Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have a confession to make. I have been allowing life to interfere with my blogging. Sorry for the lack of updates! :-)

I am enjoying working on the articles about the Church. The more I contemplate this awesome mystery, the more I find that I have to learn. The divine mystery of the Church is meant for my salvation. It isn't meant to create an organizational structure for some utilitarian reason. It is meant to be an icon of Christ and His Kingdom.

More on this later.

As I am researching these articles, we are in the middle of the launch of The Ark, our new 24 hour radio outreach on the Internet. It is very much a work in progress.

Some have questioned the very idea of "contemporary Orthodox Christian music." I understand their concerns. I came from a Christian world dominated by "Jesus is my girlfriend" music. It was sappy, sentimental, and shallow, Yuk! However, I also remember contemporary music that drew me to adore God.

As for contemporary Orthodox Christian music, we are learning all the time of sincere and thoughtful Orthodox Christian musicians who are attempting to use the depth and beauty of the "sublime theology" of the Church to craft songs that reveal Orthodoxy to a generation of people who have never had it before. This music can be a bridge for folks who have never heard of the Orthodox faith. It can also be a bridge to nominal Orthodox people who are still ignorant of the treasure they were born in to.

At the very least, it is an alternative for our Orthodox people to the stuff they are bombarded with every day.

Some may suggest that we do nothing but bask in the rich liturgical sounds of the faith at all times, and I welcome their voice, but perhaps there is more to be said here.

I'd like to hear from you about this. What dangers do you see? Is there a chance that some converts from Evangelicalism are over reacting to something that reminds them of the world they left? Is there anything in contemporary music that can be redeemed by the faith?

Maybe you have other questions. I'd like to hear your thoughts. Just make sure they are respectful and helpful.


Friday, January 19, 2007


While I work on my articles concerning the Church, I wanted to update the site about something happening in our Orthodox churches here in America.

As some of you know, I am the development director for Orthodox Christian Network. OCN is a SCOBA agency that is responsible for creating a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for the Church here in the US. We currently produce and syndicate the weekly half hour radio program called "Come Receive The Light" across the country (soon to launch in Houston in February!).

Our SCOBA hierarchs have declare the third Sunday in January national "Share The Light Sunday" for all our Orthodox parishes across the nation. Here is an excerpt from their recent Encyclical:

But the day and age in which we live offers us so many ways to effectively communicate the message of faith to our neighbors and families. We live in an age when communication technologies have expanded our ability to raise awareness of our Orthodox faith as never before. Technologies like the internet, podcasting, cell phones, as well as TV, radio, and print, challenge us to take advantage of these new tools to obey the command of the Savior. These
technologies are already being used by many to communicate to our children and grand children, and those messages, some good and some not so good, are affecting our lives every day. Where is the sweet, balanced, and salvation bearing voice of Orthodoxy in this modern cacophony of messages?

It is because of this unprecedented opportunity to serve the local parishes through media that we have set aside the third Sunday in January as Share The Light Sunday. This year it falls on Sunday, January 21, 2007, and we urge each parish to enthusiastically participate by passing a special tray on this Sunday to help us build a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for our Orthodox Churches.

Let us together take up these valuable talents and use them faithfully to serve one another and this nation, and together we will hear from our Lord “Well done.”

Here at OCN we are also excited to be launching The Ark on this same Share The Ligth Sunday. The Ark is going to be a 24 hour internet radio outreach that will feature contemporary Orthodox Christian artists like Fr. Peter Jon Gilquist, Fr. Justin Matthews, Jimmy Santis, Eikona, Monica Matthews, and Ron Moore. For too long these talents Orthdoox musicians had few outlets to help us contextualize the beauties of Orthodoxy for this music-centered culture.

You will be able to hear The Ark on our web site I hope you'll listen and give us some feedback about our initial efforts.

We are working hard to use media in constructive and challenging ways to raise the awareness of Orthodoxy in the lives of everyday Americans, and to support the faithful as they live in a culture all too often shaped by the exact opposite of Orthodox Christianity.

Please pray for OCN this weekend that we will be faithful to the Master with the talents He has given us.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Dear Ones,

Please forgive the lack of updates. Life has been interfering with my blogging.

I do hope to have something later this week on the Church. Thanks for visiting and thanks for commenting. This is both educational and edifying to me.


Monday, January 08, 2007


George Barna has just released a new "Barna Update" about house churches as oppossed to conventional churches.

In this most recent study by Barna, he continues his crusade to highlight what he calls "new forms of the Church" that he suggests is the wave of the future (see his book Revelution: The New Church: Understand It).

Having had my "home church" phase, I'd like to suggest that this phenomenon occuring now is simply another symptom of the perpetually weak ecclesiology to be found in Evangelicalism. This ecclesiological weakness is a constant preassure on Evangelicalism to find the "new way" to do Church. This eternal "tail chasing" in an attempt to keep up with cultural and sociological shifts means that the ground is always shifting under the Evangelical's feet.

What motivates this perpetual search for the Church? I believe many of these sincere believers are looking for authentic Church. Every new "reform" movement in modern Evangelicalism had at its heart a desire for the Church. From the "Body Life" movement of the 60's and 70's, to the "Shepherding movement during the "Jesus Freak" years, to the ebb and flow of popularity of "house churches," seeking believers intuitively understand that there is something wrong with current church life.

This unease with the Church experience of many Evangelicals is primarily a theological problem.

A recent talk given by Terry Mattingly entitled "So What Do Converts Want, Anyway?" really gives language to what many Evangelicals are struggling with when it comes to church life. These concerns are really what sends a good number of converts to the Orthodox Church from Evangelicalism.

But at the heart of this longing is a theological issue: Where is the Church? Perhaps even a more elementary question is being asked: What is the Church?

These struggles may manifest themselves as a longing for intimacy, a search for genuine accountability, or even a desire for a sense of significance. Believers will seek to satisfy this sense of loss by trying "new forms of church." They will seek answers in estatic expereriences and religious fervor. They will change denominations, churches, even cities, trying to scratch the "itch" of the Church.

Some will settle on some form of expereince that at least "helps." Orthers will, tragically, conclude that there is no such thing as "Church" and will give up the search.

But the answer lies in a willingness to discover that which has always been true - the Church established by Christ, built on the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets, and birthed at Pentecost is an observable, tracable, and avaiable reality today. It will require some effort and humility, but we can know where the Church is and what the Church is!

I'd like to write a few articles in the coming days concerning ecclesiology. The good news is we are not left to our own devices. We can learn about how the Church has known Herself through the centuries, and we can flee to the arms of this indispensible Mother.

As a wise father once said "You cannot have God as your Father without the Church as your Mother."