On Holiness…

The thing about holiness, though, is that the point of it is not to steer clear of all that is unholy; it’s not about retreating from “the world” and existing in some perfect space untainted by temptations and immoral sights and sounds. This only leads to legalism and a neutered, irrelevant witness.

Rather, the point of holiness is positive: to live in the world, reflecting Christ and his holiness outward in the way that we live our lives. Holiness is more complicated than just abstaining from a checklist of vices. Does holiness require us to avoid certain activities? Certainly. But fleeing from potential hazards is only part of the story.

Written from an Evangelical Christian perspective this article asks questions worth the consideration of Orthodox Christians as well. Read more here.

The Truth Is…

I’ve gotten tired of all the shuffling and moving and behind the scenes stuff that seems to characterize the Orthodox headlines these days. It just seems like it’s all about keeping the Church in stasis through continued organizational crises. It’s a perfect plan. Keep the Church immobilized with questions of titles and politics while the rest of the world slides off the deep end without any help.

Imagine how different things would be if we were arguing about how best to serve the poor and needy. What if our debates were about strategies for the conversion of America? What if our mighty struggles were about how best to deepen our knowledge and practice of the Faith? How would it be if we just prayed a minute for each minute spent on Facebook or blogs arguing the minute details of who gets what?

I think there’s only one viable solution. All of us removed from the trappings of power simply  need to do and be what we except our leaders to do and be and let the holiness and sense of purpose in us flow until its sweet water washes over our parishes and the greater culture.

Don’t wait to be led to pray, pray now. Serve the poor. Witness to the Gospel. Grow in your faith. Do good. Give alms. Worship with passion. Seek holiness in your own life and in doing so it will create a climate of holiness that will trickle up, through, and around the Church.

In time if the people will lead the leaders will follow.

A Definition of Holiness…

Holiness is not something that is just about the saints, whose icons we venerate and whose lives we read about. Holiness is better understood as wholeness, made whole, or healed. We seek healing from the darkness and estrangement that we’ve inherited as a result of the fall. We seek out the God of righteousness Who alone can heal us of our infirmity. As Christ increases in us, our fallen nature decreases. In monastic obedience, the self is replaced by the will of God and the ego is trampled down.

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