Orthodoxy and Democracy: A Response to Fr. Stephen Freeman

I get the distinct impression that many Orthodox Christians think they are supposed to have an emperor. This is only a feeling. It is hard to quantify. I get it when Facebook friends seem to do everything they can to put a halo on Putin, I overhear it in conversations at coffee hour, and sometimes I see it in a blog’s subtext, like this post Fr. Stephen Freeman wrote back in December. Continue reading Orthodoxy and Democracy: A Response to Fr. Stephen Freeman

The Blessing and Burden of Holy Tradition

Having been caught up in other projects and deadlines, I picked up Pantelis Kalaitzidis’ Orthodoxy & Political Theology last night after several weeks’ absence. The following words reminded me of how our love for “Holy Tradition” can kill our witness.

A certain version of theology…[has] turned Tradition into traditionalism and taught us to associate the identity of the church mainly – or even exclusively – with the past, making us accustomed to an Orthodoxy that is permanently out of step with its time and history in general. In fact, Orthodox theology often suffers…from a kind of inertia with regard to participating in history and the socio-cultural context…Speaking about the church’s transforming presence and activity in society, culture, and politics is reduced to nothing more than wishful thinking. Continue reading The Blessing and Burden of Holy Tradition

“Au Contraire Mr. Fugelsang!” – Three Legitimate Reasons Christians Oppose Welfare (and Why they are Wrong)

If you don’t want tax dollars helping the sick and poor, then it’s time to stop saying you want a government based on Christian values.

539326_167519193396548_1691013125_nI shared this picture on Facebook the other day because I agree with the sentiment, but I disagree with its simplicity. John Fugelsang correctly identified hypocrisy in the Christian Right, but he applied his diagnosis too broadly.

There are three legitimate reasons why a conservative Christian might want the government to get out of the welfare business: Continue reading “Au Contraire Mr. Fugelsang!” – Three Legitimate Reasons Christians Oppose Welfare (and Why they are Wrong)

Why Killing in Self-Defense is Still a Sin

St. George & the Dragon, detail [Wikimedia Commons]
St. George & the Dragon, detail [Wikimedia Commons]
I recently wrote that a Christian should not carry a concealed weapon because it violated the spirit of martyrdom and self-sacrifice the church tries to teach us. One common objection to this point was that to choose not to kill in the defense of another human being would be unloving. I agree. It would be unloving to the potential victim, and it would be unloving to the potential victimizer. In the Orthodox Church, killing in defense of self and country is still a sin. Continue reading Why Killing in Self-Defense is Still a Sin