75. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths: Modern Protestantism, Part 3 – Why is the Mainline down? Why are Evangelicals up? Pentecostals. Charismatics.

We’ve been tracking the decline of the Mainline Protestants and the rise of the Evangelicals.  According to Pew Research in 2014 above, maybe the change in American religion has been even more radical. Look who’s growing fastest now, and rapidly. I can’t begin to describe how different the American religious scene feels today compared to 50 or 60 years ago. Then it seemed as if everybody went to church. Christianity was all over…

74. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths – Modern Protestantism, Part 2: Everything turns upside down.

Contemporary Protestantism That means “within my lifetime”. I know, to some of you this will seem like ancient history! There is so much to say about Protestantism. Can you all hang in here for an extra week? … … I just heard a unanimous cry, “Yes!” So now it’s 3 weeks on modern Protestantism. Then 1 more on “extra-Protestant” groups – Christian Science, Mormons, Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses – and that will be…

73. Orthodoxy and Other Faiths – Modern Protestantism, Part 1: Protestant disunity, Orthodox unity

The Fragmenting of Protestantism Now…  if you have no acquaintance with  Protestantism and probably even if you have, prepare to be confused. From early times there have been followers of Christ outside the Church – Arians, for example, were quite numerous, as Protestants are today. Then came the great division between East and West. The Protestant Reformation led to several separate denominations. But nothing like this! Beginning about the turn of the…

72. Orthodoxy and LGBTQ – Part 2

A Prelude In his book Contemporary Ethical Issues: An Armenian Orthodox Perspective *, Professor Vigen Guroian writes: “The ancient world did not possess a concept of fixed sexual orientation. In other words, the ancients did not speak of the alternatives of heterosexuality and homosexuality. This form of speech emerged fully only in the 19th and 20th century. In early Christian thought, the temptation to engage in homosexual acts was simply taken to be a part of the sinful human…

71. Orthodoxy and LGBTQ – Part 1

Back in the 1930s my mother, an intelligent well-read small town professional woman, had heard of “homosexuality”. When she was in her 30s she finally asked my father what it was – and could scarcely believe it. Times have changed. I trust you know what LGBTQ means. If not, look it up. I think I understand except for Q which used to be an extremely derogatory term for G, which is a replacement…

70. What Ever Happened to Fathers?

I remember a little boy years ago: His father would sit in his chair, and the boy would sit in his chair. His father would cross his legs, and the boy would cross his legs. His father would turn the page of his newspaper; and his son would turn the page of his book. As time went on his father got so busy with his work that he left before the kids…

69. All Saints of North America

Little did the apostles imagine that 2000 years later, 8000 miles from Jerusalem, in a land they had never even heard of, the Church would still be carrying out their apostolic work. On the Second Sunday after Pentecost, the Sunday after All Saints, many Orthodox jurisdictions commemorate their national and regional saints. I wish we all did, for our holy ones should be remembered. Although by Orthodox standards the Church in North America is still…

68. The Last 2 of 6 Thoughts about Pentecost

5. The Holy Spirit is Water.  Why are there no icons showing the Holy Spirit as water? Epiphany icons show the Holy Spirit as a dove descending on our Lord Jesus in visible form. In some unfortunate icons of the Holy Trinity, God the Father is depicted as an old man and Christ as a young man, suggesting Arianism? with the dove hovering over both of them, suggesting I don’t know what. A…

67. The 4th of 6 Thoughts about Pentecost

Whoops! Pentecost caught up with me, and it’s time to talk about… 4. The Most Dangerous Time of All People often tell me how beautiful the Lenten and Pascha services are. I’ve never once heard anybody say, “O Father, I so much enjoyed those interminable Kneeling Prayers” – at “Kneeling Vespers” which immediately follows Pentecost Divine Liturgy. This service, popularly nicknamed Kneeling Vespers, really ought to be celebrated on Pentecost night, but…

66. The First 3 of 6 Thoughts about Pentecost

 1. The “Spirit of Disorganization” Years ago the cowboy humorist Will Rogers said, “I don’t belong to any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” I sometimes want to say, “I don’t belong to any organized Church. I’m Orthodox.”  On the whole, the Orthodox Church is the most disorganized organization I have ever heard of – well, except for the U.S. Congress these days. But that’s ok for the Church, because in essence…