Nostalgia for Paradise

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Main Gate of Danilov Monastery, Moscow

I will never forget the first time I visited an Orthodox monastery to stay for a month-long missionary school hosted there. I was newly converted to the church and I was still getting used to regular church life. Life in a monastery was like learning to walk on the moon by comparison. I felt the awkwardness of a bum yanked from the street and set before a seven course French Meal. I did not know how to use the knife and fork let alone how to behave in this highly cultured environment. But the hunger and thirst after righteousness kept me from fleeing what was unfamiliar. Continue reading

The Man Who Sang Me Home

New Movie on the Life of Rich Mullins

New Movie on the Life of Rich Mullins

I first heard his music in a Christian bookstore back in the eighties when the only way to listen to new music was to sample it in the store or hear it in church. Christian Contemporary music (CCM) did not have the advantage of its secular counterpart: playtime on multiple radio stations, so songs and singers were far less known. Oh the hours I spent in my favorite Christian superstore looking for deep theological reflection and profound devotional commitment… mostly to no avail. More often what I heard was pop cultural leftovers, bands that were supposed to be the “Christian equivalent” of bands in the world, but were merely derivative and therefore inferior to what the world produced. I was lost in this sea of spin-off artistry, desperate to find an authentic voice, someone who did not have to imitate the world and sprinkle their lyrics with God-speak to sell records to gullible, culture-starved believers. And that’s when I heard Rich Mullins, who not only inspired me with his authentic witness for Christ, but showed me the way home into apostolic Christianity. Continue reading

The Reluctant Orthodox – Volume 12 “By the Waters of the Maumee, We Sat Down and Wept”

Quite honored to be featured on Marilyn’s blog. Hope you all will be strengthened by the account. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Marilyn R. Gardner

In my faith journey this past year, I’ve discovered some people who have walked the road before me and can offer wisdom, challenge, and comfort when I need them most. Aaron Friar is one of those people. He comes from a protestant background, has attended many churches in the past, and has a deep and abiding respect for the traditions of his past even as he is fully a part of the Orthodox church today. Today his post gives me joy and encouragement as I move into the ever-new (for me) yet ancient traditions of the Eastern Orthodox faith. You can read more about Aaron at the end of the post.

By the Waters of the Maumee, We Sat Down and Wept

Marilyn’s series on the Reluctant Orthodox has spurred me to share a bit of my own faith journey. I offer this in tribute to her present struggle to discover…

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What I Gave Up to Become Orthodox

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the priesthood of Fr. Antony Hughes at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, the 20th anniversary of the Boston Byzantine Choir, and incidentally also the 20th year of my being an Orthodox Christian, I would like to present this memory of Fr. Antony from the very beginning of his ministry and the very beginning of my walk as an Orthodox Christian. We remembered so many of these tonight at a special banquet in his honor at St. Mary’s… Continue reading

Unlikely Disciples

I think I am on to a new personal favorite genre of spiritual literature: memoirs that tell the story of a person’s unlikely spiritual transformation in an environment very much unfamiliar and even inimical to the one in which he/she was raised. The market is flooded with conversion stories to Christ, but ones that tell the story in a grateful and truly humble way are few and far between. Eager new converts too often come across to their audience as, “I’ve got it, whatever ‘it’ is, and you need it, whoever ‘you’ are.” With hardly a note of personal connection, their plea for salvation falls flat as nothing more than a hawking of cheap furniture.

Two books that have come out in the last few years buck this trend, the first one by a man who remained a more informed non-believer and the second by a lesbian English professor whose transformation led her to become the wife of a Reformed Presbyterian pastor. Continue reading