Friday, November 30, 2012

Fear and Fear

St Dorotheos of Gaza
Dear Students and Friends,

Did you know there are many kinds of fear? Here are two podcasts that discuss two "fears": fear of the future and fear of God. Have a listen and receive 1 credit for each podcast you listen to. Simply listen, fill out the Podcast worksheet, and email it back to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit!

Podcast on Special Moments in Orthodoxy: NO MORE TWINKIES! That was this week’s top selling “bad news” among business closings and economic downsizing. The coming “Fiscal Cliff” seems to be all-consuming these days and most Americans watch the daily news with fear and anxiety for an unknown economic future. But as Christians we do not need to fear the economic future, cliff or no cliff. So long as we keep our hearts focused upon Jesus Christ, we will safely pass through any trial and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Listen now.

Join Fr. David Smith this week on Harmony of Thunder. In the Divine Liturgy, when the priest summons the people to Holy Communion, he sings, “With fear of God, and faith, and love, draw ye near.” Does it seem odd to you that the first thing mentioned is fear?  In his sermon “On the Fear of God,” St. Dorotheos of Gaza explores the need of all Christians to fear God. This great desert saint wanted to impart to the monks under his care the supreme importance of understanding what it meant to fear God as a part of the spiritual life. This week's Harmony of Thunder listens in as he preaches his "On the Fear of God" sermon.  Don't miss it!" Listen now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Feminism and Tradition

Dear Students and Friends,

Here is a book that is likely to stir some discussion and I think it's really worth reading. I am in the midst of reading it, and offer this review, below:

"In this work, Orthodox priest Lawrence Farley presents an Orthodox Christian response to feminism. Beginning with a chapter on why persons with feminist outlook have trouble with Christianity (they have a wrong view of scripture; they often have unteachable attitudes), he then looks at Biblical passages that are often difficult for women to swallow, beginning with the Genesis creation stories and explaining what they mean. Fr Farley explains why "subordination" is so misunderstood and how it doesn't mean that women are not equal to men or "second class citizens." A later chapter on the early Church Fathers shows how tradition has interpreted these Scriptures and how the Fathers were not "woman haters" as many believe. Finally, Fr Farley tackles the difficult topic of why the Orthodox church doesn't ordain women--pointing out that even Jesus Himself did not assign a woman to be one of the Twelve.

"The author's prose is fair, gentle, nonjudgmental and sincere in his love and concern for men, women and relationships. This book helped me understand the issues (I often don’t know how to respond to feminist friends) and especially why there is so much brokenness in male-female relationships. Fr Farley made me realize that things are not right between men and women because we have lost sight of the roles and desires God has for us, and we are unwilling to accept them and be obedient to God. I recommend this book to persons who are curious or struggle with questions and who can read with an open (read=not angry) mindset."

You can receive 2 credits for reading this book. Simply read, fill out the General Worksheet for books, and email your work to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com to receive your credits.

Buy the book at Amazon or SVSPress.

Feminism and Tradition: Quiet Reflections on Ordination and Communion by Father Lawrence Farley, ISBN 978-0881413823, 188 pages, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press: 2012.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Book Wednesdays: Unexpected Joy

Dear Students and Friends,

For this week's offering, I found a new Orthodox novel for you. I don't usually feature novels, but this one sounded intriguing and is so often the case, we can often find great truth in a story.

The name of the novel is Unexpected Joy by Cheryl Tuggle.

"A journey often begins without foreknowledge and leads to places unimagined.  It is the fall of 1999, and poised at the edge of the new millenium stands and introverted girl, one who might have found an earlier century a better fit.  College junior Annie Healey is bright, opinionated and decidedly old-fashioned in all ways but one: religion.  An avowed atheist, Annie thinks religious faith is obsolete.

"As part of an assignment for her Comparative Religion class, Annie attends services at a local Orthodox Church. There she meets Anna, an elderly Russian woman, and is mysteriously compelled to seek her company.  From their very first encounter Annie suspects that there is something extraordinary about Anna and is determined to discover what it is.  Led backward into the history of Anna’s life, and pushed forward by pressing conflicts in her own, Annie is propelled along the path of discovery and transformation, in part by a revealing icon of the Mother of God.  In the process of finding out the moving truth about the old woman, Annie surprisingly discovers the truth about herself."

You can receive 2 credits for reading this book. Simply read, fill out the General Worksheet for Books (available from the Lessons tab, above) and email it back to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com to receive your credits.

Purchase the book at Anaphora Press or Amazon.

Unexpected Joy by Cheryl Tuggle, ISBN 978-0980124132, 158 pages, Anaphora Press: 2011.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Podcast: Telling the Truth

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." -- Jesus
 Dear Students and Friends,

This seems a timely podcast for election day.

On Special Moments in Orthodoxy, we’ll hear a CRTL episode from the OCN vault, in which Aristotle Papanikolaou talks with us about truth-telling and how it influences our understanding of ourselves, sin, and God. Aristotle Papanikolaou is Professor of Theology and the co-founding Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. He has written numerous published articles and is the author of Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion and co-editor of Thinking through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars and Orthodox Readings of Augustine.

You can receive one credit for listening to this podcast. Simply listen, fill out the Podcast worksheet (available from the Lessons tab) and email it back to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Listen to the podcast now.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Read-Along Lesson 5

Dear Students and Friends,

Lesson 5 for the Read-Along in "Words of Fire" is now available from the Read-Along tab, above. Teacher Lee has also provided a list of helpful word definitions. This document is also available on the Read-Along tab.

May your learning be blessed!