10 reasons why you may not be getting the answer you want to your prayers
Why do some prayers not get answered the way we want? Only God knows for sure, but the age-old wisdom of the Holy Fathers offers many plausible explanations. Amelia summarizes ten of them.
13 days behind Western innovation: Eastern Orthodoxy and the "old calendar"
Why do most Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in January? Why is our Pascha usually not the same day as Western Easter? Amelia explains why traditional Orthodox Christians still reject Liturgical use of the "new calendar," and why it is a tragedy that some Orthodox churches have chosen to become exceptions to the rule.
15 Consolations: Prayers for comfort from the Holy Spirit
In difficult times, we need God to comfort us and remind us of the things He promises and the things that are most important for our souls. Amelia shares 15 ways of asking the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, for help when we feel like we're at our limit of what we can handle.
As society changes over time, many Christians are throwing traditional morals out with the bathwater. Do standards of right and wrong evolve along with the world's attitudes? Amelia explains why not, along with the dangers in customized versions of Christian faith.
Angels among us
Do angels really exist? Are there really pudgy babies with harps flying around the stratosphere? Amelia offers a look at what Orthodox Christians believe about angels.
As in heaven, so on earth: An Orthodox response to "The Problem of Good"
If God is good even to non-Christians, why should we have faith? What does "grace" mean to Orthodox Christians? Amelia answers these questions and more in her response to a Protestant article on the so-called "problem of good."
As long as she was being beaten: The invisible scars of a battered woman
When domestic violence is left unchecked, how bad can things get? In this case-study, followed by a call to action, Amelia shares the true story of a woman who fought back against her abuser and lost, even though she survived the struggle and he didn't.
Baby bottles, but no wedding bells?
When it comes to parenting, is love more important than marriage? A commonly held belief is that a "piece of paper" has nothing to do with how much two people love each other or their children. Although marriage should be more than just a legal formality, Amelia explains why the piece of paper is still necessary.
The bed undefiled by politics: Orthodox Christian thoughts on gay-marriage legislation
What does Christian Orthodoxy teach about homosexuality? Is any it less or more of a sin than heterosexual fornication? In light of recent court decisions, Amelia suggests tempering political views with spiritual wisdom.
Beggars and kings
Beggars and kings may be differently endowed, but it's a difference that only exists in the present lifetime. Inspired by a phrase from the Orthodox funeral service, Amelia emphasizes the preeminence of spiritual growth over worldly gain.
Beginning the healing process: Nine thoughts for victims of abuse
Deciding to break free from the psychological chains of an abusive situation can be liberating and frightening at the same time. Amelia offers a list of nine important things to know as one prepares to begin the healing process.
The best kind of friend
We all have certain criteria by which we choose our friends, and sometimes it can be difficult to find people who measure up. Amelia explains why it need not be so difficult.
Is it a sin to have desires? Is it a sin to act on them? According to Orthodox teaching, the answers are "not necessarily" and "it depends." Amelia shares the Christian perspective on passions, desires, self-control, laziness, and the relationship that exists between them.
Blindfolded and backwards: The futility of problem-solving without God
Are we learning the right lessons from the suffering we experience? Is it ever possible to overcome adversity without faith? Amelia cautions against attempts to cope and conquer without first turning to God.
Bound by love
An important part of being Christian is serving God, but why? Is it to secure our salvation? To make God love us? How can we even be sure that He does love us? Amelia explains.
The boy that no one noticed
Extreme social isolation takes its toll on three teenagers in this true story with a bitter ending that didn't have to be. Amelia offers an up-close look at the relationship between loneliness, despair, and adolescent suicide.
But it's the 2000s …
Premarital cohabitation is steadily becoming the norm rather than the shameful exception. Amelia offers Christian families and parish groups helpful answers on living together before marriage.
Calling all predators
Almost everyone has an online presence—even small children and unborn babies, according to a recent study. Is it smart to create social networking pages for your children? Is it even safe? See why Amelia cautions against it.
Campaigning 101: Using television commercials to mudsling your way into office
Political advertising has become more theatrical than informative. Amelia shares a short essay on the subject, written for an urban studies class in 2000 but still highly relevant today.
Can't buy me love
If your loved ones could inherit more from you if you died by a certain date, would you kill yourself? Amelia devours a recent news article on money, politics, and end-of-life decisions.
Can't we all just get along?
When we turn to "the church" for answers or help, does it matter which church? If we're interested in preserving our Orthodoxy it does. Amelia explains how different denominational values strongly influence advice, guidance, and definitions of right and wrong.
Everyone suffers in one way or another, and the world offers us all kinds of solutions that rarely work. Amelia explains why Christian spirituality is different and how can it help with worldly problems, not just matters of eternity.
Cheesefare week: Transitioning into Great Lent
What does "Cheesefare Week" mean to Orthodox Christians? Amelia explains how a week full of cheese-filled crepes (and other rich delicacies) is meant to help transition our focus from worldly things to spiritual.
Christian parenting: Not just for parents
Some people are fed up with talk of Christian parenting from people who aren't parents. Amelia bites back, explaining why everyone should be concerned with the good upbringing of children—just as the Holy Fathers were, whether or not they had biological children.
Church is for old women and sick people (and other myths)
Is church intended for some people more than others? Amelia explores five common myths about the purpose of attending church and receiving Holy Communion.
The coffeehouse preachers
Can a coffeehouse have a non-Christian agenda? In this true story, Amelia speaks to the importance of preserving the integrity of our faith at all times, even when it might not seem to matter.
Coming to terms: The sin in thinking we're better than we really are
Does a healthy self-concept mean we should feel proud of ourselves? In this quick defense of the Christian call to humility, Amelia explains why it's better to focus more on our shortcomings than our achievements.
Depression and the way of the cross
In the face of science, many people dismiss Christian teachings on clinical depression. Amelia responds with a thorough dissection of depression in light of the Orthodox patristic tradition. An excellent resource for priests who counsel pastorally or clinicians with Orthodox patients.
Don't "get it" yet? How to work toward spiritual understanding
Have you ever felt bad about not understanding aspects of Scripture, Tradition, or Church teachings? When you do gain understanding, how can you be sure that your understanding is correct? Amelia shares some thoughts on the subject.
Doubt is healed only by faith
Our faith is only as strong as its weakest link—our tendency to doubt. Amelia offers some thoughts on what to do when our faith gets shaken.
Dream-interpretation basics from the Orthodox perspective
What does Orthodox Christianity have to say about the meaning of dreams? How should we interpret dreams in which God seems to reveal things to us? Amelia skims the surface of these topics.
The faith of unbelievers
Plenty of people say they would believe in God if they "knew for sure." Amelia explains why skeptics don't usually find God when they go looking for Him.
Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we're happier or better off than we really are. Based on a saying of Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Amelia offers some examples of how we commonly draw that mistaken conclusion.
Family room worship
Many contemporary churches offer incentives like "a casual atmosphere" to encourage people to come to church. Many Orthodox churchgoers are starting to dress down on Sunday mornings, too. Amelia explains what's wrong with this kind of informality during church services.
Fasting: Finding the strength to heal
Protestants are often critical of the Orthodox practice of fasting, arguing that it can't "earn" us salvation (this is correct; it does not). Many Orthodox also fail to understand the importance of fasting—and therefore don't bother to fast. Amelia defends the Orthodox fast by detailing its many spiritual benefits.
Finding hope in the aftermath of abuse
In the wake of any type of abuse, pain and fear often settle, making way for feelings of hopelessness. Amelia offers four short pieces of advice on finding hope.
The first step toward God
How can a seeker go about finding God? Amelia translates a very short story (likely a text by Saint Nikolaj Velimirović) that explains the answer.
Are some people born with an inability to resist overwhelming temptation? Addiction is both a medical and psychological disease, but Amelia challenges the idea that it's not also a spiritual one.
Forgotten victims of sexual abuse: The morally unknowing
Gazing up into heaven: Thoughts on a meaningful celebration of the Ascension
There's more to being Christian than staring up at the sky and looking for God. Amelia relates the meaning of the Orthodox celebration of Christ's ascension into heaven to how we ought to live our lives.
Getting fed, Orthodox style
Some Christians use the expression "getting fed" to symbolize the spiritual nourishment that should take place during worship. Amelia explains how such nourishment takes place within the Divine Liturgy, even though it may "look" and "sound" very similar from one feastday to the next.
God cares how you look
The way we present ourselves helps people form impressions of us. Why would God care about such a thing? Amelia explains several aspects of the relationship between self-presentation and Christian faith.
The god we want
God doesn't always grant us exactly what we ask in prayer. In response to a prime-time television special on faith and illness, Amelia fine-tunes some common misconceptions about idol gods, the real God, and unanswered prayers.
Godless at eighteen, Part I: Matters of life and death
What happens when a child dies without Christian faith? In this introduction to Amelia's popular "Godless at Eighteen" series, she explains why children need to be spiritually prepared for eternity while they're still children.
Godless at eighteen, Part II: On letting children choose their own religion
Is it wrong for Christian parents to impose their beliefs on their children? Amelia points out the dangers, both material and spiritual, of letting children decide for themselves when they're older.
Godless at eighteen, Part III: On teaching materialism and selfishness
How much spoiling is too much? Amelia explains how good intentions can backfire and make children resent even the most materially generous parents.
Godless at eighteen, Part IV: On disrespectful, uncontrollable children
God expects children to honor their parents. Amelia explains why many children don't, and what their parents need to do to change that—because God still expects what He expects.
A good example of what I'm always talking about
Why should Christians have a problem with certain psychological research studies? How can we justify disagreeing with anything that science has concluded is true? Amelia responds with this thorough discussion of a journal article on a secret personality trait that we all (supposedly) share.
Gratitude in unexpected places
How can gratitude help alleviate painful suffering? In a documentary on one young man's battle against alcoholism, Amelia finds a strong Christian undercurrent in a secular message about entitlement, gratitude, and climbing out of addiction.
Green beer v. Great Lent: Saint Patrick, pray to God for us!
Do Orthodox Christians celebrate Saint Patrick's Day? Yes—but not the way most of America celebrates it. Amelia reminds readers who Saint Patrick really is.
Guilty by association
The Orthodox Church teaches that to participate in any way in another person's sin is essentially the same as committing that sin ourselves. Amelia explains how our own souls can become tarnished by the sins of others in our midst.
Harder to love
When others are making sinful choices, how are we supposed to love them? In this explanation with examples, Amelia advocates the Christian concept of holy love, meanwhile drawing a firm distinction between loving and enabling.
Higher calling, higher expectations
Anyone can self-identify as an Orthodox Christian. Amelia points out the important difference between wearing the Christian label and actually living as one.
Holiness: Self-inflicted punishment?
Does living as a Christian mean punishing yourself or making yourself miserable? Does God love you more if you do? Amelia explains why the Orthodox answer to both of these questions is "no."
The house that threw away Jesus
Sometimes blessings are waiting in unexpected places. In this true tale, Amelia shares her story of a morning walk through the neighborhood and a very uncanny coincidence.
How does Orthodox Christianity fit into contemporary society?
Does Orthodoxy have a place in today's world? Can it have any profound impact on secular society, or is it just too incompatible a way of life? Amelia scratches the surface on this topic.
How (not) to raise a murderer
Popular anger-management strategies for children aren't all they're cracked up to be. Based on the wisdom of the Holy Fathers, Amelia explains why and offers parents a better alternative toward helping children to manage and prevent anger.
How to marry well
Interfaith and interdenominational marriage is widely discouraged in the Orthodox Church. Amelia offers practical advice for single Orthodox Christians on why and how to go about finding an Orthodox spouse.
How to plan an event that will flop
No theology here—just some of Amelia's caustic advice on planning parish festivals and community events. While no parish or organization is guilty of all of these blunders, these unfortunate examples are, unfortunately, not fictional.
Hurtful messages harm the sender, not just the recipient. Referring to several passages of Scripture, Amelia explains why we should never use words as weapons.
I'm sorry, but not really
Being genuinely sorry for having done something is different from being upset over having gotten caught. Amelia explains how insincere apologies, whether to God or others, stand in the way of our true repentance and opportunity to receive forgiveness.
Why does our conscience bother us when we do something wrong? Comparing two secular proverbs, Amelia explains why God gave us a conscience and the lessons we can learn from it when it feels troubled.
In God we what?
Most of us trust God when things are easy but panic or feel stressed when they get difficult. Amelia notes several popular strategies for escaping our problems and explains why they typically don't work, recommending that we rely on God instead.
In pursuit of happiness
Many of us believe that happiness comes from the things we can achieve in the world—status, health, relationships, material gain, and so forth. Amelia reminds that these rewards don't endure and points out that they often stand in the way of finding true happiness.
Indications of childhood sexual abuse: Know the warning signs
When someone has been sexually abused as a child, there are classic warning signs, many of which may not appear until adulthood. Amelia presents a comprehensive list of the symptoms of sexual abuse.
Some of us make plenty of excuses for not being better Christians. In a list of very common examples, Amelia identifies the errors in our logic.
What do health classes and dirty movies have in common? Guided by teachings of the Holy Fathers, Amelia walks parents through the aspects of contemporary American life that systematically prime children for sexual sin.
Inter-faith wedding, anyone?
Why can't an Orthodox Christian marry a Hindu in church? Amelia shares her letter to the editor of a popular magazine, then identifies some of the forgotten challenges of mixed marriage, all of which can last far beyond the wedding ceremony.
Is love really all you need?
Are there times when it's more important to love someone than to focus on being a pious Christian? Does being a good Christian ever mean not loving someone? Amelia explains what it really means to love.
It's only tea …
When we purchase certain health-foods, are we also buying into religious beliefs? While we can eat whatever we like, Amelia cautions against embracing the non-Christian philosophies that are marketed alongside some of our favorite products.
Not all magazines need to be about the Christian faith; it's okay to read about secular things. However, there's a big difference between "secular" and "anti-Christian." Amelia points out a few examples.
Junk science, Exhibit A: Morality according to an Internet poll
It's true; sometimes statistics are wrong, misleading, and/or completely made up. After seeing a ridiculous statistic cited in a magazine, this is the letter that Amelia wrote to the editor.
Junk science, Exhibit B: Scientifically testing the effects of God
Is there anything wrong with research that attempts to verify the existence of God or the validity of holy things? Amelia shares her commentary on some research that scientifically "proves" God's grace.
Kicking the habit
How necessary is professional help when it comes to conquering a bad habit or addiction? Amelia shares some recent research on the psychology of self-change, then explains it in terms of Christian faith and our God-given free will.
Lay not this sin to their charge—Why we should pray for those who hate us and hurt us
How should Christians deal with hatred, slander, and attacks? Amelia explains why we are meant not to fight fire with fire but, instead, to pray for our enemies.
Learning the hard way
What can a tragedy in space teach us about living as Christians? Amelia revisits the story of the 2003 Columbia disaster in light of a 2010 research study and comes up with an unexpected lesson on fear, failure, and spiritual transformation.
A lesson from Lazarus
Many of us make every effort to improve the conditions of our earthly life, fighting the reality that this life will someday end. Amelia finds a hidden lesson in the story of Lazarus' resurrection that encourages us to focus more on eternity than the present.
A lesson in forgiveness
There's an old story about a fence, a boy with a temper, and his father, who gave him a hammer and some nails. Amelia retells the story in her own words, then adds in the important lesson that's missing from it.
Let's talk about hell
Is hell a swear-word? A place? A punishment? What happens to God's love when people go to hell? Amelia clarifies from the Orthodox perspective.
Liar, liar, pants on fire: A review of the literature on lying and getting caught
What makes some people good liars? What makes other people good at catching lies? Amelia presents an academic paper on the subject.
A light in the darkness of depression
There is no earthly life without sadness, but Christian faith should provide an infallible sense of hope to those who truly believe. Amelia identifies several Orthodox resources to aid in the battle against depression.
Unlike many other Christians, we Orthodox believe that repentance and spiritual transformation are a lifelong process. Amelia explains how that belief impacts the integrity of our Christian faith.
Lord, have mercy: The most misunderstood prayer in the Christian West
Central to Orthodox worship are the words "Lord have mercy." Amelia explains why we focus so much on God's mercy, what the words actually mean, and why this prayer isn't nearly as "dark" as many non-Orthodox think it sounds.
Low-fat or full-flavor? A Christian's guide to content-spinning
Good marketing has a way of making all available options look good. Amelia compares one restaurant's promotional technique to the idea of spiritual decision-making.
The Maker's instructions
Sometimes we feel like God is far away when we need Him, so we turn elsewhere for advice on how to survive the headaches and heartaches that life throws our way. Amelia explains why we end up feeling this way and why the alternate solutions we seek don't end up truly helping us.
Is there any benefit to pre-Paschal devotions such as "random acts of kindness" or "giving things up for Lent?" Amelia examines several examples of popular Christian trends through Orthodox eyes and explains why they so often fall short of accomplishing anything holy.
The measure of a man
Does God see us the same way that we see ourselves? Focusing mainly on the ideas of material achievements and self-sufficiency, Amelia cautions that there might be a big difference between our own opinions of ourselves and God's.
More than just a piece of land
In 2008, Kosovo was unlawfully severed from Serbia. The media and many Americans chose to support this secession for political reasons, but with absolutely no awareness of Kosovo's holy history or of the terrorism endured by the Christian minority living there. Amelia shares the response she addressed to fellow Christians.
The mother of all sins
Why do the Holy Fathers say that pride is the mother of all sins? Amelia analyzes the nature of ten categories of sins, including the seven known as "deadly," and explains what pride has to do with each.
Neurology and religion: Hard-wired to be hard-headed?
Where does religious fundamentalism come from? Are some people biologically inclined to believe one way or another? Amelia deconstructs the logic in a recent article about religion and brain anatomy, as well as the logic of a few misguided Christians who believed it.
How does the Gospel account of the ten lepers cleansed by Christ apply to those of us who don't have leprosy? In a fictional analogy to the Gospel narrative, Amelia explains how a hidden lesson in the Lord's miracle applies to every one of us.
No pain, no gain
The popular adage, "The body is a temple" has its roots in Holy Scripture and doesn't mean what most people think it means. Amelia explains how adoring the temple in the Christian sense has nothing to do with pleasure or pampering the self.
None of that guilt stuff
Does the Orthodox Church, or Christianity in general, encourage people to feel guilty? Not at all. In this short text, Amelia points out the differences between guilt and accountability.
Of promiscuity and pediatricians
Not all doctors practice holiness in their practice of medicine—not even some who claim to be Orthodox. In this true story about abortion, birth control, and a very misguided Christian, Amelia shares the details of a personal conversation that will incite parents to be more spiritually vigilant in their teenagers' medical care.
Of promiscuity and pediatricians, Part II
Are pictures of fathers and mothers with their happy children dangerous to your child? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the answer is yes. Amelia unearths the ridiculousness, and also the spiritual danger, of the AAP's new policy guidelines for physicians.
On the Lord's Prayer
Do we understand this text that we pray every day? Having come across some personalized variants of the Lord's prayer that seem to have missed the Lord's point, Amelia turns to the words of the Holy Fathers to clarify what the 13 phrases in the prayer actually mean.
On the Orthodox rule of prayer
Many of us wait for the mood to strike us before we think of praying to God. In just a few short paragraphs, Amelia explains why this isn't a good spiritual strategy and advocates the use of a prayer rule instead.
On the prayer of Jesus: 10 common misconceptions
Once thought of as largely a monastic practice, the Jesus Prayer is gaining popularity in both Orthodox and non-Orthodox circles of laypeople. Based on the Philokalia and other Patristic texts, Amelia addresses some common myths about this prayer and cautions against using it in "new age" ways.
Many of us consider a strong sense of self esteem to be one of the hallmarks of good mental health. In this short essay, Amelia looks at the concepts of taking pride in our accomplishments, feeling confident in our abilities, and the satisfaction of our desires in the context of Holy Scripture.
On the sincerity and sharing of faith
Should we base our faith on knowledge? On agreement with its teachings? On how it makes us feel? Amelia makes a brief statement on why we believe the things we believe—if we truly believe them, that is.
The ones that only God loves
This harsh look at the realities of abortion begins with a true story, poignant enough to move even the coldest of hearts to compassion. Amelia justifies Orthodoxy's vehement opposition to abortion, without neglecting to give attention to special circumstances such as pregnancy by rape.
Outliving the latest craze
The grimly high numbers of suicides and attempted suicides in America represent only the tip of the iceberg. In this thorough article, Amelia explains why, then contrasts the perspective of secular psychological research with the Orthodox understanding of suicide and its causes.
Playing God: Moral missteps in bioethics and Western medicine
When it comes to medicine and healthcare, how far is too far? Amelia explores the spiritual implications of several categories of clinical treatments from the Orthodox moral perspective.
When a sinful urge strikes, is it ever possible that we have no choice but to give in? Based on some teachings of the Holy Fathers, Amelia explains why the answer is no, as well as why we are fully responsible for overcoming and avoiding temptation.
A politically incorrect call to action
Is your money going where you think it's going? In a candid article on the subject, Amelia describes the less-than-Christian activities of a very prominent national charity, strongly urging believers to research and evaluate any organization's "charitable" efforts before making a contribution.
Postmodernism and the destruction of morality
According to the prevalent postmodern thought of our day, "right versus wrong" is relative and depends on what we personally believe. With the help of Scripture and Patristics, Amelia reminds readers that God determines the standards for morality—not us.
The price of love: Why God allows His children to suffer
If God exists and loves us, why does He allow us to suffer? Why does Christian faith not grant us immunity to suffering? Based on the words of several of the holy Optina Elders, Amelia explains why God sometimes chastens whom He loves.
The real Saint Nicholas
Is Saint Nicholas just another euphemism for the imaginary man in the red suit who comes to life at Christmastime? Amelia introduces readers to Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker and reveals the historical context through which we've come to know him only as Jolly Old Saint Nick.
Reasons not to fornicate, besides "God said so"
The Christian faith teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Interestingly, so does the research of plenty of secular experts. Amelia summarizes their studies into 10 easy-to-understand, non-religious points on reserving the bed for marriage.
Reporting for duty
Only the Lord can defeat evil; the ultimate battle is His. As Christians, however, we still need to report for duty and actively participate in it. Amelia shares the Orthodox perspective on what this means.
Research from hell
A recent secular research study claims to have proved the power of prayer. What's so wrong with that? Amelia has a few things to say …
Right, yet still wrong
Is it ever okay for Christians to take revenge? Amelia explains why God calls us to be humble and meek even in the face of unwarranted suffering, meanwhile offering hope to all who endure injustice in a holy way.
Rocks and hard places
Extreme stress can make even the strongest person feel utterly helpless. Amelia explains the medical mechanics of the stress response, the dangerous consequences of too much stress for too long a time, and sound Orthodox commentary on spiritually healthy and unhealthy ways of managing it.
The role of prayer in recovering from abuse
There is a difference between treating a problem and truly healing from it; true healing requires faith and prayer. Amelia introduces eight traditional Orthodox prayers that can help on the road to healing after abuse.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that the Orthodox Church teaches or encourages us to feel guilty all the time. Amelia explains why this isn't true and how repentance fits into the equation.
Sometimes even the best-intentioned joke isn't funny. Amelia tells the true story of a lighthearted joke that unintentionally turned a good deed sour, reminding us that we still need to be mindful when we make merry.
Shameless. And so wrong.
There might not be anything wrong with having oodles of money, but there is something wrong with making assumptions about people who have less. Amelia shares a true story about wealth, work ethic, and a mighty error in judgment that all started with a bumper sticker …
Sick in love: The heavy chains of emotional abuse and relationship addiction
Is it possible to be unhappy in a relationship and not even realize so? In this story of one woman's journey through a gridlock of strange medical and psychological symptoms, Amelia reveals how mysterious illnesses can sometimes be screaming indications of emotional abuse. Resources for breaking free are also named.
Is beauty always beautiful? Reflecting on a line from a Dostoevsky novel, Amelia illustrates the difference between a holy and sinful appreciation of beauty.
Soul-killing state of mind: An afterword
"Soul-killing state of mind:The irreconcilability of Far Eastern spiritual practices and the Orthodox faith" is one of the most popular titles on this site. Amelia shares the short story behind why she wrote it, along with some concluding thoughts.
Soul-killing state of mind:The irreconcilability of Far Eastern spiritual practices and the Orthodox faith
Are Christians permitted to practice meditation and yoga? Does karma mean "what goes around comes around?" Is reiki a legitimate therapeutic technique with promising results? In scrupulous detail, Amelia exposes the spiritually fatal nature of these and other elements of Far Eastern spirituality.
Staircase to hell
Sinful falls don't happen all at once; the holy Elder Cleopa of Romania describes sin as a progression through 12 stages, the last of which is suicide. Amelia relays his outline of those stages, explaining what happens at each, followed by a look at the hopelessness that leads to suicide.
Summer and winter Christianity, and what's missing from seasonal metaphors about faith
Are there two styles of Christianity—a brighter one and a darker one? Amelia respectfully disagrees with the idea of labeling Christians as "summer" or "winter" according to faith-based feelings and experiences.
Taking back Valentine's Day
Should February 14th mean anything to Christians? Amelia tells the story of Saint Valentine the Hieromartyr and differentiates between the feast day in honor of him and the secular celebration of Valentine's Day.
On Thanksgiving Day, even people who don't normally pray take a moment to be thankful for the good things in their lives. In the spirit of the civil Thanksgiving holiday, Amelia draws attention to a list of blessings that most of us are likely to have overlooked.
This, too, shall pass
When our feelings are hurt, how can we deal with the pain in a holy way? Amelia explains how to cope when our own will is different from God's.
Thoughts on a candle
A candle serves many purposes, both worldly and spiritual. If we want to grow, whether worldly or spiritually, Amelia illustrates how we can do so by being more like a candle.
Thoughts on a child's illness
Is there such a thing as medicine gone too far? Amelia reflects on the last weeks of the life of a little girl whose medical care may have been too aggressive.
Time can't heal a broken heart
Why do some people have trouble moving forward from heartache? Why are some unable to move on at all? Amelia explains why sadness doesn't usually go away on its own and what we can do to help the help the healing process.
To spa or not to spa?
What's wrong with scented oils, mood music, and a relax-you-to-the-core massage? Amelia gives a witty look at the "spa culture" of our day and explains how it stands in contradiction to the goals of an active Orthodox spiritual life.
'Tis the season! Reflections on the meaning of "Xmas"
In recent generations, the Christmas season has come to be one of mixed messages. For waning numbers of us, it's still about the Nativity of Christ. For just about everyone else, it's nothing of the sort. Amelia reflects on what Christmas isn't—and on what it should be.
Top ten things not welcome in church
In this top-ten list born of absolute necessity in at least a few parishes, Amelia suggests some basic guidelines for etiquette in an Orthodox church.
The trouble with Buddha
Buddhism, meditation, and other spiritual aspects of the Far East are increasingly creeping into the lives of Christians. Amelia explains the spiritual dangers of incorporating elements of non-Christian religions into everyday life, even if no religious conversion is intended.
Two (more) children gunned down
Why do children bring guns to school and kill their classmates? Why aren't our efforts at preventing this type of tragedy more successful? Amelia reveals what secular experts simply don't understand about school shootings and why they keep happening.
God makes it clear that with prayer and faith, we can move a mountain into the sea. No matter how hard we pray and how much we believe, however, we don't always get what we ask for. Sharing a childhood story as an example, Amelia explains why God's answer to our prayers is sometimes "no."
A voice of reason in chaos: The role of the Orthodox Church in the community
Is the Orthodox Church so old, so traditional, and so different that it has nothing to offer the community in general? Not so. Amelia explains a few of the things that Orthodoxy offers, both to its own and to non-Orthodox.
Wash your mouth out!
Is it a sin to use bad language? What does it mean to take God's name in vain? Amelia presents the First Amendment versus The Third Commandment on matters of "OMG!," name-calling, and profanity.
What are you wearing?
Why did God create Adam naked but give him clothes after the Fall? Why did the demon-possessed man from the Gadarenes run around in the nude until Christ healed him? Amelia answers by explaining the Bible's less obvious meaning of what it means to be unclothed.
What happens in Vegas
Recreational gambling: Harmless pastime or moral travesty? Amelia reveals the not-so-glamorous side of gambling, depicts the pain it causes addicts' families, and unveils the truly ugly moral climate of casinos.
What's the point of Christianity?
What does it mean to be saved? Amelia looks at the age-old Orthodox understanding of salvation in contrast to the newer, more legalistic way of defining it.
When no one is looking
Integrity and strength of character have a great deal to do with who you are when no one is looking. Amelia shares a story from college and reminds readers that God is always watching.
Who stole Jesus?
When Christ resurrected, the chief priests and elders paid the soldiers to lie and say that they had seen His body stolen from the tomb. Some people still believe the lie. Amelia reminds readers of the resurrection's central place in Christian faith.
Will the Church survive the war on Christianity?
The Christian faith is under attack from many sides, including the judicial system. Some Christians fear that these attacks will ultimately overcome the Church. Amelia briefly explains why this a cause for increased prayer but not for worry.
Worthy of their wages: ROCOR priests need your help in preserving traditional Orthodoxy
Did you know that the majority of priests in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia do not receive a salary or insurance benefits? What is so special about ROCOR that these priests do not wish to serve elsewhere? Amelia discusses the current situation and asks for your prayers, compassion, and support for ROCOR clergy.