Mass & The Lord’s Day

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By: Archdeacon Fr. Michael McKinnon We know from the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Early Church Fathers that from the Apostolic Age (33 AD – 110 AD), Christians have gathered regularly to celebrate the Holy Mystery of Christ’s Body … Continue reading

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Thou shalt not judge

By Archdeacon Fr. Michael McKinnon

“Thou shalt not judge” does NOT mean that “anything goes” or that all opinions are created equal. It also does not mean that I should not believe something (or in someone) with all of my heart or even express my belief publically, boldly and confidently; I happen to believe in objective truth. I am not judging you when I express my belief that you are wrong about something (or vice versa). For example: I believe that pornography is wrong…period. I believe that Nazi Germany was one of the most tragic periods in human history. I think those who believe that the holocaust never happened are ignorant (to say the least). I do not subscribe to the positions of the KKK, etc, etc,. I can believe that you are wrong about something and still love you (and vice versa). Judging someone (in the biblical context quoted above) is to fail to separate a person from their beliefs or actions (or even in-actions). It is to judge them as, “beyond redemption”. It is to believe that as human persons they are void of basic human dignity (which is innate in every person) or that they lack intrinsic value or any self-worth. I may not like someone’s positions, actions, words, etc, but I never (by His grace) believe them to be beyond redemption or judge them to be lacking basic value or worth as a person. I would help my enemy if I was in a position to do so. I pray for them too. Why? Because they are fallen, broken persons JUST like me. They have an intrinsic value and worth as human beings (even if they are considered “Monsters” by others). It is the old, “hate the sin but love the sinner” thing. I know so many people who have told me that orthodox Biblical Christians judge people (and alas, this is sometimes true). But I do not believe that it is generally true. It is my experience, that because many of us hold our beliefs strongly that we are perceived as “judging” those who disagree with us…that we have passed sentence upon them as persons. Not so. Judgment belongs to God. He alone knows the heart of every man. I don’t necessarily know if we have similar or different opinions on such things as: the sanctity of human life, homosexuality, Jesus as the only way to the Father, etc., etc. What I do know, is that you have a value and dignity and so do I. I also know, that (even if I don’t necessarily like you) I love you as someone created by and greatly loved by the Lord. If you are of such value to God that Jesus died and rose for you (and that is my belief), then who am I to say that you of no value?! If “to judge” someone meant simply to disagree with them and to express your opinion firmly, then we are all guilty of judging and should just stop talking. But that is not what it means. Anyway, something to think about… PS: If you took the time to read this whole thing, then I judge you really cool!

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True Or False

By Archdeacon Fr. Michael McKinnon 1) The books of the New Testament were written a century or two after the time of Jesus. True or False? FALSE. The New Testament was written between approx. 50 AD – 96 AD by … Continue reading

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Is Meditation Dangerous (A Christian Response)?

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By Archdeacon Fr. Michael McKinnon Some Christians believe that meditation (the emptying of oneself of negative energies, distractions, even thoughts, etc.) or even meditating prayer (which is somewhat different from a classical definition of “meditation”) can be spiritually dangerous to … Continue reading

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Do Not Confuse the Artwork for the Artist

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By: Fr. Michael J. McKinnon The creation reflects (i.e., is an icon of) the Creator.  We can see something of the Creator in the beauty, majesty and wonder of His Creation.  Just as one can see something of an artist … Continue reading

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Receiving Repentance

By Fr. Andrew Carlson
MARLBOROUGH, May 22, 2013

A Christian friend whose experience and judgment I trust recently forwarded a picture of Jane Fonda on Facebook, with the statement that her deeds need to be remembered. Fair enough, I thought – until I saw the caption under a black and white mug shot of Ms. Fonda from 30 years ago. “Traitorous B***h.” Whoa, that’s a little over the line. I mean, regardless of how terrible her support of North Vietnam was, doesn’t that statement seem a little gratuitous? A little self-righteous? Where’s the room for grace in THAT statement?

As I thought about it, I remembered from somewhere Ms. Fonda supposedly repented of her youthful actions, so I Googled her and repentance. Sure enough, numerous articles came up, about her and her regrets at having engaged in those behaviors. I also saw many of the articles were about why her “repentance” wasn’t really repentance, or it didn’t go far enough, or she wasn’t trustworthy at ANY stage of her life, etc. These assumptions about the validity of her “repenting” of past actions, it seemed, gave license in continuing forwarding statements that she was a traitorous b***h, or worse.

This got me to thinking about RECEIVING repentance in the Body of Christ. In a sense, this is a secondary issue, because repentance only really matters as the Holy Spirit invokes it, and the Father receives it through the Son’s mediation. Completely Trinitarian, it is between the one seeking forgiveness, and our God who is merciful, slow to anger and forgiving. But this tells only part of the story, no? Because sin is lived out in the world, and it often involves others. Our relationships to others as we repent of sin – and our response to them if they repent and seek forgiveness of us – matters a lot.

Wrathful? So long as that stays in your mind, then it is only an offense against God – until, that is, you cut off that “idiot” on the highway who isn’t driving to your satisfaction.  Bearing false witness against others may have a huge impact upon their lives and wellbeing (try explaining to your child why you lied, even though you expect honesty from them!) Taking God’s name in vain may seem “harmless,” until you realize two things: it is not honoring but disrespectful to God, and two, if you have led someone else to dishonor God by your own carelessness, then you have helped bring a double portion of dishonor. You can repent, but you are still responsible to having led that other person astray.

On the other end, if you have been sinned against, and the offender comes to you in repentance, what is your response? We know what we should do – but how often have we rejected their outreach? Held a grudge? Justified our rejection because of the pain we experienced? That’s hardness of heart. And it prevents the God’s grace from healing that other person, and yourself. In short, rejecting repentance is sinful! And it would be a shame if an evil visited on you works more evil through your rejection of God’s healing.

Now, I’m not totally naïve. Sometimes an injury we experience is very, very painful. It may take the passage of time to fully forgive, to let go of hurt and injury. And forgiving is NOT the same thing as forgetting, nor should it mean there shouldn’t be consequences for painful, hurtful actions. But if we remember that evil and sin cease having a hold on us when we let grace and forgiveness reign, then we know that receiving and accepting repentance – and giving forgiveness back – is the true route to healing human hurts and offenses.

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The Joy Of Easter

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By: The Right Reverend Donald F Harvey “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” – John 20:20 Perhaps because it is an example of one of the greatest understatements in all of Holy Scripture, I find this to be one … Continue reading

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