Chuck Colson: A Life Redeemed by Christ

Chuck Colson Redeemed by Christ by Chris Banescu –
This past weekend we lost an influential and great champion for Christ and truth. Charles W. “Chuck” Colson’s bright light is no longer in the world, but still shines on in eternity as a beacon of hope and faith for current and future generations. His legacy and example will live on in the hearts and souls of many Christians – Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant – who were inspired by his strong faith, admired his clarity of thought and vision, and were reassured by his courage and conviction.

It is fitting that he went to meet the Lord at the end of what is Bright Week for all Orthodox Christians. For during this time the Resurrection Hymn is sung at all memorial services to remind us that Christ’s Resurrection destroyed death granting us eternal life: “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”

Unfortunately, I’ve never had the opportunity to meet Colson in person. However, I have followed his active Christian ministry and prolific commentaries with a lot of interest and admiration, often sharing his wisdom with many of our Orthodox Christian readers [Read more…]

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Orthodox Christians Are Thankful for Catholic Bishops’ Defense of Religious Liberty

Cardinal Dolan and Metropolitan Jonah
Cardinal Dolan and Metropolitan Jonah
by Chris Banescu –
Orthodox Christians are thankful and grateful for the vocal and passionate public stance of Catholic Bishops and Catholic leaders who categorically oppose Obama’s HHS healthcare mandate.  Your courage in defending our constitutionally protected religious liberty is making us stronger.  Your public and uncompromising witness to Christian principles and your passionate advocacy in protecting the life of the unborn is giving us hope.

We embrace and support you as brothers in Christ and co-workers for righteousness.  As Orthodox Metropolitan Jonah stood side-by-side with Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan in praying together at this year’s March for Life , we stand in solidarity with you in demanding the repeal of the HHS mandate and in defense of the religious liberty of all Americans.

It’s impressive and inspiring to witness the speed and conviction with which Catholic Bishops and other Catholic organizations responded to the new HHS rule and denounced it as unconstitutional and immoral from the start.  On the same day the Obama administration made the announcement, January 20, 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a press release declaring it unconscionable and a blatant violation of religious liberty. [Read more…]

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The Gospel, The Cure for Mankind’s Suffering

Fr. Basil (my grandfather) Preaching
Fr. Basil (my grandfather) Preaching
by Chris Banescu –
Perpetual crises and suffering, societal unrest, financial emergencies, institutional dysfunction, governmental tyranny, murder and mayhem, wars, riots, terrorism, and the persecution of the righteous and innocent continues to be the “normal” state of affairs for people and countries around the world. Despite the constant assurances from most secular governments and politicians who promise us “utopia on earth” in exchange for surrendering more of our freedoms and embracing their atheistic and progressive “solutions”, things are getting worse, not better. This seems to be a persistent problem of all human civilizations throughout history, not just a defect particular to our own age. “Terrific energy is expended — civilizations are built up — excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top, and then it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down,” observed C.S. Lewis. What is the real source of this suffering and is there any hope for a cure?

It is foolishness to believe that the turmoil, economic devastation, social corruption, and societal instability happening in Greece, Egypt, England, France, Romania, other European countries, and even here in America is simply about economics, politics, education, financial mismanagement, or religious, ethnic, or cultural differences. What it is about is the catastrophic moral failure of individuals with power and influence across many organizations and institutions, especially politicians and government leaders. The immorality, vanity, arrogance, hypocrisy, selfishness, corruption, cowardice, envy, greed, and reckless disregard for the long-term safety, liberty, and well-being of the people – whom they have sworn to serve and protect – that we see in the conduct of our leaders are symptoms of what always happens when man rejects God’s truth and wisdom and tries to setup for himself an earthly “utopia” separate from Christ’s teaching. [Read more…]

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The True Light of Mankind

Christ the True Light of the World and all Mankind by Chris Banescu –
As the Christmas season fades into the distance and the New Year is upon us, we tend to feel the passage of time most acutely. With the conclusion of the bright and joyous celebrations that commemorate and bear witness to the birth of the Messiah, we often experience a sense of loss, of sadness. We never seem to have enough time to fully immerse ourselves in the feast and absorb the joy and peace that our souls yearn to rediscover and embrace. It all goes by much too quickly. We find ourselves heading back towards the daily routines of our lives, feeling weary, tired, and spent. The light inside us that burned so brightly a few days ago is flickering.

In response, writes Fr. Alexander Schmemann, “come words from an infinite loftiness and an infinite profundity” from the Gospel of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist. Jesus Christ “was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name… And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:9-12, 16). [Read more…]

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Men Have Forgotten God – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
by Chris Banescu

As a survivor of the Communist Holocaust I am horrified to witness how my beloved America, my adopted country, is gradually being transformed into a secularist and atheistic utopia, where communist ideals are glorified and promoted, while Judeo-Christian values and morality are ridiculed and increasingly eradicated from the public and social consciousness of our nation. Under the decades-long assault and militant radicalism of many so-called “liberal” and “progressive” elites, God has been progressively erased from our public and educational institutions, to be replaced with all manner of delusion, perversion, corruption, violence, decadence, and insanity.

It is no coincidence that as Marxist ideologies and secularist principles engulf the culture and pervert mainstream thinking, individual freedoms and liberties are rapidly disappearing. As a consequence, Americans feel increasingly more powerless and subjugated by some of the most radical and hypocritical, least democratic, and characterless individuals our society has ever produced.

Those of us who have experienced and witnesses first-hand the atrocities and terror of communism understand fully why such evil takes root, how it grows and deceives, and the kind of hell it will ultimately unleash on the innocent and the faithful. Godlessness is always the first step towards tyranny and oppression! [Read more…]

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St. John Chrysostom vs. Communism

St. John Chrysostom vs. Communism by Chris Banescu –
The quote below has been attributed to St. John Chrysostom. These warnings regarding the envy and injustice that underscore socialist and 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…]

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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. On closer inspection however, the reality of such moderated and accommodating views exposes a danger that may not have been considered when such support was given for these legalized civil unions. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Christianity And Capitalism: Are They Compatible?


AFR – The Illumined Heart | Kevin Allen | Apr 17, 2009

In this interview with Kevin Allen, host of The Illumined Heart podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, Chris Banescu discusses the economic, moral and spiritual issues surrounding the “capitalist” economic model and whether it serves the best interests of Christians living the life of the Beatitudes.

Orthodox Christianity And Capitalism: Are They Compatible? – 4/17/09

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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…]

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