Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Women, Spirituality, and TV

Read this article in the Telegraph: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer slaying church attendance among women, study claims."

Within the United States, as well as the UK, many women are influenced by feminist ideas and view their own lives, at least in part, through a feminist lens. Indeed, many ideas compatible with feminism are truly incompatible with the Orthodox Christian path, which leads one from arrogance to humility and from self-centeredness to love, self-sacrifice for the sake of others (even men). The Orthodox Church cannot fit into the restrictive feminist box, but through the life of the Church a woman can discover what it means to be a true human person, one truly free, and why womanhood is so highly honored. The Church offers more than ideology. She offers the experience of healing and transformation in the presence of women from human history who have achieved what women in our culture can now become.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Marriage, Sexuality, and TV

Television exerts tremendous influence over people in our secular world. Of course, at the same time, programs reflect ideas and beliefs present in society. Television shows often devalue marriage and portray unhealthy, destructive sexual attitudes and practices as acceptable and normal. Stories on television can serve to shape attitudes, influence lifestyle decisions, and validate harmful behavior. Therefore, television can have a negative effect on adults as well as children.

Check out the CNN article, "Sex beats marriage on network TV, study shows."

Notice in the article that a representative of TVWatch responded to the study by the Parents Television Council with this statement: "The Parents Television Council won't be satisfied with television content until they convince the government to enforce their personal, selective judgments." While the Parents Television Council does indeed seem to encourage people to work toward change through political action, the question of whether certain content should be shown on television is not merely a matter of "personal, selective judgments," although the process of determining good content involves the discernment and decisions of persons. Since television does influence people, content would be best determined by asking questions like these:

"What message promotes the nurturing of personal life, health, and relationships?"
"What message helps people acquire an accurate vision of themselves, other people, and the world?"
"What message shows that we genuinely care for those receiving the message?"

To some, the question of television content looks like a matter of opinion concerning views on morality, censorship, government intervention, freedom of expression, and choice. In reality, the questions of what should be shown and viewed on TV is not as much about opinion, ideology, and control as it is about truth, love, and spirituality. As we determine what to view and allow our children to see, may we discern wisely and avoid harmful influences.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died at the age of 89. Many Americans probably don't know who he is, but Solzhenitsyn is a man Americans should know about. Check out my post on Solzhenitsyn from 2006.

His obituary and a video are available on the BBC News website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Geopolitics: Lessons from a Map of China

When studying an area of the world, a map is a valuable resource. With a map of a region, you can get a visual picture of how geography affects where people live, military security, politics, economics, culture, and so on.

An example in East Asia is China, a country with a long tradition of geographical awareness. China is known for defining and securing boundaries. (Take the Great Wall as an example.) Strategic Forecasting ( has published a couple recent articles on the relevance of Chinese geography for for the Chinese government. I especially recommend Chinese Geopolitics and the Significance of Tibet (4/15/08) because of its rather comprehensive summary analysis of geography. Another articles is China and Russia's Geographic Divide (7/22/08).

A satellite image of Asia is available here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Historical Manuscripts

For a look at interesting historical manuscripts, visit the "Turning the Pages" section of the British Library website. Each page of the manuscript displayed online includes audio commentary with text (if you click the appropriate buttons). Manuscripts include an atlas of Europe (1570), Mozart's music, a 16th-century anatomy book, sketches by Da Vinci, literary manuscripts, and more.

The manuscript of the Lindisfarne Gospels (listed as "Pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon Art") is particularly relevant to Orthodox Christians since it was produced when Britain was still an Orthodox land. For a related article, read my previous post on Ancient Manuscripts from the British Isles.

To see an even more ancient book, visit the website of the Codex Sinaiticus and learn about the significance of this biblical manuscript.

To view more manuscripts, explore the Schoyen Collection.

You may also enjoy reading an article on the history of the book (codex), entitled "The Coming of the Codex" from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for the History of the Book.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Christ and the Tao

Articles have been recently published on the rise of Christianity in China. Notably, Frontline has covered the story.

I recommend reading The Logos and the Tao from the Bonovox blog concerning the connection between Taoism and Orthodox Christianity.

You may also like to read my previous post on Orthodox Christianity in China and my post on Christ the Eternal Tao.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Journalism: Covering the Orthodox Church

Articles about the Orthodox Christian Church published in the secular press sometimes include inaccuracies or information that lacks sufficient explanation to offer readers a clear picture of the Orthodox Church and her way of life. I would like to compile a list of previously published inaccuracies that could help members of the press in their reporting. I am asking you to submit any examples that you have encountered. Please include the following:

1. The inaccuracy or point that may be misleading without proper explanation.

2. A more accurate way of stating the point.

3. If possible, the paragraph containing the problem passage with a citation indicating the publication's name, date of publication, title of the article, author, web address to article, etc.

Please include the information clearly and as dispassionately as possible.

Many thanks to you who contribute and to those among you who pass along the information.

(By the way, if you're interested in coverage of religion in the media, check out


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Fall of the Byzantine Empire

I recently discovered a video on the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire (aka the Byzantine Empire). The video offers an opportunity for considering the relationship between the Orthodox Christian Faith and the fall of one of history's greatest empires. Consider the relationship between spirituality and politics in the world.

This Russian video has been translated into English.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teen Pregnancy at Gloucester High

At Gloucester High School, a school in Massachusetts, a rather large group of young, unmarried teens have become pregnant. This story shows what happens when teenagers are not reared and educated in a spiritual environment in which they can grow to understand, from a spiritual perspective, personhood, virtuous living, womanhood, marriage, sexuality, and motherhood.

Read the article from and watch an interview from CNN. The interview reveals how some leaders in our culture don't understand the problem or how to deal with it. You can also listen to the NPR report.

QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION AND DISCUSSION: What is wrong with the teen pregnancy pact? What are some of the positive Christian values taught at the school these girls attend(ed)? What are some of the problems that may exist at a school like this? What is the positive spiritual role of shame in how teenagers encounter sexuality, how a pregnant teenager might deal with her own pregnancy, and how those around her might deal with it (parents, friends, teachers, etc.)? Why would more education about and use of birth control not solve the problem? Could encouragement to use birth control contribute to the underlying problems that led the girls to want to be pregnant? What is shame, and what is the difference between shame (good) and bad guilt? If you were in charge of teaching values related to sexuality and pregnancy to High School students, what would you teach them? How is the role of importance of marriage relevant to this story? How are the Theotokos and St. Mary of Egypt examples that we can offer young women to emulate? Give examples of other positive role models to whom girls can look to see a vision of true womanhood with the beauty of both virginity and chastity. Why are these women you have chosen positive role models?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sophia: Secret Wisdom

A documentary on the Orthodox monastic tradition entitled, Sophia: Secret Wisdom, is currently in production. Fr. John McGuckin, an Orthodox priest and scholar, is associated with the project. This film may not only help people understand something about Orthodox monasticism, but also the heart of the Orthodox Church and the spiritual way of life experienced by those of us who are Orthodox Christians.

You can see footage from the film on the website for the project:

Monday, March 10, 2008

The House of Caesar Augustus

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled." - The Story of the Birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 2.1, RSV).

The house of Emperor Augustus (aka Gaius Julius Octavius) has opened in Rome. Check out the video segment from BBC News.

Information on Augustus is available at

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mormonism & American Culture

The Asia Times recently published an article by Spengler entitled "Yes, Romney, there's a Sanity Clause." The article isn't as much about Mitt Romney, who has now withdrawn from the Presidential race, as it is about Mormonism and American culture. This is a well-written article worth reading.

NPR produced the segment, "Mormon's Confront Negative Ideas About Their Faith," by Howard Berkes (Morning Edition, February 12, 2008), which is also related to Romney's campaign, but like Spengler's article, is about more than politics.

The photograph from Wikipedia is in the public domain.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Biblical Illiteracy in America

In America, there is rampant ignorance concerning what the Holy Scripture says and a failure to interpret the text correctly in its proper context, the Orthodox Church who wrote it, compiled it into a canon, and has preserved and passed down the text with the proper interpretation for 2,000 years.

Listen to "Understanding the Gospel According to Huckabee" from NPR's All Things Considered (February 8, 2008). This story isn't just about politics. It's about biblical illiteracy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Podcast: Discussion on Orthodox Christianity

I recently discovered a True Convergence podcast on the Icon New Media Network with Bishop THOMAS (Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese), Fr. Peter Gillquist (Dept. of Missions and Evangelism, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese), and Fr. Patrick Cardine (the Western Rite priest of St. Patrick's Orthodox Mission in the Antiochian Archdiocese). Although the discussion, including those mentioned above and others, specifically addresses members of a particular Protestant denomination called the Charismatic Episcopal Church, the discussion may be valuable for anyone who is looking for the original, historic Church wherein the living Faith of the Apostles has been lived for 2,000 years.

Check out the podcast here.

Thanks to Jason for pointing me to the podcast.