Rules and Tools

In the last month I heard someone say that Christian fasting is a tool and not a rule. It’s a distinction that appeals to me, but it directly contradicts the language one often sees from various jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church. In this case, the seeming contradiction is a problem with semantics. In terms of …

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Noah in the Sabbath of His Life

I noticed a Sabbath reference in the Noah story, and in my years in school and as a pastor I never ran across anyone who's talked about it. No doubt someone has explored it, but it's new to me. The reference is quite explicit but not particularly obvious because of the vagaries of how we …

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The Cultural Kitsch of Contemporary Personhood

Over the last couple of months I have been trying to write about the Orthodox understanding of the person. But every time I go back and look at what I’ve written, I abandon it because without a broader context, it sounds like propaganda, or even hate speech. Recently Jonathan Pageau posted a forum discussion with …

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The Symbolism of Technology in Christianity

A couple of weeks ago I saw the most remarkable Q&A by Jonathan Pageau, the Quebecois iconographer, carver, and philosopher of Christian symbolism, entitled The Symbolism of Technology in Christianity. At the time I thought of it as odd rather than remarkable. It’s about the symbolism in the Book of Enoch, a very weird pseudopigraphal …

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Lamb of God, Who Takes Away the Sins of the World …

The early history of icons in the Christian church is a bit sketchy because, in the 8th century, an iconoclastic Byzantine emperor (Leo III) ascended the throne. He believed his task was to destroy, and when that wasn't possible, to deface all the holy icons that were in existence. Today there are only a couple …

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