Creatively Faithful Theology

Monday, November 28, 2022
First Day of the Nativity Fast
Commencement of Advent in the Orthodox Church

Growing up, I was taught many things about the Christian faith that did not seem exactly right. One puerile notion that was especially debilitating was this idea that fidelity to tradition was somehow antithetical to the more romantic adventure of discerning revival, i.e., what God is doing NOW, in our own day and age. According to this notion, the divine mercies that are “new every morning” have to make a clean break with what came before, and the Christian revolution should break with the old, worn out traditions as well.

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Beyond the Hope of Redemption?

22nd Sunday After Pentecost

Galatians 6:11-18
Luke 8:26-39

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory forever. How much destruction can sin really cost? To what depth is a man ready to fall before he repents and returns to his real self? Is there such a thing as falling too far, a soul falling beyond the hope of redemption? If there ever was one such a soul, he is depicted in this morning’s Gospel according to Saint Luke. He is a soul who is falling so far as to be without a name. He is simply referred to as the demoniac, his possession by evil demons being so complete it seems to have swallowed up the man and he does not even speak with his own voice. Saint Ambrose of Milan says, “We are authors of our own tribulation. If someone did not live like a swine, the devil would never have received power over him. If he did receive power, it would be power not to destroy but to test him. After the Lord’s coming, the devil could already not corrupt the good. So perhaps he now does not seek the destruction of all people but only of the fickle.”

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Highly Recommended Podcasts

Happy Harvest to all our readers! As many of you know, our family likes to recommend good, wholesome, and inspiring media through our yearly lists that come out every January and are archived here. One area of media that we have been into lately and one I may add as a category is podcasts. For those of you that spend a good deal of time in the car and just do not have time to read print media, subscribing to multiple podcasts can be a good way to stay in touch with current news, monitor popular cultural trends, and most importantly, deepen your relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

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Will You Be a Pilgrim?

Hooray! Another school year has begun and our family is again at it with what I consider the best way (short of divine services) to learn truth, beauty, and goodness. Today we started rehearsals for a December Performance of a show called Celestial City about the life of John Bunyan and his great spiritual classic Pilgrim’s Progress. Tickets are now available here for December 2022 shows.

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Betrother of Holy Souls

August 15/28, 2022

Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Today marks an important feast in the life of the Church, but it is an important feast for me personally, as it features someone who has helped me so much over the years. This feast of the falling asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary is the foundation of our family life. While the Russian Royal Family serves as our family feast day, this feast was our family feast day before I had a family, or rather when I was praying fervently to have one of my own.

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Celebrating the Family Name’s Day

Finally made it last week to San Francisco, the City by the Bay. I was here last without family when we were touring a Siberian priest around to American holy places. Today we celebrated our family’s name’s day, or what the Serbians call the family slava. Ours is the Russian Royal Family that was martyred by the Soviets in 1917 and whose memory we commemorate on the old calendar July 4/17. We traveled to the Russian Cathedral Joy of All Who Sorrow which was built by St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco whose relics/remains still lie in state in the church for any pilgrim to come and talk to him.

Our uncle who is a deacon on pilgrimage there prepared a wonderful little trapeza for us in the apartment he is staying near the church, and our children, all of whom are named after one of the Russian Royal Martyrs, celebrated their name’s day in style.

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Solidarity With the Displaced

October 6, 2015: Group of refugees leaving Hungary.

June 28/July 12, 2022

Feast of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul

2 Corinthians 11:21-12:9 Epistle, Apostles
Matthew 16:13-19 Gospel, Apostles

Greetings and Blessed Feast of the most holy apostles and evangelists Ss. Peter and Paul! I write this from the most unexpected of places. I sit on a large couch in an air bnb in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s North American commonwealth was good enough to receive our temporarily displaced family for a few days and nights when our connecting flight to San Francisco was cancelled. We were originally planning to use Canada for a brief layover to keep down the cost of traveling with a family of seven. Trouble started when this discount travel service bumped our connecting flight to two days later! Suddenly last night, Canada’s strict COVID protocols came falling down upon us and we were left scrambling last minute to find local transportation, accommodation, and a way to explain our unplanned presence in another country.

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Highway to the Danger Zone!

Dear Readers, Sorry I have been away for so long. I usually try to post at least one thing a month. Having an older family makes us all very busy.

Glad to say I saw the new Top Gun film in the theatre yesterday. Cannot say it will appeal to all audiences, but it brought this GenXer many nostalgic moments and some surprisingly fresh content. Only criticism I might level is that the soundtrack was slightly better in the original, although this reboot develops the characters much better. The producer and company was correct to save this blockbuster originally slated for 2020 for a post-pandemic release. It is truly something worth seeing on the big screen. The audience we saw it with last night gave a slight applause at the end which I have rarely heard from an American audience.

Irrepressible News of the Resurrection!

Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе!
Truly, Truly, He is risen!

Who can contain this good news? The Lord of heaven, who lately was held fast in the grave is no longer there. He is risen! And with his arising, we too have eternal life.

Take a moment out of your day today and listen to this irrepressible good news with one of the brightest melodies of paschal joy, the Georgian (the country, not the state) version of the Resurrection theme song. And tell me after listening that you still don’t believe it. FOR CHRIST IS RISEN!!!

No Place to Lay His Head

Op-Ed: Jewish Man Dies Penniless in Jerusalem, Messianic Claims Die with Him

He was born in a small town stable with barely a place to lay his head almost 33 years ago. Apprenticed to his father, a carpenter, he developed a reputation later in life as a teacher of the law and healer. Far from the important centers of commerce, trade, and education, he gathered a following of disciples mostly from the working class in the backwater region of Galilee. Many believed him to be the promised Messiah foretold of old by the prophets, but don’t messiahs come with more exalted pedigrees?

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