St. John Chrysostom on the Terrible Passion of Homosexuality

St. John Chrysostom virtue of faithby Fr. Sarantis Sarantou -

“Because of this did God give them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females did change their natural function into that which is against nature; and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female, did burn in their longing toward one another….” (Romans 1:26-27)

The Apostle Paul, according to the Holy Fathers, is the holy mouth of Christ, and divine Chrysostom is the mouth of the Apostle Paul. Commenting on the very important Epistle to the Romans of the holy Apostle Paul, the divine Father gives a divinely inspired analysis of homosexuality, among other issues.

All the passions are degrading to humanity, but especially the mania of men for men. He summarily characterizes homosexuality as an unforgivable passion, not because it really is, but because the entire male personality becomes so distorted that there is a chronic allegiance to this abomination, which is a difficult passion to restrain by the fallen.

The golden words of Chrysostom are remarkably balanced. His unshakable logic, which he uses to spiritually support his flock, is universally acknowledged to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. [Read more...]

Cultivating Faith in Children

Faith Children Orthodox Christianby Evgeny Poselyanin -
There are children who have strong faith despite their parents’ disbelief in, even hostility towards religion. The beauty and order of the universe awakens faith in them, as it did in Great Martyr Barbara.

The writer and New Martyr Evgeny Poselyanin (his real surname was Pogozhin, 1870–1931) reflects upon the teaching of faith to children in his book, Faith, and the Path to Faith.

Such a mind [as Great Martyr Barbaras’] arrives on its own at an inevitable faith in the Creator and Caring Provider of all that exists.

Then, a person with a lively and deep mind and a nature distinguished by a sense of justice finds it necessary to investigate those strange attacks on religion, of which he has become a witness. He strives to make sense of it all. And it could be said that other people, who would have remained indifferent to nature in times when religion is not persecuted, turn to it with all their souls during times of persecution.

However, the path that I have just mentioned is the path of direct faith, and it is the path of a few chosen souls. [Read more...]

True and False Spirituality: How to Deal With Fair-weather Friends

Job and Dealing With Fair-weather Friendsby Deacon Keith Fournier -
One of the most profound of biblical characters is the man named Job. The book which bears his name is rich with insights about real life. It is profound, disturbing, and yet incredibly helpful precisely because it reveals something of importance. Things aren’t always the way they seem – or feel.

Yet, – in the words of the Psalmist David – God “never sleeps not slumbers”. (Psalm 121:4)

This is a troubling and difficult time for many people. Over and over again, I hear the sad stories of financial setback as the U.S. economy struggles. People are watching their retirement funds, their homes and their savings, seem to vanish. When we look around us it seems our culture is in collapse as it rejects the moral foundations of a free society. [Read more...]

The Secret Sloth of Busy, Active People

Secret Sloth of Busy, Active Peopleby Dave White -
Slothful people, to many people’s surprise, are often active, busy, and hard-working people who have given their lives to trivial matters, not transcendent ones. They have immersed their lives with empty pleasures. Slothful people regularly find themselves bored and struggle to compensate by filling their time with self-centered diversions. It’s not that their lives are filled with motion, energy, and bustling about; it’s that their lives are slothful regarding the things that really matter!

Slothful People Embrace Escapism
Sloth is not mere laziness. It’s not a couch potato. Sloth is escapism of the deadly sort—including drug users, TiVo addicts, and obsessive video gamers. Yet escapism also includes most workaholics! Sloth saps our time and emotions through positive activities like clubs, hobbies, and sports—while leaving scant energy for our marriages or kids or preeminent duties. [Read more...]

God Recognized and Honored at Texas Graduation

Fr. Seraphim Holland - Orthodox priestby Fr. Seraphim Holland -

Proof that I live in Texas and not Massachusetts:
1. My daughter’s nursing graduation ceremonies began and ended with prayer.
2. Most autobiographies (probably 60 out of 70) thanked God.
3. They recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge at the end.

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.” [Read more...]

Go and Repair My House, Pope Francis I and True Humility

Pope Francis I and True Humilityby Peggy Noonan -
I’ll tell you how it looks: like one big unexpected gift for the church and the world.

Everything about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s election was a surprise—his age, the name he took, his mien as he was presented to the world. He was plainly dressed, a simple white cassock, no regalia, no finery. He stood there on the balcony like a straight soft pillar and looked out at the crowd. There were no grand gestures, not even, at first, a smile. He looked tentative, even overwhelmed. I thought, as I watched, “My God—he’s shy.”

Then the telling moment about the prayer. Before he gave a blessing he asked for a blessing: He asked the crowd to pray for him. He bent his head down and the raucous, cheering square suddenly became silent, as everyone prayed. I thought, “My God—he’s humble.” I wasn’t sure what to make of it and said so to a friend, a member of another faith who wants the best for the church because to him that’s like wanting the best for the world. He was already loving what he was seeing. [Read more...]

Pope Francis I, A Promising Christ-like Leader of the Catholic Church

Pope Francis, A Promising Christ-like Leaderby Abbot Tryphon -
In Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi had a mystical vision in which Christ told him to rebuild his Church. In taking the name Francis, this pope seems to be pledging himself to rebuild the image and integrity of a church that has suffered from widespread allegations of corruption, and the cover-up of the child sex abuse by innumerable members of her clergy.

After becoming archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, he sold the archbishop’s palace, preferring instead to live in an apartment. He was known to cook his own meals, and rejected the services of a chauffeur, preferring instead to ride the bus. As Jesuit Provincial, he put an end to the Liberation Theology being taught among Jesuits under him, demanding they stop their involvement in politics, and place their energies on serving the spiritual needs of their people.

This is the man who went to a hospice during Holy Week, and washed the feet of twelve aids patients. Known for a simple lifestyle and for dedication to social justice, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had taken a strong stand against the corruption of politicians and business men in Argentina. He has not only been a champion of the poor, but a champion of democracy. [Read more...]

The Image of God and the Dignity of Work

The Image of God and the Dignity of Workby Art Lindsley -
The number one fear of the millennial generation is living a meaningless life.

In a recent informal survey of undergraduate students at Regent University, 27 percent of students asked expressed anxiety when considering their vocation. “Scared,” “uneasy,” “unsure,” “confused,” and “apprehensive” were common words in describing the way they felt about their future vocation.

But college students aren’t the only ones struggling with their calling. Many adults fail to discover their calling in life, too. Why is it so hard to find this thing we call our “vocation”?

When I use the words “calling” and “vocation,” I am referring to what Os Guinness calls our secondary calling. As Guinness points out, along with Luther, Calvin, and many other Reformers, our primary calling is the call to faith in Christ. Several secondary callings flow from this primary calling, including the call to work. [Read more...]

Should Government Coerce Charity?

Christian Charity Voluntary, Real Charity Cannot Be Coerced by Joel J. Miller -
When it comes to the question of social justice, there is more at play than the needs of the poor. Charity requires not only a recipient but also a giver, and that increases the issue’s moral complexity.

From the earliest days of the church, care for the poor was central. It’s there in the New Testament writings, in Christ’s own words even. It’s there in the Didache, which directs Christians to spend time with the lowly (3.9) and give their firstfruits to the poor (13.4). And great pastors and preachers like Basil the Great spoke often and forcefully on the matter.

“How many precepts you ignore, since your ears are plugged with avarice!” said Basil in one sermon, adding, “if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need” (I Will Tear Down My Barns 6, 7). [Read more...]

Not Sermons but Stories – Engaging in Culture the Right Way

Christians Engaging Culture Through Stories by Eric Metaxas -
If you’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia, you know they are loaded with Christian themes and symbols. That’s why many assume that C. S. Lewis wrote them in order to send some kind of Christian message.

But Lewis himself insisted otherwise. The tales, he said, started as a series of pictures that came into his mind and set his imagination working. The result was not sermons, but stories—beautiful stories loved by believers and non-believers alike for decades.

There’s a lesson in here for all of us. Conservative Christians today often feel alienated from the larger society, and for good reason. The vast majority of the stories that permeate our culture are told by people whose worldview is diametrically opposed to ours. We can hardly watch a TV show or read a magazine without seeing ourselves portrayed as villains, and our cultural opponents held up as the epitome of righteousness. [Read more...]

Christians Must Not Retreat from the Culture, We Must Work for its Conversion

Christians Must Convert the Cultureby Deacon Keith Fournier -
Two years before becoming Pope, Karol Cardinal Wotyla spoke to the U.S. Bishops. His observation was republished in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 1978:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church must take up.”

And take it up we have. However, there is much, much more to do. The ground has shifted and the struggle is intensifying. Our cultural mission lies at the heart of what it means for us as Christians to be leaven, light, salt and the soul of the world. This is no time to retreat from culture, we must work for its conversion. What is needed are men and women of Christian courage. [Read more...]

Christmas and Secularism’s Futility

Christmas Nativity of Christby Ray Nothstine -
Every December cultural warriors mourn the incessant attacks on Christmas and secularism’s rise in society. News headlines carry stories of modern day Herods banning nativity scenes, religious performances, and even the word “Christmas.” Just as a majority of young people profess they will have less prosperity and opportunity than their parents, many people now expect less out of Christmas. Continual bickering over holiday messaging in corporate advertising itself points to a shrinking and limited Christmas.

Yet these problems are signs on the way to important truths, if we have the eyes to see. Record spending and debt, whether in Washington or the home, allude to a society trying to fill an emptiness of the heart. Even our disappointment in poor leadership in America reminds us that we crave a true King and are expectant of a greater day. [Read more...]

Calculating Christmas Not Based on Pagan Festivals

Nativity Christmas Starby William J. Tighe -
Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance. [Read more...]

Churches, the Constitution, and Christmas Celebrations

Nativity Display Churchby SpeakUpChurch -
Every Christmas season, it seems that the “war on Christmas” begins afresh and with renewed vigor.  For some, the season that proclaims “peace on earth” seems to be anything but, with demands to remove any and all religious references to the celebration of Christmas. And this year is no exception.

For instance, Western Piedmont College in North Carolina recently replaced the word “Christmas” with the word “holiday” in a student club’s announcement of a Christmas tree sale designed to raise money for charity.  It was only after attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the college that it reversed its decision and reinstated “Christmas.” [Read more...]

How to Speak About God to the Men and Women of Our Time

Pope Benedict Evangelize American Cultureby Pope Benedict XVI -
“How do we speak to God in our times? How can we communicate the Gospel to open the way to its salvific truth?” The Holy Father offered an answer to these questions in his catechesis during today’s general audience, held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

“In Jesus of Nazareth”, the Pope said, “we encounter the face of God, descended from Heaven to immerse Himself in the world of mankind and to teach ‘the art of living’, the road to happiness; to free us from sin and to make us true children of God”.

He continued, “speaking about God means, first and foremost, being clear about what we must bring to the men and women of our time. God has spoken to us, not an abstract or hypothetical God, but a real God, a God Who exists, Who entered history and remains present in history: the God of Jesus Christ – as a response to the fundamental question of why and how to live.” [Read more...]