Public Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy in Dialogue, The Wheel = Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Public Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy in Dialogue, The Wheel = Wolves in Sheeps Clothingby Fr. John Parker (transcribed from video) –
(The following excerpts were transcribed from a public video of Fr. John Parker’s presentation at the Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care conference from June 2018. Topical headings and bolded words were added for emphasis. Fr. Parker did not ask for or endorse their publication.)

But the digital age also provides a greenhouse for what I would like to call anti-catechism: the subtle and not-so-subtle questioning of, for example, the moral teachings of the Orthodox faith. On the whole, this anti-catechism is unmonitored and, one hopes, not blessed for publication; and yet, with several examples, we can see the advancing of agendas simply unrelated to Orthodox personhood and the moral life.

Public Orthodoxy
What do we do, for example, with a site like Public Orthodoxy? Public Orthodoxy is, according to their website, “a peer-reviewed online publication produced for the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University” in New York, whose “goal is to feature insightful, provocative op-ed pieces from scholars of Orthodox Christianity.” The blog is a main electric medium to “foster intellectual inquiry by supporting scholarship and teaching that is critical to the ecclesial community.” I’ll place my emphasis on “provocative” and “critical”. [Read more…]

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Dishonest Dialogue of Orthodox Liberals and Deconstructionists

Dishonest Dialogue of Orthodox Liberals and Deconstructionistsby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
The term “dialogue” (along with its synonyms, “conversation” and “discussion” and “engagement”) seems to have taken its place alongside the proverbial terms “motherhood”, “apple pie”, and “the flag” as sacred and untouchable. It used to be that no one in their right mind would speak against this Trinity of American values, and now no one is allowed to suggest that anything bearing the sacred word “dialogue” should be viewed with suspicion. A commitment to dialogue is considered an essential part of civilization, and a sign of one’s tolerance, reasonableness, and open-mindedness. Anyone lacking a sufficient commitment to these modern virtues (the new Trinity of American values) is a fitting candidate for denunciation and insult. If you think this last sentiment is too strong, you probably do not own a computer or go online very much.

One could almost formulate a spiritual law that any site or online contribution which contains the D-word or its synonyms is pushing the same basic agenda. Take for example the site, “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” (with D-word prominently displayed) or the site “Public Orthodoxy” (which says that it “seeks to promote conversation by providing a forum for diverse perspectives [Read more…]

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Orthodox College Students: Staying Orthodox in Anti-Christian Environment

Orthodox College Students: Staying Orthodox in Anti-Christian Environmentby Fr. Abbot Tryphon –
The summer months are coming to a close and many young people will be facing the prospect of heading off to college, some for the very first time. A scripture passage comes to my mind as I think of these wonderful young people preparing to leave home: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).” College professors almost universally enjoy challenging young college students to question authority, yet are taken aback when their own authority is questioned. They know they are addressing a class of impressionable minds and almost make sport of attacking the positions of their students.

My advice to Orthodox students is to refuse to be intimidated and don’t be discouraged. Most of these professors took years to acquire the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their belief system, or lack thereof, including atheism. [Read more…]

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When You Direct the Soul Towards Beauty, You Direct It Towards God

When You Direct the Soul Towards Beauty, You Direct It Towards Godby Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
Advice I give to people who can’t escape their thoughts, especially when the thoughts cause worry and even depression is to take a walk, open your eyes to the beauty around you, and practice gratitude.

Think of the things you can be thankful for and consciously express gratitude for them, and with deliberation and conscientiousness ponder the beauty of nature — look at trees, flowers, the sky, anything beautiful around you and really *see* them. Make sure your body is moving as you do this. A slow walk is fine.

What happens is that thoughts quiet down and the mind can find some rest. What happens on a deeper level is that the soul is renewed. [Read more…]

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A Priest’s Duty is to Sustain the Flock of the Church

A Priest Duty is to Sustain the Flock of the Churchby Fr. Patrick Viscuso –
When imparting God’s sanctification and doing good, I can also say that there will be obstacles, for, as a 14th century Byzantine hieromonk once wrote, “Where is it necessary not without blood to struggle on behalf of the Truth?” That blood is the joy of the priesthood in its total dedication – mind, heart, soul, and body – to a loving a God, for whom our efforts are persistent and determined.

This struggle, on behalf of Truth, is to sustain the flock of the Church – an apostolic charge of Christ. As a minority, in a sea of disbelief and secularism, as ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, “fishers of men,” we are continually challenged to work for the spiritual perfection and the salvation of the faithful. The upholding of canonical standards that reflect the strength of our faith and our community will be tested, over whom the “gates of hell” will not prevail. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Priests Challenge Met. Kallistos Ware’s Views of Monogamous Homosexual Relationships

Orthodox Priests Challenge Met. Kallistos Ware Views of Monogamous Homosexual RelationshipsFollowing the release of Bishop Kallistos Ware’s scandalous Foreword in the latest issue of The Wheel journal and the critical summary published by the OrthodoxNet Blog, several Orthodox priests and an Orthodox professor have also written articles that challenge Met. Ware’s misleading questions, manipulative arguments, and theologically unsound opinions.

Anatomy of a Foreword: Metr. Kallistos on Sexual Morality
by Fr. John Cox

Met. Kallistos Clearly Implies that the Church Should Bless Committed Same-Sex Relationships
by Fr. Juvenaly Repass

Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel
by Fr. Lawrence Farley [Read more…]

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Orthodox Liturgy Heals and Properly Orders the Human Soul

Orthodox Liturgy Heals and Properly Orders the Human Soulby Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
People say that the Liturgy is the Kingdom of God entering time and while this definition works I suppose, I have never really understood what it really means. Yes, I understand it abstractly, but abstraction has only a limited usefulness. So I’ve come up with another.

Worship is necessary because it creates the place where the soul can experience a measure of the necessary reordering that fosters healing. The soul has structure, and the healing of the soul, which is also the healing of the person, is one of the concrete, experiential constituents of salvation. Salvation is not metaphorical. It is real which means that it is experiential and affects concrete change and transformation measured as the healing of the person. [Read more…]

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Heretics Also Appeal to Scripture to Deceive Believers

Heretics Appeal to Scripture Also - St. Vincent of Lerinsby St. Vincent of Lerins –

Here, possibly, some one may ask, Do heretics also appeal to Scripture? They do indeed, and with a vengeance; for you may see them scamper through every single book of Holy Scripture – through the books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Psalms, the Epistles, the Gospels, the Prophets.

Whether among their own people, or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings, or in the streets, hardly ever do they bring forward anything of their own which they do not endeavor to shelter under words of Scripture.

Read the works of Paul of Samosata, of Priscillian, of Eunomius, of Jovinian, and the rest of those pests, and you will see an infinite heap of instances, hardly a single page, which does not bristle with plausible quotations from the New Testament or the Old.

But the more secretly they conceal themselves under shelter of the Divine Law, so much the more are they to be feared and guarded against. For they know that the evil stench of their doctrine will hardly find acceptance with any one if it be exhaled pure and simple. They sprinkle it over, therefore, with the perfume of heavenly language, in order that one who would be ready to despise human error, may hesitate to condemn divine words. [Read more…]

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Met. Kallistos Clearly Implies that the Church Should Bless Committed Same-Sex Relationships

Fr Juvenaly Repassby Fr. Juvenaly Repass –

In his Foreword to The Wheel magazine Met. Kallistos Ware doesn’t just say “let’s learn more about this problem,” he questions whether Church teaching is right. He asks whether it is right for us (the Church) to impose on persons of same-sex orientation, the “heavy burden” of not being able to marry. The very clear implication is that they should be able to marry (in Church)!

Or perhaps he means that they should be able to have some sort of church blessing other than marriage – but in the Orthodox Church, marriage is the only context in which sexual union is blessed; apart from marriage, it is deemed sinful, and how can what is sinful be blessed?

It is shameful that a hierarch would hold these views, and worse still (if that’s possible) that a hierarch would mislead others by disseminating these opinions. Met. Kallistos has stepped over a line, and he should be disciplined. [Read more…]

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Sin as an Offense Against the Body

Mary Magdalene Sin as an Offense Against the Body by Fr. Tim McCauley –
“Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the impure person sins against the body itself.” More than any other type of sin, St. Paul is suggesting that impurity is a sin against ourselves. A deep healing of such sins cannot be limited to a correction of external behavior, but must include a renewal of a relationship with God and ourselves, and the healing of the shame of original sin through the power of Christ’s death and Resurrection.

Our secular culture is almost cunning in its naiveté, suggesting that sexual expression outside of marriage—fornication, homosexual activity, pornography, masturbation—are neutral forms of bodily pleasure, left to individual choice. Yet this same culture is forced to reckon with the prevalence of addictions in the area of sexuality. The celebration of choice becomes the slavery of addiction, as Jesus himself solemnly warned us, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” [Read more…]

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Sloth (Idleness) a Very Dangerous Vice, Mother of Many Other Vices

Sloth (Idleness) a Very Dangerous Vice, Mother of Many Other Vices by St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea –
“O Lord and Master of my life! The spirit of idleness give me not!” Why does St. Ephraim the Syrian begin his prayer with a request about idleness [sloth], as if there are no worse faults?

In observing idleness [sloth] from the ordinary, everyday point of view we see that idleness is contemptible, and deserves all condemnation.

Idleness is a very dangerous vice, because it is the mother of many other vices. Idle people do not concentrate their thoughts on the profound seriousness of life, the huge responsibility that lies on them not only before people, but also before God Himself. [Read more…]

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Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian – An Orthodox Explanation

St. Ephrem the Syrian Lenten Prayer Orthodox by St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea –
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

The prayer of St. Ephrem (St. Ephraim) the Syrian occupies a special place in the services of the holy Church. It is repeated many times during the services of Great Lent.

This prayer penetrates the heart like none other, mysteriously acts upon it, and you feel a special, exceptional divine power in it. Why is that so? Because it was poured from a heart that was perfectly purified and holy, and from a mind that was enlightened by divine grace and had become a participant in the mind of Christ. [Read more…]

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Christians Must Witness Their Faith, Speak Up, and Resist Evil

St. Paisios the Athonite by St. Paisios the Athonite –
If Christians don’t begin to witness their faith, to resist evil, then the destroyers will become even more insolent. But today’s Christians are no warriors. If the Church keeps silent, to avoid conflict with the government, if the metropolitans are silent, if the monks hold their peace, then who will speak up?

The spirit of lukewarmness reigns. There’s no manliness at all! We’ve been spoiled for good! How does God still tolerate us? Today’s generation is the generation of indifference. There are no warriors The majority are fit only for parades.

Godlessness and blasphemy are allowed to appear on television. And the Church is silent and doesn’t excommunicate the blasphemers. And they need to be excommunicated. What are they waiting for? Let’s not wait for someone else to pull the snake out from its hole so that we can live in peace.

They’re silent out of indifference. What’s bad is that even people who’ve got something inside have begun to grow cool, saying: “Can I really do anything to change the situation?” We have to witness our faith with boldness, because if we continue to be silent we’ll have to answer in the end. [Read more…]

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On the Virtue of Goodness

On the Virtue of Goodness, Choose Goodby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
In his list of virtues which comprise the fruit of Spirit working in one’s life, St. Paul lists that of “goodness” (Greek agathosune, αγαθοσυνη) about midway in the list (Galatians 5:22f). One scarcely speaks of goodness as one of the virtues anymore. In our culture describing something as “good” is rather tepid praise; it is like saying something is “okay”, and “good” comes first in our ascending ladder of praise—“good, better, best”. Love, joy, and kindness are praised and admired, but goodness is hardly remembered at all.

Indeed, though it stood toward the summit of virtues in the ancient world, our culture replaces “goodness” as the summit of virtues with “tolerance”—a tolerance always subject to the whims of fashion and standing within a world which knows no unchanging moral compass. Those whims might dictate almost anything. One season eating meat is declared unethical, and the next the wearing of fur. But apart from these arbitrary declarations of fashion, pretty much everything is tolerated—except, paradoxically, true goodness. [Read more…]

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Political Correctness, Progressivism, and Present Day Bolsheviks

Political Correctness, Progressivism, and Present Day BolsheviksExcerpts from multiple posts by Fr. Johannes Jacobse in the comments section of “It’s a Brand New Age” blog post. Some edits made to transform multiple individual comments by Fr. Jacobse into a cohesive stand-alone article. Special care was taken to preserve the original meaning of the author.

Political correctness is the cultic aspect of Liberalism and Progressivism mostly because it attempts to control thought through language. It’s Orwell, but on a deeper level Dostoevsky and even Nietzsche. The markers are easy to spot especially the cruder terms — racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, white privilege — anything to shut down discussion and censure thought. Language is used promiscuously, laced with moral opprobrium and other self-justifying blather. It’s intimidation, like the Brownshirts or Bolsheviks.

The corruption of language is both a cause and effect of the moral inversion [Read more…]

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