Dec
04

Day7of40 – On the Joy of Service, Well Done

One of the many things I am thankful for in being an Orthodox priest is that the most important thing I do is scripted.  As a musician, I was never inclined to jazz (or any kind of improvisation); I found my greatest joy when playing difficult pieces with a group that worked well together.  Expression was not stifled, it was directed and communal (I can see how this is true for jazz players ... but that is way past my ability; I can onl 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
02

Day5of40 – The Vision Thing

Every priest needs to have a vision for his priesthood and for the parish he serves.  Because today's blog is a continuation of yesterday's on leadership, this post will focus on the latter. So... do you have done the hard work of discerning a vision for your parish? Most of us haven't.  If we're asked; "what is your vision for your parish"?  We're smart people and we have learned lots of words, and we can put something together th 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
30

Day3of40 – Self-Discipline, Camaraderie, and the Demon of Noonday

Even in the West, where we have built up huge walls to keep it out (and bread and circuses to keep us busy when the siege is strong and infiltrations are many), pain makes its way into our lives.  Pain may not be the right word; I'm not talking about the sudden "oops I stubbed my toe" sensation, but about that deep bone ache that sneaks its way into our core and threatens to infect our lives from the inside out.  It g a crows into a cons 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…

Nov
06

A Code of Conduct for the Brotherhood of Priests (a first cut)

When I joined the Army, we were quickly taught the Army Values, the Soldier's Creed, and the Code of Conduct (and similar sets of rules/expectations). We learned them by memory and had to recite them – and live by them– even under stress. At the same time we began learning the unwritten rules of the Army.  These became increasingly important as we rose in the ranks. For example, when we became sergeants we learned that “a private isn't h Read more…