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Contemporary Issues Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2011 - 05:50:02

Dear Readers,
We are happy to announce plans for a new design for our website Orthodoxy and the World. We will be diverting all our efforts to introduce our new design March 1st, and so will be unable to make new posts at this time. We have many new translations lined up that we hope you will like, so there is much work ahead! Keep us in your prayers, and continue to support our efforts at Orthodoxy and the World.

Contemporary Issues
The Macho Approach to Christ
The article by Cathy Lynn Grossman stated that churches nationwide are worried about attracting men to their services on Sundays. It seems that women outnumber men in attendance in every major Christian denomination and that they are 20 to 25 percent more likely to attend worship at least weekly.

Feb 3, 2011, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Be not Anxious (Matthew 6.22-33)
Coming into the Orthodox Church is like dying. You die to a whole host of practices that you once identified with being Christian and English: hymnals and organs, old churches dotting the English countryside. You die to old fears of ‘Popery’, incense and ‘Byzantine’ vestments and kissing holy icons with staring eyes. You die to fears of dark ‘foreigners’, with strange accents and fierce, flamboyant ways.

Jan 24, 2011, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Gay and Lesbian Ordination: An Eastern Orthodox View
It is obvious to anyone who studies the history of Christian moral teaching that the leadership of several American Protestant groups has taken a very serious step by ordaining openly practicing gays and lesbians and blessing same-sex relationships.

Nov 18, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Is Not the Body Still Holy After Death?
I've heard some unenlightened reasons for opposing cremation, such as the idea that God won't be able to reassemble scattered ashes at the Resurrection. Such nonsense not only calls into question God's power, it offends the memories of those killed in accidental fires or the horrors of war.

Nov 10, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Who Stole Halloween?
This is the time of year when a lot of people start talking about Halloween (or Hallowe’en, if you prefer), but what they say or think about it depends very much on their cultural background and theological background.

Oct 30, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Cynism is an Illness
When the Orthodox encountered this sort of thing during soviet times, they understood that this was "from our enemies," "from the adversary." Now, lessons in contempt and arrogance are coming more and more from people in the Church. We know what the bitter fruits of these lessons are.

Oct 21, 2010, 14:00

Contemporary Issues
What is Truth?
Many times, discussions of moral issues on TV can leave us perplexed. Whenever a complex question is raised, we are presented with as many opinions as people present. Everyone claims that they are truly seeking the "Truth" and that they are advocating "appropriate" human behavior.

Oct 20, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Thieves Hijacking the Language of the Moral Tradition
What happens then when people leave Christianity and want to promote ideas about morality that violate the moral tradition? They have only one option: Hijack the language. They use the terms of traditional Christianity but mean very different things by them.

Oct 18, 2010, 04:23

Contemporary Issues
Why Jesus is both God and Man.
The difficulty of living in this era as an Orthodox Christian is thus realizing that we have been seated in the corner of the world’s classroom and that a cone with the label “dunce” has been placed on our heads for all to see.

Oct 5, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Between Building Churches and Mosques: The Culture of Relativism
The debate over building churches and mosques has escalated recently in several hot spots around the world. Yet this problem is actually as early as the emergence of Islam itself. Based on strict slamic shari’a laws, it is totally forbidden to build a church in “Jazeerat al Arab” which is the Arab peninsula, known today as Saudi Arabia. Any attempts to gather any Christian group to pray are criminalized by law.

Oct 5, 2010, 05:30

Contemporary Issues
An Orthodox View of Contemporary Economics, Politics, and Culture
Anastasios asks:Are human rights simply and merely an outcome of human rationality, or are they innate to the human personality? “Rights declarations are incapable of inducing anyone of implementing their declarations voluntarily,” he concludes. “The hypocritical manner in which the question of human rights has been handled internationally is the most cynical irony of our century.”

Sep 25, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Orthodox Christianity and the Idea of Homosexual Marriage
In addressing this post-modern phenomenon, I do not intend merely to counter a novelty by outlining the Orthodox Theology of marriage. Sound as that would be, others have done so before and far more competently than I. Rather, I am interested in how these countries have arrived at this point, whilst at the same time putting forward the reasons why this is completely incompatible with a life lived in the Orthodox Christian way.

Sep 24, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Beating the Digital Highways and Hedges
Orthodoxy possesses the fullness of the Truth. It provides the sure way to peace, hope, and salvation. It restores our relationship with God and one another. The solution to every real problem is found within our Sacraments. So why aren’t our churches full?

Sep 8, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Pearls to the Pigs and Communion to Dogs
There seems to be however a lot of confusion nowadays about animals and their role in our lives. People treat their animals as family, take them to beauty salons and spas, leave them fortunes in their wills and expect to be joined by them in heaven.

Aug 23, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Has Our Pursuit of the "American Dream" Become a Ball and Chain?
Has our pursuit of this dream gotten out of hand today? From a Christian perspective has the pursuit of the good life here in America supplanted or replaced our pursuit of the Kingdom of Heaven? Are we really living better today because of the “American Dream?” I ask these questions based on the following observations.

Aug 18, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
The Orthodox "I really like their hats!"
His father gets apoplectic and screams at him, in a line that was objectively funny and incredibly sad, "Isn't that the group that mutilates squirrels?" That's what the world, at least in America, knows about the Orthodox. Old men in strange garb doing strange things in front of a few old people (probably immigrants) in a strange language at a strange place possibly including squirrels.

Aug 11, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Russian Orthodox Church - helping the fire victims day and night
“We send a car to each location reported to be in need of help, collect information and then organize help” – explains a coordinator in the Russian Orthodox Church Department for Charity. For a week already it has been the most actively functioning place – volunteers are collecting clothes, raising money, gathering information, and sending fire fighting equipment to the areas with forest fires.

Aug 9, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Beneath the Surface – Sailing the Shallow Waters of the Internet
This is what the Internet does to us: it takes away the depth of knowledge and makes us settle in the shallows. Repeated every day it becomes our way of doing everything. We become wanderers through the hyperlinks of life, not making any effort to descend bellow the shiny surface of what surrounds us.

Jul 29, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Modesty Revisited
I first became interested in the subject of modesty for a rather mundane reason - because I didn't like the bathrooms at Williams College. Like many enlightened colleges and universities these days, Williams houses boys next to girls in its dormitories and then has the students vote by floor on whether their common bathrooms should be coed. It's all very democratic, but the votes always seem to go in the coed direction because no one wants to be thought a prude.

Jul 24, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Authority and Moral Life:
An Orthodox Christian Perspective

The teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles as well as those of the Fathers of the Church are directly or indirectly related to moral issues and the way a Christian ought to live his or her life. From the Orthodox perspective, Christ is the final or absolute authority of morality in a Christian society. Even though tolerance and respect of other faiths are a necessity within a pluralistic society, Christ is the supreme authority for the particular Christian community.

Jul 15, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Medicine and Ethics
At its core, Christian ethics is a theological discipline. This means that the work of doing ethics is a communal, ecclesial work for which each of us is responsible. Just as each Christian is called to be a theologian by offering self and the world to God in prayer, each is called to be an ethicist, a "moral theologian" in the proper sense.

Jun 21, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
«Stop!» Address by Metropolitan Vladimir of Bishkek and Central Asia to the people of Kyrgyzstan
The Orthodox Church in Kirghizia does not remain neutral to what is happening in the country. As early as in April, 2010 Metropolitan Vladimir made an appeal to people, in which he reminded that “the one pressing for justice or simply his own power, having obtained or asserted it by any unconstitutional and unlawful way, outside the legal environment, assumes a sin by no means justified on his conscience and heart. Evil brings about evil”. Metropolitan’s word was not listened to, ad now His Eminence addresses to people with a word full of sorrow again.

Jun 18, 2010, 01:44

Contemporary Issues
Archpriest Igor Dronov: Orthodox priests of Kirghizia sheltered people in the church
Priest Sergy Khorishko, who serves in Jalal-Abad, sheltered during the riots the Uzbek families and his parishioners right in the church. He prevented arson of two adjoining Uzbek houses.

Jun 18, 2010, 01:44

Contemporary Issues
What's in a Name?
Personal Christian Names

This contemporary reality should be an encouragement to Orthodox Christians on two levels. Firstly, while most Canadians are choosing Christian names for their children, many have no idea about the origins of their name, the story of their saint, and the identity which comes with the chosen name. This presents an opportunity - a missionary opportunity.

Jun 11, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Corporatism or Commonweal?
When we speak of true morality, we are not referring to simple obedience to a system of law but a free accord with a system of spiritual healing. The authentic Christian spiritual life really does provide us with the means for moral healing, but even among our own people, we see so many who never experience such healing. This is because they encounter only moralism: “Obey this law or God will do something bad to you.”

May 17, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Why Adopt A Seminarian?
I had my life all planned out. I secured my job, married my wife, became Orthodox (in that order), began a family and became a deacon. I had dreams of seminary that came and went and thought that God would be happy with me as a deacon until I was near retirement, and then I would do what was necessary to become a priest and serve some needy, small parish. That was it, plain, simple, concise.

May 12, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Hieromonk Vadim (Smirnov) Killed in His Flat
Hieromok Vadim (Smirnov's) body was found Wed, 5 in his flat in Cheboksary (Chuvashia, Russia).

May 5, 2010, 22:41

Contemporary Issues
Some “Not-So-Obvious” Facts about American Orthodox Christianity
The “Orthodox Church Today” study released by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (Graduate Theological Union) disproves many stereotypes and provides groundbreaking insights into the life of one of the least known American faith traditions – Orthodox Christianity.

May 1, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Blind Leading the Blind
Social networking sites like facebook and twitter perpetuate the typically adolescent social phenomenon known as an “invisible audience” whereby we believe that everyone notices every tiny thing about us individually (hence why teenagers are so overly concerned with their appearance). Instead of participating in real life, we spend hours pouring over digital images of “friends” and wondering who’s been checking our current status.

Apr 30, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Russian Orthodox priest shot in Chuvashia
A Russian Orthodox priest shot in Chuvashia before the evening service.

Apr 24, 2010, 22:52

Contemporary Issues
Time Management: an Orthodox Perspective
Those who are trying to use their time to do the Lord's will must begin every day, and every moment, with Jesus Christ. One question might be, "Lord, what do you want me to do, now?" But an even better question is, "Lord, what do you want to do through me now?" This takes the emphasis from the ego and places it on the Lord.

Apr 16, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Morality or Moralism?
Today a great many people are entering the Orthodox Church from other, generally Western confessions. Their tendency, quite understandably, is to bring with them notions of sin and guilt, obedience and virtue (merits) that figure strongly in the way those confessions construe the means by which we attain salvation. Whether they remain in a lay state or become ordained, they often allow their "former delusion" to influence the way they conduct themselves and the way they expect others to behave within an Orthodox setting.

Mar 23, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
When We are no Longer Ethnic
What will happen to our churches when a majority of the membership does not have an ethnic lineage similar to the ethnic jurisdiction to which the church belongs?
This phenomenon in the Orthodox Church in the USA and other non-traditionally Orthodox countries, may not be new, but it is certainly a issue that will become far more wide spread.

Feb 11, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
New Year Resolutions: Bah Humbug!
Probably one of the most useless wastes of mental and spiritual energy engaged in by some individuals is the making of New Year Resolutions. One reason for the futility of New Year Resolutions is that they are usually couched in such general terms that they invite procrastination, hesitation, ensuing failure and either anxiety or depression.

Jan 1, 2010, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
On the Murder of Father Daniil Sysoev
And if we are to learn a lesson from Father Daniil’s death, it must be that not all religions are created equal. Enough self-deception and false tolerance! May those who continue to repeat that all faiths believe in the same God be ashamed and may their mouths be silenced before the casket of a 35-year-old priest who was killed by someone who believed in a very different god from that preached by Father Daniil.

Nov 24, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Question on Problems Which New People Face (Part II)
Things just take time. That’s perhaps something that people don’t always understand. It takes a long time even to begin to become Orthodox, especially if you’re coming from a spiritual and cultural background which is not traditionally Orthodox. This is because there are things that are passed down organically from generation to generation. But of course that’s not the case when people come from a Western background, or for that matter from the countries of the former Soviet bloc, where the transmission of Orthodox culture was seriously impaired by decades of persecution.

Nov 18, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Question on Problems Which New People Face (Part I)
At first, Orthodox liturgy appears to western senses to be very oriental, something quite foreign - that is part of its attraction for some. But many forget that Christianity is an oriental religion. The Bible is profoundly Middle-Eastern book. In time, though, one feels very at home in Orthodox Christianity. The point that needs to be grasped, especially by those who think they have rejected Christianity, that is, those who have only come across its western forms, is that Orthodoxy is very different.

Nov 17, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Stolen Souls
I remember as a kid often saying to my parents, "Hey! I didn’t choose to be here, you know." It was my cute teenage way of putting the blame for my questionable behavior on the ones who did make that choice: my long-suffering mom and dad. Gee, if I could make them see that this was all their doing, maybe I could circumvent whatever restriction was about to befall me. After all, I had a righteous argument: they chose to bring me into this world; I was just an innocent victim.

Nov 7, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
It is Vital for the Orthodox Church to Preach in Social Networks
I find it difficult to imagine an Orthodox believer who writes directly to a mufti, disputes with him, and criticizes Islam the way Muslims are writing me to say that Orthodoxy is "a false religion." They cite Koran as saying that all unfaithful should be killed. I find it interesting because it is live contact. Such polemics can help us give a fresh critical look at some questions of Christian-Islamic dialogue in order to form more reasoned and clear position in the future.

Nov 6, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Halloween: A Solemn Farewell
Let's set aside murky questions about where Halloween comes from. There is the question of what Halloween is now, which is far less murky on several counts. Whatever the good, bad, known, or unknown roots of Halloween may be, in its present form it is associated with magic or ghoulishness you're not barred from dressing up as something that is neither associated with the occult or ghoulishness, but you're stretching things a little.

Oct 31, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
The Loneliness of Modern Man
The internet has probably made us more connected, in a virtual sense, than we have been in a generation. But, of course, their is an extreme level of volunteerism in this virtual community. If I don’t want to post today there is nothing you can do about it. We are not a natural community. I cannot touch you or hear you laugh. I share a photo so you know something of what I look like. But how do I sound? How much of my native Appalachian dialect still clings to my tongue (not much, but some).

Oct 26, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Loving the Storm-Drenched
More serious, however, is a tone of voice we adopt from the culture: sarcastic, smart-alecky, jabbing, and self-righteous. We feel the sting of such treatment, and give it right back; we feel anger or even wounded hatred toward those on the “other side.” But God does not hate them; he loves them so much he sent his Son to die for them. We are told to pray for those who persecute us, and to love our enemies. The weight of antagonistic and mocking big-media machinery is the closest thing we’ve got for practicing that difficult spiritual discipline. If we really love these enemies, we will want the best for them, the very best thing we have, which is the knowledge and love of God.

Oct 6, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Our "Rule Of Faith"
One of the more persistent questions posed to the Orthodox these days concerns our practice of what has become commonly referred to as "closed communion." Generally, these questions take one of the following forms; "Why can't my non-Orthodox friends or relatives receive holy communion when they visit my parish church?" (or) ”Why can't I receive holy communion when I visit my non-Orthodox friends or relatives at their church?" and sometimes even "What gives you the right to judge anyone's fitness to receive holy communion?"

Oct 1, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Orthodoxy and Same Sex Attraction
These are a few stories from homosexuals I have counseled over the past 35 years, first as a Protestant Christian and now as an Orthodox Christian. The Orthodox Church’s spirituality both affirmed and challenged my thinking about homosexuality over the years. This article is based on these experiences. As part of my exploration of how Orthodoxy has actually affected the lives of people living with same-sex attraction issues, several converts to Orthodoxy agreed to participate anonymously in interviews about their struggles with same-sex attraction (SSA) for this article.

Sep 17, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Setting the Prisoners Free:
The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

After having a wonderful and very spiritual, filled visit with my wife, she was in a tragic auto accident and was killed. I was called to the chapel and was told of my beloved wife’s death. I hit the floor with despair. My wife and I were one. She was in this life "perfect." But even though my physical man grieves, my spiritual side rejoices. For the Lord gave me His little lamb, then He took her. I trust His judgment. He is and always will be my Lord no matter what! Thank you for praying for me your son . . . your letters mean so much. May God Bless You!

Aug 31, 2009, 10:59

Contemporary Issues
A Theological Crisis
Secularism, therefore, is not so much the absence of religion as it is the transformation of religion into something un-theological; it is the stripping of religions of their theology and thus of their identity. And this is because, despite popular opinion, secular society wants religion and needs religion. But it wants religion on its own terms. Many secularists are happy to entertain a belief in a ‘higher power’, and they may be impressed and even moved by religious rites and rituals, but only for as long as this ‘higher power’, these rites and rituals, do not challenge their secular sensibilities, their own internet-assembled philosophy.

Aug 24, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
On the Need for the Church in the Lives of Our Young People
The majority has departed from the Orthodox Christian gospel, world view and approach to life to such a degree that our children have no more purpose, direction and protection in life than do children of completely unbelieving or indifferent families. We have come to despise the very things God has given us which give purpose and eternal hope to life, which instil self control, self understanding and positive, compassionate ideals in our youth. We have robbed our own youth of the weapons and tools which the Holy Spirit gave them to defend themselves from the corruption and decay of the world around them and work out their salvation.

Aug 4, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
Modest ≠ frumpy!
Attractive Clothing for Christians on the Make

The question of how to dress is an important one for Christian singles because we're called to be humble people, both in our behavior and our appearance. But, we are not required to put up a wall of total exclusion with our clothes. Humility doesn't mean that we have to dress like frumps or nerds. I don't know a whole lot about fashionable clothing, but with this chapter, I'd like to offer some suggestions for things that we can wear to be inviting and engaging in our appearance, which we need to be when we're looking for someone special.

Jul 29, 2009, 10:00

Contemporary Issues
The phoenix is reborn. It's time to fly
Growing up in 1970s Moscow, I had a nanny who had lived in our family for 45 years. She died in 1981, when she was 93 and I was 13. Like most Soviet people, my family was not religious. My grandfather prided himself in becoming an atheist in prerevolutionary Russia and refusing to attend the Orthodox doctrine class at school. It scandalised his father, a priest's son turned high-ranking civil engineer. In Soviet Russia, it was a norm enforced by persecution, education and all-encopassing atheistic propaganda.

Jun 30, 2009, 10:00

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