Knowing Saints

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 7, 2016 There are many stories of saints in the Orthodox world, including contemporary ones. Their biographies are sometimes remarkable, sometimes not. Their stories are occasionally marked by miracles, but not always. I cannot think of a single characteristic that makes them like one another apart from their sanctity. And that quality does not make them so much like one another as so completely and truly themselves. I have had

The Change We Should Believe In

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 25, 2016  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Co 3:18) Among the many losses within modern Christianity has been the place of transformation. Nineteenth-century revival movements and theology emphasized a single experience that was associated with salvation. Those who concerned

Conversations with a Flatlander

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 12, 2016  I have been engaged in what appears to be a useless conversation. I’m having a private email chat with an atheist/materialist who insists that there are no miracles – everything can be explained by “natural” means and that the world will be better off when everyone finally agrees this is true. He is a crusader. I have no explanations or apologies for the conversation and know that it

The Hidden Gospel

By Stephen Freeman, January 8, 2016  There is a genre of Scriptural writings that are described as “apocalyptic.” The book of Revelation, in Greek, is called “The Apocalypse.” Ezekiel and Daniel also have very strong passages described as apocalyptic. The term is very straightforward: it means “revealing what is hidden.” These books are described as “making known hidden things,” because their message is disguised under rather outlandish descriptions: beasts with ten horns, heavenly cities, and

You Barely Make a Difference and It’s a Good Thing

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 1, 2015 You are not saving the world. In fact, you barely make a difference. These are harsh words. They are meant like a splash of cold water to wake us up from the dream in which we live. They are by no means meant to say that you don’t matter. In fact, you have infinite value. But your value is not based on saving the world or making a difference. I’ll

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Second Friday of Pascha: The Boundaries We Draw and the Boundaries God Draws

By Stephen Freeman, May 1, 2008 I pushed the envelope a little in my last post, intentionally pressing against what I understand to be false boundaries created by an inadequate understanding of Scripture and a view of the world that establishes limits at places they need not be. I am not an enemy of boundaries – indeed – without them we would not exist – at least not as Persons. Even though the Orthodox faith

Palm Sunday

At the outset of His public ministry Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God and announced that the powers of the age to come were already active in the present age (Lk 7.18-22). His words and mighty works were performed “to produce repentance as the response to His call, a call to an inward change of mind and heart which would result in concrete changes in one’s life, a call to follow Him and accept His

The Third Friday of Great Lent: Before Thy Cross

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 26, 2011  Sunday, the third in Lent, is set aside to honor the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross. I offer these thoughts: In a short work, The Beginning of the Day, (I believe it was a special printing and is not generally available), Met. Kallistos Ware notes this about the Cross and its connection with the whole of creation: …[The] created order in its entirety participated in the Savior’s Passion: the earth shook,

The Elves Have Left the Building

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 3, 2015  Children, at their best, have an amazing ability to wonder. The world is fresh and new for them, with many things being seen and encountered for the very first time. They sometimes come to wrong conclusions, but even their wrong conclusions can be revealing to adults. Adults often fall into habit when it comes to experiencing the world. We drive to and from work by the same routes

Unavoidable Suffering and Salvation – The Way of Shame

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 13, 2015  At the heart of the modern narrative is a concern to alleviate and even eliminate suffering. This understanding is rooted in the Christian virtue of compassion. In many ways, however, modern compassion has been detached from its original context and become a thing-in-itself. Modernity is an arena where compassion has run amok, and, ironically, promises to create new and unique miseries in its wake. The Christian gospel is