Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Terry Lowry is a conservative Christian Talk Show host who has been on the air for many years, and who was kind enough to have me on his show to talk about the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. You can listen to the show by clicking here.
We started off talking about Orthodoxy, because he was curious to know more about it, and then we talked about what is going on in the Middle East and what we can do about it.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Also John McCain has pushed back on the claim that he had his picture taken with ISIS terrorists, but the facts are against him.
You can also see a video of the supposed "good guys" we are so anxious to work with, in Time video report.
And you can see videos of the "good guys" overrunning the Christian stronghold of Maaloula last year in this report from Breitbart.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Question: "I would like to know your view of the paranormal. Should Christians be involved in it, like ghost hunting, reading books about ghosts, UFO's and the paranormal in general?"
If you read the writings of the fathers, you find nothing that would suggest that you search such things out. Most of what is called "the paranormal" is what the fathers would call "the demonic." Only the most spiritually advanced saints have attempted to confront the demonic directly. For most of us, the advice the fathers would give us is avoid such things as much as possible, and if confronted with it, to turn to God, and leave the battle completely in the hands of the Lord.
The reason why so many today are fascinated by these things is because they have abandoned the true faith, but are attracted by anything that science cannot explain, and often assume that anything that is supernatural is good... failing to recognize the reality of demons.
Fr. Seraphim (Rose) writes about this extensively in his book "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future." This book speaks about the paranormal, but also has a long chapter on UFO's. You can read a summary of what Fr. Seraphim says about them by clicking here.
The idea that aliens from another planet are constantly visiting our planet is highly unlikely. If such aliens had such advanced technology that they could travel 5 times the speed of light, and if they happened to live on a planet that orbits the nearest star to earth (Proxima Centauri), it would take them almost a year to travel to earth, just one way. Would such a civilization make such a long journey, just to appear in a cornfield in Nebraska, scare some farmer, and then fly back? Not likely. At best, this fixation is based on a desire to have these aliens come and solve all our problems, somewhat along the lines of Constantine Petrou Photiades Cavafy's poem, "Waiting for the Barbarians;" and at worse it takes on a pseudo-religious character, that is very similar to what is found in the occult.
Most of us do not read the Scriptures as often as we should. We have not read the lives of the Saints, nor have we read the writings of the Saints and Fathers of the Church. Why would waste our time with reading about ghosts, or UFOs, much less seek out such phenomena?
You can also listen to an episode of "Our Life in Christ" that talks about this by clicking here.
See also this documentary debunking the Ancient Aliens theory:
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Some perspective on Ted Cruz is needed. Here is what he said a year ago, when Obama was talking about bombing Assad:
"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke out Tuesday against President Barack Obama's resolution to authorize a military strike against Syria, warning that the United States should not become "Al Qaeda's air force."
...The Texas senator also warned against arming Syrian rebels against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, saying such a strategy would make "no sense."
“I’ll give you one of the simplest principles of foreign policy that we ought to be following: Don’t give weapons to people who hate you," he said. Don’t give weapons to people who want to kill you.""
He did not handle the "In Defense of Christians" meeting last week as well as he should have, but we should not paint an ally as an enemy. We don't have so many that we can afford to alienate any of them.
I have been in communication with one of his aids, and he is taking the right position in Syria. We do not have to agree with him on Israel, and he does not need to agree with us on that. We need all the help we can get to prevent the establishment of an Islamicist government on Syria... because if that happens, it is all over for the Christians there.
Update: Not that I agree with how Ted Cruz handled this, this article, published earlier in the day on September 10th by the Washington Free Beacon, is the reason why he made such a point of vocalizing his support of Israel: Cruz Headlines Conference Featuring Hezbollah Supporters. This is the kind of thing that Cruz probably would expect to come back to haunt him in future political attack ads, and so he beat the drum of support Israel to inoculate himself against such attacks. I don't think he expected the kind of reaction he got -- and it should be noted that he did not get a negative reaction to the statement that we should protect Jews. The reaction was to his assertion that Arab Christians had no better friend than Israel, and if you know the history of Palestinian Christians since 1948, the reaction was completely understandable. However, I can also tell you that I have already had an Evangelical that asked me if Arab Christians supported Al Qaeda and ISIS, as a result of this flap. This incident has not helped Senator Cruz, and it has not helped the cause of Christians in the Middle East either. Those who have been skewering Cruz over this should ask themselves one question, however: why are they beating up a man who has consistently opposed the policies that helped create ISIS, and yet we do not hear them skewering Obama, who is the one who has been advancing those policies. Obama met with middle eastern Christian leaders, at a round table that went very nicely -- and he even acknowledged that Assad has been protecting Christians, but there is no indication that he is changing his policies which seek to oust Assad... which are even less excusable in the light of that admission. Hezbollah has been helping Assad fight off Al Qaeda, and ISIS. They may not be your favorite entity in the Middle East, but they are at least helping to defend the Christian population of Syria. If Christians can welcome the help of Hezbollah, despite some of their less pleasant aspects, maybe we can work with Ted Cruz towards the same end.
Update: Here is a video that will help those who don't understand why Palestinian Christians would not agree that Israel is their best friend:
Update: Only 22 Senators voted against arming the so called "Free Syrian Army," which has actually been slaughtering Christians. One of them was Ted Cruz. Most of us live in a state with at least 1 Senator that voted to fund the Jihadists who are allied with ISIS. They are they ones that we should be calling out, not the ones who are doing the right thing.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Question: What do you think of the Fatima apparitions? Were they demonic, or legitimate?
This question is dealt with by Fr. Anthony Nelson, in an article posted in PDF format: The Appearances at Fatima and Orthodox Christianity. There are some other articles of interest that are posted on the Mystagogy site: The Troubling Aspect of Catholic Marian Apparitions.
Speaking very broadly, any time a miracle is said to happen outside the Church, the Church obviously cannot say whether the miracle is true or false, unless God gives the Church special revelation on the matter, or when there is doctrinal error clearly associated with it. We should not dismiss out of hand the possibility that God may work a miracle for someone outside the Church, in any given case, but we should also recognize that even pious Orthodox Christians need to be on guard against spiritual self-deception... and those outside the Church can certainly fall into prelest, and do not have the benefit of the Orthodox spiritual Tradition which teaches us how to avoid such spiritual pitfalls. And so, while a non-Orthodox Christian may be completely convinced of some vision or miracle, we have to be aware that they may be sincerely deceived. Ultimately, it is usually not necessary for us to come to a conclusion one way or the other on such things, and so we can simply leave the question in God's hands.