Transcripts

Glory to God

Glory to God

Justice, Forgiveness, and Bearing a Little Shame

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With this podcast, Fr. Stephen begins a series in which he looks at the reality of shame and its place in our emotional and spiritual lives. He introduces us to the teaching of the Elder Sophrony that we must learn to "bear a little shame."

Beginning with this podcast and a number following it, I want to touch on the topic of shame. I’m not going to try to do a systematic treatment, but I’m going to be discussing it from a variety of angles. I wanted to begin, though, by giving something of a small definition of shame. This is something of a clinical definition, drawn from the works of psychologists, but it’s also very much in line with the tradition of the faith.

Generally,…

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Glory to God

No Opinions Needed

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Fr. Stephen looks at the role of the passions in the formation of the modern soul. There is a better way to live.

There is a name for the Orthodox way of life. It is hesychia. In Greek, the word means “silence.” It could also be rendered “stillness,” or “quiet.” Far more than simply refraining from speech, it is the quiet of the heart, the stillness of the mind at rest in God, dwelling in peace. It is in this place that we primarily encounter God. Now, God certainly makes himself known even in stormy circumstances, but when the soul…

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Glory to God

Christmas Throughout the Ages

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Fr. Stephen offers thoughts on the daily consequences of the "Word made flesh" and suggests ways that we might live Christmas every day of our lives.

I’ll have to ask for forgiveness at the outset of this podcast, mostly because of its speculative nature. Generally I prefer not to engage in too much speculation, at least not in the context of this podcast or when I’m writing for others to read. The incarnation of Christ, which we celebrate in the feast of Christ’s nativity, the feast of the Word become flesh, is a most significant point in our salvation. But we all too easily look at the story…

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Glory to God

An Atonement of Shame

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Fr. Stephen continues his thoughts on the topic of shame—looking at its place in Christ's death on the Cross.

Some decades ago in my early Anglican priesthood, a parishioner brought a crucifix back from South America. The question for me as a priest was whether I would accept the crucifix as a gift and place it in the church. Now, personally, I like crucifixes. I did then, and I still do. And my tide was always toward the Catholic direction, but you have to bear in mind that Spanish, Latin-style crucifixes have a tendency to be, well, rather gory. My congregation was pretty…

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Glory to God

Making Known the Mystery

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In this podcast, Fr. Stephen contrasts the “literal” reading of Scripture with the practice of the Orthodox Church, in which we seek to discern the “mystery hidden from all the ages.”

The trouble with reading Scripture is that almost everybody thinks they can do it. This idea is rooted in the assumptions of Protestant thought: only if the meaning of Scripture is fairly obvious and more or less objective can it serve as a source of unmediated authority for the believer. If any particular skill or mastery is required, then the skillful masters will be the mediators of meaning for all the rest. The concept of any intervening authority is anathema…

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Glory to God

Whose Psyche Is It?

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Is the me in my head, the voice that rattles on, the same thing as my soul? What is my identity in Christ?

When we discuss our psychological state, what exactly are we talking about? Better yet, who are we talking about? What’s the identity of the guy in my head? Generally such questions are not asked but they can become important in certain dissociative disorders. If I for instance have two guys in my head, there is clearly an issue. But is what I identify as my self, that is, the sum of my life experiences, memories, decisions, opinions, feelings, habits,…

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Glory to God

Grace and the Psychology of God

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Does God have feelings? Can we influence how he feels? Fr. Stephen looks carefully at the theology of grace and the idea of the psychology of God.

We are human beings. We think; we feel—though I like to think that my dog thinks and feels. The semi-imaginary conversations we have as we take our long, daily walks are fairly entertaining for me, even though I have to supply his side of the dialogue.

But God is not a dog. But we supply his dialog as well and we impute to him thoughts and feelings like our own. For instance, we think God is angry. God is pleased. God is gentle. God is stern.…

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Glory to God

Finding the God Within

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St. Paul describes the mystery of the faith as: Christ within us, the hope of glory. Fr. Stephen looks at the meaning of God in us and the life of grace.

Popular New Age thought postulates that everyone has a god within. It’s a pleasant way of saying that we’re all special while making “god” to be rather banal. But there is a clear teaching of classical Christianity regarding Christ within us, and it is essential to our Orthodox way of life. We should not understand our relationship with God to be an external matter, as if we were one individual and God another. Our union with God,…

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Glory to God

Get Out of Your Mind

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Are "mental" and "spiritual" the same thing? Fr. Stephen looks at how modern misunderstandings of the spiritual life can distort our Orthodox practices.

I’m not certain at what point modern Christians began to believe that spiritual and mental were the same thing. I know that it’s a commonplace to interpret John 4:24, that says, “God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth,” to mean that outward actions and vocations are of no value, that only those things that take place in the mind are truly spiritual. The older English word “ghost” was often used…

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Glory to God

The Modern Vocation

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The frightful pressure felt by the young as they struggle to find their vocation is deeply enmeshed in the Modern Project. Fr. Stephen looks at those expectations as well as the true vocation of Christians.

I’ve been doing a series here, a podcast about different aspects of what is generally known as the Modern Project. It is the worldview of the modern era. And I’ve been looking especially at how we view ourselves and our task as human beings. I noted earlier that in the Modern Project, human beings are considered to be autonomous centers of consciousness, that is, independent centers of consciousness whose choices and decisions bring about their self-actualization,…

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