July 25, 2014

Thoughts from a great historian

A quote from Catholic historian Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) in “Religion and the Modern State” (1936):

Religion gradually retreated into man’s inner life, and left social and economic life to the State and to a civilization which grew steadily more secularized. A man’s debt to religion was paid by an hour or two in church on Sundays, and the rest of the week was devoted to the real business of life — above all, the making of money. Such a division of life into two compartments — and very unequal ones at that — was not the Christian solution, nor could it be permanently successful. If religion loses its hold on social life, it eventually loses its hold on life altogether. And this is what happened in the case of modern Europe. The new secularized civilization is not content to dominate the outer world and to leave man’s inner life to religion; it claims the whole man.

The Christian tradition contains an infinite depth of spiritual resources, but these possibilities can only be realized and actualized in a Christian culture by the dynamic activity of individual Christians. The supreme example of this vital religious action is to be seen in the saints, in whom alone the potentialities of Christianity are fully realized. And their action is not limited, as we sometimes suppose, to the sphere of their supernatural virtues, it flows out into the world and shows itself in social activity and intellectual culture.

Whenever Christians cease to be active, when they rest in a passive acquiescence in what they have received, Christianity tends to lose contact with contemporary culture and the world drifts away from the Church.

Comments

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Dawson says,

    The supreme example of this vital religious action is to be seen in the saints, in whom alone the potentialities of Christianity are fully realized.

    Two comments: There are some who say that the Orthodox Church in North America is not ready to be autocephalous until we produce contemporary, native-born saints. I think just the opposite is true. Until we are free to act solely out of love for this land and the Gospel, not playing old-world political games, we will not have saints.

    Our friend Scott might interpret the fervency of the saints as dedication to ideology. In fact, it is they alone who have transcended ideology and the categories of this world; preparing their hearts to receive the word of God and allowing their souls to magnify the Lord. It is they whom we should emulate, not the martinet, violent ideologues of this world (and all ideologues are at least tacitly violent for they wish only to assert their own will on the world).

    My list of recent prominent ideologues: Nietzche, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Bin Laden, Dr. Kevorkian; groups include the pro-abortionists and the homosexual ‘rights’ folk, PETA.

    That is what mere dedication to an idea produces–fanatcism, destruction and death.

    While I appreciate Scott’s insight that Christianity seems to be failing because we are lukewarm at best, his solution makes the hair on my neck stand up.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    I submit America already has a Saint: St. John Maximovitch.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Yes, but he wasn’t born here.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    True, but you don’t have to be born in America to be an American.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    St. John, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, St. Alexis Toth, St. Herman and the other Alaskan saints (two of whom are native Alaskans), perhaps Fr. Seraphim Rose and Fr. Alexander Schmemman.

    You may think that I am splitting hairs and I agree, but the argument I’ve heard from some people is that the folks named don’t really count because they did not come from the heart of the Orthodox Church as we find it today in this country.

    The argument goes something like this: Since we haven’t really produced any saints, we are not mature enough to be an independent Church, we’re still just adolescents. It is a specious argument in many ways that seriously discounts the fruits of the Holy Spirit in this land. Nevertheless the idea is not uncommon.

    My counter to that is simply to agree that we are adolescents, but we cannot mature unless we move out of the house so to speak. Until we declare that we are and have a right to be a self-governing Church, we never will be. We need to do it not out of rebellion but simply because we need to in order to grow and mature further.

    As we mature in the Holy Spirit, more saints will be raised up. If we prefer to contiune to drink milk and eat rice cereal spoon fed to us by our parents, what does God have to work with to make saints? To simply wait passively, as is suggested by the arguement, is foolish.

    As St. John told us, we need to celebrate the saints we have–more will come, but not until we concentrate on our work here out of love for this land.

    Unfortunately, a complimentary idea that is deadly is that the United States isn’t worth saving. We should not be an independent Church because the U.S. will never accpet the true faith anyway. Of course, such an attitude is simply a combination of ignorance, arrogance, fear and laziness, but it too exists.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    It is historical and arrant nonsense to believe that the saints listed are not somehow “American.” It’s like saying that because St Philip of Moscow wasn’t a “Russian” (he was Greek-born), then Russia in the time of Ivan the Terrible did not possess a “mature” enough church.

    Moreover, what are we to make of the tens of thousands of saints in the ante-Nicene period? The Roman Empire was actively hostile to the Church, there were no Christian nations, yet do these Old-World-worshiping enthusiasts have the temerity to say that the Church wasn’t mature enough to produce saints? That makes no sense.

    To be sure, I sometimes understand the despair of those who think that America isn’t worth saving, especially when you have parasites like Peggy the Moocher who can vote for president or perverts like Barney Frank who can bankrupt the Treasury for the benefit of his buddies. And of course the coarsening of our culture leaves me at least, quite perplexed. But anybody who thinks that Rome was incapable of being saved was proven wrong by history. The Roman Empire was decisively revived by Christianization in the East most definately, but somewhat as well in the West.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Not being an “Orthodox dominionist,” I can say that any fair reading of American history shows that the overwhelming majority of the Founding Fathers were Protestant Christians. Only Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine were “deists.” To be sure, both George Washington and John Adams wrestled with the doctrine of the Trinity. Interestingly enough, John Quincy Adams excoriated his father for his doubts.

    To be sure, deism was the logical outgrowth of the Enlightenment but America always kept coming back to its Protestant roots, especially through its three “Great Awakenings.”

    As for our devolution into paganism, that’s pretty evident, but let’s not get too high and mighty. Look what’s happened in Catholic Europe. Orthodox Europe is not too far behind. Let’s face it: paganism is the default position of humanity. Even the prophets of the Old Testament fought long and hard against it. In other words, the Israelites themselves weren’t immune.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    “Paganism is the default position of humanity” Wow! I think that is the default fallen position that thinks of god as our own image writ large rather than ourselves as creatures who image God. Paganism elevates our passions to the level of the divine.

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    L.Coman says:

    Note 8)

    You seem to be very knowledgeable and this is a very good thing. You can get people’s attention easily. But … being knowledgeable does not prevent one from the drawing wrong conclusions.

    The deists and those who were wrestling with the
    Trinity were not Christians. Was Aries Christian? He pretended to be!

    You say:

    Let’s face it: paganism is the default position of humanity.

    Doesn’t this contradict what you said earlier?

    America always kept coming back to its Protestant roots,

    I do not believe that paganism is the default position of humanity. It is the devil(through his people) that leads humanity into paganism. God always appointed His people to bring the humanity back to its normal state. When no man could do that He sent His own Son to restore the order.

    The Catholic Europe devolved in a very similar as America did. The Orthodox Europe tends to become more like the rest after the fall of the communism.

    As Christians we should not be surprised about tis evolution. We know that antichrist will come and show himself as being the Messiah. He will perform false miracles to deceive even the chosen ones.

    The state we are in is not the “logical outgrowth” of anything, we were led there. Starets Lavrentii (+1950) said:
    “Do you see how craftily and insidiously all this is being prepared? ”

    Starets_Lavrentii

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    Michael Bauman says:

    I guess it depends on whether or not one thinks Protestantism is a good foundation for a country and what sort of Protestantism? It is better than some alternatives that we’ve experienced in the 20th century (National Socialism and Communism for example), but does leave some holes that are easy to exploit culturally.

    The fact is that none of the Founders had a Christian faith that today’s current crop of Constitution worshipping evangelicals would recognize. It was clearly far removed from the Orthodox understanding. Even many of the Protestants leaned heavily in the deist/anti-Trinitarian direction. The Puritan interpretation of the Gospel shaped much of the relgious ethos of the colonies (only Maryland was Catholic at the time).

    They had an optomistic ideal of the perfectability of man that is clearly not traditional Christianity. It was elitist and not democratic in the modern sense.

    They did leave us with some good thinking on government and the structuring of free society that is worth study, but even those who call themselves strict constructionists these days have gone so far into the statist realm as to defy the thinking of most of the founders except possibly for Hamilton who was in a decided minority at the time.

    Render to Ceaser, Love God, love your neighbor.

    The political milleau in the U.S is corrupt and tyrannical. It is full of the nilhism of the age, fueled by the Will to Power.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Arius was a Christian, albeit a heretical one. The Founding Fathers were overwhelmingly Protestant Christians, that is to say heterodox. That’s just the historical record. By singling out Thos Jefferson and Thos Payne, two men who had NOTHING to do w/ the Constitution, you fall into the trap laid by the secularists who have elevated a private letter written by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists as secular holy writ.

    When I said that America went back to its Protestant Christian roots during the three Great Awakenings, that’s also just a historical fact. Otherwise, how could Pres Grant make Christmas a national holiday? Or the Supreme Court outlaw the Mormon church’s polygamy? They said that America was a “Christian Republic.” (Again, please remember I am not passing judgment on orthodox Protestantism, by its own lights it is Trinitarian.)

    That does not mean that America would ALWYAYS be Christian or moral. Hence my rather flippant assessment that “paganism is the default position of mankind.” Of course paganism: sensuality, the elevation of the carnal to the divine comes from the devil. As did our original Fall from Grace. There is no contradiction here: we are drawn to paganism because we are fallen. otherwise, the Israelites would not have needed the Prophetic tradition and humanity in general would not have had to have been saved by the salvific death of our Lord on the Cross.

    To this day the Church has to fight a rear-guard action against paganism. Because of our fallen nature, this nation, like all nations, will fail as well. That does not mean that we should give up the fight. Jesus didn’t give up the fight, our ascetics didn’t, neither did our Church Fathers.

    And let’s not forget, Rome was far more pagan than America is. And at least America still has a consciousness of a Christian past.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Mr. Michalopulos you conclude your post by saying, “And let’s not forget, Rome was far more pagan than America is. And at least America still has a consciousness of a Christian past.”

    IMO that makes real conversion more difficult. We think we know what we don’t know. We have successfully wrapped up many pagan ideas and behavior in Christian dressing.

    The very fact that there is such a vast number of ‘Christian’ expresssions with each one claiming to be true, makes it difficult. What Chrisitan past do we have consciousness of? The heretical/hetrodox content of that ethos makes many resistant to genuine Tradition and even skews the hearts and minds of the rest of us.

    With the increasing dominance of eqalitarianism/relativism in the worldly mind (something pretty much absent during Roman times) just stating that Mormans are not Christians because they deny essential Christian doctrine is almost considered hate speech. Any declaration of Christian doctrine that touches on sin is anathema to many people. At least the pagans at the time of Rome still had a concept of offending the divine. We have lost that, even in many seemingly Christian traditions including our own.

    We are not as pagan as Rome, but we are far more materialist. Philosphical naturalism and its nihilistic core is much more difficult than simple paganism. The fight today is between Christ Crucified and the nothing. Seems as if it ought to be easy, but the darkeness and the nothingness offers many seductive promises that require no change on our part. Our own efforts are no match for the nothingness. We are faced with the same basic temptations that Jesus faced, rejected and overcame, but when the very concept of temptation is considered laughable, what to do?

    The only viable way to challenge such miasmic consciousness is through holiness–acutal transformed lives–yours and mine–for not even the lives of the saints are acceptable evidence to most people today. If we in the Church do not repent, fast, pray and give alms, what difference does it make what our politics are? We are just adding to the problem.

    Dawson is right: “The Christian tradition contains an infinite depth of spiritual resources, but these possibilities can only be realized and actualized in a Christian culture by the dynamic activity of individual Christians.” The dynamic activity is living the life of holiness to which the Church calls us and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us. Any plan of social/poltical action no matter how well intentioned quickly becomes an ideological movement devoid of real life and genuine humanity if it is not informed by the submission to the love of Christ.

    If we want to renew our culture we have to be renewed ourselves. IMO few of us are up to the task at present. I know I’m not.

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    L.Coman says:

    I would not be so quick to admit that we are drawn to paganism because we are fallen.
    I would say that we have the ability to know what is good and what is wrong (since the tree of knowledge).The serpent kept tempting humankind ever since.

    During Saints Constantine and Helena the Church was established and Christianity spread all over the world. The leaders (St Constantine) are the ones who set the directions. The leaders of the world are fallen. They choose the serve the devil or are they are ignorant.

    We have great saints who were first “great” sinners. Most of the time they were sinners because of ignorance.
    They were given by God the power to fight sensuality (St. Maria of Egypt), to give up their fortunes an so on.
    They are (should be) our guides. Imagine that half (or one third) of the TV channels would present religious programs: life of saints,
    miracles, the Holy Light, monastic life, etc. We would have a different world. The devil latest trick is to make people believe that he does not exist.
    He is doing a good job, doesn’t he? How many people do not believe in demonic and sin nowdays?

    What is he going to do next? Show himself, do his tricks and tell people that he is God. This is not fiction… Antichrist will come and say that h is Messiah.
    He will perform “great” false miracles and many will believe in him. He will use some african voodoo or Hindu magic or who knows what is out there . Here is how this works:
    Fakir’s_”Miracle”_Prayer_of _Jesus

    Those who do not have the Jesus prayer will be deceived.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Messrs Bauman and Coman, (please call me George, “Mr” is my dad), I agree w/ everything you say. My criticque about whether America was Christian or not at its founding was against those who elevate the three deists –Jefferson, Franklin, and Payne–to the sum total of our Founding Fathers. They were not. That’s all I’m saying.

    You’re absolutely right that the task may be tougher in America than it was in Rome because (1) we’ve got way more Christian confessions, and (2)we’re more materialist. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    As far as the Antichrist is concerned, IMO, I fear he will be an orthodox-believing Christian, one who will be able to deceive “even the elect.” In this regard, we Orthodox have to be very careful, we have plighted our troth for too long with worldly leaders who made the Church a department of state. I fear we are conditioned to anticipate an emperor, king, tsar, whatever, who we yearn to restore the Church to its place as the national sect.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    George, your warning to we Orthodox is well taken especially when one considers Fr. Seraphim Rose’s call for a restoration of monarchy as the ‘real’ Orthodox solution to government. Too often, as noted by Met. Joseph, the hierachy of the Church has assummed a tyrannical character in imitation of the worldly emperors.

    Too often we have mistaken worldly community and order for the kingdom of heaven. They can intersect but only on a personal foundation, not on a macro level.

    Whatever the positive aspects of the Byzantine period of the Orthdox Church, and they are many, the imperial heritage of Rome is not one of them. To the extent that submission to worldly power was bred into us by both the Turkish Yoke and the Russian captivity (from Peter forward), we are weaker. Sergianism is not limited to the Russia of the early 20th century. It had deep roots in Tzarist Russia.

    IMO, the Church should always be prophetic in our approach to politics and government, eschewing power and party, becoming more fools for Christ. Christ’s command that we live in the world but not of it applies equally to our personal and our community lives. We must also avoid the tempatation to become cynical allowing our ‘righteousness’ to become a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. The only conspiracy is Satan’s. By living the life to which the Church directs us, we overcome that conspiracy by the grace of God.

    One other note: I’ll call you George as you request, but it is interesting that you make the common objection, “My father is Mister…” Indicative, IMO, of a cultural opposition to recognizing male maturity, authority and respect: the neutering and infantilization of the male. Is a priest who’s father is also a priest, not to be called Father? If you are no longer living in your parents home and no longer physically dependent upon your parents, you are a mister.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Sirs,

    my flippant insistence on being called “George” is because I feel I am among friends here. Only that. As for your critique about the neutering of the American male, I wholeheartedly agree. Still, at the end of the day, I’d prefer that all correspondents to this site call me George.

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    L.Coman says:

    Michael Bauman: I mainly agree with the views expressed in your comments. I have a comment though:

    You say:

    We must also avoid the temptation to become cynical allowing our ‘righteousness’ to become a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. The only conspiracy is Satan’s.

    Yes, but satan works through people. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories but since we are speaking of history, president JF Kennedy talked about conspiracies. If he was right he is among the “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness …”

    We don’t have to stop the tide of apostasy. We couldn’t even if we tried. Just love and serve God and our neighbor (starting with family). Spend more time in prayer and become fools for Christ.

    To virtual friend George: I like the way you write, but kind of disagree (sometimes strongly) with what you write… How are you going to match “paganism is the default position of humanity” with “we are created in the image and likeness of God” ?

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    Michael Bauman says:

    As a student of history I learned quite early that postulating conspiracies was the first bastion of those who have no evidence. Once the conspiracy is imagined, the imagineer continues to select the facts that support the a priori conclusion. Conspiracy theories are self-fulfilling prophecies–especially the ‘secret’ conspiracies. Every conspiracy theory I’ve ever seen fails the test of Occum’s Razor.

    Two cases in point:

    Those who still hold to the conspiracy theory that the Apostles stole Jesus body and pretended He rose from the dead.

    The Watergate. That was, for a short time, a true conspiracy. Chuch Colson has remarked that he and the others involved were the 12 most powerful men in the world and they were unable to keep a secret.

    The rest, even if they exist, are simply distractions from what our focus should be, proclaiming the Gospel and salvation. The only power they have is what we give them.

    Fr. Seraphim spoke of this in his book Orthodoxy and the Relgion of the Future.

    As to Mr. George’s assertion that paganism is the default position of man–you are both right.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Sirs, “paganism being the default position of humanity” and “man being created int the image of God” are false choices: man WAS created in the “image AND likeness of God,” he now possesses only the image. Why? Because of the Fall.

    Paganism: idolatry, hedonism, and today, political ideology, are all the results of the Fall. Corruption (i.e. sickness, despair, death), is what we default to. Even the saints who have overcome the passions physically die. Our normal state will not be repaired completely until the Last Judgment.

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    L.Coman says:

    What do you mean by:

    The only conspiracy is Satan’s.

    It is just a literary device? The angels, the devil, hell and heaven are all literary devices? Some “Catholics” teach this.

    St John Maximovitch was taken to court by real people, but he accused the devil.

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    L.Coman says:

    Note 20)

    Corruption (i.e. sickness, despair, death), is what we default to. Even the saints who have overcome the passions physically die.

    Then you say there is no (significant) difference between a saint and a sinner. Wow …

    You say:

    As far as the Antichrist is concerned, IMO, I fear he will be an orthodox-believing Christian, one who will be able to deceive “even the elect.”

    How in the world can antichrist be an orthodox-believing Christian? You are abusing the language. An orthodox-believing Christian is by definition (a very basic one) a person who believes in Christ. Antichrist will say that he is the Messiah! When did he change his mind? At some point he started to doubt Christ and believe that he is the Messiah. Or he pretended all the time to be an orthodox-believing Christian but never really was. I do not see any other possibility.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Conspiracy theories place power in the this world, as Christians we have to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the unseen. As Solzhenitzyn reminded us, the dividing line between good and evil runs through each human heart.

    I don’t consider my statement a merely a literary device. Satan is a real being, not simply a personifying metaphor.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    George, I think what L. Coman objects to is the word ‘default’. I don’t think you are using the word to mean our natural state, the way in which we are created. Paganism is not our fundamental ontological position. However, as St. Paul points out in the first chapter of Romans and our own experience in this world shows, paganism (worshiping the created thing more than the creator) is our constant temptation and is quite easy to fall into–almost inevitable. The entropy of the fall takes us there. It is only by the grace of God that there is anything other than paganism. It is only the Incarnational invasion and the re-capturing of our nature for God that we can rise above paganism.

    However, a bigger challege today is the worhip of nothing that is nihilism. At least in paganism some thing is worshiped.

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    L.Coman says:

    However, a bigger challenge today is the worship of nothing that is nihilism. At least in paganism some thing is worshiped.

    This is what I was saying: paganism is not the default state of humanity. What we meant by paganism was “man living and trying to find happiness in a purely worldly sense, without reference to God”. This is our western world today. It is not a natural state, we were led here. The proof of it is the second sentence in the quote: at least in paganism some thing is worshiped. Here by paganism you mean something else: people worshiping false gods. They are more serious in their religious life. Why is that? Because of what they are exposed to through education in schools and mass media.

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    L.Coman says:

    Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
    Merry Christmas!

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    George Michalopulos says:

    are the saints not in a state of repose? As for the anti-Christ, I believe that his heresies will become obvious after the fact to most people. that’s why I believe he may be an orthodox-believing Christian (or passes himself off as one)

    The seduction of the world and its problems is too great for many to ignore. Witness the insistence of the ecumenical patriarchate on green issues. The Indiction this year was served in honor of the ecosystem. While I believe that we should be good stewards of the earth, this is but a step a way from Gaia-worship.

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    wesley j. smith says:

    We are moving from a post Christian era into an anti-Christian era. But are we not to give thanks for all things? It strikes me that this might be a tempering that will, under increasing societal pressure, greatly strengthen the Church by reducing it to its core the essence. Then, as we saw in the first few centuries, we could experience another Big Bang that once again transforms the world.

    In the meantime, is not our job to speak the truth to the best of our ability, and to do so in love? And isn’t that the “why” and not the “how?”

    As for me, by God’s grace, I am going to repent my many failings, work to bank my anger and frustration, and prayerfully seek to exhibit the charity in my heart that is the minimum that is expected of me.

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    H Mitchell says:

    Wesley,
    Praise be to our holy redeemer.
    Thank you for your comments, which I agree with. My question is, what is it that you think the church needs to be reduced from in order to reach its essence? I guess I’m thinking particularly in regards to Orthodox in US. Don’t we need to continue to press with everything we’ve got against Satan’s takeover of our country? If we don’t, who will?

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    L.Coman says:

    Then, as we saw in the first few centuries, we could experience another Big Bang that once again transforms the world.

    Except for the quote above, Wesley’s comment seems very sound.
    The questions one should ask are:
    1. Doesn’t Wesley know that the Big Bang has nothing to do with Christianity?
    2. Did he made this mistake out of ignorance or intentionally?

    Out there are hierarchs, not only lay people, who know a great deal about Christianity but they work to distort it.

    Note 29.
    What we need to do is to know our faith and the teachings of the Holy Fathers.
    We should not accept the microchip and be prepared to live with a piece of bread and few olives a day ( Elder Paisios). We should know that antichrist will work false miracles and generally, will try to copy Christ.

    This is what we should expect:
    Prophecies

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    wesley j. smith says:

    Thanks for reacting to my comment. L.Colman: You read WAY too much into my little turn of phrase. The “Big Bang” term wasn’t meant literally, nor was it intended to denote the scientific theory of how the universe began. It was a metaphor, for a new explosion of growth and influence.

    H. Mitchell: I think the Church should work as hard as it can to make things better here. Nor was I meaning to imply that the Church should do anything to reduce. Indeed, may it grow! As a relatively new convert, I want others to find what I have been blessed to have received.

    What I meant is that in the coming days I don’t think people will claim to be Christians as a career enhancer. It seems to me that we are returning to a general atmosphere reminiscent of the first two centuries, although I don’t expect believers to be thrown into arenas with wild animals. If I am right, it is the times that will do the reducing since it will take hardiness and true belief to identify oneself as a Christian. When that happens, the Church will be reduced to its core essence of the truly faithful, at which point I expect history to repeat itself and the world to once again be transformed, which was my meaning in using “Big Bang.”

    Thanks.

    He is born!

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    H Mitchell says:

    L Coman writes,
    “We should not accept the microchip and be prepared to live with a piece of bread and few olives a day ( Elder Paisios). We should know that antichrist will work false miracles and generally, will try to copy Christ.”

    Brother L Coman,
    Certainly we are to always remain steady and endure suffering. I am an ignorant man, I don’t understand the teaching of microchips from the holy fathers. How will this help us to engage the cultural issues of the day from within our tradition?

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    L.Coman says:

    Note 31.

    You should have used quotes for the Big Bang. Very few people can read minds here (if any :) ). May you conversion
    be for the salvation of your soul.

    I’ll tell you a real story. Just before the communism came fraudulently to full power in an eastern European country a priest, Fr. Arsey, was preaching to a large crowd gathered outside his church. The people were waiting and waiting, but the priest would not start to talk. After a while he said: I am not going to talk until the poisonous serpents who are hiding in the crowd of believers will leave. All of a sudden some motion took place in the crowd and some people left. The priest started to talk. After he talked for a while he stopped and was looking above the crowd. There were two minutes of complete silence and nobody understood why. Later on the priest told some of his closest followers that he had seen seven crowns coming down from the sky and placed on the heads of seven men. Later on those men were arrested and died in the communist prisons. Those were the crowns of martyrdom.

    Later on, Fr Arseney was arrested and put in prison. But great is our Lord and God Jesus Christ! He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. When the priest was praying at midnight the chains and locks will fall apart. The people (guards, officers, etc) will gather at midnight to see this miracle. After work, all they will talk about is Fr. Arseney. The authorities were forced to take him out of jail and give him an imposed residency.

    What I mean is that venomous serpents are still around writing on blogs, appearing to be no different than a true faithful. What they have difficulties with is writing down with capital letters “Christ is my God and my Lord!” or something similar.
    And yes, we are to give thanks to Him for everything!

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    L.Coman says:

    Our culture has thoroughly prepared us to search for fulfillment and purpose in a purely worldly way. We were/are being prepared to accept a worldly king.

    “Blessed and thrice-blessed is the man who will not desire to do so and, hence, will not see the God-abominated person of antichrist. Whosoever will see him and hear his blasphemous words promising all earthly blessings, the same will be seduced and will go forth to worship him. And they will perish, along with him, as far as eternal life is concerned; they will burn in eternal fire!”

    It is not a bad thing to analyze, and analyze and analyze what led us here. We analyze it from a historical point of view, from an economical, social or any other point of view. There is nothing wrong with analyzing. In fact I reached some valuable conclusions reading what is posted here.

    We have to do more than this. If there is a city destroyed by a calamity, you do not start to analyze what happened. A brief analysis might be necessary in order to properly proceed to actually save whatever is left, the survivors, and get them out of the debris. We can do that by placing the light on Christ and the Saints. Fr. Arseney’s story is not unique. On the contrary, there are so many. When you know these stories you want to become like Fr. Arseney, you start to understand and love Christ.

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