Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil

For the Church Fathers, the relationship between the Gospel of Christ and the Law of Moses could be likened to the distinction between the work of a trainer or a pedagogue on the one hand and the work of someone who initiates someone into a mystery or a mystagogue on the other. The first directs the body to do this or that. The second illumines the mind to see clearly what was formerly hidden. Thus, Saint Basil the Great would say that “as the law forbids evil deeds, the Gospel does so with well hidden passions” (Initium Morialum, PG 31.761). If we were to put it in contemporary language, we … [Read more...]

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house

When it comes to the most basic activities of daily life, no one needs to give us instructions about what tools are for or how to use them. Without thinking, we use utensils for eating. Without a moment's thought, we turn on a light switch in a dark room. Without the least bit of reflection, we make sure the light shines on what we may be reading.  And yet, when it comes to the life of the Spirit, we seem to need additional instructions, we seem to need to be told to do the obvious. As foolish as it may seem, we really need to be reminded that no one lights a candle and puts it under a bushel, … [Read more...]

How is it Possible to Judge?

Trying to discern the motives of others, attempting to protect our backs, and striving to distinguish right from wrong are so much a part of most people’s lives, that the suggestion of a heart that does not judge seems strange and even impossible. Yet, when we feel close to Christ, when we sense His love for us and our neighbor, how can we pick up the first stone to cast at someone else? Clinical psychologists are well aware of the fact that therapy is nearly impossible without a nonjudgmental environment. So how can Christians be healing presences in this broken world if they set themselves … [Read more...]

The Problem with Religion

In the West, religion is often understood in terms of conformity to an external moral code that becomes the standard for judging human behavior.  Those who violate the moral code are considered to be bad people, while those who adhere to it are viewed as morally good and upright. Religion’s goal is to produce good people, meaning people who strictly follow the moral code.  And yet outwardly following rules and regulations does not always coincide with a transformation of the inner man as the Pharisees of the Gospel make painfully manifest. Salvation and the Kingdom of God begin from … [Read more...]