17 Mar 2017

Unless I Die

Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it will bear much fruit.   —Jesus   A darkening sky greets the great eye blinking open its shutter to morn— o’erhead, coarse comes a rook’s cry, from here dreams appear bleak and forlorn   Here, in my cramped, close cell I hear the neighbour dog howl in lament— the dirt and the dark I fear, they

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02 Mar 2017

Take From Me & Give Me

“O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.” With these words begins the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian, which is prayed during the season of Lent. The prayer begins with the acknowledgement that Christ is the Lord over our lives. He is our Master, an unused and unpopular term perhaps but one that needs recovering. After all, St. Paul refers to

Mike Landsman 0
16 Jan 2017

Repite, por favor

I recently mentioned an article I had seen in First Things to a Baptist friend of mine as we were driving around the Greater LA Area. The article points out that societies without a deep appreciation for ritual often find themselves on a never-ending quest for sincerity. This observation corresponded with the experiences of both my friend and myself; our common evangelical upbringing was steeped in a desire for “realness”—undoubtedly a good-hearted phenomenon, but a

Christian McGuire 2
17 Nov 2016

Saint Phanourios: a Friend in Suffering and One Who Finds What is Lost

This is the continuation of my essay series on St. Phanourios.  You can read part 1 here.2 As it is for many, we often spiritually grow through suffering. Elder Sophrony3, when writing to his sister Maria, writes about what suffering can give us: Do you really think that my in my years of monastic life I have escaped periods when the vision of my ruin was so petrifying that it is not permitted to speak

Elizabeth Roosje 3
07 Nov 2016

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 1

There is a mood and practice of forced buoyancy in American evangelical churches. In near Orwellian fashion, this frenzied gaiety tries to sanitize the church of any perceived negativity, sorrow, or grief. I have been in church services where the worship leader mounts the stage, “kicking off” the service with, “How’s everybody feeling this morning?” (implying the expectation of a positive reaction), followed by, “Oh, you can do better than that!” when the enthusiasm of

Timon Cline 4
25 Oct 2016

The Insufficiency of Spontaneous Prayer

The Insufficiency of Spontaneous Prayer  “Now if we imagine that we can sustain spontaneous prayer throughout our life, we are in childish delusion.” – Anthony Bloom1 In the Charismatic Tradition there are generally two ways of prayer echoing the words of St. Paul in I Corinthians 14:15: praying with the Spirit and praying with the understanding (or mind). Praying with the Spirit is understood as praying in tongues, or as praying in a private prayer

Mike Landsman 16
20 Oct 2016

St Xenia and What Prayer Can Look Like

I went on a walk with a friend recently, we saw trees fully green and trees with delicate yellow leaves, falling in the wind, on green grass. Autumn in Northern New Jersey! While sitting on a bench, we talked about books, ideas and our dreams for life. I reminisced a bit. I told her how when I was in school, years back, outside Vancouver and new to the Orthodox Church. I saw 2 icons for

Elizabeth Roosje 0
06 Oct 2016

(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church ~ The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II

Icon of St. Herman of Alaska from Holy Dormition Monastery. Icon of St. Herman of Alaska, made by my Ottawa Parish, from a print from Greece; Picture taken by author. Note: This is a continuation of my series on what I have been given in the (Eastern Orthodox) Church.  Part One is found here. The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II: Saints Herman and Nicholas Saint Herman of Alaska While at St.

Elizabeth Roosje 1
22 Sep 2016

(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church: The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part I: The Mother of God

This icon is called the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Note: While I am new to Conciliar Post, I am here because of their commitment to dialogue between Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) with respect and Christian love.  While I could write (and perhaps will later) on why I think this is the best way, suffice for now to say what I see my writing, including this series, to be about: to

Elizabeth Roosje 2
08 Sep 2016

“Do not be afraid” ~ {While Experiencing the Abandonment of God}

I1 am nearing the end of a really beautiful book, called Dimitri’s Cross.2 Right now I am reading the letters he wrote his wife, Tamara, from his first place of imprisonment.  I already know, from reading this book, that he is later sent to Dora, a camp called the “Man-Eater” where Fr. Dimitri is forced to work in horrid, extreme conditions, ages quickly, becomes very ill and at the end, speaks of feeling the abandonment of

Elizabeth Roosje 3
26 Jan 2016

Windows

We’re designed to worship through windows Through windows we feel like we’re there Like the one we’re worshiping truly knows And sees us bowing through the glare Every window a window to Heaven Every scene is of God above Every vision that we have been given Is all about falling in love   Our windows are rarely transparent Things float on the surface between What we see is always more apparent Than what the things

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
15 Dec 2015

Mother and Child

Do the best things only happen when we pray? If so, from your lips to God’s ear; only you hear me. For every Rachael there’s a Leah For every Lot a wife and daughters For every Shunamite woman a Shunamite woman So we sit in the darkest place at the darkest time Rendering to Caesar our inheritance Marrying and giving in marriage Watching sheep and stars by night And Christ comes when nobody is looking

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 2
03 Nov 2015

Will It Pray?

I feel some kind of spirit move me, There’s something I have got to say. Could be complaint or comedy; I’ll blurt it out either way. I’ll make sure the kids don’t hear me, Wait until the prudes go away- Then inspiration strikes me And I ask, Will it pray? Can I take these silly sentences, Can I make them talk to God? Do I think he’d laugh along with me And give me a

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
02 Nov 2015

Prayer for the Dead: Spooky or Saintly?

Souls, Death, and Things In-Between Another Halloween has come and gone. If you are like me, then you probably see All Hallows’ Eve as a time to ponder humanity’s cross-cultural fascination with morbidity. Why do so many adorn their homes with images of the ghoulish and ghastly, from crisscrossing cobwebs to uncanny cauldrons filled with potent potions? Why do we watch scary movies, perk up our ears at stories of the paranormal, and attend (or

Benjamin Winter 7
05 Oct 2015

Seminal Christian Thinkers: Augustine on the Lord’s Prayer

All Augustine sermon citations are taken from Sermon 80, Edmund Hill Translation1 Prayer has always been central to Christian communities. In America today, most are familiar with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 (cf. Luke 11). The fact that such an ancient text continues to find relevance in the lives of each new generation says something significant about its worth. Yet popularity includes inherent drawbacks. Although millions can recite the

Benjamin Winter 2
30 Sep 2015

“Grant Rest To Thy Servants” – Are You Praying For Dead People?

A seemingly less discussed source of controversy within Christendom is the topic of prayers for the departed.  In fact, I had never even heard of such a practice until more recent years.  I believe that this is primarily due to a gaping paradigmatic difference in the understanding of soteriology [doctrines of salvation] from East to West that eventually led to the dispensing of this historically Christian practice from the memory of contemporary low-church Western traditions.

Joseph Green 4
09 Sep 2015

Why God Allows Spiritual Dryness in the Christian Life

I must confess that I did not begin studying the Scriptures personally on a daily basis until almost two years ago.  I grew up having family Bible reading in the mornings and often in the evenings.  But, about two years ago, I came to a point when I realized that it was something I really should do faithfully on my own.  I readily admit that when I first made the decision to become faithful in

Alyssa Hall 4
27 Mar 2015

Why?

Oh, the questions we ask you, Begetter of the universe… You, who spun waves and particles into golden light, we question if your hands are big enough to hold us. You, who breathed life into our spirits and our dusty frames, we pause to ask if you care about us. You, whose finger carved words into the dirt, we ask if you care enough to write our stories, to show us what you want from

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09 Feb 2015

A Lenten Reading List

Lent is swiftly approaching, even though the mountains of snow outside provide no indication that Easter could be less than two months away. With each Lenten season, we pause to think of what we will give up this year, what we will sacrifice for forty days and forty nights.[1] This year, instead of giving up something for Lent, I encourage you, dear readers, to take up an additional spiritual practice for Lent: the spiritual practice

Laura Norris 2
26 Jan 2015

Body and Soul

Modern society has a temptation to compartmentalize our lives, and, too often, modern Christianity succumbs to this temptation. Work, relationships, family, recreation, and worship are put into separate boxes, separate sphere of our lives, for better or for worse. For many Christians, this compartmentalization trickles into how they integrate faith into the rest of their lives. There exists a temptation, at least as I have perceived in my 25 years of Christian living, to divide

Laura Norris 5