Musings from the High Desert Contemplations on Orthodox Christianity from Las Cruces, New Mexico
Start date: January 2011 92 episodes
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle has served in ministry in a variety of settings for four-plus decades. He has served in college chaplaincy, seminary teaching, university teaching, interfaith relations, and parish ministry. He continues to explore and deepen his understanding of the Christian faith in relation to other faith traditions and cultural issues. His interest in the languages of faith, especially Hebrew and Greek, remains undiminished after long years in ministry, and he continues to derive new insight from their study. In this series, he will share from his wide range of insights, imaginings, and interests.
|Date||Title & Description||Duration|
|May 13, 2015||
This week Fr. Gabriel narrates a composite view of the "awe-inspiring rites of initiation" as they may have been experienced around the turn of the 4th and 5th Centuries. Although this narrative is a fabrication, it follows quite closely what we know about baptism, chrismation/confirmation, and the first reception of eucharist from sources such as the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and On the Sacraments by St. Ambrose of Milan.
|Apr 29, 2015||
This week Fr. Gabriel surveys what we can discern of a catechetical process already within the pages of the New Testament, with a brief look backward at the concept emerging in the Old Testament. What we find when we look at the New Testament is really two parts, kerygma (proclamation) and didache (teaching, especially ethics). We will look at a number of references that give us a fairly good idea of what the early church was requiring of candidates for baptism.
|Apr 15, 2015||
This week Fr. Gabriel discusses the meaning of ritual from a number of angles with insights from Mary Douglas and Ron Grimes, scholars of ritual. He moves from there to discuss the four types of Christian ritual and then launches into a discussion of Ritual Process, an anthropological perspective and study that began with Arnold von Gennep in the early 20th Century and which was greatly enhanced through the work of Victor and Edith Turner. Fr. Gabriel believes that this extensive background material will serve as a useful template when we turn next to the history of catechesis, beginning with the New Testament.
|Apr 01, 2015||
In this segment, Fr. Gabriel discusses church as a community both wrapped around and enwrapped by the Blessed Holy Trinity. We enter this community through a shared set of symbols, image, and rituals, and these bind us to one another in love. With the diminution of community in our time we also experience a loss of the symbolic world, and vice versa. This world of images, rituals, and symbols is at the heart of community in Christ—and catechesis has always been about involving people in that world. Fr Gabriel then moves to a brief discussion of St. Augustine's Instructing Beginners in Faith, a manual he produced for a friend. The treatise is important because Augustine addresses people who are in an interim period between having come to faith and becoming catechumens.
|Mar 16, 2015||
Before we move on to consider historical models for catechesis, we have to confront the major difficulty with the entire process. That is this: We are attempting to say the unsayable, think the unthinkable, and express the inexpressible. We are trying to wrap words around the experience of God in order to communicate it to others. At the heart of catechesis is our search not to gain knowledge (gnosis) but rather to enter into the mind of the church (phronema). Fr. Gabriel contemplates these issues in this second installment of Flame in the Mind.
|Mar 04, 2015||
Fr Gabriel returns after a hiatus with a new series. We Orthodox Christians profess our faith in a context of diminished understandings of all forms of Christianity, when a plethora of religious institutions claim to be "church," and when people have an almost blank concept of our place in the faith historically and theologically. We are a breed apart, indeed, and we are blessed to be "discovered" by motivated and intelligent people who are searching for deep roots and faithful traditions. In order to move forward in the 21st century, we will need to create or renew patterns of catechesis for this time. Fr. Gabriel will begin with historical and anthropological overviews of "rites of passage" and move forward from there. Please join in.
|Oct 17, 2014||
Israel is very much in the news these days. The Gaza Conflict, the never-ending attempt at a peace process, the rise of anti-Semitism and the turn against Israel in recent years are very much upon us. As Christians we have a sense that Israel is our spiritual homeland and so we watch with interest and concern. Fr Gabriel introduces us this time to a noteworthy book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit, a major Israeli journalist and commentator. This book, which reads like a well-written novel, offers a narrative introduction to the history of contemporary Israel that will grab your attention and that leaves you with the questions that Israel itself faces as the country tries to move forward. This is not a work of either praise or condemnation, but an overview of the paradoxes and complicated issues Israel has either created or faces now and in the future.
|Sep 24, 2014||
In this review, Fr. Gabriel continues with further consideration of resources for Old Testament study. In an attempt to assist people to understand contemporary research and interpretation of Old Testament texts, this week he looks at two books by Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? and The Bible with Sources Revealed. The latter book may well be considered Friedman's masterpiece. Friedman's work is highly respected among Biblical scholars, and he has paid particular attention for years to the contemporary use of the documentary hypothesis, which relates to the compilation of particularly the first five books of the Old Testament. He teaches at UC-San Diego.
|Sep 10, 2014||
Fr. Gabriel commends Fr. Eugen Pentiuc's new book from Oxford University Press, The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition. This is an important and unique new resource; nothing exists like it in the world of biblical interpretation. Though many aspects of Fr Pentiuc's book may be approached through monographs, essays, articles, and other books, no other resource pulls them together as does his. The two parts of the book are Reception and Interpretation, and his concluding chapter is on the Church's iconographic representations of the Old Testament. Highly recommended!
|Jun 05, 2014||
Fr. Gabriel spends some time musing on three major reasons why it is so difficult for traditional Christianity to get a hearing in the United States these days, and then moves on to the theme of commitment, which leads into the spiritual journey in a serious way.
|May 09, 2014||
Fr. Gabriel undertakes musings in this Paschal season about the basics and center of the faith. These will be exploratory, and certainly not definitive, notes on the search for a genuine and deep spirituality that is Christian, Orthodox, and open to the present and the future. Fr. Gabriel invites you into these musings as a conversation partner; please feel free to write with comments.
|Apr 02, 2014||
Turning again toward contemporary Biblical studies, Fr. Gabriel swiftly surveys recent research into Jesus and Paul and then turns to one representative volume in current Pauline studies—The First Paul by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg. Their names may be familiar as members of the controversial Jesus seminar, but this book is quite accessible, very well-written, and the authors give us clear and simple insights into how Paul is currently viewed in scholarly circles.
|Mar 12, 2014||
After considering the issue of pride, Fr. Gabriel turns back to books—particularly to books that relate to the issue of sin and grace. So this week we look at the twofold work by Archimandrite Sophrony on the life and teaching of St. Silouan the Athonite, The Monk of Mount Athos, and Wisdom from Mount Athos. Many people have been touched by these books (available also in one volume entitled St. Silouan the Athonite), and Fr. Gabriel has turned to them for his lenten reading again this year.
|Feb 19, 2014||
Fr. Gabriel turns aside from the concentration on books to deal with a heartfelt matter—how pride works to break up community and harm people, especially within the Church. At the heart of what the monastic founder John Cassian called the "deadly sins" following Evagrius Ponticus, pride is the worst of the lot and the inspiring agent for all the others. Let's look at pride's deadly work.
|Jan 22, 2014||
Pani-matka Susan continues and concludes her reflections on books for St. Nicholas and the Christmas Season. Pani-matka Susan and Fr. Gabriel would be eager to receive suggestions of other books and resources that listeners have found spiritually nourishing for children at the Christmas season, and we will pass that information on at a later date.
|Jan 09, 2014||
Fr. Gabriel interviews Pani-matka Susan about her favorite books that relate to Christmas and St Nicholas, particularly discussing ones that can be used in Sunday School and for family devotions, and two books that speak to Jewish-Christian relations at this time of the year. Included is the book that inspired their decade-long tradition of St Nicholas cookies (see website). We hope this will be helpful to people for next year's celebration. View Attachment
|Dec 11, 2013||
Most listeners will be familiar with C.S. Lewis and his works of both theology and fantasy because he has had so much influence, particularly on people who have become Christian through his works. In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel introduces the wider circle of his friends, known as the Inklings, a group that met in the 1930s and 1940s at the Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford England for discussion of their literary pursuits and interests. Fr. Gabriel also includes a few readings from the wonderful Screwtape Letters (1942).
|Nov 21, 2013||
In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel offers a survey of materials that open for us the Prayer of the Heart, commonly known as the Jesus Prayer. The key example is, of course, the anonymous 19th-century Russian text known as The Way of a Pilgrim, but there are numerous resources that lead us into the prayer other than that very popular book. Join us for an overview. View Attachment
|Nov 06, 2013||
Oliver Davies is well known in Great Britain and Europe as a scholar of Celtic Christianity. He is the author of Celtic Spirituality in the prestigious series Classics of Western Spirituality from Paulist Press. Here Fr. Gabriel reviews his book Celtic Christianity in Early Medieval Wales. Listeners will not find this an esoteric offering at all, but rather a heartwarming regional appropriation of Orthodox Christianity.
|Oct 16, 2013||
David Jones (1895-1975) is the subject of this podcast. Not generally well-known in the United States, David Jones has been the subject of ongoing exploration by many people here and abroad regarding the overlap and cross-fertilization between art and faith, specifically Christian faith. Jones was an Anglo-Welsh artist who specialized in line drawings and watercolor but whose epic poetry was of equal importance to his artwork. Father Gabriel has long appreciated Jones's work and invites you to listen in as he unveils Jones for you. View Attachment
|Oct 09, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel, reflecting on several comments recently made by parish members, turns to a consideration of The Mind of the Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, a book he has read five times and which he wishes everyone would read. Metropolitan Hierotheos describes the mind of the Christian and details the twin engine for its development: sacramental life and ascetic discipline.
|Sep 25, 2013||
Fr Gabriel turns to his great love, Biblical studies, and discusses two books from the mid-20th Century that were and continue to be deeply influential in his life. These were written by the British scholar C. H. Dodd, who was called the greatest New Testament scholar of his era. Dodd's books were small—Fr. Gabriel calls his writing "concise, clear, and succinct"—but they were of great importance to many Bible students. These two books are The Apostolic Preaching and Its Development (1936) and According to the Scriptures (1952). In the first of these, Dodd traced the roots of New Testament documents, not through theology primarily but through the need for preaching texts. In the second, Dodd gives a thorough presentation of major Old Testament passages shared by early writers to substantiate Jesus as Messiah.
|Sep 11, 2013||
After some notes to explain the genuine meaning of Inter-Religious Dialogue, Fr Gabriel turns to a 2010 book by the Dalai Lama, Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together, which is about 40% autobiography, 40% interpretation of world religions, and 20% program for compassionate relationships between religions. The Dalai Lama attempts to move us beyond violence into understanding.
|Aug 30, 2013||
The Psalms are the beloved hymnbook of Israel and the Church. They are also the inspiration for much of the prayer life of the church, both east and west. In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel explores the literary structure of the Psalms, which helps to explain their winsome and enchanting power. He explains the different categories of Psalms and reads some of his favorites.
|Aug 18, 2013||
In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel discusses one of his favorite books on spiritual care from the Lutheran tradition. He has cherished this book for some forty years now and used it in his former teaching life at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. It is titled The Hammer of God and was written by the Rev. Bo Giertz, a biblical scholar, parish priest in rural and urban settings, and Bishop of the Diocese of Gothenburg, Sweden. Though this book comes from another tradition, Fr. Gabriel knows that you will find in its story and content good news for your heart and mind.
|Jul 31, 2013||
In this segment, Fr. Gabriel muses momentarily on his own intellectual history of reading, and then discusses one of his all-time favorite books, which he has read many times: Fr Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World.
|Jul 17, 2013||
In this follow-up to the introduction to New Paths, Fr Gabriel gives an overview of the six units of the course itself—Holiness, Covenant, Rejection, Conflict, Hope, and Encounter—and invites listeners to discern how and where they might utilize this course in local congregations.
|Jul 02, 2013||
In this episode outside the current theme of books, Fr. Gabriel talks about the backing institutions and the rationale for a new adult course for Christian churches on Israel, past and present and, to some extent, future. This course has been in the making for over a year and Fr. Gabriel has been on the development team. You are encouraged to check out the website. In the next episode, Fr. Gabriel will discuss the content of the course.
|Jun 19, 2013||
This week, Fr. Gabriel looks at the work of Boris Pasternak, the great Russian poet whose one novel, Doctor Zhivago, was made into a movie in the mid-sixties, and both book and movie remain enduring classics. Fr. Gabriel spoke about the novel at the Branigan Library in Las Cruces on the occasion of the publication of a new translation. A written copy of this essay is available on the church website.
|Jun 05, 2013||
This time Fr. Gabriel turns from the writers of the other Europe, symbolized by Bohumil Hrabal's work which he spoke about last time, back to the Church. Again looking at the life and overall work of one particular person, he turns to his favorite writer on prayer, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom (memory eternal), Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in England. After an overview of Metropolitan Anthony's life, Fr. Gabriel reads excerpts from two books, Beginning to Pray and Living Prayer. There are two important websites for those who want to learn more about Metropolitan Anthony: http://www.masarchive.org, which contains his writings; and http://www.mitras.ru, the official site.
|May 22, 2013||
In this segment, Fr. Gabriel talks more about his fascination with language and then moves into a consideration of the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, best known in the United States for his novels Closely Watched Trains, I Served the King of England, and Too Loud a Solitude, the first two of which were made into award-winning movies. Hrabal was a comic writer with an ironic edge and a great example of those relatively few writers who managed to slip through barriers that the communist regimes erected against intellectuals and artists. Fr. Gabriel ends with portions of Hrabal's novel Gaps, the third in a trilogy about his life written from the viewpoint of his wife Eliska.
|May 08, 2013||
In this series, Fr Gabriel will offer reviews of books from a wide range of interests that have touched him and which he believes either have touched or could touch you. The series will cover novels and poetry, as well as theology, New and Old Testament studies, and specifically Orthodox books. Stay tuned! We hope that you will enjoy these reviews.
|Apr 24, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel concludes his series on Christianity and Philosophy with a discussion of postmodernism.
|Apr 17, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel addresses nihilism.
|Apr 03, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel explains why the mystical pathway, which involves the approach called "negative" theology, is our best hope in terms of knowing God.
|Mar 14, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel examines the historic and traditional philosophical proofs for the existence of God as a preliminary for another way to look at God through relationship.
|Feb 27, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the three traditional philosophical theories of how truth is determined.
|Feb 13, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel continues his discussion of the relationship between religion and philosophy.
|Jan 30, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the distinctions between religion, philosophy, and theology in response to some listener queries.
|Jan 16, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel discusses who we are as persons in the Christian understanding, how we should think about the world, and what should be at the heart of our perception.
|Jan 02, 2013||
Fr. Gabriel invites listeners to consider Christianity as a genuine and full philosophy of life.
|Dec 19, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the Jewish antecedents to the concept of Remembrance, the Lord's Prayer, and some aspects of the Anaphora in the Divine Liturgy from the prayer known as the Eighteen Benedictions.
|Dec 05, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel examines the history of the lectionary.
|Nov 07, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the development of the liturgy over the course of the first six or so centuries in the Christian era.
|Nov 06, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the Chaburah (the Friendship Meal) that forms the background for the Last Supper.
|Oct 24, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the Upper Room and the Eucharist and explores the theological relationship of Passover to Christ.
|Oct 10, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the background to the Divine Liturgy in Jewish temple practice.
|Sep 26, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel introduces the Orthodox Theological Society of America, which is an organization comprised of professors who teach about Orthodoxy in university settings.
|Sep 12, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel asks, "Who or what is a prophet, and does Jesus qualify?"
|Aug 29, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel examines the theology and texts that came before St. Paul in order to prove that he was an inheritor and not an inventor of the Christian faith.
|Aug 17, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel explores a number of different facets of the thought and writings of St. Maximus the Confessor, which he compares to the facets on a diamond that shine as you turn the stone.
|Aug 01, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel shares some expanded notes on Matthew 9:1-8 within the theme of Jewish/Christian relations.
|Jul 18, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel concludes his series on Jewish/Christian relations. Here he asks, "Where do we go from here?"
|Jul 05, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel provides an overview of developments in Jewish-Christian relations since the Second World War.
|Jun 21, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel recounts the tragic history of the Jews throughout the centuries.
|Jun 06, 2012||
Partings of the Ways? Fr. Gabriel asks us to consider these issues before we draw conclusions.
|May 24, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel begins describing the manner in which Judaism and Christianity parted ways.
|May 09, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel examines the three quests for the historic Jesus.
|Apr 25, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel clarifies some aspects of his approach to the question of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. View Attachment
|Apr 11, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel explores the relationship between Christian and Jewish worship.
|Mar 31, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel concludes his examination of scriptural interpretation with a discussion of the literal, allegorical, and typological approaches to exegesis.
|Mar 15, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel explains how Judaism and Christianity began to move apart through the interpretive structures that govern their understanding of the Scriptures over the first several centuries.
|Mar 01, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel begins his inquiry into Jewish-Christian relations by looking at the Scriptures. What Bible are we talking about, anyway?
|Feb 20, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel introduces his new series on the relationship between Orthodox Christianity and Judaism throughout the centuries.
|Feb 01, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel concludes his series on Celtic Christianity with a discussion of the Celtic church as it was shaped by the unique spirituality found in Celtic lands.
|Jan 18, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the distinctive marks of Celtic Christianity having to do with the Faith.
|Jan 04, 2012||
Fr. Gabriel addresses the Anam-chara tradition of spiritual friendship. View Attachment
|Dec 21, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel discusses John Scottus Eriugena, whom many consider the most brilliant philosopher and theologian of the West.
|Dec 07, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel discusses Pelagius and the Penitential tradition. View Attachment
|Nov 22, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel continues a two-part discussion of Celtic monasticism and book production. View Attachment
|Nov 09, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel begins a two-part discussion of Celtic monasticism and book production. View Attachment
|Oct 28, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel discusses Saints Brigid of Kildare, Ita of Killeedy, and Hilda of Whitby.
|Oct 12, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the lives and ministries of Saints Aidan and Cuthbert.
|Sep 28, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel introduces us to "the Dove of the Church" St. Columba, the inspiration for the great Book of Kells, that masterpiece of the Celtic calligraphic tradition.
|Sep 14, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel backs up a little bit to talk about Celtic culture as a whole.
|Aug 30, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel shares one of his favorite Celtic hymns, "The Breastplate of St. Patrick," and then discusses several Celtic saints. (Click on the small Adobe icon to see the attached bibliography of resources on Celtic Christianity.) View Attachment
|Aug 18, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel demonstrates how monasticism, particularly that of the "pilgrim" variety, was at the heart of Celtic Christianity.
|Aug 03, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel introduces his new series on Celtic Christianity and shares three prayers from the Celtic tradition.
|Jul 18, 2011||23:27|
|Jun 27, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel gives us an update on the progress and growth of St. Anthony of the Desert Orthodox Mission in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
|Jun 13, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel explains how a unity of soul and body is one of the ways that we can experience resurrection in this life.
|May 31, 2011||
Frt. Gabriel asks, "Could it be that you have placed the Resurrection of Christ in the past?"
|May 16, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel asks the question, "How do we maintain a balance between spirit and form in the Church?"
|May 03, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel meditates on the perennial problem of spirit versus form in the Church.
|Apr 11, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel discusses the first petition of the prayer after the anaphora and before the Lord's Prayer in the Divine Liturgy.
|Mar 30, 2011||
Where was authority in the early Church, and what does it mean for us today? Fr. Gabriel answers these questions and more on a new Musings from the High Desert.
|Mar 14, 2011||
According to St. James, religion consists of caring for the misfortunate and training ourselves to edify and maintain the Christian life.
|Feb 28, 2011||
On a new Musings from the High Desert, Fr. Gabriel Rochelle shares his understanding of where we are in American Christianity at the start of 2011.
|Feb 14, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel describes the difference in understanding between the Christian East and the Christian West when it comes to the Incarnation, sin, grace, and redemption.
|Feb 02, 2011||
Fr. Gabriel reminds us that, in the words of St. Theophan the Recluse, "irascibility is extinguished like a spark by surrendering to God's will."
|Jan 17, 2011||
A recent discussion with a friend causes Fr. Gabriel to reflect on the pervasiveness of Western thought.
|Jan 03, 2011||
A fall cycling trip reminds Fr. Gabriel that we are always just beginning to pray.