July 31, 2014

Coptic Pope Blasts Muslim Brotherhood, US, EU. Is Washington Listening?

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Source: Assyrian News Agency | Mary Abdelmassih The Pope is at the top of the Islamists' assassination list. (AINA) -- Since ex-president Morsy's ouster on July 3, attacks on Egyptian Christians by members of the Muslim Brotherhood have taken place in most governorates across Egypt. These attacks have escalated since security forces ended the pro-Morsy protests in central Cairo on August 14th. During their 6-weeks of protests, Muslim Brotherhood leaders explicitly threatened to harm the Copts should they be forced to end their protests, which they vowed to prolong until Morsy is restored to power. "Over the past weeks we have witnessed an increasing trend of anti-Christian rhetoric calling for 'the attack upon and eradication of Christians and churches' in Egypt," said Coptic Bishop Anba in the United Kingdom. "The result of such incitement, at least in part, has been the unprecedented attack on fifty two churches and numerous Christian homes and businesses across eight … [Read more...]

‘Tolerance’ is a Demanding Mistress

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Coming soon to a parish near you. From the ". . .veteran gay and AIDS human rights advocate Michael Petrelis. Based in San Francisco since 1995." Gays to Picket San Francisco's Pro-Putin Russian Church Source: The Petrelis Files Who: BoycottRussianVodka.com and Gays Without Borders What: Picket line and speak out Where: St Nicholas Cathedral (pictured) Location: 2005 - 15th Street, between Church and Market Streets Date: Sunday, August 25, 2013 When: 11:00 AM Protesters will peaceably challenge the Russian Orthodox Church in San Francisco over its support for Russia's anti-homosexual propaganda law that has led to rising violence and anti-LGBT bigotry in that country. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I, who lives in Moscow, is a leading proponent of the law. Patriarch Kirill is a longtime supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two leaders both strongly back the recently enacted anti-gay propaganda law that bans any pro-gay statement or … [Read more...]

The “Arab Spring” and the Plight of the Coptic Christian

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By Abbott Tryphon Coptic is the Pharoes’ name for “Egyptian,“ a little appreciated echo of the fact that all of Egypt was once a Coptic, Christian nation. For seven centuries Egypt was a Christian nation, until the Arab Islamic invasion in the seventh century. When President Obama came to Cairo in 2009 for his first major speech on foreign affairs, he thought his charisma would be enough, as he attempted to appease the Islamists with his talk of America being their friend, all the while ignoring the plight of the Christians of the Middle East, who have been the bridge between the West and Arab cultures since the 17th century. It was Coptic and Arab Christians who acted as translators of the greatest works of arts, literature, civilization, theater, and cinema, just as did Jews living in the Arab world. They made huge strides in bringing modern ideas, including democratic ideas, to the Islamic dominated world, but just as the Jews before them, Christians are now facing … [Read more...]

George Gilder Has A Very Big, Economy Boosting Idea

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You've heard me assert elsewhere that just as Marx and Freud have fallen, so will Darwin. And by it I mean Darwinian creation mythology, particulary the idea that the universe is random. Think of it this way: if the universe was indeed random at the outset, then where did the laws that govern matter come from? They could not have existed apart from matter because in that case the universe would not be random. The only place the laws could have originated from is the matter itself. Anything else explodes the mythology. The real problem here is course are the materialist presumptions that shaped the mythology. We call it philosophical materialism and it created what historians call The Myth of Progress. The Myth was heady stuff in its day but it was exclusively dependent on philosophical materialism, the idea that all that exists is matter. Freud applied the thesis to the person, Marx to history, and Darwin to origins. Faith in the Myth died on the killing fields of WWI when Europe … [Read more...]

A Good Priest can be Recognized by the Way His People are Annointed

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Change the word "Mass" to "Divine Liturgy" and the counsel of Pope Francis below could have been spoken by an Orthodox pastor. The Pope is absolutely correct. The Gospel and the love and grace of Christ who is revealed through the preaching of it has to reach people where they are. And the prayers, they are so important. Pray with the people who need prayer. Don't just talk to them about prayer, pray with them. The people will encounter Christ and experience His reassurance directly through the authentic prayer of the priest. They will find reassurance and this strengthens faith and hope. The reference to "the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe" comes from Psalm 133: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. These few verses of Psalm 133 is read as the priest places his … [Read more...]

Antiochian Orthodox Church Affirms Traditional Marriage

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- A resolution affirming heterosexual marriage was passed unanimously at the Antiochian Convention in July of this year. I was present when the resolution came to the floor and would have tweaked it a bit by using the term "sex" instead of "gender" (the collapse of sex -- biological particularity -- into gender is one of the great confusions of our age); establishing the moral ground of natural marriage more firmly (the natural is never separated from the sacramental thus the moral validity of heterosexual marriage precedes the sacramental expression of it); avoiding the term "orientation" (it clouds theological notions of ontology) and a few other items. However, we were voting on a resolution, not a theological apologetic so I passed on the comments and voted yes. Resolution to Oppose the Recent United States Supreme Court Decision That Held the "Defense of Marriage Act" Unconstitutional Source: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese WHEREAS, on June 26, … [Read more...]

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity

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This article points to some research why young people leave Christ (leaving the Church and leaving Christ are increasingly synonymous). It doesn't address the drifting away because of preoccupation with other things but the conscious decision not to believe in Christ. The rise of the New Atheists is probably a reason why drift has turned into decision, or at least provoked the recognition that a decision about faith or non-faith is too important to leave to indifference among those who at one time took religion seriously. I was surprised that an important part of the decision was emotional, which on further reflection should not have surprised me at all. Faith or non-faith decisions are never divorced from the non-empirical constituents of human experience. For the Orthodox, my experience is that conflicts in the parishes impose penalties on the young, especially those coming into the age where personal faith becomes a private decision. I have seen parishes in which the … [Read more...]

Dr. Bruce Foltz Speaks About “The Truth of Nature”

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Source: St. Vladimir's Seminary At the beginning of the 2014 ecclesiastical year, Professor of Philosophy Dr. Bruce Foltz, an Orthodox Christian and faculty member at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, will offer a free and public lecture at St. Vladimir's Seminary on "The Truth of Nature." The talk will contrast today's post–modern assumptions regarding the environment with the patristic and historic Christian understanding of what it means to care for God's creation. The lecture, to be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium in the John G. Rangos Family Foundation Building on the Yonkers campus, will be followed by a question and answer session and a reception in the Rangos Building's atrium. His All-Holiness Bartholomew, archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, who received the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa from St. Vladimir’s in 1997, has designated September 1st as a day dedicated to the … [Read more...]

FOX News: Why Jesus and Comic Books Need Each Other | Book of Revelation Graphic Novel

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An interview on FOX News with Fr. Mark Arey of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on transforming the book of Revelation into a graphic novel. What do you think? … [Read more...]

When Orthodox Bishops Spoke Boldly: Clear Teaching on Marriage and Family

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Source: The Voice Blog | Chris Banescu The current societal moral collapse and the intensifying attacks on traditional marriage and the family were foreseen by previous generations of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Approximately 40 years ago, the Holy Synod of the OCA issued an Encyclical Letter on Marriage warning their flocks of the dangers posed by an increasingly secularized world and re-affirming the traditional, biblical, and orthodox teaching on marriage. The clarity of their teaching, boldness of their condemnation, and prophetic dimensions of their preaching are undeniable. These shepherds saw the “signs of the times.” They discerned the growing darkness and corruption all around them and the seriousness of the cultural battles to come. They forewarned the faithful that the “moral foundations of society are collapsing.” They understood the ultimate consequences of a society that abandons its moral principles, abuses its freedoms, embraces the evil of … [Read more...]

William J. Abraham: The Treasures and Trials of Eastern Orthodoxy

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Source: Acton Institute | Dylan Pahman Last night I attended an engaging lecture at Calvin College by Dr. William Abraham of the Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology. Abraham, whose religious background is Irish Methodist and who is now a minister in the United Methodist Church and the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies at Perkins, gave a presentation titled, “The Treasures and Trials of Eastern Orthodoxy.” As someone who was once an outsider to the Orthodox Church and is now an insider (as much as a former outsider can be, I suppose), I can say that Dr. Abraham’s lecture highlighted many things that I see in the Orthodox Church myself as well as bringing others into focus, in particular five treasures the Orthodox bring and four trials that they face in our current, global context. Dr. Abraham began with his own background: how had he come to discover Eastern Orthodoxy? Years ago, when he first came to the United States, he … [Read more...]

Papal Theologian: Treating Homosexuals with Dignity Means Telling Them the Truth

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Important points that the Papal Theologian Rev. Wojciech Giertych made are: 1) the idea that the homosexual condition should be considered as a central identifying characteristic of human personhood diminishes the humanity of the person making the claim; 2) the increasing reach of the State into private life results in a lowering of moral standards. I argue this same point elsewhere with the additional warning that same-sex marriage represents an arrogation of State power over human morality (see Homosexual Marriage at the Dusk of Liberty). Fr. Giertych said: The 61-year-old of Polish background said, “I’ve seen the Communist ideology, which seemed to be so powerful, and it’s gone! Ideologies come and go, and they have the idea of changing humanity, of changing human nature. Human nature cannot be changed; it can be distorted. But the elevation of perversion to the level of a fundamental value that has to be nurtured and nourished and promoted – this is absolutely … [Read more...]