The Weapon of Discernment

For my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to republish an article I wrote when I was just a young teacher. It is the first day today for my alma mater, St. Herman of Alaska Christian School, for whom I wrote this article almost 20 years ago. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!

Sunflowers, Autumn 1997

The Weapon of Discernment
by Aaron Friar
Instructor, Grades 3-8

mirrorbbc-758689Many parents have felt the wonder of the moment when their child was old enough to utter his first word. Perhaps, equal to excitement is the moment when he begins to read. He sounds out everything in his path All goes well until he decides to exercise his phonics skills on a supermarket tabloid. Words “scandal” and the easier monosyllable “sex” send his impressionable mind reeling as he asks parents a barrage of troubling questions.

In our age of free access to information, it is more important than ever to learn discernment of words. It is not enough for us to set our children free to roam aimlessly in the abyss of choices provided by almost every media imaginable; we must also give them the tools which will enable them to make wise choices. They do not just need to know how to read but what to read. And our greater task as Christian parents and teachers is to enable our children to discern the words they read and hear by the measuring stick of Christ. The world around them is more than what meets the eye or impresses the mind, and we must give them the mastery of words which is necessary to see a bigger and more truthful picture. Continue reading

St. Helen’s Pilgrimage

Okay. I have to brag about this. My favorite prof from Seminary, Dr. Tim Patitsas has finally succeeded in bringing what used to be blandly called “the senior trip” into a full fledged Orthodox pilgrimage. I can only believe it is due to the communications vision of new Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology President, Fr. Chris Metropulos. Kudos to my Alma Mater for granting this rich experience to her graduates. I am happy to be among the first pilgrims back in 2011 where I recorded my observations in a Pilgrimage_Memory_Book.

The following is so much more worthy of the good donors who make the pilgrimage possible. God bless you all, my dear fellow graduates of Holy Cross!

Happy Birthday Blog!

Blog celebrates its 4th birthday today. So glad for all the pilgrimages and chances to reflect on cultural trends and spiritual matters. Thank you to all my readers for sticking it out this long. We hope to keep it going as long as we are taking trips to inspiring places. Also look on the about page for an updated photo of the fam. God bless you all.

Christ and the Arts

Rarely do I watch or read talks written so densely and passionately. This lecture by a Christian violinist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra covers so much ground I don’t know where to even begin. For one thing, she nails what is missing in the Evangelical church’s love with popular culture and contemporary music. It is well worth the 15 minutes, but I warn you, it takes some undivided listening to really hear all the important things Ms. Ostling has to say.

Christian Camps & Monasteries

teen-spiritual-program-15-4I remember so well the first time I stayed overnight in an Orthodox Christian monastery. I dreamed of every Christian camp and conference I had attended up to that point in my life, for they represented the highest and deepest of my spiritual experience. After just one day in the concentrated prayers of the monastic daily cycle, those previous experiences of prayer became as mere foretastes of reality. Continue reading