Desert Spirituality for City Folks

ancient faith radio
An interesting series of podcasts with the title “Desert Spirituality for City Folks” is offered on “Ancient Faith Radio” [] beginning at:

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2
Part 3—Theology of the desert
Part 4 – The Fact of Myth
Part 5 – St. Anthony of Egypt
Part 6—Pachomius
Part 7—Love the Goal
Part 8 – The Journey
Part 9—What’s the Problem?
Part 10 – Getting Ready for Battle
Part 11 – Three Wrong-Way Signs to Christian Living
Part 12 – Detachment: Letting Go of Important Things
Part 13 – Humility
Part 14 – Gluttony
Part 15 – Why is our Gospel too small?
Part 16 – Defeating the Noonday Demon
Part 17 – Anger
An extract from the talk on Anger:

“So what are we to do about it? There’s a lot to say about this emotion, but here’s just a few strategies that were used by the monks that you might find helpful when fighting this dark emotion.
First, don’t get discouraged or be surprised to find anger in your soul. You’re just a fallen human being, and that means you can get your feelings hurt. Some of the monks had a hard time admitting that. Many monks expressed anxiety about their inability to resist anger. They thought they were above that sort of thing; after all, they were monks, not ordinary Christians.
In one of the sayings of the Desert Mothers, Amma Syncletica addressed this concern. She said that anger overcomes all of us from time to time. We’re not to think of ourselves different from anyone else in this matter.
Second, Amma Syncletica tells us that when we do get angry, we must deal with it quickly and decisively or else it will take root in our souls. We shouldn’t let it linger and seethe in our conscious or our subconscious minds. Rather, we should keep short accounts with other people and mend the problem before the day has passed. She tells us that “we must bear in mind the words of the Apostle. It is not good to get angry, but if it should happen, the Apostle does not allow you a whole day for this passion.”
So keep short accounts with others. Anger will only keep you from the love God wants you to have for others. Agathon, a disciple of Abba Poimen, said, “Even if an angry man should raise the dead, he is not acceptable to God.”
A third strategy we can use in combating anger in our souls is simply to die to our egos. Instead of falling headlong into hostility and revenge toward the person who angered you, choose a reaction that is compassionate and fair. Choosing a reaction that is compassionate and fair can only be done if you’ve died to your ego.
Are you too sensitive about what other people think of you? Are you suspicious that others are talking about you behind your back? Are you feeling hurt because someone disappointed you? Are they expecting too much of you? Did they say bad and hurtful things about you? Well, if you feel angry from that, get in line behind the rest of us who want revenge on those who harmed us. We all get our feelings hurt from the stupidity of others. We all know what it feels like for someone to act discourteously toward us.”
“Dr. Bradley Nassif is an Orthodox Christian, scholar, and trusted spokesperson for Orthodoxy, known especially for his ecumenical involvement and active role in Orthodox evangelism. Raised within the Orthodox Church as a Lebanese-American, Dr. Nassif also spent some time worshipping in the Evangelical tradition in his youth. His experience in both realms has made him a pioneer in Orthodox-Evangelical relations. His life experience, combined with his knowledge of Orthodox faith and history, places him in a unique position from which to articulate the Orthodox faith to a diverse audience.
Dr. Nassif is currently Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University in Chicago. He has been a teacher for the Antiochian House of Studies, and the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, California. He serves as a consultant for Time and Christianity Today magazines. Dr. Nassif holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University where he studied with the late Fr. John Meyendorff. Additionally, he holds a M.Div. from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, a M.A. in New Testament Studies from Denver Seminary, a M.A. in European History from Wichita State University, and a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Friends University. He is a member of Holy Transfiguration Antiochian Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois.”

For an interview with Dr Nassif, see

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