Limited Time Free eBook Offer: ‘The Cure for Consumerism’

(Acton PowerBlog) The latest monograph from Acton, The Cure for Consumerism by Rev. Gregory Jensen,will be available for free starting this Wednesday, June 10, and ending Friday, the 12th, at mThe Cure for Consumerismidnight. This is the second monograph in the Orthodox Christian Social Thought Series.

Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a rapid growth of human flourishing, but critics of the market economy have argued that these improvements have led to consumerism and rampant materialism. This monograph will explore the possible cures for consumerism. Can society actively choose to consume less? Does our economic system need a complete overhaul? Rev. Jensen will explore these possibilities, synthesizing insights from the spiritual tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church with modern social science. This monograph will offer practical solutions to consumerism, putting both faith and economic freedom to work for the common good.

To read a sample or to learn more about The Cure for Consumerism, be sure to visit www.CureConsumerism.com. On Wednesday, you can get your free copy at Amazon.

The Rev. Gregory Jensen is a social scientist specializing in religion and personality theory. Currently he is the interim pastor of St Ignatius Orthodox Church in Madison, WI and Orthodox Chaplain at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He blogs at Koinonia and the American Orthodox Institute. In 2013, he was a Lone Mountain Fellow with the Bozeman, Mont.-based Property and Environmental Research Center (PERC).

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“No earthly power is ultimate. That is the great religious contribution to liberty.”

The concept of the moral limits of power is more important to freedom than is democracy. For democracy contains within it a fatal danger. Tocqueville gave it a name: the ‘tyranny of the majority.’ A majority can oppress a minority. The only defense against this is to establish the moral limits of power . . . Biblical politics is limited politics—the political of liberal democracies, not of the Greek city state.

Rabbi Lord Sacks (2007) The Home We Build Together.

Source: Jewish “conservatism,” or “Jewish” conservatism? | Spengler

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The Moral Limits of Psychology | Acton Institute

Defenders of the free market insist that virtue is essential to a just and thriving economy. If morality is relevant to economics, it is equally so to allied fields of social science, all of which have as their object of investigation the human person. Indifference to the moral dimension distorts the study of human action in economics; so too does it deform the discipline that reaches behind that action to the human mind: psychology.

 

Built on a sound anthropological foundation and guided by an equally sound morality that is clear on the proper goals of human life, the empirical findings and practical techniques of psychology can foster the flourishing of both persons and communities. Unfortunately, as Theodore Dalrymple argues in his most recent book Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality, contemporary psychology has long been not only hostile to traditional morality but also indifferent to and dismissive of the larger context of Western culture within which it arose. As a result contemporary psychology, according to Dalrymple, “is not a key to self-understanding but a cultural barrier to such understanding as we can achieve.”

Source: The Moral Limits of Psychology | Acton Institute

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The “least of these” are not the poor…

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says,

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

This text is not about poor people generally. It’s about Christians getting the door slammed in their face while sharing the gospel with a neighbor. It’s about the baker/florist/photographer who is being mistreated for bearing faithful witness to Christ. It’s about disciples of Jesus having their heads cut off by Islamic radicals. In other words, it’s about any disciple of Jesus who was ever mistreated in the name of Jesus. This text shows us that Jesus will judge those who show contempt for the gospel by mistreating gospel-bearers.

Read the rest: The “least of these” are not the poor but the Christian baker, photographer, and florist | Denny Burk

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The Way Forward

Charlotte Allen’s editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal writes that if “the Supreme Court rule[s] … that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right” she anticipates “bubonic plague-level hysteria … threats of business boycotts” and even “death and arson threats” like those made against the “Catholic owners [who] told a reporter that, while they would gladly serve gays in their restaurant, they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding” against proponents of traditional marriage. While it is tempting to dismiss this as paranoia during when “Justice Samuel Alito asked Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether a religiously affiliated college that opposed same-sex marriage could lose its tax-exempt status after such a ruling. ‘It is going to be an issue,’ Mr. Verrilli replied.”

Whether or not the culture is lost or whether Christians will face persecution are open questions for me.  For what it may be worth to you, I’m not sure that our culture—any culture—isn’t already lost. This isn’t to dismiss culture, far from it. But like any culture, America’s is not monolithic. At best it is a mix of vice and virtue composed as it is by the many often contradictory and disordered loves of the men and women who live here.

Even traditionally minded Christians and other religious believers have surrendered to the attacks on biblical morality that we’ve seen in the last 40 or 50 years.  Even among Orthodox Christians the level of support for liberal abortion laws and for changing the definition of marriage are worryingly high. Many of us have simply fail to preach what we practice. Continue reading

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Nativity and Theophany Encyclical 2014

Be glad, you just, heavens rejoice, mountains leap for joy; Christ is born and the Virgin sits like the Cherubim throne carrying in her bosom God the Word made flesh. Shepherds glorify the one that is born; Magi offer gifts to the Master; Angels sing praises, saying: Lord beyond understanding, glory to you! (Lauds of Christmas Matins)


To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family of the United States of America.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we gather in our communities to celebrate the Great Feasts of the Nativity and Theophany, we offer praise, honor and worship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who has rendered us worthy once again to rejoice with the Shepherds, pay homage with the Magi, and to exclaim with the Angelic Powers, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all!

During this time, each of us looks forward to experiencing our local customs and traditions, which we have received from our ancestors. We adorn our homes and our churches with lights, garland and tinsel; we sing carols together and exchange gifts with each other; and we crown our celebration by receiving the Holy Eucharist. Continue reading

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Homily: Disciples, Apostles and Fishers of Men

Sunday, September 28, 2014: 16th Sunday after Pentecost & 1st Sunday of Luke

Venerable Chariton the confessor, abbot of Palestine, Prophet Baruch; Venerable Neophytos and Auxentios of Cyprus; Martyr Heliodoros and companions in Pisidia; Martyr Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs

EPISTLE: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10
GOSPEL: Luke 5:1-11

St Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church
Palos Heights, IL

During His earthly ministry, there were three groups of people who followed Jesus: the crowds, the disciples and the apostles.

Think of them as concentric rings with Jesus as the hub.

The crowds were those who followed Jesus not out of any great love for Him for their own reasons. They might have been curious—Jesus was after all the latest thing, even Herod heard of him and was curious about him (see, Luke 23:8)—or maybe they came to see a miracle (John 6:2), to be feed (Matthew 14:13-21) or even to hear a consoling sermon (Luke 5:1-11). Whatever their motivation those they followed Jesus they did so only from a distance and His teaching had little influence on their lives.

But this wasn’t true for all in the crowd. Continue reading

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