Daddy’s Little Girl – Happy Father’s Day 2012

Father and daughter hold hands by Grace Harley –
Fathers, what are you planting in the hearts and minds of your own little daughter? You have a most sacred calling and we honor your dedication to the task.

This week is the two-year anniversary of the passing from this world of my adored father. The pain is still so excruciating that at times I cannot speak or move. If I had to tell you about my father in one word, it would be “majestic”. It is a word seldom used and mostly reserved for the sacred and the royal. Thus, it is the exact word fit for the man that I call “Daddy”.

My bereavement is a pain that I wish every child to one day know for it indicates the depth of great love known, great character witnessed, and great teaching imparted. This is the grief and the glory known by all females who are called “Daddy’s Little Girl.” Fathers everywhere take heed of what you say, what you do, who you are, and whose you are. Your own little daughter is watching and learning. This is not a conscious or deliberate effort on our part; it is instilled in our hearts by Creator God. Fathers, you are the “picture of God” to that little one who calls you Daddy. Will she learn from watching you just what God looks like? Is your face to her tender heart actually the very face of God? [Read more...]

Defending Marriage and Family is Defending the Common Good

Defend Marriage Orthodox wedding by Deacon Keith Fournier –
True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a “right” to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. …

It seems that almost weekly there is another assault on true marriage. The unrelenting efforts of an activist wing of the homosexual community have nearly succeeded in reframing the issues of the debate. They aim to enforce a Cultural Revolution. They have been joined by eager collaborators in the Judiciary and elected officials who believe they are some kind of new “liberators”. [Read more...]

Uncertain Times and Prayer

St Issac of Syria by Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
We live in very uncertain times. I don’t think I have ever seen such a widespread uncertainty in my lifetime. My parents saw it since they lived through WWII and the wrenching hardship that placed on them, but many of us only knew the prosperity of the post-war boom that lasted through most of our lifetime.

Some of this trouble is of our own making. We have left off God to a degree, thinking that the security and certainty we had was a kind of birthright instead of recognizing that progress and liberty is hard-won, and must be nurtured and preserved from generation to generation. We tend to forget that “every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Lights…” as we say at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy (a verse taken from James 1:17).

When we forget God, morality breaks down, and when morality breaks down then the society we build for ourselves begins to fray and may even unravel. [Read more...]

Motherhood is a Life Given Up in Love

Motherhood  Life Given Up in Love by Randy Sly –
Sacrifice is the great virtue of motherhood
Nothing speaks more highly to me of this self-sacrifice than the witness of a mother, who daily gives of herself for her own. Often depriving herself, she offers to others; often preferring others, she offers herself. Motherhood is a call to stay firm in the face of uncertainty, despair, sickness, poverty, and even danger, where her children are concerned. One could almost say that as the father is the sword, she is the shield. A mother lays down her life by taking it up on behalf of these precious ones entrusted to her care. …

Once upon a time there was a young woman who loved her Lord. There was nothing she withheld from Him. Her life was always “yes” to Him, the proverbial “fiat” – “let it be to me as you have said.” She fell in love and, hearing the “Divine Yes,” married the man whom she loved. They grew in Him as one in the sacramental mystery.

A child was born and she loved the child. The child brought something out of her that had always been a part of her yet never expressed. Like a hidden stream now discovered, rivers of love flowed out of the woman to her child. [Read more...]

Progressive Inhumanity, Part One: The State against the Family

The State against the Family by Anthony Esolen –
The family is that natural society where individual liberty and the common good are most nearly reconciled. To deprive it of its rights is to rob people of a great part of what it is to be human.

The beauty and the divine order of the family is the very soul of his social teaching, because it is there, within the walls of the home, that society begins.  Thus we hear him declare, against the statists of his time, that by the command of God “we have the family; the society of a man’s house — a society limited indeed in numbers, but no less a true society, anterior to every kind of State or nation, invested with rights and duties of its own, totally independent of the civil community.”  This is the doctrine of subsidiarity at its core. 

The Pope does not justify the family on utilitarian grounds.  He does not affirm (what is true in any case) that there are many things the family can do that the State cannot do as well, or cannot do at all.  Instead he founds the rights of the family in nature, and the God of nature.  It is a society both human and divine.  It is within those bonds of love or duty that children and parents both put faces upon law that would otherwise remain abstract, distant, sometimes threatening, sometimes impotent, but always extrinsic, and therefore not quite real.  It is there, and only there, that law and love may be found growing together. [Read more...]

This Christmas, Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There

Christmas Nativity of Christ by John Jalsevac –
Christmas isn’t quite what it used to be, is it? And I’m not referring the usual laundry list of grievances that makes us religious fundamentalist extremists (i.e. Christians) seriously ponder setting up a utopian commune on a deserted Mediterranean island: the war on Christmas, the kitschy music, the consumerist madness, the widespread ignorance about even the most basic facts behind the feast.

Forget about all that for now. All I mean is, if you’re old enough to be reading this, somehow Christmas has lost much of the effortless magic with which it was surrounded years ago…in your childhood.

You know what I mean. As a child, it seemed so easy to get swept up into the rich mystery of Christmas: the presents, the smells, the music, the lights glistening on the snow, the tinsel on the tree, the strange guests, the parties, the good food. All these things spoke to you, and without thinking about it you gave yourself into the power of their enchantment. [Read more...]

Equipping Teenagers to Navigate Life

Orthodox Youth Equipping Teenagers to Navigate Life by Dn. Paul Zaharas –
Over the past several decades the external pressures and challenges associated with parenting teenagers have been varied.

Whether it was the introduction of rock and roll music, the “social scourge” of the 1950’s, or the pervasiveness of today’s social networking explosion, parents have faced the challenge of helping their children bridge the chasm that stands between childhood and adulthood. As Christian parents we recognize the importance of raising Godly-minded children and we must take appropriate steps to help them in their journey toward Him. Society today, through media, peer influence, and accepted norms, can convey ideas that do not coincide with the teachings of Orthodox Christianity. In fact, oftentimes, the messages that our teen children receive from the world are in direct contradiction to the saving message of Jesus Christ. [Read more...]

The Challenges of Spiritual Happiness

Children Orthodox Church Christians Candles by Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky –
“I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1)

We hear so often, “She’s just like her mother,” or “He’s the spitting image of his father.” Even the old Russian proverb repeats the cliche: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It can mean so much or be inconsequential. Eye color, the stride, the way they deal with traumas, or the faint trace of a smile stamp the child as carrier of the parent’s DNA.

The characteristic with eternal significance is—does the child take pleasure in praying in the temple of the Lord? Watch a child and notice how it’s instantly apparent. Either he enjoys being in God’s house, or he cannot wait until he can defy the parent and stay away. For a time, the believing mother or father will bring the child to church even if it’s against his will. “We are family, you are part of our family, and families pray together.” Good advice, even when imposed against the kid’s will. What to do when the child resists, rebels, and refuses to go to church? [Read more...]

What Time Is It for Your Child?

family time child orthodox christianby Fr. Athanasios Papagiannis –
John weighed seven pounds, seven ounces on the day he was born. His first days of life were highlighted by bouts of crying and long periods of sleeping. On the drive home from the hospital, a few days later, John’s mother glanced down, looked at her new baby, and for a moment she smiled.

Then she looked ahead.

“Honey,” she began, as she stared at her husband, “I know we decided to keep our careers so that we can be financially secure, but now I’m having second thoughts. I want to give our son the most attention we can. I want us to reconsider having me stay at home with him.”

Her husband shook his head in frustration. “We discussed this, remember?” he shot back. “We can’t afford to have one of us at home all the time. It doesn’t make sense.” For the next few minutes the proud new parents shared their thoughts and uneasiness of leaving their child in the care of someone other than his parents. Conversations like the one above are common among new parents. Every parent wants the best for their child, yet mapping out how to exactly deliver that parenting has become more and more difficult. [Read more...]

Finding America: Our History Flows From our Belief in Self-Evident Truths

America Freedom Creed Truths by Peg Luksik –
What, exactly, makes this nation “America”? It’s not economics. Economic conditions are always the result of a nation’s culture and policies, not the cause. We need to ask what created the culture and policies that made us the most prosperous nation in history.

The answer tells us what we, as a nation, believe. Our Founders began by saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.

Our entire history flows from our belief in those self-evident truths. In modern language, the truths of America’s heritage are:

God exists and is the highest authority. The American Revolution can only be justified if there was an authority above the King – an authority whose standards the King was violating. A government can only be wrong if there is something higher to measure its actions against. [Read more...]

The Emperor’s New Clothes, Breaking the Spiral of Silence

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson –
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” researchers Rob Willer, Ko Kuwabara and Michael Macy devised a set of ingenious experiments that showed how distressingly easy it is to make people go against what they believe to be true.

One of the experiments involved wine-tasting, in which participants evaluate both the wine and one another’s wine-tasting skills. The participants were given three samples of wine. In reality, all three samples were from the same bottle. One had even been tainted with vinegar!

Before they delivered their evaluation, they listened to other participants, who were plants, who praised the vinegar-laced wine as the best. Half of the participants went against their own taste buds and joined in praising the vinegary concoction.

Even more interesting is what happened next. Another participant, who was also a plant, told the truth about the wines. But when it came time for the participants to evaluate each other, some of them were permitted to do so confidentially, and the others had to do so publicly. [Read more...]

Take the Children to Church

Orthodox Children church by George Strickland, Ph.D. –
Based on new studies conducted by Baylor University, children from more religious families and from families with higher rates of religious attendance are better behaved and more well adjusted at home and at school. Better educated people generally had parents who attended church services twice or more a month. Among people with graduate level educations, two-thirds had mothers who were from frequent church attenders, compared to just under half of people with only a high school education. The difference is just as significant when looking at the frequency of church attendance by both parents and even larger when looking at fathers’ attendance. This evidence is highly correlated with other studies that show church attendance during adolescence helps reduce a number of the damaging long-term risk factors of disadvantaged children and leads to better education success overall.

There are a number of reasons why parents’ religious attendance might improve children’s educational and developmental outcomes. First, children may be more likely to learn wholesome values and moral commitment if they go to church. [Read more...]

Archbishop: New York Times, CNN, MSNBC can’t be trusted on abortion, faith

Archbishop Charles Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput

by Jeremy Kryn –
When it comes to finding information on vital issues like abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and faith, the mainstream media simply can’t be trusted, the incoming archbishop of Philadelphia told a group of youth in Spain last week.

“Being uninformed about the world and its problems and issues is a sin against our vocation as disciple,” Archbishop Charles Chaput told his audience during a special World Youth Day session in Madrid. And yet, he went on to note, the Christian believer is faced with a unique challenge in finding accurate sources of information on key issues.

“In the United States, our battles over abortion, family life, same-sex marriage, and other sensitive issues have led to ferocious public smears and legal threats not only of Catholics, but also against Mormons, evangelicals, and other religious believers,” he said. [Read more...]

Embracing the Moral Order – Jane Austen’s Marital Advice

Sense and Sensibility Jane Austenby Chuck Colson –
The experts have a lot of ideas about why marriages crumble. But one of my favorite answers comes from someone who gave literary marriage advice — some 200 years ago: Jane Austen.

Miss Austen had a delightfully satirical eye — an approach to life that was reflected in her novels. But as Benjamin Wiker points out in his new book, 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read, Austen, the daughter of a clergyman, also had a strong and biblical core of common sense — especially when it came to romantic relationships. Her books reflect the moral order, and celebrate marriage itself.

Wiker notes that Austen lived during the early Romantic movement. The Romantics were lived a life “defined by the passions of the moment. For them, to feel is everything.”

In her novel, Sense and Sensibility, Austen describes the inevitable consequences of this approach to life. It’s the story of two sisters, both of whom fall deeply in love. [Read more...]

Moral Matters – It’s Up To Us To Teach Our Kids

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson –

As turbulent as the late 1960s were when my children were in school, I’m almost glad I don’t have to raise kids today. Yes, the sexual revolution, questioning authority, rolling around in the mud at Woodstock — all the hallmarks of ’60s culture — were bad enough. But they were just the seeds of a sad harvest our culture is reaping right now. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that many of today’s political, academic, and media elites are products of the ’60s and that they are in the vanguard of the assault on traditional marriage, traditional morality, and the traditional family.

Look around you. The courts are now routinely overturning the will of the people concerning marriage. The Administration refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court — and for specious reasons. And schools are constantly bombarding our kids with moral relativism and pro-gay propaganda. Students are now being taught that all like choices are equal, so you simply decide which one you choose, how you want to live any way you want. It’s madness! [Read more...]