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Commentary on the Bible from an Orthodox Christian perspective.
As a priest, I hear confessions. In fact, I hear confessions all the time, not simply when I am officiating the formal Sacrament. But, many times when people think that they are confessing to God, they are really telling me of an event in their lives that continues to cause them pain. That is, they are not telling me that they did something wrong, but rather that something wrong was done to them that still causes them pain.
We are soon approaching Holy Week, and on that first day, we commemorate the Old Testament Patriarch Joseph. Joseph is a type of Christ and should be praised. Like Christ, he was betrayed by his own race, thrown into the hands of foreigners, falsely accused even though innocent, imprisoned for his righteousness.
My 12-year-old daughter was feverish and stuck in a hospital bed for many days, yet I saw glimpses of strength that came only from remembering the word of the Lord. When she saw me pacing the tiny sterile room she challenged me, "Mom, do you really thinkit helps anybody to be anxious? Remember, 'And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?' (Matt. 6:27)
There are a number of websites dedicated to destroying the Christian Faith by showing that a) Christians have been responsible for a lot of terrible things throughout the past two thousand years, and b) the Bible of the Christians is an immoral and terrible book. In these websites, I have noticed that anti-Christian vitriol often substitutes for rational argument. (One such website, decrying the Bible as “evil”, declared “Hitler Was a Christian” and “The Holocaust was caused by Christian fundamentalism”.) One bit from the Bible that often is used to discredit the Faith is the provision in Deut. 22:23-29, described by some as the command that a woman marry her rapist. It certainly sounds pretty grim. What’s going on?
The carols of Christmas have begun as we prepare for the birth of Christ. Joyous old hymns celebrating “The First Noel”, honoring a “Silent Night”, and hearing angels beckon “Come All You Faithful” pulse through speakers of our local marketplace.
Finding yourself in the wilderness is no fun weekend camping adventure. Like Israel who wandered the desert forty years, one grows weary and doubts, "Where is God?"
At the table recently with some eloquent friends I had just made, the after-dinner chatter meandered through international politics and culture. We eventually settled on religion and scripture. I was disturbed by what I heard.
Jonah is a short book, packed with action and imagery. Some children listen well without any distractions, while others listen well when they can doodle. So, blank paper and a bucket of crayons were offered to the kids, ages 3-5, while the entire book of Jonah was read dramatically . . . and the children listened.
For years, I found myself geeking out at the intricacies of theology, the minutiae of textual criticism, the obscurities of history. It’s one of the reasons I spent years in undergraduate and graduate school reading dusty books and ancient scholars. Post-college, I continued dipping into various theologies as a pastime – some watch Sports Center, I picked up Lossky. Finding my way to Orthodoxy did give me an ocean of theology so deep I often felt like I was drowning, but eventually I found my way back to shore only to come back another day.
I love weddings. I hope that admission doesn’t revoke my “man card”. It’s not the romance or the beautiful bride stirring my heart— it’s the party, the sheer, unrestrained joy and celebration of the union of man and wife. Friends and family come together in a festive atmosphere to celebrate, to enjoy one another, and to have a party. Next to the birth of a child, there are very few things in life that produce more joy than a wedding.