Godly and Ungodly Violence

St Andrew Orthodox Church8/25/2010 – Fr. Josiah Trenham –

A Parishioner Inquires: “I understand that Leo Tolstoi was an excommunicant of the Orthodox church, but in his book The Kingdom of God is Within You, he raises an interesting question. Tolstoi posits that since Christ commands us to ‘resist not’, and to ‘turn the other cheek’, we should not resist physically anybody who would harm us. I have never been able to reconcile this notion to my own experience in life, considering that on more than one occasion, in order to protect those for whom I care, I have resorted to violence or to the threat of violence. In addition, in the life of Father Arseny, there is a passage in which a soldier-turned-priest beats a group of would-be rapists to preserve the honor of his wife. He experiences a measure of guilt for this, but is consoled by his bishop, since the safety of another was concerned. Can you give me an idea of the Orthodox position on the use of violence as a defensive measure?”

Fr. Josiah writes, “We have 20 centuries of warrior saints. Some of our greatest are St. George, St. Demetrios, St. Theodore the General, etc. They were men who utilized immense physical force to suppress evil and defeat injustice. [Read more…]

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The Mystery of the Resurrection

Resurrection Christ

5/1/2010 – Regis Nicoll –

The resurrection is one of Christendom’s deepest mysteries and, yet, no different in kind than the mystery of creation—whereby, man was formed from the dust of the earth, and the earth, ex nihilo, by the utterance of God. Consequently, folks who are put off by the resurrection of the dead will likely find the creation of the living a difficult pill as well.

It suggests that the real objection to the resurrection mystery is not so much over the process, but over what the process implies. Someone who is able to reassemble, refurbish, and reinvigorate our remains is Someone who can assert cosmic authority over us and make demands of us. And that is Someone some people would rather not think about, for now. [Read more…]

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The Earth Is Not My God

God Creation

by Bob Lonsberry | 4/22/2010

Earth Day is a crock.

It is the high holy day of the environmentalism cult and I choose not to engage in that particular brand of idol worship.

I choose not to worship the earth as if it were a god and I were a savage. I am its steward, not its slave. I wasn’t created for it, it was created for me.

Man exists not as an accidental product of earth’s evolution, the earth exists as a home for man. It did not produce us, it was produced for us.

God made the heavens and the earth, and he made them for a purpose – and humankind is that purpose. [Read more…]

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The Witness of the Holy Spirit

BreakPoint | by Regis Nicoll | 3/12/2010
Holy Spirit icon Orthodox
God: “He is there,” wrote the late Francis Schaeffer, “and He is not silent.”

As I have noted elsewhere, God not only is there, he has given us ample evidence of that fact through his Word: the incarnate Word of Jesus Christ, the written Word of Scripture, and the Word of creation, conscience, and the Church, with the indwelling Word of Holy Spirit as light and guide.

Misunderstood, ignored
Few doctrines of the Church are as misunderstood as that of the Holy Spirit. I suspect this is partly due to His title. The word “spirit” conjures up a fuzzy, if not, spooky image—a mysterious life-force, a formless immaterial being, a wraith—that inclines us to think of the Holy Spirit as “it” rather than “Him.”

There’s also the matter of instruction. Although we give the Holy Spirit a nod in our slogans, mission statements and church talk, He is largely ignored in our teaching, except as he relates to our spiritual gifts and prayer life. [Read more…]

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The Wonder of the Incarnation

Center for a Just Society | by Ken Connor | Dec. 24, 2009
Nativity_Icon_01_sm

Have you ever noticed how, when it comes to the rich and powerful, the most impressive people are those that eschew the many benefits of their position in favor of a modest, down to earth existence? When those from whom we expect arrogance surprise us with humility, something resonates within the human soul. For Christians, one of the most breathtaking things about our savior Jesus Christ is that he willingly surrendered the privileges of his Lordship and descended from Heaven to walk among us, as one of us.

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; (The Nicene Creed)

This is the miracle of Christmas, that in order to reconcile humankind to Him forever God Himself became a man, taking the form of a bondservant and offering an example of holiness and love to the world. In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul tells us that we are called to imitate Christ: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV) [Read more…]

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Idol Worship, Counterfeit Gods

BreakPoint | by Marcia Segelstein | Oct. 27, 2009

What we worship defines us and controls us. And sometimes figuring out what we really worship isn’t easy. Timothy Keller is pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and author of the just-released book, Counterfeit Gods. He writes that while some cultures still practice idol worship in the traditional sense, “internal idol worship, within the heart, is universal.”

Anything and everything we turn to in order to satisfy our deepest needs and longings can become idols. Even good things such as family, love, and morality become idols when they take the place of God. As Keller writes, “If anything becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity, then it is an idol.” [Read more…]

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