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Andrei Tarkovsky and the Spirit of Orthodoxy

My goal in this post is simply to remind you that Andrei Tarkovsky exists, that he made films, and that he, more than any other filmmaker, embodied the spirit of Orthodox Christianity—not only in Andrei Rublev (1966), his sweeping portrait of the fifteenth-century Russian saint and icon painter, but in all his films. As my priest once told me, Tarkovsky brought an Orthodox monk’s discipline and asceticism to his craft.

Why I’m Not a Republican

An ad recently came across my Twitter feed that was produced by a conservative wine company, We the People. Yes, a conservative wine company. (Right-wing pundits like Rod Dreher frequently defend their use of the term “totalitarian” to describe their political opponents by complaining that “the left politicizes everything” or “the left politicizes every aspect […]

First Person: On Mary

As a one-time Evangelical, I struggled more with the veneration of Mary than with nearly any other aspect of Orthodox doctrine. My experience was not unique. Not only did I hesitate to venerate anyone other than Christ, but something about the Orthodox emphasis on Mary’s motherhood, on defining her identity based on her role as the Theotokos, the Mother of God, felt…kind of creepy.

Mystery, Uncertainty, and the Orthodox Mind

A beautiful quote from Eugenia Constantinou’s Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind has been making the rounds on social media: Being Orthodox in mind requires that one accept ambiguity, uncertainty, mystery, and paradox. Perhaps this encourages humility before God. We cannot rely on clever explanations or beloved definitions, and we must accept […]

Rod Dreher’s Spiritual Blind Spots

I never really wrapped up my series on Rod Dreher’s Life Not by Lies. I spent a lot of time in my previous posts discussing my problems with Rod Dreher’s historical analysis, and I promised my readers a post in which I discussed my disagreements with his ideas about Christianity (and also some comments about the places where my concerns and Dreher’s overlap, which I’ll do in this post as well). I’m on much shakier ground criticizing Dreher’s ideas about Christianity than when criticizing his ideas about history and politics; I might wander into territory where I attack Dreher’s faith itself, and I don’t want to do that. In fact, I almost gave up on this post altogether. Why would I, a relatively new convert to Orthodoxy, want to waste energy criticizing the religious beliefs of another Orthodox Christian?

Unity and Difference: On Pentecost

I felt compelled to write today, on my favorite feast day of the Church, Pentecost. Today we celebrate the origin of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles with tongues of fire and they spoke in many languages to the crowd of people who had gathered for the Jewish feast day from throughout the known world.

Icons and the Triumph of Orthodoxy

I kissed my first icon today. Most Orthodox Christians would not wait half a year after their chrismation to kiss a venerated icon, but this hasn’t been an ordinary year.

An Orthodox Politics?: Saint Jean of Saint-Denis

My priest and spiritual father gave me an English translation of Saint Jean of Saint-Denis’s Technique de la prière (A Method of Prayer for Modern Times, published by Praxis Institute Press in 1993), which I’ve been reading off-and-on since the fall. Saint Jean of Saint-Denis was born Evgraf Kovalevsky and was the first hierarch of the […]

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