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.

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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.

 

I Hate My Country…

sometimes. We can be a very selfish people, self-centered, greedy, and given to violence. Often we seem like a culture with only goods and services and no soul, no heart, and nothing beyond the next gadget to buy. We can be promiscuous and vile, indulgent to our every whim as if it were the entire definition of our existence, and every feeling has become, for us, an ultimate truth to be defended at all costs.

I love my country…

because there is amazing beauty here, everything from the arctic to the tropical in one country. There is goodness here, as well, and if you understand that the movies, the TV, and the news aren’t documentaries so much as lurid attempts to get you to watch you’ll notice kindness, civility, charity, and friendliness in many places. We’re always among the most charitable nations on Earth and even though we could always do more we’re still moved by the poverty and tragedy of others. We forget them sometimes, but we really do have high ideals and there are very few countries that are as diverse of people, faith, and vision and yet have somehow still found a way to be together.

And because I love my country I recognize everything that’s wrong but still believe in what’s good and right and decent about us all. I enjoy traveling the world but this is home and I plan on fighting for the best of it, not with force or violence but by trying to be the best and most honorable person I can and by living my Faith to the greatest extent possible. I can’t control the past, but today, and the future, are surely something I can make better. And every time in the Liturgy when we pray for our nation, its leaders, the armed forces, every city and countryside and the faithful who dwell in them, I’ll mean it like I always have and perhaps even more.