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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On the Character of Men and on the Virtuous Life: 170 Texts (Philokalia, Vol 1)

St. Anthony the Great Character of Men and the Virtuous Lifeby St. Anthony the Great –

1. Men are often called intelligent wrongly. Intelligent men are not those who are erudite in the sayings and books of the wise men of old, but those who have an intelligent soul and can discriminate between good and evil. They avoid what is sinful and harms the soul; and with deep gratitude to God they resolutely adhere by dint of practice to what is good and benefits the soul. These men alone should truly be called intelligent.

2. The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and to conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things. For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul. [Read more…]

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Thou Shall Not Judge – The Misunderstood 11th Commandment

hou Shall Not Judge - The Misunderstood 11th Commandmentby Robert Meyer –
The idea that we can never judge about anything is patently absurd. To say that we can never judge is to wander aimlessly. The Scriptures tell us that we should reprove each other, speaking the truth in love. What our society lacks is righteous judgment. What we have an abundance of is knit-picking and indifference. Neither of those two alternatives promotes justice and righteousness.

Regardless of the level of theological sophistication, we can always be sure the critics “know” one thing: The Bible says that we should not judge one another. Anyone who would do so is clearly being un-Christian. Such obtuse reasoning is employed against Christians who offer a negative commentary on certain cultural trends, behaviors or lifestyles. Still, I wonder how many people have taken this concept to its logical conclusion? [Read more…]

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The Goal of Classical Education is Truth

The Goal of Classical Education is Truthby Tom Jay –
A truly classical and Christian education must link the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty to the One Who is truth, goodness, and beauty.

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Aristotle wrote this in the fourth century B.C. in a text called On the Heavens. Sixteen hundred years later Thomas Aquinas began his treatise On Being and Essence by paraphrasing Aristotle: “Because a small error in the beginning grows enormous at the end.…” The application of this wisdom to the moral life might be rather obvious. Tell a lie once, however small, and you will probably end up telling more. While it’s easy to see, in the realms of space or morality, how a slight error can lead to enormous complications later, these maxims are not only meaningful for astrophysicists and theologians. Teachers and school administrators would do well to reflect on these words as well. [Read more…]

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There is No Love in a Lie

There is no love in a lie. Homosexuality is sinful.by Lisa Moeller –
There is no love in a lie. And the lie of homosexuality is that it comes from a place of love. When in all actuality it comes from a place of brokenness.

Love. I am compelled to address this topic because I have been approached so many times lately by those who feel that “love always wins” and “love will save the day” and “love is the answer” no matter what.

But, what does love actually mean? First of all, we didn’t create love. It was created for us by a God Who understands its genuine definition. Therefore, only He can produce the genuine fruit of love in someone’s soul. [Read more…]

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Nashville Statement Affirms Traditional Christian Principles on Marriage and Sexuality

Nashville Statement: Affirming Traditional Christian Principles on Marriage and Sexuality Here’s a worthy, true, and clear statement that all Orthodox Churches and hierarchs in America should support.

A coalition of conservative evangelical leaders across America issued a public declaration titled the Nashville Statement that affirms universal and traditional Christian principles on marriage and human sexuality. It is a response to an increasingly post-Christian, Western culture where many homosexual advocacy groups aggressively attack and purposely distort the moral teaching of Christianity.

“The spirit of our age does not delight in God’s good design of male and female. Consequently, confusion reigns over some of the most basic questions of our humanity. … The aim of The Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness — to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female.” ~ Denny Burk (President, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) [Read more…]

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Spiritual Blindness: Inability to Discern Good from Evil, Truth from Lies

Patriarch Kirill Spiritual Blindness: Inability to Discern Good from Evil, Truth from Liesby Patriarch Kirill of Russia –
What is spiritual blindness? It is people’s inability to see into the essence of what is happening around them. It is the inability to see good and evil, to discern truth from lies.

The spiritually blind person is like a vessel in the ocean without a navigator. If the captain has no idea where the vessel is located, where it is going, where the reefs are and where the calm waters are, where it is shallow and where it is sufficiently deep, then such a vessel will most likely shipwreck. It is the same in our lives—if a person has no spiritual vision he is taking a great risk. He can choose the wrong way of life, the wrong path in life. He can join his fate with a person in whom he did not see, did not discern evil from good or good from evil. [Read more…]

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The Abnormal Cannot Dictate What’s Normal

The Abnormal Cannot Dictate What is Normalby Fr. Ioannes Apiarius –
Those who are darkened by spiritual corruption or sexual depravity cannot be trusted to lecture others about what’s normal or demand that the normal embrace abnormality.

Those who are confused about their own sexuality or reject traditional Christian moral principles are incapable of giving advice on normal human relationships or family life inside or outside the Orthodox Church.

Those who believe or teach that sodomy is either “normal” or not sinful have separated themselves from the true teaching of the Orthodox Church and go against the laws of nature. [Read more…]

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Devil’s Philosophy in Lawless and Wicked Age: ‘Do as You Please’

Devils Philosophy in Lawless and Wicked Ageby Michael W. Chapman –
Our children are growing up in a “lawless and wicked age,” infused with the “philosophy of the Devil, who says, ‘Do as you please.’

World renowned evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, the founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said that our children are growing up in a “lawless and wicked age,” infused with the “philosophy of the Devil, who says, ‘Do as you please.’”

Further, rearing children in this culture is difficult because “we have taken God out of our educational systems and thought we could get away with it,” said Rev. Graham. “We have sown the wind, and we are now reaping the whirlwind. We have laughed at God, religion and the Bible.” [Read more…]

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How to Overcome Despondency

How to Overcome Despondencyby Bishop Arsenius (Zhadanovsky) –
One must not delay in warring against despondency, for the next step after despondency is despair – which leads to perdition.

Despondency from Physical Ilnesses
Despondency springs from various sources, primarily from our physical illnesses. In this case, despondency is suppressed by spiritual inspiration, spiritual interests. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, it says in the Scriptures. The holy Apostle Paul was beset by a physical infirmity: [T]here was given to me a thorn in the flesh, he says, …to buffet me (II Cor. 12:7). Saint John Chrysostom takes “thorn in the flesh” to mean a severe headache. However, the same Apostle Paul testifies, …when I am weak, then am I strong (II Cor. 12:10), because he was wholly caught up in serving the Lord. Our bodily infirmities and the resultant despondency can be overcome only by the strengthening grace of God. [Read more…]

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Christian Martyr is the Opposite of Muslim Suicide Terrorist

Christian Martyr is the Opposite of Muslim Suicide Terrorist by G.K. Chesterton –
A Christian martyr is the opposite of a Muslim suicide terrorist. They are at the opposite ends of heaven and hell. One man flung away his life; he was so good that his dry bones could heal cities in pestilence. Another man flung away life; he was so bad that his bones would pollute his brethren’s.

“About the same time I read a solemn flippancy by some free thinker: he said that a suicide was only the same as a martyr. The open fallacy of this helped to clear the question. Obviously a suicide is the opposite of a martyr. A martyr is a man who cares so much for something outside him, that he forgets his own personal life. A suicide is a man who cares so little for anything outside him, that he wants to see the last of everything. One wants something to begin: the other wants everything to end.

In other words, the martyr is noble, exactly because (however he renounces the world or execrates all humanity) he confesses this ultimate link with life; he sets his heart outside himself: he dies that something may live.

The suicide is ignoble because he has not this link with being: he is a mere destroyer; spiritually, he destroys the universe. And then I remembered the stake and the cross-roads, and the queer fact that Christianity had shown this weird harshness to the suicide. [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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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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