OrthoAnalytika

YouTube livestream from 20211204.  I talk about the pattern of sound and life as liturgy.  Notes are available at orthoanalytika.org.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20211204-MyFoolHead.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 10:03am EST

Luke 10:25-37; Ephesians 2:4-10.  In this homily on Christ's encounter with the rich young man, Fr. Anthony encourages us to let go of our need to uses riches, lists, and spells and open ourselves to follow the living God.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-AslanIsNotATameLion.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:47pm EST

In the 11/27/21 livestream, Fr. Anthony answers the question of whether or not all aliens and sidhe (fairies) are demons.  He gives the answer pretty early on (along with the usual stream of consciousness), but the real value is in the explanation and its defense of a Logos-grounded social science.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20211127-MyFoolHead.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:20pm EST

This homily was given on the day of the celebration of St. Michael and the Hosts of Heaven.  Although it was never explicated, it is a meditation triangling in from on Hebrews 13:2; "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares", Christ's words (Matthew 25:40); "And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’" and the expectation that the saints will join the Lord's Divine Council (e.g. 1 Corinthians 6:3).  The main point is that we should be in as much awe of the people in our lives as we are of the angels.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-InAweoftheAngelsAmongUs.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:47pm EST

After talking about his experience with a dead battery, Fr. Anthony ties the theology of the Logos and beauty into his ongoing conversation on worldviews, framing, and connecting dots in a way that is eternally true and not just accurate.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20211119-MyFoolHead.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The Good Samaritan and the Eve of St. Phillip's Fast.   It isn't just our understanding of "neighbor" that needs adjusting.  We misunderstand love. And because of that, we tend to get fasting wrong.  Part of the problem is that we misunderstand the fall and ancestral sin.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-TheGoodSamaritanFastingandAncestralSin.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:55pm EST

After talking about the heresy of decaf coffee, Fr. Anthony triangulates from three verses of scripture: "I said in my amazement every man is a liar" (Psalm 116:11), "If You O Lord should mark iniquities who shall stand, but there is forgiveness with You" (Psalm 130:3) and "What is truth" (John 18:38) to talk about framing, confirmation bias, and worldviews, pointing out the importance of cultivating a worldview that promotes discernment and harmony; holiness and truth.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20211113-MyFoolHead-worldview.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 10:45am EST

Homily on Luke 16:19-31.  After covering the more superficial material "brain-based" message of the Gospel, Fr. Anthony tries to guide the listener to the deeper meanings.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HomilyonSeeingthePoor.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:49pm EST

After introducing myself, I talk about the importance of worship and home in fostering a Christian phronema and how the forces of the world convince us to accept and rally around lies.  Enjoy the show!  From my YouTube livestream. https://www.youtube.com/user/74snipe

Direct download: 20211106_MyFoolHead.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 10:35am EST

Tonight continue our inquiry classes by talking about the Mysteries/Sacraments within the context of sacramental theology. 

The notes are available at: http://www.orthoanalytika.org/2021/10/26/inquiry-class-001-mysteries-sacraments-a-first-take/

Direct download: 001-InquiryClass-Mysteries.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:25pm EST

Meditation on St. Paul (2 Corinthians 9:8) "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work."  Somewhere in the midst of all those words (30 minutes!!!), Fr. Anthony is making an important point: our judgments are clanging gongs because we skipped loving our neighbors (and our enemies).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-JudgmentwithLoveisDemonolatry.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

[Videos and livestreams: https://www.youtube.com/user/74snipe]

Inquiry Class 001: Introduction
Holy Resurrection (Waynesville NC)
Christ the Savior (Anderson, SC)

Introduce self.  Married for thirty- one years.  Orthodox twenty-one years.  Priest for fourteen.  Taught at seminary for thirteen.  I’m on my third parish assignment.  Role of Orthodoxy.

Purpose of these classes.  Inquirers at Holy Resurrection and Christ the Savior.  Others are always welcome. 

Deeper purpose of this class.  God desires that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth.  He has given the Church the responsibility for bringing that about.  While we celebrate the role the saints and angels have played in salvation history, it also means having knuckleheads like me do things like YouTube classes on Tuesdays at 9PM. 

Why not just point to one of the many excellent introductions out there?  Great question.  It’s about ecclesiology.  More on that later.

Format of the class.  Alas, not guided discussion.  I’ll be talking for thirty minutes, keeping an eye on your comments.  Then I’ll address all the comments I can.  I also encourage you to reach out to me between classes if you have questions.  I won’t be sharing any slides or pictures in this class, but, Lord willing, I will for future ones.

Format of the series.  Each class will have a specific topic.  This one is just a warm up.  The first ten or so will be basic stuff to help inquirers on their journey.  All of you have things that you are interested in, and you have started mining the inexhaustible vein of online Orthodox content to feed your interest.  For some of you, that’s all about heresy and how Orthodoxy defines and avoids it; for others it’s about beauty and how it will save the world; for others it’s about Bible study; for some, it’s Orthodox cosmology; for some it may even be spirituality.  That’s great.  A course like this is like a survey course, making sure you know enough about the basics to allay your concerns and commit.  Because commitment is required.  We are not saved by leaning more but by our faithfulness.

How to find the series.  May be obvious, but I’ll be livestreaming these and posting them to my YouTube channel.  My understanding is that this will be easier for you to keep track of if you subscribe and ring the bell.  Another way to find it is to go to the calendar at the parish websites.  There’s a link there.  I’ll also post the list of upcoming topics there.  Lord willing and I can carve out the time, I’ll cross post the audio of these to my podcast, OrthoAnalytika.

Advice for starting out.

  • Give your life to Christ.
  • Live accordingly.  Two commandments?  How are you going to be faithful to those?  That’s what this takes.  Dedicate yourself to worship, holiness, and sacrificial service to others.  We’ll break those down in future classes.  But being one of God’s holy one’s (that is to say, a Christian) is not a hobby.  It’s 24/7 forever.  That brings endless joy and peace, but it also takes effort.  We’ll talk about that more, too.
  • But what books should I read?  [ask for favorite introductions]
    • Show them the real recommendations:
      • Prayer Book (every day)
      • Scripture (every day)
      • Lives of the saints (every day)
      • The service book in the pew (every Sunday)
        • A trick (not really – it’s a segue)! 
    • Most important: be faithful in your attendance
  • Another piece of advice: there are a lot of distractions out there.
    • You’ll be tempted to pick a side in things that some Orthodox disagree on
    • It’s fine to have opinions on things like the unpleasantness between the EP and MP or about how best to deal with health issues
  • But ecclesiology needs to be lived, not just disputed.  And we do that as active members of a local parish.  That means living with people you don’t agree with about everything.  Learning to love and live with people you disagree with is what we sometimes call “adulting”, but it’s quickly becoming a lost skill. 
  • You’ll need it to live a life of holiness in Christ.  This is SO important.  And it may be hard for you. 

The challenge of moving from inquirer to saint.  Right now, you are above The Way, judging Orthodoxy to see if it is worthy of your commitment.  Using discernment in this process is critical.  It’s how you ended up here and not at the Kingdom Hall.

But at some point you will need to find a home.  A place where you can let down your filters and relax in the love of the Lord.

Until then, I encourage you to keep those radars up and question everything.

Well, not everything.  You have to trust the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And there is a reason I encourage you to pray and worship with the Orthodox every day and every week.  Those prayers and especially that Divine Liturgy are completely trustworthy.  You can lower guard and soak them in.

I am happy to be here with you, (HR CtS) shepherding you through this process.  I believe that Orthodoxy will earn your trust because I believe that you are sincere and it is real.  But even if you end up elsewhere, I believe that learning about Orthodoxy will deepen your relation with Christ and stoke the yearning for even more (a yearning that I believe is best met through the Orthodox Way).

Direct download: 001-InquiryClass-Intro.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Homily on Luke 5:1-11.

Introduction: How Christ Builds the Church

This is a beautiful story from the ministry of Jesus Christ. It comes on the heels of his Baptism, his temptation by the devil in the wilderness, and the beginning of his preaching ministry in the synagogues of Galilee. In this Gospel, Christ has started building something very special; something that would never fall; something that would bring healing to broken humanity; something through which He would change the world. He began building the Church. And He did it with simple fishermen on the side of a lake.

Continuation: We are Building, too

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we are about to begin building. We want to build something that will never fail; something that will bring healing to broken people; something that will transform a troubled community. We are building a new parish. Today’s Gospel provides a wonderful lesson for us on this very thing.

In his homily on today’s Gospel, St. Nikolai Velimirovich writes;

Except the Lord build the house, all who labor labor in vain.” (Psalm 126:1) If the builders build in God’s name, they will build a palace, even their hands are weak and their material poor. If, though, the builders build in their own name, in opposition to God, the work of their hands will be brought down as was the Tower of Babel.

There is no power that can bring God’s work to ruin. Pagan palaces and cities fall into ruin, but God’s huts remain standing. That which God’s finger upholds stands more firmly than that which [the mythical titan] Atlas supports on his back… May the almighty Lord preserve us from the thought that we can achieve any good without His help and His blessing…

Today’s Gospel should serve as a warning that such vain thoughts must never be formulated our souls. It speaks of how all men’s efforts are in vain if God does not help them. While Christ’s apostle’s were fishing as men, they caught nothing; but when Christ commanded them to cast their nets once more into the sea, they caught such a great haul of fish that their nets tore.

Why would anyone think they can build something worthwhile without Christ? I don’t know. It is futile. We know better. But we do it all the time.

Understanding the Curse of Sin: the example of marriage

Let’s look at the example of marriage. So hard to get it right, and so many ways to get it wrong. Why is it so hard? It isn’t because people aren’t trying. In fact, they are trying all kinds of things… but they aren’t working very well. At best, some couples might end up with a marriage that lasts, but marriage was not just meant to endure. It’s not supposed to be like a boxing match that makes it to the final round; with the two so tired they can hardly lift a glove and they just lean on one another gasping and looking forward to the bell (or, as is as likely to happen in marriages, the two just hang out in their separate corners doing their own thing until the final bell sounds). A good marriage does more than last, it brings joy to its members and its fruit brings happiness that endures from generation to generation.

But why is this so rare? It should come as no surprise. Most of our children come from broken families. It isn’t their fault, but this really puts them behind the eight ball. They come from broken families and a broken world, so they have bad examples and have internalized all the wrong instincts. Brokenness has been imprinted in their minds and hearts; this cannot help but shape their actions, no matter how good and noble are their intentions. Even if they try to rise above and do things right, what examples are they going to follow? Television? Movies? Their friends? Their hearts? None of these are reliable guides – all of them are fallen. If statistics are correct – and there is no reason to doubt them – our young men are learning more about how to relate to women from pornography than anything else. And the expectations and self-respect of our young women are being influenced by this same blighted culture.

Is there really any wonder that we are so bad at marriage? That even young couples who try to get it right often end up building a perverted parody of the kind of blessed union of flesh and spirit that we celebrate in the Mystery of Crowning? That we have far more “towers of Babel” than temples of true love?

Reiterating the Problem… and the solution

To repeat the Psalm; “Except the Lord build the house, all who labor labor in vain.” (126:1). We cannot overcome our own brokenness by trying harder or following the examples and guidance of people who are broken, too (St. Matthew 15:14; … if the blind lead the blind both will fall into a pit). An alcoholic cannot live a healthy life by trying harder; he has to admit his problem, heal and transform his heart and habits. And he has to let God be the foundation of this process.  This is why twelve step programs are so successful: they transform the hearts and habits of the repentant, with God as the foundation of the process. How many people with addictions do you know that continue ruining their lives because they think they can work everything out on their own?

But the alcoholic and philanderer do not just hurt themselves. We know from history and our own observations that the children of alcoholics and broken homes are cursed by both nature and nurture. Again, it isn’t fair, but it is true. If we want the next generations to succeed we have to be honest about both the cause and the cure of what ails them and us. The cause is our brokenness and the cure is Christ Jesus. The cure is His Body, the Church. The cure is the Way of Holy Orthodoxy. All else is vanity. Towers of Babel. Sand castles in a low tide.

Back to the Today’s Gospel: becoming fishers of men

The curse of sin is the very thing that Christ came to remove. To put it in very practical terms, Christ came to save our marriages, to heal our addictions, to restore our sanity, and to replace our sorrow, pain, and frustration with joy and eternal blessedness. That is to say, He came to save us from the very real, very specific, and very damning problems in our lives. And not just ours gathered here today, but everyone’s. A world that was created good groans in agony, and our Lord loves it too much to allow that to continue.

And so He became a man, He taught us, He dies for us, He was Resurrected and Ascended into Glory, and, more to today’s point, He established the Church to be the Ark of our salvation. What a beautiful image a boat is for the Church. Think about it: we are drowning in a sea of sin and trying to tread water amidst a storm of temptation. We cannot survive this on our own, and it does not help to band together – eventually even the strongest swimmer must succumb to weakness; moreover, the weak are infamous for dragging the stronger down. It is a terrible situation to be drowning in this stormy sea. Our breaths are numbered, and we are sure to die in agony. It is only a matter of time. But into this bleak scene comes salvation: the apostles cast out their nets and pull us in to the safety of the boat. We can finally breath without struggling. It is calm in the boat. It is here that our real healing begins… and as part of that healing, as part of our cure and The Cure, we ourselves are given nets and told to put them to use.

Conclusion: we cannot catch men if we don’t try; we cannot catch men if we don’t learn how

We are in the boat. Here at Holy Resurrection, we have the fullness of the faith (we are like a fractal of the Universal Church) so it is fair to say that we are both in the boat and the boat itself.

But remember that bit earlier about how nature and nurture conspire against our marriages? You know me well enough by now to know that I wasn’t just talking about marriage. Marriage is an image of the Church: the union of flesh with one another and the union of that one flesh with God (Ephesians 5:32). Why should we think that we are naturally any better at living as the Church than we are with marriage? The same forces work against us: we suffer from both nature and nurture. Just as good intentions are not enough for the children of broken homes, they are not enough for us as we try to build this parish. Without serious help, we will just end up building the equivalent of a miserable and failed marriage, another Tower of Babel, a perverse monument to our own fallenness. We need help. And I don’t mean hiring consultants or trying to find the perfect priest – this is even more important than that.

Without Christ, we are like the Apostles in today’s lesson before our Lord came; “toiling all night and catching nothing” (St. Luke 5:5). It had been a hard night and they had given up on catching anything, but then Christ came and told them to go back out, and they caught more than they could carry. So many that their boats almost broke.

Brothers and sisters, the Orthodox community of Asheville has been through hard times. Like Simon in today’s lesson, we have good hearts and the best of intentions, but we are tired; and we had pretty much given up on catching fish.

But the Lord told us to get back out there and get it done. And so we get back to it.  We try again.

We are smart in the ways of the world.  We all have ideas about how this should be done.  We will be tempted to rely on our own strength and our own hearts. But our hearts are broken and our strength will fail us. “Except the Lord build the house, all who labor labor in vain.” (126:1). But for those who put their trust in the Lord and in His way – there is no limit to the good that they can do.

This is where we are. We have given our lives and the future of this parish to the Lord Jesus Christ. Like Simon, we don’t always see the point of what the Lord commands, but also like Simon, we will follow Him.  We know how that story ends, so we know how ours will, too.

The catch will be great; so great that our walls will scarcely be able to hold the number of men, women, and children we have pulled in to the safety of the Church. So great that we, like Simon calling for the second boat, will have to plant another parish to give us enough room. After all, there are a lot of people drowning in the waters around us. We cannot allow them to perish – it is God’s will that all be saved and come to the fullness of the Truth.

It is a tough calling.

But we do not labor in vain: because we are building according to the Lord’s command. We are transformed into fishers of men.

Direct download: Homily-BuildingaMarriageandParish.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:39pm EST

2 Corinthians 4: 6-15; St. Matthew 22: 35-46.
We have power, but lack discernment.  Seeing things clearly cannot be achieved through even the most objective scientific analysis.  The problem is found in the etymology of the very word "objective".  When we objectify things, we remove them from their context and connections.  While this allows us to manipulate them according to our pleasure, it cannot help but contribute to the world's groaning.  The context is the Logos and it connects and sustains all things.  Knowing this allows us to experience the world as it is: full of majesty, grace, and glory.  Joyfully loving our enemy comes naturally when we see and live in the world as it really is. Denying this makes hating even our comrades come naturally.  Which world do you want to live in?   Listen as Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on Love. 

 

 

Direct download: Homily-divisionsandevilarenotreal.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:03pm EST

On 9/26/2021, I paused at various points during the Divine Liturgy to offer a meditation on that section of it. You can read my notes for this at http://www.orthoanalytika.org/2021/09/26/teaching-divine-liturgy-9-26-2021/

Direct download: TeachingLiturgy20210926.m4a
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Fr. Gregory Jensen PhD and Fr. Anthony begin by talking about three (no four!) indicators of whether a man is a suitable candidate for seminary, then segue into the importance of a healthy marriage and family life (e.g. 1 Timothy 3).  They use the Ecumenical Patriarchate's "For the Life of the World; Toward a Social Ethos of the Orthodox Church" as a springboard for talking about contraception, ascetic abstinence, and the benefit of a healthy monastic witnesses.  Recorded on 8/17/2021.  Enjoy the show!
Direct download: TheSexTalk2-ClergyRelations.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:21pm EST

1 Corinthians 16: 13-24; St. Matthew 21: 33-42.

In today’s Gospel, Christ is trying to help His listeners understand who He was, who sent Him, and why it was that the religious leaders rejected Him. As Christians, we grow up understanding that Christ is “God the Son”, the second person of the Holy Trinity; that God the Father, the first person of the Holy Trinity, sent His Son to return the world to righteousness; and that the Jewish leaders rejected His Son because He did not fit into their plans. We know this to be true, and it is true. But our acceptance of these facts is facilitated by a Christian worldview that makes them seem natural; they simply fit into place. But the Jews did not have such a worldview; rather, they had developed one over time that made rejection of the Christ seem to be good and natural.

Psychologically, it is much easier for us to ignore or reject data that challenges our expectations than it is to adjust our expectations around it [sic]. Even the Jews that loved Jesus and His message were struggling with wrapping their minds around the Truth and the implications of His coming.

So Christ gave them parables like the one we heard today. Because stories are not expected to be real, people disengage their ideological filters a bit when hearing or reading them. So when people hear of the landowner, they naturally sympathize with his attempts to regain control of his property; when they hear of the actions of the vinedressers/husbandmen, they are naturally revolted by their wickedness; and their sympathy and revulsion will naturally peak when they hear about the mission, rejection, and murder of the landowner’s son. This parable [and other] created a space in their minds and gave them concepts that would eventually allow them to more fully understand everything about The Christ. [the prophecies also served this function, but their (mis)use by the religious leaders meant that not everyone would be able to see them correctly]. And once they saw Him in Truth, they had to decide what to do next: kill Him or render to Him his due.

So what does this story do for all of us who already know Christ to be the Messiah, the Son of God? Well, I have given you a rule of thumb for interpreting Scripture that I want you to use today: when the Scriptures criticize the Jews, they are really criticizing us. A bigot might use today’s reading to reinforce his self-righteousness and anti-Semitism; but the Christian uses it to learn greater humility and repentance.

Instead of the Jews, imagine us as the folks running the winepress. This should not be hard to do: we have more control over the patch of dirt that God has leased to us than any people anywhere or anytime. What would we do if the landowner sent emissaries to collect the fruit of His land from us? This may be uncomfortable, but it isn’t hard: what would we do if God asked for what should naturally go to Him as His due? Or to phrase it in a way that is easier for us to understand: what would we do if God were to ask more from us than we wanted to give? What would we do if He made demands of us that did not fit our view of what God should demand?

I can tell you what we would do because we do it every day. We ignore Him. Even when He sends His Son among us to show that He is serious: we ignore Him. Some of us do it on purpose, but most don’t even recognize Him or His authority. We don’t have room in our lives for the real God, so we ignore Him and worship a false imitation of Him that demands nothing from us and is not worthy of true adoration and sacrifice.

“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers [who ignored his prophets and His Son]?…

We cannot ignore Him forever. When we see Him in Truth, we will have to decide. Why wait? The Truth is here. Christ is here. We must make our choice: violence… or repentance, humility, and worship?

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Direct download: Homily-DontIgnoretheOwner.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD and Fr. Anthony Perkins talk about Orthodox sexuality, chastity, celibacy, and abstinence.  Along the way they also discuss the negative effects the culture wars have had on Orthodoxy and pastoral care.  They hope to make this part of a series.  Warning: it's hard to talk about this euphemistically.  Some graphic terms were used. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: TheSexTalk1.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Matthew 19:16-26

The quotes:

If thou hadst ever had an absurd desire to fly and to be borne through the air, how wouldest thou extinguish this unreasonable desire? By fashioning wings, and preparing other instruments, or by convincing the mind that it is desiring things impossible, and that one should attempt none of these things? (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 63 on the Gospel according to St. Matthew)

Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  (St. Matthew 19:29)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (St. Matthew 16:24)

This is The Way of Salvation.  This is The Way of Eternal Life.  And God rewards those who follow it a hundredfold.  Give up everything and follow Christ.

Direct download: Homily-HowtoBeSaved.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:08pm EST

1 Corinthians 9:2-12; Matthew 18:23-35.  Fr. Anthony contrasts the way of the world with the Way of Christ, compares the wicked lender with the Passion-bearer Gleb, and encourages us to nurture the Logos within through Liturgy and prayer.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-PatterningVirtuethroughLiturgy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:33pm EST

Fr. Anthony reminds the faithful at Holy Resurrection (Waynesville NC) or who they are, what they have been through, and what they are about.  Unity.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-EncouragementonSecondAnniversary.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 14:22-34.  

Here's the text of the homily I was going to give.  Instead of it, I preached on what "the day" has declared in our lives over the last couple of years.  It was partially prompted by recent events in Afghanistan (I worked the Afghanistan situation for several years as an intelligence analyst).

+++

Homily – Building a House of God
The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

1 Corinthians 3: 9-17; St. Matthew 14: 22-34

A building set on a firm foundation, made well and of the best materials is both more durable and more suiting than one thrown together on the weekends with leftover scraps.  Which method describes the temple that is you?

 Three points from today’s Epistle reading, each of them explores what St. Paul means when he says that ; “You are God’s building… his holy temple.”

The First Point: St. Paul is using a metaphor.  He is comparing us to a building in order to teach us something we have not realized about ourselves.  We may think we know more about what it means to be a Christian than we do about being a building, but what if we are wrong?  St. Paul – and all of our other teachers – try to bring us to the truth by stating it plainly; but one of the problems with being human is that we hear such plain speaking in a manner that matches our expectations.  It is rarely transformative in the way we need.  We think we know what it means to be a Christian, so when someone tries to tell us a better way to do it rarely sinks in.  On the other hand, we probably haven’t thought much about how we are like buildings, so the hope is that the metaphor of the building will make it through our defense systems in order to challenge us to live better.  There are many ways in which we are certainly NOT a building, but let’s see how we are, and what that says about living the Christian life.

The Second Point: every building needs a proper foundation.  If this foundation is ourselves (the “contractor’s grade” default option), or even something so noble as our families, our work, our friends, our community, or our, then no matter how well we build that house, it will not last.  The only proper foundation for the house that is each one of us, is Christ Himself.  Our imaginations may have a hard time with this.  Many of us grew up singing a wonderful song; “On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand” – now what is the child’s imagination to do with such an image?!  But this song is based on Christ’s teaching towards the end of His “sermon on the mount” (St. Matthew 5-7), where, after telling everyone to dedicate themselves completely to love and service in God’s name, He says that this kind of life will make them like the wise man who built his house on the rock, and his house survived every buffet; and those who do not are like the fool who built his house on sand, and his house fell with a great crash (St. Matthew 7: 24-27). 

Our foundation must be on Christ; and not the Christ of our imaginations or as we think He is or want Him to be (this is just sand by another name); but on Christ as He really is.  And there is no better way to learn who Christ really is than through opening ourselves completely to the prayer, worship, teachings, and experience of the Orthodox Church.  St. Paul is speaking as an Apostle of this Church when he says; “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation.”  We must center our feet squarely on the unmovable source of power, love, and truth; and that source is Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Third Point: it matters what sort of materials you use.  St. Paul puts it this way;

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” 

We understand what this means, because we have seen what happens to buildings that were made poorly of cheap materials ; and we can compare them with the buildings that were made well and of the best materials.  The best materials are sometimes harder to get, and it takes more effort to build something to last.  I remember the fort my friends and I built in the woods using left over scraps from our basements and garages.  It was so cool – but it did not last.  I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences.  Think about his: If we knew that we were meant to live somewhere for thousands of years – perhaps even forever, wouldn’t we take the time to build it well?  Or would we throw something up as the mood struck us and hope for the best?  And yet isn’t that the way we act; putting Christian spackle over the walls we threw up willy-nilly based on what are hearts desired in any given moment? 

In the metaphor, the materials are gold, silver, stones, wood, hay, and straw; but in real life, the materials are your actions.  How have we lived?  Have we been chaste?   Self-sacrificing? Charitable?  Patient with others?    Have we followed the counsel of our ego; the wisdom of the age; … or the guidance of Christ and His Church?  

We can pretend that all actions are the same (God loves us!  He can bless the things my heart truly desires!), but St. Paul is pointing out that they are not – there is an objective standard for judging our actions.  A straw house will be blown down by the first hungry wolf that comes to the door; a brick house will stand up to his huffing and puffing.  The spiritual wolves [fire] will destroy the man who has built his life in deceit and selfishness; but cannot harm the one who has built his life in love and repentance.  

So, in conclusion, I ask you: have you built your life on the solid rock that is Christ?  Is it the real Christ, or is it one that simply suits your fancy?  Are you sure? 

Have you intentionally laid the walls of your house brick by brick with humility, love, patience, long-suffering, and charity?  When a bad brick was laid in, have you repented of your misdeed, rooted it out, and repaired the damage?  Have you constantly checked for leaks and performed the maintenance necessary to keep your house secure from the constant abuse of the elements?  

And last of all, have you filled this house with the only thing worthy of such a temple: the Holy Spirit of God Himself?  For as St. Paul ends today’s lesson; “For the temple of God is holy, whose temple you are.”

+++

 

Direct download: AMeanderingHomilyonStormsandBuildings.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:20pm EST

In this episode, Fr. Anthony and Fr. Harry address the often misunderstood necessity of withholding sacraments.  Framing it as a normal process (beginning with Baptism) allows us to see it less as a political power play or punishment (as the world would have us see it) and more as a valid and necessary part of our life in Christ.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: TheDutyofWithholdingSacraments.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:36pm EST

1 Corinthians 1:10-18.  How do people dedicated to being One (as God is One) end up being "of" Paul, Apollos, and Cephas?  As we interact and baptize a culture, we are going to disagree about the utility of various symbols, ideas, etc in the local culture.  Disagreements are useful for discernment.  It's when we dogmatize and moralize our differences that they become divisions.  So don't do they (unless our differences really are based on theological or moral necessity; something we rarely judge well).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HomilyonDisagreementsvsDivisions.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:06am EST

Romans 15:1-7.  There is so much need in the world; how can we bear its burden without breaking down?  How does silencing/replacing the ego help solve the problem?   What is the role of Christ in this?  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HomilyonBearingBurdersoftheWeak.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:56pm EST

Romans 12:6-14.  Fr. Anthony reflects on the necessity of using the Babel Fish of Love (i.e. charity as a translation filter) when evaluating the truth claims of others, especially when they are using the vernacular of their own political tribe.  He also laments how we so easily moralize and dogmatize disputations about facts - an unfortunate misfiring of our laudable commitment to Holy Orthodoxy!

Direct download: HomilyonTruthPoliticsandtheBabelFishofLove.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:37pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony and Fr. Harry as they talk about how artificially romanticizing the Golden Age of the Councils contributes to the polarization of our communities, how politics are the new idolatry, and why it is so easy to anathematize heretics over vaccines and masks.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: FrHarryPerspectiveonToday.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:37pm EST

In this homily on the Demoniacs of Gergesenes (Matthew 8:28-9:1), Fr. Anthony contrasts the discernment of the disciples and the discernment of the Gergesenes with the vision of Christ.  He talks about the role worldviews, filters, propaganda, and evil forces of the air play in darkening our vision, warns about replacing our worldly filter with an Orthodox one, and describes how only the clear vision of Christ will allow us to understand and serve the needs of the moment.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HomilyonDiscernmentandKentuckyWindage.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:03pm EST

Fr. Anthony talks frankly with Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD about how the selection and training of priests affect the quality of priestly ministry.  Narcissism, the built-in preference for agreeableness - it's all grist for the mill.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: ClergySelection.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 10:12am EST

Romans 6:18-23; Matthew 8:5-13.  Words fail us when we try to describe God and our relationship with Him.  Metaphor helps, but it can also set us up for failure, even when it is a good one like Christ is the Great Physician (something that the scriptures prove to be literally true).  Enjoy the show!   

 

Direct download: HomilyonMetaphors.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Matthew 6:22-33, Romans 5:1-10.  Homily on the reasons for our hope (as presented by St. Paul and Christ God Himself).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily_on_Living_Well_in_Hard_Times.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:23pm EST

 
Fr. Anthony talks again with Fr. Harry Linsinbigler, the Canonist for the UOC-USA about what the Canons say (and don't say!) about clergy attire, hair, and beards.  They make the case that, unless their bishops say otherwise, priests can adjust to what they discern is best going to meet the needs of the Gospel where they are.  A bonus: you can hear just how bad Fr. Anthony is at liturgical math!  Enjoy the show!
Direct download: GGWB-ClergyHairandAttire.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:07pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony as he talks with Dn. Timothy Kelleher about his roles on Independence Day and Star Trek - the Next Generation (he was also on Voyager and Enterprise), and how good storytelling is always evangelical.  Enjoy the show!  

Direct download: DnTimandScienceFiction.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

After a sermonette on St. Pauls' words about the consciences of the Gentiles being the functional equivalent of the Law for the Jews, Fr. Anthony share the UOC-USA Episcopal Letter for US Independence Day.  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: UOC-USA_IndependenceDay_2021.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Sunday of All Saints.  Hebrews 11:33-12:2 and Matthew 10:32-33,37-38; 19:27-30.  The prohibition against loving family more that God is, among other things, a warning against tribalism.  Fr. Anthony also talks about what the variation among saints means for loving and pastoring one another.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-PastoringDiversity.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:33pm EST

Fr. Anthony and Deacon Michael Abrahamson talk politics and religion as they drive through the mountains of Western North Carolina.  Topics include keeping perspective and the glorious ontology of doing harmony.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: CarTalk-PerspectiveandMusic.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Acts 2:1-11; John 7:37-52, 8:12.  What is missing from on-line theological forums?  Why do they miss the mark when it comes to prophecy?  It has nothing to do with intent or the words that are shared.  The medium is lacking.  Dubious?  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-OnDiscernmentProphecyandLove.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:56pm EST

In this homily on a selection from Christ's High Priestly Prayer (St. John 17), Fr. Anthony encourages us to keep our theology simple.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-Whatsinaname.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:02pm EST

Sunday of the Blind Man

Immediate context: God has power and compassion. When He says He invites us to join Him in His plans for remaking us and the world, we can trust both His intent and His ability to deliver.

John 20:30-31.
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

Symbolic context:

Matthew 6:22-24
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Popular song: We were blind, but now we see.

True, but incomplete. Given eyes when we accepted the reality of Christ as the Son of God and united ourselves to Him and dedicated ourselves to His plan, the Gospel.

But our eyes still see things through a mirror dimly. Why?

If we believed, were made new, then put into a perfect community – back in Eden, we could be grown well. God and the community would help us identify and root out the complex web of interconnected dysfunctions…

But is that what happened? No. So we are working out our brokenness in the midst of others who are.

So the answer? Long term - a healing culture.

Short term: the virtue of humility about our own discernment. About everything.

And trust the one that has power has included all of this in His plan

Direct download: Homily-BlindnessandaTangleofKnots.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Fr. Anthony talks with Fr. Harry Linsinbigler, the Canonist for the UOC-USA, about how priests should prepare for confession, the role of penance in confession, the importance of protecting the confidentiality ("seal") or confession, and what needs to happen when that confidentiality is broken.  It's an important but difficult subject and we look forward to your questions and comments. 
Direct download: OnConfessionwFrHarry.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:48pm EST

In this homily on the encounter of Christ with the Samaritan woman (St. Photini) at the well, Fr. Anthony encourages us to drink deeply of the Living Water and eat the food that nourishes the Body.  The latter is a call to do the will of the God in sharing the Gospel.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-LivingWaterandHiddenSustenance.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Justin Shaun Coyle, PhD, (Mount Angel Seminary, outside Portland, OR; Ukrainian Catholic) and Fr. Anthony talk about life in New England, the joy of NC BBQ, and how studying the works of serious atheist philosophers can help develop an instinct for charity and pastoral evangelism.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: LearningfromAtheism.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:21pm EST

Fr. Harry Linsinbigler talks with Fr. Anthony about the moving, standing, kneeling, and sitting postures of prayer and worship that Orthodoxy prescribes, some of the confusion that surrounds them, and what they do for the believers who participate in them.  The article they discuss is found at https://christinourmidst.com.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: PosturesforPrayer.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:46pm EST

Sunday of the Paralytic

In this hostage situation homily, Fr. Anthony talks about how Orthodoxy can transform the whole person and how our habits of body and mind can either work against or in support of that process.  He also managed to talk about concealed and open carry.  Hey, it's North Carolina!  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-Paralyic2021.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Join Fr. Harry Linsinbigler and Fr. Anthony Perkins as they (mainly) talk about the actual formula decided on at Nicea, why it was important, and where we are now (hint: we are completely in compliance!).  There's also a tangental gem on the Masoretic vs. Septuagint Old Testament.  Fr. Harry has (mostly) recovered from his bout with COVID and he and Fr. Anthony are still basking in the Paschal Glow.  Enjoy the show!
 
NOTE:  the original recording was truncated during the upload (thanks for the head's up, Dave!).  It's better now.
Direct download: DateforPaschawFrHarry-new.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:11pm EST

Dru Johnson is an associate professor of biblical and theological studies at The King’s College in New York City, director of the Center for Hebraic Thought , editor at The Biblical Mind, host of the The Biblical Mind podcast, and co-host of the OnScript Podcast. Before that, he was a high-school dropout, skinhead, punk rock drummer, combat veteran, IT supervisor, and pastor.

Dru is an ordained minister and accomplished academic, with several articles and books, to include Biblical Philosophy – A Hebraic Approach to the Old and New Testaments, Biblical Knowing: A Scriptural Epistemology of Error, Epistemology and Biblical Theology: from the Pentateuch to Mark’s Gospel, and my favorites, Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments, and Knowledge by Ritual: A Biblical Prolegomenon to Sacramental Theology. 

You can find out more about him at drujohnson.com and his academia.edu page.

Join us as we talk about why military induction is and should be so thoroughly ritualized, what rituals do, how to evaluate then, and the danger of over-symbolizing them.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: DruJohnsononRitualandSymbol.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:18pm EST

John 20:19-31.  It is often said that we are saved in community.  Today Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on the interrelation of community, trust (faith), and Truth.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-TruthFaithandCommunity.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt (Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 10:32-45).  This homily triangulates from the teaching of Christ on servant leadership, the example of St. Mary of Egypt, and the mystery of the Divine Liturgy to encourage us to watch for the many ways we misuse our power and fill every opportunity for service with grace.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-LovenotManipulation.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:15pm EST

In this episode, Fr. Anthony talks with the COVID-stricken Fr. Harry Linsinbigler about parish life and the implications of recent survey results from Gallup (on further declines in American church membership) and Pew (on American religion and the COVID).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Onrecentcurveyresultsonreligion.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Hebrews 6:13-20; Mark 9:17-31.  Fr. Anthony explains how the parish is different from the monastery, how parish priests are different from abbots, and how God works to bring all Christians together with Him in glory.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-Laitynotlessthanmonks.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

You may recognize Dn Timothy Kelleher from his appearances in NCIS, Independence Day, Thirteen Days and other movies and shows, but he has also published many thoughtful essays in First Things, Church Life Journal, and now the National Review (among others).  Today, he and Fr. Anthony talk about Dn. Timothy's two most recent essays; "Memories of a Staten Island Childhood" and "A Nation of Sinners."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: DnTimKelleheronNostalgiaandBadReligion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm EST

Hebrews 4:14-5:6; Mark 8:34-9:1.  Sunday of the Adoration of the Cross.  In this homily, Fr. Anthony begins with the analogy of the "time-out" and how the Cross can allow us to come out of the COVID-time in a way that will bring reconciliation.  He concludes by talking about why the Divine Liturgy is pretty much the same thing - to include rote prayers - every week and what that means for us as we worship and pray.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-theCrossofPatienceandPrayer.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:08pm EST

In this interview, Fr. Anthony and Dn Nicholas talk about the rhythms of Lent and how a gentle asceticism may cultivate more lasting changes than the most stringent fasting and a packed liturgical calendar.  Along the way, Dn Nicholas shares wisdom on how this same approach builds a lasting and self-propagating harmony (even among tenors who often sing flat).  We hope you enjoy this calm and gentle conversation.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: DnNicholasKotarontheRhythmsofLent.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this homily, given on the Lenten Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas (Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12), Fr. Anthony preaches on the sequence of forgiveness and healing in the Gospel reading and in our lives, the need for nepsis and care when receiving criticism, and the role silence can play in our spiritual development.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-ForgivenessHealingNepsisandSilence.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:53pm EST

Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (excerpts) as celebrated on 3/28/2021 in Waynesville NC.  

Direct download: DivineLiturgy-StGregoryPalamas.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:42pm EST

Hebrews 11:24-26,11:32-12:2; John 1:43-51.  First Sunday of Great Lent.  Today Fr. Anthony begins by talking about the need for developing pastoral relations with others so that we can have better discernment about our sins.  He finishes by talking about the Great Entrance and its relationship to Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-BecomingaPastorandGreatEntrance.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:01pm EST

In this homily given on the Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare; Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21), Fr. Anthony talks about the psychological and sacramental power of storytelling, and warns us against misusing that power.  Blessed Lenting!

Direct download: Homily-ForgivenessandthePowerofStorytelling.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Fr Anthony and Fr. Gabriel Rochelle overcome myriad technical problems to talk about the confluence of poetry, story, and proclamation that take place in the Divine Liturgy (and life).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: FrGabrielRochelleonPoetryandLiturgy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony as he talks about cooperative story-telling, liturgy, and the joy of Ukrainian Orthodoxy with Fr. Yuri Hladio, the priest of St. Maria of Paris mission in West Hamilton, Ontario and the host of the wonderful "Prying Priest" podcast (pryingpriest.com).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: FrYurionImprovandthePriesthood.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Meatfare/Last Judgement Sunday (1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2; Matthew 25:31-46).  Fr. Anthony continues to take the parish through the Divine Liturgy, talking about the readings and the homily (to include an explanation for why Orthodox homilies are, well, a but more constrained than many heterodox sermons).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-thescripturereadingsandhomily.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Homily on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and Luke 15:11-32).  Both the brothers were limited by their two-dimensional tactical worldview.  The Father shows that grace solves problems that no tactician can.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-GodHasaPlan.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:51pm EST

Jesus Christ said; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) In this retreat, Fr. Anthony describes the way the past year has polarized us and how we and our parishes can heal and become the peacemakers the world needs. A video of the presentation is available at Fr. Anthony Perkins YouTube channel.  Enjoy!  

Direct download: Retreat-HealingfromFearandPolarization.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this homily, given on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, Fr. Anthony continues to take the parish through the Divine Liturgy.  This week he focuses on the Antiphons and the Little Entrance.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-TheAntiphonsandLittleEntrance.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Homily given of Zacchaeus Sunday (1 Timothy 4:9-15; Luke 19:1-10).  Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on how love is enabled by cutting through the labels and baggage (i.e. there is a reason God is "not a respecter of persons").  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-RespectPeopleNotIdentities.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:34pm EST

In this homily, Fr. Anthony continues his series on the Divine Liturgy, offering a meditation on the benefit of singing the Divine Liturgy (the blessed integration of scripture and poetry, music, voices, incarnation, and Eucharist).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-WhyweSingtheDivineLiturgy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:06pm EST

It was a great blessing to talk with Fr. Daniel Greeson about his new AFR blog, "Every Thought Captive" and especially his series on discernment.  Enjoy the show!

Here are my notes:

Interview with Fr. Daniel Greeson.

Rector of St. Anne’s Orthodox Church in Oakridge, TN

Podcaster: “In Heaven and On Earth”

Editor and Author of the Ancient Faith Ministry Blog; “Every Thought Captive”

 

Greeting.  Tell us about yourself and how found yourself wearing a cassock and cross.

I love your new blog, Every Thought Captive.  In the introductory post, you use aggressive imagery – wrestling, dismantling, boldness, even using El Greco’s Purification of the Temple as the blog banner.  What do and don’t you mean by that – and in general where are you coming from?

New blog (November 2020), but already have several excellent series.  The main one I want to talk about is the series on discernment, but I also love you series on Orthodoxy and the Culture War (which includes a serious reflection on how we, as Christians living in America, should and perhaps should not relate to “The West”.  You also did a beautiful series on the Pandemic of Loneliness.  And you have also recruited a great cast to write on other topics.  How do you choose what to write on and what to publish?  What is the goal of the blog?

Discernment.  The Mother of Virtues – how is that possible?  Why do we need it? (false teachers).

St. Anthony the Great tells us to gain discernment, avoid extremes, and walk always on the royal road”.  How do we do this?

St Moses: “Discern money: scrutiny; reject deceptive thoughts; root out (false authority), and check the weight”

What is the role of asceticism in discernment?

Scripture?

 

Direct download: FrDanielGleesononDiscernment.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:10pm EST

Homily on Colossians 3:12-16.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Direct download: Homily-TheKindnessofChrist.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

This is a recording of Fr Anthony's homily on his name day (1/30, old style), given at Holy Resurrection in Waynesville, NC (the last Divine Liturgy in their tiny starter location!).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-LessonsfromStAnthony.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

After some small talk on the pastoral value of wedding planning, Fr. Anthony and Dylan Pahman (Acton Institute) talk about what Magic the Gathering can teach us about markets and morality and about the general need for economic literacy.  For the last half of the show, they talk about the value of markets, liberal democracy, and international trade, and address some of the objections Christians have about them.  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: DylanPahmanontheMoralityofMarkets.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Today Fr. Anthony continues his series of homilies on the Divine Liturgy (offered every other week, when he serves in Anderson).  He explains some of the things the Divine Liturgy does for us and why the Great Litany starts out the way it does.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-theUtilityoftheLitaniesforPeace.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:56pm EST

Fr. Anthony shares thoughts on the meaning of "The Jordan turned back" and its relevance for us today.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-SundaybeforeTheophany.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Listen to find out which of the many conspiracies is occupying space in Fr. Anthony’s fool head.  Without it, the other problems (e.g. injustice, riots, elections, presidential narcissism) would have been handled as normal rather than extra-ordinary problems.  We should have seen it coming.  From Fr. Anthony's YouTube Livestream.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20210116-TheREALConspiracy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:02pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony as he talks with Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD, to get some advice on the role of the pastor in crazy times.  It's a difficult conversation, but it's important for us to have trusted friends in our lives who will tell us things we don't want to hear.  Fr. Gregory is wise, experienced, and courageous enough to say things that will satisfy precisely no one.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20210112-PastoringInCrazyTimes.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this homily given on the Sunday after Theophany, Fr. Anthony continues to take us through the Divine Liturgy, focusing on the opening blessing, "Blessed is the Kingdom" and explaining how the ritual and grace of the Divine Liturgy heals the dysfunction in our minds, our relations, and the world.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-SundayafterTheophany.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:55pm EST

The bulk of the homily is the Nativity Epistle of the Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops Beyond the Borders of Ukraine.  After that, Fr. Anthony offers some remarks about the seeming weakness of the Logos in the manger and how it relates to the seeming impotence of our faith in Christ.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-SundaybeforeNativity.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony in Hartwell, GA as he talks with Professor Adam DeVille (University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN) about proper and improper ways of framing self-care, why it is so easy to get it wrong, and why it is important to get it right. Dr. DeVille is the author of Everything Hidden Shall Be Revealed: Ridding the Church of Abuses of Sex and Power. He blogs (prolifically and well) at ”Eastern Christian Books.”  There's a bit of ironically timed electronic mischief in the middle, but the worst of it has been edited out (Fr. Anthony's computer froze).  This is the audio from Fr. Anthony's YouTube livestream (12/21/2020).

Direct download: 20201222-Self-Care_as_Asceticism.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:23pm EST

On the Sunday we remember the slaughter of innocents, Fr. Anthony asks what we are willing to sacrifice to hold on to our own sins.  He forgot his microphone, so this was recorded on his (new) iPhone SE.  Oh, and he really did forget where Christ was born (senior moment?).

Direct download: Homily-Sunday_after_Nativity.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

One of the challenges of our present spiritual situation is that our society has settled for something less than truth. This affects the quality of our opinions, policies, and judgments and undermines our ability to live and spread the Gospel. An indicator of the seriousness of this is our growing inability to listen to, learn from, and love people who think differently than we do. In this presentation, I frame the situation as a problem of discernment, compare scientific and Orthodox methods of knowing, and describe how we are failing to use either well. I conclude with a discussion of the critical role diversity plays in discerning truth, showing how the very things that currently divide us can bring us closer to a knowledge of the truth.

Direct download: 20201221_DiversityandDiscernment.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony Perkins in Hartwell, GA as he talks with Professor George Stavros (Boston University) about the internal and external factors that put clergy at risk and how that risk can be mitigated by fellowship, support, and the life in Christ. See Professor Savros' article on the subject here: https://publicorthodoxy.org/2020/11/19/clergy-at-risk/.

Direct download: 20201218_GeorgeStavrosonClergyCare.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:02pm EST

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians. (3:4-11)

Brethren, when Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

St. Augustine: But what did he go on to say? “When Christ appears, your life, then you also will appear with him in glory.” So now is the time for groaning, then it will be for rejoicing; now for desiring, then for embracing. What we desire now is not present; but let us not falter in desire; let long, continuous desire be our daily exercise, because the one who made the promise doesn’t cheat us.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

St. Athanasius: But the saints, and they who truly practice virtue, “mortify their members” and as the result of this, are pure and without spot, confiding in the promise of our Savior, who said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” These, having become dead to the world, who have renounced the merchandise of the world, gain an honorable death.

St. Jerome: In a general way all that is of the devil is characterized by hatred for God. What is of the devil is idolatry, since all idols are subject to him. Yet Paul elsewhere lays down the law in express terms, saying: “Mortify your members.” Idolatry is not confined to casting incense upon an altar with finger and thumb or to pouring libations of wine out of a cup into a bowl.

On account of these, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them.

But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.

Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

St. John Chrysostom: Now what Paul wishes to say is that there is no benefit in those things, for all those things fall apart, unless they are done with love. This is the love that binds them all together. Whatever good thing it is that you mention, if love be absent, it is nothing, it melts away. The analogy is like a ship; though its rigging be large, yet if it lacks girding ropes, it is of no service. Or it is similar to a house; if there are no tie beams, of what use is the house? Think of a body. Though its bones be large, if it lacks ligaments, the bones cannot support the body. In the same way, whatever good our deeds possess will vanish completely if they lack love.

Patristic quotes:

Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 49). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

Direct download: Homily-JoinGodinHisGlory.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:57pm EST

In the homily on St. Luke 12:16-21 (the rich man investing poorly), Fr. Anthony reminds us of the universal goal for humanity and all humans, why it needs to get done, and why we shouldn't be anxious about it (despite it's cosmic importance).  I'd share his notes, but they have nothing to do with what he actually preached.  As a bonus, this recording includes the service from the reading of the Gospel, through the homily and to the end of the "Our Father".  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-TrustGodRelaxandGetItDone.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

Audio recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream of 05 December 2020.  He talks for a bit about how political scientists see the world (to include election fraud), but mostly he talks about the joy of playing games - and especially playing dungeons and dragons.  He ends up giving three reasons: it's fun, it's good for you for social reasons, and it's good for you for imager reasons.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20201205_PoliticalScienceDnDOrthodoxy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Ephesians: 4:1-7; St. Luke: 18:18-27.  In this (much shorter!) homily, Fr. Anthony encourages us to let go of everything, be with God, and then allow the resulting peace pattern everything else.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-OnLettingGoandFollowingChrist.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:51pm EST

In this homily on Ephesians 2: 14-22, Fr. Anthony talks about the difference between blessed unity (in Christ) and cursed unity (through tyranny or universalism) and the role humility plays in the Mystery of becoming One as God is One.   The first seventeen minutes are snapshot of the beauty of the worship at Holy Resurrection in Waynesville.  Enjoy the Show!

Direct download: Homily-OnUnityandHowtoGetThere.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:09pm EST

In this homily on the Good Samaritan, Fr. Anthony lets slip which political tribe he is in and how his dedication to it helped put him in the ditch (along with everyone else).  The main point, though is that we ARE in the ditch and need Christ to get us out.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-Whoisthatintheditch.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:39pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony next to his back porch in Hartwell Ga as he talks with Fr. John Charest about some of the things they had to learn on the job.  If you listen closely, you'll also learn something about how to tell a priest from a deacon (or from a subdeacon impersonating one or the other!).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: SeminarywithFrJohnCharest.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this homily on Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), Fr. Anthony continues on the theme of authenticity, noting how the Gospel IS the response to chaos and the lack of reliable institutions.  [Yes, he preached on the same Gospel last week; then he was on the revised lectionary at Christ the Savior Antiochian in Anderson SC; this week he was on the traditional (TM) lectionary at Holy Resurrection in Waynesville, NC; it's our old nemisis, the Lukian jump).  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: Homily-CrisisofLegitimacyandtheGospel.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

This is the audio from Fr. Anthony's 7 November 2020 livestream discussion with longtime listener Colin Penfold (from Australia!).  Join them as they talk about Warhammer, Chaos, and the love of God.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HorusHeresywithColin.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this homily on First Corinthians 12:27-13:8 (on gifts and love) and St. Luke 16:19-31 (the rich man and Lazarus), Fr. Anthony encourages us to cultivate humility so that we can see the beauty in others.  Without this, even our best words and actions will be off the mark.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WeCannotLoveWhomWeCannotSee.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:21pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony Perkins as he talks with his friend and fellow member of the Defense Against the Dark Art Faculty at Miscatonic University, Fr. Maximos McIntyre about demons, mental illness, possession, and the problem of discernment.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HalloweenwFrMaximos.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this (meandering!) meditation on Galatians 1:11-12, Fr. Anthony talks about how important it is that we develop an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, informed by our parents, mentors, and spiritual fathers/mothers but not dependent on or mediated by them.  Enjoy the show!  

Direct download: GospelofGodnotMan.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:45pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony next to his back porch in Hartwell, Georgia, as he talks with scientist, theologian, professor, Associate Dean, and evangelist, Gayle Woloschak, PhD, DMin (Northwestern University) about COVID, vaccines, and discernment.  This is a recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream from 10/24/2020.

Direct download: CovidVaccinesandOrthodoxy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream, he and Fr. Gregory Jensen talk about authenticity and Alexander Solzhenitsyn's (and Rod Dreher's) advice to "live not by lies."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: LiveNotByLies-FrGregory.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this homily on St Luke 10: 16-21 and Colossians 4:5-11, 14-18, Fr. Anthony reflects on what Christ's contrasting the power the disciples had over demons with their names being written in heaven might mean for us in this divisive time.  He encourages us to use power with humility lest we actual feed the spirit of darkness within us and lose our place in the book of life.

Direct download: DontFeedtheDarkness.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:51pm EST

Join Fr. Anthony next to his back porch in Hartwell GA as he talks with Professor Carrie Frost, PhD about clericalism, ritual, and the risks and benefits of lay hesychasm.  There were some audio problems with the YouTube livestream; our editor (Doug) made the best of it for the podcast version.  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: HesychasmforLaity.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:53pm EST

Listen as Fr. Anthony talks with Sarah Riccardi-Swartz about truth, why our commitment to it has waned, and what Christians can and should be doing to bring balance and grace to our culture. Sarah is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Recovering Truth: Religion, Journalism, and Democracy in a Post-Truth Era project at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict (Arizona State University). Enjoy the show!

Direct download: ChristianityAnthropologyandTruth.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In St. Luke 5:1-11 Christ calls fisherman to be his disciples, in this homily Fr. Anthony reflects on how absurd it is that He didn't use angels or Greek philosophers to be his messengers and evangelists, going on to describe the implications for us as we evangelize and pastor our neighbors (and ourselves).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: HomilyontheAbsurdityoftheGospel.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:14pm EST

This is a recording of Fr. Anthony Perkins' Livestream from 10 October 2020.  In it, he continues the themes from his discussion with Fr. Gregory Jensen on transcendent introspection and a good test of our relationship with Christ (and complexity): can we love President Trump AND Antifa?  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: MoreonTranscendentIntrospection.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

This is the recording of Fr. Anthony's livestream from 09 October 2020.  In it, Fr. Anthony talks with Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD, about the difference between isolation and solitude, how to cultivate transcendent introspection, the difference between pastoring and controlling, and the challenge of baptizing authoritarian tendencies.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Livestream-TranscendentIntrospection.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:16pm EST

In this homily on St. Luke 6:31-36, Fr. Anthony develops the idea that that our inability to love well is a result of the way we objectify and commodify things, our neighbor, and the Church. Enjoy the show!

Homily: Loving vs. Commodifying (St. Luke 6:31-36)

Introduction: missing the point

It is hard for us to live the way we should.  From our time in Eden to now, we have failed, and the consequences to our hearts, our families, and our world have been disastrous.

One of our challenges is that we do not see things as they really are.  We do not see their beauty and we do not see how things are connected.  Even for things that are ugly and hard, we do not see the potential for beauty and the potential for blessings.  Instead of seeing things in their full splendor, we evaluate them based on what they mean for us; what we can get from them.  

We were designed to bring out the best in everything and everyone; to heal those that are hurt and to build up those who are already well towards perfection.  But instead of this, we just want to know what we can use things for and what we can get out of people.  We are like a hungry man in the middle of a feast who insists on eating his seed corn.  It’s destructive and we need to change.

Adam and Eve: Commodifying what they were meant to love

I mentioned Adam and Eve.  Think of how they fell.  One of the ways to understand this (from St. Nikolai Velimirovich) is that they turned the thing they were meant to tend – the garden – into a commodity; from something that deserved respect and the greatest of care to something that was useful primarily as food.  Even the thing God told them not to eat became a commodity to them: they wanted what it offered.  And remember what they learned?  That it “tasted good.”  What a loss.

 

Hear me well:  Adam and Eve were meant to eat the things that grew in the garden, but the availability of food was really just a side-effect (a “positive externality”) of being a good steward.  They got it all wrong when they put what they wanted from the garden before their love for it.  Instead of tending the garden, they tended to themselves.  They forgot about beauty; they forgot about connectedness; they forgot about service.

And We Commodity EVERYTHING!

We are so much worse than they were; our commodification of people and things in this world knows no end.  We are always looking for an angle; looking for the best deal.

Again, don’t mishear me: being frugal is part of being a good steward of our resources, but we are missing a side-effect for the main point.  Men should not love their wives because they hope for something in return, they should love their wives because they want to help nurture them to perfection (but I am not speaking of marriage but of the Church).  Christ does not love us because He wants something from us.  He does not sacrifice Himself for us in hopes of getting help with His plan to restore beauty to this world.  As we become perfect as God is perfect, we will help Him with this plan; but He sacrifices Himself for us because He sees the potential beauty within us and wants it to grow.  He does it because He loves us.  

We have to stop looking at one another as things to be used, things that either bring us pleasure or pain.  We have to see one another the way God sees us.  

More on Blindness: Commodification leads to a lack of proportion

Surely one of the ways we have cursed ourselves with our blindness is that we cannot see the beauty that emanates from all of God’s creatures; the blessings present in every moment.

Why is this so hard?  Why are we unable to enjoy the fruits of God’s love for us?  Why don’t we see things the way they are?  This blindness really is a curse; it pulls us further away from our purpose and robs us of the joy we were meant to have.

There are so many examples in our lives where we are blind to miracles.  Yes, the problems are there, but they are so minor compared to the miracles!

Let me give you one example that is so big it cannot help but make this point.  It is the example of the Church.

So much of what we do here in Church has been commoditized.  For some, our actions become part of our political protest against over-reaching authorities.  For others, our rituals become a magnet for our fear of disease or distrust of the other.  Even in normal times church can become less a place to experience the transcending and saving grace of God and more a place to give and receive judgment.

Are we really so blind to God’s wonders?  Have we no sense of proportion?

God works in this place, it is His very Body and Blood that are offered here – do we understand the magnitude of this miracle?  If we focus on the way it is offered – beyond the basic need to protect our health and the dignity of the act - then we have to admit that we do not.  Complaining about this is somewhat like the man who is dying of poison complaining to the doctor because the cup containing the necessary antidote to the poison is blue instead of green.  Have we lost our minds?  Again, do not mishear me; we have to be careful and safe – but we cannot allow this to distract us from celebrating being part of such a wonderful miracle.

Similarly, some people complain about Confession, saying things like; “why do I have to go to the priest for confession?”  Here God has given us a way to rid our hearts of the sin that has accumulated in and polluted them, and we complain about the way He has told us to do it.  Seriously?

Complaints about the role of bishops, the all-male priesthood, the traditional view of marriage, -  everything about the way we do things that we do not like threatens to turn the celebration of God with Us into a series of political or ideological positions that can be analyzed and judged … I do this all the time; I suspect some of you do, too.

We have turned even the Church, the vessel of everything good and true, into a commodity, something to be judged, to be measured, to be evaluated like some product on a grocer’s shelf.

Is it any wonder that we do the same thing with our spouses, our children…our enemies?

 

Conclusion:  Love without reservation

My point is not that the things that attract our attention in this way are not important or that they should not be discussed.  Going back to the example of the garden, food is important.  If we don’t eat, we die.  If we prepare food incorrectly, we die.  But Christ reminds us;

“Do not be anxious about what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” (paraphrase of Matthew 6:25).

God is right here with us, working miracles in our midst, and we miss them by focusing on His height (“Oh, is that Jesus; I imagined he’d be taller.”)

Let’s not get distracted.  Let’s love without reservation.  Let’s love without expecting anything in return.  

Let me repeat the irony; if we tend this world – this garden - in love, we will receive what we need – the necessary commodities, if you will, in return.  As the Lord says in almost the next breath, if you really love, if you really give of yourself without reservation, then “it shall be given unto you in return; a good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” (St. Luke 6:38). 

And again in St. Matthew (paraphrase of 6:33-34); “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all the things you need will be given to you as well.”

Let’s open our eyes and our hearts to the beauty in this world; the beauty in our neighbor; and the beauty in the Church.

 

Direct download: Homily-Commodity.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:48pm EST