Lent is a time of year to remember that God has seen fit to make us, not airy spirits, but embodied human beings living in a beautiful, material world. The soul fills the body the way fire fills a lump of coal, and what the body learns, the soul absorbs as well. Spiritual disciplines, like fasting, are analogous to the weight-lifting machines at a health club. One who uses them in a disciplined way will be stronger, not just when he’s lifting weights, but for every situation that he meets.
[National Review; December 20, 2009]
In Avatar’s opening moments, hero-to-be Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is waking up on the planet Pandora after a cryogenic journey, and reflecting on the twists of fate. Here he is, a paraplegic Marine, filling in for the twin brother who actually trained for this mission. But right before Tommy was due to ship out, “a guy with a gun put an end to his journey, for the paper in his wallet.”
[Ancient Faith Radio; January 21, 2009]
F: I’m here in Macon, Georgia, being driven to the shuttle that’s going to carry me back to the airport so I can fly home. I’ve been speaking this weekend at Mercer University and Wesleyan University, and also last night at St. Innocent OCA Church. My driver this morning is Tom Kehayes. He was telling me last night about how this church happened to be built. We’re driving at dawn, and it’s lovely; the mist is rising, and I’m sure the deer are stalking around in the woods on this two-lane road. Suddenly out of nowhere there’s an opening and there’s a Georgian church—a perfect replica of a church in the nation of Georgia, is that right?
[Ancient Faith Radio; January 14, 2009]
F: I’m here at Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, West Virginia. A Russian Church Monastery here in a “holler”—a sort of bowl in the mountains, where a valley comes to an end with the mountains rising on all sides. It’s a lovely monastery. Fr. Seraphim, you were saying that it was founded in 1986 in St. Louis, and then moved to this location. Would you say something to listeners—those who are new to Orthodoxy or outside Orthodoxy—on the question, “Why monasticism?” It can look like a self-indulgent choice—you just go off, take it easy, and other people support you—but it’s very much not that way.
[Ancient Faith Radio; January 1, 2009]
F: Today I’m in Towson, Maryland, in the offices of the IOCC, International Orthodox Christian Charities. When was IOCC founded?
Nick: It was founded in 1992, sixteen years ago.
F: I’m speaking to Nick Chakos, Development Officer, in Nick’s office here at IOCC. I’m a proud momma because my son Stephen has begun working here recently, and I’d never been to these offices before, even though it’s just around the beltway; you’re north of Baltimore, only about a half-hour drive from me. I’m really glad to be able to see this place. I’m sure there are some listeners who have never heard of IOCC, or might have heard of IOCC but don’t have a clear idea of what IOCC does. I was surprised to find that it’s a much broader outreach than I was aware of. I thought you did lightning-strike work, like the Red Cross—you go in, do emergency supplies, and go out again. But you get much more involved in the life of the community. Tell me a little more about that, and some of the places where IOCC is working.
It’s the little things that count. Director Wes Anderson has always been good with the little things, filling movies like Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tennenbaums (2001), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007) with extraordinary, eye-catching detail. In Fantastic Mr. Fox the things are littler than ever, as the tallest actor is only 18” high. This film is an example of stop-motion animation, in which tiny figures are photographed, moved a fraction of an inch, and photographed again. It takes 24 photos to create one second of smoothly-moving screen time, so this kind of animation represents an enormous amount of labor.
[Holy Cross Orthodox Church; November 22, 2009]
This weekend we are remembering the repose of Fr. George Calciu, who died on November 21, 2006, just two days before 81st birthday. He died of pancreatic cancer, a fast-moving and painful cancer, and had barely survived long enough to complete one last trip to his homeland, Romania.
The news reached us on a Sunday evening that he had taken a turn for the worse. Father Gregory and I were hosting a gathering for Orthodox young people at our home that night, but I left our guests and went with Chris Vladimir to the hospital.
[Ancient Faith Radio; Feb 13, 2008]
I had a recent podcast about Roe v Wade, and heard some helpful comments from a couple of alert listeners who noticed a couple of things that I said that weren’t quite accurate. I was, in some respects, talking off the top of my head. I did get confused when I was talking about a Supreme Court decision that counted African Americans as two-fifths of a person, I had mixed a couple of things together.