April 18, 2014

Progressive Christianity’s habit of ‘Embracing the Tormenters’

The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Faith McDonnell: Conducting “truth commissions” to denounce American armed forces and organizing divestment campaigns to cripple Israel are vital issues to some American church officials. Raising the banner of Intifada and expressing solidarity with Palestinians are also very important to this collection of liberal leaders. They “spiritualize” the Democratic immigration and health care reform agendas with pompous prayer, but their social justice-focused prophetic vision has strange blind spots. Leftist church leaders hardly ever see, let alone condemn, the imprisonment, enslavement, torture, and murder of Christians in the Islamic world, North Korea, and China. Church officials and partner organizations such as the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) issue strident policy statements on such topics as “eco-justice,” broadband access for “economically … [Read more...]

British Bishops Urge ‘Carbon Fast’ for Lent

stop-global-warming

Pity these poor guys, trying so hard to remain relevant -- and even then they are months behind. LONDON (AP) -- Several prominent Anglican British bishops are urging Christians to keep their carbon consumption in check this Lent. The 40-day period of penitence before Easter typically sees observant Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians give up meat, alcohol or chocolates. But this year's initiative aims to convince those observing Lent to try a day without an iPod or mobile phone in a bid to reduce the use of electricity -- and thus trim the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere. Bishop of London Rev. Richard Chartres said that the poorest people in developing countries were the hardest hit by man-made climate change. He said Tuesday that the ''Carbon Fast'' was ''an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God in a practical way.'' … [Read more...]

Quiet Flows the Mississippi into the Matrix of Mystery

So I'm reading an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about the Religious Left mounting an "aggressive" ad campaign on environmental issues and come across these lines: The ads, funded by a left-leaning coalition, urge support for congressional legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions -- by framing the issue as an urgent matter of Biblical morality. "As our seas rise, crops wither and rivers run dry, God's creation cries out for relief," begins one ad, narrated by an evangelical megachurch pastor. Another opens with a reference to the Gospel of John, slams energy interests for fighting the bill, and concludes: "Please join the faithful in speaking out against the powerful." And I'm thinking, man, where have I heard talk like that? Was it ... no, can't be. Not the language used to describe the agenda of the upcoming symposium on the Mississippi River hosted by Patriarch Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch. That can't be. I checked and found this: Evening … [Read more...]

To Frank Schaeffer: ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it

(HT: Orthodoxy Today) The State of Kansas vs Frank Schaeffer in the Murder of Dr. George Tiller By George C. Michalopulos Recently, the notorious abortionist Dr George Tiller was gunned down in his church in Wichita, Kansas. The killer was a man who appears to be a dysfunctional loner with grave psychological problems. Nobody in the pro-life movement has stepped forward to applaud him or his actions; routine condemnation has been the order of the day. One man however, has bravely stepped forward to take responsibility for this act. Frank Schaeffer, a self-described former member of the “Republican Party hate machine,” a group that included his father Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, and Ronald Reagan among many others, recently offered a mea-culpa in the left-wing journal The Huffington Post. Schaeffer believes that his life’s work as a young man in the Evangelical movement directly led to this incident because he helped create a "climate of fear" with his documentary … [Read more...]

Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment

One of the things that interests me a great deal is the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the founding political philosophy of the American experiment. At the risk of appearing overly critical, or even dismissive, I think the failure of Orthodoxy in America is our not having engaged theologically and critically the American experiment on its own terms. Instead we have been willing to use America without necessarily seeing ourselves as obligated to contribute anything to her. In this the Church has allowed herself to become merely one interest group among others. The Orthodox Church has not engaged the American experiment as yeast in the dough. We have contented ourselves instead merely to fit within the broad, and decadent, framework of modern identity politics. This failure is more than simply a matter of our presenting ourselves as an ethnic, albeit religiously themed community. Even when the religious character of the Church is focal, it is often the … [Read more...]

The god Called Earth

stevethebuilder

Couples who refuse to have children in order to protect the environment, says Steve Robinson, "reject religion and dogma, (yet) their devotion to the earth is indeed a religious devotion very similar to the ancient pagans." In fact, the "eco-fundamentalists has a version of the prosperity gospel… we 'serve the earth god,' name it and don’t claim it, and you get nice stuff and exotic vacations." Robinson continues, "The ecologist and Orthodox Christian agree that the human being is indeed taken from the dirt of the earth and thus shares in the nature of the earth itself. But Christianity says he also is given the breath of God who created the very dirt from whence he came, and so he shares in the nature of the spiritual and is given dominion over the dirt, but not for gluttonous consumption but as a means of expressing love in the image of the one who created all things out of love." Listen to the podcast: " … [Read more...]

Culture Wars: Fr. Jacobse on Ancient Faith Radio

Kevin Allen, host of Ancient Faith Radio's Illumined Heart program, interviews AOI President Fr. Hans Jacobse for a fascinating discussion on "The Culture War and Orthodox Christianity." Fr. Hans talks about the need for Eastern Orthodox Christians to engage in the moral and social debates -- call them Culture Wars if you will -- that are being waged in American society today. In this 35 minute program, Allen also asks Fr. Hans about the recent discussion on this blog about whether "Religious Right" leaning ex-Evangelical converts are taking over the Orthodox churches in America. Allen asked Fr. Hans if he thought the Culture Wars might be a lost cause, given what we see in society today. Fr. Hans said the battles over moral issues will be difficult, with uncertain outcomes. But he reminded Allen that our faithfulness will determine the shape of tomorrow. "If it be God's will that the world be saved -- and it is -- I think there's a chance we can turn this around," Fr. Hans … [Read more...]

Where are the Orthodox Dominionists?

A friend sent me an article from the Hellenic Voice titled, “Religious Right must not set agenda for Orthodox Church.” Well, reasonable enough. But the article got so many other things wrong that I was tempted to simply quit reading half way through. The author, Harry Katopodis, seemed not to understand the difference between religious doctrine and political activism (which was one of the main faults of the Religious Right). Amazingly, his article was aimed at those Orthodox brothers and sisters who have been received into the Church from other traditions. You know, converts. Their conversion, the author suggested, has been a Trojan horse that has allowed the Religious Right to stealthily creep into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Katopodis article begins with the assertion that “the Orthodox Churches in America are heading down two different paths over political involvement.” The article is much too long and repetitive to reprint so I’ll touch on just a few points … [Read more...]