Holy Week is a long, intense, busy week, and sometimes the thought of going to all of those services with small children can be more than a parent wants to deal with, and the temptation to leave them at home or not go to church at all becomes very strong. Let me encourage you to fight that temptation and bring your kids to as many services as possible. I’m not saying that it will be easy or even necessarily fun, but it will be important for their future spiritual life. You can look at it this way: behaving in church takes practice. With everything else in our lives, we know that practice once a week does not actually teach us much. Consistent, even daily practice is required. Holy Week is a marathon—40 hours of church in 5 days, it is a great way to get some intense practice in for your children.
Entries in Marriage and Family (55)
Well, we’ve about exhausted that topic, haven’t we? Sometimes I have to talk something out completely before I understand what I actually think.
I could sum it up: 1, I haven’t spoken out against gay marriage because I don’t see it damaging marriage any more than straight people have already done.
2, my spiritual tradition has found by experience, over millennia,
In the wake of my “Why Speak Out on Gay Marriage?” post I received some thought-provoking comments and emails, which led me to think further about the situation of people who support traditional marriage, but live in communities where that opinion is socially disapproved. Here’s an email I sent to a correspondent living in the Pacific Northwest:
Thanks for writing. I am realizing that I live in a bubble. People who are involved in their communities on the ground level are in more of a bind about this. Current opinion has become the “new normal,” and to resist it is to send up flares, designating yourself a bad, untrustworthy person. For my part, I’m a grandma so have no kids in public schools, I worship in a traditional local congregation, and in my work-life engage mostly with thoughtful, intelligent people who agree or disagree in a civil way. I understand that many people are in more of a bind, not free to hold their own private opinions, but socially pressured to demonstrate allegiance to the new opinion.
Today I read a blog post praising an Orthodox bishop for speaking out on gay marriage, and I wondered if the time will come when someone scolds me for not speaking out. Well, here’s how it looks to me, as a member of the Orthodox Church.
The Church’s ancient wisdom on transformation in Christ, called theosis, includes the spiritual discipline of fasting. We fast in a number of ways: from sex outside hetero marriage, from anger, gossip, unforgiveness, and other negative impulses, and (about half the days of the year) from meat, dairy, and some other foods. Christianity isn’t the only religion to recognize that self-control in the face of strong desires enables deeper union with God. The spiritual discipline of fasting keeps appearing in religions around the world and throughout history. It’s been tested and proved again and again.
[Frederica Here and Now; June 4, 2010]
This week, I just had a pretty short thought. I get an email, an Orthodox Quote of the Day everyday, and it’s always something wonderful. And there was something about this one that really jumped out at me. Today’s quote is from St. John Chrysostom. I’m not sure where in his writings this comes from. And the quote is:
A fearful thing is sin. Fearful and the ruin of the soul, and the mischief, oftentimes through its excesses, overflowed and attacked men’s bodies also. For since for the most part, when the soul is diseased, we feel no pain, but if the body receive, though, but a little hurt, we use every exertion to free it from its infirmity because we are sensible of the infirmity. ThereforeGod, oftentimes, often punisheth the body for the transgressions of the soul so that by means of the scourging of the inferior part, the better part also may receive some healing.
1. What does the marriage ceremony grant exactly to a couple that would help form a lasting relationship?
The marriage ceremony is a Holy Mystery, a Sacrament, which means that something happens beyond what the human participants bring to the event. God intervenes with his Holy Spirit and creates something holy, something that did not exist before. The marriage ceremony is essential for Christians, so that this immensely significant relationship in our lives may be upheld and blessed by God.
[Frederica Here and Now Podcast; October 1, 2009]
Frederica Mathewes-Green: I’m sitting at my kitchen table today with my friend Katherine Mowers, a member of my church, Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Baltimore. She wanted to interview me about listening skills, and I’m recording our conversation for my podcast as well.
Katherine Mowers: Here’s the first question: How can you do reflective listening in a manner that is more than just listening, but actively supporting the person?
F: Of course, you have an unusual family, and people notice that right away. You have ten children, and six are your own…
M: They’re all my own!
F: Oh, God bless you, that’s true, they’re all your own. Six are biological children, four are adopted children. You put the words to it, tell me about your children.
M: We like to say that our six biological kids are the ones we made all by ourselves—our “homemade” ones—and the other four we picked out of the catalog. [laughing] Our four adopted ones have special needs, although our oldest one has resolved most of his special needs.
[National Review: April 10, 2009]
Whoever’s in charge of truth-in-labeling in Washington needs to take a look at the phenomenon called “Hannah Montana”. That’s the name of a fictitious world-famous pop star, who conceals her secret identity in order to live a normal life as fictitious high-schooler Miley Stewart; this way, she has “The Best of Both Worlds” (as Hannah-Miley’s hit song has it). What needs re-classification is the omni-capable 16-year-old, Miley Cyrus, who portrays this double character. She’s frequently described as a singer, a pop star, or a rock star; you can call her an actress, too, since she’s spent the last three years starring in the Disney Channel show named for her character, and now carries her first narrative film (a concert film released last year was a blockbuster). Pop star, actress, ordinary high school student? Certify her for a whole new title: comedienne.