven deadly sins, anger has long been the one with the best box of costumes. When the guy in the next car rages at you, he's dangerous. When you rage at him, you're just. We can usually recognize the results of anger, especially in others, as destructive and evil.
What's wrong with us isn't a rap sheet of bad deeds, but a damaged heart, a soul-sickness, that plunges us into fearful self-protection, alienation from God and others.
I've been able to dig deeper into awareness of my own sinfulness, and take baby steps toward spiritual healing. I'm able to worship in an ancient communion full of awesome beauty, one that is now being blessed with quiet revival.
You can latch onto theological ideas that are, in fact, not accurate, and refuse to let them go. I think we've seen this a few times in church history.
Temptation coaxes us toward sin, and sin leads to sickness and death, and ultimately confinement in the realm of the evil one.