The beloved disciple and evangelist John teases us with these words toward the end of his very mystical narrative. But beyond teasing us into writing yet one more book about our Lord and Master, I believe St. John’s words serve as a kind of license to create and imagine contexts and conversations beyond the true Gospel account, while remaining faithful to the original canon of revelation. Dallas Jenkins’ series The Chosen, now in its third season at Angel Studios, continues to be that incredible re-imagining.
Drum roll please… The results are in for the 2022: Best of the Best in all the respective media categories. Please see below and also the archives for previous years. Happy viewing and reading everyone, and as always, we would love to know what you think in the comment section below. Separate reviews are linked on the underlined titles. Enjoy!
There is a figure in the standard Nativity creche scene. She is often forgotten other times of the year, but during the Christmas season, it is impossible to avoid her. One popular song during this season evokes wonder about what she knew or perhaps did not know at first about her role in Messiah’s birth. While it is meant to evoke wonder at the Lord, I wonder if it is dismissive of his mother in some subtle way. The words go…
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.