Friday, January 9, 2009

Founder of Ancient Faith Radio now CEO of Conciliar Press

All fans of Ancient Faith Radio will be happy to hear the news that John Maddex (founder of Ancient Faith Radio) was appointed President and CEO of Conciliar Media Ministries under the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Hoping and praying that Ancient Faith grows from a niche Internet station to more mainstream media outlets!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jesus Is My Quarterback

As some of the other boys of Orthodukso are no doubt engrossed in the NCAA Football National Title Game this evening, I ran across an short article about two of the major players in this evening's game. So while die-hard alums like the Street Theologian are cheering themselves hoarse....those of us who have no "dog in the fight" can find other interesting angles to the big game.

First off, for our international readers....this is American Football. Please do not ask me why it is played with hands and not "the foot". (This is a favorite question of our foreign born brothers which would be bareable if only it wasn't asked in that "oh you silly americans" tone of voice...)

At any rate, this evening's game pits the University of Florida Gators vs. the Oklahoma Sooners. It just so happens that both quarterbacks have more than Heisman trophies in common....they share a deep profession for their christian faith. In a world full of Pacman's, Ocho Cinco's, and TO's (Mr. I Love me Some Me), it is refreshing that there are athletes who keep grounded and are lead by their faith. (If none of those names are familiar, count yourselves fortunate)

The below article briefly mentions the faiths of both Tim Tebow (UF) and Sam Bradford (OU):

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Disney Backs out of Next Narnia Movie

Disney will not take up its option on the next film in the Chronicles of Narnia series, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Both 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and this year's followup Prince Caspian were produced by a partnership between Disney and Walden Media, the Christian education-focused company which owns the film rights to the books. The first movie took an impressive $740m (£500m) across the globe on a budget of $180m (£122m), but its sequel's take was way down on that – $420m (£285m) from a $200m (£135m) budget, prompting Disney to pull out.

So $ 220 million is a let down? Well, I imagine it's trending downward, with five more movies at least to produce (based on less familiar titles). However, that doesn't excuse the number of terrible movies Disney DOES invest in (i.e. Mighty Ducks, the two later Lion King movies). I'm waiting for the Culture War angle on this, as to whether Disney wanted to dissociate itself from a movie unavoidably linked with traditional Christian ideas and symbols.

-Steve K.

The End of Iraqi Christianity- Recommended Article

Here's a very clear to the point article about the history of Iraqi Christianity.

Not noted is how the history of the Indian Orthodox Church is bound up in the history of the Church in Persia. First of all, as inheritors of the "Syriac" tradition, we have to look at Iraq/Iran as the cradle of our theological tradition. In India, we have relics from both West (Antiochene) and East (Assyria, Persian) Syriac. Moreover:

From the 4th century through the 14th, Iraq had many centers of Christian scholarship and devotion. Apart from Baghdad itself, the Church of the East had metropolitans at Basra, Kirkuk, and Erbil. Jacobite leaders often made their home in Tikrit, which served as the seat of the Maphrianus (Consecrator), head of the Jacobite church throughout the East. Tikrit in modern times gained notoriety as the home of Saddam Hussein and his Sunni Muslim al-Tikriti clan.

Our Catholicos traces his lineage from St. Thomas through this very same Maphrianate mentioned. The idea of 'thrones' is very nuanced, I know, but still we should look at the dying of the Church in Iraq as the loss indeed of a part of our own (Malankara Syrian) heritage.

On top of that, as the fate of this church and the other churches in the Far East indicates, we are by no means guaranteed that a particular church will last forever. Christianity of course, the Body of Christ will forever endure, but we must remain vigilant that our own local and national Churches will not erode and fade away.

-Steve K.

Happy Epiphany!

Most people are not aware that January 6th was the day that the early Church celebrated both the Baptism of Jesus and Christmas. This article by St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church in Niranam, India provides a great explanation on how this feast day evolved over the ages, and today how many Western churches celebrate only the 3 wise men coming to give honor to the infant Jesus.

Logical Proof of God

Here are two videos that one of my friends sent me. These videos are very interesting and worth watching about the existence of God.
  1. Logical Proof of God is Real

  2. An Answer to "What Created God?"

Black Ministers Rally Behind Burris

Warm words of support and prayers for Roland Burris contrasted with the frigid reactions from Senate leaders, many of whom say his appointment by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is so badly stained that Burris shouldn't be seated when the new Congress convenes this week.

Burris took the stage at New Covenant Church on Sunday evening to a crescendo of drums, organ music and applause from hundreds of supporters, including black leaders and ministers.

"The appointment is legal," he said, thanking those gathered at the prayer service. "That is all there is. I don't know what all the confusion is about."

Before the service, Burris supporter U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and about 60 ministers condemned Senate Democratic leaders for rejecting Burris.

Rush, a Chicago Democrat, called the Senate "the last bastion of plantation politics."
"We are just faced with a hard-headed room of people in the Senate who want to keep an African-American out of the Senate," Rush said.

- full article

Remember how we Orthodox were always told that the Church should stay out of politics. It's probably a good idea...meanwhile some churches seem to dive right in. The black churches have been instrumental in the fight for civil rights in the past. However, as an 'ethnic' Orthodox, I'm inclined to think that our Church shouldn't play a similar role as an ethnic advocacy group. It works for some churches, but the Orthodox churches theologically shouldn't be bound to advance a particular group's agenda.
-Steve K.

More Americans join Orthodox Christian churches

The Orthodox church in America is seeing a greater percentage of it's membership consisting of incoming converts, USA Today reports.

"Today, Mencotti is one of about 250 million Orthodox believers worldwide — and among a significant number of newcomers attracted to this ancient way of worship. The trend is especially notable since so few in the United States know about the Orthodox churches here."

There was one line that somewhat irked me: "Orthodoxy was born from the Great Schism of 1054, when feuds over papal authority and differences in the liturgy split Christianity into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox halves."

Orthodoxy was "born" on the day of Pentecost.

All in all, it's an interesting article.

Monday, January 5, 2009

An Orthodox Wedding for Jennifer Aniston

The news sources for this are very weak and this may finally be exposed as yet another Internet rumor, but several outlets are reporting that actress Jennifer Aniston will be marrying again to current boyfriend John Mayer ... and her dream wedding is Greek Orthodox!

"Jen was exposed to the Greek Orthodox religion growing up because that's her dad's background. Her first marriage, to Brad Pitt, was a huge, extravagant affair, but it was not a church wedding. Jen isn't overly religious, but she wants one now."

In many culturally-rooted Orthodox churches (Indian, Greek, Russian, etc), this is a very common observation i.e., the Sacrament of Marriage given to a couple who is not spiritually connected to the Church. The tragedy in most cases is the community and the priest fails in their Spiritual obligation to the new couple and do not leverage their interest in the Church to bring that couple closer to Christ.

Dr. Bradley Nassif wrote on the Orthodox church forgetting it's evangelical roots, and it's almost impossible to argue this point. Our Church must wake up and respond to the natural tendency of people to search for God as they get older in order for a healthy growth, as in almost every cases the person's search begins with what they had experienced in their childhood.