Feed everyone

The Orthodox Herald in December pointed to recent statements by the Popes of Rome – John Paul and Benedict* – that we have a moral obligation to provide food and water – “nutrition and hydration” the doctors call it – to patients in a “vegetative state.”  (I guess if babies in the womb are no longer babies in the womb, food and water is merely “medical treatment”….)

But IOTM that what we have is a moral obligation to provide food and water to EVERYONE unable to provide it for themselves!  Whether they’re paralyzed, sick, poor, unemployed, frail, Disabled, children, drought-stricken, plague-stricken, unlucky or unskilled in agriculture, fulltime parents, mentally ill, retarded, insufficiently intelligent, underpaid, whatever.  We have so much wealth…!  And as St. Basil the Great said, Whatever of it we don’t need belongs to the needy.

How about a little human solidarity, love, sharing, generosity, philanthropy (yes, even in your voting and lobbying and taxpaying … unless you can come up with a better way), “consubstantiality,” God-like-ness (Think about “the liberality** of God“!), self-discipline, etc.?

(*–The O.H.’s readership includes Eastern Catholics [“Uniates”] in communion with Rome, traditionally possessing Orthodoxy theology, liturgy, spirituality, etc. … just not part of The Orthodox Church.)

(**–That’s liberality, not liberalism!)

Almsgiving IS charity

Though our “puritans” of today probably won’t take it from the Pope of Rome!  Not only is it good for the needy and objectively a good idea, but a good spiritual discipine, encouraging detachment from things, and actual “participation in the Divine Life” (as the Good Book says, I think in an Epistle of St. Peter) – which may be why the Lord said, “It is more blest to give than to receive.”  Which is why Rationalized Capitalism and Trickle-down/Voodoo Economics is the exact opposite of Christianity … not to mention very bad for you, eternally speaking!

Almsgiving is the soul of charity!

Soldiers evangelizing, harassing?

So says one of those Gay-looking men’s magazines I saw in the supermarket the other night.  Apparently nearly half “the troops” in Iraq and vicinity are “Dominionists,” ie, real theocrats (vs. those who just want “conservative” Evangelicalism to be the Established Religion) – think Christianized Jewish/Old Testament ‘Sharia’ law* – and they’re preaching their gospel to Iraqi Muslims, and non-Dom comrades in arms – and harassing and/or shunning the latter in their units if they don’t convert!

Because of the danger to whatever “the mission” in Iraq is this week, and more importantly to the non-conformist troops, and to the future of U.S. and “Coalition” foreign policy throughout the Muslim world, this near-total breakdown in military discipline has to be stomped out.  This behavior is entirely inappropriate for soldiers and officers in a Theater of Operations.  Unit solidarity is the whole point of armies, boot camp, Drill Instructor abuse, etc.  When you’re out doing one thing 24/7, you can’t be doing other things, especially when lives and nations are at risk (humanly speaking, of course).  You may evangelize, harass, and shun Stateside, not on the battlefield.  Period.

Classical Conservatives don’t have to be hawks or imperialists to respect war, soldiering, sacrifice for the Common Good (hopefully for the CG), etc.

(*–Yes, that’s the sound of Martin Luther turning over in his grave.)

Yes, even humor about Orthodoxy!

From OrthodoXCircle’s “Traditional” group – a little mean-spirited actually – not the humor group! (with some editing and rude comments by yours truly):

You Might Be An ‘Orthodox Fundamentalist’ IF…

10) Your parish church-school curriculum consists of: The Rudder.

9) You’ve not shaved in years, but are spending your child’s inheritance on hair conditioner.

{Actually I’ve let my beard go, though not for religious reasons; it’s still quite a mess and often literally a pain!!!}

8) Your church services are longer than the Super Bowl, but shorter than “Roots.”

7) You save toenail clippings in hopes of … well … you know … glorification.

6) Your daughter can play with Barbies as long as they’re wrapped in DuckTape, clothed in black, and referred to as “Barbara the Ballyhoo” (in Slavonic).

{Sorry, I almost got this one….}

5) Your priest wears a cassock all the time. (Mainly because even the “Big & Tall” clothes no longer fit him.)

4) Birkenstock is the only proper name — not ending in “us,” “os,” or “es”– not subject to suspicion.

{What, they’re “CrunchyCons”???}

3) Your favorite theologian’s name is: “Reader __________.”

2) You believe hair brushes, combs, tweezers, and mirrors are for sissies.

{That’s just scary!}

And, the number one sign that you might be an “Orthodox Fundamentalist” is …

1) There are no chairs in your home; you haven’t sat in years!


Top Ten Signs You Might Be an Orthodox Christian Fundaminimalist:

10) During the three-day Sts. Peter & Paul Fast (New Calendar), you did without meat (only).

9) Sunday’s Divine Liturgy lasts longer than the Nightly News but shorter than “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

8) When it comes to Confession, you believe: “All may, some should, none must.”

7) You think Antidoron is for the birds (literally), not to mention the non-Orthodox.

6) You’ve seen your priest vested with cuffs around bare wrists because he’s wearing a short-sleeve shirt underneath his rasson.

{And what did they wear under them in the old days exactly?!!!}

5) You ask questions like, “What’s a cassock?,” and, “Why is she wearing one?”

4) Your bishop eats meat. On Friday. During fasting periods.

3) You’ve seen your priest swimming. In a crowded pool. In a Speedo.

2) Your priest wears a Rolex. At the Altar. Over the cuffs.

And, the number one indication that you might be a fundaminimalist:

1) Your priest’s wife goes by the title, “Reader ______ .”

Tax Cuts for the Rich on the backs of the Disabled Poor

“How to Talk to Ann Coulter (If You Must)”

Commandments to humanity at Creation?

In the Book of Genesis, God tells humanity to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion.”  Some “Christians” use this as religious cover to dismiss concern about the apparent ability of the planet to sustain many more human beings [or at least, many more First-World human beings!!!], and to destroy the environment.  But it occurs to me that these commands were given before the Fall.  After the Fall, humanity’s chief concern is different: to reunite with God in His Uncreated Energies/Activities.

Traditionally more than a few Orthodox have tried to collaborate with God through monasticism, ie, a lifestyle of NOT multiplying, and of using as little of the earth as possible.  Even practicing Orthodox laity try to include some of this asceticism in their lives, including abstaining from marital relations most Wednesdays and Fridays, during the four Fasting Periods (“lents”) of the year, several other prescribed days each year, any nights before and after receiving Communion… as well as the fast-related dietary self-restrictions during these periods, and in the weeks leading up to the Great Fast (ie, Great Lent, or just Lent, the pre-Pascha/Easter fast).  I believe many of these practices persist among Eastern Catholics, and some of them persisted among Latins (Catholics of Western Rite) before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, and among many older Latins even afterward – though since the ’60s they have all retained the practices of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, and some bishops seem to want to bring back the year-round “fish on Fridays” practice.

Furthermore, a number of Protestant groups embrace what might be called a certain neo-asceticism, such as Amish, Mennonites, some Quakers, some individual liberal mainstream Protestants, and even some “conservative” Protestants, under the rubric of “How ought a Christian to live?”  Some pacifists extend their ethic to “simple living,” or at least advocating it, in the spirit of 1700s New Jersey Quaker John Woolman, who sought to remove from his life anything containing “the seeds of war,” including profiting from slave labor and foreign trade in unnecessary clothing accessories.  (In fact, he predicted the U.S. Civil War.)

As I have reflected previously, greater asceticism may be the lifestyle of the next two thousand years, as we face Global Warming, Peak Oil, and the other coming difficulties – lest we destroy ourselves even before the Lord returns in Glory!  Though as He said, ‘Don’t go around moping, unwashed, in ratty clothes, but smile, clean up, dress adequately’ (more or less!).  For Orthodox, asceticism is the privilege of collaborating with God in this world, and becoming more God-like (NOT “god-like”)!