April 23, 2014

An Eastern Orthodox Case for Property Rights

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Fr. Jensen: ...[P]roperty rights are not a panacea – protecting and enhancing private ownership will not cure all that ails us personally or socially. Nor can we separate the exercise of our right to property from the moral law or, for Christians, the Gospel. But Orthodox social thought does I think allow us to make a convincing case that property rights are a key element of human flourishing, a necessary ingredient of a just society, and an aid to Christian ministry. Rooted as it is in human nature, it is also a right that can help us see the dignity of all members of the human family and of the ability that all of us – rich or poor, male or female, young or old – have to serve the flourishing of those around us, our society and the Church. Source: Action Institute | Fr. Gregory Jensen As a pastor, I’ve been struck by the hostility, or at least suspicion, that some Orthodox Christians reveal in their discussions of private property. While there are no doubt … [Read more...]

Saint John Chrysostom and 21st Century Christians

St. John Chrysostom

Taken from a lecture by Fr. Josiah Trenham and republished on Mystagogy. From Mystagogy: [The following portion of a lecture (all of which I recommend to be read) delivered by the Very Reverend Josiah Trenham in 2007 I found to be a very edifying piece on how Christians can implement at least some of the counsels of St. John Chrysostom into our own lives today. Of course, this is by no means exhaustive, but it gives us enough to think about and to hopefully inspire us to dig deeper into the rich treasures of one of the great Fathers of the Orthodox Church. - J.S.] Fr. Josiah Trenham: In this last portion of my lecture I would like to focus upon what I perceive to be several areas in which Saint John Chrysostom’s life and teachings may render the 21st century Christian particular assistance. The Church finds Herself in this new millennium faced by unique particularities, which demand an articulate word from the Holy Fathers to guide us through the unique challenges … [Read more...]

Memo to Jim Wallis: Christ is not a crypto-communist/ socialist

Anthony posted this in the comments but it is so good I am posting it here. Source: On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom St. John Chrysostom: Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would … [Read more...]

St. John Chrysostom on fasting

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DO YOU FAST? Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take pity on him. If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful. Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism. For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers and sisters? May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us. St. John Chrysostom THE EVIL SPEAKER "The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor. Because of this Paul utters the fearful saying, "If you bite and … [Read more...]

On Enduring Scandals in Faith

St. John Chrysostom

This is an excerpt from a lecture given by Fr. Josiah Trenham at a Men’s Retreat in Victoria, Kansas on March 14, 2009. HT: Orthodox News St. John Chrysostom wrote a penetrating treatise entitled On the Providence of God while he himself was in the midst of a crucible of personal suffering. He had been uncanonically deposed by a corrupt synod of bishops, and unjustly banished from his see in Constantinople by a weak Emperor whose wife despised Chrysostom for his honesty and pastoral forthrightness. He was separated from his altar and the liturgical services upon which he sustained his ascetical life. He was removed from the company of his closest friends, who themselves were being viciously persecuted by the new bishop who had been installed as Chrysostom’s successor. He was being physically abused by the imperial soldiers. He was terribly ill, burning with a fever. He was in constant danger of barbarian attack. He was ceaselessly slandered by shameless ecclesiastical opponents. … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah’s 2009 Lenten message

On Feb. 28, Metropolitan Jonah, the head of the Orthodox Church in America, posted the following message: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America Dearly Beloved in the Lord: Christ is in our midst! Our Church has gone through a tragic and bitter episode in her history. Many souls suffered shipwreck, demoralized by the sins of a few. That is over. But the lingering bitterness and mistrust, resentment and desire for retribution, hang over us. We must heal this, both on an individual as well as corporate level. The only way to do this is repentance, using this season of repentance to make changes in our lives, cleanse our hearts and minds, and embrace the hope that can only be grasped by forgiveness. Unless we forgive others from our hearts, we cannot accept God's forgiveness for our own sins. Every time we criticize, judge, condemn or despise another person, no … [Read more...]