Dec
07

Day9of40 – Pastoral Strategy in an Iterated Game

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the first thing social scientists do when they want to model interactions is figure out whether the interactions are iterated (i.e. repeated).  The vast majority of the work pastors do consists of repeated interactions.  While this does take the pressure off of each decision and encourage us to work on our peace and holiness, it also makes it apparent that we need to make a strategic choice: should we  Read more…

Dec
05

Day8of40 – The Sin of Letting People Down

It’s an accepted truism that “you can’t please everyone.”  And, as long as lazy people don’t use it as an excuse to ignore the preferences of those they are called to serve (i.e. their neighbor), it’s a useful one.  But “useful” is not the same as easy. I reckon it’s easy enough when we are letting down habitual complainers; it only takes most of us a few dozen iterations of going out of our way for them to realize that their problems Read more…

Dec
03

Day6of40 – On the Problem of Scientific and Spiritual Validation

As a social scientist, I was trained to test models based on their internal and external validity.  A good model would explain a significant portion of the variation within the sample data (i.e. have internal validity) AND have applicability beyond that sample (i.e. in the "real world" or on additional samples; this is external validity).  Sound individual-level scientific processes (i.e. collecting unbiased samples etc.) are designed t Read more…

Dec
01

Day4of40 – “Can’t I Just Serve Well?”

This is a question/conversation that comes up fairly regularly with seminarians and priests.  I strongly believe that in most American parishes it is NOT enough to just serve well and that one of the things we are called to do as "fathers" is lead. Yes, we need to strengthen our own life in Christ through asceticism and the rigors of Orthopraxis (e.g. prayer rule, fasting, study of Scripture, repentance, the cultivation of virtue, e Read more…

Nov
29

Day2of40 – A Paean to the Reliable Naysayer

Many of the personalities that populate our parishes seem to come out of central casting: the community historian, the pious worshiper, the issue advocate, the reliable worker ... the list goes on and on.  When priests seek advice from other preists about how to best lead, manage, and serve them, all it takes is a quick game of "name that tune" (i.e. "I can name that personality type in three notes!") and understanding is achieved, Read more…

Nov
10

GGWB Episode #16: Honor Among Priests

"Honor Among Priests" Fr. Anthony Perkins Good Guys Wear Black Podcast (AFR, 10 November 2016) In this episode, Fr. Anthony uses insights from his former career in intelligence to explain the spiritual vulnerability of our priests (and the need for vigilance). After a commercial break for a new type of Paschal vestment, he then offers a first draft of a priestly "Code of Honor". Enjoy the show! The text of the draft Priestly Read more…

Oct
14

GGWB Episode 15: The Priest as Shaman?

In this episode, Fr. Anthony begins by talking about the need to build joy into our routines. Then, after a (satirical) commercial break, he calls for Orthodox priests to consider taking on the role of Orthodox shaman as well. Read more…