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...]

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...]

Four Characteristics of Good Orthodox Preaching

Fr. Jonathan Cholcher

Fr. Jonathan Cholcher

by Fr. Jonathan Cholcher -
Orthodox preaching needs to be good preaching. To be good, Orthodox preaching must not only deliver good content, but it must strive to make the hearers good. Therefore, good Orthodox preaching is the Gospel (lit., good news) proclaimed and lived.

Four characteristics mark good Orthodox preaching:

  • Christ crucified and risen;
  • the language, or rationale, of Scripture;
  • plain discourse; and
  • attention to the experience of salvation through the Gospel.

All Orthodox preachers exhibit these traits beginning with Christ Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets. They only preach what they themselves have come to know.

First, Orthodox preaching is the Word, the Logos incarnate Who was crucified and raised to redeem the world from sin, death, and the power of the devil. [Read more...]

The Resurrection

Christ's Resurrection - Christ is Risen

Christ's Resurrection - Christ is Risen!

by Trevor Thomas -
At this time of year, Christians celebrate Easter, or as I prefer, Resurrection Sunday. As one scans history, no other date put such a mark in time as when Jesus Christ shed His grave-clothes and departed the tomb.

Of all the religions of the world, only Christianity claims an empty tomb for its founder. The physical resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity. British theologian Michael Green said it well when he noted, “Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all.” Noted biblical scholar, professor, and author Wilbur M. Smith said that “[t]he resurrection of Christ is the very citadel of the Christian faith. This is the doctrine that turned the world upside down[.]” Indeed it did.

C.S. Lewis notes that “[i]n the earliest days of Christianity an ‘apostle’ was first and foremost a man who claimed to be an eyewitness of the Resurrection,” or more accurately, a witness of the resurrected Christ. He adds that “to preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection.” And preach they did. [Read more...]

An interview with the creator of “Good Guys Wear Black”

Good Guys Wear Black
Fr. John A. Peck serves at St. George Orthodox Church in Prescott, AZ and is already well known as the administrator of the “Preachers Institute” and “Journey to Orthodoxy” websites. Recently he launched a site called “Good Guys Wear Black,” which aims to provide a resource for men discerning their vocation to the priesthood. Fr. John was kind enough to answer some questions I had about this new effort.

Father, how did this whole thing get started?

The same things that brought about my other working websites – I had a need as a priest, and nothing to fill that need. [Read more...]

Crime and Recession, It’s Not What They Think

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

5/27/2010 – Chuck Colson –
The evidence shows over and over that crime is not caused by deprivation, but by depravity. And the answer is conversion.

The statistics are startling. Across the United States, crime rates are dropping—for the third year in a row. According to the FBI, violent crimes like murder and rape were down 5.5% in 2009. Property crimes were down 4.9%. Amazingly enough, crime rates dropped more in big cities than in smaller cities.

The media is having a hard time explaining why crime rates are dropping. As one major paper put it, the drop in crime is “challenging the widely held belief that recessions drive up crime rates.” But “challenging” puts it too mildly: Since the economic collapse, the rate of decline in crime rates has actually accelerated!

So where does the “widely held” belief that recessions fuel crime come from? [Read more...]

A Tale of Two Christian Leaders for a new Missionary Age

Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict

Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict

Catholic Online – AOI | by Fr. Johannes Jacobse | Feb. 11, 2010

NAPLES, FL. (Catholic Online) – Over four decades ago Pope John Paul II said that the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church was necessary for the cultural restoration of Western Europe. At the time his words seemed audacious. Russia was still under the Communist yoke, the winds in Poland were just starting to blow, and the Berlin wall loomed invincible.

Culture watchers dismissed the statement as the wistful longing of a faithful man. Yet John Paul, with his gift of seeing through the clutter of immediate events into the deeper and far-reaching ways of God, knew better. He believed that the fall of Communism would unleash a transformation that could only come from those who suffered. [Read more...]

Russia Acquires Land Near Eiffel Tower, Plans Orthodox Center

AOI | by Fr. Johannes Jacobse | Feb. 9, 2010

The Russian Orthodox Church is on a roll!

Russia has defeated Canada and Saudi Arabia in a tender for a plot of land in downtown Paris and will build an Orthodox Christian spiritual and cultural center on the banks of the Seine River near the Eiffel Tower. [Read more...]