Cultural Wars

There are some in the Orthodox Church who seem to want to make Orthodoxy a player in the current cultural wars. The voices come at us from multiple sides. Some want us to throw away the clear historical teachings against abortion. Some want us to give our blessing to homosexuality. Some want us to battle against both of these and throw ourselves in with a group of people who have as their stated agenda to bring OT law as a sort of sheria in our land, while ignoring the problems of poverty, hunger, sickness, and soul killing greed.

We cannot change the Faith to adapt to our culture. Reacting against our culture runs the risk of getting us away from our Faith’s agenda, which is the Kingdom of God. (And there are many who would wish to co-op the Kingdom of God to one side or another of our cultural wars). We cannot say that homosexuality, nor abortion, nor greed, nor indifference to the afflicted are ok. To adopt the strategies of this world to address them will distort the Faith. We must go with what we received from the beginning and cooperate with God towards our own Theosis. Perhaps we have quoted St. Seraphim too often to hear what he is saying to us: “Acquire a spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”

Woe to the Christian Church when it will have been victorious in this world, for then it is not the Church which has been victorious but the world. – Søren Kierkegaard

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Go to hell

When people condemn others to hell, it raises the question, “Whose Hell?” In Orthodox Christianity Heaven and Hell are both the Glory of a loving God. The one in heaven perceives it as a warm glowing light, the other perceives it as a consuming fire. The difference is relationship. We don’t like that. Relationships are hard. We much prefer to reduce it to a manageable formula that we control. As John and Jesus both said, our relationship with God is lived out in how we treat others. How can we say we love God Whom we have not seen when we hate our brother whom we have seen. And how we treat God’s Image in the least of these is how we treat Jesus.