Church Teaching?

There has been a storm brewing in St. Louis over Archbishop Raymond Burke holding fast to church teaching. Now you might say, “What’s wrong with that?” Well in this country we do not want anyone telling us how to live. Our Christian faith, or for that matter our Jewish faith or our Muslim faith has a set doctrine that we believe in. We are not cafeteria Christians, Muslims, or Jews. For example, you cannot be pro-choice and be an Orthodox Christian. You may think you can, but let me ask this. Can you be an Orthodox Christian and not believe in the Resurrection? Now I am not putting the Resurrection on the same level as being pro-choice, but the point is we believe in a certain way of life, and if you do not believe in that way of life, you do not belong.
I have not commented much on the trouble that our Episcopal Brothers and Sisters are going through in this country, but as I see it part of the problem is they are wishy washy on what they believe. Jesus came to teach a way of life, we either accept it whole or we reject it.
Here is a story in Today’s Boston Globe about Archbishop Burke. I think that he is doing what he is supposed to be doing. We live in a society that has no moral center, because we try to be politically correct in everything we do. As preachers it is our responsibility to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If we start to water down our faith to make it easier for the faithful, then all we have done is harm the faithful. Sin is sin and we need to start talking about it again.
It is not easy to be a Christian in this life, but you know Jesus never said it would be easy. If you are a preacher, preach it and preach it well. Do yourself and your flock a favor and tell the truth not some poll tested watered down version of the truth. Leave that to the politicians.


  1. You write: “but the point is we believe in a certain way of life, and if you do not believe in that way of life, you do not belong.

    Since when has “the Faith that established the universe” (cf. Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy) dared tell anyone “you do not belong”? Such was never proclaimed by our Lord and Savior, nor by our Holy Tradition.

    You’re quick to oscillate the word “sin” in all directions without once using the word “metanoia.”

    Then you say: “It is not easy to be a Christian in this life, but you know Jesus never said it would be easy.” You are wrong; Jesus did say it was easy …

    … my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt 11:30.

    You sound rather angry and bitter, like a spasmodic Sola Scriptura fundamentalist. That’s not what defines Orthodoxy, nor the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit.

    Preaching about theosis elevates humanity and the creation from its lesser states, rather than obsessing about sin and legalities. Orthodoxy never had a place for brimstone-bashing clerical arrogance or a Pontifex Maximus.

    Thank God for the interventions of the Holy Spirit that go where you’d say not, do what you’d belittle, say what you banish. The Holy Spirit, when it imparts life, doesn’t mandate how to live that life; life is given freely. And it is exactly that sacred imprint of free will, founded on the image and likeness of the Holy Triune, that Christ came to “deliver us from evil,” to save free will, not codify and pontificate over its freedom.

    Rather than fixate on sin, become hypervigilant about our greater nature as gods-in-process (Jn 10:34). You’ll get more mileage from the pulpit that way. And from us. Than we’ll flock to you in greater number, with our sins and all because we do belong.

  2. although i do not like to be told that being pro choice makes me less of a christian i also under stand that your being a priest puts you in the position of telling me what is correct and what is not. its eaier to sin then to not sin. i think the devil gives us so many more reasons to make are lives sinful that following sin seems easy.
    Jesus says the way to heaven is a narrow path and its your place has a priest to point that path out, then it becomes my choice to choose the path i wish to take.

  3. “Truth and leniency always go together. If you want to separate truth from leniency, separate them for your own self! But then, know it, you will hear the truth without leniency! Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos +1966.

  4. as a priest we need some feedback from you on what to believe and how to help us stay on the right paths away from sin. thisis a great site and i appreciate it

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