July 22, 2014

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...]

Why Do Eastern Orthodox Churches Continue Enabling Opposition to Orthodox Values on Abortion, Sexual Morality?

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It's biting criticism folks -- but all true. From the essay: What I have observed rather consistently (and had this confirmed by other trustworthy observers) is that Eastern Orthodox leaders participating in NCC meetings have shown little to no interest in openly defending Christian values (particularly on life and sexuality) when confronted by the aggressively secular values of Liberalprotestantism, instead choosing to remain meekly passive. This includes what I have observed of those few Eastern Orthodox individuals who have obtained staff or leadership positions in the council. My response to the full essay (published on Juicy Ecumenicism) blog is reprinted below. The essay is excerpted. Read the full essay on the Juicy Ecumencism blog. Source: Juicy Ecumenicism | John Lomperis Christian churches of any sort are right to be careful and thoughtful about the specific causes and organizations to which they do and do not give their public support, as such decisions … [Read more...]

John Couretas: National Council of Churches ‘Balancing the Budget on the Backs of the Poor’?

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Source: Acton Power Blog | John C. Couretas A “budget is a moral document,” right? The Institute on Religion & Democracy reports that following the loss of a major donor, the National Council of Churches (NCC) finds itself “closer than ever before to the precipice” of financial collapse. The progressive/liberal church coalition, comprised largely of mainline Protestant and Orthodox churches, is running out of dough. IRD’s Barton Gingerich: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop told the NCC’s September board meeting: “We have 18 months sustainability.” All voting NCC board members were scrambling for “immediate sustainability,” mostly behind closed doors as they discussed the NCC’s audit and budget. Further highlighting the crisis was an interruption of the meeting by placard waving union employees distressed over benefit cuts to NCC staffers. Meeting in secrecy? Workers protesting draconian budget cuts? In response, some NCC leaders suggested that the … [Read more...]

Soros Money to Fund NCC Lobbying Efforts

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Source: Institute for Religion and Democracy The National Council of Churches will be using grant money from atheist billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute to power its political agenda on Capitol Hill. Even while sinking financially, the National Council of Churches – a group with the ostensible mandate to engender unity between disparate Christian denominations – continued its leftward track last week as its governing board met in New York City to discuss its advocacy initiatives for the coming fiscal year.  The NCC has been forced to pare down its staff roster and budget for years in order to account for declining revenues from member denominations and foundations, and has had a history of making up these deficits by soliciting grants from politically charged, liberal institutions (to download IRD’s exposé of the NCC’s financing, click here). Several left-leaning resolutions, including those aiming to promote relaxed immigration policies, were passed and … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch releases agenda for Mississippi Symposium

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese released the schedule for Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew's visit to the United States in October. Separately, a detailed agenda for his upcoming environmental symposium has been posted online. The patriarch's "Symposium VIII -- Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River" offers a rare opportunity to present Orthodoxy's distinctive, sacramental understanding of the stewardship of Creation to America and the world. And this trip, which will involve about 200 participants in all, will no doubt generate a huge volume of media attention. We will be following the symposium closely here on the Observer. If the text accompanying the agenda is any indication, the work of the symposium will be heavily inflected by an environmentalist ethic that looks at humanity primarily as a source of pollution and largely ignores the benefits of balanced economic development that does not degrade or abuse Creation. There is the utopian dream of returning the Earth to … [Read more...]