Rich folks and Christ


The longer I try to stay in the ring, the more I understand how critical it is for followers of Christ to shed their worldly possessions.

No matter how much we fat westerners try to deny it, we can’t fit through the narrow needle eye with all of our goods.

I subscribe to Facebook, unfortunately, and the chatter I see on it daily of many of my Christian friends who spend as much time talking up their worldly things as they do seeking the kingdom of God makes me understand that only a blessed few get it. And probably not even in our hemisphere. Rich men don’t get saved.

I had my chances — at every juncture I blew it, I chose the wide way, not the narrow path.

I stayed in a religious community up in Alaska and they limited the amount of cash that we could keep on hand. We didn’t really buy things for ourselves and we worked for the community. I was very bad at it. That was the closest I have come to Christ, and like my namesake, I walked away at a critical moment — too selfish for the kingdom of heaven.

Now I am heading back home (after a long 18 months away) to my parish, and I am afraid that my level of worldliness will fit right in with the rest of the flock.

We are made intoxicated by our riches and in steep denial. And we are good at justifying our fatness.


Two Superstorms the Bookends in a Troubled Life Phase


Two years ago, roughly, a storm named Sandy raced up the eastern seaboard and collapsed on the New York metro area. I lived in NJ with my family. It was exciting but terrible. The area, especially the Jersey Shore, got destroyed. We were 50 miles from the coast and got lucky with only a couple of power outages.

My life then was hurtling into troubled waters. I made some bad decisions right after the storm, after huddling with my family in the supermarket with dozens of other families.

Within a few months, I would be cast out of my own family abode, going from institution to institution, eventually leaving the state — Pennsylvania, Arizona, Alaska, and now Washington.

And now I sit, 3,000-plus miles from my family, watching the next storm roll up from the west — Typhoon Nuri, crashing into the Aleutian Islands, now just west of Adak. In Everett, Washington, we are completely safe from the storm — we might even gain an improvement in our weather pattern.

But there are spiritual forces at work here. Strangely, these two superstorms Sandy and Nuri could be two bookends for me… I sense that I am being released from the demonic forces that held me so twisted and tight for those years, as I was led screaming away from the people in the world that I loved the most.

Now, I am ready to head east, the details are unclear, but the path ahead is straight and sure, and I feel, for the first time two years, oddly, clear and true. Let’s hope and pray that this weird pattern I am seeing is true!


Happy Lazarus Saturday Eve!


Happy Lazarus Saturday Eve! It’s the Anniversary of my and my son Johan’s baptism in Christ. http://ow.ly/vHf2j

I remember the event five years ago like it was yesterday. It was pouring rain. I brought in my entire family, most of whom are not Orthodox, and had to fend off difficult questions and pretend that I didn’t hear unpleasant asides that I overheard.

Now, from the vantage point of history, the day seems so magical to me. Well, more mystical than magical, because my memory of it is tempered with heart-pain.

I sit here alone and estranged. I can only dream of the day I’ll see my family again, intact.

With God, all things are possible. But then, when we don’t walk with God and seek after our own worldly contentment, then how thin is that life!

As I recall our baptismal gifts, I think of the words of St. Barsanuphius of Egypt, who said, “Every gift is received through pain of heart.”


A Russian mayor went on record claiming


A Russian mayor went on record claiming that Spruce Island should be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Stayed tuned for a story on that…


Using public computers can be like music


Using public computers can be like musical chairs… depending on whether your neighbors are talking to themselves, grunting, or just plain stink.


Using public computers can be like music


Using public computers can be like musical chairs… depending on whether your neighbors are talking to themselves, grunting, or just plain stink.


Just a whim — St. Basil the Blessed


vasblazhJust a whim — St. Basil the Blessed

That famous cathedral in Moscow is named after St. Basil, a holy fool. Here’s an icon of him. In the U.S. the man would be scorned, ridiculed, and thrown in an asylum. Probably anywhere in the world today he would be treated likewise (even Russia).

Not so in his day.

Then they recognized him for what he was: holy.


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