Dear friends, as we approach the beginning of Great Lent in both the Orthodox East and the West, I am so glad about what I hear coming from the Evangelical Church concerning revival of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. While I recognize that such occurrences can be fraught with celebrity pastors cashing in on a genuine work of the Holy Spirit, I am greatly relieved whenever I hear of the increase of worship in the One True God.
Tonight, we Orthodox Christians participated in a centuries old ritual of begging each other’s forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful way to begin Great Lent, to clean our slate of any lingering bitterness or contempt that we often harbor towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please forgive me wherein I have offended you in thought, word, or in all my feelings. May God who forgives have mercy on and save us all. Have a blessed and most fruitful Great Lent!
First full day in Russia. We succumbed right away to our American need for daily coffee, although, when we are in Russia, we drink a lot more instant coffee because it is kind of a thing here if you drink coffee at all. To this day, no matter where I am in the world, if I drink freeze-dried, instant coffee, it takes me to Russia (even more than vodka or tea).
But seriously, I feel so grateful on my first day back after four years of being away. Grateful for this land and culture that raised my wife and, at least partially, is raising my children. Grateful for a local program here that allows families of our size discounts and perks to encourage others to have larger families. It is a very positive place to bring kids: visiting museums, traveling to interesting places, and eating authentic market-purchased food. We even toasted last night to Russian cows for their delicious dairy products, some of which Americans are just now discovering. Continue reading →
Saw a movie the other night that finally satisfied my urge for faith-based film that was not overly contrived, pietistic, or filled with obvious moralizing and revivalist preachers not so cleverly disguised as deep and thoughtful people of the world. Perhaps because this was already a story about a revivalist preacher, the director did not feel like he had to make him into anything than he already was.
Rich in historical detail and an engaging story, Wesley tells the tale of the famous 18th century reformer John Wesley and his brother Charles, who became a voice of change in the Church of England both in Old and New England. Continue reading →