From the August 2022 edition of “The Light”
Orthodox Christianity has NOT been politically correct for the past two thousand years and will continue NOT to be politically correct in the future! What does this mean? It means that anything contrary to the Bible, including the Old and New Testament, the Traditions, and the Ecumenical Councils will not be accepted by the Orthodox Church and the Church will not hide Her views on those issues. As we all live life, we will encounter our secular society’s contrary views. However, the Church and Her faithful will never succumb (give in) to mighty but wrongful currents that are sweeping our culture lest what happened to Sodom takes place in our presence or, at the very least, at the Last Judgment. The works and miracles that have been done in our society had not been done in Sodom; our spiritual progress in the world, the growth of Orthodox Christianity, the unprecedented wealth, the Godly graces, the unparalleled advancements in all fields, including the medical field, the increase in the average life-expectancy for people, etc. For this reason, our Lord warns,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20, 24)
This is a serious matter! Even though we might not feel the heat today due to all the worldly distracting pleasures, our Lord is unrelenting in His endeavor and will not waver. Therefore, it behooves us to adopt His loving teachings, to change our ways by making an about face, and to follow Him on all fronts. Nonetheless, some might choose otherwise to match one’s desired lifestyle and pleasures. Attempts to dilute the faith or water down Orthodoxy will not be successful! Some of us might think that we can outsmart the Church, Her conscience, and the faithful people by sneaking in personal agendas or by temporarily hiding personal interests that are contrary to God’s will. Nevertheless, it will not be done for long in the darkness! Eventually, everything will be exposed to the Light! This leads to the fact that it is not appropriate, nor right to choose out of His teachings and Commandments what is convenient for our lifestyle and “ditch” what is not! All His teachings and Commandments go together as one package.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So, speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.” (James 2:10-12)
Orthodox Christianity does not distinguish between a “small” sin and “big” sin, a “deadly” sin and a “survivable” sin, a “serious” sin and a “light” sin, or a murder and a “white” lie. A sin is a sin no matter what it is. All sins are equally offensive to God! However, recovering from different sins is not equally hard. With the guidance of a Spiritual Father, it is easier, for example, to recover from the sin of stealing a pencil than the sin of murder.
Shifting gears to our DOMSE events, we have a successful June PLC under our belt! A fruitful and efficacious June and July at Camp St. Thekla, session one and two, are also a feather in our cap. The organizers, faithful, campers, and staff have already expressed their elated attitude! What is left this year?
We have the annual Fall Retreat starting on September 9 (the faithful and clergy are to arrive the evening of September 8). The retreat ends on Saturday, September 10, however, all are welcome to participate in the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, September 11. We are planning a spiritually edifying retreat as usual, hosted at St Ignatius Church, Franklin, TN. We will have engaging and exciting speakers to spark our interest in Godly topics to further increase our faith and get us closer to God on our path to becoming God-like. In addition, the men have their annual Fall AMEN Retreat in November. The customary stimulating speakers will give incentive and motivation for continued spiritual growth. I personally look forward to both retreats.
May God bless you and may the Holy Trinity protect you all.