I like to read the lives of the saints and also writings directly from the saints. From this I’ve noticed two things. First, there are recurring spiritual teachings that are common among saints who lived in different epochs and nations, signifying importance for all Christians. Second, I’ve noticed attitudes, sentiments, and behaviors that no saint has taught. I’d like to extrapolate on the latter and imagine some statements that I suspect no Orthodox saint has ever said. (If a canonized saint did advocate for one of the sayings, leave a comment with the correction.) Here we go…

1. “I only go to church once a week.”

2. “I don’t like to do prostrations.”

3. “Can you hand me a third piece of cake?”

4. “I’m bored.”

5. “This new piece of technology has made my life so much better.”

6. “I need to take some time off from praying.”

7. “We must fight climate change.”

8. “I wish my muscles were a lot bigger.”

9. “I need to update my style.”

10. “I need a vacation.”

11. “Let’s go have some fun.”

12. “I eat healthy so that I will never get sick.”

13. “You should always have a plan B.”

14. “You have to fight for your rights by hiring a lawyer.”

15. “I won’t ever forgive that person.”

16. “There is wisdom in crowds.”

17. “I’m happy with the level of faith I’ve attained.”

18. “Stand six feet away from me so I don’t get sick.”

19. “I like wearing pajamas in public.”

20. “It’s not important to fast.”

21. “The church services are too long for me.”

22. “I don’t have a spiritual father.”

23. “The humanity of Lord Jesus Christ evolved from monkeys.”

24. “Different religions all lead to the same God.”

25. “I regularly cut my hair and beard.”

26. “I haven’t picked up a Bible in a long time.”

27. “I stare at a digital screen all day long.”

28. “I’m concerned about the overpopulation of the Earth.”

29. “There’s a lot we can learn from the field of science.”

30. “I broke my personal record for bench press today.”

31. “Not everything in the Bible is true.”

32. “I’m scared that the new virus will kill me.”

33. “I’m stocking up on guns and ammo.”

34. “This house is my forever home.”

35. “Did you catch the game last night?”

36. “I’m too busy to help you.”

37. “I really need a tan.”

38. “I used a psychedelic drug to achieve a state of grace.”

39. “One doesn’t need the Church to be saved.”

40. “I love loud music.”

41. “I don’t own a prayer rope.”

42. “This outfit accentuates my physique.”

43. “Traffic makes me so angry.”

44. “I want to share a picture I took of myself with everybody in the world.”

45. “My personal opinions are very important.”

46. “Many of my good friends are Muslims and Jews.”

47. “I’m very close to hitting my wealth goal.”

48. “I don’t have time to feed the poor.”

49. “I can’t wait to retire and play golf all day.”

50. “My best friend is my dog.”

51. “I like to fantasize about things that may happen in the future.”

52. “I’m stuffed!”

53. “It’s important to listen to the scientific experts.”

54. “Cursing is a good way to let out steam.”

55. “It’s essential to have a sense of humor that makes everybody laugh.”

56. “It’s not important to pray to the Theotokos.”

57. “I only like to sit in comfortable chairs.”

58. “I won’t eat that because it’s bad for my physical health.”

59. “I must be treated with respect.”

60. “I need to live in a big house.”

61. “I’m tired of working.”

62. “I have to retrieve something out of my personal safe.”

63. “I hate that person.”

64. “Tomorrow we’re going to the movies!”

65. “I don’t want to burn myself out.”

66. “I have not memorized any prayers.”

67. “It’s good to let loose once in a while.”

68. “It’s better to be rich than poor.”

69. “I’m an expert at making gourmet meals that please everybody.”

70. “I don’t have to follow that commandment.”

71. “The government needs to fix this problem.”

72. “I like to live in the middle of the big city where all the action is.”

73. “Let me see how my 401k retirement plan is doing.”

74. “I don’t own many icons.”

It’s helpful for Orthodox Christians to do a self-examination of their modern lifestyles. Would the saints of the Church believe what you believe? Would they have your same habits and attachments? Would they sanction the things that you think yield temporary life enjoyment? In such a contemplation, I believe most would discover that they have allowed the secular world to intrude upon their lives and compete with what the Orthodox Church teaches. Since I came to the Church at a later age, much of my efforts seem to be chopping off the secular habits that are firmly gripped upon my soul.

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