Fascination with wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:12

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Census & Signs of Western Decline

Census figures in Memphis represent a modest decline in two-parent households since 2000, when 38.4 percent of Memphis kids lived in them. They also depict a sharp contrast between the city and the rest of Shelby County, with 69.7 percent of the 76,774 Shelby County children living outside Memphis city limits residing in two-parent households. National figures from the 2010 Census aren't available yet, but statewide, 58 percent of Tennessee's nearly 1.5 million children are in two-parent homes. Researchers and area officials say the trend toward single-parent homes is highly worrisome, but not new or limited to Memphis. Many of Memphis' most difficult problems are rooted in the growing prevalence of single-parent households in the poverty-stricken inner city, said Eugene K. Cashman Jr., president and CEO of the Urban Child Institute. “The most critical years for brain development are from conception to age 3, “Cashman said. "Being in a single-family home is a stressful environment," he said. "There's undoubtedly less resources. There's less time to touch, talk, read and play with them." The educational disadvantages translate into a less-equipped workforce, which leads to diminished economic development and a continuing cycle of poverty, Cashman said. More here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome to the Orthamerica video blog

Some Differences Between East and West

The schism between the east and the west is a complex subject and should not be limited to political relations between the bishops and emperors but should emphasize the cultivating factors of the cultures at large and how the cultures infected the doctrines of both sides. One major difference between the western church (Roman Catholic) and the Eastern Church (Eastern Orthodox) is the manner of which theology is organized, taught and digested. Today, the Orthodox Church refers to nearly all western theology as scholasticism. Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos explains scholasticism as such in Orthodox Spirituality: A brief introduction:

“Scholastic theology tried to understand logically the Revelation of God and conform to philosophical methodology. Characteristic of such an approach is the saying of Anselm [Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109, one of the first after the Norman Conquest and destruction of the Old English Orthodox Church]: “I believe so as to understand.” The Scholastics acknowledged God at the outset and then endeavoured to prove His existence by logical arguments and rational categories. In the Orthodox Church, as expressed by the Holy Fathers, faith is God revealing Himself to man. Read more…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Consumerism & Contentment?

I was born on the communist island of Cuba in 1962, right in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis. It was a time when the island’s communist leadership had begun to take all private property from individuals and make them the property of the state. The new found profits were then distributed among the new elite within the communist party. All of this was done with the motto “everyone equal.” History has shown us that some were more equal than others. In any case, the drive for equality proved to be huge enough to hypnotize the population into acquiescence. The dream sold by the communists and bought by the people was one wherein everyone would be equally able to consume to the point of contentment. Obviously, that never happened. What has happened is that the Cuban economy is ruins and the people live low on the global poverty level. The dream of consuming to point of contentment became a nightmare.

As a reward for disagreeing with the new system, my parents and their children (myself included) were exiled from the Island nation. We settled in the U. S. where a totally different paradigm ruled. The American dream appeared to be one wherein a person could, if they desired work hard enough, consume one’s way into contentment. Consuming was for all intents and purposes the new path to salvation, it was that thing which would make all other things right. Now, this was obviously too crude to state outright, but it was nevertheless the reality for just about everyone I knew. And thus, consume we did. Unfortunately, it never produced the much sought after contentment, and left us with a great deal of debt. It did not take very long to figure out that something was very wrong!

The American dream has not always been to consume ourselves into contentment, nevertheless, it is not difficult to show that this has been our nation’s underlying goal since WWII; consuming has been our gospel. Nevertheless, it seems that the era of hoping for salvation through consumption may be drawing to a close. One need not have a degree in economics to note that the shifts in our prosperity are monumental, and everyone realizes something is severely wrong!

We may be entering into the most gospel hungry era in the history of our nation. Are the preachers of our nation ready for this? Are the churches ready to come out from under the yoke of consumerism, or is our gospel too contaminated with the gospel of the past 50 years? It is time that we take the words of our Lord seriously; there is no other gospel than that of Christ. There is no contentment except that which is found in the death of this world and the birth of the world to come.

Repent (metanoeo: redirect your understanding) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (within reach).

Mat 4: 17