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Discussions and Opinions 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.

Discussions and Opinions
Waiting for God?
Are "providential" and "just in time" synonymous, or not? It all depends upon your point of view. When God's schedule fits with mine, he's "right on time." When God's schedule is at odds with mine, he's late, though he must still be provident.

Jan 31, 2011, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Are We Losing Our Identity?
When several Serbian Orthodox parishes recently invited me to come be their guest speaker, I was very pleasantly surprised because, lately, some Serbian Orthodox parishes prefer to invite non-Serbian speakers and educations. One may wonder why it is so. Is it because, as we read in the Bible, "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house?"

Jan 3, 2011, 05:22

Discussions and Opinions
The Spirit of Nativity and Mission
When you hear the word “Missionary” then most probably you will imagine poor people, probably from Africa, or homeless and a group of good missionaries providing for them some food, medications and clothes. However, Christian mission is misunderstood when people reduce it in this charitable, and important, activity.

Dec 6, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
What is s Good Man?
Too many people just assume that they know what a “good man” is. Because a man or an organization (composed of “good men”) builds hospitals, schools, an orphanage, an old-folks home, gives to medical research, to needy relatives, to charities, or because he is pleasant, honest, kind, loyal, refined, cheerful, honorable, or possesses those qualities which endears him to his neighbor, he is called “good,” a “good man.”

Dec 1, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Speaking the Truth, in Love
Recently, the Orthodox internet was abuzz with the words of Fr. Siarhei Hardun, an Orthodox priest from Belarus who had been invited as an "ecumenical delegate" to the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA. Fr. Siarhei's words were indeed memorable: he said that some of what he witnessed at this meeting seemed like an attempt to "invent a new religion — a sort of modern paganism."

Sep 9, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
What’s My Line?
So, what’s your line when someone asks about your faith? It’s usually the follow-up question that’s difficult for us. The first question is often “Are you a Christian?” The second question – what kind? People aren’t satisfied these days with just accepting that a person is Christian. Even people in so-called non-denominational Churches often ask a follow-up question like “Are you a “born-again” Christian or a “spirit-filled” Christian, or a “Bible-believing” Christian.

Jul 28, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Blessed Augustine's View of Self
But if St. Augustine's influence in the West was as great as it is touted to be, then "cut off from its intellectual sources" in the East (Augustine 324), cut off from the ecclesiastical life within the Grace of concensus patrum, the West may have inherited not only the greatness of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, but also his individuality, peculiarities, oddities, and (ready?!)...­ flaws (!).

Jul 23, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
The Criterion of Truth
The vast majority of Americans and Europeans believe that without question "all men (people) are created equal". It is a political, social, and moral given. And yet it can be easily demonstrated that not everyone is equal at all in terms of strength, intelligence, wealth, or a whole host of other sets of criteria. People are manifestly NOT equal]]except in the eyes of God.

Jun 25, 2010, 01:22

Discussions and Opinions
Prayer with the Non-Orthodox?
A Question Pertinent to our Time

Sadly, even some Orthodox people are heard to say things such as, ‘I do not receive communion when I go to a church that isn’t Orthodox but I’m glad that I can pray with them.’ The very fact that sincere Orthodox Christians can say such things and quite honestly not see that this is contradictory to Orthodoxy is itself evidence that the ecumenical movement has had the effect of diluting Orthodoxy in the minds and hearts of at least some Orthodox people, and this is no small matter, for it is not just our own deification that is stunted.

Mar 19, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
To Convert or Not to Convert?
No priestly act is of more far-reaching consequence than a conversion to Orthodoxy. It crucially determines for all time the convert's personal status, his marital rights and restrictions as well as his religious allegiance. If a pledge of unqualified loyalty to the Orthodox Church is subsequently betrayed, the result is disastrous, not least for the priest involved, should he have been guilty of an error of judgement in authorising the conversion on insufficient evidence of sincerity.

Feb 3, 2010, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Reflections on Female Spirituality
The following are very unscientific reflections and observations of one man on just a few ways that expressions of female spirituality may be seen through a male prism, or, as they like to say nowadays, window of understanding.

Dec 29, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
What Good is Religion?
All of this begs the question, does religion here in the West have a future, as Freud himself once questioned? Or, will it begin to die a slow, miserable death, as many of its antagonists believe, once we humans have learned to function by the god of “Reason” instead of the illusion of “heavenly projected fantasies” (aka religion.) Enlightenment thinkers were convinced that all they needed to do in order to better their world was to refocus the center of human functioning and experience from the heart to the mind.

Dec 1, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Byzantine Music for an Orthodox America
All these misunderstandings occur because we are very much European in our image of beauty. Beautiful in the Bible does not have any connection with the aesthetically beautiful. Instead of our sharp distinction between beautiful and ugly, Christianity poses another antithesis: sacred or profane? Orthodox music, being part of the Divine Service, could not be a matter of aesthetic speculation subjectively because in other religions we may discover good and beautiful, but you cannot find holiness anywhere except in the Christian Church.

Nov 19, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
More to the Point: Should Nuns Light Their Icon Lamps?
So, should nuns light their icon lamps when the “way of women” is upon them (cf. Gen. 31:35; RSV here et passim)? The short answer, of course, would be to direct the nuns to seek guidance from their abbess. We hardly need involve ourselves in any matters within a particular convent. In general, however, there seem to be no rules whatsoever telling a nun how to behave herself in her own cell. To be sure, there is plenty of advice, both from saintly elders of old and neighbors in the next cell over. But all of it is just that—advice, and it is as varied as prayer rules or other customs.

Jul 10, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
On "Ritual Impurity": In Response to Sister Vassa (Larin)
In a sort of deconstruction of the Orthodox tradition with respect to menstruating women’s participation in the liturgical life of the Church, Sister Vassa briefly examines the evidence of this tradition and conflicting opinions from various sources.The conclusion to which Sister Vassa arrives is that ritual impurity “finds no justification in Christian anthropology and soteriology.” But is this really so? I believe that a few comments made by Sister Vassa deserve further examination.

Jul 6, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Ritual Impurity
What is the meaning of abstaining from Communion during menstruation? What does this say about the female body? What is the meaning of not setting foot in church after giving birth to a child? What statement is being made about childbirth? Most importantly, is the concept of “ritual impurity” congruent with our faith in Jesus Christ? Where did it originate and what does it mean for us today? Let us take a look at the biblical, canonical, and liturgical sources in an attempt to answer these questions.

Jul 2, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
“The Social Principles of Jesus” and the Identity of Western Christianity
It is said that Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) was “the leading spokesman for the theology of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism” (from the introduction by Pelikan, 586). Although a Baptist minister, Rauschenbusch apparently rejected biblical literalism in favor of historical criticism—a method of biblical analysis that originated in Rauschenbusch’s fatherland in the first half of the nineteenth century. This method, quite popular even today, allowed Rauschenbusch to see the Gospel through the prism of the contemporary understanding of history, which in the age of social revolutions was dominated by the struggles of the lower classes.

Jul 1, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
Welcome to the forum Orthodoxy and the World!
We the editorial staff of the English version of Orthodoxy and the World have opened a new channel with the readers of our site: an Orthodox Christian missionary forum. Here our readers will be able to meet with the staff of Orthodoxy and World, and with each other.

Feb 24, 2009, 11:00

Discussions and Opinions
Women and the Priesthood
The fact that women became equal to men in many spheres of human life, including politics, has nothing to do with the church order. In order to introduce female priesthood we need a new Revelation as powerful as the Revelation of the New Testament, and the creation of a New Testament Church. Since such a Revelation has not happened, we cannot make any radical changes to the established church order.

Feb 9, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
The Great Idea of God
Now in this extraordinary discussion over twenty-five centuries there are four main questions that have been raised and debated. The first is, does God exist? The second is, what is God's nature? What is God like? The third is, can we know God's existence and nature? Can we know God's existence and nature independent of revelation and religious faith by the operation of reason, by the natural processes of knowing? And finally, the fourth question is, what is God's relation to the world and to man?

Jan 2, 2009, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
The Conflict of Interpretation
There is and old legend in the folklore of the seminaries about a negligent student who had to translate Christ's words from Latin in his exam: “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak”(spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma). The student, who apparently knew grammar better than theology suggested the following translation: “Alcohol is good, meat is rotten”... Interpretation of a text always depends on a spiritual experience of a person.

Aug 31, 2008, 10:00

Discussions and Opinions
God didn’t create the hell for sinners, they did it themselves
The Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to the European International Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, on Interfax-Religion’s request, commented on the recent suggestion of Danish Lutheran theologians to consider the hell and the devil a metaphor and to accept only existence of the paradise.

Aug 5, 2008, 10:01

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