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The Holy Elders of Optina

My last couple posts have dealt with my personal spiritual practices, and I wanted to continue in that vein for today’s post. Since my journey into Orthodoxy began, I have discovered many beautiful and moving prayers. My favorite is the morning prayer of the Holy Elders of Optina. The Optina monastery was established centuries ago […]

Kyrie eleison

I first discovered the School of Life when I was teaching composition and literature at my local university. I found their short, concise overviews of major philosophies, literary careers, and intellectual traditions especially useful for introducing my students to new ideas. Over time, I began following their YouTube channel and enjoying their other content, too: […]

Beginning a New Year

This week marked the beginning of the ecclesiastical year. The Orthodox calendar is based on the old Roman (and later Byzantine) taxation calendar, of all things, which began on September 1. I began attending Vespers at my Greek Orthodox church last August, so it’s been a little over a year since I began my inquiry […]

Faith between Cultures, and How Scholars Frame Sacred Literature

When I was a little younger than I am now, I openly wished that “secular Protestant” was a meaningful category in our society, akin to “secular Judaism.” I longed for a cultural register within which I could observe the customs, traditions, and habits of Christianity without affiliating myself with any strong doctrines. I think that […]

Reflections on the Enlightenment and Alasdair MacIntyre’s ‘After Virtue’

Critics and defenders of the Enlightenment are a dime a dozen these days, especially as theorists and actors on both the political left and the political right have increasingly turned against liberalism and its Enlightenment foundations in early-modern Europe. Back when Rush Limbaugh was still a morning-show DJ, American conservatives casually dropped the “so-called” from […]

‘I am twisted, I am all bent.’

Reading from the Gospel of Matthew this morning, I was reminded of Christ’s early-career admonishes not to tell anyone who He is or what He has done: upon healing the leper, He said, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a […]

In a Season of Silence

I’m learning the virtues of silence, not in the old Quaker sense of silent worship or the mystical sense of silent contemplation, but silence with regard to my own condition, growth, and struggle.

On Secularism and the Hagia Sophia

Throughout the West today, statues are falling (as they are prone to do) and people are debating the best way to memorialize—or critique—the past, specifically as it concerns men and women whose legacies are bound up with the devastating histories of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, and white supremacy. These histories extend over the past […]

On Identity Politics, Black Lives Matter, and What Lies Beyond Liberalism

I’ve been reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, a foundational text of the rightward turn (which I’ve described before on this blog) that we’ve witnessed among many conservative intellectuals—particularly among Catholic intellectuals, but perhaps best exemplified by the Orthodox writer Rod Dreher. Dreher took the title of his influential treatise, The Benedict Option, from the last […]

The Zeal of the Convert

I’ve found myself reflecting lately on T.S. Eliot’s spiritual and religious development after migrating to England. In 1927, he converted to British citizenship and to a Romanized brand of Anglicanism with a zeal that alarmed even the most thoroughbred of English Catholic conservatives. “I am,” he is reported to have declared, “Anglo-Catholic in religion, classicist […]

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