Advent Reading: The Protoevangelium for December

  The first of December is coming! In fact, if you’re reading this on Saturday, it’s here. For those of you who would like to participate in reading one chapter a day of theĀ Protoevangelium of JamesĀ (also known as theĀ Gospel of James) through Christmas Eve, steep yourself a cup of tea and join me. You can download it here, and if you’d like a brief introduction to this cherished document, you can readā€¦

Drinking Coffee without Controversy

Recently I stood in my churchā€™s crowded fellowship hall with my Styrofoam cup of coffee, savoring the genuine half-and-half on a non-fasting day and feeling content after another beautiful Divine Liturgy. Somehow this after-church mingling felt different than even the warmest times of fellowship in my Protestant days. But why?   Yes, the liturgy was beautiful, filled with deep truths and symbolism that will take me a lifetime to unpack. But somethingā€¦

Prequel to Christmas: Reading “The Rest of the Story”

Years ago I enjoyed listening to legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s weekday programĀ The Rest of the Story. (For those of you who are old enough to remember, his distinctive voice is now playing in your head. You’re welcome.)Ā In each show, Harvey would reveal interesting, often forgotten details about a well-known event, saving a key piece of information (usually the name of a famous person) for the surprise ending. As we approach Christmas,Ā theā€¦

A Countercultural Christmas Carol

All right, I’ll admit it. I’ve been indulging my carnivorous cravings over the past few days, as I often do before a long fast begins. [See *Note below.] The Nativity Fast commences on Thursday (November 15th), and Iā€™m gettinā€™ real here: the timing of this fast is seriously inconvenient.   It is the second-longest fast of the year: forty days before Christmas, and itā€™s not even that difficult, food-wise. Fish, olive oil,ā€¦

Burned Out on Church with Nowhere to Turn

Should I give up on church? For several years I wrestled with this question. The short answer was ā€œno.ā€ I wasnā€™t angry at God, I wasnā€™t angry at people, and I knew that Christians are not supposed to forsake ā€œassembling ourselves togetherā€ (Hebrews 10:25). But my church experiences left me unsatisfied. My husband and I dragged our children to one type of church, then another in our quest forā€¦something. We met wonderfulā€¦