How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

How Christians Can Rebuild Our Cultureedom God by Charles J. Chaput –
It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God.

In the beginning, Genesis tells us, “the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2). Creation begins in chaos. On each day of creation, God brings new things into being and orders them according to a plan. God makes things for a purpose. He creates the world out of love. As Aquinas teaches, God orders the universe as a whole, and that order reflects his glory.

The world works better when it follows God’s design. We see this in our own moral lives. God gives us the law and the beatitudes because they lead us to joy. Jesus shows us the plan God writes into human nature so that, by his help, we can flourish. [Read more...]

The Left Is Deconstructing The Middle Class

Leftists Socialists communists democrats by Jack Curtis –
A lasting legend from Russia’s Communist Revolution illustrates the attitude of the Progressive Left toward the middle class: the examination of rounded up citizens by the revolutionaries. If a captive’s hands weren’t calloused, he was executed. That doesn’t fit America; better to enlist the citizens in the deconstruction. Though slower than the Russian approach, that hasn’t proven difficult; the left’s programs are popular with voters.

America’s middle class is a historical anomaly, a result of combining British government and jurisprudence; classical liberalism; a disparate stream of immigrants and an entire new, unexploited; and a lightly governed continent where the prior occupants were no barrier. Add to that an industrial revolution. Though seldom discussed in public now, the resulting huge, educated, propertied, and politically powerful middle class is seen from the left as an obstacle, an impediment to the reshaping of American society desired by Progressives. In short, it accumulates and retains too much of the political power, property, and wealth that Progressives prefer in the hands of government. [Read more...]

To Be Healed We Must Open Ourselves to God

To Be Healed We Must Open Ourselves to God by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh –
Each of us is in need of physical healing and of the healing of our soul. And yet, only a few are healed — why? What we miss in the reading of the Gospel is that Christ did not heal people indiscriminately.

Again and again we hear in the Gospel the story of men or women who were healed of their illnesses, and it seems so simple in the Gospel: there is a need, and God meets it. Why is it then — we ask ourselves — that it does not happen to each of us? Each of us is in need of physical healing and of the healing of our soul. And yet, only a few are healed — why? What we miss in the reading of the Gospel is that Christ did not heal people indiscriminately. One person in a crowd was healed; many who were also sick in body or soul, were not. That comes from the fact that, in order to receive the Grace of God, so that it acts in us unto the healing of soul or body, or both, we must be open to God — not to the healing, but to God. [Read more...]

Charles Dickens Can Help Us Fight the Moral Madness

Charles Dickens Can Help Us Fight the Moral Madness by Anthony Esolen –
I recently observed that there must be something odd about someone who likes to play Naming of Parts with the children of strangers, whether it’s a slobbering bachelor down the street who’s friendly with one kid, or a minor governmental functionary who is friendly with two dozen. For suggesting that parents and not slobs or schoolteachers have the sole authority to teach their children about sex, I was called “bizarre.”

Get used to it, comrades. The collapse of moral values is now shifting into a mad inversion. It used to be considered evil to deprive a child of a mother or a father. It will now be considered evil to insist that a child should have a mother and a father. It used to be considered evil to walk naked in front of children. It will now be considered evil to demand that people stay clothed in front of children. [Read more...]

Daily Prayers: The Battle with Extraneous Thoughts

Daily Prayers: The Battle with Extraneous Thoughts by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) –
Short prayers help in overcoming distractions and extraneous thoughts: “Lord, have mercy,” “God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” and others, which do not require a special focus on the words, but incline one to the birth of feelings and the movement of the heart. With the help of such prayers, one can learn to pray attentively and to focus on prayer.

One of the main obstacles to attentive prayer is the appearance of extraneous thoughts. St. John of Kronstadt, the great ascetic of the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, describes in his diaries how, during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, at the most crucial and sacred moments, before his mind’s eye would appear an apple pie or some other reward that he might be given. And with bitter regret he suggests how such extraneous images and thoughts can destroy a prayerful state. If such happened with the saints, then there is nothing surprising if it happens to us, too. To protect ourselves from extraneous thoughts and images, we have to learn, as did the ancient Fathers of the Church, “to guard our minds.” [Read more...]

University Campuses: The Least Free Place in America

University Campuses: The Least Free Place in Americaby Greg Lukianoff
Once the vanguard of open debate and free speech, American universities and colleges have become a place where alternative thinking goes to die.

Question: Which American institution–one that prides itself on being open, democratic, and diverse–punishes its members severely for offering unpopular opinions, while it offers them a very narrow, limited worldview?

Answer: Universities. Once the vanguard of open debate and free speech, colleges have become a place where alternative thinking goes to die. Students who speak out on behalf of traditional American ideals, unfortunately, are often silenced by college administrators. Learn how the college campus, a place that should be an intellectual melting pot, has turned into anything but, violating the rights of those who have alternate opinions. [Read more...]

Conservatives Must Defend Marriage for Principled and Practical Reasons

Defend Marriage Religion by Carson Holloway –
To hear some commentators talk, America’s struggle over the meaning of marriage is already over, and conservatives have lost. Like latter-day Edgar Allan Poes, they are busily preparing a premature burial for marriage as a male-female union. Conservatives should imitate Poe’s protagonist and refuse to cooperate with this ghoulish enterprise, showing their opponents that they and their cause are very much alive.

Recent suggestions of surrender are noteworthy because they go beyond the now-familiar claims from the left about the “inevitability” of nationally approved same-sex marriage, claims that were always intended as a substitute for actual argument about the proper understanding of marriage. Now, even some voices on the right are speaking of American conservatism’s coming defeat and surrender on the question of marriage.

Calls for capitulation are premature, however, for reasons of both principle and politics. [Read more...]

Christian Persecution: Kicking Evangelicals Off University Campuses

Kicking Evangelicals Off University Campuses Requiring campus student leaders to be converts to Christianity can get a ministry kicked off campus at some schools. Sadly, an increasing number of universities and colleges are requiring Evangelical campus groups to open their leadership roles to all comers, regardless of their faith commitments.

The Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, an InterVarsity chapter, has just lost official recognition after 40 years of serving students on the Brunswick, Maine campus. They found that meeting requirements of the Bowdoin College non-discrimination policy would make “faithful Christian witness impossible.”

In a recent update at First Things, Robert Gregory tells the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship story. [Read more...]

Orthodox Truth in an Age of Relativism

Orthodox Truth in an Age of Relativism by Gabe Martini –
It is not loving to affirm a person in their sin.

It is not loving to affirm a person in their rebellion against both God and His created, natural order—not “supernatural,” or “unnatural,” but the way nature was always intended to be, revealed most perfectly in Jesus Christ and the Mother of God and all the Saints.

It is not loving to affirm a person in their beliefs or perspectives that run contrary to the blessings offered us in both Christ and His one, holy Church.

It is not compassionate to ignore truth in order to affirm a person in lies.

It is not compassionate to let people live a life contrary to the author of Life.

It is not compassionate to revise, ignore, or trample under foot the essential truths of our Church in order to curry favor with public opinion, the winds and waves of doctrine, cultural trends, the fools—for the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God—of the Academy, and those with the largest checkbooks. [Read more...]

The Left Embraces Blacklisting and Christian Persecution

Left Embraces Blacklisting and Christian Persecution by Sally Zelikovsky –
David and Jason Benham had their HGTV show canceled when it was discovered that they are Christians (oh, the horror) and are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage (high crimes and misdemeanors, doncha know). It won’t be long before people who hold these views will be hauled off by PC mobs and stoned to death.

The web is a cyber galaxy of information and connectivity that allows for full expression of the individual in the cyber marketplace of ideas. There is no question that the World Wide Web has enhanced so many aspects of our lives. But the very same platform that gave rise to this information highway — this liberating agent — can also be used by both private and public concerns as a weapon against the individual.

We all know what happens to law-abiding citizens when they express their private opinions outside of work: left wing zealots dig up whatever “dirt” they can find on them — usually related to race, sexual orientation, religion — publish these findings on the internet, and demand any business arrangements with the alleged “extremists” be canceled forthwith. [Read more...]

The Lord’s Prayer: Everything Man Needs for Life and Salvation

Christ Praying The Lord's Prayer by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) –
The “Our Father” prayer is of special significance, because Jesus Christ Himself gave it to us. It begins with the words: “Our Father, Who art in the heavens.” This prayer is comprehensive in character: in it is concentrated, as it were, everything that man needs both for earthly life and for the salvation of his soul. The Lord gave it to us so that we would know what we should pray for and what to ask of God.

The first words of this prayer, “Our Father, Who art in the heavens,” reveal to us that God is not some distant or abstract being, not some notional good foundation, but our Father. Today very many people, in response to the question of whether they believe in God, reply in the affirmative; but if you ask them how they imagine God and what they think of Him, they respond something like this: “Well, God is good, it is something luminous, some kind of positive energy.” That is, they treat God like some kind of abstraction, as something impersonal.

When we begin our prayer with the words “Our Father,” then we are immediately appealing to the personal, living God, to God as Father – to the Father about Whom Christ spoke in the parable of the prodigal son. [Read more...]

Politics Versus Education: The Left Sacrifices Children to Maintain Power

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

by Thomas Sowell –
Of all the cynical frauds of the Obama administration, few are so despicable as sacrificing the education of poor and minority children to the interests of the teachers’ unions.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to suppress the spread of charter schools in Louisiana was just one of the signs of that cynicism. His nationwide threats of legal action against schools that discipline more black students than he thinks they should are at least as damaging.

Charter schools are hated by teachers’ unions and by much of the educational establishment in general. They seem to be especially hated when they succeed in educating minority children whom the educational establishment says cannot be educated. [Read more...]

I Can Do All Thinks Through Christ, Who Strengthens Me

I Can Do All Thinks Through Christ, Who Strengthens Me by Fr. Matthew Jackson –
From the ‘smallest’ temptation to the most dramatic events, all temptation is more than fallen humanity can bear. It is only through God’s assistance that we can bear all things. God will not give us more than we can bear, but bearing our temptations requires that we turn to Him for help.

There is an article (a few of them, actually) making the rounds on social media right now which tries to make the point that the phrase “God will not give you more than you can handle” is not an accurate thing to say. Unfortunately, these articles themselves don’t quite have things right.

They refer back to the quote from 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able.” (This is where the quote ‘God will not give you more than you can handle’ originates). The point is then attempted: this verse doesn’t mean you won’t be given things that can’t be handled, only that God will not allow a temptation you can’t bear – that the verse doesn’t say anything about other experiences you may have within life. [Read more...]

War on Marriage: Dissolving the Institution of Marriage

Assault on Marriage, War on Marriage by Taylor Lewis –
The very idea of marriage being between just a man and woman is offensive to radical leftists because it holds male and female as distinct creatures. For egalitarian libertines, that’s a reality too horrid to survive in their utopia.

For years, opponents of same-sex marriage fretted that the unleashing of gay nuptials would open the door for all types of sexual decadence. Last presidential cycle, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was panned heavily for comparing gay marriage to polygamy at a New Hampshire stop on the campaign trail. After a college student questioned his vigorous opposition to same sex couples being wed, Santorum responded in turn: “If it makes three people happy to get married, based on what you just said, what makes that wrong?” The remark was met with boos from students and condemnation from the liberal press.

Less than two years later, Santorum ran a victory lap after a federal judge struck down a ban on polygamy in Utah. [Read more...]

Prayer is the Gauge of Our Spiritual Life

Prayer is the Gauge of Our Spiritual Life by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) –
If our life is not a preparation for prayer, then it can be very difficult for us to pray. Prayer is the gauge of our spiritual life, a kind of litmus test. We need to construct our life in such a way that it conforms to prayer.

Prayer involves not only joy and attainments, which take place because of it, but also painstaking daily labor. Sometimes prayer brings enormous joy, refreshing man and giving him new strength and opportunities. But it very often happens that one is not disposed towards prayer, that one does not want to pray. Thus, prayer should not depend upon our mood. Prayer is labor. St. Silouan the Athonite said: “To pray is to shed blood.” As in every labor, this requires great effort, sometimes enormous effort, in order to force oneself to pray even when one does not want to. And such an effort [podvig] will be repaid one hundredfold. [Read more...]