This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Friday, December 27, 2013


i don't know if anyone reads this anymore.  i just wanted to post to say i've reached a milestone.  After 2 years of investigation and attending an Orthodox parish, i was received into the Orthodox Church by chrismation last Saturday, December 21st, under the name Boris.

i decided to revisit some of the things i read the very first night my Protestantism unraveled.  This included a blog in which Orthodoxy is criticized.  After re-reading them, i'm not shaken or regretful of my decision in the least.  i'm so grateful for the blessing to be part of the Orthodox Church, and i have already experienced the healing of the sacraments of the church.

i'd love to write about all my experience and thinking throughout this journey.  Maybe some day i will. (But sadly, for the time being, i have a dissertation to write!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Bullying: Defacing God’s Image
Chaplain's Corner
Short essays written for the La Jolla Veteran's Hospital newsletter in La Jolla, California

The recent arrest of local office holder in California for the corporal punishment and name-calling abuse of a child made headlines. Arrest, office holder, politician or not, bullying is always an egregious affront to God and to man whom He made in His image.

Plain and simple, bullying is abuse. Those who bully and those who are bullied are found everywhere. Bullies can be bosses, clergy, military superiors, parents, police, teachers or simply acquaintances etc.
Children and adults can be the brunt of bullying. They can be called loathsome names, be belittled, laughed at and/or be ignored. Emotional abuse is one form of bullying that is often most unnoticed because of its ubiquity and subtlety. These practices in our society are so common as to go virtually unperceived.
However, emotional abuse but can be equally devastating to the victim as physical and or sexual abuse. Research has shown that victims are susceptible, for example, to clinical depression, suicide and other disorders.

Helpfulness may be considered the opposite of bullying. A kindly disposition is inherent in the tenets of many religious traditions. In the fall of the year Hindus celebrate Karwa Chauth. While this feast mainly focuses on married women, the spirit of the celebration is prayer, relief from household duties, and giving gifts. Basically, it is to insure others’ "well being."i

In Buddhist scripture we read: “Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; by love alone is hatred appeased. This is an Eternal Law.” (The Dhammapada, Verse 5) In the Hebrew Sacred Scripture, we read that David, despite his position of power was a supporter and protector of his friend Jonathan (1Kg 20) and certainly not his bully.

Jesus goes even further in telling His Disciples what can only be the most extreme opposite of being a bully. He likens true helpfulness to agape — Godly selfless love: “Greater love hath no one than this that one should lay down his life for his friends." (Jn 15:13).

To help us supplant any tendency in ourselves to bully others we should cultivate the virtue of kindness. To accomplish this it might help to reflect on the spiritual perception of our Eastern Church Spiritual Father, St. Gregory the Theologian, who tells us: "[All] men are our brothers in God and [have] a nature like ours, being drawn from the same original mud, they are composed as We nerves and bones..."ii

With this in mind we can see how horrific and un-Godly any form of bullying is. Echoing the words of the Prophet Hosea (6.7), Jesus told his listeners that the core of true worship of God: "I wish mercy, and not sacrifice." (Mt. 9:13) Considering that mercy is a disposition to be kind and forgiving, it can be shown how truly important being helpful and kindly is; and, conversely, how un-Godly any form of bullying is. Kindliness is next to Godliness.


i stole this from Orthodoxy Today's website.  It's a topic dear to my heart, and throughout my religious life, i've always been shocked at how many devoutly religious people see no problems at all with bullying, and in some cases even encourage their kids to participate in a culture of bullying.  i find this as morally deplorable as virtually any other issue in our time.  Why isn't the church more vocal about such violence and abuse--especially among children?

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Nationalism

St. Justin Popovich 1894-1979
The Church is God-human, eternity incarnated within the boundaries of time and space. She is here in this world but she is not of this world (John 18:36). She is in the world in order to raise it on high where she herself has her origin. The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, Å“cumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. “There is neither Greek nor Jew, their is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28), because “Christ is all, and in all.” The means and methods of this all-human God-human union of all in Christ have been provided by the Church, through the holy sacraments and in her God-human works (ascetic exertions, virtues). And so it is: in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist the ways of Christ and the means of uniting all people are composed and defined and integrated. Through this mystery, man is made organically one with Christ and with all the virtues: faith, prayer, fasting, love, meekness, through compassion and giving alms, a man consolidates in this union and preserves himself in its sanctity, personally experiencing Christ both as the unity of his personality and as the essence of his union with other members of the body of Christ, the Church.
The Church is the personhood of the God-human Christ, a God-human organism and not a human organization. The Church is indivisible, as is the person of the God-human, as is the body of the God-human. For this reason it is a fundamental error to have the God-human organism of the Church divided into little national organizations. In the course of their procession down through history many local Churches have limited themselves to nationalism, to national methods and aspirations, ours being among them. The Church has adapted herself to the people when it should properly be just the reverse: the people adapting themselves to the Church. This mistake has been made many times by our Church here. But we very well know that these were the “tares” of our Church life, tares which the Lord will not uproot, leaving them rather to grow with the wheat until the time of harvest (Matt. 13, 29-30). We also well know (the Lord so taught us) that these tares have their origin in our primeval enemy and enemy of Christ: the devil (Matt. 13, 25-28). But we wield this knowledge in vain if it is not transformed into prayer, the prayer that in time to come Christ will safeguard us from becoming the sowers and cultivators of such tares ourselves.
It is now high time—the twelfth hour—time for our Church representatives to cease being nothing but the servants of nationalism and for them to become bishops and priests of the One, Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The mission of the Church, given by Christ and put into practice by the Holy Fathers, is this: that in the soul of our people be planted and cultivated a sense and awareness that every member of the Orthodox Church is a Catholic Person, a person who is for ever and ever, and is God-human; that each person is Christ’s, and is therefore a brother to every human being, a ministering servant to all men and all created things. This is the Christ-given objective of the Church. Any other is not an objective of Christ but of the Antichrist. For our local Church to be the Church of Christ, the Church Catholic, this objective must be brought about continuously among our people. And yet what are the means of accomplishing this God-human objective? Once again, the means are themselves God-human because a God-human objective can only be brought about exclusively by God-human means, never by human ones or by any others. It is on this point that the Church differs radically from anything which is human or of this earth. (“The Inward Mission of the Church”, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ pp. 23-26)

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Prayer for Peace

We thank Thee, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all
good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace
to those who seek thy mercy. We appeal to Thee to awaken the longing for a
peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors,
thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war. Grant peace to
thy servants. Implant in them the fear of Thee and confirm in them love one
for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to
disagreement. For Thou art our peace and to Thee we ascribe glory: to the
Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages
of ages. Amen.

We pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war, especially
for the victims and all those in the struggle in
[............................]. We pray for thy peace and thy mercy in the
midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other.
Accept the prayers of thy Church, so that by thy goodness peace may return
to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Lord our God, remember and have mercy on our brothers and sisters who are
involved in every civil conflict. Remove from their midst all hostility,
confusion and hatred. Lead everyone along the path of reconciliation and
peace, we pray You, hear us and have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Let all believers turn aside from violence and do what makes for peace. By
the strength of thy mighty arm save thy people and thy Holy Church from
all evil oppression; hear the supplications of all who call to Thee in sorrow
and affliction, day and night. Merciful God, let their lives not be lost, we
pray Thee, hear us and have mercy.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

But grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to thy people whom
Thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood. Make thy presence known to
those who have turned away from Thee and do not seek Thee, so that none of
them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the
truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord,
may praise thine all holy Name. Amen.

Taken from: http://www.comeandseeicons.com/peace.htm

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

East vs. West Concerning Sin and Salvation

i find this article very helpful in understanding the differences between my old views and the views of Orthodoxy about the nature of sin and salvation.


Unique Users