Saturday, June 6, 2020

Questions and Answers 155 - 159

Question 155: Have you read the following articles? My name is Irene and I'm an Orthodox Christian who is confused on what to believe regarding disease transmission via shared Holy Communion. These articles below have me a bit concerned and there seems to be no general consensus in the Church as of yet. I read your top 10 article about this matter and am in the process of reading your other one on Bio-Orthodoxy. Maybe you can post a response discussing these articles if you are so inclined as I really enjoy your writings.

Do the Sacraments prevent illness?

A Note on the Common Communion Spoon

Answer: I posted a lot on this issue and they all can be accessed on my Coronavirus Resource Page. There is a lot more I can post on the subject and will in time. Stay tuned.

Question 156: The introduction of the EOB published by New Rome Press says the TR and PT are similar because the former is a Byzantine-type text, and the PT was composed from studying about 20 major Byzantine manuscripts. It says the TR is the basis of the (N)KJV, and for this reason the (N)KJV is well-received by us Orthodox. So if you consider one is better than the other, which of these do you consider to be that better one?

Answer: First of all, I haven't read through the EOB published by New Rome Press, so I can't say anything about that. I hope to in the near future. As for the differences and similarities of the Textus Receptus and the Patriarchal Text, this is a pretty big subject that I have not worked through myself, but I have read about it. My advice is to read through both at the same time and mark the differences. From what I know, they are about 95% similar. They are both good in my book. Here is a pretty good short summary about this that I found:

Question 157: If a priest does his preparations for a Divine Liturgy, with the proskomide and everything else before the Divine Liturgy begins, but because of a snow storm or some other reason no one attends, not even a chanter, should he continue with the Divine Liturgy?

Answer: This is a question that should be brought before a local bishop to determine, but from my understanding, because other people were expected to come but didn't or could not, then the priest should continue with the Divine Liturgy by himself, according to oikonomia. However, if no one was expected to come, the preparations should not be done in the first place, and therefore the Divine Liturgy should not take place.

Question 158: What exactly does a priest do in this situation, since he has no chanter? Also, what if the priest doesn't have a prosphoron?

Answer: If there is no chanter, the priest plays the dual role of priest and chanter. Before the Divine Liturgy, a shortened Matins service can be chanted, but if the priest can't chant the Matins service, then he can read it. During the Divine Liturgy, the priest would chant both the petitions and the responses, while the silent prayers in this situation should be read at least slightly audibly so the congregation will not sit in silence.

I should also add that sometimes there are situations where the chanter is either not a believer or does not take his position seriously. For example, one priest talks about how during the Gospel reading the chanter went outside to smoke a cigarette. What do you do in these situations? You remove the chanter from his position and take on the role of a chanter if no one is available to help.

As for there not being any prosphoron, well, every priest must make arraignments at least the night before to have a prosphoron for the Divine Liturgy, and also wine. But I have personally been in a situation where the priest did not have a prosphoron because of his negligence in preparing, and because of this someone went to a store and got some regular bread which was used. This should only be done in emergencies however.

Question 159: (This past week I posted some material on my Facebook page about the silliness of neo-liberal movements like Black Lives Matter and the criticisms over Trump going to hold up a Bible in front of the church that was desecrated the night before. For this I received 13 private messages that basically denounced Trump for using the Bible as a political prop - this was the kindest criticism - to accusing him of committing blasphemy and being the antichrist - this was the most extreme criticisms. At the same time some were praising the protests and offered absolutely no criticism of them. Obviously these people were liberal lunatics, so I decided not to respond until I responded here. Here is my very short and general response to all these messages. I was tempted to go much deeper, but I decided to keep it simple and straightforward. I don't want to come off too much as defending Trump, cause he needs no defending with a record that speaks loudly for itself.)

Answer: You accuse Trump of dispersing peaceful protesters and using the Bible as a prop in a photo-op in front of St. John's Church across from the White House. You say he is not a real Christian and has never read the Bible so he has no right to even touch a Bible. You accuse him of committing an act of blasphemy and all his actions show that he is an antichrist and fascist. Blah blah blah blah blah....

What I saw was the President of the United States going to survey the situation of various desecrated historic sites and St. John's Church which are directly in front of the White House and have important roles in presidential history. We know that it was the Park Police that cleared the way for this to happen, who were not given any orders from the President and were somewhat overseen by the Attorney General, and that protesters were not supposed to be there, while those who were there were not being peaceful as falsely reported by the media nor were they obeying orders to disperse, so Park Police handled it as they saw fit (and never used tear gas by the way). I then saw Trump holding up a Bible in front of the desecrated church to show that America is a country founded on God-given liberties and rights and that he will not allow for such desecration to take place on his watch. He then left and the Park Police made it so that the area in front of the church was closed off to all future protesters to prevent any further desecration.

That's it, pure and simple. In other words, what Trump did was make a very powerful move in favor of religious freedom, our most basic American value, and various so-called religious leaders, politicians and the media saw something very evil and sinister about the whole thing. Why? Because they hate Trump. That's it. There is no other reason. Their response was predictable, because they see everything Trump does through the lenses of their darkened by hatred hearts. Their hatred comes off in everything they say about him and in the way they judge his intentions. And therein lies the true evil. Trump did a good thing. Maybe it wasn't perfectly executed and communicated, but the intention and action was good, and there certainly was no reason to criticize it as something evil. For this he was denounced as a fake Christian, and accused of being so because he held up a Bible he has never read. Whether or not he has read the Bible, I don't know. Maybe some passages. But you don't have to read the Bible to be a Christian. In fact, I have known very few Christians in my lifetime that have read the whole Bible. I know theologians who teach in seminary that have never read the Bible. My maternal grandmother went to church every week for years before she died, and she was totally illiterate. What I certainly know is that those who were accusing Trump of never reading the Bible have probably never read the Bible, and they certainly don't apply it in their lives, and that includes all the religious leaders who criticized Trump, as well as Orthodox clergy who criticized Trump, who should all be ashamed of themselves for being demonically inspired to do so. "But Trump never goes to church," they say. No President in modern history has gone to church, except on major holidays, which Trump does. Obama never went to church except a couple of times in his eight years, and even rarely on holidays. Reagan didn't even go to church, and in his last interview as President expressed his greatest desire to be able to go to church when his presidency was done. Only Jimmy Carter went to church, but even he would only would go about once a month, if that. But since Reagan's assassination attempt, the security measures for a president became so great, that to attend church became a big hassle and was avoided as much as possible. But we know Trump has gone to church more than most modern presidents, and we also know that he watches and listens to sermons. His conversion to Christianity took place watching a preacher regularly on television, and this is what he still continues to do, as he himself has expressed.

What I have heard little about is the criticisms directed towards those who do deserve it, and by this I mean Black Lives Matter protesters, Antifa terrorists, looters and rioters. The night before someone in that group set fire to St. John's Church, and not one of them condemned the action, instead they focused on Trump. Why? Because they hate Trump. It always comes down to hating Trump. What is truth to a democrat? Hating Trump is the answer. Most of what happened this past week is because they hate Trump, they hate American values, and they hate law and order and everything that America is built on. This is what all the riots and most of the protesting is all about. And then you have Archbishop Elpidophoros joining the protesters. I never heard a word from him denouncing the riots and lootings, but I did see him walking around with a bunch of protesters who think they are virtuous for doing so, holding up a Black Lives Matter sign, a sign of an organization that stands against much of what the Orthodox Church believes and much against what Martin Luther King Jr. believed. I won't get into a critique of the various groups (you can read something here and here) and all the evils and atrocities they committed and stood behind, but I think it was shameful what Archbishop Elpidophoros did, though I won't condemn him because I don't know exactly what his intention was. But why doesn't he get condemned for using a Black Lives Matter sign as a prop and photo-op? They wouldn't dare.

I'm not against protesting what happened to George Floyd. It was horrible and tragic. But protests today have devolved from what they used to be, led by activists who are out to not just change a situation, but a whole lot more. The only answer to racism is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this well. Black Lives Matter refuses to accept this. When Archbishop Elpidophoros holds up a sign that says Black Lives Matter, it looks like he is endorsing an organization that has nothing to do with Jesus. When Archbishop Iakovos marched with Martin Luther King Jr., with other religious leaders and a crowd dressed in their church clothes, they did it in the name of Jesus.

If I were to choose between (1) Trump holding up a Bible in front of a church desecrated the night before by rioters and cheered on by protesters, and (2) Archbishop Elpidophoros who marched with and endorsed Black Lives Matter, I would choose Trump all day every day, without question, and with a clear conscience.

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