April 21, 2014

Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a Gimmick says Fr. Preble

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Fr. Peter-Michael Preble posted the following essay on his blog a few days ago about preachers and politics. He lays out some important points. I've got my own ideas, but what do you think? Sunday, October 7th, was a time when preachers from coast to coast took to their pulpits to try and pull the IRS into a court battle. In 1954, then Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed a bill through the United States Senate forbidding churches to endorse candidates for public office.  On this Pulpit Freedom Sunday, some 1,586 pastors defied this law by endorsing candidates for office in this political cycle.  I would be interested to see how many of those who participated endorsed President Obama and how many endorsed Governor Romney. I am not one for faulting anyone who preaches but to use the pulpit for political reasons is irresponsible.  Those of us who have been called, by God, to preach his word are called to rise above these worldly pursuits.  We are called to … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble: Sunday of Orthodoxy Calls us to Emulate the Courage of our Fathers in the Faith

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Fr. Peter-Michael Preble tells us just as our Orthodox Fathers fought to preserve the sacred images (because they knew that destroying the icons of Christ would lead to a denial of the Incarnation in the end), we are called to defend the icons of "flesh and blood" -- the human person. It's a strong sermon but entirely fitting for our times. Source: Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Blog To the glory of God Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ!  Glory Forever! Today we commemorate the restoration of the Icons that took place at the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787. Prior to this Council Icons had been declared Idols and therefore were not allowed to be used or created. Many of the images from those early days had been destroyed, although some were saved by hiding them in various places. Today, on this first Sunday of the Great Lent, we remember that day and reaffirm our belief is what is Orthodox. At the close of the Liturgy we will recite the Synodal … [Read more...]

Why is the Orthodox Episcopal Assembly Silent as Religious Liberty Erodes?

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Source: Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Blog (The Church Under Attack) | Fr. Peter-Michael Preble - In the Gospels Jesus warns us that the world will hate us. He is giving us a warning that being a Christian will not be easy and that it will be a fight, every day, for what we believe in. The world is becoming increasingly hostile to the truth of Jesus Christ and I do not see it getting any better. Yesterday I posted an essay on the Huffington Post Religion Page and before my finger was even off the send button the attackers came out. They hate the fact that the church would dare speak out on issues that affect people and their beliefs, one of the more shocking things was that some of those attacking my words were Orthodox! Yes, the Orthodox Church teaches and preaches traditional family values, well it is supposed to anyway, but I fear that many of my brother priests have not done their job. I know our bishops have not done their job as they have been silent these last few years as the … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom Under Attack

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Three cheers to Fr. Peter Michael-Preble and Chris Banescu, the first Orthodox Christians to criticize Pres. Obama's arbitrary ruling forcing all Americans to comply with the anti-life agenda of the cultural left. The Catholics have been front and center on this threat to religious freedom. Orthodox leaders have been silent except for Fr. Preble and Banescu who recognize the dangers inherent in the policy change. Source: Huffington Post | Fr. Peter-Michael Prebble America has a very long tradition of freedom. We cherish these freedoms like, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and until recently, freedom of choice. I will admit right up front that I voted for President Obama because, like many, I believed we needed change. Well I now feel I was duped and his brand of change is not what America needs at all. As an Orthodox priest and an American I believe in traditional family values like marriage, family, saving one's self for that person we plan to spend the rest … [Read more...]

Engaged Monasticism

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Source: Fr. Peter-Michael Preble blog | Fr. Peter-Michael Preble In 369 AD St. Basil the great was a newly ordained priest ministering in and around the area of Constantinople. That year a drought hit followed by famine as the crops had all dried up. He delivered four homilies that have been complied in the book “On Social Justice” that spoke to the heart of how people act in these times of dire physical suffering. Many of the themes from these homilies are repeating themselves today as they have throughout history. St. Basil had a vision of a new social order based upon simplicity of life and sharing rather than competition and private ownership. He had a vision for what would be called “the new city.” Part of this new city would be an engaged monasticism, a monastic vision that was more urban than rural, a monasticism, which has at its very heart, service to the poor. He had a vision for what would be called the Basiliad, a complex of buildings where the poor and needy … [Read more...]

John Couretas: Protect the Poor, Not Poverty Programs

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Source: Acton Institute | By John Couretas One of the disturbing aspects of the liberal/progressive faith campaign known as the Circle of Protection is that its organizers have such little regard – indeed are blind to -- the innate freedom of the human person. Their campaign, which has published “A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor,” equates the welfare of the “least of these” in American society to the amount of assistance they receive from the government -- a bizarre view from a community that trades in spiritual verities. Circle of Protection supporters see people locked into their circumstances, stratified into masses permanently in a one-down position, thrown into a class struggle where the life saving protection of “powerful lobbies” is nowhere to be found. And while they argue that budgets are moral documents, their metrics for this fiscal morality are all in dollars and cents. Not only does the Circle of Protection group appear to be oblivious … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble: A Christian Response to the Ongoing Enslavement of America’s Poor

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Source: Huffington Post | Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Yesterday, President Obama signed a law that will raise the debt ceiling and continue to enslave the American people for another three or four years. It has reduced the national debit some but it seems to me at least that it has not gone far enough. Just so you know, your share of the national debit is about $42,500. It seems to me that the era of Big Government needs to end. I am what one would call a "classical liberal." Now, before you go crazy because I use the word liberal, please read on. I think you will be surprised. Classical liberalism developed in the 19th Century in Western Europe and the Americas and is a political philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and free markets. The sovereignty of individual private property rights is essential to individual freedom. The philosophy believes in an unfettered market with a very … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble. Judgment Day: An Orthodox Christian Perspective

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Source: Huffington Post |Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Several years ago I was driving behind a vehicle on the highway and I noticed the bumper sticker on the back. It was kind of funny and I will admit I laughed out loud. The bumper sticker read, "In case of Rapture this vehicle will be left unattended." OK, I thought it was kind of cute. But how accurate is this bumper sticker? I will state right up front that the Orthodox Church does not support the so called doctrine of the Rapture. In this post, I will attempt to explain why. I will also state right up front that I do not consider myself a Scripture Scholar or a professional theologian. So what is the so called doctrine of the Rapture? Rapture is a popular term used by some Protestant Evangelicals for the rising of the faithful from the dead. We Orthodox do believe that all of the faithful will be raised from the dead. There is a tendency of belief in the Rapture or what is called "pre-tribulation." This belief states … [Read more...]

Osama is Dead. Now What Should I Feel?

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Source: OrthodoxyToday.org Last night, like most of the world, I was captivated by the announcement that the President of the United States would be making a statement at 10:30 p.m. As I Tweeted this information, I added the line that this could not be good. Presidents do not often come on at 10:30 on a Sunday night to announce good news. So, like the rest of the world, I waited and watched the social media to try and find out what was going on. I will add a side note here that I almost went to bed! News started to be leaked and then confirmed that the USA had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and that they were working on identification. This was a military operation and no U.S. military personnel were harmed in this operation. I will admit, I, like many others in the U.S. and around the world, rejoiced at this news. Rejoiced at the news that bin Laden was dead and the news that no Americans were hurt or killed in the operation. I watched as Twitter and Facebook lit up with … [Read more...]

Orthodox Churches Should Help the Poor

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By Fr. Peter Michael Preble Last week, on the website Ethics Daily an article was posted in response to a reader’s question. The article dealt with charity and poverty and what should be and can be done. The author of the article helped me to clarify my own position on charity and what I think about the Churches role in aiding the poor and needy in our society. In the article the author warns against charity because charity does not solve the problem long term. Oh it makes us feel good and does help but it does not get to the root of the problem. For example, we serve a meal here at the Church twice a month to about 75 people in various states of life. Some are the working poor and some just like to have a meal with the Community. This is not a soup kitchen but a community meal because the aim is to build and support the community. But it does not end there. We are trying to break the cycle of poverty and that is a long term plan. We need to fill the immediate need, … [Read more...]

The Manhattan Declaration

A while back Fr. Peter-Michael Preble interviewed me about the Manhattan Declaration and a few other items of interest that was just posted on Ancient Faith Radio. From Ancient Faith: Fr. Peter-Michael Preble interviews Fr. Hans Jacobse, the founder of the American Orthodox Institute, the editor of Orthodoxy Today, and one of the first Orthodox signatories of The Manhattan Declaration. Listen here: Podcast courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio. … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and Homosexuality

From a new posting on Fr. Peter-Michael Preble's blog. The past few weeks have seen the number of young people being targeted for their homosexual identity then it has in years past. Recently TV personality Ellen Degeneris, herself a lesbian, posted a video about the bullying of people who are different then the rest of us. I posted this video to my Facebook page and received a variety of responses. I thought it would be helpful to review the Orthodox Christian position on homosexuality. I know this will be hurtful to many of my readers and please know that I do not wish to cause you any harm but the truth of the teachings of the Orthodox Church are time tested. The Church does not nor should not, conform to society. It is the Church's role to conform society to the way of Jesus Christ. It is also the Church's role and responsibility to point out sin and make a way for reconciliation with people to Christ and His Church. Jesus loves everyone regardless of their sin, but our sin … [Read more...]