Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Analysis of the "LCMess"

This one is from First Things Blog. Here's a sample:

The LCMS, in which I was baptized and confirmed, is unlike any other Protestant body: It’s not mainline and not quite evangelical, at least in the altar-call, clap-happy sense. Rather it is orthodox, confessional, and liturgical—or at least it’s supposed to be. For those Christians who are tired of the strip-mall approach to church-hopping, in which the congregation with the best music and most emotional appeal wins your heart this week, the LCMS has always been a traditional, sober, and catholic alternative. Unfortunately, many within the LCMS have decided that being Lutheran isn’t enough; they also want to be BIG and compete with the nondenoms around the corner. And so some congregations have gone all Baptist and charismatic in terms of worship style, and in some cases present a soteriology that contradicts that of a church with a very high view of the sacraments—a view that includes a doctrine of baptismal regeneration.
Read the rest here.

HT: Weedon

Letting A Pro Explain It

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway writes for the Wall Street Journal:

He may well be right. The program was in all likelihood a pawn in a larger battle for the soul of the Missouri Synod. The church is divided between, on the one hand, traditional Lutherans known for their emphasis on sacraments, liturgical worship and the church's historic confessions and, on the other, those who have embraced pop-culture Christianity and a market-driven approach to church growth. The divide is well known to all confessional Christian denominations struggling to retain their traditional identity....

Since Mr. Kieschnick narrowly won election in 2001, the church has embarked on a program, called Ablaze!, that has the admirable goal of "reaching 100 million unreached and uncommitted people with the Gospel by 2017," the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Historically the church kept statistics on baptisms. Now, however, it keeps a tally of what it calls "critical events." On March 17 a man reported discussing Jesus with his waitress -- and the Ablaze! count went up by one.

One congregation near St. Louis took a $25,000 Ablaze! grant and used it to put up billboards with kitschy statements purporting to come from the devil (e.g., "JeffersonHills Church Sucks," signed "Satan"). A Michigan mission congregation replaced the historical message of Lent with a speaker series on sex. Following marketing principles, neither congregation uses the word "Lutheran" in its name or advertising campaign.

While "Issues, Etc." never criticized Mr. Kieschnick or his colleagues, its attacks against shallow church marketing included mention of some approaches embraced by the current leadership. It opposed, for instance, the emergent church -- an attempt to accommodate postmodern culture by blending philosophies and practices from throughout the church's history -- and the Purpose Driven Church movement, which reorients the church's message toward self-help and self-improvement.

This isn't the first time the Missouri Synod has been divided between confessional Lutherans and those enamored with the latest religious fads. In the 1970s, alert confessional laity thwarted a top-down imposition of chic liberal theology in the church's seminaries. (Read the whole piece here.)

HT: Dan at Necessary Roughness.

So Could My Picture Over There Be an Icon?

Interfax quotes Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Fr. Mikhail Prokopenko:

I would not say that absolutely all cartoons... are immoral and offensive. In fact, some of the cartoons... can even be called Christian and promoting family values - take, for instance, The Simpsons, a cartoon series that I, for one, really like.

Just kidding about the icon joke.

HT: Orrologion.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Congregational Ostrich Move

Early in my ministry it was relatively easy for me to ignore the troublesome things that were happening in the Synod. I made the refrain many do, "I am pastor here, not there, and what happens out there does not really affect my people here." Or, "I have been called by God to this place, not to the Synod." Those of you who are clergy in this denomination have heard it all before.

But such responses forget a few important items:

1. You are a member of Synod. Your congregation is a member of Synod. And while Synod is "advisory" and all that, we are still responsible to others. We do have "ecclesiastical supervisors."

2. We are a Synod, and there are other congregations that people will visit. They will have friends in other congregations. You may stick your head in the sand, but other people will not.

3. The Synod does not seem advisory to many laypeople. And the Synod has ways of reaching your congregation around you, through radio, the internet, mailings and so forth. The message from the pulpit and newsletters is not the only message they hear from the LCMS.

4. If you really care about your people, you should care that one day you will not be there and someone else will be, and may undermine all that you have taught. You may respond, "That is not my concern; it is in God's hands." It is in God's hands, but if you care about the people and believe you are right, you will care about what happens to them when you are gone.

Any additions to this list?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Issues with "Issues"

The reaction in the LCMS about the abrupt cancellation of the radio show "Issues, Etc." continues. One link provided by a respected blogger takes us here, where the author proposes the cancellation of the show is just one more step in a "Seeker Sensitive Take Over" of the LCMS. He tries not to sound like a conspiracy theorist.

Um....you think? To be sure, I don't know if the LCMS is systematically, intentionally, knowingly, organizationally following the steps of change that Chris Rosebrough suggests. It may be a stretch to say that there are organized powers who have planned the process of change to "Transition" our church body into the bland, Purpose-Driven model and our congregations with it.

But look around, dear friends. It's happening, and has been happening for some time. That much is incontrovertible. How premeditated it is and how many are involved is unknown...and moot.

We knew when Pres. Kieschnick was elected. It is not our Grandfather's Synod, after all. Doubt this? Listen to this radio interview conducted the very same day Issues Etc was canceled.

We knew when the 2004 Convention re-elected Kieschnick and the resolution to provide Contemporary worship materials passed.

We knew when Ablaze! was passed.

We knew when Fan Into Flame! was promoted in our Districts (that's the fund-raising scheme behind Ablaze!)

We knew when we read stories like this (note the Ablaze! Live Church in the bottom left of the first page. See more here). And saw websites like this. Yes, JH Church is LCMS in theory (to put the "best construction" on this, they have a very professional, sharp web design, and some slick marketing and branding. It is very effective marketing).

I used to think that I was well in the mainstream of the LCMS. I thought that some congregation's flirtation with modern Church Growth, Purpose-Driven methods would be short-lived. I believed that the classmates of mine at the Seminary would get discouraged when they realized that the Mother Ship does not change like that. Many of them were converts; I grew up hearing, "The Missouri Synod will never do such-and-such." I believed that the Confessional, Liturgical movement in the LCMS (sometimes called the Evangelical Catholic movement) was not just faithful to the historic LCMS, but couldn't even be argued against, there were so many of us.

All that changed for me in July 2004. Apparently many more are realizing this now.

When Moses was in Egypt Land...

As Marjorie and I left for church on Good Friday, Jack began throwing up. His Grandma stayed home with him and Grandpa brought the other kiddos to church. On the way home, Jack vomited again. Poor little guy.

After all the kids were in bed, Marjorie got sick. Then me. Holy Saturday we shuffled around, but by late afternoon we were all hungry and doing better. Easter was refreshing and joyous, that is until Mikayla ran across the street in the dark sans shoes, kicking the curb and splitting her toe open. It was too late for minor emergency, too minor (we thought) for a $100 trip to the ER. I spent Easter Monday morning in the walk-in clinic with her. It was broken. Not the day off I'd planned, but at least I was not expected to be at church, and I was glad I could take care of her.

Today she woke, toe broken...and vomiting. Olivia is nauseated too.

Marjorie said this morning, "I keep telling God, 'If you would simply show me WHO Your people are, I will gladly let them go! Please spare my firstborn!"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Corporation

Fr. Gregory Hogg is right whether you like it or not. The LCMS is a non-profit corporation as it identifies itself in its Constitution. The only "church" in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are those congregations which are members thereof.

He also wrote, "Toward his own people, a man may function as minister; toward the broader group, he is a field-office manager." I recognize the rhetoric here, and he may not be far off. To Redeemer, I am their Pastor. But I also belong as a member of the Synod, and if not a "field manager," then some position of responsibility in the Synod.

The background of his post is the cancellation and termination of a popular radio show on KFUO. In many senses it was the voice of Confessional Lutheranism in St. Louis. Since it was syndicated and available on the Web, its voice was also heard around the world. The show didn't pull many punches, and sometimes the rhetoric was pretty thick. But it reflected a certain strain within the LCMS--the "Conservative" side if you want to call it that. The host and producer were employed by the Synod and now the corporation has removed them this week, without warning. Why? We don't know. Who? They are not saying.

I don't know the specifics, but I do know the radio show expressed a version of Lutheranism that is not reflected much in the Official Publications of the LCMS (That's safe to say, I think). The pastors of the LCMS are also under authority, and as members of the Synod, expected to toe the company line, to some degree--perhaps not as much as if your check has "LCMS, Inc." on it, but some nonetheless. I cannot be fired from the Synod, since they don't pay my wages. Most of us are not high-profile enough to be noticed. Maybe.

Here's some wisdom for those who aren't used to answering to corporate bosses. The article was entitled "Four Things You Should Never Say to the CEO" by Bill Lane:

2. Making fun of a corporate program.

Yes, there are lots of vapid initiatives trotted out by marketing or PR or HR people: "Year of the Customer," or "Zero Mistakes," or "Zero Inventory," or "Zero Drinking at Lunch." And sadly enough, bad CEOs often buy in and pay these goofy ideas half-hearted lip service. Feel free to make fun of this stupid stuff--as long as you're willing to leave the company the next day.

Once at GE, the chief financial officer poked gentle, martini-fueled fun at a Welch initiative, from the podium at a company dinner. Welch fired him shortly thereafter.

I ran with most of what Welch promulgated, because it made sense to me. As a communicator, my job was to take it to another level -- often to the point that Welch had to rein me in, calling me crazier than he was. This might sound like butt-kissing, but not to me. I believe in "signing on or signing out." If you don't believe in the corporate mission, either keep your mouth shut or leave.

This kind of advice is a bitter pill to swallow these days.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anonymity

I read this story and thought of Fr. Gregory Hogg, our favorite exhorter to online identity. He makes good points. The Christian is never anonymous, nor, if we trusted in God, should we fear the consequences of stating our beliefs.

Criminalizing anonymous posting, however, seems a little impossible and unwise. But I appreciate the thought behind this.

Begin with Prayer and See What Happens

At Bible Study a few days ago someone asked me a difficult question about the relationship between intentional good works and Jesus' statement to remain ignorant of what we do--"But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (Matt. 6:3).

My answer was to pray and pray before anything else. Even as I said it, it sounded like a cop-out to me, an easy excuse. Pastor doesn't know how to answer, so he just says "Pray!" and weasels out of another jam. I don't believe anyone besides me actually thought this. But I did. How do we do good works, but not place our faith in them? How do we help the needy, yet be ignorant of what we do? How do I bear fruit but not take pride in them? It must all start with prayer, which is to say a faith that calls upon the Lord often.

Life begun with prayer and continued with prayer will yield its fruits. If we are so occupied with prayer, perhaps our hands will help, our mouths will praise without our even knowing it. Perhaps if pray is upon our heart, we will confess our sin and glorify God for His mercy even as we give our offerings and sacrifice for our family, our congregation, our neighbor.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Family Update

We are all on the mend now, and I believe that's official. I'm on round two of antibiotics for the sinus infection. Marjorie is on round two for her pneumonia, but it is improving. The kiddos are ok. We think John Patrick may have rotavirus, but he is staying hydrated. My parents were here a few days last week and helped tremendously; her parents are on the way to spend Holy Week with us, may God be thanked and praised.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

No, the Tiber Isn't THAT Swimmable

Getreligion.org reports on the feeding frenzy that shouldn't have been. Turns out the Pope "rehabilitating" Luther story that so many of us commented on was based on poor reporting in the first place, and summer camp whisper game in the second.

The Vatican denies it all. Everyone, replace your tab collars with polos again. Party's over.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fall From Grace

The news out of New York saddens me. I've posted before on the prominent falling into sin, yet scandals never seem to end.

We can ask ourselves, "What was he thinking!" I'm sure he's asking himself the same question. The ironies in the case abound. He famously gave a speech early in his run for Governor that under his government, the days of scandal-screaming headlines would go away. Would that it have. "Mr. Clean," he was called. Sort of like David, a man after the Lord's heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts. 13:22). Sort of like me. Sort of like all of us.

It may be easy to wag our fingers, to shake our heads incredulously, to consider such a willful sin, such a willful violation of law as beneath us, or beyond our ken. But it is not. The human heart is full of dragons and has many secret places. No thing is beyond our capability in this fallen state. Proverbs reminds us, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Pro. 16:18 KJV).

I mourn for Spitzer and how much he has lost. In all the news coverage I haven't heard if he is religious, so I pray that he may find forgiveness and comfort in our Lord of Sinners. And I pray for all of us, that God would stop our hand from such scandalous sin and preserve us.

Repentance-Inducing Headlines

An estimated 3.2 million U.S. girls ages 14 and 19 -- about 26 percent of that age group -- have a sexually transmitted infection such as the human papillomavirus or HPV, chlamydia, genital herpes or trichomoniasis, the CDCsaid. (source)
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who spent the last nine years pursuing malfeasance in government and on Wall Street, now finds himself a target following reports linking him to a prostitution ring. (source)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Unceasing Prayer?

What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Some groups take this to mean that God wants perpetual prayer-prayer marathons, so to speak. So all day and all night long, people take turns to pray continually. Is this what God wants us to do? Obviously not, for He has given us work to do. He wants us to have rest periods as well. To pray unceasingly means to be diligent in prayer. Morning prayers, evening prayers, table prayers, and prayers in special circumstances add up to the diligence God wants. (Rudolph F. Norden, Every Day with the Savior: Daily Devotions. Concordia, St. Louis, 2004. September 14 devotion.)

I read this with severe disappointment. It sounds too much like my sinful nature which says, "God's Word certainly cannot mean it what it says. 'Pray without ceasing,' (1 Thes. 5:17) certainly is hyperbole." It should raise flags that our enemy also speaks this way.

Norden's objection to unceasing prayer is couched in a straw man, that unceasing prayer means a continual prayer vigil, where a church or group prays unceasingly. This is a straw man because the Epistle does not indicate that these are "group" prayers, but that all of us should pray unceasingly. Furthermore, his critique--that God doesn't mean this because we have other things to do--is invalid, as the example itself shows that no one person is praying all the time, but shifts are taken so that people can do other things. I wonder why he tries so hard to re-interpret this passage.

The Church Fathers have a radically different understanding of what unceasing prayer means. St. Basil the Great writes,
For prayer and psalmody, however...every hour is suitable, that, while our hands are busy at their tasks, we may praise God sometimes with the tongue (when this is possible, or, rather, when it is conducive to edification); or, if not, with the heart.... Thus we acquire a recollected spirit--when in every action we beg from God the success of our labors and satisfy our debt of gratitude to him who gave us the power to do the work, and when, as has been said, we keep before our minds the aim of pleasing him. If this is not the case, how can there be consistency in the words of the apostle bidding us to 'pray without ceasing," with those other words, "we worked night and day." (The Long Rules, Q37.R.; quoted from ACCS, vol. NT IX)

St. Augustine likewise says,
Let your desire be before him, and 'the Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you.' For it is your heart's desire that is your prayer. If your desire continues uninterrupted, your prayer continues also. For it was not without meaning, when the apostle said, 'Pray without ceasing.' Are we to be 'without ceasing' in bending the knee and prostrating the body and lifting up our hands, such that he says, 'without ceasing'? If that is what 'without ceasing' means, then I do not believe it is possible. There is another kind of inward prayer without ceasing, which is the desire of the heart. (Augstine, Commentary on the Psalms, 37.14; quoted in ACCS, vol. NT IX)

What's interesting about the quote from St. Augustine is that he says something similar to Norden, that we cannot pray "liturgically" without ceasing. It would be impossible to form petitions in our mind to God at all times--and especially to accompany that with proper prayer posture.

But both of these Fathers describe a kind of prayer of faith. It is not so much a prayer of the mind, which forms words and sentences, but more a prayer of the heart, a prayer that beats along with our heart, that accompanies our rising and resting, our work and our speech. Later Eastern Fathers describe this kind of prayer especially in terms of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me (a sinner)." There is a host of teaching on what this means and how it was practiced. During the 14-15th Centuries it was controversial, and Western Christians since have been prone to denigrate this at times as nearly un-Christian mysticism and "navel gazing." (Which incidentally, was a slur against Eastern Orthodox monks, not against Hindus or Buddhists, as many today take it to mean).

Apart from the historical (and present) controversy, the practice of saying the Jesus Prayer is excellent and commendable. As a prayer it is Biblical, echoing the cry of the publican (Luk. 18:13); the blind men (Mat. 9:27; and in Mat. 20:30), the Canaanite woman (Mat. 15:22); etc. It is the simplest cry of a faithful Christian. It is also short and memorable, easy to say in the mind while doing other work, or even while falling asleep.

While saying the Jesus Prayer (or any prayer) continuously is far from our abilities, it is dangerous for the Christian to simply dismiss the notion as impossible. We can certainly take a page from the Fathers who show us how prayer is so conjoined to faith that they are inseparable.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"New Sins" According to the Vatican (Green Ones Too)

Reuters reports that the Vatican has made a statement about "new sins" of the current era. The decidedly modern sins include pollution, genetic manipulation and other bioethical issues, drug trafficking, and others.

Obviously such sins aren't new; the Vatican is not saying that such sinful things would have been permissible before today. But sometimes one needs to clarify how contemporary practices must be seen in light of God's unchanging Law.

The angle the Reuters' story took was the "green one," which raises the question, is it sinful to have a "large carbon footprint?" Should Christians be obligated to reduce emissions and buy fluorescent bulbs for their homes? Is it sinful not to?

We are forbidden as Christians from "polluting" our body (2 Cor. 7:1 NJB), but this does not address junk food and polyunsaturated fats. It addresses sin, and the passage hardly applies to environmentalism. But we are called to be stewards of all that we have received from God. Most of the time we describe this in terms of time, talents, and treasure, but our use of the gifts of the earth and the fruit thereof are not excluded. As Christians we ought to honor the Earth as Creation, not in and of itself, but as something God made good. Spoiling and despoiling our environment without regard for the one who created would be sin for sure.

Let us not forget that brazen, intentional pollution, littering and the like are also illegal and show despise for others.

Dealing with Bereavement

Anastasia posts the following, which I'm shamelessly quoting in its entirety. Excellent Christian counsel on mourning.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

My dear Demetrios has pointed out to me that there is a right way to deal with sorrow, and there are some wrong ways.

Wrong way: try to forget it. Distract yourself. Keep busy. Put the deceased out of your mind and hope that eventually you won’t think about the person any more. Of course, this doesn’t work, and would be brutally inhuman if it did.

Another wrong way: Try to console and content yourself with happy memories. But Christ did not die so that we might have memories. It’s the person we want! Not memories. (This point also has important implications for the Mystical Supper; it’s Christ Himself we want, the Person, not merely memories!)

Another wrong way: Be a stoic. Numb yourself to it. Nature does this for us at first; that’s why, for a time, we say, “It hasn’t hit me yet,” or, “It doesn’t seem real.” We are unable, immediately, to respond with appropriate emotions. But the numbness, the sense of unreality, is supposed to wear off shortly. Eventually, as we gain the inner strength, we need to face the issue head-on and let ourselves have those emotions. Otherwise, we harm ourselves.

The right way, for a Christian, is to understand that we still do have the loved one, even in that person’s repose. It’s as if he were in another room, with the door closed, but he is still there. Love is stronger than death. We still love him and he still loves us. And as the Holy Spirit indwells us here on earth, how much more does He fill those of us in heaven, through Whom we all have sweet communion. We not only still have our loved one, but also have him more securely than before, because now he is sealed. He will be the Lord’s forever, with no more possibility of falling away; and he will be ours forever, with no more possibility of our becoming estranged or drifting apart. Now, on his side, at least, there is no more barrier to perfect communication.

The Christian way to deal with death, whether one’s own or that of one we love, is to remember that Christ has conquered death on behalf of everyone.

"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the last day upon the earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." (Job 19:25-16)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:26)


For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (I Corinthians 15 :3-8)

(by
Anastasia Theodoridis, Kyrie Eleison)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Another Prayer Request

Marjorie finally made it to the doctor today and they seriously considered hospitalizing her for pneumonia. Friends had taken our children today and returned them at bed time, bless their hearts, so she got some much-needed rest, and from the doctor: a shot; a prescription for antibiotics and narcotic cough suppressants. Please remember her in your prayers. Thanks

Benedict on Luther

This has been plastered all over the Lutheran blogs, but in case you missed it, Pope Benedict XVI is re-considering the Church's treatment of Luther--or at least will be. Here's the story.

The implications for this remain to be seen after the document is released in September and we find out exactly what the Pope will say. Until then, I think the most prudent thing to do is what and see.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Hope was Premature

The improvement felt Saturday and Sunday was short-lived. Monday night fever, Tuesday night worse, Wednesday was wretched and today I gave up and landed at the doctor again. Secondary infection and antibiotics. One dose down, 9 to go. We'll see. Thanks for sticking around here while I convalesce. I do promise to post more regularly soon.

Prayer Request

Today Anastasia, a faithful reader and commenter here and "blog-friend" posts that her sister Barbara has passed away, leaving husband, children, sister and parents behind. Keep that family in your prayers, please. Also, Fr. Gregory Hogg buried his father today. Keep his family in your prayers as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Being Still

One reason we’re addicted to activity is that it takes our mind off questions we don’t like to ask—What’s the meaning of life? What happens when we die? Why does God allow evil? These are the questions that Pascal said gave rise to distractions like fox hunting—and today, monster truck shows. Being a Christian doesn’t settle these questions, otherwise theologians would be out of work. And the spiritual growth that comes from grappling with the answers is a life-long process.
(From: "Doing Nothing for Lent" by Angelo Matera, Godspy (2.15.08)

...Not that Converting Is Bad

A few posts down there is a quote regarding how often Americans change religion, and an implication that this is negative. It certainly can be. Especially when you see serial religionists, those who are continually dissatisfied. As Dixie suggested, perhaps Burger King is influencing their behavior too much.

But in general, I have always praised converting on this blog. When your beliefs and practices have changed, converting is simply the only honest option. Too many in my denomination have changed their belief and practice and have not left, with the result that the body itself is changing to match them. I have always praised my friends Fr. John Fenton and Fr. Gregory Hogg (and others known and unknown) who have shown integrity by following their convictions with action. Their decisions were not easy, but they had the courage and opportunity to make them.

That we have the ability to do this is a blessing. That many in our society exercise this blessing frequently is not for their spiritual good, though. May God delay quick conversion!

Update
It has troubled me in the past when LCMS pastors have been excoriated--often behind their backs--for leaving our confession. Often the argument compared them to adulterers. They forget that our founder was excommunicated for being unfaithful, and encouraged everyone to leave their vows and be like him.

Thank You

For all your prayers and well-wishes as my family and I were laid low by the flu--a great thank you. We're all on the mend and our house is getting back in order.

Thank you again!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Excellent Quote

The real meaning of the English word "Gospel" is good news, but one can find those who are more attracted to the Bad News Gospel. You can find religious circles more interested in the anti-Christ than in Christ, more interested in the number 666 than the Holy Trinity. This is a fear-driven, bad news orientation. Where such a mentality thrives, the Christian contribution to society is meager. Where faith, hope and love flourish, transformation occurs. Faith changes life. If life doesn't change, clearly there is no faith. St. John Chrysostom, preaching to perhaps 400 people in Antioch, told them, "If all of you were Christians, there would be no more pagans in the world." If you want to understand how Christianity spread so rapidly in the early centuries, it was because Christians were Christian...This is our tragedy because more than ever the world needs the light of Christ, the genuine light.
Metropolitan JOHN [Pelushi] of Kor├ža, Albanian Orthodox Church.
HT:Western Orthodoxy