Monday, January 26, 2015

Byzanfest 2015


Criteria: What is an Orthodox Film?

"Byzanfest is looking for films that express Orthodox Christian themes, beliefs, culture and values. 
However, an entry’s storyline does not necessarily have to be directly ‘religious’ or spiritual. Although the film may not appear to have ‘Orthodox’ subject matter, it can still be deemed an Orthodox film because it was created by an Orthodox Christian filmmaker who maintained an Orthodox phronema (‘mindset’) during the creative process, remaining faithful to their Christian sense of dignity, morality and self-respect."

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Orthodox KKK?

Christians: We must take great care in our public (and private) discourse toward one another. The world is watching, and in that world are lost souls whose eternity hangs in the balance. Discuss the faith, the doctrines of the church, and any errors in orthodox understanding of the truth, but refrain from ad hominem attacks [adverb; adjective 1.(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining. "vicious ad hominem attacks" ].

Saint James, the brother of our Lord, calls it slander.
"Do not speak evil [*slander] of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother [*slander] and judges [**] his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law [***a judge], you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?"
So, what is the Orthodox KKK? It is those individuals or groups that practice the three K's that Saint James points out:

* Katalaleo; from kata, against, and laleo, to speak. To insult, defame, slur, slander. The word is rather broad in meaning, taking in every sort of defamation or verbal aspersion. The fundamental notion is that of speaking about a person in a manner which is aimed at maligning and discrediting him or injuring his reputation, roughly equivalent to the modern slang "to bad mouth" (Jas 4:11; 1 Pe 2:12; 3:16)

** Krino; to discriminate between good and evil, select, choose out the good. In the NT it means to judge, form or give an opinion after separating and considering the particulars of a case. To judge, try in a solemn manner, spoken of men, of God, of Christ as the God-Man; to judge, pass sentence, or give one's opinion in a private manner; to discern, form a mental judgement or opinion; to judge, evaluate, esteem, or perhaps to merely state a preference; to judge properly, determine; to condemn; to furnish matter or occasion for condemnation.

*** Krites; from Krino, to judge. A judge.

So, you see, even if we are right in our assessment of another, to give the assessment in a katalaleo, krino, krites way is not our right to do. We have become the Orthodox KKK and such is not orthodox at all. In fact, we are commanded to not conduct ourselves in such a way. Why? Because God is the judge of the individual, not us. This does not negate our responsibility to judge what is truth and what is not, (see: Quit Repeating "Judge Not!" We Are Supposed To "Judge"!)  but the focus should be on the truth and not on the person. Many JTO articles have been prompted by what I have seen others do or say, but the posts have focused on the subject, the topic, with an exposition on the truth, and have not been about the person who said or did it. But have there been exceptions?

In the nine years since the first JTO post, I have attempted to refrain from the "KKK's"  and ad hominem methods of discourse in both the posts and comments (See The Power Of "You" In Interpersonal Communication and Judging Others). Wherein I have not been faithful in that, I ask forgiveness. In discussing Ecumenism, I have used quotes from individuals. I have posted an e-mail exchange from a "messianic prophet" who said that if I was not on his mailing list I would not enter the Kingdom of God. And I have posted an article on two individuals, that I name, whose blogs and posts are the very epitome of the KKK's and ad hominems, focused on the personal destruction of individuals. Perhaps none of this was even my right to do? 

This blog reflects my Journey To Orthodoxy. I challenge all JTO readers, as I have multiple times, to help keep me on the straight path. But, in doing so, point out where I am wrong in my words, conclusions, doctrine, and orthodox mind, refraining from the KKK's and ad hominems directed toward my character, motives, and intent. Remembering always, that it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately guides us into all truth and that I have a Bishop, who is the chief shepherd of my soul. The objective of JTO has always been that others may learn from my ups and down, my rights and wrongs, my discoveries in truth, and that my arrogant soul may be tempered and humiliated.

CHALLENGE: Select anything I have written, not what you presume I believe, but, what I have actually written, and offer a rebuttal or correction, void of personal attacks, and I will post it. Many have done this throughout the years, and you will find those beneficial discussions in the comment section below the posts. I have also had many profitable exchanges via e-mail: A few of those beneficial exchanges have been posted as articles or prompted me to make corrections or clarifications of some posts or comments. I look forward to hearing from you... unless you are member of the Orthodox KKK.
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor. 2:1-5

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why People Leave The Church...Or Don't Come To Begin With

Friday, January 09, 2015

"By Their Fruit You Will Know Them"

Are you a good fruit or a rotten apple?


I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV)
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18, NLT2)
You are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? (1 Corinthians 3:3, NLT2)
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (Romans 12:18, NASB95)
If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Galatians 5:15, NIV)
Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:26, NASB95)
Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16, NIV)
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife. (Proverbs 16:28, NLT2)
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute. (Proverbs 15:18, NASB95)
A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood. (Proverbs 26:21, NLT2)
An angry person starts fights; a hot–tempered person commits all kinds of sin. (Proverbs 29:22, NLT2)
Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14, NLT2)


The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts. (Proverbs 18:8, NIV)
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19, NIV)
A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. (Proverbs 11:13, NLT2)
Gossip separates the best of friends. (Proverbs 16:28, NLT2)


Slandering others makes you a fool. (Proverbs 10:18, NLT2)
Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:16, NLT2)
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. (Psalm 101:5, NLT2)
Thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:10, NIV)
Do not slander one another. (James 4:11, NIV)
Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1, NIV)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. (Ephesians 4:31, NLT2)
Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers … but to teach what is good. (Titus 2:3, NIV)


A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1, NLT2)
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! (James 3:7-10, NLT2)
Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin. (Proverbs 17:19, NLT2)
When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. (Proverbs 25:9, NLT2)
What ails you that you keep on arguing? (Job 16:3, NIV)


And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you. (Matthew 12:36-37, NLT2)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. (James 4:11, NLT2)


Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Matthew 7:1-2, NKJV)
Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5, NLT2)
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. (Luke 6:37, NIV)
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. (Romans 2:1, NASB95)
Why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Romans 14:10, NLT2)
Let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling-block or obstacle in your brother’s way. (Romans 14:13, NIV)
So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. (Romans 14:13, NLT2)
So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time–before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. (1 Corinthians 4:5, NLT2)
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. (James 4:11, NLT2)
God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12, NLT2)

Thanks to Biblical Counseling Insights for this compilation.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

A New Years View

"People are going to judge you. People are going to condemn you. You know- a matter of fact- it seems as though, some people, that's exactly what they are looking for.
I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be found in the all sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellency.
 I guess I'd say, Go out and live real good. I promise you'll get beat up real bad, but, in a little while after you're dead, you'll be rolled away anyway. It's not going to matter if you have a few scars. But it will matter if you didn't live." Rich Mullens

Are You A Ragamuffin?

Definition of ragamuffin: a ragged often disreputable person; especially :  a poorly clothed often dirty child 

In spiritual terms, 
"ragamuffins are the unsung assembly of saved sinners who are little in their own sight and aware of their brokenness and powerlessness before God... A ragamuffin knows that he is only a beggar at the door of God's mercy."

 God Loves ragamuffins.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Do You Really Believe God Loves You?

"...I am now utterly convinced that on Judgement Day the Lord Jesus will ask one question, and only one question,  

'Did you believe that I loved you, that I desired you, that I waited for you day after day, that I longed to hear the sound of your voice?'

The real believers will respond and say, 'I believed in your love and I tried to shape my life as a response to it.' But many of us who are faithful in our ministry, our practice, our church-going are going to answer, 'Well frankly, no sir. I never really believed it.' And there's the difference between the real believers and the nominal Christians that abound in our churches across the land. No one can measure, like a believer, the depth and intensity of God's love. But, then again, no one can measure, like a believer, the effectiveness of our gloom, our pessimism, our low self-esteem, our self-hatred and despair, that block God's way to us. 

You see, now, why it is so important to lay hold of this basic truth of our faith. Because you are only going to be as big as your own concept of God. We make God in our own image and he winds up being as fussy, as rude, and narrow-minded, and judgmental. and legalistic, and unloving, and unforgiving as we are.

...So many Christians I meet, [God] is too small. Because he is not the God of the Word. He is not the God who is revealed in and by Jesus Christ, who at this moment comes to your seat and says,  

'I have a word for you. I know your whole life story. I know every skeleton in your closet. I know every moment of sin and shame, dishonesty and degraded love that's darkened your path. Right now, I know your shattered faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and my word to you is this, I dare you to trust that I love you as you are, not as you should be.'

Because none of us are as we should be." Brennan Manning

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Understanding the Christian Artist

I recommend this book by Orthodox filmmaker and author, Franky Schaeffer. It is out of print but can be found used. It is a must read for those who have questions about the mission of the Church in the entertainment and arts industries and the Christian missionaries who must endure both the rejection of non-Christians and the resistance of uninformed Christians.