The Truth is Always ‘Offensive’

The Truth is Always Offensive - Christ the Truth and Pilate by Trevor Thomas –
True followers of Christ tell the truth with courage, conviction, and love. They also peacefully, but strongly, stand up to the lies of liberalism, Islam, and the like. This is precisely why such Christians are found to be so ‘offensive.’

When Jesus stood before Pilate, just prior to going to His execution, Pilate asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” After some discussion, Pilate concluded, “You are a king, then!” Jesus replied, “You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Sounding much like a modern-day graduate of Harvard’s divinity school, or the Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University (who both probably have about the same regard for Christ as did Pilate), Pilate concluded his exchange with Jesus by asking, “What is truth?” And just as one would expect from someone so blind to the truth, Pilate and the crowd sent the most innocent man the world has ever known to his excruciating death. [Read more…]

Deeply Disturbing Concerns – Homosexual Militancy Threatening the Orthodox Church

Homosexual Militancy Threatening the Orthodox Church by Fr. John Guy Winfrey –
I never imagined in my entire life that I would actually see the day when same sex marriage would be legalized in the United States. But far more troubling, and absolutely beyond my wildest imagination would be that it would be accepted within the Orthodox Church. The acceptance of homosexuality as an acceptable behavior is, of course, one of the reasons that caused me to leave the church of my birth and enter Orthodoxy in the first place. It is tightly tied to women’s ordination to the priesthood and many other things that entirely undoes the historic Catholic (and Orthodox) Faith. Like so many before me, I had honestly assumed that crossing the threshold of Orthodoxy into the “unchanging Church”, I had finally arrived at a place wherein I simply live the historic Christian Faith untroubled by apostasy from within.

That illusion was popped for me a couple of months ago with a web post titled, Never Changing Gospel, Ever Changing Culture, on an official blog of the OCA, Wonder (wonder.oca.org/blog) [since removed by the OCA hierarchy], by the Archpriest Robert Arida, of Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts. In his essay he obliquely proposed the acceptance of same sex marriage as something we Orthodox should embrace. [Read more…]

Addressing the Moral Leadership Crisis

Addressing the Moral Leadership Crisis by James Kalb –
We live in an age of bad leadership. To judge by appearances, politicians today are mostly driven by partisanship and personal advantage. Business leaders are rapacious and indifferent to the welfare of their employees and customers, and to the value of their products. Artists, intellectuals, scholars, and journalists are more concerned with career and ideology than the good, beautiful and true, which they mostly don’t believe in anyway. And religious leaders make their way by manipulating language and symbols for the sake of comfort and worldly position.

In each case the vices seem similar: unrestrained ambition, loss of connection to those they should be leading, and lack of concern for the goods they are responsible for promoting. Those who aspire to high position make career a sort of absolute, and when they reach the top mostly think of increasing their glory by cultivating the esteem of other careerists, especially those in the media. [Read more…]

Islam Built on Violence, Murder, and War

Islam Built on Violence, Murder, and Warby Justin O. Smith –
Islam is violent and repressive, and its sacred texts are the heart of darkness at the center of the Islamic State’s inspiration and motivation, despite Barack Obama’s assertions in September 10th’s address to the nation that the Islamic State “is not Islamic” and that “no religion condones the killing of innocents.” Violence is an integral part of Islamic doctrine, following the example set by its Prophet Mohammed, and in the name of Islam and Allah, Muslims have been murdering innocents, since 656 AD.

Six hundred years after Mohammed, one of Islam’s most respected scholars, Ibn Khuldan wrote ‘Muqaddimah’ (Introduction to History), which explained: “In the Muslim community, the holy war is religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or force.” [Read more…]

An Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance

Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance by Rdr. Daniel Manzuk –
We are bombarded with the message that we are to be tolerant of the beliefs and practices of others. “Tolerant,” however, has come to mean “accept and condone without question or reservation”; failure to practice this form of tolerance makes one intolerant and a hater. These assertions are addressed especially to those from traditional Christian backgrounds who acknowledge that the truths in Scripture are absolute, not relative, as secular and liberal society views them.

It must be noted, too, that when entirely secularized people refuse to be tolerant of “traditional values,” they are called progressive, open-minded and enlightened, anything but intolerant; while traditional Christians are considered deluded, superstitious, brain-washed, and ignorant. (This is so despite the fact that – in all ages – living a Christian life requires a concerted effort and personal dedication –a clear choice. Just ask the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs.) [Read more…]

Defining Moral Crisis of Our Age

Ten Commandments envy corrosive shall not covetby Danny Lemieux –
One of the fundamental problems in our society is that we argue with one another from positions of moral parochialism: we assume that the other party shares our frames of reference. That may have been true in the earlier years of our nation, but I propose that this is no longer the case. Today, we argue from different and fundamentally incompatible moral codes and value systems. It is the dichotomy between the two that confuses our discourse and creates great dangers for our country.

Many political and social arguments today seek to accommodate two fundamentally incompatible and opposite moral codes: a Judeo-Christian code and a Marxist-Progressive (“MarxProg”) code. When we on the Judeo-Christian side of the equation appeal to terms such as “good,” “evil,” “right,” and “wrong,” we usually fail to realize that they mean entirely different things in the MarxProgs’ lexicon. [Read more…]

The Lord’s Prayer: “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) –
We can turn to God with a great variety of petitions. We can ask Him not only for that which is sublime and spiritual, but also for that which is essential for us on the material plane. “Daily bread” is what we live on; it’s our daily nourishment.

Moreover, in the prayer we say: “Give us this day our daily bread.” In other words, we don’t ask God to provide us with everything necessary for all the subsequent days of our lives. We ask Him for daily food, knowing that if He feeds us today, then He will feed us tomorrow, too. Pronouncing these words, we express our trust in God: we trust Him with our life today, just as we trust Him for tomorrow. [Read more…]

National Suicide? Cutting Off a Society’s Ethical and Religious History

National Suicide? Cutting Off a Society's Ethical and Religious Historyby Archbishop Charles Chaput –
If human laws do not reflect the deeper law of God, there is little chance of survival. That is why people of faith must participate in politics and public life because the current culture rejects God’s law or even Natural Law as a foundation for our society.

We now come to our third point: The law can’t teach effectively without the support of a surrounding moral culture, because law arises from that culture. As many thinkers, including St. John Paul II, have recognized, culture precedes politics and law. Law embodies and advances a culture, especially its moral aspects.

We Christians need to keep this in mind as we work for justice in our societies, despite the very negative climate of today’s culture wars. We should use political means as fruitfully as we can, without apologies. [Read more…]

Who Will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?

Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Helps the Lost Sheepby Anthony Esolen –
We do not have Pharisees who preen themselves for having followed the letter of the law and missed its soul. We have Pharisees who preen themselves for disobeying the law, even the most serious admonitions of the law, even your own clear words on marriage and divorce, while presuming to have discovered a soul-of-the-law whose existence has eluded two thousand years of martyrs, saints, popes, bishops, and theologians.

Forgive me, Lord, if I use your words for an admonitory parable. You said to the Pharisees, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and learning that one of them has wandered into the wilderness, will not leave the ninety nine and go after the lost sheep? And when he has found it, will he not call his friends and say, Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost?”

That is why you came among us, to call sinners back to the fold. [Read more…]

Orthodox Church Categorically Condemns All Homosexual Behavior

Orthodox Church Categorically Condemns Homosexual Behaviorby Editors –
The following information originally appeared in The Word, January 1984, pp. 6-11. The Word is the official news magazine of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Published monthly (with the exception of July and August) the magazine circulates to the households of all members of the Antiochian Archdiocese and other subscribers including libraries and seminaries.

Orthodox Statement on Homosexuality
The position of the Orthodox Church toward homosexuality has been expressed by synodical canons and Patristic pronouncements beginning with the very first centuries of Orthodox ecclesiastical life.

Thus, the Orthodox Church condemns unreservedly all expressions of personal sexual experience which prove contrary to the definite and unalterable function ascribed to sex by God’s ordinance and expressed in man’s experience as a law of nature. [Read more…]

A Cold Age – Eliminating Faith from the Public Square

A Cold Age - Eliminating Faith from the Public Squareby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
One of the benefits of reading history is that it enables one to compare one’s own era with other eras, and so identify the blind spots of former times and as well as the blind spots of one’s own time.  As C.S. Lewis once pointed out (in his essay On the Reading of Old Books), “Not that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes.  They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing, and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.”

Comparing our own age to those of previous ones (and even our own North American culture to other contemporary cultures) reveals what is perhaps the defining characteristic of our society—its coldness.  Men and women in previous ages sang while they worked, and while they walked down the road.  They greeted strangers in the street, and asked God’s peace upon them.  They retired and rose with the sun—and awoke refreshed.  It was normal even to arise at midnight to pray. [Read more…]

Liberals, Progressives, and Leftists Wage War on the Truth

Liberals, Progressives, and Leftists Wage War on the Truthby Trevor Thomas –
The convictions of modern liberalism are numerous and growing: Abortion, homosexuality, hook-ups, same-sex marriage, gender confusion, man-made global warming, universal healthcare, income redistribution, and whatever is the next perversion or deceit that will strike at the heart of biblical truths.

When it comes to political “wars,” in spite of the meme perpetrated by most liberals, no one is more hawkish than modern liberals and the political party that they own, the Democrat Party. By and large since the 1960s, their efforts are summed up by one succinct and extremely accurate appellation: a war on the truth.

In the history of our nation, only the pro-slavery Democrats of the 19th century rival the political deception employed by today’s liberals that lead the modern Democrat Party. Support of everything from abortion, to gender perversions, homosexuality, pornography, a redefinition of marriage, wicked climate policies, and an enslaving welfare state have made today’s Democrat Party little more than a modern-day Mephistopheles. [Read more…]

Texas Orthodox Priests Reject Fr. Arida’s Scandalous Teaching on Homosexuality

Texas Orthodox Priests Reject Fr. Arida's False Teachingby Texas Orthodox Priests –
Statement of the Brotherhood of the Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality

In response to Fr. Robert Arida’s recent article, which was posted on the OCA’s Wonder blog, there have been many eloquent rebuttals.  We do not wish to attempt to reproduce those critiques here, but we do wish to underscore some of the more important points that have been made, and to speak out publically on this controversy.

We find it unacceptable for Orthodox Clergy, who have been given the charge to instruct and guide the laity, to suggest that the moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church needs to change with the times or with the prevalent culture. St. Paul admonishes us to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). [Read more…]

Forming a Moral Foundation is Vital in Educating Children

Virtues Forming a Moral Foundation is Vital in Educating Childrenby Anthony Esolen –
The forming of a moral imagination is not something additional in the education of a child. It is the education of a child.

What is remarkable in our age is not that half of our citizens believe it is wrong to kill the child in the womb, the child whose existence, except in the rare case of rape, is owing to our own voluntary actions. That would be like congratulating ourselves for believing that it’s wrong to steal someone’s car, to lie under oath to hurt an enemy, to throw our aged parents into the street, or to desecrate churches.

Where is the great moral insight? What’s remarkable instead is that half of us believe it is all right to snuff out the life of that child – because nothing must be allowed to interfere with our “right” to pursue pleasure, as we use the child-making thing as a sweating-off spa on our way to money, prestige, a five-bathroom mansion for two, a tenured chair in Women’s Studies, the mayoralty of Camden, another year of nights out on the town, whatever. [Read more…]

Conservatism Requires a Religious Foundation

Conservatism Requires a Religious Foundation by Russell Kirk –
The conservative believes that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. … There is a divine power higher than any political power. When a nation ignores the divine authority, it soon commits the excesses of fanatic nationalism, intoxicated with its own unchecked power, which have made the twentieth century terrible.

Not all religious people are conservatives; and not all conservatives are religious people. Christianity prescribes no especial form of politics. There have been famous radicals who were devout Christians—though most radicals have been nothing of the sort. All the same, there could be no conservatism without a religious foundation, and it is conservative people, by and large, who defend religion in our time.

Lord Hailsham, a talented English conservative of this century, in his little book The Case for Conservatism, remarks, “There is nothing I despise more than a politician who seeks to sell his politics by preaching religion, unless it be a preacher who tries to sell his sermons by talking politics.” Yet he goes on to say that conservatism and religion cannot be kept in separate compartments, and that the true conservative at heart is a religious man. The social influence of Christianity has been nobly conservative, … [Read more…]

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