December 22

GUEST POST: Reflections on “The Unmoral Christian” by: Randy Evans

RandyManWelcome to my old friend and camp mentor, Randy Evans!  Fr. Stephen Freeman has recently posted a few different things on his blog, that, while excellent (in this writer’s opinion) have sparked some debate with other folk, including other Orthodox clergy members.  I personally was surprised by the amount of debate and controversy sparked by what I have always believed to be Orthodox theology and doctrine.  I think it speaks to a much larger issue going on in the Orthodox Church, and the “West” and U.S. Christianity at large, but that I’ll save for a later post.  For now, Randy has written what I consider to be a very poignant and timely essay and reflection on Fr. Stephen’s recent posts.  So, without further ado…here’s Randy!

Reflections on Fr. Stephen Freeman’s latest blog entitled “The Unmoral Christian”
by: Randy Evans

We are not immoral, we are dead. We inherited from Adam – all of us, including the Blessed Theotokos—the wound of mortality, and now, though we exist on planet earth, are in actuality, the “walking dead.” Our wound just hasn’t physically caught up with us yet.

Corpses have no interest in “progressively improving their state of being.” Corpses never ask each other “Are you doing any better today?” or confess to each other “Man, I really blew it today” (as opposed to how well I did yesterday.) If a corpse has any grasp of his true state, Continue reading

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August 7

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

Gabe & Emily“Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.” -Fyodor Dostoevsky

Most of my adolescent and adult life I’ve suffered from severe sleep issues.  I’ve sometimes felt like a human guinea pig as doctors have tried to determine the exact reason for my condition, and despite all the tests and evaluations, no one has been able to pinpoint a cause, and more importantly, a solution to the problem.  Because of this, I frequently find myself lying wide-awake in bed, my thoughts slowly spiraling downward into a frothy mix of reflection on the day past, imaginations of the coming day, and anxiety that I won’t be able to fall asleep.  There are many old remedies suggested for sleep issues, with the most common being to “count sheep” until you fall asleep.  Despite trying this tactic, it has never worked for me.  However, one thing that I often find does help is counting the things I’m thankful for each day, or as one might say it, counting my blessings instead of sheep.

A couple of months ago I was able to be at and involved with the marriage of the two goofballs in the picture above.  With the past few years of life having thrown some curve balls at my wife and I,  Continue reading

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January 30

We Need Not Wait

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Beecham Farm – Winter 2010

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

In this special time of year, after the holidays and new year’s resolutions have faded, as the cold bite of deep Winter sinks in, and my senses are overwhelmed with the dark and depressive grey skies and dead foliage, I find myself in great need of some sort of renewal…preferably in the form of a warm beach and a mojito.  In lieu of that, I usually spend more time sitting under blankets…on my heated mattress pad…with a heater blowing on me…sipping warm beverages…and surfing the inter-webs.  In doing so, I noticed a wonderful article shared on “The Facebook” by one of my dear friends.  It warmed my soul and so, I thought I’d share it, in hopes that you too will find it edifying and helpful for the daily grind.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions anymore, however, the words, deeds, and admonitions from Pope Francis below are enough resolution for anyone.  Despite being some of the simplest things to attempt,

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January 11

Be Still

IMAG0087I thought I would continue with the theme from the last post of learning to labor and to wait on things. One of the more disturbing things I see in the world around me, as well as in myself, is a difficulty with being still. We live in a world that is no longer content to simply let the day dawn and enjoy life as it comes. Smartphones, computers, tablets, and a constantly “connected” society has, in many ways, led to a dysfunctional and emotionally disconnected world, despite all the instant inter-connectivity that exists. I see it in some of the youth (and their parents) that come through our camp programs, and especially in the inner-city pre-apocalyptic kids. Despite overwhelming poverty and often the lack of even the most basic of necessities, most of them somehow have every electronic gadget imaginable in their book bags. I frequently like to go to a nice pub and sit for a few hours, working a little, talking with the bartender or waitstaff, and sometimes simply just watching people. The trend of non-communication is disturbing to say the least. I see so many people, sitting with others, yet their faces are buried in a phone or tablet, oblivious to the conversation happening around them. No doubt they’re tweeting or updating statuses about what they’re doing and discussing it with other people across the interwebs, however, they’re not engaging in what is happening right in front of them! I’ve struggled to understand this new way of relating and to try and grasp the good in it, especially as I work in IT for a profession and therefore must know and use a lot of the technology I’m now disparaging. I do think it has its uses, however, I’m not sure the positives outweigh the negatives at this point, and the downside isn’t just detachment from the present. There is often a more silent and sinister evil that comes along with it, that being a deep sense of loneliness despite one’s “connections” to other people, and an inability to be still. Continue reading

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