August 21, 2014

The Supreme Court, You and Me, and the Future of Marriage

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Source: Witherspoon Institute By Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George within Marriage Originally published June 27, 2013. What happened yesterday at the courthouse matters, and we must keep up our witness to the truth about marriage, by word and deed, until it is safely beyond judicial overreach. Here’s the least reported fact about yesterday’s rulings on marriage: the Supreme Court refused to give Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers suing to overturn Prop 8, what they wanted. The Court refused to redefine marriage for the entire nation. The Court refused to "discover" a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Citizens and their elected representatives remain free to discuss, debate, and vote about marriage policy in all fifty states. Citizens and their elected representatives still have the right to define marriage in civil law as the union of one man and one woman. And we should continue doing so. Already, in the wake of … [Read more...]

Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Church and State in Russia

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Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk is the Chairman of the of the Department for External Church Relations Moscow Patriarchate. Key quote: "We remain strongly convinced that the secular nature of the state does not presuppose the ousting of the Church from the public space or her marginalization and placement in a “ghetto”. The Russian Orthodox Church is not only a social institution that has played a tremendous historical role in the development of Russian statehood and formation of the Russian people’s Christian spirit, but also an important part of the modern civil society. By virtue of this fact the Church has a right to expect that her voice is heard. And now, at a time of relative wellbeing of the Church, relevant are the words of St. Tikhon, the Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, who said not long before his death, “Looking at the future ways of holy Orthodoxy without fear, we call upon you, our beloved children, do God’s cause and may the sons … [Read more...]

Bill Hinkle Interviews Frs. Hans Jacobse and Josiah Trenham on the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision [AUDIO]

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Bill Hinkle — a former Washington State Representative, Minority Whip, Washington State House of Representatives, aka SubDeacon Basil at The Prophet Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission. "Our Life in Christ and in America” is a bi-monthly program hosted by Bill Hinkle (Antiochian Archdiocese), former Minority Whip of the Washington State House of Representatives. The program seeks to examine our modern-day social and political problems through the lens of our Holy Orthodox Faith. What is our calling as Orthodox believers 21st century America? Join Bill as he brings on different guests to talk about both timely issues and fundamental problems. The program is available as a podcast and also on our Internet radio stations. Listen here: Host Bill Hinkle speaks with Fr. Hans Jacobse Host Bill Hinkle speaks with Fr. Josiah Trenham … [Read more...]

Orthodox Speakers at Acton University – 2013 [Audio]

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Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology, and sound economics. At this year’s event, the following Orthodox speakers were featured: Fr. Gregory Jensen, Fr. Michael Butler and Fr. Johannes Jacobse. Audio courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio. Audio is available for purchase at the Acton Institute. Listen here: East Meets West: Consumerism and Asceticism Fr. Gregory Jensen Asceticism is concerned with the “inner transformation of the human person, in his being progressively conformed to Christ.” Understood in this way, asceticism has a foundational role to play in any Christian response to the practical and anthropological challenges of consumerism. Orthodoxy and Natural Law Fr. Michael Butler Eastern Orthodoxy is … [Read more...]

Same-Sex Marriage: A Conversation with Fr. Josiah Trenham and Abp. Salvatore Cordileone, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco [Audio/Video]

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Father Josiah interviews Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, one of America's most articulate champions of marriage and most persuasive opponent of so-called "Same-Sex Marriage." In this 30+ minute interview Archbishop Cordileone thoroughly goes on the record to explain the genesis of the movement for "Same-Sex Marriage" and exposes why the quest for redefining marriage is so destructive to the health and well-being of marriage and American society. Patristic Nectar Publications (PNP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing spiritual edification and formal Orthodox Christian catechesis. It publishes the teachings of the Church as expressed by the Holy Fathers through a vast array of patristic audio books and lecture series, spreading the wealth of Sacred Tradition to the modern-day media culture. PNP is distinctive in the fidelity of its publications to the mind of the Church, and the freedom in the publications from personal opinions and theological fads. Nourishing the … [Read more...]

Jacobse: The Progressive Captivity of Orthodox Churches in America

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My reflection on the Acton - St. Vladimir's Poverty Conference was published on the Acton Institute website. From Acton: Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse looks at what was behind the criticism of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary’s partnership with the Acton Institute on a recent poverty conference. He points out that some who adhere to the “ancient faith” of Eastern Orthodoxy have very left-leaning ideas about economics and politics. The poverty conference, Fr. Hans writes, reveals to Orthodox Christians that their thinking on poverty issues is underdeveloped and that those who objected “relied solely on ideas drawn from Progressive ideology.” Source: Acton Institute | Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse Most Christians who are received into the Eastern Orthodox Church as adults do so for the same reasons that others embrace the Roman Catholic Church: They are tired of the moral relativism or the shallow theological traditions of their former communions. These great historical … [Read more...]

John Anderson on Reaching Millenials

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I am publishing this essay even though it is long because it the first serious discussion of the culture of the Millenials (20-30 Somethings) written by an Orthodox that I have come across. I know that author John Anderson hits some important points. I have been talking to Millenials over the last year and how they approach truth and authenticity is far different than what Boomers and even Gen-X'ers think. I also agree with his central thesis that post-modernism provides a doorway to the recovery of sacramentalism. It's worth a read. Hopefully it will spur some beneficial discussion. Source: Orthodox Ruminations | John Anderson Preface: This is just a simple paper assigned after an introductory study of postmodernity and the current cultural shifts and a reading of “The Younger Evangelicals” by Robert Webber. This paper is not designed to be very formal containing a thesis and points. It is merely a personal reflection upon 5 cultural shifts that are opportunities … [Read more...]

Fr. Alexander Schmemann on Socialism

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Socialism: “Man’s nature is to reject it, because it can only be thrust on people by force. The most fallen possession is closer to God’s design for man than malicious egalitarianism. Possession is what God gave me (which I usually (mis)use selfishly and sinfully), whereas equality is what government and society give me, and they give me something that does not belong to them. (The desire for) Equality is from the Devil because it comes entirely from envy.” – Father Alexander Schmemann, The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983, page 330-331. … [Read more...]

SVS Poverty Conference Challenges Progressive Economic Ideas [AUDIO]

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Challenging the Progressive Captivity of Orthodoxy in America The St. Vladimir's Seminary Conference on Poverty held during the last weekend of May, 2013 may portend a loosening of the Progressive grip on Orthodox thinking about morality and culture in America. Let's face it: the Orthodox contribution to American cultural discourse has been meager, often swept along by shallow bromides that conform to popular notions of the common good rather than substantive engagement of the moral tradition within the dominant cultural ethos. The Progressive Captivity leads to all sorts of mischief -- from weakening the teachings of the Orthodox moral tradition (see: A Patriarch who 'Generally Speaking, Respects Human Life'), to lending the imprimatur of Orthodox moral authority to marginal groups like the National Council of Churches (see: NCC EXIT POLL: Why One Orthodox Church Left the National Council of Churches). St. Vladimir's Seminary, to their credit (and to the consternation of … [Read more...]

ACTON – SVS Poverty Conference Sure to Spark Some Fireworks

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St. Vladimir's Conference on Poverty, May 31-June 1, 2013 Get details | Download flyer (pdf) As iron sharpens iron, says the book of Proverbs, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Remember that advice as the conference on poverty begins on May 31, 2013 at St. Vladimir's Seminary. The conference is led by the Acton Institute, arguably one of the most influential think tanks on religion and economics in the English speaking world. The conference is sponsored by the Zarras Foundation in honor of the late Dn. John Zarras, a devoted churchman, successful businessman, and member of the St. Vladimir's Board of Trustees. Speakers at the conference include Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute; Michael Matheson Miller, Acton Institute Research Fellow; and a Trustee of the Seminary, The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters, professor of Religion and Dean of the School of Social … [Read more...]

For Most Atheists, Atheism is a Lifestyle Choice [VIDEO]

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Why Study Atheism with Conor Cunningham Atheists, if they are true to their premises, embrace nihilism.* Conor Cunningham looks at what is involved in the claims of 'atheism' and why those claims can be useful to the studies of the theologian. *Nihilism Source: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. In the 20th century, nihilistic themes–epistemological failure, value destruction, and … [Read more...]

Priests Don’t Answer Emails

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The complaint below about non-responsive priests and laity is accurate. But how do the non-responsives think people reach out to them? How do they think people react when their requests are ignored or rebuffed? What is so hard about returning a phone call or setting up even a one page website? Hint to priests who feel overwhelmed by the demands of their ministry and let items fall through the cracks: 1) Start reading Dn. Michael Hyatt's blog and implement his suggestions; and 2) read "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. Productive work is a matter of good organization, and good organization helps you separate the wheat from the chaff in your ministry. Nurture the wheat, discard the chaff. Source: Byzantine, TX It is a surprise to few that priests don't answer emails. They also don't answer the phone. If you go to a church during the week they might well not answer the door. This is not true of all clergy, but it's true enough about many of them for me to be able … [Read more...]