Fr. Michael Courey: Orthodox Church Must be More Inclusive, Welcome Same-Sex Couples

Fr. Michael Courey: Orthodox Church Must be More Inclusive, Welcome Same-Sex Couples On March 12, 2016, as a featured speaker at the Christian Family Life and the Challenges of Faithfulness symposium organized and sponsored by Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in California, Fr. Michael Courey called on the Orthodox Church to be more inclusive and welcome same-sex couples into her sacramental life.

While admonishing those who “place too much emphasis on our sacramental life on exclusiveness rather than inclusiveness,” and bemoaning that “the Church is so oriented towards the traditional conservative view of marriage and the family” that young and old singles “feel there is no place for them in the pews,” Fr. Michael challenged the Church to “embrace and welcome all who seek shelter from the stormy seas of life, traditional and non-traditional families, with open arms and open minds.”

Fr. Michael Courey, is a Greek Orthodox priest serving St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo Beach, California. The Huffington Ecumenical Institute (HEI) was originally funded by a $5 million dollar donation by openly homosexual and LGBT activist millionaire Michael Huffington who also supports same-sex marriage. [Read more…]

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The Comforting Doctrine of Hell

Jesus Christ Descent Into Hell, Resurrection Salvationby Leon J. Podles –
Modern Christians don’t deny Death, although they don’t like to think about it, and if they believe in an afterlife, they look forward to a pleasant Heaven. However, the other certainty, Judgment, and the other possibility, Hell, have vanished from the minds of Christians.

Surely God is non-judgmental, as non-judgmentalism is one of the few virtues that receive public tribute. And surely no one goes to hell, if it exists. The strong universalist strain in modern Christianity has many variations, ranging from the hope that all will be saved, held by Hans Urs von Balthasar, Richard John Neuhaus, and perhaps by John Paul II (and with which I feel the deepest sympathy), to a total rejection of the doctrine of hell as a patriarchal trick that thwarts self-liberation.

However, the traditional teaching on hell is in fact a sign of the genuineness of Christianity, and it is therefore a cause for hope. Liberal Christianity is largely a human construct; it is what happens to a revealed religion after human beings finish redecorating it to modern tastes.

H. Richard Niebuhr summarized the liberal gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” [Read more…]

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We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

Jesus Christ King and Lord of All Creation, Second Coming Every Knee Shall Bowby David Mathis –
It’s a beautiful thing when a single sentence reorients a soul for good. When one proposition proves potent enough to be life-changing for the better. Especially when it’s a short one.

For me, it was the spring of 2000 — perhaps you have your own story about being rocked by this shorty from C.S. Lewis. An older student, who was leading a Bible study on my freshman hall, picked Desiring God as our semester focus. I emphatically did not enjoy reading and had made my way through high school and my first year of college leaning heavily on Cliff’s Notes. [Read more…]

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Former Homosexual: Even Harsher Language on Homosexuality Needed from Christian Hierarchs

Former Homosexual: Call for Even Harsher Language on Homosexuality from Christian Hierarchsby Joseph Sciambra –
I will always be thankful to that priest – because, he was not afraid. Some would argue that he was about as un-pastoral as you can get: he named the sin, told me where it came from (the devil and hell itself) and then went about casting it out. It sounds harsh, but sometimes the most invasive forms of cancer require the most severe forms of therapy.

Leading up to and during the October Synod on the Family, countless pro-“gay Catholic” advocacy groups have sent out “calls for the harsh language of previous Vatican documents referring to LGBT people as ‘disordered’ to be rescinded.” Recently, even someone in the “Spiritual Friendship” group, a loose confederacy of self-proclaimed “gay” and chaste Catholics who have been embraced by some in the hierarchy, said this: “…we often stay away from the language of ‘disorder’ and ‘brokenness’ that often surrounds the issue.” [Read more…]

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Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arena

Fr. Josiah Trenham Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arenaby Fr. Josiah Trenham –
You’d be right to ask, I think, what’s a pastor doing at this conservative political conference. I certainly know some of my clerical colleagues are asking what I’m doing here. Some of my own parishioners are probably asking—if they even know—are asking what I’m doing here. The IRS is certainly asking what I’m doing here. That unbiased and non-partisan government agency has been telling lies to clergy for 50 years to keep our mouths shut and to steal freedom of speech in the pulpit.

So let me answer that question, what’s a pastor doing here at this conservative political conference. It is perfectly natural for me to be here. Absolutely natural. Pastors and politics are intimately connected and have always been intimately connected in God’s design, from the beginning, in the old and the new covenant, from Israel right through two millennia of Christian history. Where you have politics, you have pastors. It’s only the Johnny-come-lately secularists who would like us to think and act differently. [Read more…]

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Parents’ Love for Christ and Each Other Makes for Good Children

Parents' Love for Christ and Each Other Makes for Good Childrenby Saint Porphyrios –
What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relation to their children through their mildness, patience and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children.

Generally the parents are to blame for the bad behaviour of the children. And their behaviour is not improved by reprimands, disciplining, or strictness. If the parents do not pursue a life of holiness and if they don’t engage in spiritual struggle, they make great mistakes and transmit the faults they have within them. If the par­ents do not live a holy life and do not display love towards each other, the devil torments the parents with the reactions of the children. Love, har­mony and understanding between the parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty. [Read more…]

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The Anti-Christmas Atheist Missionaries

Anti-Christmas Atheist Missionariesby William Sullivan –
Every year, atheist groups invest time and money to convey their belief that there is no God, that no Christ-child ever existed in a manger like in that nativity scene (a beautiful representation of hope and life that is apparently an eyesore to them), and that the premise of Christmas is altogether false.

If you’ve ever attempted a reasonable conversation with an American atheist about his or her distaste for religious influence in American politics, you know well that the primary beef atheists tend to have with religion is due to religionists’ assumed compulsion to impose their religious beliefs upon those who would choose to be unreligious.

If you happen to be an atheist, I’d wager you’d still agree with that observation. [Read more…]

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The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitude

The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitudeby Fr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the Declaration of Independence states, are unalienable rights granted by our Creator, to be protected by the government. Unfortunately the definitions for these terms were never truly agreed upon and, being defined by men, change over time. When does the right to life begin? In the womb or after birth? To what extent are we free? Until we hurt ourselves or others? And happiness, that popular but pitiful word constantly bent to the whim of emotions and impulses.

At the time of the writing of the Declaration, the meaning of the word happiness was greatly debated. Some restricted its meaning to only the acquisition of material possessions. For others it meant absolute freedom. Others insisted that happiness was attained only through the practice of reason and truth. [Read more…]

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‘Apocalypse’ Averted

Hillary American Apocalypse Avertedby Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster –
In A Christmas Carol, a seasonal favorite that Charles Dickens wrote in 1843, the miserly misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge is privileged, thanks to the silent, ominous Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, to glimpse his miserable future and lonely demise. Before he turns to read the tombstone inscribed with his own name, Scrooge asks the specter with great trepidation, “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

In view of the numerous overwrought displays of grief, disbelief, and even violent protests following the unexpected defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton by President-Elect Donald J. Trump in the November election, I propose that we consider what might have been if the Democrat nominee had prevailed. What are the “shadows of things” that might have been? [Read more…]

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Saving the American Republic

Saving the American Republic Orthodox Christian priestby Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster –
Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s greatest founding fathers, was asked by a resident of Philadelphia after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied famously, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

In the wee hours of this morning, we learned that God the Holy Trinity had bestowed an extraordinary gift of grace upon our American Republic through the much maligned American electorate—a second chance to reverse the cultural, moral, and political slide that we, the people of the United States, have allowed—and even fostered—during the last few decades, a second chance to keep our Republic alive and to revive the unique American spirit that celebrates faith, family, community, patriotism, and liberty and justice for all as participants in the American experiment in ordered liberty. [Read more…]

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At Risk Is Nothing Less Than the Right Ever to Resist Again

Liberrty vs Tyranny Electionsby Jeffrey T. Brown –
Vote as if your right to live, to worship, to speak, and to ever be heard again, that is your right to be a free and independent American citizen, depends on this election, because it does.

We have witnessed a series of cultural storms over the last several decades, many of which have altered our landscape. Most have been artificial storms, created and powered by an ideology that seeks complete control over this nation and its future, set in motion to create the chaos in which to implant “progress.” These storms have eradicated our family structures, our nation’s history, our ethical standards, our moral standards, our legal frameworks, our borders, our Constitution, and our discourse.

However, they have been mere precursors to the tsunami that Mrs. Clinton represents. She is the culmination of socialist, fascist Progressivism. She has come to complete the transformation, unless we stop her. We will probably not get another chance. [Read more…]

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Americans for Natural Marriage are ‘Confessors of the Faith’

Patriarch Kirill Traditional Marriage by Fr. Mark Hodges –
Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church met with famous American Evangelical leader Franklin Graham last week, with whom he shared his admiration for American evangelicals’ defense of Christian morals. Kirill called those who suffer for their stand supporting natural marriage modern-day Confessors.

The head of the world’s largest Orthodox church noted tragic changes in Western spiritual life, including turning away from “Christian tradition” and creating societies in which moral values are no longer dominant. Kirill also noted with regret recent legislation and court decisions allowing homosexual “marriage,” “equaling it to natural marriage that the Lord has given us in commandment.” [Read more…]

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America, the Religious Persecution Storm is Upon Us

America, the Religious Persecution Storm is Upon Us
by Franklin Graham –
For some time now, I’ve been warning about the coming storm of religious persecution and oppression in America. Over the course of the past year, I’ve become increasingly convinced that the storm is no longer just approaching, it is hard upon us.

The threats to the historic and sacred history of our nation’s religious liberty are advancing on several prominent fronts. [Read more…]

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By Whom Shall We Be Led – God Or Man?

By Whom Shall We Be Led - God Or Man?by Jeffrey T. Brown –
The God of the Bible is anathema to secular leftists. As evidence of that, we see a troubling rise in anti-Christian and anti-Semitic bigotry from the political left, both at home and abroad. To push the faithful farther out of the mainstream, it is now chic to target Christians and Jews for verbal and physical abuse, and worse in many places, because those who deny the biblical God are in power or rising to take it. Corrupt human power and Divinity are mutually exclusive.

As a manifestation of this rising aggression toward Western religious values, atheism and secularism have become cool and trendy among those making the absurd case for the shabbiness of human nature as the planet’s preeminent force. Though the Founders foresaw the need to constrain such force via the Constitution, secularists have decided that this is their time to rise and forcibly convert the rest of us, or punish or re-educate us. [Read more…]

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Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Families

Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Familiesby Fr. John Whiteford –
It would be nice if we could ignore the culture wars, but the culture wars are coming after us, our Church, and our families. You can choose what you are prepared to defend, but you cannot choose who will attack what you wish to defend.

There are those in the Orthodox Church who say that we should have nothing to do with the culture wars that have been raging in our culture since the 60’s. They accuse conservative converts of trying to bring those culture wars into the Orthodox Church. Ironically, those who talk like this are usually the very people who actually are bringing the culture wars into the Orthodox Church by their promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, women’s ordination, and various other liberal causes.

It is not as if the Orthodox Church was full of people who thought gay marriage was a great idea until converts started showing up. In fact, the Orthodox in traditionally Orthodox countries are very conservative, and though, for example, there are not lots of Protestant converts to Orthodoxy in Russia, the Russian Church has taken a very strong and vocal position on these issues. [Read more…]

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