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Fr. Josiah Trenham's funeral for America

podkarpatska

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Tikhon29605 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
orthoreader said:
So I say, Fr. Josiah's "tactic" was called for..
orthoreader said:
Did anyone actually listen to the sermon, or where they too focused on his vestments?
I didn't "listen" to the sermon, but I did read the transcript given at the link in the OP thrice, and I listened to the first minute or so in order to see if I could tell whether it was a podcast or a liturgical homily.  I take offence at the insinuation that my opposition to "Fr Josiah's 'tactic'" is a matter of narrowly focusing on vesture. 

As I stated above, I don't really disagree with Fr Josiah's teaching generally speaking.  But I do object to the use of the liturgical homily as a place to exegete Supreme Court Justices' opinions rather than explain how the gospel can be brought to bear on our lives, both individual and communal (in all its forms).  That, ultimately, is what he's railing against: the rejection of evangelical (gospel, not Protestant) principles in his country.  The solution is to teach and preach the gospel.  But he doesn't.  There are no references to the readings of the day or to other readings except for two or three allusions to the apocalyptic literature in Scripture or the example of the Maccabees which are told more as a heads-up on coming attractions and a call to action.  But no evangelical teaching. 

The name of Christ is not even mentioned once in his homily except in the form of a passing reference to "our Common Master".  In contrast,

Kennedy: mentioned six times
Roberts:  mentioned three times
Scalia:  mentioned three times
Thomas: mentioned two times 

Those are not the four evangelists people go to church to hear.  Yet, their names and words are allowed to drown out the name and word of God.  This is not really "a priest doing his job".  This is a priest doing something other than his job in order to do his job as he understands it.  If all he did was give a five minute homily on one line of either of the liturgical readings and then asked his parishioners not to leave at the end of the Liturgy because he would like to speak at length on an important matter, "Fr Josiah's 'tactic'" wouldn't have bothered me in this regard.  But thus far, no one has been able to demonstrate that anything like this happened.  So, on that particular Sunday, neither the Kingdom of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit nor the Kingdom of Caesar were blessed, and the gospel was silenced in favour of legal opinions.  This is not an "ends justify the means" situation.  This is wrong. 

Regarding being "too focused on his vestments", the very first person to be focused on Fr Josiah's vestments was Fr Josiah himself.  He is the one who decided to use black vestments instead of gold or white or whatever the seasonal colour might be.  He is the one that made the link between the situation in the country today and "funerals" and the Passion of Christ.  He is the one who opened his "homily" by talking about why he chose to wear them.  He chose to use the Liturgy of the catholic Church as an opportunity to dramatically stage his protest.  If he can do that, why not others?  Maybe some of the "respected, senior priests, deans of cathedrals, on the east coast, who have written in support of same-sex marriage" could stage a "pro-gay Liturgy" with rainbow-themed vestments, or maybe a "patriotic Liturgy" with flag-themed vestments to celebrate the SC verdict.  But they would all be wrong to use the mystery of the age to come as the occasion to celebrate or protest the spirit of the age which is already here.  There is a time and a place for that.  This was not that time or that place. 

I like and respect the man, and I don't disagree with his basic views, but this was and is an abomination.  And if you think these words are too dramatic and over the top, maybe you didn't listen to Fr Josiah's homily.
+100 

Brilliant!  You said everything that needed to be said and you did it eloquently and with style.
Amen. And presented by Not with sufficient respect for Father's underlying views. Substance is not the real issue, but it is, and has always been, about his style and not just in this matter.  His antics resemble those of popular heterodox preachers.
 
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podkarpatska said:
Tikhon29605 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
orthoreader said:
So I say, Fr. Josiah's "tactic" was called for..
orthoreader said:
Did anyone actually listen to the sermon, or where they too focused on his vestments?
I didn't "listen" to the sermon, but I did read the transcript given at the link in the OP thrice, and I listened to the first minute or so in order to see if I could tell whether it was a podcast or a liturgical homily.  I take offence at the insinuation that my opposition to "Fr Josiah's 'tactic'" is a matter of narrowly focusing on vesture. 

As I stated above, I don't really disagree with Fr Josiah's teaching generally speaking.  But I do object to the use of the liturgical homily as a place to exegete Supreme Court Justices' opinions rather than explain how the gospel can be brought to bear on our lives, both individual and communal (in all its forms).  That, ultimately, is what he's railing against: the rejection of evangelical (gospel, not Protestant) principles in his country.  The solution is to teach and preach the gospel.  But he doesn't.  There are no references to the readings of the day or to other readings except for two or three allusions to the apocalyptic literature in Scripture or the example of the Maccabees which are told more as a heads-up on coming attractions and a call to action.  But no evangelical teaching. 

The name of Christ is not even mentioned once in his homily except in the form of a passing reference to "our Common Master".  In contrast,

Kennedy: mentioned six times
Roberts:  mentioned three times
Scalia:  mentioned three times
Thomas: mentioned two times 

Those are not the four evangelists people go to church to hear.  Yet, their names and words are allowed to drown out the name and word of God.  This is not really "a priest doing his job".  This is a priest doing something other than his job in order to do his job as he understands it.  If all he did was give a five minute homily on one line of either of the liturgical readings and then asked his parishioners not to leave at the end of the Liturgy because he would like to speak at length on an important matter, "Fr Josiah's 'tactic'" wouldn't have bothered me in this regard.  But thus far, no one has been able to demonstrate that anything like this happened.  So, on that particular Sunday, neither the Kingdom of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit nor the Kingdom of Caesar were blessed, and the gospel was silenced in favour of legal opinions.  This is not an "ends justify the means" situation.  This is wrong. 

Regarding being "too focused on his vestments", the very first person to be focused on Fr Josiah's vestments was Fr Josiah himself.  He is the one who decided to use black vestments instead of gold or white or whatever the seasonal colour might be.  He is the one that made the link between the situation in the country today and "funerals" and the Passion of Christ.  He is the one who opened his "homily" by talking about why he chose to wear them.  He chose to use the Liturgy of the catholic Church as an opportunity to dramatically stage his protest.  If he can do that, why not others?  Maybe some of the "respected, senior priests, deans of cathedrals, on the east coast, who have written in support of same-sex marriage" could stage a "pro-gay Liturgy" with rainbow-themed vestments, or maybe a "patriotic Liturgy" with flag-themed vestments to celebrate the SC verdict.  But they would all be wrong to use the mystery of the age to come as the occasion to celebrate or protest the spirit of the age which is already here.  There is a time and a place for that.  This was not that time or that place. 

I like and respect the man, and I don't disagree with his basic views, but this was and is an abomination.  And if you think these words are too dramatic and over the top, maybe you didn't listen to Fr Josiah's homily.
+100 

Brilliant!  You said everything that needed to be said and you did it eloquently and with style.
Amen. And presented by Not with sufficient respect for Father's underlying views. Substance is not the real issue, but it is, and has always been, about his style and not just in this matter.  His antics resemble those of popular heterodox preachers.
Wait Christ was mentioned once in passing but the SCJ's in total was mentioned like 14 times? I'm not too familiar with this gentlemen but it doesn't seem right almost like a political campaign message.
 

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Brig the son of a one percent-er would should be an impediment to priesthood.
 

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While it wasn't the first time I had ever listened to him, the first sermon by him that made my ears prick up was his one on Bruno Mars's  performance at the Super Bowl.  The way he was talking, you'd think that Bruno had bathed in the blood of a sacrificed goat on stage.  Still, he had some good points and I began to listen to him more.  He really challenges one in their understanding of the faith, and I liked how uncompromising he was.  Also, he has explicitly condemned what he calls 'Americanism,' which is the belief that America is some unique, divine nation, and he stated that it was a heresy of the right.  So to say that he's some 'City Upon a Hill' Puritan is not fair.  Also, I like how he pushes Orthodox to become involved with their communities, and to stop talking about the 'Old Country.'

That being said, I began to sour on his talks after he cracked a joke about Muslims in Russia threatening to beat up participants in a pride parade (what's worse, people in the audience actually laughed).  He quickly followed this up by saying that he did not support that kind of behavior, but it was quite a creepy moment nevertheless.  Later on, I was listening to a sermon where he made what I think was a swipe at evolution.  While I understand that belief or non-belief in the physical processes of evolution is not a component of being Orthodox, he seemed to woefully misunderstand the theory.  Also, he made a snide comment about 'Mr. Scientist.'  I'm sorry, but if it wasn't for scientists, I would not be alive today.  He came across as sounding like an aggressive Ray Comfort, and I stopped listening to him.

The thing about theatricality is that, in much of American Christianity, there is just too much of it.  Megachurches that act more like rock concerts, slick-suited preachers who seem to love the sound of their own voice, the proliferation of prosperity gospel, the Rapture industry, Benny Hinn...the list goes on.  While there are many good, faithful Christians out there, American Christianity as a whole looks more like a circus than a unified faith.  And let's be honest; it hasn't worked.  Absolutely none of the fiery televangelists and TBN pledge drives have helped to turn the country around, even in the most conservative regions.

Take gay marriage for example.  Instead of lovingly but firmly talking about the importance of sacrament of marriage and how marriage is an icon of the relationship between God and the Church, we got preachers stating that AIDS was a plague from God, conversion centers where electrodes were strapped to genitals to make people straight, and wave after wave of politicians and preachers making no real distinction between homosexuals and homosexuality.  There was no love at all, just hate, and in that environment, Christian conservatives lost the support of the general public.

In this environment, I think Orthodoxy should be a Church of sober reflection, and firm but loving conviction.  We don't need any more meaningless theatrics, we need the Word preached in its totality, which I believe that the Orthodox can and should do.
 

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Giving an entire sermon about Bruno Mars?  :eek:

And yeah, I agree that the Orthodox of all people shouldn't be ridiculing scientists. I mean it's the church whose interpretation of scripture is arguably the least literal (apart from the modern "progressive" mainline ones, of course). Also, Nikolai Fyodorov was Orthodox and not only saw no conflict between faith and science, he also actually believed it was a moral duty of Christians to use science and technology to fight suffering and death (he was a proto-transhumanist in this regard).
 

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Minnesotan said:
Giving an entire sermon about Bruno Mars?  :eek:
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena/bruno_the_loser_mars
 

Asteriktos

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Rhinosaur said:
...
The thing about theatricality is that...
...
Speaking of, fwiw I regret the earlier post I made.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
orthoreader said:
So I say, Fr. Josiah's "tactic" was called for..
orthoreader said:
Did anyone actually listen to the sermon, or where they too focused on his vestments?
I didn't "listen" to the sermon, but I did read the transcript given at the link in the OP thrice, and I listened to the first minute or so in order to see if I could tell whether it was a podcast or a liturgical homily.  I take offence at the insinuation that my opposition to "Fr Josiah's 'tactic'" is a matter of narrowly focusing on vesture. 

As I stated above, I don't really disagree with Fr Josiah's teaching generally speaking.  But I do object to the use of the liturgical homily as a place to exegete Supreme Court Justices' opinions rather than explain how the gospel can be brought to bear on our lives, both individual and communal (in all its forms).  That, ultimately, is what he's railing against: the rejection of evangelical (gospel, not Protestant) principles in his country.  The solution is to teach and preach the gospel.  But he doesn't.  There are no references to the readings of the day or to other readings except for two or three allusions to the apocalyptic literature in Scripture or the example of the Maccabees which are told more as a heads-up on coming attractions and a call to action.  But no evangelical teaching. 

The name of Christ is not even mentioned once in his homily except in the form of a passing reference to "our Common Master".  In contrast,

Kennedy: mentioned six times
Roberts:  mentioned three times
Scalia:  mentioned three times
Thomas: mentioned two times 

Those are not the four evangelists people go to church to hear.  Yet, their names and words are allowed to drown out the name and word of God.  This is not really "a priest doing his job".  This is a priest doing something other than his job in order to do his job as he understands it.  If all he did was give a five minute homily on one line of either of the liturgical readings and then asked his parishioners not to leave at the end of the Liturgy because he would like to speak at length on an important matter, "Fr Josiah's 'tactic'" wouldn't have bothered me in this regard.  But thus far, no one has been able to demonstrate that anything like this happened.  So, on that particular Sunday, neither the Kingdom of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit nor the Kingdom of Caesar were blessed, and the gospel was silenced in favour of legal opinions.  This is not an "ends justify the means" situation.  This is wrong. 

Regarding being "too focused on his vestments", the very first person to be focused on Fr Josiah's vestments was Fr Josiah himself.  He is the one who decided to use black vestments instead of gold or white or whatever the seasonal colour might be.  He is the one that made the link between the situation in the country today and "funerals" and the Passion of Christ.  He is the one who opened his "homily" by talking about why he chose to wear them.  He chose to use the Liturgy of the catholic Church as an opportunity to dramatically stage his protest.  If he can do that, why not others?  Maybe some of the "respected, senior priests, deans of cathedrals, on the east coast, who have written in support of same-sex marriage" could stage a "pro-gay Liturgy" with rainbow-themed vestments, or maybe a "patriotic Liturgy" with flag-themed vestments to celebrate the SC verdict.  But they would all be wrong to use the mystery of the age to come as the occasion to celebrate or protest the spirit of the age which is already here.  There is a time and a place for that.  This was not that time or that place. 

I like and respect the man, and I don't disagree with his basic views, but this was and is an abomination.  And if you think these words are too dramatic and over the top, maybe you didn't listen to Fr Josiah's homily.

Hi Mor. I'm sorry you feel offended, truly I do.

Let me ask you a question, and forgive me if I am ignorant as to your position in the church - do you preach? The message given by the one giving the sermon every Sunday doesn't necessarily have to be from the Gospel or Epistle of that particular day. To that end, one actually doesn't have to mention the name "Christ" to get Christ's message. Especially when one is talking about the Mysteries of the Church. Now, I'll grant you, more often than not, the one sermonizing should mention Christ and preach on the Gospel/Epistle. 

Now, I'm sorry you find this problematic, or Fr. Josiah's homily to be too "protestanty," but I have also heard hundreds of hand written-so called-Orthodox- homilies over my years, sort of just read (droned even), taken straight from the Gospel, and no one really got the message. The good news was that, I guess, no one also got offended either because the Priest didn't choose to connect it to our lives outside the four walls of the temple either. Sometimes, when Priests do that, it sort of stings because it makes us get out of our comfort zone. Right? I  hate it when priests do that. Especially when they get "too protestant" on our asses.

Like I told Tikhon, if Fr. Josiah (or any other priest) were doing this week in and week out, then I would too would find it problematic that he chose to overlook the readings for that particular Sunday to preach on politics. I would. I am firm believer that the good news is the good news and that's what we need to hear. But I also believe periods in history like that particular weekend need to be acknowledged by our clergy. I would have been more traumatized had my priest or any other just overlooked it as nothing. That would have been an abomination, not Fr. Josiah's sermon. 

But issues like sanctity of life, marriage, etc are intrinsically connected to the Mysteries of the Church - coopted by politics. But they belong to God in reality. They are de facto the Gospel. So when a priests decides to defend them, even in a sermon, he's not doing the job as he thinks he needs to, he's doing the job as his ordination demands - he's protecting the Holy Mysteries. Not understanding this, is the abomination, not Fr. Josiah's sermon.

Again - sorry you were offended.
 

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Thankfully, not all clergy are frothing, theatrically, at the mouth. Here, as usual, as wise and calming words with a strong, Orthodox message from a priest who is both a trained clinical psychologist (albeit 'retired' as such), a convert from a Weslyan background, a writer and homilist (and professor of such at two seminaries) and someone I am proud to call a close, personal friend, Fr. Jonathan Tobias of Pittsburgh, PA: 

"Frankly, we should have been thinking about "responses" to the devolution of contemporary society a long time ago. Maybe as far back as when usury was legalized in modern Europe, and everything became commoditized (even human labor). Maybe even further back as when Christendom lost its soul when the western Church itself began contractualizing the concept of "covenant" and all relationships, and secularity was thus invented and set loose upon human society.

Why do we notice how bad things are only when our hot buttons are pushed? I think our surprise and shock about Friday June 26th reveal not so much the badness of the world, but our egregious lack of wisdom, and failure to discern.

For now, I will offer only this, in the particular subject of marriage:

The best thing to do, in response, is this: We need to understand and reveal the truth of Orthodox Marriage. Our homes need to be islands of the joy and peace of the Risen Christ. Our marriages need to reveal the possibilities of Trinitarian love in our time. And we need to be able to talk freely, peacefully and courageously, about what our marriages mean in Orthodoxy
."
http://janotec.typepad.com/terrace/2015/06/on-friday-marriage.html

Father Jonathan's message is clear and not lost in the din of hyperbolic frenzy.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Rhinosaur said:
Minnesotan said:
Giving an entire sermon about Bruno Mars?  :eek:
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena/bruno_the_loser_mars
No one should ever begin a talk about Bruno Mars with the words, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..." and end it with "To the glory of God. Amen".

In my favorite part of the sermon, other than the bit in which Fr. Josiah juxtaposes the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ with those of His perennial rival, 20-something year old pop star Bruno, Fr. Josiah describes a literal fit he suffered - uncontrollably flailing arms, involuntarily exploding from his seat and all - triggered by Bruno's typically inane lyrics penned for an audience of teenage girls:

I went from having a nice Sunday. I literally leapt out of my seat in fury. I didn’t know what to say or do. My arms were going all over. If Bruno Mars was there, I would have violated the canons that tell priests you can’t strike sinners to correct them; you have to persuade them. Wow.
Wow indeed.  And repeatedly referring to the guy as "the loser", like some kind of high school bully?  Class, all the way, and very becoming for a priest.  Contra Bruno Martis is pretty much the greatest theological takedown since St. Athanasius took on the Arians.  Maybe next Fr. Josiah will tackle the arch heresiarch of our times, Miley Cyrus.
 

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podkarpatska said:
Thankfully, not all clergy are frothing, theatrically, at the mouth. Here, as usual, as wise and calming words with a strong, Orthodox message from a priest who is both a trained clinical psychologist (albeit 'retired' as such), a convert from a Weslyan background, a writer and homilist (and professor of such at two seminaries) and someone I am proud to call a close, personal friend, Fr. Jonathan Tobias of Pittsburgh, PA: 

"Frankly, we should have been thinking about "responses" to the devolution of contemporary society a long time ago. Maybe as far back as when usury was legalized in modern Europe, and everything became commoditized (even human labor). Maybe even further back as when Christendom lost its soul when the western Church itself began contractualizing the concept of "covenant" and all relationships, and secularity was thus invented and set loose upon human society.

Why do we notice how bad things are only when our hot buttons are pushed? I think our surprise and shock about Friday June 26th reveal not so much the badness of the world, but our egregious lack of wisdom, and failure to discern.

For now, I will offer only this, in the particular subject of marriage:

The best thing to do, in response, is this: We need to understand and reveal the truth of Orthodox Marriage. Our homes need to be islands of the joy and peace of the Risen Christ. Our marriages need to reveal the possibilities of Trinitarian love in our time. And we need to be able to talk freely, peacefully and courageously, about what our marriages mean in Orthodoxy
."
http://janotec.typepad.com/terrace/2015/06/on-friday-marriage.html

Father Jonathan's message is clear and not lost in the din of hyperbolic frenzy.
Thank you for posting that.  What a wise and level-headed priest!  I clicked on the link and read the entire article.  I think I may go back and re-read it again several times.  It was clear, direct, simple, and lacked the passionate anger of the Culture War debate.  I think Father Jonathan will convince more people than Father Josiah will.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Rhinosaur said:
Minnesotan said:
Giving an entire sermon about Bruno Mars?  :eek:
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena/bruno_the_loser_mars
No one should ever begin a talk about Bruno Mars with the words, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..." and end it with "To the glory of God. Amen".

In my favorite part of the sermon, other than the bit in which Fr. Josiah juxtaposes the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ with those of his perennial rival, 20-something year old pop star Bruno, Fr. Josiah describes a literal fit he suffered - uncontrollably flailing arms, involuntarily exploding from his seat and all - triggered by Bruno's typically inane lyrics penned for an audience of teenage girls:

I went from having a nice Sunday. I literally leapt out of my seat in fury. I didn’t know what to say or do. My arms were going all over. If Bruno Mars was there, I would have violated the canons that tell priests you can’t strike sinners to correct them; you have to persuade them. Wow.
Wow indeed.  And repeatedly referring to the guy as "the loser", like some kind of high school bully?  Class, all the way, and very becoming for a priest.  Contra Bruno Martis is pretty much the greatest theological takedown since St. Athanasius took on the Arians.  Maybe next Fr. Josiah will tackle the arch heresiarch of our times, Miley Cyrus.
This is just embarrassing. I'm glad I haven't told any of my non-Orthodox friends about Ancient Faith Radio.  This is a terrible witness to to world.
 

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podkarpatska said:
Thankfully, not all clergy are frothing, theatrically, at the mouth. Here, as usual, as wise and calming words with a strong, Orthodox message from a priest who is both a trained clinical psychologist (albeit 'retired' as such), a convert from a Weslyan background, a writer and homilist (and professor of such at two seminaries) and someone I am proud to call a close, personal friend, Fr. Jonathan Tobias of Pittsburgh, PA: 

"Frankly, we should have been thinking about "responses" to the devolution of contemporary society a long time ago. Maybe as far back as when usury was legalized in modern Europe, and everything became commoditized (even human labor). Maybe even further back as when Christendom lost its soul when the western Church itself began contractualizing the concept of "covenant" and all relationships, and secularity was thus invented and set loose upon human society.

Why do we notice how bad things are only when our hot buttons are pushed? I think our surprise and shock about Friday June 26th reveal not so much the badness of the world, but our egregious lack of wisdom, and failure to discern.

For now, I will offer only this, in the particular subject of marriage:

The best thing to do, in response, is this: We need to understand and reveal the truth of Orthodox Marriage. Our homes need to be islands of the joy and peace of the Risen Christ. Our marriages need to reveal the possibilities of Trinitarian love in our time. And we need to be able to talk freely, peacefully and courageously, about what our marriages mean in Orthodoxy
."
http://janotec.typepad.com/terrace/2015/06/on-friday-marriage.html

Father Jonathan's message is clear and not lost in the din of hyperbolic frenzy.
The problem with most of the theatrics you mentioned is that it is all aimed at the 'home team.'  I am assuming that the 'black vestment incident' didn't happen in front of the people who really need to hear what the Church teaches.  So, what we end up with is the more common problem of being stuck in a closed community and repeating the same lessons and messages over and over again.

How do you sound urgent when you've been repeating yourself for 10 or 15 or 20 years?  How do you not sound desperate as the world ignores you again and again?

Some of the clergy have openly talked about joining other 'conservative' (I mean religiously speaking, dear moderators) groups to 'fight' for marriage.  My response is simple: you mean, join the losing team? I'm not saying that we need to join with the 'winners' either.  What I am saying is that we really don't have a horse in this race.

Most public commentators from the Orthodox world, when it comes to marriage and other social issues, have not even bothered to fully examine the topics they are discussing.  They just grab the side that 'looks closest' to us and go from there.  So, they inadvertently buy into all the nonsense of Protestant fundamentalism and the rage of Calvinism, perhaps because their own participation in the Orthodox Church has been the 'tweaking' of those pre-existing beliefs.  Look, I have met convert clergy who insist that their Chrismations were a 'confirmation' of the Holy Spirit's presence in them before they were received into the Church.  They were right before, and they are right now, right now.

If you spend any amount of time reading Orthodox literature not generated in the last 20 years (and mostly by recent converts), you will see drawn out discussions about or even explaining sex and marriage in the way that is now popular doesn't even exist.  Pick up The Ladder and read how St. John treats the topics of 'sexual attraction' and marriage.

There's the second problem: by simply buying the lingo about 'attraction' and 'sexuality,' you are buying language that is designed to help the 'bad guys' win... because they've designed the topic to win.  You will always lose, because they thought it through and designed it that way.  There is only one possible outcome.

You can cherry-pick and proof-text various quotes and spin them to your heart's desire, but the real reason we are writing all these books is because the fathers simply don't fight this fight.  Why?  We never ask that question.  We never ask why we have to write books to fill in the 'gaps.'

Personally, I find it OUTRAGEOUS that we would hold people outside the Church to the standards of the Church.  Why are you angry and upset?  Are you not the same people who are very clear about pointing out that heterodox are damned for their stubborn refusal to repent and join the One True Church?  Why do you insult and spew rage at people who are acting exactly as we would expect them to act?

My sense is that much of the rage is really self-engendered: many of our popular preachers were once men in good standing with that world, and the platform of their present status was built in that world.  When it appears that the foundation stones are washing away, it is a source of embarrassment.

For example, there is an Orthodox priest I know who was once a cleric of the Church of England.  He is a good-natured bloke and can be teased, and so when the topic came up, I said something cheeky like, "Hey, weren't you a male priestess of the CoE?"  He made a face and giggled, then nodded.  Of course, he has gone through quite a bit of humiliation over the years because of his past.  He 'gets' it, and so his priesthood has largely been about 'starting over' from scratch.

The present devolution of both mainstream Christianity and it's curious fundamentalist sects is cause for concern.  You see, they are all sinking together.  Be is super-liberal franchises or their über-conservative counterparts (from which many of today's prominent Orthodox clergy emerged), we are now seeing that their messages are being ignored altogether.  God has 'withdrawn' his blessing, and so people have to ask themselves, "Was God ever there to begin with?  And, if He wasn't, were all of my most powerful and formative experiences just imaginary?  And, if so, what about right now?"

It starts getting even scarier when you have that Calvinist bent, and your own kids, who have lived with your sturm-und-drang from infancy, leave the house and move in with their heterodox lovers... thus totally abandoning everything you taught them and securing their own places in the Damnation that they were created to endure.  See?  That world out there 'stole' my kids!  I'm going to fight to get them back (under my control).

It is amazing that we save this rage for 'the world' and the Supreme Court... and not ourselves.  If I was to get angry, I suppose I should be angry at me for not being a better Christian.  The world ignores be because by own passions and failing leave me undifferentiated from those around me who have no conscious connection to God at all.

So, we are left with splinters and logs (I actually like the translation as 'mote,' by my kids associate motes with castles).  We rage at the world.

And then... we teach stupid regurgitations of Protestant nonsense about marriage!  Come on!  A few quotes from St. ________ don't do away with the fact that you are still preaching the same message now that you were before the oil hit your forehead.  Sadly, most of our modern spokesmen have forgotten even the previous generation's message.  See if he is quoted.  More often than not, he is left out.

I admit, rage is fun and indignation is stimulating, but it isn't enough to drag someone out of bed (or someone else's bed).  We end up just looking angry.  Plus, we get the added benefit of driving away the people who need the message the most. because they know you are either scared of them or hate them (which is usually the same thing).

Calmness and a cup of tea are in order.  Protestantism and its war to establish self-will as central to biblical interpretation has finally born the ultimate fruit: the naked and unrestrained self-will.  That's what it was always about, all because Martin Luther rebelled against a church that was all about total restraint.  It broke him, or rather he broke himself, and then the breaking just continued.  So, why is anyone surprised or indignant for that matter?

We cannot argue about going back... because there is no going back.  You can't 'go back' when so many families are an assembly of steps and missteps, step-children, step-parents, etc.

We must go forward and heal the wounded.

Dramatics and public displays to each other won't do that.  We need to start loving others.  They will know their sins when they realize it isn't working for them.  We have to be patient, and ready for them through our own repentance.

Sure, this ain't as sexy as railing against the world, but I think it is the only thing that fits with our Tradition.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Wow indeed.  And repeatedly referring to the guy as "the loser", like some kind of high school bully?  Class, all the way, and very becoming for a priest.  Contra Bruno Martis is pretty much the greatest theological takedown since St. Athanasius took on the Arians.  Maybe next Fr. Josiah will tackle the arch heresiarch of our times, Miley Cyrus.
;D

It seem that Fr. Josiah is a modern-day St. John the Apostle!

"Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Bruno Mars, the enemy of the truth, is inside!"
 

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[Drama Llama meme goes here]
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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FatherGiryus said:
podkarpatska said:
Thankfully, not all clergy are frothing, theatrically, at the mouth. Here, as usual, as wise and calming words with a strong, Orthodox message from a priest who is both a trained clinical psychologist (albeit 'retired' as such), a convert from a Weslyan background, a writer and homilist (and professor of such at two seminaries) and someone I am proud to call a close, personal friend, Fr. Jonathan Tobias of Pittsburgh, PA: 

"Frankly, we should have been thinking about "responses" to the devolution of contemporary society a long time ago. Maybe as far back as when usury was legalized in modern Europe, and everything became commoditized (even human labor). Maybe even further back as when Christendom lost its soul when the western Church itself began contractualizing the concept of "covenant" and all relationships, and secularity was thus invented and set loose upon human society.

Why do we notice how bad things are only when our hot buttons are pushed? I think our surprise and shock about Friday June 26th reveal not so much the badness of the world, but our egregious lack of wisdom, and failure to discern.

For now, I will offer only this, in the particular subject of marriage:

The best thing to do, in response, is this: We need to understand and reveal the truth of Orthodox Marriage. Our homes need to be islands of the joy and peace of the Risen Christ. Our marriages need to reveal the possibilities of Trinitarian love in our time. And we need to be able to talk freely, peacefully and courageously, about what our marriages mean in Orthodoxy
."
http://janotec.typepad.com/terrace/2015/06/on-friday-marriage.html

Father Jonathan's message is clear and not lost in the din of hyperbolic frenzy.
The problem with most of the theatrics you mentioned is that it is all aimed at the 'home team.'  I am assuming that the 'black vestment incident' didn't happen in front of the people who really need to hear what the Church teaches.  So, what we end up with is the more common problem of being stuck in a closed community and repeating the same lessons and messages over and over again.

How do you sound urgent when you've been repeating yourself for 10 or 15 or 20 years?  How do you not sound desperate as the world ignores you again and again?

Some of the clergy have openly talked about joining other 'conservative' (I mean religiously speaking, dear moderators) groups to 'fight' for marriage.  My response is simple: you mean, join the losing team? I'm not saying that we need to join with the 'winners' either.  What I am saying is that we really don't have a horse in this race.

Most public commentators from the Orthodox world, when it comes to marriage and other social issues, have not even bothered to fully examine the topics they are discussing.  They just grab the side that 'looks closest' to us and go from there.  So, they inadvertently buy into all the nonsense of Protestant fundamentalism and the rage of Calvinism, perhaps because their own participation in the Orthodox Church has been the 'tweaking' of those pre-existing beliefs.  Look, I have met convert clergy who insist that their Chrismations were a 'confirmation' of the Holy Spirit's presence in them before they were received into the Church.  They were right before, and they are right now, right now.

If you spend any amount of time reading Orthodox literature not generated in the last 20 years (and mostly by recent converts), you will see drawn out discussions about or even explaining sex and marriage in the way that is now popular doesn't even exist.  Pick up The Ladder and read how St. John treats the topics of 'sexual attraction' and marriage.

There's the second problem: by simply buying the lingo about 'attraction' and 'sexuality,' you are buying language that is designed to help the 'bad guys' win... because they've designed the topic to win.  You will always lose, because they thought it through and designed it that way.  There is only one possible outcome.

You can cherry-pick and proof-text various quotes and spin them to your heart's desire, but the real reason we are writing all these books is because the fathers simply don't fight this fight.  Why?  We never ask that question.  We never ask why we have to write books to fill in the 'gaps.'

Personally, I find it OUTRAGEOUS that we would hold people outside the Church to the standards of the Church.  Why are you angry and upset?  Are you not the same people who are very clear about pointing out that heterodox are damned for their stubborn refusal to repent and join the One True Church?  Why do you insult and spew rage at people who are acting exactly as we would expect them to act?

My sense is that much of the rage is really self-engendered: many of our popular preachers were once men in good standing with that world, and the platform of their present status was built in that world.  When it appears that the foundation stones are washing away, it is a source of embarrassment.

For example, there is an Orthodox priest I know who was once a cleric of the Church of England.  He is a good-natured bloke and can be teased, and so when the topic came up, I said something cheeky like, "Hey, weren't you a male priestess of the CoE?"  He made a face and giggled, then nodded.  Of course, he has gone through quite a bit of humiliation over the years because of his past.  He 'gets' it, and so his priesthood has largely been about 'starting over' from scratch.

The present devolution of both mainstream Christianity and it's curious fundamentalist sects is cause for concern.  You see, they are all sinking together.  Be is super-liberal franchises or their über-conservative counterparts (from which many of today's prominent Orthodox clergy emerged), we are now seeing that their messages are being ignored altogether.  God has 'withdrawn' his blessing, and so people have to ask themselves, "Was God ever there to begin with?  And, if He wasn't, were all of my most powerful and formative experiences just imaginary?  And, if so, what about right now?"

It starts getting even scarier when you have that Calvinist bent, and your own kids, who have lived with your sturm-und-drang from infancy, leave the house and move in with their heterodox lovers... thus totally abandoning everything you taught them and securing their own places in the Damnation that they were created to endure.  See?  That world out there 'stole' my kids!  I'm going to fight to get them back (under my control).

It is amazing that we save this rage for 'the world' and the Supreme Court... and not ourselves.  If I was to get angry, I suppose I should be angry at me for not being a better Christian.  The world ignores be because by own passions and failing leave me undifferentiated from those around me who have no conscious connection to God at all.

So, we are left with splinters and logs (I actually like the translation as 'mote,' by my kids associate motes with castles).  We rage at the world.

And then... we teach stupid regurgitations of Protestant nonsense about marriage!  Come on!  A few quotes from St. ________ don't do away with the fact that you are still preaching the same message now that you were before the oil hit your forehead.  Sadly, most of our modern spokesmen have forgotten even the previous generation's message.  See if he is quoted.  More often than not, he is left out.

I admit, rage is fun and indignation is stimulating, but it isn't enough to drag someone out of bed (or someone else's bed).  We end up just looking angry.  Plus, we get the added benefit of driving away the people who need the message the most. because they know you are either scared of them or hate them (which is usually the same thing).

Calmness and a cup of tea are in order.  Protestantism and its war to establish self-will as central to biblical interpretation has finally born the ultimate fruit: the naked and unrestrained self-will.  That's what it was always about, all because Martin Luther rebelled against a church that was all about total restraint.  It broke him, or rather he broke himself, and then the breaking just continued.  So, why is anyone surprised or indignant for that matter?

We cannot argue about going back... because there is no going back.  You can't 'go back' when so many families are an assembly of steps and missteps, step-children, step-parents, etc.

We must go forward and heal the wounded.

Dramatics and public displays to each other won't do that.  We need to start loving others.  They will know their sins when they realize it isn't working for them.  We have to be patient, and ready for them through our own repentance.

Sure, this ain't as sexy as railing against the world, but I think it is the only thing that fits with our Tradition.
Excellent insights Father! Amen and amen!


Selam
 

FatherGiryus

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I would like to add a 'PS' to my rant: I'm not accusing any particular priest of being guilty of the 'crimes' I have outlined.  It is a far bigger problem than that.  This has become a systemic problem as 'convert communities' spring up where neither the priest nor parishioners have a long experience in the Church.  They can often end up with significant 'blind spots' in their own formation.

I am guilty of that as well: I was sent to seminary with less than three years in the Church.  However, it was at the insistence of my bishop and the rector of my parish.  Even then, it was years before I was 'on my own,' and even then I was assigned to parishes where most of the people had been in the Church longer than I had.  In seminary, I took my well-deserved lumps.

My only 'advantage' was that I was raised outside Christianity.  So, I was something of a blank slate.  My failings are obvious to those who know me, because the usual affect of a 'Christian clergyman of the Western kind' is absent in my case.  Then again, I don't act like a very good Orthodox clergyman either.  So, I'm a failure on both accounts.

I will also add that when the convert-clergy I have described work in their area of expertise, e.g. explaining or analyzing the details of Protestantism, they excel.  Their works are to be taken seriously, because it is a very familiar place to them.  And, given the makeup of America, that is really important to other folks, like myself, who are either creeped out by or totally unfamiliar with Protestantism.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
I would like to add a 'PS' to my rant: I'm not accusing any particular priest of being guilty of the 'crimes' I have outlined.  It is a far bigger problem than that.  This has become a systemic problem as 'convert communities' spring up where neither the priest nor parishioners have a long experience in the Church.  They can often end up with significant 'blind spots' in their own formation.

I am guilty of that as well: I was sent to seminary with less than three years in the Church.  However, it was at the insistence of my bishop and the rector of my parish.  Even then, it was years before I was 'on my own,' and even then I was assigned to parishes where most of the people had been in the Church longer than I had.  In seminary, I took my well-deserved lumps.

My only 'advantage' was that I was raised outside Christianity.  So, I was something of a blank slate.  My failings are obvious to those who know me, because the usual affect of a 'Christian clergyman of the Western kind' is absent in my case.  Then again, I don't act like a very good Orthodox clergyman either.  So, I'm a failure on both accounts.

I will also add that when the convert-clergy I have described work in their area of expertise, e.g. explaining or analyzing the details of Protestantism, they excel.  Their works are to be taken seriously, because it is a very familiar place to them.  And, given the makeup of America, that is really important to other folks, like myself, who are either creeped out by or totally unfamiliar with Protestantism.
Before reading this post, I sent Father G a note and said much the same -but from a 'cradle' pov... I will say that in our little corner of the Orthodox world the success rate of convert clergy who did not spend significant time as Orthodox laity and some time in an Orthodox seminary receiving formal Orthodox education and introduction to praxis, both theoretical and practical, have generally had a high wash out rate....Sometimes it comes from being zealous where congregations are not used to zeal, other times it comes from either poor formation or a cockiness which precludes learning anything but what one wants to hear... But I will concede this is not unique to converts but it is more apparent to my eye...
 

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TheTrisagion said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Wow indeed.  And repeatedly referring to the guy as "the loser", like some kind of high school bully?  Class, all the way, and very becoming for a priest.  Contra Bruno Martis is pretty much the greatest theological takedown since St. Athanasius took on the Arians.  Maybe next Fr. Josiah will tackle the arch heresiarch of our times, Miley Cyrus.
;D

It seem that Fr. Josiah is a modern-day St. John the Apostle!

"Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Bruno Mars, the enemy of the truth, is inside and he's too lazy to get out!"
Fixed it for you.
 

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I skimmed the transcript and this thread (I didn't understand much of the latter).

The sermon deals primarily a mole hill that rest on top of a mountain. Perhaps gay marriage is a step in the right direction. They may prove to be a better example.

I liked the ending of the transcript:

You think this came out of nowhere? You know what proceeded this ruling? Skyrocketing divorce. The rejection of children in marriage. Adultery out the wazoo. We can’t look at this and say to ourselves, “Oh, those gays.” No no no no no. No no no. We should look at that and say, “God, forgive us.” This is our problem. This is our mess. We bought the whole hook line and sinker of the sexual revolution and now we’re wondering that this is actually happening? We can live for pleasure alone and reject responsibility in marriage? Father kids and not be there as dads? Leave our wives and just get new ones all the time? We can do that and this isn’t going to happen?
This is the mountain we should be dealing with. Adultery and extramarital sex should be illegal with a three strikes your a felon provision and felons are not allowed to marry. Divorce should only be granted within limited circumstances (adultery, violence, abuse, insanity, [add your favorite here]). Pornography should be limited to the written word (perhaps only in Latin), where it belongs. Extramarital sex and adultery should be taken out of movies/TV, they distract from the plot and it is illegal.

You can fix this up, I am in a rush.
 
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Opus118 said:
I skimmed the transcript and this thread (I didn't understand much of the latter).

The sermon deals primarily a mole hill that rest on top of a mountain. Perhaps gay marriage is a step in the right direction. They may prove to be a better example.

I liked the ending of the transcript:

You think this came out of nowhere? You know what proceeded this ruling? Skyrocketing divorce. The rejection of children in marriage. Adultery out the wazoo. We can’t look at this and say to ourselves, “Oh, those gays.” No no no no no. No no no. We should look at that and say, “God, forgive us.” This is our problem. This is our mess. We bought the whole hook line and sinker of the sexual revolution and now we’re wondering that this is actually happening? We can live for pleasure alone and reject responsibility in marriage? Father kids and not be there as dads? Leave our wives and just get new ones all the time? We can do that and this isn’t going to happen?
This is the mountain we should be dealing with. Adultery and extramarital sex should be illegal with a three strikes your a felon provision and felons are not allowed to marry. Divorce should only be granted within limited circumstances (adultery, violence, abuse, insanity, [add your favorite here]). Pornography should be limited to the written word (perhaps only in Latin), where it belongs. Extramarital sex and adultery should be taken out of movies/TV, they distract from the plot and it is illegal.

You can fix this up, I am in a rush.
there some truth to what you  are saying. Whenever say a Christian (of stripe) gets into a heated debate with a pro gay marriage supporter or a homosexual the oppent will always bring up a good number of Christians & churches here in the states supported no fault divorce. not long ago Pat Robertson was telling a caller into his show it ok for the caller to divorce his wife because she losing her memory
 

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Opus118 said:
This is the mountain we should be dealing with. Adultery and extramarital sex should be illegal with a three strikes your a felon provision and felons are not allowed to marry. Divorce should only be granted within limited circumstances (adultery, violence, abuse, insanity, [add your favorite here]). Pornography should be limited to the written word (perhaps only in Latin), where it belongs. Extramarital sex and adultery should be taken out of movies/TV, they distract from the plot and it is illegal.
Oooookay.  So, your take away from all of this is that people should be locked up for having sex outside of marriage, we need more censorship in movies, the courts should decide whether or not a couple remains together, and beating off is okay as long as it's to Ovid?  I just want to make sure I'm understanding your vision for a moral society.
 

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Opus118 said:
Adultery and extramarital sex should be illegal with a three strikes your a felon provision and felons are not allowed to marry.
Er... adultery means one is already married. ::)
 

ialmisry

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FatherGiryus said:
I would like to add a 'PS' to my rant: I'm not accusing any particular priest of being guilty of the 'crimes' I have outlined.  It is a far bigger problem than that.  This has become a systemic problem as 'convert communities' spring up where neither the priest nor parishioners have a long experience in the Church.  They can often end up with significant 'blind spots' in their own formation.

I am guilty of that as well: I was sent to seminary with less than three years in the Church.  However, it was at the insistence of my bishop and the rector of my parish.  Even then, it was years before I was 'on my own,' and even then I was assigned to parishes where most of the people had been in the Church longer than I had.  In seminary, I took my well-deserved lumps.

My only 'advantage' was that I was raised outside Christianity.  So, I was something of a blank slate.  My failings are obvious to those who know me, because the usual affect of a 'Christian clergyman of the Western kind' is absent in my case.  Then again, I don't act like a very good Orthodox clergyman either.  So, I'm a failure on both accounts.

I will also add that when the convert-clergy I have described work in their area of expertise, e.g. explaining or analyzing the details of Protestantism, they excel.  Their works are to be taken seriously, because it is a very familiar place to them.  And, given the makeup of America, that is really important to other folks, like myself, who are either creeped out by or totally unfamiliar with Protestantism.
I remember the criticism of the Orthodox Study Bible when it came out. "It is concerned with Protestantism." Well, that is the fire that we are fighting (in addition to those who don't even claim to follow Christ).
 

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Arachne said:
Opus118 said:
Adultery and extramarital sex should be illegal with a three strikes your a felon provision and felons are not allowed to marry.
Er... adultery means one is already married. ::)
not necessarily-you can be doing it with someone who is.

I know that Opus is trying to be smart, but I have doubts Fr. Josiah wouldn't agree with it. He rails against wayward heterosexuals enough (correctly).
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
The name of Christ is not even mentioned once in his homily except in the form of a passing reference to "our Common Master".  In contrast,
This is one of the criticisms I gave about one of our Coptic priests who we associate with the general trend of "Protestantizing" and lack of Orthodox phromena.

Fr. Josiah is a very interesting personality, and quite outspoken.  I do have some respect for his views, but his liturgical sermons seem to cross the line.  I am shocked to find he had one about Bruno Mars.

With that said, Fr. Josiah does have an important point of view for those who came out of Protestantism, and this can be the benefit we receive from him, but he seems to lack what is appropriate in a sermon and what is not.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
I would like to add a 'PS' to my rant: I'm not accusing any particular priest of being guilty of the 'crimes' I have outlined.  It is a far bigger problem than that.  This has become a systemic problem as 'convert communities' spring up where neither the priest nor parishioners have a long experience in the Church.  They can often end up with significant 'blind spots' in their own formation.

I am guilty of that as well: I was sent to seminary with less than three years in the Church.  However, it was at the insistence of my bishop and the rector of my parish.  Even then, it was years before I was 'on my own,' and even then I was assigned to parishes where most of the people had been in the Church longer than I had.  In seminary, I took my well-deserved lumps.

My only 'advantage' was that I was raised outside Christianity.  So, I was something of a blank slate.  My failings are obvious to those who know me, because the usual affect of a 'Christian clergyman of the Western kind' is absent in my case.  Then again, I don't act like a very good Orthodox clergyman either.  So, I'm a failure on both accounts.

I will also add that when the convert-clergy I have described work in their area of expertise, e.g. explaining or analyzing the details of Protestantism, they excel.  Their works are to be taken seriously, because it is a very familiar place to them.  And, given the makeup of America, that is really important to other folks, like myself, who are either creeped out by or totally unfamiliar with Protestantism.
Thank you, Father.  Your posts on this matter have been excellent.
 

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I guess I must be a cave dweller, but who is this Bruno Mars person?  I've never heard of him.
 

minasoliman

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A pop singer
 

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Opus118 said:
Divorce should only be granted within limited circumstances (adultery, violence, abuse, insanity, [add your favorite here]).
Favorite what?
Opus118 said:
Pornography should be limited to the written word (perhaps only in Latin), where it belongs. Extramarital sex and adultery should be taken out of movies/TV, they distract from the plot and it is illegal.
I follow a simple rule, that if you can take the sex, violence, whatever, out, and I can still follow the plot, then it is gratuitous.

Anna Karenina had extramarital sex and adultery in it, and it is a classic.
 

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Tikhon29605 said:
I guess I must be a cave dweller, but who is this Bruno Mars person?  I've never heard of him.
Teenybopper pop star. Tweens and teens like his stuff; you're not missing out on anything. Having a go at him for immoral lyrical content is like trying to crack nuts with a sledgehammer.
 

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Tikhon29605 said:
I guess I must be a cave dweller, but who is this Bruno Mars person?  I've never heard of him.
To give some context, from the (in)famous sermon:
Our Lord descended from heaven, he humbled himself by becoming a man, and he suffered death on a cross in order to free us from our sins and to grant us the Holy Spirit, so that by possessing the Holy Spirit and being possessed by the Holy Spirit we might become spiritual. Bruno “the Loser” Mars thinks that was all unnecessary: all you have to do to become spiritual is swim in your girlfriend’s love. Our Lord fought the devils, he conquered death, he rose from the dead, and on the fortieth day he ascended to heaven, blazing a way for us into paradise, but Bruno “the Loser” Mars thinks all you have to do to go to paradise is to have sex with your lover. Our Lord sanctified the waters, he instituted the holy priesthood, so that souls could be resurrected and born again in holy baptism, but Bruno “the Loser” Mars thinks all you have to do is to spend the night with your girlfriend and you will be born again.
 

Tikhon29605

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Arachne said:
Tikhon29605 said:
I guess I must be a cave dweller, but who is this Bruno Mars person?  I've never heard of him.
Teenybopper pop star. Tweens and teens like his stuff; you're not missing out on anything. Having a go at him for immoral lyrical content is like trying to crack nuts with a sledgehammer.
Thanks for the info.  Perhaps I am just old-fashioned, but I just don't listen to music that offends me.  It would never occur to me to protest such music or speak out against it publicly.  Life is too precious and too short to ruin it by fighting at every dragon that comes along. No wonder Father Josiah seems so tired and angry.  It must really be exhausting to think you have to be the world's moral police.
 

minasoliman

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It is one of the most laughable "refutations".  Is there any priest or bishop in our Church that ever gave a sermon on Frank Sinatra and his delusions to fly to the moon and give his sole worship to the one he adores?
 

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Tikhon29605 said:
Arachne said:
Tikhon29605 said:
I guess I must be a cave dweller, but who is this Bruno Mars person?  I've never heard of him.
Teenybopper pop star. Tweens and teens like his stuff; you're not missing out on anything. Having a go at him for immoral lyrical content is like trying to crack nuts with a sledgehammer.
Thanks for the info.  Perhaps I am just old-fashioned, but I just don't listen to music that offends me.  It would never occur to me to protest such music or speak out against it publicly.  Life is too precious and too short to ruin it by fighting at every dragon that comes along. No wonder Father Josiah seems so tired and angry.  It must really be exhausting to thing you have to be the world's moral police.
He seems to run out of spiritual content for sermons and just finds that pop culture is fair game for commentary in the liturgy :p
 
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