Gratitude and Grace at Thanksgiving Time

Gratitude and Grace at Thanksgiving Time Thanks to Godby Glenn Fairman -
As another Thanksgiving has come full circle and we again come face to face with a bounty of foods set before us that in most ages would have been relegated to princes and rajahs, let us not forget that this day flows naturally from the wellspring of Gratitude and Grace — of humility and realization that we as a race are not sufficient — that we have never been islands unto ourselves. And we should further acknowledge that although a great remnant of Americans have not bowed their heads to the false Spirit of the Collective, there still exists a legion of invisible shoulders that we now stand upon for which we are compelled, by what is best within us, to give humble thanks.

Indeed, we are the blessed heirs of hard-won liberties and material blessings that our fathers vaguely but dutifully dreamed over while toiling and praying in yeomanly fashion that their children might be better people, living equally better lives. Yet nevertheless, as we now stand astride our precious but dwindling legacies of plenty, a vague dissatisfaction lurking in the well of our souls whispers to us that this is not enough. And for the Children of God, who were fashioned for the purpose of basking in the starlike glory of his countenance, any blessing divorced from an obligation to its vital source could never have been enough. [Read more...]

Thanksgiving: We Should Be Thankful for Private Property

Thanksgiving Thankful for Private Propertyby John Stossel -
Had today’s politicians and opinion-makers been in power four centuries ago, Americans might celebrate “Starvation Day” this week, not Thanksgiving..

The Pilgrims started out with communal property rules. When they first settled at Plymouth, they were told: “Share everything, share the work, and we’ll share the harvest.”

The colony’s contract said their new settlement was to be a “common.” Everyone was to receive necessities out of the common stock. There was to be little individual property.

That wasn’t the only thing about the Plymouth Colony that sounds like it was from Karl Marx: Its labor was to be organized according to the different capabilities of the settlers. People would produce according to their abilities and consume according to their needs. That sure sounds fair. [Read more...]

Met. Hilarion: Militant Secularism and Radical Islamism Threaten Christianity

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk by Metropolitan Hilarion – (From his address at the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches.)

In my address I would like to focus on two fundamental challenges which the Christian world today faces in varying degrees. The first is that of the militant secularism which is gathering strength in the so called developed countries, primarily in Europe and America. The second is that of radical Islamism that poses a threat to the very existence of Christianity in a number of regions of the world, mainly in the Middle East, but also in some parts of Asia and Africa.

Militant secularism in Europe has a long history going back to the period of the French revolution. But it is only in the twentieth century in the countries of the so called socialist bloc that godlessness was elevated to the level of state ideology. As regards the so called capitalist countries, they preserved to a significant degree the Christian traditions which shaped their cultural and moral identity. [Read more...]

Catholic Bishops: We Will Not Comply With ObamaCare (HHS) Abortion Mandate

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops logoby Steven Ertelt -
The nation’s Catholic bishops have a message for President Barack Obama: They will not comply with the HHS mandate that compels groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions. And one bishop would rather pay fines, no matter how much they might be.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today issued a “Special Message” at the conclusion of their fall General Assembly, November 13, in Baltimore. They unanimously passed the special message, which can only be issued as such meetings and strongly condemned the HHS mandate.

They said that, with its “coercive mandate,” the Obama administration “is refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers.” [Read more...]

Solzhenitsyn: The Courage to be Christian

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Courage to be Christianby Joseph Pearce -
“In these dark days in which the power of secular fundamentalism appears to be on the rise and in which religious freedom seems to be imperiled, it is easy for Christians to become despondent. The clouds of radical relativism seem to obscure the light of objective truth and it can be difficult to discern any silver lining to help us illumine the future with hope.”

In such gloomy times the example of the martyrs can be encouraging. Those who laid down their lives for Christ and His Church in worse times than ours are beacons of light, dispelling the darkness with their baptism of blood. “Upon such sacrifices,” King Lear tells his soon to be martyred daughter Cordelia, “The gods themselves throw incense.”

It is said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and, if this is so, more bloody seed has been sown in the past century than in any of the bloody centuries that preceded it. Tens of millions have been slaughtered on the blood-soaked altars of national and international socialism in Europe, China, Cambodia and elsewhere. [Read more...]

Abortion Activists Must Lie and Censor to Spread Their Twisted Views

human life is precious abortion is murderby Sarah Terzo -
On November 4, The Students for Life of America blog posted an article about Mom Baby God a pro-abortion play that was written by an abortion supporter who went undercover to a Students for Life of America conference. According to the blog, the writer of the play was:

“disturbed by how much enthusiasm there was for the pro-life issue amongst youth” and she wanted to show those in her movement our enthusiasm to abolish abortion in order “to wake up the pro-abortion movement.

This pro-choice undercover activist set out to write the most pro-abortion play she could, hoping to motivate pro-choicers to become more active in the movement. But here’s the interesting thing: [Read more...]

Coptic Orthodox Hierarch: Abnormal Becoming the New Normal

Bishop Anba Surielby David Virtue -
A Coptic Orthodox Church observer to the Fourth Global South to South Encounter ripped into the Episcopal Church, stunning some 130 archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity, urging them to say “no to ordination of homosexuals, no to gay marriage, no to such immorality, and that it is time to purify the sanctuary of the Lord from this abomination that causes our God to suffer, bleed and be crucified again everyday.”

“You are martyrs without the shedding of blood because you are upholding the teaching of the Gospel handed down once and for all to the apostles,” Bishop Anba Suriel told the stunned delegates.

“An army of sheep led by a lion is more powerful than an army of lions led by a sheep. I really pray that you lions here, the primates of each of the provinces of the Global South will stand united with one accord against the heresies of The Episcopal Church. [Read more...]

If You Like Your God, You Can Keep Him

It's not a choice, it's a Childby Betsy McCaughey -
On Nov. 1, the Gilardi brothers, devout Roman Catholics who operate their own fresh produce business in Ohio, won round two in a battle against the White House. The Obama administration tried to claim that freedom of religion means freedom to pray, not necessarily to practice your beliefs. Once you leave church, you have to obey government regulations, even when they conflict with your faith.

Francis and Philip Gilardi insisted on living their beliefs as they run their business. For a decade, they’ve provided health insurance for their 400 employees but excluded abortion drugs, contraception and sterilization because they conflict with Catholic teachings.

However, the Obama administration requires all health plans to provide them. On Jan. 2, 2013, the Gilardi brothers sued in federal court, asking for temporary protection from the $14 million annual penalty they would face for not complying. [Read more...]

An Orthodox Christian Moral Case for Property Rights

Orthodox Christian Moral Case for Property Rightsby Fr. Gregory Jensen -
As a pastor, I’ve been struck by the hostility, or at least suspicion, that some Orthodox Christians reveal in their discussions of private property. While there are no doubt many reasons for this disconnect, I think a central factor is a lack of appreciation for the role that private property can, and does, play in fostering human flourishing.

It is through the wise and prudent use of our property that we are able to give ourselves over in love to the next generation and so give them the possibility of likewise transcending a purely material way of life through an act of self-donation. Economists Terry Anderson and Laura Huggins, in Property Rights: A Practical Guide to Freedom and Prosperity  (Hoover Institution, 2009), are right when they remind us that while not a panacea, “property rights to oneself (human capital), one’s investments (physical capital), or one’s ideas (intellectual capital), secure claims to assets” and so “give people the ability to make their own decisions, reaping the benefits of good choices and bearing the costs of bad ones.” [Read more...]

Liberal Child Abuse – Pro-Abortion Democrats Pretend To Care About Children

Liberal Child Abuse - Obama Pro-Abortion Presidentby Tom Trinko -
A key moment so far in the shutdown drama was when Harry Reid, the liberal Democrat head of the Senate, stated that he didn’t care if children with cancer missed out on medical care.

While this shocked many, the simple fact is that liberals tend to be very much unconcerned about children.  After all, liberals are keen supporters of killing children before they’re born, and sometimes even after, so the thought that liberals are more concerned with their own political power than with children shouldn’t be surprising.

Historically, liberals talk a good game about children — using them to justify bigger government and more power for liberals over our lives — but they don’t ever walk the walk. Aside from having far fewer children than conservatives — witness the concern about the “birth gap” — liberals are also very big fans of abortion, which always kills a child, and they tend to lean towards prioritizing career over parenting. [Read more...]

A Defense of Christian Faith Against Disbelief

Defense of Christian Faith Against Disbeliefby Fr. Grigori Dyachenko (written in 1900) -
Our times can in all truth be called the times of disbelief: from all directions all sorts of teachings inimical to Christian religion comes to us, and in our midst too there unceasingly come about all manner of fantastic ideas contrary to the spirit of Christian faith. These ideas are usually born among the so-called educated. Contemporary disbelief utilizes for its own ends the liberty that it finds throughout the civilized world. Apparently, disbelief is preparing to engage faith in a decisive battle. Disbelief uses all its efforts and rejects no means in order to uproot faith from the hearts of men.

The press proves to be a suitable tool for this purpose in the hands of unbelievers. No misconceptions of human reason are too monstrous to be released by it. How much blasphemy, how much mockery of all sorts, how many words of ridicule, both crass and subtle, are directed against the holiest and most heartfelt feelings of the faithful! [Read more...]

Spiritual Warfare in the Pauline Epistles

Spiritual Warfare Full armor of God by Fr James Parnell -
Throughout his letters, St. Paul stresses a sense of urgency and vigilance that we have long since lost. This emphasis is based on the reality of a conflict described plainly as a war against evil. It can even seem foreign to us, as it is spoken of in terms far different from the culture wars in which the sins of others become the targets for our Bible bombs and canonical cannons.

No, the conflict he most often references is not that of public conflict with other groups/individuals, but of spiritual conflict. Even conflicts related to those who preached other doctrines (focus on circumcision, spiritual gifts, etc.) are viewed as but a manifestation and example of a spiritual reality:

“For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” [1]

[Read more...]

Trail Life USA: A Moral, Godly, and Safe Boy Scouts Alternative

Trail Life USA - a Christian adventure, character, and leadership program for young men by David Rose -
It was Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 6, 2013. The huge hall was overflowing, the convention sold out. Over 1,200 attendees, with many spilling out into the foyer, eagerly awaited the announcement. What would this safe, moral and non-sexualized alternative to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) look like?

With a stirring introductory video came the answer: “Trail Life USA” would now endeavor to “be the premier national character development organization for young men, which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers and citizens.”

The reveal, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of Americans was met with rousing cheers. “Our mission is simple and clear,” came the official mission statement, “to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others and experience outdoor adventure.” [Read more...]

The Weeping Baby Elephant and The Silent Scream

Weeping Baby Elephant by Fr. Ben Johnson -
For a few hours on Thursday, the all-seeing eyes of the world’s media were fixed on the eyes of a pachyderm.

In a story that tugged at heartstrings around the globe, the media reported that a baby elephant named Zhuangzhuang, born in a Chinese zoo on August 30, cried for five hours after being rejected by his mother.

When zoo trainers saw her trying to stomp the newborn to death in her cage, they thought it was an accident. But after the mother tried to kill her child a second time, personnel had to remove the calf for his own safety.

By nature’s design, a child loves his parent, even a murderous one, and the tears began to flow until his eyes turned red. “He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him,” a spokesman from the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Natural Reserve Area said. [Read more...]

What is Family Happiness: An Orthodox Christian Understanding

Sts. Peter and Febronia a married couple who later lived in the monastic rank by Fr. Gleb Grozovsky -
What is family happiness? When you hear the word “happiness,” a bright feeling of the joy of living, of participation, is born in the soul from the word itself. Happiness is harmony of spirit, soul, and body. It is when the body submits to the soul, and the soul to the spirit. Not the swan, the crab, and the fish, as in Krylov’s fable, but when the feelings and movements of the flesh are in submission to the reason. Just look at what catastrophic consequences can come from a bodily movement that is not in submission to the spirit. The body sees a beautiful woman and goes off in answer to the call of lower demands not in submission to the spirit. His reasoning says, “Family happiness is not in this…” But the body does not ask anyone for advice; it just wants something, then goes and does it, without thinking about the consequences.

In Trinity Leaves From the Spiritual Meadow there is a story. One day a woman learned of her husband’s unfaithfulness. She cried bitter tears and asked God to forgive her husband’s sin. When her husband left for work, his wife, not saying anything, with tears in her eyes, blessed her husband as she usually did. When they said good-bye, the husband could not bear it, and fell on his knees asking his wife’s forgiveness—so sincerely, that he never sinned again. This was the true repentance of the husband. Thanks to the wife’s long-suffering, the marriage was saved, and happiness and harmony returned to their relationship. [Read more...]