Putting on the Armor of God: Being a Warrior When It’s Popular to Be a Weaner

Putting on the Armor of God, Be Brave Be Courageousby Fr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
Being a warrior for Christ has no minimum age or athletic qualifications. All warriors for Christ, however, must want to “be men” or “be manly”. It means to be what a human is really meant to be: brave, courageous, and authentic in obedience to God.

Saint Nestor was only a teenager when he decided he’d had enough of the local Christians being slaughtered in forced combat against a giant named Lyaeus. The Emperor Maximian had set up a raised platform in the center of Thessaloniki where he forced Christians to fight for their lives against the seemingly unconquerable Vandal mercenary “who was a beast in both appearance and character.”

Nestor was thin and not very tall, but apparently that did not concern him. He visited Saint Demetrios in prison and took his blessing to challenge Lyaeus. The saint made the sign of the cross over his head and heart, prophesying, “You will both be victorious and suffer for Christ.” [Read more…]

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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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If Evolution is Mindless, Why Does it Favor Survival?

Darwinism Evolution Blind Mindless Circular Reasoningby Scott Youngren –
Atheist biologists would have you believe that evolutionary processes are mindless, and purposeless. But the problem for such a claim is that survival is a goal or purpose. There is simply no way around this. If evolution is truly mindless and purposeless, why does it favor survival over non-survival?

Physicist Amit Goswami writes in his book Creative Evolution. A Physicist’s Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design: “The Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection: Nature selects those organisms that are fittest to survive. In the materialist view, an organism is just a bundle of molecules that are completely specified by their physical and chemical properties.

Nowhere among these properties will you find a property called survivability.[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 Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction: God Did Not Create Me This Way

Orthodox Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction: God Did Not Create Me This Way by Anonymous Orthodox –
I think those of us who have seriously struggled with SSA in the past need to speak up more and more. Never once during my SSA struggles did I ever think that “God created me this way,” since I knew that Christ loved me and it would be a cruel joke (a heartless cruel joke) for God to admonish against SSA behavior throughout Judeo-Christian history and then to create some of His sons and daughters to have innate, immutable SSA that they couldn’t do anything about. Yes, that would be a cruel joke. I also knew it wasn’t a conscious choice as in whether choosing between vanilla or chocolate ice cream. It was a significant drive for affection, affirmation, and attention.

What I eventually realized (through a lot of counseling) is that while God loves me, I could not feel it. I had a wall against feeling love, affirmation, and affection. It all stemmed from child abuse. Show me a man who struggles with SSA who has a loving relationship with his own biological father or with the significant men in his life when he was a kid, and I will show you a liar. [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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Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheism

Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheismby Regis Nicoll –
Unpracticed faith—that is, faith without works—St. James writes, is dead. It has no transformative or sanctifying power; it is intellectual assent that descends into paralyzing doubt (or worse), which is no faith at all. That’s because faith is revealed, confirmed, and made perfect by our actions not affirmations (for by their fruits you will know them).

Consider a child, standing nervously at the edge of the pool, coaxed by his father to dive into the water. He has a choice: plunge headlong into the pool where the able arms of dad are ready to receive him, or remain at water’s edge frozen in fear, dithering in doubt. He may sincerely believe that his father won’t let harm come to him, but until he jumps, fear holds him captive in functional unbelief, revealing that his faith is in a danger that his father cannot save him from.

When the “rubber” of belief meets the “road” of decision, a choice has to be made. There is no middle road other than doubt, which defaults to unbelief and tosses us to and fro on the agnostic waves of uncertainty. [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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Met. Kallistos Ware on the Ordination of Women and Blessing of Same-Sex Marriages

Kallistos Ware on Ordination of Women and Blessing of Same-Sex MarriagesExcerpts from an August 2, 2008 interview with Bishop Kallistos Ware published on VirtueOnline. Fr. George Westhaver questioned Bishop Kallistos regarding the various topics discussed at the Lambeth Conference held in 2008. According to the Anglican Church, the Lambeth Conference “takes place approximately every ten years” and is attended by Anglican bishops from around the world and “presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury” to address the issues of the day.

Among the topics raised were the issues regarding the ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex marriages by the Anglican Church, and the implications for the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. [Read more…]

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Met. Kallistos Ware Comes Out for Homosexual “Marriage”

Kallistos Ware Comes Out for Homosexual Marriage pro LGBT In the latest issue of The Wheel magazine (edited by notorious pro-homosexual activist Inga Leonova and other pro-LGBT activists) Bishop Kallistos Ware bemoans the unfair and “heavy burden” the Orthodox Church places on homosexuals and criticizes the “defensive and reactive” manner in which the Orthodox Faith deals with homosexual sin.

Writing the Foreword for the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of The Wheel, Ware questions the Orthodox Christian teaching regarding sodomy and homosexual relationships, places erotic desire between a man and a woman on the same moral level as homosexual eroticism, accuses the Church of being obsessed with “genital sex,” criticizes the call to celibacy for those who struggle with same-sex attraction, and appears to advocate for the acceptance of same-sex couples into the sacramental life of the Church. [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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