Friday, December 19, 2008

Priest Removes Obama Books from School

A Roman Catholic and a very pro-life priest, Rev. Ron Elliot, from a Missouri Catholic school removed two books about Barack Obama from its library because of Obama's view on abortion.

"Obama has said he believes abortions should be legally available in accordance with the landmark Roe vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that said abortion was a constitutional right to privacy under the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment."

Even though the priest did not find anything wrong with the books, he said he will put them back on the shelf either in February or March.

In my opinion, according to my former sunday school teacher, abortion is completely wrong and unethical in which it goes against the Bible, killing another of God's creation. But, also it is wrong to take informational books from a children's library and judge it based on that. Any comments?

Click to read full article for more information.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren to Invocate Inauguration, Anger LGBTs

Barack Obama defends his decision to include Rick Warren in the Inauguration:

"During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented," Obama said. "And that's how it should be, because that's what America is about. Part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated."

Some people you just can't please. I'm sure Obama actually wanted Warren to give the invocation, but now must reference "diversity??"

From the letter sent to the President-Elect:
Rev. Warren cannot name a single theological issue that he and vehemently, anti-gay theologian James Dobson disagree on. Rev. Warren is not a moderate pastor who is trying to bring all sides together. Instead, Rev. Warren has often played the role of general in the cultural war waged against LGBT Americans, many of whom also share a strong tradition of religion and faith.

We have been moved by your calls to religious leaders to own up to the homophobia and racism that has stood in the way of combating HIV and AIDS in this country. And that you have publicly called on religious leaders to open their hearts to their LGBT family members, neighbors and friends.

Sounds more like the LGBT community has a problem with religion in general and Christianity in particular. Is there a prominent national Christian leader that supports gay marriage. That pretty much eliminates every Orthodox, Catholic, Southern Baptist, Black Southern Baptist, and any other Evangelical Christian group. On top of that, is there any religion that supports the homosexual agenda. The only group that may meet the LGBT criteria would be mainline protestants such as the Episcopalians. But that would defeat the whole point of unity.

Expect the ACLU to protest invocations and benedictions at national events soon...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Catholicos Aram wants Christians to celebrate Easter on same day

Rome : Armenian Orthodox Catholicos Aram I has at a Vatican meeting with Roman Pope Benedict XVI proposed that the world's churches set a common date for Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

"There are no special doctrinal problems to achieve this goal, but only problems of the calendar," Aram, who heads the Catholicosate of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, told journalists in Rome at the end of his 23-27 November visit to Rome.

In most years, Christians celebrate Easter on two different dates. One is marked by most Protestants and Roman Catholics, and the other by most Orthodox churches.

Catholicos Aram I said he believed an ecumenical initiative to celebrate Easter on the same day would help give visible expression to Christian unity.

Photo: Roman Pope His Holiness Benedict XVI and Catholicos of Cilicia His Holiness Aram I on Monday 24 November 2008 at Vatican, Italy.

Differences in the dates for celebrating Easter go back to the earliest Christian communities, although these were mostly resolved in AD 325 by the Council of Nicea. The major problems arose in the 16th century when Roman Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Julian calendar that had been established in 46 BC with the Gregorian calendar.

It took some time for the new calendar to be adopted by all countries. However, most Orthodox churches still celebrate Easter on the date calculated by the Julian calendar.

Much of the impetus for fixing a common date for Easter has come from the Middle East where Christians from different traditions live in close proximity, though very much as small Christian minorities. In some parts of the Middle East local churches have between them reached agreement on common dates for Easter.

Speaking on 24 November at an ecumenical ceremony with Aram I, Roman Pope Benedict noted that in many parts of the world, Catholics and Armenians live side by side. "Increased understanding and appreciation of the apostolic tradition which we share will contribute to an ever more effective common witness to the spiritual and moral values without which a truly just and humane social order cannot exist," said Benedict.

Despite the different methods used, in some years Easter does fall on the same date, as in 2001 and 2004, and again in 2010.

In 1998, Aram had urged delegates at an assembly in Harare of the World Council of Churches to make 2001 "the beginning of a common celebration of Easter". The Lebanon-based church leader was then moderator of the WCC, which now groups 349 churches, predominantly Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox.

“You can't be doing that in here!”

Looking for a school that emphasizes tolerance and welcomes diversity? Take Alameda College in California off the list:

“When the instructor indicated she was ill, Kandy offered to pray for her. The instructor bowed her head, and Kandy began to pray -- until she was interrupted by another faculty member, Derek Piazza, who walked in and said, ‘You can't be doing that in here!’ Kandy quickly left and rejoined her friend and fellow student, Ojoma Omaga. Piazza followed Kandy outside and repeated his rebuke.”

It gets better. The students were threatened by the college with suspension if they prayed on campus again, and were sent letters stating the same. The students are currently undertaking legal proceedings.

A quote attributed to Robin Williams comes to mind: “When the Iraqis were having trouble writing a constitution, we should have said: ‘Take ours, we’re not using it.’”

This country is supposed to be a beacon of freedom and diversity. What are we becoming??

New quest for historical Jesus draws skeptics and scholars

I can agree that no matter how hard we try, we will never know enough about Christ. The Christian's life goal is to answer the question "Who do you say that I am?". Our lives have a dynamic relationship with that answer because it is a personal revelation that changes our being.
This article is about a group of people, all from different backgrounds and different interests, taking up a scholarly approach in knowing who the "historical Jesus" is, which I guess is fine, but I wonder what their motives are.

The Jesus Project is trying to scientifically inquire about Jesus while at the same time excluding any theological perspective. Perhaps I'm too quick on my judgement, as I often am... but how can you learn of Christ if you don't acknowledge Who and What He is? In other words, to try to learn of the historical person of Christ while ignoring His Godhead is not really knowing Christ at all.

Excerpt from the article:
"Scholars now at the beginning of the twenty-first century are able to take advantage of a plethora of new texts, sources, and methods, including the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, various lost Gospels that are not in our New Testament, and a rich archeological record”.

Again, the issue I have is that the tradition held by any churches is completely and utterly ignored. Or perhaps this is a good thing considering how fragmented Christianity is today. Maybe they will find the understanding and practice of the early church and come to Orthodoxy the way the Evangelicals did.

Any comments?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is the Orthodox Church losing ground? Another perspective....

Many forums debate the inroads and losses being made on a human level by the Orthodox Church. In particular, our Indian churches have their own ethnocentric take on why we might be losing or gaining members. (Blame the westerners, blame the pentecostals, and be sure to blame the t-shirt/blue jean crowd!!)

If we can stop shaking our angry fists long enough.... An article was posted on a blog written by a resident of Addis Abbaba ...regarding the same issues within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. I think it's fascinating to see a similarity in concern.

- Advocate

A Russian church for a Saudi mosque? by Julia Duin

This delightful story just came in thanks to The Saudis have recently asked permission to build a mosque in Moscow, a city where there are only four mosques and 2 million Muslims. The Russians, however, are saying they want, in return, an Orthodox church in Saudi Arabia.

As we all know, the Saudis have a habit of constructing mosques in dozens of world capitals while forbidding houses of worship for any religion whatsoever outside its Wahabist brand of Islam. They've gotten some bad PR locally for some of the hate language in textbooks at the Saudi Academy in northern Virginia. Not only are hapless Christians terrorized and jailed for daring to hold private prayer services in Saudi Arabia, but God help them should they try to convert someone to their religion. And that's for a fellow People of the Book: One can only guess at what the treatment of Buddhists and Hindus must be like.

Wouldn't it be so ironic if the Russians were the first Christian body to win acceptance of the right to build a church in, say, Riyadh? (Some of the Russians are calling for a church in Mecca, but the chances of any other religion getting a foothold within walking distance of the world center of Islam is less than zero.) Of course we all know the Saudis aren't about ready to let Bibles or other religious literature, let alone a church, anywhere near their homeland, but all the same, it's amusing to see the Russians give the Saudis a taste of their own medicine.

-Julia Duin, religion editor

Coincidence or Not?

So I recently picked up a copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses, something I've been wanting to read for a while now (don't ask why). It's basically a compilation of Ovid's stories and basic Greek mythology with change and transformation as a central theme. Well, the book starts off with "The Creation", and it describes the creation of the world. First, everything was one, and then the gods separated the elements into the Earth, stars, sun, and moon. After that, the oceans, land, animals, and plants were created, and finally man. Sounds familiar, eh? Well the story goes on to describe how man was innately good and pure but then became evil, which angered the gods. So how did they purge the world of this evil and start fresh? How about a flood? Yeah, you get the idea...

I'm only about 15 pages in and the above summary is pretty general, but it already sounds like the Creation story from Genesis. Ovid completed the Metamorphoses in 8 A.D., making it possible that he had knowledge of the Jewish teachings. Ovid's book, however, is mostly retelling of Roman mythology, therefore representative of the basic beliefs of the Romans, which happen to parallel those of the Hebrews.

What do you think? Any thoughts? Let me know!

1st American face transplant

The Washington Post reported today on an operation in Ohio where surgeons replaced 80% of a woman's face with that of a dead female donor.

From the article, "such transplants are controversial because they are aimed at improving a patient's quality of life rather than saving it". Although some Christian denominations such as Christian Scientists take an extreme position of all medical procedures, the topic of cosmetic surgery often falls in the "grey" area. But, from a purely Christian perspective, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that plastic surgery in and of itself is wrong.

So far in all cases of face transplants, there was serious damage that was affecting the day-to-day life of the individual. However, as the Washington Post article indicated, what is more of more concern in these procedures is post-operative depression and guilt that could truly damage a person's spiritual and mental health. Our directive in these cases are quite simply to pray for the sick and their loved ones that they may all find comfort in the Lord.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Disgraced Gov. Blagojevich was raised Orthodox

The Chicago Sun-Times reported today on reactions from members of the Serbian Orthodox church that disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich attended as a child.

What's encouraging was the willingness to forgive by the Orthodox parishioners, i.e.,
'The church is a place of forgiveness, and our doors are always open to him'