The Sermons

The Paradox of a Good Friday

Christ in Hades

“Keep your mind in hell, and despair not.” This admonition from St. Silouan is appropriate for Good Friday, when most of Christendom commemorates Christ’s descent into hell, where he shatters its captives’ chains. Many modern Western theologians have abandoned this teaching, but even if you reject it you are still, if you are a Christian, …

Single-minded

Maybe you’ll like my latest Image essay, about the struggle for single-mindedness among we sophisticated, double-minded types. Here’s an excerpt: “The soul will follow the body,” is how Fr. Stephen Freeman summarizes a point made by the Christian monk Evagrius in the fourth century A.D. Do what is right, and your resistant soul will learn. …

Temple of bones

Every baptism in the Orthodox Church entails an exorcism, as I learned last Easter when I was baptized into the Church. It was nothing desperate and dramatic like some of us remember from The Exorcist; in truth the devil and his minions flee from Christ and the Cross, having been sundered by both. There was …

Thy kingdom come

I don’t think they love their children any less than I love my own, which tells me something about what their lives must be like, to send their babies away. Their children stream northward in droves—as many as 60,000 this year—and we don’t want them. We don’t want their skin lesions and their hungry bellies, …

The sickness

I write this on the day Fred Phelps, pretender to ministry, hater of gays, vitriolic picketer of soldiers’ funerals, has gone forth into the Judgement he welcomed for others. In the days leading up to his demise there was talk among some, who hate him deeply for his hatred, of picketing his funeral. Of holding …