Deceiving the Deceiver

christApril 28, 2019
Bright and Saving PASCHA
of our Lord Jesus Christ

I love how the character of Christ is portrayed in the 2016 film Risen. In the movie, a Roman tribune is assigned by Pilate to investigate the alleged theft of the body of one late Hebrew rabbi who claimed to be the Messiah. This same tribune had witnessed Christ’s crucifixion himself, so he knew his man. But upon his first encounter of the risen Lord, he was taken aback. This mighty Roman tribune who had commanded legions of soldiers and put down entire insurrections against Caesar was terrified not so much by Jesus’ resurrectional power, but by the way in which it was manifest: an uncanny sober levity and a peculiar nonchalance. He was smirking like one who had pulled off the most enormous con game ever played. Continue reading

The Lord’s Last Farewell to his Friends

aka, Mecca.April 26, 2019
Great & Holy Friday

I am an art collector. A good painting with an equally good story has a way of catching my eye and heart. But because I have neither the time nor the pocketbook, most of my collecting happens online via Google image searches. And once I find an image that means something particular to me, I like to hunt it down to its source, where it lives, usually in a museum or sometimes in a church.

When I was recently in Chicago for a clergy retreat, I felt compelled to visit that fine city’s Art Institute. I remembered it to be the home for at least one or two of my favorite works. But as I neared the marble steps, I was racking my brain to remember the particular painting there that had stolen my heart the most. It wasn’t Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks or Wood’s American Gothic; neither was it the Paris Street; Rainy Day or any of the museum’s excellent collection of Rembrandt. All of these are undoubted masterpieces, but they don’t tell a story that speaks directly to me. Continue reading

Shepherds Tending Other Shepherds

32597329347_8f227c14d2_kClergy Govenie, April 4-6, 2019
St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Chicago, IL

On the 4th week of Great Lent leading up to the Sunday of Saint John of the Ladder, over 20 priests and 2 deacons from across the diocese gathered in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, for the annual Lenten Govenie with our father and chief Shepherd, Metropolitan Joseph. A govenie is a special kind of retreat that includes divine services, spiritual talks, and leads up to confession with a celebration the Holy Eucharist. At the conclusion of this year’s govenie, His Eminence pronounced, “This is so far my favorite govenie.” Continue reading

Prince Martin Wins a Sword

51vv5ixn54lby Brandon Hale

There was a prince that wanted a sword. Every time he would ask his father, the king he would say, “You will win your sword when you show that you are brave.”

The prince was walking in the woods. Suddenly, he saw a deer being cornered by wild hogs. The prince fought the hogs alongside of a dog named Sir Ray. With the help of Sir Ray, he saved the deer and won his sword.

Best of the Best 2018

survey-resultsDrum roll please… The results are in for the 2018: 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! Continue reading

A Good Family Book

penderwicks-gardam_fotor_collageThe Penderwicks is a series of books that is about a family. There are 5 books in the series that are about different parts of their life.

The first book in the series is about 4 girls named Rosalind, age 12, Sky, age 11, Jane, age 10, and Baty, age 4. They are on vacation with their dad and Hound, the Penderwicks’ dog. The girls’ mother died from cancer right after the youngest Baty was born. The family is on vacation to a place called Arundel, a breathtaking mansion in the Berkshire mountains. This book is about their adventures in the mountains Continue reading

The Case of the Disappearing Kasha (Cream of Wheat)

This is the first post of our oldest son, a translation of a book of stories from Russian author V. Dragunskiĭ entitled Денискины рассказы (Dennis’ Stories).

This story took place in Moscow. So, if you’ve been to Moscow, do you know the Kremlin? And, if you don’t know, it’s like a big  group of famous buildings and gardens. It will come later in the story.

So, the main person in the story, is a boy named Dennis. He woke up in the morning and brushed his teeth and got changed as usual. Then, he went and looked at what was on the table to eat for breakfast. His mom brought him a full bowl of kasha. He said “I hate this stuff; I can’t stand it!”  His mom promised him that if he ate his kasha, he would be able to go to the Kremlin. Dennis thought, “I love that place, but how can I eat this kasha? Maybe it doesn’t have enough salt.” So he put some salt and he tasted it again, but it tasted even worse than the first time.  Then, he thought that it wasn’t sweet enough. So he added some sugar and he tasted it, but the kasha was even worse than it was before. Finally, he thought that everything tasted good with horseradish; so he added horseradish and stuffed all the kasha into his mouth. It tasted so gross that he went to the window, opened it, and dumped out all the kasha into the street. Just then, his mother came in and said, “You are such a good boy; you ate all of your kasha. Okay, then get on your coat and let’s go to the Kremlin.” Continue reading