Dearly Beloved in Christ:
The Orthodox Church is like St John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, or Jesus baptizing by the Jordan. We, like them, preach a message of repentance and the remission of sins in the new desert, the decadent culture of the modern West, mired in the chaos of moral collapse.
The Orthodox Church’s message is a message of hope, of healing, of the transformation of one’s life, of the realization of the divine potential in each human being. Yet, this message requires not only acceptance, but a voluntary cooperation by those who accept this message. The Church demands a serious discipline of all who would be members, all who would follow this straight and narrow difficult path that leads to salvation. It is a way that demands that we be crucified to the world and its desires, dead to the flesh and its demands, so that we can be focused solely on God.
The culture of this world cries out for “justice.” It demands vengeance, and it despises the forgiveness of God. It cries out for bread in the wilderness; and when it is not satisfied with bread, it demands meat. It ignores the radiant Presence of God, and laments the fleshpots of Egypt. Nothing can satisfy its endless lusts for money, sex and power. In terror it refuses to even stand in silence and contemplate the abyss of death, ever trying to distract itself from the ultimate annihilation it so boldly preaches. This complete denial of death thus leads it to the kind of decadence that has overtaken us: greed, hedonism and licentiousness, which have led to gender confusion, depersonalization, and the loss of value of human life. A culture of hedonism leads only to the narcissism of a solitary individual, enslaved by his/her lusts, using others for the gratification of the passions. [Read more...]