For Your Consideration…

http://frjohnpeck.com/spirituality-may-build-resilience-against-depression-by-toughening-the-brain-study-suggests/

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Imagine There’s no Football…

or any other professional sport for that matter. What would happen?

The answer, in a nutshell is “Nothing.”

If all of the sudden the NFL, or any other league, just disappeared there may be some initial shock but then everyone would just adapt. The time you would’ve spent watching or attending sports events would be filled with something else, perhaps even something better.

The money you would have spent would either be saved or directed towards some other kind of activity. After all professional sports don’t “bring” money to a place they simply rearrange the existing money to themselves over and above other choices. If there was no NFL people would spend the money they used to use for the NFL somewhere else, say a local restaurant or other venue. People in Omaha, for example, don’t have a professional football team so what do they do instead of buying tickets? They either save or spend the money on something else in town and the benefits go, not to a billionaire owner of a sports franchise, but rather to a local business or other entity.

The time you would have spent would also be redirected towards something else as well, again something possibly better. People might go outside and take a walk, do something as a family or take a drive. They could even, gasp, talk to each other and build better relationships or just use the time as a way to rest from a busy week. You could even consider going to church! I know, I may be pushing it a bit but I had to throw that in there.

The point is this. There has never been a time in the history of this country when professional sports of any kind have been a necessity. They can provide moments of fun, drama, and community but so can a lot of things that don’t cost hundreds of dollars. I would venture to say that if your favorite franchise just packed up and went away that no one would die and in a little while people would simply adjust and do something else, perhaps something even better than eating 10 dollar plus hot dogs.

Quite frankly, they need you and you don’t actually need them. The world is full of other things to do and when you know that you come to realize you have more power than you thought.

We Live…

in a post truth culture. We can frame our positions and arguments for the Orthodox Faith by the strictest rules of logic and people will say “So what? That’s your truth.”

We live in a post authority culture so simply saying “This is what the Church has always taught” may have little or no weight with the larger society.

We live in a post knowledge culture and people may not even have the slightest idea of the words and terms we use or their context. How will we be able to speak of, for example, “Salvation” when the average person may have little understanding of what that word means, and especially how we mean it?

But people will, if they see what we believe demonstrated by the tangible outworking of our lives, at least have something solid to grab a hold of as they try to understand what we are saying in a world without truth, authority, or knowledge as they have been formerly understood.

In the end, therefore, perhaps one of the most profound and useful things we can do as Orthodox is to actually be, Orthodox.

 

I Hate My Country…

sometimes. We can be a very selfish people, self-centered, greedy, and given to violence. Often we seem like a culture with only goods and services and no soul, no heart, and nothing beyond the next gadget to buy. We can be promiscuous and vile, indulgent to our every whim as if it were the entire definition of our existence, and every feeling has become, for us, an ultimate truth to be defended at all costs.

I love my country…

because there is amazing beauty here, everything from the arctic to the tropical in one country. There is goodness here, as well, and if you understand that the movies, the TV, and the news aren’t documentaries so much as lurid attempts to get you to watch you’ll notice kindness, civility, charity, and friendliness in many places. We’re always among the most charitable nations on Earth and even though we could always do more we’re still moved by the poverty and tragedy of others. We forget them sometimes, but we really do have high ideals and there are very few countries that are as diverse of people, faith, and vision and yet have somehow still found a way to be together.

And because I love my country I recognize everything that’s wrong but still believe in what’s good and right and decent about us all. I enjoy traveling the world but this is home and I plan on fighting for the best of it, not with force or violence but by trying to be the best and most honorable person I can and by living my Faith to the greatest extent possible. I can’t control the past, but today, and the future, are surely something I can make better. And every time in the Liturgy when we pray for our nation, its leaders, the armed forces, every city and countryside and the faithful who dwell in them, I’ll mean it like I always have and perhaps even more.

There are moments…

black-and-white-pictures-phone-34252.jpgwhen I wonder if it’s too late. If the decline and fall has been too great. If the hate is too strong. If the sickness is too deep. If the case is terminal.

There are moments when I light a candle at church and just throw up a prayer for any and everything because I’m not sure what else to say other than “God you know and because you know you care and will handle things…”

There are moments when the world I knew as a child seems like a million years ago and the world I know now is a stranger to me, a place I inhabit like a permanent tourist seeing the sights but never really sleeping in my own bed.

Hearts have grown cold. Apathy is the cure for despair. And more often than I would like to admit, I’m tired. Yet I know there is Light somewhere and everything pure and holy may be deeply hidden but still visible to the discerning eye. So I keep praying, and looking.

Perhaps the only and best thing for me is to keep close to whatever Light I find and keep it lit as a gift to people yet born who will rediscover and rekindle it for themselves. If nothing happens in my lifespan it will at least be something to leave behind, a treasure infinitely more important than money.

Perhaps, too, in my journeys I will discover fellow travelers and for brief moments in time when our lives intertwine we can see what the future will one day be in the shared warmth of our holy flame.

Regardless, I have no intention of giving up. In a plan larger than my own I was brought into the world in this time and so everything, my purpose, my hope, and my reasons are all here. By God’s grace I plan to make the most of it and leave the rest up to heaven.

Perhaps that’s part of what they mean by the word “Faith.”