Man’s Hunger and Thirst for God

Man's Hunger and Thirst for God and Christ by Chris Banescu –
There is a reality of the human condition that holds true throughout the history of mankind. Human beings are born with an inner desire for something timeless that nothing in this material world and life experiences can ever truly satisfy. We are all created with a hunger and thirst for God.

All creatures hunger for that for which they were created. A hummingbird hungers for nectar, a lion for meat, a sheep for grass, a dolphin for fish. Man also hungers for food, but he has an even stronger craving for something much greater and more meaningful. “Greater than the hunger for food in man is the hunger for God which manifests itself basically in the hunger for security, for love, peace, joy, meaning, and life,” explains Fr. Anthony Coniaris. This is why Christ reaffirms that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4-4). God is indeed the living water that Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman near Jacob’s well, the living water that whoever drinks “will never thirst again”, the water that will become in man “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4-14).

Real Want for Heaven
Man’s inner longing for meaning and happiness is often expressed in a “real want for Heaven” that is present in our souls but which we may not recognize or understand. [Read more…]

To Be, or Not To Be… Created

DNA To Be, or Not To Be Created by Chris Banescu

Christians believe that human beings were created by God in the image and likeness of their Creator. They proclaim that the entire universe, all matter, and all life were designed and brought into existence by an infinitely higher intelligence who exists outside of time and space. Materialists and atheists, on the other hand, assert that man is the result of a long mindless and chaotic process that randomly stumbled into producing matter, biological organisms, and eventually humans. Who is right?

Mathematics and reason offer us a way to test the materialist assumptions and shed some light into the insurmountable problem faced by atheists. A simple algebraic formula, that even high-school students can master, can help us quantify the probability of random actions giving rise to even the most basic order. To get a better idea of the odds involved, we will calculate the mathematical probability that the simple phrase “To be, or not to be: that is the question:“, from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, can occur by chance. [Read more…]

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

The Voice Blog - Bearing Witness to the Truth by Chris Banescu

Each of us has a calling, a vocation, in life. Some discover their passion in their childhood or teen years and know from early on what they were meant to do. Some find their calling after reaching adulthood and encountering the real world. Some stumble unto their life’s work when faced with life-changing events, personal struggles, or tragedies. Some uncover their life’s passion in their old age, usually after retirement, when a growing awareness of their own mortality imbues them with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose. Tragically, many never find their life’s calling, either due to hardships, fear, or plain laziness; despite knowing what they should do, neither bothering to dedicate the time or energy required to follow their dreams, nor making the sacrifices necessary to fulfill their vocations.

By God’s immeasurable grace I am one of those blessed souls that has discovered his calling in life. I believe my vocation is to be a Voice Crying in the Wilderness, a messenger who strives to open men’s hearts and minds to timeless truths and principles, to help them discover what’s truly important in this life and in eternity. A messenger of the One who created everything in this universe, the laws that govern all matter and morality, the individual atoms and cells that make up my body and the soul that gives it life, and the very reason that allows me to think and write these words. [Read more…]

St. John Chrysostom vs. Communism

St. John Chrysostom vs. Communism by Chris Banescu –
This amazing quote was written by St. John Chrysostom. Those strong warnings regarding core principles that form the foundation of socialist/communist ideologies should have been heeded by the Church and taught to the people.

St. John Chrysostom:

“Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again.

Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first—and then they will joyfully share their wealth.” – St. John Chrysostom on the poor from On Living Simply XLIII

[Read more…]

Civil Unions, Stepping Stones That Undermine Marriage

Marriage Traditional Family by Chris Banescu
Some Orthodox leaders and scholars have argued that same-sex civil unions, while not recognized and blessed by the Orthodox Church, should nevertheless be accepted and protected by the state in the spirit of democracy. In a 2005 interview regarding debates about gay couples being able to marry, Metropolitan Gerasimos of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, expressed his views on this matter:

“They [homosexuals] should have the benefits and civil rights of the state, but this is not a sacramental union our church will ever sanctify,” he said. “But civil marriage, in the spirit of American democracy, they have the right to ask for that.”

These positions seem to present a fair and reasonable perspective that maintains a balance between the Orthodox Church’s unwavering support for traditional marriage and her absolute rejection of all homosexual unions, and the secular and democratic society we live in. [Read more…]

Forgiveness Without Repentance?

by Chris Banescu

In the midst of the ongoing OCA moral crisis we hear calls, especially from some clergy and many of our hierarchs, to forgive all those in the OCA leadership and administration who have for years, either through malfeasance or incompetence enabled the abuses, fraud, misconduct, and pillaging of God’s house. We are constantly reminded that our duty as Christians is to quickly and unconditionally forgive those who have mistreated others, lied, appropriated Church funds for personal luxury, stole money intended for widows, orphans, and the poor, covered up their misdeeds, and conducted themselves in an ethically reprehensible manner without a hint of remorse, repentance, and accountability. Before the people have had a chance to understand and find out what exactly has happened, who was really responsible, how much was wasted and stolen, how long this went on, who was hurt, who benefited, who lied, and who covered up their crimes, we are being told to forgive unconditionally and move on, “for the good of the Church.”

Is this call for forgiveness without truth, without repentance, without personal accountability, and without real contrition truly the Christian approach as reflected in the Scriptures and the Orthodox Moral Tradition? Are we being fooled into accepting a watered down version of forgiveness that distorts the fullness of the teaching of Christ regarding those who trespass and neither admit their culpability nor repent of their crimes? [Read more…]

Mere Christianity, Essential Precepts of the Christian Faith

Book Review by Chris Banescu

C.S. Lewis is one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century and probably the most down to earth theologian that Western civilization has produced. His eloquent and reasoned defense of the core beliefs and truths of the Christian faith are truly awe-inspiring and timeless. Lewis is indeed an expert at making complex theological issues accessible and understandable by everyone, believers and non-believers alike. The profound and life-changing effects his writings have had on many generations is indeed a witness to the clarity of thought, grace and wisdom this author has bestowed upon his audience.

A master at appealing to logic and presenting issues in a whole new light, Lewis is not afraid to boldly and bluntly proclaim the obvious. An agnostic in his younger years, Lewis understood the objections of non-believers and dealt with their arguments head on. Perhaps one of his most well-known observations, recorded in the pages of Mere Christianity, concerns the “foolish” ideas people hold regarding Christ: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” [Read more…]

Sinful Silence – When Christians Neglect Their Civil Duty

Book Review by Chris Banescu

In the book “ Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Civic Duty” authors Ken Connor and John Revell make a strong case that Christians have a sacred responsibility to apply and uphold God’s laws and biblical principles in all areas of civil government. They correctly point out that “we as citizens are liable for the decisions of our elected representative leaders, even if we are not directly involved in their activities.” Christians living in a secular world cannot neglect their civil duties and ignore their responsibilities to choose moral, just, and God-fearing leaders.

Relying heavily on the book of Isaiah, which calls on the faithful to “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow,” the authors encourage Christians to stay active and involved in all areas of civil life in order to positively and appropriately influence the culture and civil organizations in America. [Read more…]

A Hard Lesson on Home Schools

by Chris Banescu
This June, my wife and I had the privilege of attending the high school graduation ceremonies of several home-schooled youngsters. These events not only impressed us with references to Christian traditions, family values, and heavenly music; they opened our eyes and hearts to the possibility of home schooling. Student after student spoke with such eloquence, maturity, and depth of spirit, that many times tears flowed freely both on stage and in the audience.

Like most parents, my wife and I want to provide our daughter with the best possible education. So despite the fact that she is still too young for elementary school, we have given considerable thought to the various choices. While originally home schooling was not our favored option, the graduation ceremonies piqued our interest. [Read more…]