Often Great Lent is taught as a series of “shoulds” – we should go to Church, we should fast, we should pray, we should give alms. This approach focuses on “duty” and can have a negative connotation.
Whenever either the Summer or Winter Olympics ends the athletes that are victorious return home to bask in their achievements, while those who did not win medals return to begin training for the next Olympics. Television coverage provides us with a bird's-eye view of the long and difficult sacrifices they make to train for this event.
Our neighbors returned from a weekend away at a resort with their two teenage. They described to us the wonderful food buffet at the resort. The brunch buffet, they reported, had everything, the meats, the scrambled egg bar, tremendous fruit spreads, all the pancakes and toppings you could think of, ten different types of dishes, salmon, croissants, you name it, they had it.
The notion of human dignity is foundational in the imagination of many desperate people and peoples around the world that dream for greater justice and freedom in their personal and communal space. Respect of human dignity and recognition of human rights demand the development of a culture of peace and justice.
New advances in physical and human science, a more sophisticated and reflective understanding of how human identities are formed and the experiences of living in a modern pluralistic society invite us to rethink what it means to be a human person.
How has the North American context and experience influenced the lives, faith commitments and practices of the Orthodox churches? What is the mixture and balance of beliefs and practices in being Orthodox in this country? Reflecting on these questions could lead us to a new appreciation of the identity(ies) of the Orthodox church as evolves in this country.
Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis discusses the Orthodox Church's stance to lead by faith and "to take an active role in fostering economic practices that reflect God's peace and justice" as it relates to peacemaking and the global marketplace.