The Orthodox Church…

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should not be the place where ethnic and racial differences and rivalries are celebrated so much as it should be the place where they are resolved in a new community, a new people, a new nation, a new race, rooted in Christ. In the Church we are not called to baptize the old but to be baptized in order to become new and that newness means that the earthly things that identify us, even if they are pleasant, are not the final definition of who we are either as people or as a Church but rather we are called to be a new nation, a new people, as a way of bearing witness in the present to the world which is to come.

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As You Watch…

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the world darken and twist. As you see the confusion and the breakdown. As you witness the walking dead around you and your heart breaks for what is happening.

Do something. Just that. Do something. it doesn’t have to be a big thing, every little bit counts, but it has something you do to make a difference. Roll up your sleeves, put your faith into action, and seek out whatever you see as wrong and broken and challenged and do something to make it better.

The world and the church are full of passive whiners and complainers, people who have a list of things to gripe about but not a single finger to lift to make things better. Enough of that. From now on anyone who complains about the way things are and does nothing to make it better is part of the problem and needs to be ignored by the people who are actually making a difference. What they say matters nothing until they have shown they are willing to take personal responsibility for making something better.

For followers of Christ this is especially important. We are not called to hide away from the world no matter how terrible that world is. We are called to be salt and light and God’s hands in a place that has made ill by human sin. We are called to proclaim the reality of our faith in word and deed and there are no exceptions, even for difficult days.

Make a decision. Are you in or you? There’s a lot at stake hear not the least of which may be your own soul.

Imagine There’s no Football…

or any other professional sport for that matter. What would happen?

The answer, in a nutshell is “Nothing.”

If all of the sudden the NFL, or any other league, just disappeared there may be some initial shock but then everyone would just adapt. The time you would’ve spent watching or attending sports events would be filled with something else, perhaps even something better.

The money you would have spent would either be saved or directed towards some other kind of activity. After all professional sports don’t “bring” money to a place they simply rearrange the existing money to themselves over and above other choices. If there was no NFL people would spend the money they used to use for the NFL somewhere else, say a local restaurant or other venue. People in Omaha, for example, don’t have a professional football team so what do they do instead of buying tickets? They either save or spend the money on something else in town and the benefits go, not to a billionaire owner of a sports franchise, but rather to a local business or other entity.

The time you would have spent would also be redirected towards something else as well, again something possibly better. People might go outside and take a walk, do something as a family or take a drive. They could even, gasp, talk to each other and build better relationships or just use the time as a way to rest from a busy week. You could even consider going to church! I know, I may be pushing it a bit but I had to throw that in there.

The point is this. There has never been a time in the history of this country when professional sports of any kind have been a necessity. They can provide moments of fun, drama, and community but so can a lot of things that don’t cost hundreds of dollars. I would venture to say that if your favorite franchise just packed up and went away that no one would die and in a little while people would simply adjust and do something else, perhaps something even better than eating 10 dollar plus hot dogs.

Quite frankly, they need you and you don’t actually need them. The world is full of other things to do and when you know that you come to realize you have more power than you thought.

We Live…

in a post truth culture. We can frame our positions and arguments for the Orthodox Faith by the strictest rules of logic and people will say “So what? That’s your truth.”

We live in a post authority culture so simply saying “This is what the Church has always taught” may have little or no weight with the larger society.

We live in a post knowledge culture and people may not even have the slightest idea of the words and terms we use or their context. How will we be able to speak of, for example, “Salvation” when the average person may have little understanding of what that word means, and especially how we mean it?

But people will, if they see what we believe demonstrated by the tangible outworking of our lives, at least have something solid to grab a hold of as they try to understand what we are saying in a world without truth, authority, or knowledge as they have been formerly understood.

In the end, therefore, perhaps one of the most profound and useful things we can do as Orthodox is to actually be, Orthodox.