Art of Persistence

"The art of love ... is largely the art of persistence." -Albert Ellis

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Knowing God

"There is a tendency to think that traditional churchly gnosiology [intuitive spiritual knowledge] is either detached intellectualism or irrational mysticism. What must be seen is that the mind is certainly central, but it is not detached from other qualities, particularly love. It is precisely when the mind and heart are united, and when man is fully integrated, with each element of his being purified and humanized, that he is capable of knowing God, by way of the divine manifestation in the divine energies. In a word, the mind is central but not in a purely intellectualistic way such as in the case of non-Christian gnosticism, or Origenism or Eunomianism, or in the type of gnosiology and theology which would say that any person with the correct data and the correctly functioning logical apparatus can know God or what there is to be known about him. The mind is central for gnosis, but true gnosis achieves itself particularly in relation to God when united with, and even in a sense being transformed into, love."

- Fr. Thomas Hopko in "All the Fullness of God"

Friday, February 04, 2011

Is Persistence Dead?


I, like so many others, started a blog without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with it. But now I think I've got a couple of ideas that should keep me busy and focused for a while.
  1. I've recently reconnected with many old friends who haven't heard a peep out of me in 30 or more years - way back when I was a fire-breathing, counter-cultural, anti-denominationalist, anti-doctrinal, charismatic Christian. Today I am a convinced and committed Orthodox Christian. I have been asked to explain myself, so I will to the best of my abilities.
  2. Paraphrasing the writings of the Early Church Fathers. I don't claim this to be translation and certainly not of academic quality. The purpose of this exercise is primarily to get me reading patristics, and only secondarily to share my work with others.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Meaning of a Story

...I certainly believe a story has to have meaning, but the meaning in a story can't be paraphrased and if it's there it's there, almost more as a physical than an intellectual fact.

-Flannery O'Connor

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Spring Dawn

Dawn on a gray May morning.

The grass, freshly christened with dew, seems to gleam with the green of Eden.

The trees dance on looking glass lake above and beneath the sky,

now pastel.

My soul senses the embrace of the Holy Spirit as the birds echo my heart's Alleluia.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Puddleglum on Wish Fulfillment

"Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."

-from The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Take Care When Reading the Chronicles of Narnia

You can get into a lot of trouble by thinking too much about these books. It just struck me that 2 Kings and 2 Queens ruling in Narnia simultaneously fits more with an Orthodox understanding of Church Hierarchy than a Roman understanding. Then it hit me that the High King's name is Peter. Is this Roman? Then the thought came to me that Aslan said, "Once a King or Queen in Narnia, alway a King or Queen in Narnia." Does this mean that Lewis was a Calvinist?

The fact is that Lewis did not write these books as allegories, though they do have some allegorical elements. If you want to know what Lewis thought of the Roman or Presbyterian churches, you'll have to get that from his non-fiction writings. For his final thoughts, you'll have to visit him in Narnia in the eschaton.

These are children's books. It seems that the lessons he wanted to teach are very clear (and not always about religion). If you're itching to get into an allegory, try his Pilgrim's Regress.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Sorry, CJ, but this snowman dwarfs yours. (Yes, those are trees for arms.) But it'll never take Frosty's place in my heart.

If you haven't seen the pictures of CJ's 1966 giant snowman, follow the snowman link below.