Beneath the Terebinth Tree

The terebinth tree is a powerful symbol within the Scriptures. In many instances, a tree in the Bible is more than a place-marker, a plant or a mere decoration in the setting of a story. The terebinth tree is thoughtfully and deliberately written into the texts to symbolize God’s presence.

When We Fall

Sometimes when we climb the ladder of spiritual progress, we fall down. St. John Climacus (of the Ladder), described thirty steps that one can climb to spiritual perfection as he saw it, but he warned the ascent would entail many falls throughout life, taking us all the way down to step one. There’s an old joke that goes…

Are you sure you want a miracle?

Many people do not believe in miracles because they do not realize they have already received them. The reason many people do not recognize the miracles around them is because they expect miracles to solve all of their problems. They expect a fairytale ending after God’s intervention. In many cases, life does not become easier…

What Makes God Sick

via Daily Prompt: Lukewarm One of the most dangerous vectors of disease is water. Since humans need water to live, they crave it and they will drink it even from impure sources if they need it badly enough. It is no surprise that water can spread disease. At the time when the Apostle John wrote of the…

The Irrationality of God

If the title should tell you anything, it’s that sometimes I do not believe in God. The original title was “Why I believe.” Even so, having to articulate why I believe in God conveys a tension in my faith.

The Immoral Monk

There once was a pious monk who lived in Egypt around the year 400 AD. One day, he left his monastery and moved to the port city of Alexandria where he found work on the docks.

The Wrath of God Saves Us

Many Christians are uncomfortable with the image of a wrathful God and the contrast between the blood-soaked passages of the Old Testament with the message of love in the New Testament. It is not easy to balance the two seemingly incongruous concepts of wrath and love, but perhaps “balance” is not what is needed. I wrote an…

The Modern Threat to Feminism

Let me begin by saying that I am a man; you may not have gathered that by looking at my profile picture of a tree. I state this in order to admit my bias. Also, I don’t have any schooling in Feminism, but I do love women. The modern-day threat to feminism is the modern day…

That We May Dare Call Thee Father

The beginning words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven,” were blasphemous prior to Christ’s revelation and fulfillment of the Scriptures. We are so used to hearing this formulation nowadays that it seems a natural component of the Christian paradigm, but referring to God as one’s Father 2,000 years ago could have resulted in severe…

God’s Terrifying Love

There is something terrifying lurking within God’s love. Pure love is an all-consuming fire. It massacres all who stand in its way. It devours the object of its affection. When we turn away, it becomes jealous. When we turn to face it, we lose ourselves to it.

Monks Say the Darndest Things

Monks are ascetics who renounce the ways of the world in order to devote themselves fully to God. When many people think of monastic communities, they envision faraway enclaves at Mt. Athos of robed men chanting all day long, or the medieval castle of Trappist monks, who brew ambery libations for the benefit of the world.

Winning is Everything

That statement may seem strangely out of place on a blog devoted to theological matters. The phrase has been rattling around my mind for the last few weeks after I overheard someone zealously proclaim it. I was offended by it at first, but the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that…

The Gospel of Blindness

I never really thought about blindness, until recently when a friend of mine lost a significant portion of his vision. The symptoms of his glaucoma appeared gradually and he didn’t really notice them until one day when he rose from his chair and the world around him suddenly dimmed. As I struggled to comprehend how…