Daily Meditations

MASHUP: Conversations about Cinema and the Church (Part I)

By Paul Lundberg Perhaps you’ve seen a trailer for the movie Cowboys and Aliens. And perhaps you’ve wondered, “Has it come to this?” Have we exhausted every possible storyline to the point that we now must combine genres to come up with something new? Apparently it has, and it boasts the star power of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford-a.k.a. James Bond and Indiana Jones. When I first saw the trailer for this movie, conflict between

Truth and the Times: The Culture Conundrum (Part III)

An Interview with His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh PRAXIS: Even so, one might argue, St. Basil was writing about Homer, and Homer wasn’t hip-hop. St. Paul appealed to poets, not comic books. They were appealing to the high culture of their day, to the classical literature, not television comedies. METROPOLITAN SAVAS: You’re right. But one of the distinctive features of our day, as opposed to theirs, is that the dominant culture doesn’t distinguish as

Truth and the Times: The Culture Conundrum (Part II)

An Interview with His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh PRAXIS: How would you address the concerns of those who question the legitimacy of any attempt to communicated the eternal truths of the Gospel of Christ in the ephemeral terms of popular culture, those who characterize the effort as a trivialization, a casting of pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6), even a kind of blasphemy? METROPOLITAN SAVAS: There have always been, from the beginning of the Church’s

Truth and the Times: The Culture Conundrum (Part I)

An Interview with His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh PRAXIS: Your Eminence, you’ve acquired something of a reputation for your openness to popular culture. How do you reconcile your role as a bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church, a Church that prides itself on its fidelity to tradition, with your willingness to engage the rapidly changing and generally irreverent world of pop culture? METROPOLITAN SAVAS: You say “change” as if it’s a bad thing! I

Finding God in Popular Culture (Part II)

By Anton C. Vrame, PhD The Borrowed The second level of religion in popular media has two related dimensions. We can see pieces that are not based on a “religious source” or those that use “religious ideas” extensively. Babette’s Feast is a story about a Christian community by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) that was beautifully adapted into a movie. Many of the ideas it presents are deeply theological (and it includes perhaps one of the

Finding God in Popular Culture (Part I)

By Anton C. Vrame, PhD Walk into a museum, read a novel, listen to a popular song, or go to the cineplex, and most likely you can find God or “the religious” in these elements of our culture. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not. If we treat these elements like texts to be studied and apply some of our skills as interpreters, we can treat these contemporary-popular sources in meaningful ways and “open them up” for


NAKED, small and helpless, you now pass on to the most difficult of all human tasks: to conquer your own selfish desires. Ultimately it is just this “self-persecution” on which your warfare depends, for as long as your selfish will rules, you cannot pray to the Lord with a pure heart: Thy will be done. If you cannot get rid of your own greatness, neither can you lay yourself open for real greatness. If you

The Waterwheel of God’s Love

A Threefold God totally lets go of any boundaries for the sake of the Other, and then receives them back from Another. It is a nonstop waterwheel of Love. Each accepts that He is fully accepted by the Other, and then passes on that total acceptance. Thus indeed, “God is Love”! It’s the same spiritual journey for all of us, for it takes most of our life to accept that we are accepted—and to accept

9/11 and Grace

I do not set aside the grace of God. (Gal 2:21) Before being ordained a priest in 1984, I used to work for Bankers Trust in New York, next to the Twin Towers. At lunchtime I would often walk across the pedestrian bridge that connected the bank to the World Trade Center and get something to eat from the food court. The attack on 9/11 also wrecked the Bankers Trust building beyond repair so it’s

Right Living and Right Speaking

Right Living and Right Speaking To be a witness for God is to be a living sign of God’s presence in the world. What we live is more important than what we say, because the right way of living always leads to the right way of speaking. When we forgive our neighbors from our hearts, our hearts will speak forgiving words. When we are grateful, we will speak grateful words, and when we are hopeful