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Prudent or paranoid? #420281 09/04/20 11:24 PM
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Thomas the Seeker Offline OP
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A redacted email from a nearby Orthodox parish concerning their Sunday Church School.

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Sunday Church School will be very different this year. After considering all of the ever-changing factors, including the very real burnout that students and parents are experiencing since Covid began, we have decided that meeting outdoors once a month in person is our best option for ... fall programming. Further planning is not possible at this time. Please note that the Preschool class will not be offered in-person, but rather via email.

Cancellations will be called on Saturday nights and will be emailed and posted to Facebook. If the raindate is bad weather as well, class is cancelled for the month.


Classes are during Orthros from 9:15-10. Please instruct students to wash their hands before going into the liturgy.


Noting that classes will be outdoors only, please dress your students appropriately for the morning weather, including old shoes or boots that will keep their feet warm in the cool, wet grass.


The new door to the SCS wing on the left of the building will be unlocked and all students and staff should use it to gather and return supplies, including chairs for outdoor use to minimize our disruptions to the ongoing service. Please remember masks are required in the building. Please remind your students to be quiet going in and out of the church.


Teachers will receive a measuring tape to help ensure the required 6 foot distancing is achieved for seating their students. I cannot stress this enough to you that we must do this. We will not require masks in an outdoor setting, but we must maintain the distancing. Parents are welcome to help set up as needed. It would be appreciated.


We will be following [the local School District's] open school policy and their monitoring of Covid cases for the local area. If they deem it necessary to close school, then SCS is cancelled. Notification will be sent to you in such a case.


You will be receiving more information from your student's teachers in the coming week. Please make sure you have all the information you need. We want you to have all your questions answered beforehand so we have a smooth start to the year.


It is possible that your student(s) may have videos to access either prior to or after class to supplement the lesson due to our restricted time. These videos will ideally be available on the church's YouTube page in as timely of a manner as we can. Please remember that this is a volunteer run program, and it takes time to get things done.


Last, but most importantly, regardless if you are able to join us in body or not, please remember to pray for us, for all the students and to do so with your families. Spiritual leadership in the home is the most important thing we can each do for ourselves, our families, and our community. Make this your first priority. For encouragement to this end, I recommend reading Matthew 6.



Is this fostering faith...or fear?

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420282 09/04/20 11:44 PM
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Good question. These days I find myself admiring the Evangelical Pastor John MacArthur, who opened his church for worship despite the threats and fines, etc., from the local government in California.

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420283 09/04/20 11:51 PM
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I can't help but think that as long as we give in to this fear, it is going to keep going indefinitely. Has this priest not read the statistics? Does he not know that the Covid virus mostly affects older people and is only serious for those with underlying conditions? Already I heard a radio program on the local conservative radio station in which the head of the CDC told the host that we now must wear masks because of the upcoming flu season!

REALLY!!!

What about the 42 other viruses in the world which have a much greater death ratio than Covid, including Covid's cousin, SARS. Thinking about this, one could make the excuse that we should wear masks for the rest of lives because life is just so dangerous. Look at what the reaction to this virus did. People did not get the Sacraments for months, including the most important Sacrament, that of Extreme Unction. Believers were left to die alone without access to a final Confession or having loved ones with them. Churches were closed while WallyMart just chugged right along.

A heretic leads the way while our bishops cower in fear. Why are we afraid of death? The martyrs must be shaking their heads in heaven at how easy it was to get the churches to close up without so much as a whimper. And those bishops, priests, and laity in Pakistan and other Muslim countries, who have a chance to be blown up every Sunday, must be joining in with the amazement.

Last edited by Irish_Ruthenian; 09/05/20 12:04 AM.
Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420284 09/05/20 12:57 AM
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Thomas the Seeker Offline OP
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The Sunday Church School letter was signed by the Sunday Church School Director who is a lay woman; but surely with the approval of the Priest.

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Administrator] #420285 09/05/20 06:02 AM
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Blessed Lent of the Preparation of the Nativity of the Mother of God (Malankara - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_Day_Lent) !


I'm of the opinion these days that most of the evangelical pastorate (and some Catholic priests) prefer to be politicians, but since they weren't able to attract a following that way, they settled for religion as a way to steer the masses. Along the way, some have done good, but when they wade into politics, it's almost always presented as a choice between God and the evil Democrats. Now, I'm not pro Biden or pro-democrat, and I'm 100% anti-abortion but this rhetoric is getting old. We've seen reflected in the past election cycles, the trend of the non-religious picking up more and more, while the church attending population keeps dropping - no amount of posturing is going to prevent it. Instead of being a stand of Truth to Power no matter who's in political power, the evangelicals cosy up to Republicans and refuse to denounce unChristian behavior in any meaningful way while priests like Fr. Martin go the other way and refuse to say anything but good about Democrats. Enough is enough, Biden is a Catholic no doubt, but he falls short in many areas of church teaching, especially abortion. Trump is not Christian in any meaningful way, he courts Christian votes by making public statements about certain things that perk up evangelical and sometimes Catholic ears - other than that he's to me, frankly disgusting.

Regarding - Pr. MacArthur - https://www.christianpost.com/news/...-preaches-on-obedience-to-scripture.html

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MacArthur went on to explain that, “based on the Word of God,” his church is “pro-life, pro-family, pro-law and order, and pro-church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Law & Order really - is that in the Church constitution and motto or did he just come up with that recently?

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The preacher then invited a chaplain from the Los Angeles Police Department to deliver the service’s opening prayer. The chaplain prayed that MacArthur and his congregation would have the “wisdom and faith to weather all of the things going on in church and outside church.”
This is equal to Fr. Pfleger calling Rev. Sharpton, he knows what he's doing is political.

Quote
MacArthur preached from 1 Corinthians 1, which reads in part, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

“We are here in obedience to our Lord, we are here because He has given us commands, not in a personal esoteric way, not through some vision or dream, not because I hear voices from Heaven, I don’t, but because I have a Bible,” he said. “Grace Church is defined by its commitment to Holy Scripture. For true Christians, the Bible is our greatest treasure.”
I'm not sure what to make of this, I guess I'm not a true Christian because the I consider Christ, His Church - living and departed, the Holy Liturgy, the teachings of the Fathers and the Bible the greatest Treasure.

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The mark of a true Christian is the love of Scripture, MacArthur said, adding: “God's true church has always been a place where people hunger for the truth from the Bible. That’s why we're here.”
This is not only inaccurate on the marks of a Christian, it's wrong about what is the True Church.

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“But never before has the government invaded the territory the belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ and told us we can't meet, we can't worship, we can't sing,” the pastor continued.
This implies the property he occupies belongs to Jesus and not the people or community, I'd like to see the deed.

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“There's no power given to the government to make those kinds of calls against us. ... We love our neighbors. We're not spreading anything but the Gospel,” MacArthur said, noting that out of 7,000 church members, “no one has had any effect if they’ve had COVID.”
What's that last slippery sentence there?

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MacArthur and Grace Community Church have since received special counsel from President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Jenna Ellis, and religious freedom expert Charles LiMandri.
Why?

Also - wading deep into politics: https://www.christianpost.com/news/...-affirm-abortion-and-trans-activism.html



More rhetoric: https://religionnews.com/2020/08/06...say-biblical-duties-dont-trump-u-s-laws/

Quote
"We will obey God rather than men. We're going to be faithful to our Lord," MacArthur told his congregants in a July 31 video. "We're going to leave the results to him."

He's implying that God will prevent Covid in his congregation. If not, he's proven unfaithfulness, or he didn't listen to God; or God wanted them to get Covid? What's the meaning of this?

Last edited by Michael_Thoma; 09/05/20 06:02 AM.
Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420286 09/05/20 09:56 AM
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This is all fine and dandy, (keep in mind that local authorities are making it very difficult for churches to operate, so they have to adhere to guidelines), but why is it that the diabolical acts of travelling rioters and demonstrators (yes, it has been revealed that they fly here and there, and that they get to spend time in $400 a night hotels...hmmm...) is allowed? Are they not 'congregating' in groups of more than 10 without social distancing. confused

Last edited by Alice; 09/05/20 09:58 AM.
Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Administrator] #420294 09/08/20 07:49 PM
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Here's the impact of one who hold MacArthur's line of thought and how it bring discredit upon himself, as well as people of faith in general:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12363323

Covid 19 coronavirus: Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Filaret contracts virus after blaming gay people for pandemic

Leading Ukrainian religious figure Patriarch Filaret has contracted coronavirus, after blaming gay people for the disease.

The 91-year-old, who is the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate, is currently in a stable condition being treated in hospital, with Ukrainian website 11.2 international also reporting he has pneumonia.

Filaret's church, which is said to have more than 15 million followers among Ukraine's 42 million population, confirmed the Covid-19 diagnosis in a Facebook post.

"We inform that during planned testing, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine tested positive for Covid-19," the statement said. "Now His Holiness Bishop is undergoing treatment at a hospital."

Filaret caused controversy earlier this year after he made comments about the coronavirus being a result of gay marriage.

He told Ukrainian national TV network Channel 4 in March that the pandemic was "God's punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity".

"First of all, I mean same-sex marriage," Filaret added.

Kiev-based LGBTQ+ group Insight announced in April it was taking legal action against Filaret, saying his comments were damaging for the gay and lesbian community.

"Our aim is to show people that there is no longer place for such statements from church leaders in Ukraine," Insight's head Olena Shevchenko told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Filaret was joined by a chorus of other prominent religious figures around the world who believe the coronavirus is "divine intervention" in response to the emergence of gay and lesbian rights.

The World Health Organisation has since urged against the spread of such misinformation, saying in a statement that these beliefs spark "stigmatisation and discrimination".

But Filaret doubled down on his comments, with representatives for the Patriarch saying his views were "consistent with Ukrainian laws".

Homophobia is still rife in the Ukraine, with same-sex marriage being illegal.

The Ukrainian Parliament refused to back a Council of Europe human rights treaty aimed at protecting women from domestic violence in 2016, because its references to sexual orientation and gender violated what politicians believed were basic "Christian values".

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420295 09/08/20 08:27 PM
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Michael,

I disagree strongly with your stated position. If what you state is the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox hierarchy, they are wrong.

It is also wrong of you to put their ideas in the mouth of Pastor John MacArthur. Simply put, you cannot use the words of one person on another person's lips and then attempt to convict him. That's false accusation.

As a Catholic, I do not agree with everything the Evangelical Pastor MacArthur teaches - even on the virus situation. But I still can admire his desire to bring his parishioners together in common worship.

John

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Michael_Thoma] #420296 09/08/20 08:28 PM
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While it was highly unscientific to blame the virus on gay marriage and homosexuals (as opposed to AIDS, which can be shown to have more direct correlation), it is not wrong to bring attention to God's wrath against specific sins as outlined in the Scriptures and the writings of the Early Fathers. Sodomy is a vice which is particularly condemned both in Scripture and by the Fathers. I am not sorry for his statement against sodomy, but I am upset that he made himself look foolish (and the Church) by an unscientific statement regarding the origin of the virus.

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420297 09/08/20 10:58 PM
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The prayers used in the Sacrament of Holy Unction (in its Holy Wednesday form) are replete with phrases linking physical illness with illnesses of the soul which are generically referred to as sin.

Similarly the petitions of the Litany for Artoklesia beg God to set aside his righteous chastisement and to be gracious to us.

Decoupling physical illness from sin and tis consequences is a strange permutation of Dualism.

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Administrator] #420298 09/09/20 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Administrator
Michael,

I disagree strongly with your stated position. If what you state is the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox hierarchy, they are wrong.

It is also wrong of you to put their ideas in the mouth of Pastor John MacArthur. Simply put, you cannot use the words of one person on another person's lips and then attempt to convict him. That's false accusation.

As a Catholic, I do not agree with everything the Evangelical Pastor MacArthur teaches - even on the virus situation. But I still can admire his desire to bring his parishioners together in common worship.

John

Who doesn't desire to bring the parish together in common worship? I believe more churches today have been streaming services for just this reason. I've viewed the Divine Liturgy the world over, in ways unimaginable prior to this.

However using God and Scripture as a hammer is seen among a certain demographic repeatedly. They say they speak for God, and of course anyone who opposes their interpretation is automatically in league with the other side.

In the case of Patriarch of UOC-KP Filaret, he is said to have stated that corona is caused by gay marriage, "In a March interview with a local Ukrainian TV station, he reportedly called the crisis “God’s punishment for the sins of men and sinfulness of humanity.” “First of all, I mean same-sex marriage,” he added. “This is the cause of the coronavirus." (https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc...med-covid-19-gay-marriage-tests-n1239528)

As I said about MacArthur's position - if he's concluding that he speaks for God and God told him to open up his church, then logically if he or his congregation catches Corona either it was God's desire, he lied about what God actually said, or God's misspoke? Since the latter is impossible, it has to be one of the first two.

Is Patriarch Filaret's diagnosis an indication of something - I surely don't believe so, but by the logic he presented, one can logically come to an awful conclusion.

This is why it's often better to say nothing at all, than to publicly proclaim outrageous things in God's name. Do whatever you think you need to, but please - for the sake of the our reputation as Apostolic Christians - please refrain from claiming you speak for God when you do it. Doing so rightfully brings ridicule and scorn upon our communities.

Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #420299 09/09/20 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
While it was highly unscientific to blame the virus on gay marriage and homosexuals (as opposed to AIDS, which can be shown to have more direct correlation), it is not wrong to bring attention to God's wrath against specific sins as outlined in the Scriptures and the writings of the Early Fathers. Sodomy is a vice which is particularly condemned both in Scripture and by the Fathers. I am not sorry for his statement against sodomy, but I am upset that he made himself look foolish (and the Church) by an unscientific statement regarding the origin of the virus.

I agree 100%. I have no issue with the Patriarch stating the church position on any matter, but to then make silly claims that such and such disaster and such and such illness is caused by a group of people - c'mon, this is not our manner of proclaiming the Good News. Leave that garbage to charismatics/pentecostals/evangelicals and televangelists.

Last edited by Michael_Thoma; 09/09/20 05:29 AM.
Re: Prudent or paranoid? [Re: Thomas the Seeker] #420300 09/09/20 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
The prayers used in the Sacrament of Holy Unction (in its Holy Wednesday form) are replete with phrases linking physical illness with illnesses of the soul which are generically referred to as sin.

Similarly the petitions of the Litany for Artoklesia beg God to set aside his righteous chastisement and to be gracious to us.

Decoupling physical illness from sin and tis consequences is a strange permutation of Dualism.

I've never seen a prayer offered for setting aside the physical chastisement I'm experiencing, as caused by a third party rather than possibly something in myself. As far as I know, in the Syriac Tradition, it's always have mercy on me and forgive me, forgive us all for our sins and those of the world, not forgive and save me in my righteousness for those persons in whom I see sinfulness for which I suffer physically - unless there's been a physical attack.


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