OrthoAnalytika (Orthodox Podcast)

1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (we are a temple); Matthew 14:22-34 (walking on water).  Sunday of the Cross and Maccabean martyrs.  Fr. Anthony compares our situation to that of Peter on the water, then encourages us to reach out to Christ and turn our lives into living temples through virtue.  Such a temple can protect us from the chaos and allow us to live in it without losing our peace.  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: Homily-TransformingChaos.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:10pm EDT

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 and the Transfiguration.  In this well-intentioned mess of a homily, Fr. Anthony diagnoses our divisiveness as a maladaptation to chaos and describes how the peace of Tabor can become a mechanism for moving us from the tribalism of Babel to the graceful unity of Pentecost.  Ignore the bit on multiple reactions to holiness (he didn't really tie that piece in very well, bless his heart!). Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-TransfigurationPerspective.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:58pm EDT

Matthew 9:27-35 and Romans 15:1-7.  Faith is hard.  Trust is hard.  But they are key to our healing and perfection.  Today Fr. Anthony offers encouragement to all those who have been hurt and who want to be made well, but have a hard time being vulnerable because of the many times the world has used their vulnerability (and kindness) to hurt them.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-MarshmallowsFaithandPerfection.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT

Today Fr. Anthony continues leading us through Tito Coliander's "Way of Ascetics" (St. Vladimir Seminary Press), covering chapters fifteen and sixteen, both "On Prayer."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-15-16.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:22pm EDT

Homily on Matthew 9:1-8 and Romans 12:6-14.  The main point Fr. Anthony tries to make is that all of our actions need to be graceful and kind, that our "consciences" are unreliable guides to what is good, and that our feelings often need to be sacrificed for the sake of doing what is right.  Money quote; "You have heard that integrity is doing what is right even when no one is looking; this advice is good and true, but to it I would add that virtue requires doing what is right even when your feelings advise against it." 

Direct download: Homily-LoveisOftenIgnoringYourFeelings.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Fr. Anthony continues his series on Tito Corianser's "Way of Ascetics", covering Chapter Thirteen "On Progress in Depth" and Chapter Fourteen "On Humility and Watchfulness".  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-13-14.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Meditation on Romans 10:1-10 (and the Robel's Fiftieth Anniversary!!!).  Fr. Anthony describes how the commitment to show up every day transforms us into saints.  First, it keeps us together and in the game; and second, it allows our relationships with others to work with our attitude of continual repentance to teach us how to do better every day.  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: Homily-LoveisShowingUp.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:34pm EDT

Homily on 2 Timothy 2:1-10 & Matthew 8:5-13.  The Centurian was a man under authority and that gave him a way to understand and frame his relationship to God and God's relationship to the world.  The army is intentional about developing this instinct; how are we to submit and train our wills as Orthodox Christians so that we can have "such faith"?  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-ThyWillBeDone.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:39am EDT

Fr. Anthony continues his series on Tito Coriander's "Way of Ascetics", covering Chapter Eleven "On the Inner Warfare as a Means to an End" and Chapter Twelve "On Obedience."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-11-12-new.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:35pm EDT

Fr. Anthony continues his series on Tito Coriander's "Way of Ascetics", covering Chapter Nine "On the Conquest of the World" and Chapter Ten "On the Sins of Others and One's Own."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-9-10.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

Fr. Anthony continues his series on Tito Coriander's "Way of Ascetics", covering Chapter Seven "On the Transfer of Love from the Self to Christ" and Chapter Eight "On Guarding against the Re-entry of Vanquished Evil."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-7-8.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

In this meditation on St. Matthew 6:22-33 ("lillies of the field"), Fr. Anthony starts as Christ does, ie by describing the problem of having visioned darkened by the world and sin.  He then describes how the Church - through the parish - offers a way to grow in the simplicity of the light.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-DontWorry.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:54pm EDT

Today, Fr. Anthony talks about our calling to transform our culture through repentance so that it naturally avoids what is evil and does what is good.  This includes discerning what needs to be removed, modified, and blessed.  Recorded on the second Sunday after Pentecost at Christ the Savior in Anderson, SC.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-All_SaintsofNA-2022_.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

We cover chapters five and six of Tito Caliander's "Way of Ascetics" (St. Vladimir Press), "On the Denial of Self and the Cleansing of the Heart" and "On Eradicating the Desire for Enjoyment."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-5-6.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:25pm EDT

In this homily offered on All Saints (and Father's Day; Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30), Fr. Anthony begins by talking about the need to approach God apophatically in silence, and then to allow that perspective (and not the world) to determine our priorities, definitions, framings, etc.   He ends by encouraging everyone to foster communal relations through which we are continually pastoring and being pastored to.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-All_Saints-2022.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:59pm EDT

Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on the power the New Covenant gives humanity to live a life of beautiful harmony.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-Pentecost-2022.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:41pm EDT

Fr. Anthony talks to Fr. Harry about his recent trip to Egypt, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the challenge of Orthodoxy after Communism, and the desperate need for a pan-Orthodox Council.  

Direct download: 20220605-Linsinbigler-NeedACouncil.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:30pm EDT

In this meditation, Fr. Anthony presents the Gospel of the Samaritan Woman as a model for acquiring the Holy Spirit, focusing on the need for continual repentance from sin and worldly explanations/definitions.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-SamaritanWoman2022.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT

We cover chapters three and four of Tito Caliander's "Way of Ascetics" (St. Vladimir Press), "On the Garden of the Heart" and "On the Silent and Invisible Warfare."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-3-4.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:18pm EDT

We cover chapters one and two of Tito Caliander's "Way of Ascetics" (St. Vladimir Press), "On a Resolute and Sustained Purpose" and "On the Insufficiency of Human Strength."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: WayofAscetics-1-2.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

In this homily offered on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers (and Mother's Day!), Fr. Anthony offers an almost coherent meditation on how we need both rituals and grace to live a life of integrity and holiness.  Enjoy the show!  

Direct download: Homily-RitualsandPerseverence.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:11pm EDT

St. Thomas Sunday.  Fr. Anthony offers a meditation (hostage situation?!) on the circle of trust and how Christ works with our fallen psychology to draw us out of darkness into the light.

Direct download: Homily-DoubtandDiscernment.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:53pm EDT

Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on what we can learn from Christ's entrance into Jerusalem and how entering into it with Him can perfect us and heal the world around us.  He focuses primarily on the relationship between understanding and communion, how our dysfunctions have distorted it, and how Orthodoxy restores it.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-PalmSunday-2022.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:37pm EDT

Fr. Anthony talks with Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD, about guruism, why it is dangerous, and how to avoid it.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20220412-Jensen-Gurus.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:49pm EDT

In this homily, Fr. Anthony uses what voice he had left after subbing for kindergarten classes this past week to describe St. Mary's theosis and the role community can play in our own.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-StMaryofEgypt.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:55pm EDT

Fr. Anthony talks with evangelical author, blogger, and podcaster, John Michalak about grace, liturgy, and the need to "surrender subjectivity."  John started attending services at Holy Resurrection in Waynesville NC a few months ago and shares some observations.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20220406-Michalak.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:44pm EDT

In this homily given at St. Nicholas in Charlottesville, VA on the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder, Fr. Anthony reminds us that God offers us more than the power to endure or see things more clearly - He offers us union with Him.  And THAT is what we really need. Enjoy the show!
Direct download: Homily-StJohnoftheLadder.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

Fr. Anthony talks with Fr. Gregory Jensen, PhD, about how NOT to elicit repentance during confession, some of the differences between confession, interrogation, and therapy, and why love and trust are foundational to the process of reconciliation.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20220328-FGJonConfession.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:50am EDT

Fr. Anthony rambles a bit about the most wonderful days of services of the entire year: Royal Hours of Pascha, Vespers of Holy Friday, Matins of Holy Saturday, and the First Resurrection Service of PASCHA (Vesperal Liturgy).

Direct download: 20220329-HFrSa.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:23am EDT

In this meditation on the Sunday of the Holy Cross, Fr. Anthony riffs on St. Paul's warning that the Cross could be of no effect (1 Corinthians 1:17 and Philippians 3:18-21), warning us not to use the cross as a talisman or even as a balm to ease the pain, but rather to allow Christ to plant it in the garden of temple of our heart.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-PlanttheCrossinYourHeart.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

We talk about the services of Holy and Great Wednesday and Thursday (kind of).  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20220322-HwHTh.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:53pm EDT

In this meditation on the witness of St. Gregory Palamas, Fr. Anthony encourages us to allow the peace of the Liturgy - rather than the chaos of the world - to define us and our relationships with others.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-LiturgicalPeace.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:16pm EDT

Join us as we discuss the service that serves as the door into Holy Week: Bridegroom Matins.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20220315-BGM.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:39pm EDT

In this all but incoherent reflection on the theme of the Triumph of Orthodoxy (icons!), Fr. Anthony draws again from the wisdom of St. Maximos the Confessor to present a vision of a creation infused with grace and perfectability and what that means for the day of judgment.  Alas that he made his main point - that the Incarnation was the best use of flesh - apophatically.  Enjoy the show!  

Direct download: Homily-TheBestUseofWood.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:31pm EDT

In this reflection offered on the Saturday of St. Theodore the Soldier, Fr. Anthony encourages us to take St. Theodore's warning seriously and avoid consuming content (metaphorically) polluted by blood offered to pagan gods in favor of simpler and purer fare.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-SprinklingBloodOnMediaContent.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Tonight's livestream class covers the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.  It's such a beautiful service and epitomizes the Lenten worship experience for many. Enjoy the show!
Direct download: 20220308-PSL.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

In this meditation for Forgiveness Sunday, Fr. Anthony encourages us to see and resonate with the good in everyone so that God's grace can heal our divisions.  Offered at St. Michael parish (Woonsocket RI) on the day after Fr. Michael Abrahamson's ordination - AXIOS and MANY BLESSED YEARS!

Direct download: Homily-Forgiveness-2022.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

In tonight's livestream we cover the service that is central to who we are a defines our pattern of being: the Divine Liturgy.  Enjoy the show!
Direct download: 20220301-DLb.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:29am EDT

Homily on the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).  Fr. Anthony draws on his experience as a retired Army officer (USAR) and the teaching of St. Maximus the Confessor to provide perspective, consolation, and encouragement during this time of war.  Major points include the way the world and its labels darken our spiritual sight and the power Christ has given to His Royal Priesthood to heal the world's pain.  Enjoy the show! 
Direct download: Homily-LoveandWar.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

In tonight's livestream class, Fr. Anthony covers the outline and some of the themes of Resurrection Matins/Orthros.  It's not pretty - he was suffering pretty mightily from a sinus infection - but there you go.  Enjoy the show!
Direct download: 20220222-Matins-OA.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:10pm EDT

Homily on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and Luke 15:11-32 (Prodigal Son).  Fr. Anthony explains how God's imprint enables community and the multiplication of grace.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-NeverAlone.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 7:37pm EDT

Today's class is the beginning of a series on specific services. We start with Great Vespers, the first service of the new day. It's a great way to spend Saturday evening!
Direct download: 20220215_GreatVespers.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:02pm EDT

Publican and Pharisee.  After sharing a parable on rock-climbing, Fr. Anthony encourages us to hold our opinions gently and to take some baby steps towards humility by admitting that "we might not be as right as we could have been" and that "they probably aren't as wrong as we thought they were."  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-HeightsbyHumility.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 10:09am EDT

Today Fr. Anthony reviews some of the tricks our minds play with us to believe things that aren't true and then describes the critical role humility and passionlessness play in guarding us against their worst effects and keeping us from doubling down on stupid.
Direct download: 20220208_HumilityandHeresy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

In this meditation on Matthew 15:21-28 and Corinthians 6:16-7:1, Fr. Anthony talks about the new way of holiness and the transition from smiting enemies to drawing them into the Kingdom through love.  Enjoy the show! 

Direct download: Homily-NoRoomforRascism.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:48am EDT

Today I present the main ideas from the research on the psychology of influence (Cialdini) and briefly describe its relevance for theological discernment.  Livestreamed on 2/1/2022.
Direct download: 20220201_Cialdini.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:21am EDT

1 Timothy 1:15-17.  Take two (because ... Old Calendar and New Calendar).  Another call to bring back the saying; "glory to God."

Direct download: Homily-StPaulsExample.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:06am EDT

Today Fr. Anthony discusses the Moscow Patriarchate's establishment of an African Exarchate in the territory of the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria with canonist, Fr. Harry Linsinbigler.  They talk about how this differs from other parallel jurisdictions (e.g. in America) and the degree to which this will make it more difficult to effect Orthodox reconciliation.  
Direct download: 20210126_AlexandriaandCanonLaw.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

In tonight's livestream class, Fr. Anthony frames theology as communal and heresy as a breakdown of community.  He uses the example of the corrections that take place among musicians to help make the point.  Enjoy the show!
Direct download: 20220125_AvoidingHeresy.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 6:42am EDT

1 Timothy 1:15-17.  After providing his testimony, St. Paul immediately breaks into a prayer of exultation.  We would do well to imitate that habit and bring back the saying; "glory to God."

Direct download: Homily-HumblyChannelingGrace.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:40am EDT

Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17.  Sunday after Theophany.  Our minds stand between us and living as God's royal priesthood and holy kingdom.  We have to repent and rebuild our minds in Christ.  Enjoy the Show!

Direct download: Homily-RepentintotheKingdom.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:12pm EDT

This "New Year" stream of consciousness celebrates Georgia's victory over Michigan and then talks about how our prior conceptions interfere with objectivity, the relative value of mercy and forgiveness over judgment, and the need to stay away from righteous anger.  My thanks to Max, Dn. Adrian, and Rdr. Seraphim for their questions and comments during the livestream.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 20220101-MyFoolHead.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 5:22pm EDT

Matthew 2:13-23; Galatians 1:11-19.  Without effort, we will get truth and love wrong and mess up our relationships.  It was true for Saints Luke and Cleopas, for Saint Paul, and (alas) for Herod.  It will be true for us and will affect our marriages and Church membership, too.  But God is offering us a solution.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-GrowinTruthinChrist.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

Ephesians 5:8-19; Luke 17:12-19.  A meditation on three kinds of pilgrimage: to the holy site, to a feast, and to the temple of the heart.  Each offers the blessings of beauty, fellowship, and noetic union.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-RedeemtheTimewithPilgrimage.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Ephesians 5:8-19; Luke 14:16-24.  Fr. Anthony offers a meditation on "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon thee."  He encourages us to let go of the stories of ourselves and the arch of history informed by the evil days, spend time in silent awe at God's feet, and then allow Him to give our stories not just new words, but grace.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-RewritingOurStoryfromScratch.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

Why is there so much drama? Is drama a sign of conviction or something else? Today Fr. Anthony talks about the need to cultivate trust and trustworthiness in our relationships. Along the way, he talks (with input from Chaplain Deacon Adrian M. and Cantor George M.) about the biggest challenges to marriage, dealing with the death of a child, and the joy of a peaceful home. Enjoy the show!  The Livestream of this is at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxzb0C3vvEM
Direct download: 20211211-MyFoolHead.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

Ephesians 2:14-22, Luke 12:16-21.  After making a point about the power of Christian unity to transcend war, Fr. Anthony uses the Orthodox conception of the mind to explain the parable of the man who built the barns and then reminds us that we are susceptible to the same self delusion.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Homily-ADisorderedMind.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Today Fr. Anthony talks with heterodox political scientist Matthew Woessner (PhD, OSU) about how to recognize bad research.  We are being inundated by all kinds of misinformation (and disinformation!) through the press and social media, to include from otherwise Orthodox sources.  This is increasing our polarization and decreasing our trust in institutions and one another.  Learning to recognize bad research isn't just useful for spotting deceptions about public health; it may even help us see through bogus claims about about ecclesial politics.  Matthew Woessner is a Professor of Institutional Research at the United States Army War College, but the views he presents in this talk are his own.

Direct download: SpottingBadResearch.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:38am EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

[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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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).

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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.”

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

 
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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT