church bell from below

No Other Foundation

Reflections from Fr. Lawrence Farley

Fr. Lawrence Farley

About Fr. Lawrence Farley

Fr. Lawrence serves as pastor of St. Herman's Orthodox Church in Langley, BC. He is also author of the Orthodox Bible Companion Series along with a number of other publications.

Zacchaeus Up a Tree

With the possible literary exception of Tarzan, real men do not climb trees.  At least they didn’t in the Middle East in the time of Jesus.  Neither did they run.  Running was for children, and professional messengers, and soldiers. ...
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Autocephaly and the Episcopate

I have just finished reading a very important and immensely depressing book about the autocephaly of the OCA entitled, The Time Has Come: Debates over the OCA Autocephaly Reflected in St. Vladimir’s Quarterly. It is an important book...
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On Masking One’s Face

As the Covid pandemic drags on into its third wearying year, the debate regarding the legitimacy of certain government restrictions grows ever more shrill, and people ever more divided.  For Christians for whom their primary allegiance...
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A Christianity of the Catacombs

I begin with a quote from an article that is almost 60 years old, but which has lost none of its timeliness:   “Since the Byzantine era, Orthodoxy was always brought to and accepted by whole nations.  The only familiar pattern of the...
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Baptism in the Jordan: Another Step Down

The Great Prokeimenon, sometimes chanted at Vespers in the Orthodox liturgical tradition, asks the rhetorical question, “Who is so great a God as our God?” I often think that by “great” one might also mean “gutsy”.The gods of other...
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Snoopy’s Christmas: A Seasonal Meditation

Each year one of my favourite Christmas songs is an old novelty song called Snoopy’s Christmas, released in 1967 by the Royal Guardsmen as a follow-up to their previous hit Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. (Those who are too young to have heard...
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Does the Orthodox Church Have a Woman Problem?

One sometimes hears the assertion that the Orthodox Church has what has been called “a woman problem”.  Usually the assertion comes from people (most often women) from other churches who cannot understand Orthodoxy’s refusal to ordain...
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A Prophetic Voice

Thirty-eight years ago last Monday, Fr. Alexander Schmemann reposed in the Lord on the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska.  His family lost a beloved husband, father, and brother; his Seminary lost a revered teacher, and all the Orthodox...
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The Church and Apocalypticism

Second Temple Judaism was a many-splendoured thing.  That is, it included many different elements—so many elements in fact that some people talk not just of Judaism, but Judaisms (in the plural). While the use of the plural might be a...
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William and Wendy

Recently I was reading about two very different people: William Barclay (whose works I have been familiar with since high school; inset left) and Wendy O. Williams (who I had never heard of until recently; inset right).William Barclay...
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Samson: God’s Hell-raiser

One of the most exciting stories in all the Bible is the story of Samson—made culturally famous by the penultimate episode of the story, that of “Samson and Delilah”.  His story forms a significant part of Israel’s history, occupying an...
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Biblical Women: The Prophetess

There is one woman in the Bible who is consistently ignored.  That is perhaps not unexpected, since her name is not given.  Her presence can be first detected by the exegetically keen-sighted in Isaiah 7.  On the eve of an expected...
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Understanding the Bible: Recognizing Christ

In earlier blog posts we spoke of the challenges to be faced in understanding the Bible in all its rich complexity.  We spoke of the necessity of recognizing that the Bible contains many literary genres and that it is a very old book. ...
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Understanding the Bible: Recognizing Antiquity

In an earlier blog post we spoke of the necessity of recognizing literary genre as one of the essential keys to understanding the Bible.  A second key to understanding the Bible is recognizing its antiquity—that is, acknowledging that...
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Understanding the Bible: Recognizing Genre

Odd as it sounds, the first step to understanding the Bible is to realize that there is no such thing as The Bible.  Or, to state it somewhat less paradoxically, we must realize that the Bible is not a single book written by a single...
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