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Morelli-Combating-Secularism-Domestic-Church

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Morelli-Combating-Secularism-Domestic-Church

  1. 1.  SEC·U·LAR·ISM (SµK“Y…-L…-R¹Z”…M) N. 1. RELIGIOUS SKEPTICISM OR INDIFFERENCE. 2. THE VIEW THAT RELIGIOUS CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD BE EXCLUDED FROM CIVIL AFFAIRS OR PUBLIC EDUCATION. --SEC“U·LAR·IST N. --SEC”U·LAR·IS“TIC ADJ.  FROM “THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY”
  2. 2.  AN INCREASINGLY SECULARIZED WORLD VIEW HAS COME TO DOMINATE EVERY PROFESSION, ACADEMIA AND, ESPECIALLY, MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT.
  3. 3.  Secularism can be defined as the marginalization of God and the Church, and in place of God and His Church, a focus on "earthly things" (Phil. 3,19). That is to say, the values of contemporary western world including: radical individualism; moral relativism; and religious and political correctness, which guide individual and social behavior and inform political/public policy.
  4. 4.  DANGER: “…without points of moral reference and without a plan worthy of the human person"  “…only the satisfaction of one’s wishes is taken into account”  [Second Catholic-Orthodox Forum - Rhodes, Greece – 18th-22th October 2010- by invitation of His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ]
  5. 5.  Secularism rejects God and His Church as the touchstone of truth and meaning. Moreover, when God is rejected, the locus of truth — the place from which truth emanates and where it is found — must necessarily rest in the created order. The locus shifts to man himself, and as pride and an inflated sense of Godless self- sufficiency grows, ideas which find no court of accountability apart from the like-minded, are implemented in this quest for a new Jerusalem.
  6. 6.  Secularism claims to be indifferent to religion.  The essential marks of religion: narratives, symbols, and traditions concerning the meaning of the universe and its existence, of human life, and of societal values and how they should be carried out.  Religion has a public aspect and the secularist religion has spared no effort in its desire to establish itself as the public national and world religion
  7. 7.  If Godly people were more aware of the secular value agenda, they might see the need to embrace and celebrate traditional religious beliefs in our society instead of eradicating them.
  8. 8.  Among the most egregious secularist principles are: learn to use your enemies; conceal your intentions; court attention at all costs; get others to work, but take the credit; use selective honesty; appeal to self-interest; crush your enemy; keep others in suspended terror; discover each man's thumbscrew; create compelling spectacles (the aura of power). [Greene R. (1998). The 48 Laws of Power. NY: Penguin]
  9. 9.  Abortion, adultery, alcoholism, anger, blasphemy, child abuse (physical, psychological, sexual or neglect), contempt, deceit, drug addiction, evil speaking (talking about someone even if true), fornication, gossip, harshness, hate, hypocrisy, idolatry, insider trading, kidnapping, kickbacks, lust, lying, negligence, not caring for the environment, pre-emptive unjust warfare, same sex marriage, smoking, spousal abuse, torturing and/or belittling prisoners, using others for money, power or sex, vengeance (national and personal).
  10. 10.  Many Protestant communities of the West cannot be relied on to battle this brokenness. In fact, they are part of the problem. As communities they have abandoned the ancient Sacred Traditions of the Church founded by Christ on His Apostles. They have modified and redefined the fundamental teaching of Christ to conform to the secular culture. Some have even claimed their personal interpretation of Holy Scripture is the work of the Holy Spirit and use their personal views to justify personal and societal sin. [Alfeyev, Archbishop Hilarion. (2009). Christ the Conqueror of Hell: The descent into Hades from an Orthodox perspective. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.]
  11. 11.  Some who label themselves Christian communities are even teaching that several of the societal sins listed above, such as abortion and same sex marriage, are Godly acts. Some have acquiesced to political correctness and teach that females can be ordained to the holy priesthood and episcopacy. The effect of this sell-out is not only to not preach the Gospel as Christ has taught us, but also to produce a greater alienation from the Orthodox Church, which the non-Christian world can perceive as outright scandal and hypocrisy. “It has also undermined the common Christian witness to the secularized world. Some Orthodox have been infected with this disease
  12. 12.  Equally reprehensible is the message of those who preach hatred, retribution, vengeance and death in the name of Christ. This is a mockery of all Christ stood for by His emptying of Himself (kenosis) of the Godhead and taking on our human nature.  St. Luke warned of wolves coming among those who call themselves followers of Christ: "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock." (Acts 20: 29). St. John tells us "This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son." (2 Jn 2:22). St. John also told us: "He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:8,16).
  13. 13.  Our holy Church Father St. Isaac the Syrian tells us what abiding in love means. He tells us it entails acquiring a merciful heart whereby we become like God. St. Isaac’s words are exact, concrete and practical: And what is a merciful heart? it is the heart burning for the sake of all creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons and for every created thing . . . the eyes of a merciful man pour forth tears . . . . he cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in creation...he offers up tearful prayer continually. . .for the enemies of truth, and for those who harm him, that they be protected and receive mercy. Alfeyev, Bishop Hilarion (2000). The Spiritual World of St. Isaac the Syrian. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications.
  14. 14.  For those who call themselves 'Orthodox Christians,' but are really not totally committed to Christ, that is to say not truly Orthodox Christians, the condemnation is even worse for they have been given the fullness of Christ's gifts. Recall Our Lord's words: "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required." (Lk 12:48)
  15. 15.  After receiving the Eucharist at the Divine Liturgy we sing, "We have seen the true light, we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity: for He hath saved us." The Orthodox Church of Christ has been given the totality of Divine Gifts. Woe to any who waste the divine gifts received at Holy Baptism and available throughout one's lifetime by full and deep participation of the life in the Church.
  16. 16.  The increasing homogenization of Christ's teaching with Godless world values and practice has accelerated in part due to technological, economic and entertainment globalization. Thus the need for true and complete pastoral focus on Orthodox catechesis is so critically necessary: A re- commitment to Christ in emulation of the first Christians in the Acts of the Apostles.
  17. 17.  Psychological research: When a threat is perceived collaborative action takes place  this means all, from the royal priesthood of the baptized to the threefold priesthood, bishops as arch-pastors, the priests as pastors of the local community, the deacons, at the head of the laity, have to perceive the great seriousness and threat of the evils of politically correct, post-modern, relativistic, secular society.
  18. 18.  awakening a passionate sense of the threat so that it produces an internal psycho-spiritual revolution that sparks a fervid call to action to combat this threat on all fronts: in government, in politics, in the community, in the parish churches, in the home (the domestic church), and among ourselves as individuals totally committed to Christ. Indifference is, and will be, the greatest challenge to this needed psycho-spiritual revolution. The Culture of Christ versus the Culture of Godless Society, must be cultivated All have the fervor of St. John the Baptist: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." (Mt. 3:3). We must become radical, revolutionary Christians.
  19. 19.  The technological advances in modern society, have been nothing short of amazing. The fact that our God-given intelligence has given us television, computers, smart phones, etc., is the fruit of mankind’s fulfilling God’s command: “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion… over all the earth…” (Gen 1: 26). television is good in and of itself, but a newscaster taking off an item of clothing after each report until stripped bare is deplorable, as is programming depicting promiscuity and same-sex marriage. Computers could be a blessing, but posting pictures of teens physically beating themselves or others to death, or posting explicit sex encounters is reprehensible. A Smartphone can be such a useful communication tool and time saver, but stalking others for financial or sexual gain is condemnable.. We must become passionate warriors against the axis of brokenness
  20. 20.  As God’s grace builds on nature, so does the work of the separator, the divider, the evil one.  St. Maximus the Confessor taught: "the grace of the most Holy Spirit does not confer wisdom on the Saints without their natural intellect as capacity to receive it." Goodness and wisdom is granted to man by his "volitive" faculty, so that what He (Christ) is in His essence the creature may become by participation" (Philokalia II).  The evil one, on the other hand, is the source of disorder. And functions as a liar and destroyer - as one who distorts God's truth and violently deconstructs God's created order. St. John wrote that, "the devil has sinned from the beginning" (1 John 3:8). He shed more light on the nature of the devil and his evil in a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44).
  21. 21.  The deception, deceit and camouflage of the evil one:  A senior supervising devil tells a devil-novice: "Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church.” “. . . if your patient can’t be kept out of the Church, he ought at least to be violently attached to some party within it. I don’t mean on really doctrinal issues; about those , the more lukewarm he is, the better. And it isn’t the doctrines on which we chiefly depend for producing malice. The real fun is working up hatred [between parties].”  With brilliant insight Lewis pens the words of the senior devil on how the evil one want Christianity to be used: “Certainly we do not want Christianity to flow over into their political life… we do want men [to] treat Christianity as a means… to their own advancement… You see the little rift? “Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.” That’s the game.”
  22. 22.  CIVIL RIGHTS  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS  RELIGIOUS CORRECTESS  ONE RELGION (VALUE) IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER  EMOTIONAL EMPATHY
  23. 23.  Moses in the book of Exodus (32: 19-21) writes of his own zeal. When coming down from Mt. Sinai after receiving the Tablets of the Law from God Himself and seeing the Hebrew people worshiping the golden idol “Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tables out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the water, and made the people of Israel drink it. And Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you that you have brought a great sin upon them?"  Consider David’s courage, diligence and zeal in standing up to the Philistines: "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…”(1Sam 17: 45-46).  The Prophet Elijah proclaims his own zealousness for the Lord: “. . . the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thy altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." And He said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord" (1Kg 19: 9-11).
  24. 24.  Consider St. Luke’s account of the zeal of a follower of Christ, who proclaimed Christ’s teaching even though he had not yet been given the baptism of Christ Himself: “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent [zealous] in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue… ” (Acts 18: 24-26)  Examine how St. Paul’s instructions to the Romans (12: 9-12) can be a model for our own zealous commitment to Church reunion: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Indeed we must have “a zeal for God.” (Rm 10: 2)
  25. 25.  Pastors must find combat strategies to overcome the Godless secularism that is attacking Christ and His Church, and which is a serious threat to the salvation of ourselves and our loved ones as well as of all mankind. Recall the words of St. James: “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?” (Jas 2:14). What might be some “works” of our Christo-centric moral and value strategy? Reflect the spirit of St. John the Baptist in today’s age:  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” (Mt 2: 1-6).  Our wilderness may be no further than our own parish churches, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our news media, our Politicians. Some examples: activities such as: action committees, book clubs, conferences, e- mail action groups, lecture groups, pilgrimages, right-to(all)-life action groups, social events, study groups. Strengthen the Domestic Church
  26. 26.  ”. The existence of a “home church” dating from apostolic times comes right from St. Paul. In his instruction to the Romans (16:3,5) he says: “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, … greet also the church in their house.” And to the Corinthians (16:19) he says: “The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. “.
  27. 27.  Ideally, a true Orthodox Christian domestic church in our day should look like (but is not limited to) something like this: Jesus Christ is at the center or hub. Husbands, and wives, as such, and as fathers and mothers, should be the leaders of the "church at home" in Christ's name. They should bless one another and their children, bless the food which is partaken, give thanksgiving for all that God has provided (house, furnishings, etc.), thank God for health and talents, and lead by the sanctity of their conduct as well as their words (Morelli, 2005c).  No catechesis can take place without the full deployment of the Domestic Church. The Orthodox family home has to reflect in its entirety the teachings of Christ and the application of these teachings as understood by His Church in the world today. Formal parish catechetical lessons usually at best may last 45 minutes to 1 hour a week. The number of hours in an entire week is 168 hours. Considering of the importance of models in shaping behavior, how much impact can a 1 hour Church School have when it is not reflected in the family lifestyle during the other 167 hours comprising the week?
  28. 28.  Children are probably among the greatest hypocrisy detectors in the world. When they witness and experience a discrepancy between what they are taught by Christ and His Church and what is practiced in the Domestic Church the consequences are spiritually and morally devastating. The disconnect is immediately seen. The children's faith in the credibility of the Christian understanding of husband-wife, father- mother, family life and/or the moral authority of Christ and the message of His Church is shattered. Contemplate Our Lord's dire warning: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea." (Mk 9:42).
  29. 29.  It all begins with pre-marital counseling  Evaluation of  Commitment  Loyalty  Moral values  Sexual intimacy  Importance of the God, the teachings of Christ and His Church  Romance
  30. 30.  Companionship  Forgiveness  Trust  Respect  Sensitivity  Sex-Gender roles  Physical attractiveness  Sexual faithfulness  Faithfulness during times of trial and tribulations
  31. 31.  Romantic Love  Togetherness  Romantic Fulfillment  Fear of Being Alone  Rejection Phobia  Inclusion  Trapped  Perfectionism  Disapproval
  32. 32.  Permission Seeking  Domination/Submission  Pleasing Others  Anti-Negotiation  ENTITLEMENT  RECIPROCITY  NAGGING  Help Addiction  Superman/Superwoman
  33. 33.  Achievement  Romantic Personalization  Parental Personalization  Conflict Phobia  Justice  Coercion  Hopelessness/Helplessness  Ultimatum  Disclosure Demand
  34. 34.  Truth  Sameness  Disclosure Phobia  Mind-Reading
  35. 35.  THE UNHOLY TRINITY: ENTITLEMENT RECIPROCITY NAGGING
  36. 36.  You feel you deserve love, happiness, respect, because of your “title” (mother-father/husband- wife) and when people do not live up to your expectations you have the right to feel angry and taken advantage of.  Antidote: Preferences based on love and people’s freedom
  37. 37.  You feel you have the right to have others do for you if you have done something for them even if they never agreed or even knew about it ---a unilateral contract  Antidote: be upfront tell people what you want if you want them to do something for you before you do something
  38. 38.  You feel expressing persistent reminders is the best way to get others to do what you want – people in order to maintain control over their lives will frequently do the opposite of what you want  Antidote: After a single preplanned cue, giving people freedom to be part of the decision making process in their own behavior
  39. 39.  HUMAN LOVE IS INCORPORATED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD- DIVINE LOVE  ST. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: “HOUSE OF GOD”: “I AM IN THE MIDST OF THEM” [MT 18:20]
  40. 40.  MARRIAGE IS THE IMAGE OF GOD’S FAITHFUL LOVE FOR ISRAEL  THE CROWNING: JOY: THE COUPLE IN A SPIRIT OF LOVE IS UNITED FOR ETERNITY; TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO THE LIKENESS OF GOD BY EMMANUAL (GOD WITH US) [IS 7:14] ‘DANCE AROUND THE GOSPEL BOOK MARTYRDOM: ENORMOUS SELF SACRIFICE: THE COUPLE BECOME MARTYRS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT: KENOSIS-THE SELF EMPTYING CHRIST
  41. 41.  The Orthodox Wedding Ceremony. After praying that the servant and handmaiden be united by God, the priest continues: “Unite them in one mind and one flesh, and grant them fair children for education in thy faith and fear [acknowledging the awesome, transcendent God].
  42. 42.  By their marriage Orthodox couple is ordained so to speak or commissioned to create an Orthodox home and family (The Domestic Church). This is the vocation of Orthodox marriage.
  43. 43.  This requires that parents not only be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word. They must learn the way of God, particularly His design for marriage and family through study, prayer, being united to His Church through obedience, reception of its Holy Mysteries and practice of the spiritual life.
  44. 44.  Orthodoxy: It is all interrelated  Its all about connections. I am referencing Church Tradition, Sacred Scripture, the Divine Liturgy, prayer, the counsels and sayings of the Church Fathers, icons and architecture, music. Orthodoxy is a unified whole, all parts interrelated and connected, which at the end presents a spiritual perception that transcends any of the parts taken alone. Essential to making these 'connections' efficacious in the journey to eternal salvation is the 'Domestic Church.'
  45. 45.  Several years ago The Learning Channel (TLC) ran a TV series developed by science historian David Burke called Connections. The premise of the show was that one cannot consider the development of any event in isolation. Rather, all must be seen as a gestalt, a web of interconnected events. This is a perfect definition of the Orthodox Church of Christ and how the revelation of Christ and the mind of His Church should be taught as well.
  46. 46.  The use of 'connections' in pastoral function is consistent with study findings from educational psychology research laboratories. In a review of the literature on transfer of learning, Sternberg and Frensch (1993) point out that numerous studies indicate transfer [improved learning] is likely to occur when material is presented: in multiple settings, is organized, that is to say "connected" with material already known by the student; when common themes are highlighted across different lessons and when students are challenged to apply these themes to new learning. Similarly, Greeno, Collins, and Resnick, 1996 point out the importance of "multiple representations of content." Greeno, J. Collins, A. & Resnick, L. B. (1996). Cognition and learning. In D. C. Berliner & Calfee, R. C. (Eds.) Handbook of Educational Psychology. NY: Macmillan.  Sternberg. R. J., & Frensch, P.A. (1993). Mechanisms of transfer. In D. K. Detterman & R.J. Sternberg (Eds.). Transfer on trial: Intelligence, cognition and instruction. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  47. 47.  A teaching moment is a real life, media mediated or question prompted event that is used to initiate a discussion about a topic or present a lesson.
  48. 48.  Parents and child are walking on the street and they and their children observe two individuals of the same sex in a ‘passionate kiss.’  A child has to step-over a homeless, poorly clad and unkempt person sleeping on the sidewalk
  49. 49.  A family is at home watching the TV news after dinner: A segment including streaming video and commentary of a gay rights parade is being broadcasted.  A same sex couple is being interviewed, and they proclaim their ‘unbelievable’ happiness that now they have the ‘right to marry.’  A popular magazine shows pictures of a young unmarried teen star (& model), who is pregnant.
  50. 50.  In Church School Class, Workshop, Teen Discussion Group, or planned Family Discussion time (or un-resistant personal conversation):  Hey (Jack/Jill) have you ever seen two boys or two girls ‘really’ kissing, what do you think?  Jack/Jill, your classmate Mary, just got herself pregnant ..how do you feel about that?
  51. 51.  What makes this problem distressing to pastors, parents, church school teachers and confusing to the children is that the star played the role of a "moral heroine" on the show. She talked about sex in the context of committed relationships and marriage. She dealt assertively with peers who wanted her to try alcohol, drugs and the like. She was described as "standing up for her beliefs."
  52. 52.  Talking with children does not mean preaching. Adults can be preached to. Children have to discover for themselves. The best way to talk with children is to first ask them how they think and/or feel about the topic. Then see if they can make the connection to Our Lord's life and teachings. The English word "education" is derived from the Latin word "educare" which means "to draw out." Parents, pastors, teachers may have to help draw out these connections.
  53. 53.  The discussion should focus on the love God has for us and the love husband (father) and wife (mother) have for each other in a God- blessed committed relationship (Blessed by God in the Orthodox Marriage Service). Parents should focus on this "as the same love we have for you as our children.” This is the same love we should have for one another.
  54. 54.  The discussion should focus on the holiness of sex, its part in God's creation  Example questions:  Who created us? (God.)  Who does God get to help him? (Mommies and daddies. Older children may want to discuss the physiology involved, parents should be un- anxiously straightforward and choose age- appropriate terms etc.)  How does he choose them? (He blesses their marriage.)
  55. 55.  The theme of this discussion is that since the fall of our first parents, we are inclined to do what we want and not what God wants. God loves us and if we love Him we want to do what He wants, (follow His will).  Example questions:  Have you ever done anything wrong?  If you have done wrong what can you do? (Answers: ask forgiveness, repent, do better, follow God's will.)  Have you ever done anything God would be unhappy about?  Have you ever done anything mommy or daddy would be unhappy about?
  56. 56.  God's Love, Mercy and Forgiveness  The child should be helped to see God's never ending love, mercy and forgiveness. The Gospels are filled with examples of Jesus forgiving the sins of those whom he encountered. Parents may want to mark a few passages so they could go over them with their children. With older children, parents and children should read the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), and the account of the woman caught in adultery (John 8: 3-11) look at the icon depicting the parable and event. Children should be asked for the meaning of these passages in terms of the current news story and their own lives.
  57. 57.  If you have done something wrong (fallen short, sinned), are really sorry, and ask God to forgive you, what will He do?  Because you have done wrong does it mean God, or mommy or daddy does not love you?  Does God want you to displease Him (sin against Him) again? (cf. Romans 6.)  What is the best way to please God after displeasing (sinning against) Him? (Ask forgiveness [for older children, especially by going to Confession] and try with all our heart not to displease Him or sin against Him again.)
  58. 58.  Does Jamie's pregnancy outside of marriage cause God to stop loving her? (No, He hates her sin, but not her, just as we, your parents, hate when you disobey us, but still love you.)  Does God want you to love her?  What can you do to show your love for her? (Pray for her, pray she asks God to give her the grace to grow in His love of Him, obey Him and do His will.)  Because she did something wrong is it OK for us (you) to do something wrong?  What is more important: To please God or your friends?  What is more important: To do what pleases God or to do what you see movie stars do?  Why not? (Because we want to love God with all our hearts and mind, so we can please Him and be with Him in paradise.)  What do we do when we or someone gets in trouble? (Pray for them. So we should pray for Ms. Spears, and all those whom God loves, and that means all of us even the worst of sinners.)
  59. 59.  Connecting God’s Love with our love of God:  The best way to show our love of God is to love Him and do what He has commanded; pray with all our heart to know, love and serve Him. Pray that Our Lord's words to the woman caught in adultery be what He would say to this popular actress and ourselves: "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again" (John 6:11).
  60. 60.  Priestmonk Christodoulos (Angelou, 1998), biographer of Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, said of the Elder: "He only saw the good things in life and was blind to every evil." Fr. Christodoulos also said: "I believe that if someone develops positive thoughts, ... he will not be a loser, because God, who knows our deepest intentions, will do him justice."  What a beautiful way to apply the Elder's teaching to this media event. One overheard comment that reflects the spirit of the holy Elder's words was by a woman who said, "One good thing, she decided to keep her child and not have an abortion."  Especially with older children, the choice for life over death could be emphasized. They could pray that Godly choices like this could continue to be made. This could be a starting point leading to a family discussion on abortion and the sanctity of life.
  61. 61.  Pastors and parish priests must engage the question of same-sex marriage. Behavioral research on effective persuasion strategies with children (the way persuaders try to convince children that their position is the right one to hold) reveals that the best tactic is to associate the message with fun and happiness, rather than provide any factual content about the message (Barcus, 1980). Also associating it as a civil rights issue. We see the tactic employed consistently in the newscasts about same-sex marriage. (Barcus, F. E. (1980). The Nature of Television Advertising to Children. In E. Palmer & A. Dorr (Eds.), Children and the Faces of Television (pp. 273-285). New York: Academic Press.)
  62. 62.  First validate the feeling:  The first step is to help the child understand that just because something looks good does not make it good. In other words, if your child says that the scene of say, the happy homosexual couple, makes him happy, acknowledge it. The feeling of happiness is a real experience and denying it will either confuse him or cause him to discount what you say.
  63. 63.  The child may something like, "Boy, they sure seem happy." The parish priest and/or parent could reply, "Yes, they sure do.“; "But Johnny, let me ask you a question, 'Because you are happy about something, does that mean it is good for you?'" He might answer yes, thus affirming that if something makes him happy it must be good.
  64. 64.  Ask the next question as a game (older children and adolescents can be asked the questions straight up). Pick something the child really likes, their favorite food or toy for example. They should be emotionally excited about your choice; something they see as "really good." Then add some unforeseen and very unfavorable consequence that compels him to think a bit more deeply. For example: "Suppose the food were filled with poison and you would get very sick if you ate it, or suppose you were playing with your toy and an accident happened and you got hurt." Let the child discover through your questions that just because something looks good and makes you happy does not mean it is good for you. (Let the child answer)
  65. 65.  “…and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2Cor 3: 3)
  66. 66. RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
  67. 67.  Emulates: the Love of God and His actions  Relationship of love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The creation of the cosmos, living things and mankind  The self-emptying of the Godhead in taking on our nature  The love of Christ for us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection
  68. 68.  To treat a prohibition on same-sex marriage outside of its Divine context is easily interpreted as arbitrary and capricious. Some smart children and adolescents will sense and perceive this. Priests, parents and educators have to be able to answer the question their children's ultimate question: Why? Of course in their own education process, the parish priest parents, spiritual director must focus on spirit, not rules.
  69. 69.  THE SCIENTIFIC & ORTHODOX REALITY:  Sex: What a person is biologically.  Sexual Orientation: The sex of the individual the person is sexually attracted to whether same-sex or opposite sex attraction.  Sexual Desire or Strength: The degree of attraction, from weak to strong.  Sex Partner Differences in Arousal: Males: Multiple partners. Females: A single bonded individual.  Gender Identity: The sexual characteristics a person perceives himself as having that are socially defined, irrespective of their biological sex.
  70. 70.  If the term sex is replaced with the term gender, then biological concreteness is subsumed by cultural values leading to the confusion we see today: the denial of male-female distinctions, the reformulation of human relationships (such as marriage) in culturally relative terms.
  71. 71.  Proposals by some (thank God very few) to ordain ‘female priests’
  72. 72.  "You're right, we're made in God's image and have to be like Him." "Making kids is God's work." "Yeah! I know what having sex is all about, two girls or two guys can't 'do it' the same way as a girl and a guy can." "Wow! Two fleshes become one flesh, and the child is your flesh too, I never thought of it that way. So marriage has to be holy too!"
  73. 73.  Younger children may find it difficult to conceive of the meaning of "one flesh." St. Paul himself said: "This mystery is a profound one…" (Ephesians 5:32). I have found it useful to use concrete objects that a child is familiar with to illustrate more abstract concepts. Most children play with blocks and have experience with various geometric forms in games such as pegboard etc.
  74. 74. MALE –FEMALE—HUSBAND-WIFE BECOME ONE
  75. 75. CANNOT BE JOINTED TOGETHER
  76. 76. CANNOT BE JOINED TOGETHER
  77. 77.  One of the stumbling blocks in any discussion of homosexuality and same-sex is the charge "Don't judge!“ Secular moralists are using it to obliterate any distinctions between what the way the Church understands scripture concerning right behavior and relationships.  Nevertheless, the charge stops many Christians in their tracks. It's also a powerful shaper of young minds. Children want to be fair. They may know homosexuals, or even children of same-sex couples. "Don't judge!" translates into "You've got to be fair!" This should be dealt with.
  78. 78.  St Luke's words, "Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them'" (Luke 15: 1-2).  A child may be asked, do we see Jesus ever condoning prostitution or thievery? Of course not. At the same time, Jesus saw the prostitutes and tax collectors as more than their sin. He reproved the religious establishment, the people who thought that because they had a lock on religion they were guaranteed a place in the kingdom of God, with some harsh and unexpected words.
  79. 79.  A child may be asked, "How could this be applied to gay people you might meet?" If the child knows someone who is homosexual, use the name of his acquaintance. More thought- provoking questions include: "How should we treat someone gay when we meet them?" "What should be our mood?" "How should we think about them?" "Should we pray for them?" "What did St. Paul say the purpose of God's kindness was?"
  80. 80.  Tom may be gay, but he is also a child of God.  Jane is free to act the way she wants, she can choose to live the way God asks us to act according to His Will or 'do her own thing.' I will pray for her.  Jesus has told us that only a man and woman can marry and be blessed by the church. Tom and his male friend cannot have a blessed marriage in Christ.  If a male-female couple decided to just live together or get a "justice of the peace marriage," it would not be blessed either.  All of us, male and female are asked by God to love and obey Him, but it is our choice.
  81. 81.  I cannot judge Tom, only God judges, but I can pray that we all do God's will.  Jesus told us Jane cannot be married to her girlfriend, but God also gave us free will. I will pray for them. God told me to only look at myself—I sure know the sins I have done.  Listen, I have chosen to live my life the way Jesus has told us. I may mess up, but I keep trying.  Just because Tom and his friend, and Jane and her friend were "married in court" doesn't mean it is blessed by God. God only blesses a man and a women who marry in church.
  82. 82.  Please note that the script models the essentials of a Christ-like response: kindness toward all; non-judgment of persons (judgment belongs to God only); and affirmation of the truth that only a blessed marriage between male and female is acceptable to God, and humility in that we are to judge ourselves, not our brother or sister.
  83. 83.  O Lord and Master of my life, do not give me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk  But rather give me the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant.  Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, For blessed art thou unto ages of ages. Amen

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