You may not be interested in Culture Wars, but Culture Wars are interested in you

There are those in the Orthodox Church who say that we should have nothing to do with the culture wars that have been raging in our culture since the 60's. They accuse conservative converts of trying to bring those culture wars into the Orthodox Church. Ironically, those who talk like this are usually the very people who actually are bringing the culture wars into the Orthodox Church by their promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, women's ordination, and various other liberal causes. It is not as if the Orthodox Church was full of people who thought gay marriage was a great idea until converts started showing up. In fact, the Orthodox in traditionally Orthodox countries are very conservative, and though, for example, there are not lots of Protestant converts to Orthodoxy in Russia, the Russian Church has taken a very strong and vocal position on these issues.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is not a convert from Protestantism, but he made these comments at the end of a recent concelebration with Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA:

"The task of our Churches is to pray and work in order that the Lord would grant His mercy on the peoples of our countries, so that God’s strength would make moral basics stronger, which originate in God’s morals of the Bible, and so that the relations between our countries would strengthen based on common moral values.

That is why we endure the deviations from these God’s moral standards so painfully. The deviations take place both in the United States and other Western countries at the present time. It is a great challenge for Christian Churches. Many of them, especially Protestant organizations, fail to overcome this challenge – they follow the path of the renunciation of their own identity, refuse from moral values of the Gospel in favor of political fashion. But the Orthodox Churches cannot do this and therefore the Orthodox Churches encourage people to profess the faith. We have a right to speak about it like this here at this cathedral, because our Church has gone through decades of suffering and profession, but it has not faltered or cheated on itself.

That is why we heartily wish that the Orthodox Church in America would preserve the fidelity to Christ, His Commandments, and would be, if not very bright and strong, but still light for its people. We are aware that even the light of a small candle becomes a powerful point of reference and helps people find their way to salvation" (see “Orthodox Church is the Bridge that is Able to Unite Russian and American Peoples," translated by Pravmir.ru).

This coming right on the heels of a controversy within the OCA, in which a senior priest has suggested that the Church needs to re-think its position on homosexuality, I can't help but suspect that these comments were made in reference to it.

It would be nice if we could ignore the culture wars, but the culture wars are coming after us, our Church, and our families. You can choose what you are prepared to defend, but you cannot choose who will attack what you wish to defend. Franklin Roosevelt was not "fixated" on militaristic fascism... but he spent quite a bit of his efforts and energy fighting it, because militaristic fascists were attacking the country that he, as president, was sworn to defend. Today it is pro-abortionists, pro-homosexuals, and certain varieties of feminists that are attacking the Traditions of the Orthodox Church. We didn't pick them, they picked us. We have no choice but to defend the Church and its Tradition, or to raise the rainbow flag and surrender.

We do believe that the Orthodox Church is the True Church, and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, but that does not mean that large parts of it, including our own, cannot fall into heresy and error, if we are not vigilant. It has happened more than once in Church history, and there is no reason to think that we are somehow immune today.

The people of God are the guardians of piety, as the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of 1848 (in reply to Pope Pius the IX) states. It is therefore not only permissible, but obligatory for all of the faithful, and even more so for the clergy, to oppose these attempts to infect our Church with the same heresies that have wreaked such havoc in mainline Protestant Churches, and are in the process of doing the same in the Roman Catholic Church.

Fr. John Whiteford

12/15/2014

See also
Episcopalianizing American Orthodoxy, Round II Episcopalianizing American Orthodoxy, Round II
Rod Dreher
Episcopalianizing American Orthodoxy, Round II Episcopalianizing American Orthodoxy, Round II
Rod Dreher
The essay posted on the Orthodox Church in America’s youth ministry page — the one by Boston priest Fr. Robert Arida, calling for a rethink on homosexuality — has really stirred the pot among the relatively small community of American Orthodox.
Patriarch Kirill urges Europe to return to Christian values Patriarch Kirill urges Europe to return to Christian values Patriarch Kirill urges Europe to return to Christian values Patriarch Kirill urges Europe to return to Christian values, warns against 'rewriting history'
The recognition of gay marriage, euthanasia at the legislative level and the growing number of abortions indicate that Europe, which used to be a stronghold of Christianity, "has become a locomotive of destructive processes," said Patriarch Kirill.
Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay
Sergei Khudiev
Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay
Sergei Khudiev
There are questions which we cannot avoid and from which we cannot hide in a fog of rhetorical questions and vague allusions. Basically, there is the question of whether single-sex cohabitation is a sin which separates people from the Church, or not.
Statement on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality Statement on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality Statement on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality Statement on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality
It is also contrary to our Tradition to write about matters of faith or piety in ways that are intentionally ambiguous—this is rather the approach of liberal Protestantism.
The Orthodox Trojan Horse The Orthodox Trojan Horse
Rod Dreher
The Orthodox Trojan Horse The Orthodox Trojan Horse
Rod Dreher
In the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), there is awareness of a liberal vs. conservative culture clash between the old-line Orthodox in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, where Orthodoxy is historically and numerically stronger, but in decline; and the convert-heavy Orthodoxy in the South and West, which is the only place the OCA is growing. The key issue, as it always is: homosexuality.
No Longer the House of God. No Longer the House of God.
New Life of Italian Churches (+Photos)
No Longer the House of God. No Longer the House of God.
New Life of Italian Churches (+Photos)
There is now an auto-repair shop in the former church in the Como community on lake Como. The former San Filippo Church in the commune L’Aquila is now used as a theatre. In the former All Saints Church in Viareggio, where sermons on morals were once delivered, now people treat themselves to wine: the new owners have opened a pizzeria in the building.
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