Saturday, March 15, 2014

        Ghetto Christianity

Impoverished Institutional Christianity
and the Rise of Islam in the West

The dramatic increase in Islamic immigration in Norway seems to have been the spark, some years ago, that kindled a crazed Norwegian national to murder countless young people, the majority of whom were of Norwegian blood. This evil man was hoping his terrorist act would spark a war against Islam.

It has been reported in the press that one out of four people now living in Norway are immigrants from Islamic countries. The response to this dramatic change in demographics is seen in the rise of extremist nationalistic political parties, not unlike the Nazis of World War II. The fear of a cultural decline has led many to become radicalized, with the rise of racism the result.

Norway, like the other Nordic countries, has recognized the Lutheran Church as a State Church for many centuries. Like Greece and many other Orthodox countries, most of the population of Norway were baptized into the State Church, but rarely attend services. The essence of faith, with a foundation in Jesus Christ, had been lost in the confines of an institutional form of Christianity that has lost its essence.

The reports we've received about the situation in Norway are not correct and the number of Muslims is highly exaggerated. The actual number of Muslims in Norway is 163,000 or a little more than 3% of the total population. In Oslo 11% of the population are Muslim. The estimate is that in 2060 the Muslim population of Norway will be between 4 and 11%, provided the same immigration rate as today continues, and the birth rate of Muslims remains the same.

Norway is still to be considered a Christian country. True enough, many people have become quite secular, but the Lutheran cathedral of Oslo is filled with people all day, every day. They come to light candles and to pray, both young and old.

The cure for the societal, political and demographic decline in Nordic and European countries is not to be found in nationalistic racism, nor in war against foreigners. The cure for all that ails the western world is a return to piety and fear of God. Spiritual decline has led to the total meltdown of societies that were previously rooted in the Christian faith. What remains of Christianity has been turned into a spiritual ghetto, where ethnic preservation and tradition have replaced the Power of the Imperishable, which is a life in Christ.

Until we in the western world bow our heads in humble repentance before God and restore the source of Western Civilization, Christianity, our world is lost. Attacking foreigners and Muslims will only quicken the end of our culture and societal institutions, for the basis of our very existence must be centered in the power of our life in Christ. In Jesus we can do anything. Violence against people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds is a terrible insult to the teachings of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, who came to save the whole world.

The apostles entered a pagan world and transformed it because they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. They did not remain in an institutional ghetto of religiosity, but went into all the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. It was the essence of this faith that transformed the western world, and it is this essence that can do it again.

What a wonderful world it would be if we lived our lives in total commitment to Jesus and giving witness to our neighbors of the sanctifying and transformational power that can be had in a life in Christ. Rather than fear immigrants of a different faith and race, let us reach out in love, welcoming them into hearts centered in Jesus Christ and devoid of institutional dryness.

Orthodoxy must be vibrant in her evangelical zeal. It is not the Church that is at fault, nor the liturgical worship and dogma of the Church that are in need of change, but rather the hearts and minds of her people. This can only be done with a renewed commitment to the Lord and the living out of an authentic and transformational Christianity that is truly the center of our daily living.

How attractive this Christianity would be to our immigrant neighbors if they could see the love we have for them. Radical Islam within our boarders could be diffused if these new immigrants could see the love of Christ in the way we welcomed them. Instead of fearing them, let us reach out as missionaries, inviting them into the life of the Church that has changed us.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday March 15, 2014 / March 2, 2014
Second Saturday of the Great Lent. Tone four.
Great Lent. Food with Oil

Parents’ Saturday. Remembrance of the dead.
Appearance of the Kolomenskoye Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, "Reigning" (1917).
Hieromartyr Theodotus, bishop of Cyrenia (315).
St. Arsenius, bishop of Tver (1409).
Virgin-martyr Euthalia of Sicily (257).
Martyr Troadius of Neo-Caesarea (3rd c.).
Venerable Agatho of Egypt, monk (5th c.).
440 Martyrs slain by the Lombards (579).
St. Sabbatius, monk, of Tver (1434), and his disciple St. Euphrosynus (1460).
Sts. Barsanuphius (1459) and Sabbas (1467), abbots, of Tver.
St. Chad, bishop of Lichtfield, England (672) (Celtic & British).
Righteous Father Nicholas Planas (1932) (Greek).
St. Quintus of Phrygia, confessor and wonderworker (283) (Greek).
Martyr Andronicus and the virgin Athanasia (Greek).
Hieromartyrs Nestor the bishop and Tribimius the deacon of Perga in Pamphylia (250).
Martyr Hesychius the Palatine of Antioch (304).
New Martyr Theodore Sladich of Komogovina (1788).
St. Joachim (Papoulakis) of Vatopedi, Mt. Athos and Ithaca (1868).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, our fine line of teas, and make Monastery Jams, all sold on line, and in our gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, tend bee hives, and raise free range chickens for our eggs. With all we do to support ourselves, we still depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Hebrews 3:12-16

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Failure of the Wilderness Wanderers

16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?

Mark 1:35-44

Preaching in Galilee

35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”
39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

 I invite my readers to listen to my
Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:

No comments:

Post a Comment