Divine Liturgy every Sunday at 10 AM

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christ and Christianity

While watching History International on T.V., with the subject matter "The Crusades" I was shocked to discover that the First Crusade composed of a Christian army, upon taking back Jerusalem from the followers of Islam, entered the city and slaughtered men, women and children, some of them Christians.

Of course we Orthodox remember the Fourth Crusade of the thirteenth century when the Christian city of Constantinople was sacked by the "Christian" crusaders. These men entered the city and raped our women and desecrated our altars as well as stealing our precious artifacts and relics and taking them to Rome. This crusade was not mentioned on the History Channel.

Today a non believer who is a friend of mine began accosting Christians because of the "Christian" fundamentalist's being involved in the political arena. I am not convinced of the moral superiority of this group even though I am very sympathetic to their views on abortion. Yet they are never "doves" when it comes to fighting the "enemies" of the United States. How many lives have been taken and how many families crushed in the lands of our enemies.

I responded to this man in this way, and I am the first to admit that it as a simplistic answer: All who call them selves Christians ought to be judged in the light of Christ's teachings. He never taught war but warned of dying by the same sword one takes up. He never taught that a political system, such as the one his own country suffered, but that if the enemy forces you to go one mile go more. If he slaps you on the cheek, turn the other. If he despises you pray for him.

As a matter of fact he taught us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate you.
How please tell me can we look at the history of Christianity and not call ourselves betrayers of his sublime teachings?

Lately in one of my homilies I said that Christ is in all of us, and Christ desires to continue what he began when he first brought God into the world and that we are called as Christians and especially Orthodox Christians to release God from our hearts who wants to come into the world but because of our worldly concerns and selfishness He is left imprisoned in our hearts.

In a world that is reeling at all that is taking place today, may we Christians return to our Lord's Way. After all the first disciples were called followers of the Way.

In Christ's love,
Fr. Athanasius



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