Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Contemporary Art & Beauty

"Admit it - you really hate modern art": This is the title of an article recently published by The Asian Times. So much of Contemporary Art seems devoid of beauty, often influenced by the intellectual rejection of beauty as an idea.

The Orthodox Christian life is the way of beauty. Our sacred art (iconography), a reflection of divine Beauty, is central to our whole way of life. The icons are beautiful, yet reveal a beauty beyond themselves. Beauty is more than an idea. It is a Mystery.

For one to truly know the beauty of Orthodox art, the person must experience it within the spiritual life of the Orthodox Church. To get an idea what Orthodox art is not, one may begin by reading The Asian Times article.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Americans Finding the Ancient Way

The press has written several good articles on the Orthodox Church lately. USA Today printed the article "More Americans Join Orthodox Christian Churches" on January 11, 2007. More recently, on January 21, 2007, The Detroit Free Press published an article entitled, "Ancient Ways Entice Detroit Christians." These are both good articles worth reading.

Some articles about Orthodoxy include what seem to me confusing statements about the history of the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Christ on the Apostles. It did not split from the Catholic Church or come out of the Catholic Church. (It is the "Catholic Church" by definition.) I understand that in an effort to limit the length of the articles and to avoid offending Roman Catholics, explaining the separation of the Church of Rome from the other Churches that together comprised the Orthodox Church a thousand years ago may be a task writers would rather avoid. I have no doubt they have good intentions. Those who really want to discover the ancient Orthodox Faith will have a chance to figure all that out anyway.

May we continue to receive favorable attention that helps people discover the secret every American should know. By our faithfulness and love, may we continue to reveal Christ through our lives to the people around us, thereby offering good reasons for receiving good press.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Europe's Trojan Horse

I found an interesting article on the CNN website today. Christiane Amanpour, CNN's Chief International Coorespondant, wrote "Radical, Moderate Muslims Battle for Young English Minds." A related article on the CNN site is "Radicals vs. Moderates: British Muslims at Crossroads." These articles are part of The War Within, a CNN special report. (Check out the video links on these pages.) Similarly, The Guardian published "Revealed: Preachers' Messages of Hate - Muslim Worshippers are Being Urged by Radical Clerics to Ignore British Law."

Islam isn't only clashing with British culture. In 2005, Muslims rioted in the streets of Paris. (See The New York Sun and BBC News for articles.) Spain has also been touched. Read the article in The Independent entitiled, "Spanish Bishops Fear Rebirth of Islamic Kingdom." You can also read about "The Islamification of Europe's Cathedrals" on PajamasMedia.com. Islam isn't just clashing with the secular culture of Western Eruope, but also with the Roman Catholic Church.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Catechist's Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, to Thee I cry: hear me Thine unworthy servant! Enlighten my mind; grant that I may truly and clearly describe Thy way into the Kingdom of Glory which Thou in Thy mercy has granted us!

Grant that those who read and listen to my words may be filled with Thy love, enlightened by Thy knowledge and made strong by Thy power. Warm our hearts with Thy Spirit and we shall joyfully and fervently go the way which Thou hast shown us.

- A prayer of St. Innocent of Alaska, missionary to North America

This prayer appears in The Way, The Truth, and The Life Teacher's Manual, published by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission, 2003.