October 30, 2014

Forty years of feminism now bearing fruit

Maybe the essay below will help St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) understand why the conferral of a doctorate on Dr. Rowan Williams has been met with criticism from those outside the academy. For most, the issue is not whether Dr. Williams merits the honor as an academic, but that his refusal to act against the moral deconstruction of Anglicanism shows that he does not comprehend the destruction that the licentiousness championed by liberal Anglicans causes in the larger culture. The author rightly condemns feminist ideology as a source of moral confusion in the culture, and clearly the capitulation to feminists is a major reason for the Anglican collapse.

I am the father of a fourteen year old girl. I’ve worked with teens for twenty-five years. What the author below reports is happening in the teen culture in America is true. Don’t flinch at the brutally frank tone of the essay. Not all teens fall victim to the prevailing culture of course, but all face it.

I could tell you many stories of teens who fell off the cliff. Filled with regret and shame they come for healing. Fortunately we have confession and they get a chance to start over. A few weeks ago I heard a story of a fourteen year old girl who gave oral sex to a boy hoping to win his approval. It devastated her. Other girls found out and she went around asking for forgiveness afraid she was going to lose her friends. She is too young to be dealing with these emotional demands. But she lives in a sexualized culture where there are too few adult voices to guide her and so she becomes prey to the exploiters who dominate her world.

It’s concerns like this that inform the criticism and leads to this question: Why is an Orthodox seminary giving an award to a leader who did little to stop the legitimization of licentiousness in an institution that was charged with the defense of the Christian moral tradition?

Is it fair to reduce all of Dr. Rowan’s ministry to this failure of leadership? No, of course not. But the issue here is not Dr. Rowan. It’s the conferral of the degree. To the critics, the conferral implies an approval beyond Dr. Rowan’s academic achievements. This is because the seminary possesses an imprimatur that reaches far beyond its walls. The seminary must exercise its authority with greater discretion especially when it touches problems that people outside the academy deal with concretely. The distance between poor leadership and destructive consequences is not that great.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

The American Thinker Pam Geller

A new documentary, Oral Sex Is the New Goodnight Kiss, chronicles America’s moral decay. Sharlene Azam, a Canadian filmmaker, says, "If you talk to teens [about oral sex], they’ll tell you it’s not a big deal. In fact, they don’t consider it sex. They don’t consider a lot of things sex." In the documentary, teenage girls talk casually about their sexual experiences and even their forays into prostitution.

One girl sums up the new attitudes: "Five minutes and I got $100. If I’m going to sleep with them anyway because they’re good-looking, might as well get paid for it, right?"

Azam said that this was going on in good homes right under parents’ noses: "The prettiest girls from the most successful families [are the most at risk]. We’re not talking about marginalized girls. [Parents] don’t want to know because they really don’t know what to do. I mean, you might be prepared to learn that, at age 12, your daughter has had sex, but what are you supposed to do when your daughter has traded her virginity for $1,000 or a new bag?"

This is the bitter fruit of forty years of feminist domination in the United States.

Virtue, self-worth, and man’s moral value are DOA in the age of the cultural domination of the left. What an awful stench this decaying corpse gives off, lying in a smoldering, fetid pile of ash.

This is how the phony feminist movement empowered women? Girls selling the it for a handbag? Those men-hating parasites have ruined the glorious exaltation of women in 20th-century America. I know. I grew up in it. All one has to do is watch movies from the forties, fifties, and sixties (before the left culture rout) to catch a glimpse of the status of women. We were then formidable, respected, treasured, and above all…revered. It was as good as it gets.

Azam’s vulgar and depressing documentary is no surprise. The atmosphere is already poisoned by the left’s attitudes toward teenage sex. And these attitudes come out everywhere. Two weeks ago, in Crosby Middle School in Hitchcock, Texas, a member of the Hitchcock school board, Shirley Price, gave what was supposed to be a motivational talk to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade girls. Instead, she gave a graphic, smut-filled rant about oral and anal sex.

I am sickened by this — not because I am prudish, but because it speaks volumes about how girls view themselves and their roles, not to mention the ever-increasing diminishing of women in American society.

To say that feminism was one of the worst things to happen to women is being easy. It has been worse for men. The demon seeds of the "liberation" movement are everywhere — including the epidemic of single motherhood, the breakdown of the American family, the street vernacular of "bitches and hos," the emasculation of men, and the bone-crushing responsibility of single moms acting as mother, father, breadwinner, chief cook, and bottle-washer.

And what has Obama done about all this? He has appointed Kevin Jennings, the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), to be his Safe Schools Czar. GLSEN is notorious for having sponsored a conference at Tufts University at which teenagers were given instruction in an array of risky and dangerous sexual practices. Obama has appointed this radical to head up America’s "safe schools," but who is going to keep kids safe from him? This is another terrible Obama choice. Whatever one’s sexual preferences or proclivities may be, do not traumatize children. Why can’t the schools just teach reading, writing, arithmetic — and civics?

But this is no surprise, of course. A breakdown of sexual mores and a flouting of convention is part and parcel of the agenda in every society to which socialism has come.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be lefties.

Every child in America, all 73.7 million of them, should be kept safe from the leftist inculcation of the public school curriculum. Taxpayer money should be used to help set up home-schooling networks and resources across the country.

We spend more per capita on education than virtually every other nation, and yet we rank close to the bottom in math and science — so busy are our children being force-fed global warming junk science, the LGBT agenda, a whitewashed Muhammad, and other assorted propaganda.

This is how the left has been destroying America since they took over in the ’60s. Now the teenage girls in Azam’s documentary are reaping what the left has been sowing for decades.

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Although the tone of this essay was a little too frank for fora such as this, I believe we’ve come to a point in our culture where even in a religious blog, it is important that the blinders be removed from our eyes. We need to see the reality out there. Geller’s harsh assessment is a wake-up call to all those clergymen who would rather attend symposia about some jot or tittle (or engage in academic backslapping) than minister to the broken souls that are out there. I don’t know whether Geller is observant or not (since she’s a devotee of Ayn Rand, I rather doubt it), nevertheless I’m glad to see that a Jewish woman can see the rot out there.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Finally!

    At least you all are acknowledging that the problem might be more than abortion. Now if you’d only acknowledge that traditionalist practices and a legally enforced patriarchy are the solution.

    Well, baby steps, I suppose.

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      Legally enforced patriarchy?

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        Scott Pennington says:

        Yes, as it was before the feminist revolution. Men were recognized by the law as the head of the house. Divorce had to be for cause and was frowned upon by society in general. There was such a thing as coverture which was the legal principle that when a man and woman were joined in matrimony they became one person, and that person was the man. Women were legally dependent on men. Abortion was illegal except in rare circumstances.

        Was there abuse? Yes, and there is abuse now. Was there a high divorce rate? No. Was there rampant promiscuity, especially among young teens? No. Was there a high rate of out of wedlock births? No. Was there rampant confusion as to gender roles? No. Was homosexuality normalized? No.

        If the Church had any real courage, it would enforce – – yes, I use that term intentionally – – the patriarchy through the exercise of eucharistic discipline.

        If the Church is interested in solving the problem, it should act. Otherwise it’s not doing any good. Intellectual analysis of the pathology is meaningless without action calculated to remedy the condition.

        It continually amazes me that otherwise rational people balk at this. I think it’s fear of what women would say or do. Society having raised women to the status of equal authority to men – – with the acquiescence of the Church to this unchristian idea, I might add – – now the Church absolutely refuses to lift a finger to undo the one thing that has caused all the ills mentioned in the article. It is truly cowardly.

        People go on about the Manhattan Declaration. Faith without works is dead. When the Church excommunicates those polititians who support “abortion rights” and “gay rights” and those who are members of “pro-choice” and “pro-gay” organizations, then I’ll take it’s statements seriously. Not one day before.

        When the Church revives traditionalist practices which outwardly manifest the inward spiritual truth of the patriarchy, then I will take it seriously. When the Church refuses to recognize divorces except for serious cause and, otherwise, holds the person filing for divorce accoutable by refusing the eucharist to them, then I will take it seriously. When the Church teaches traditional Christian social order in sermons and in Sunday school even at the risk of losing some significant part of the laity (and clergy, for that matter) who have become “of the world”, then I will take it seriously.

        Now, I, the worst of all sinners, have no right to look down on anyone or think myself higher in virtue than anyone. I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that it is all empty talk without action. Deploring it verbally might make one feel better, giving one intellectual distance from it, but without serious action it is really just hot air.

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          Eliot Ryan says:

          as it was before the feminist revolution
          If the Church had any real courage …
          If the Church is interested in solving the problem, it should act. Otherwise it’s not doing any good.

          I might add – – now the Church absolutely refuses to lift a finger to undo the one thing that has caused all the ills mentioned …

          So, you think that the root of all the problems is the feminist revolution and the Church is doing nothing.

          I believe you need to conduct extensive research. If successful you’ll find out that the root of the problems is delusion:

          the self-delusion that man can live without God. This is the ideology of rationalist humanism. This developed in the eleventh century with the concept that the human reason is greater than God. This is based on the anti-Christian heresy of the filioque, the concept that the Power of God can proceed from human nature, which then takes the place of God on earth.

          The fruit of this delusion was the modernism. Modernism is Anti-Church, Anti-Tradition, Anti-Saints, Anti-Monasticism, Anti-Prayer, Anti-Fasting, Anti-Services, Anti-Clericalism, and Anti-Woman. Modernism promotes(d) the anti-woman ideology perversely called ‘feminism’.

          These were never promoted by the Orthodox Church.

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    Roger Bennett says:

    I regret the title of this post.

    The nexus between feminism, intended to empower women, and teenage girls being debased by the expectation of casual fellatio, is far from obvious. Neither Geller nor Fr. Johannes explains it, yet both assume it in a in an inflammatory title.

    I’ve known plenty of “conservative” men who take this state of affairs as akin to Nirvana, and there are “conservative” women who use their sexuality blatantly for advantage (e.g., Ann Coulter and the buxom lovelies in “conservative” T-Shirt ads at Townhall.com). A feminist might well say that this state of affairs reflects the failure, not the fruit, of feminism.

    Regardless of the causes of this sorry sexual state of affairs, it no doubt affects our Orthodox young people. So it’s the title I regret, not the problem exposed.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Roger, you’re right. The connection between female empowerment and licentiousness is not made in this post. However, the correlation is obvious throughout history. Simply put, the willy-nilly throwing together of women and men in the workplace, university, military, etc. while they are in their sexual prime inevitably leads to a loosening of discourse. You know, dirty jokes become commonplace, then flirtation, then physical relations. Now we’re at a point in which there is no mystery at all in the sexual act. I think that this was Geller’s point.

      Being a habitue of her website, I know she’s a devotee of old movies, the kind with Barbara Stanwyck and Tyrone Power, you know, the old romances. Of course, who can forget Vivian Leigh and Clarke Gable in Gone With the Wind? The older I get, the more I appreciate the witty banter, longing looks, and platonic (or at least implied) eros of these movies. Simply put, you cannot make a comparison with classics like Casablanca and Debbie Does Dallas. Nietzsche himself predicted that the death of God would not bring happiness in the sexual realm and as anybody can tell, the present mating scenarios are more reminiscent of bonobo chimpanzees than of human beings. The attendant psychological dysfunctions are obvious as well, to say nothing of disease.

      I guess the point of this was that even a non-Orthodox Christian (and I don’t know whether Geller is an observant Jew, I rather think she’s not), can decry the moral rot that the demons of feminism have unleashed on the world. Indeed, one of the great impetuses for the current Islamic rage against the West is the fear that our current licentiousness will penetrate their ordered world. This of course causes even more mysogyny in Islam. (Female genital mutilation, which causes painful intercourse for women is on the rise there.)

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    Andrew says:

    If SVS cannot connect the dots regarding Rowan Williams and the destructive culture of sex outside of marriage then why should we expect Chasity to be promoted and taught anywhere in the Church let alone valued? After all if you can be honored by the most distinguished seminary in America while promoting all type of sexual hijinks then chastity is obviously not a big deal for Orthodox Christians.

    Father, forgive me for my harshness but I believe the Dean, Chancellor and faculty of SVS have flunked a character defining moment in the history of one America’s premier institutions of Orthodox Witness. There are all kinds of teachable moments in this Rowan Williams invitation to define and explain what the Church teaches and explain differences. After all for every mistake Rowan Williams makes we can offer the truth of what Orthodoxy teaches with clarity and joy.

    Instead all we get get is silence as the “good old chaps” pat each other on the back and congratulate each other. Orthodox Christians have every right to expect a seminary to promote healthy behavior. We should not have a seminary leadership that devalues Chastity in the life of the Church. Lets be honest, by honoring Rowan Williams that is what SVS is doing.

    Imagine all the young people and adults out there who struggle every day to live chastely in the world. Now imagine how confused and abandoned they must feel when they see someone honored but the Church who says sex outside of marriage is fine .

    I sure hope the academic glitterati at SVS felt good getting all dressed up in their academic attire today. I also hope they know that no matter how important they felt today that they have damaged the very people they are called upon to serve.

    It is people a seminary is called serve not books and fancy degrees?

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      Yes, what you describe is what is being communicated. I’m not so sure SVS saw this when they decided to extend the invitation, and if they didn’t, it might simply be a mistake, a decision made too quickly, rather than an indicator of something more serious. And yes, it is a defining moment, but it is not over yet. So yes, I am a bit more generous and less harsh, but then again I’ve made my share of mistakes. We’ll see.

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, I was thinking of a group of Anabapists that seized a town in Germany in the 16th century and created a town which had a community of wives and property, so this is not new for the left or religious radicals. Granted, as mention the right has its problems as well.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Scott, you bring up an interesting point. Forgive me for jumping into a seemingly unrelated point, but I promise to connect the dots. The unrelated point is jurisdictional unity. One reason that we probably won’t have unity in the future is because of feminism, or a disordered understanding of women’s roles within the Church. On the OCL website, Teve Regula wrote a very perceptive essay on this. It seems that in the more worldly parishes of the more worldly jurisdictions (there’s a wide continuum of praxis that’s why I’m not singling out one particular jurisdiction), many of the women are worried about traditionalist practices. I’m over-simplifying here but they feel that if there was nification, then women would be forced to wear head-scarves, submit to their husbands, give up the chanting/reading roles, etc. Under this regime, the idea of female ordination is effectively dead.

    Now I’m not saying that most, or many of these women want to push for ordination, but they do rather enjoy the roles that they perform at present. Of course, this does not mean that they can’t or won’t be able to do any or all of the above (except ordination) but there is widespread prejudice within American Orthodoxy that goes every which way. You know what I’m talking about: the Antiochians are liberal, the Greeks are worldly, the Russians are puritanical, yada, yada, yada. None of these are true strictly speaking but they are prejudices which as most such beliefs are formed on the basis of stereotype.

    Regula’s point is that more than a few women in the GOA, AOCA, or East Coast OCA parishes are discomfitted by what they perceive to be the position of women within ROCOR, Serbian, new OCA parishes, etc.

    Anyway, I do believe it is up to the episcopate to get their act together, raise up a more traditionalist priesthood, and for these priests to enforce canonical discipline, including the headship of the husband within the marriage. (Caveat: “headship” does not mean abuse or tyranny, but long-suffering service to wife and children, and of course, respect for his parents and in-laws.) If this causes a mass emptying of the churches by liberals and the wooly-headed, so be it.

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      Scott Pennington says:

      George,

      You’re always welcome to jump in. And I’m sure your point is valid about the variation in practice between the jurisdictions. I would mention one thing about this though. It was not always so.

      About a year and a half or two years ago, I came across a series of chapters on a traditionalist orthodox website. They dealt with church etiquette and practices. Until I got about 2/3 of the way through one of the chapters, I was sure that it was written by a Slav or at least someone who had learned Orthodoxy in a Russian or Serbian parish. Then I came to a point where the author distinguished some minor practice (it may have been kissing the chalice or having wine with the antidoron, I don’t remember) and said that this was the practice in Slavic churches, but not in “our Greek parishes”. What’s interesting is that the author taught that the traditional Greek way was to stand, to cross during the litany, to cross with bows in certain places, etc.

      The truth is it’s not a question of variation between the jurisdictions. It’s a question of how far this or that jurisdiction has moved from traditional practice.

      Now, I’m sure that you are right that there are many women who worry about a return to the “bad old days”. Let me share a story regarding that point. Some time ago I went to a talk at an Orthodox church by a female speaker (I’m trying intentionally to be vague so as not to offend). This person gave a very well delivered talk about the differences internationally regarding the role of women. The summation of her talk was that she was glad to be an American where women have such freedom and such a variety of choices as to how to conduct their lives.

      Now, she never explicitly endorsed anything that was anti-Orthodox, but the tenor of the whole talk was decidedly anti-traditional and progressive. She received an enthusiastic standing ovation from the Orthodox present.

      My point is that it is possible for Orthodox in modernist parishes to delude themselves that progressive liberal ideas about the role of women are perfectly fine. They see the church has changed to accomodate “modern” sensibilities and believe that the trend will continue and their own beliefs will eventually be validated.

      The original article above is about the moral decay that feminism has caused in our society. I have to take issue with Roger’s post that the article was mistitled. Yes, feminism is meant to empower women. It empowers them to leave a marriage at any time. It empowers them to kill their unborn babies at will. It empowers them to rebel against the God given authority of their husbands. It empowers them to have sex at any time with anyone they want regardless of the consequences. It empowers them to be able to have children out of wedlock even when they can’t afford to care for them. It empowers them with the expectation that they will work outside the home, just as men do, for equal pay. Setting aside for now the problem of office romances between those married to others, women are also empowered to use birth control to prevent pregnancy from interfering with their careers. This results in low birth rates and eventually will prevent a society from being able to support its aged and infirm. Also, in European society, it will result in the dominance of Islam in Western Europe. And women are empowered to dress quite suggestively and to use their sexuality (and sex, for that matter) to get what they want.

      These are the ways that women are empowered. Empowerment is the problem.

      You simply can’t have a society where the above empowerment is the norm and, at the same time, have a low divorce rate, low rates of out of wedlock birth, large families, low numbers of abortions, and a culture of sexual modesty.

      It’s just not possible.

      So, you have to decide whether traditional Christian morality is more important than the “empowerment” of women. So far the Church, for the most part, has answered that question in the negative. And that’s why all the hand wringing about the decay of Western society is just hot air. Without the determination to fix the problem, initially in the Church and then in the greater society, all the words spoken and written are meaningless, insincere babble.

      Those bishops who aren’t sympathetic to feminism (and too many are) are simply too afraid of the consequences of taking a more conservative stand. They do not see that the Gospel and Orthodox tradition are inherently patriarchal and that it is an issue of the highest order.

      Now, occasionally, the truth breaks through. It is when articles such as that above come out which detail the awful moral decay of our society. Yet the bishops seem incapable of calculating cause and effect or else they are unwilling to do so because the answer and remedies that might present themselves are too terrible or radical to consider. So, we fuss and moan about the decadence and do nothing of any effect to stop it.

      I focus on the bishops because they, in council, have the ability to address the problem effectively. They could enact the reforms I suggested above. They won’t.

      It just hasn’t gotten bad enough yet to make them pull their heads out of the sand. But it will.

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        George Michalopulos says:

        Scott, please understand, I wasn’t endorsing these biases, just reporting them. As a wannabe historian, I look for little things like these and try to figure things out. Plus, the older I get, the more dispassionate I become, trying to understand people in situ, so to speak. At times, I guess that can come across as agreement, but as for this particular observation, I can assure you I am distressed. Being a conservative I believe in devolution, not evolution :-) and I see where these things can go. (That’s one reason I’m vehemently against organs and pews in Orthodox churches.)

        Having said that we need more traditional piety in our parishes (with a pure heart of course, otherwise we devolve into pharisaism).

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          Scott Pennington says:

          George,

          Don’t worry. I know you weren’t endorsing such attitudes. I was just giving an example of how such attitudes affect a parish or denomination as a whole. And the problem is not women, it’s feminism. It is very easy for people to confuse the two. Often in the media NOW and NARAL are referred to as “women’s groups”. They are, in reality, organizations which seek to further the political ideologies of feminism and abortion “rights”. Many women do not share their sentiments at all.

          Unfortunately, much of the North American Church has acquiesced to a feminism-lite which causes some women anxiety at the prospect of returning to the practice of 1900 years, a practice which would prevent most of the ills mentioned in the article.

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            George Michalopulos says:

            That’s a good distinction Scott. Personally, I think that most denominations that have acceded to the spirit of the age will wither. Probably this same phenomenon will occur in those Orthodox parishes/jurisdictions that are similarly tied to modernist spirit.

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, we progress in porno passed the old Ledo and the Swan acting performance in the hippdrome during the 6th century as mention how movies are worst than plays centuries ago. This brings up a point on sexual freedom, some modern women are almost as opressed as the poor women in old Constaninople that had to act in those plays or before the married laws were changed usually go to a convent.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Cynthia, of course, throughout history, women (and young boys even) were forced into prostitution because of economic circumstances. There were of course exceptions: the Canaanites practiced temple prostitution and in Babylon it was an obligation for all women to serve in the temple this way at least once in their lives.

    The Church to its credit, did not merely sanctify marriage as a sacrament, but often set up alms-houses and vocational schools for women so they could learn trades (such as weaving) that would enable them to escape such a life. Often, there was a parish dole in the larger churches from which widows could draw from (sort of like welfare). I’m veering off point here, but I believe that John Chrysostom got into trouble because he cut off stipends to widows who were living with men: he told them to either get married or kick out their boyfriends.

    Anyway, pornography was explicit at times (such as Ledo and the Swan) but these displays were usually confined to the major cities (esp. Corinth or Babylon), where perhaps only 5% of the world’s population lived. Such activities were impossible in the small towns and rural areas where the contingencies of life made promiscuity next to impossible. The simple day-to-day drudgery of agricultural life meant that most all activity was concentrated on simply extracting a living from the earth and livestock.

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    fds says:

    It’s ridiculous to hear this argument from an unabashed Objectivist and Rand cultist. I can only laugh. Why do you all expose yourself to this kind of silly blatantly partisan formulation? Feminism is rightly condemned but there are far better sources by which to do so.

    Someone should remind Mrs. Geller of her own words on this subject: “Like Rand, I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, one can be off on theology and philosophy but right on moral issues. Also, one can be right on theology and philosophy but wrong on moral issues. People don’t always think consistently.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    My take is the parable of the two brothers, who when asked by their father to do a service. One responded positively but failed to carry out his duty. The other said “no” but repented of it and then did what his father asked. I’m afraid that there are too many Orthodox who proclaim their faith but by their works are unknown to the Father.

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, we address this on this forum mainly to the Orthodox but there are liberal elements in other bodies like Roman Catholicism or even Evangelicalism that pushed radical women’s liberation, take Jim Wallis or emergating church leader Bob Mclaren, Mclaren is probably not familar with orthodox like Jim Wallis. Evangelicals have had leftest in the past, most of them were the old William Jennings Byrant type that wanted more government control of ecnomonics to protect the poor farmer but Byrant opposed Darwin thinking which doesn’t make him friends of today’s left and probably the more radical women’s movement;however, he did believe in more women’s rights in some day which was good.

Care to comment?

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