Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘America

Russia Fights for Christianity in Syria, the US Fights Against It

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So says the American Orthodox Institute:

Russian President Vladmir Putin and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill

The everyday signs in America show a growing contempt for Christianity. The exact opposite trend is happening for Russia and its leaders—a return to Christian roots.

Read on here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 1, 2015 at 12:31

Posted in Church

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Drive-Thru Prayers

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Just right for a convenience maddened culture. In the Huff Post:

The Sonrise Worship Center in Lutz, Florida, offers on-the-go coffee and comfort to worshippers in a hurry, reports Patch. Their forthright signs feature simple slogans like, “Need God’s Guidance?” “Drive-Thru Prayer: Turn Here,” and “Free Prayer Ahead.”

For such a simple concept, the response has been very moving. Rather than stopping for a cheeseburger, these motorists pause for genuine spiritual comfort when life takes a wrong turn. The church’s Facebook page states, “Prayer on the go or not is #powerful.”

Pastor Tyson Prater relates, “A lady was on her way to the hospital, as her husband had just had a heart attack, and she was literally following the ambulance to the hospital, saw our sign, pulled in and asked us to pray for her and her husband.”

Drivers can warm their bodies as well as their souls by making a pit-stop, as the church hands out free cups of coffee along with their spiritual support.

What a fuzzy, useless, substanceless experience.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 26, 2013 at 14:15

This Is How You Go…

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I’m going to draw a rather unhelpful comparison. But I’m going to do it anyway. Why? Because reading of the recent ‘resignation’ of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, who was asked to step down by his fellow Bishops (and I have no idea why, or the politics/thinking behind the request), I could not help but ponder on just how different his approach, his words, and his conduct are, as when compared to that of a certain ‘former-Primate’, who was also asked to go by his Bishops (obviously, for different and possibly far graver reasons).

This is text of His Beatitude’s letter:

“To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,


“As per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment.

“I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.

“It is my hope that due consideration will be made for my financial situation, both in any interim and in consideration for any future position. I am the main financial support for both my parents and my sister, beyond my own needs.

“I will appreciate your consideration in this, and beg forgiveness for however I have offended you, and for whatever difficulties have arisen from my own inadequacies and mistakes in judgment.

“Asking your prayers, I remain faithfully yours, “Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop of Washington”

[A pdf. of the above is here]

And that’s how you do it. With your dignity and Christian conduct intact. You don’t self-destruct. You don’t destroy. You don’t run to the secular media/blogs crying foul for the world to see. You don’t advocate schism or start-up rival Synods. What  you do, as a man of God, is turn to your brothers in Christ, and seek reconciliation with as much as lies within you. That is how you go…

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.  Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

– St Matthew 5:1-12

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 12, 2012 at 10:10

England, America, and the Anglican Communion

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From it:

… Then, in the 1930’s, the Anglican Communion became the first Christian faith in 1900 years to allow contraception rather than to reject it as a moral evil.  This further led to a rejection of Episcopalianism in Dixie, as Southerners recognized that this was a corruption of the Christian doctrine, and it got worse as a result of the 1960’s sexual revolution, as the “values” of that revolution infected mainline Protestantism (especially the Episcopal Church), and even the Eastern Orthodox Church by the end of the decade.  More conservative Episcopalians formed the “Continuing Anglican Movement”, and many of them wanted to become Catholic, as it was primarily the Catholic Church that had not budged on these issues, and by 1980 Pope John Paul II approved, and so in the 1980’s the Anglican Use was invented and former Episcopalian clergy converted and were ordained in the Catholic Church to preach to their old congregations.  Then in 1991 the Traditional Anglican Communion was formed from the Continuing Anglican Movement, and in 2007 they requested full communion with the Holy See.  In 2009 the idea of the Anglican personal ordinariate began in the Catholic Church, and the first ever was founded in Walsingham, England in 2011, and the second was founded six months ago in Houston, Texas–right in Dixie!  In other words, this most recent movement seems to have a lot to do with the rise of the Catholic Church in Dixie, combined with the fact that the Episcopal Church nowadays is no longer recognizable as Christian, not to mention the Evangelical spirit that has been in Dixie since 1865, itself due to a desire by the war-weary South for a simpler and more personal form of Christianity.  And so things are starting to come full circle now.

If trends like this continue into the future, we’re probably looking at more Anglican personal ordinariates…

Read the whole post at a Pair O’ Dimes.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 4, 2012 at 11:48

Independence Day

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To one and all in the USA: Have a Blessed Independence Day.

Lest He be forgotten…


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 4, 2012 at 06:38

Out of Africa: What AMiA’s Exodus from Rwanda Portends for Global Christianity

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Christianity Today:

Divorce is messy, the lessons from a failed marriage often complicated.

Such is the case with this week’s split of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA) from its majority-world leadership in the Church of Rwanda.

Until the 11-year-old partnership crumbled, it seemed to embody the potential for Global South church leaders to rise up and provide spiritual oversight and direction in the developed world.


“It would be unwise to draw any general conclusions for the future from a dispute which is clearly about particular human relationships,” said Brian Stanley, director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh.

Under the oversight of the Rwandan province, the South Carolina–based AMIA grew to more than 150 congregations in the United States and Canada, AMIA spokeswoman Cynthia Brust said.

But the 2010 retirement of Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini—who had a strong connection with Bishop Charles Murphy, AMIA’s chairman—precipitated a change in the relationship.

Suddenly, AMIA faced questions and accusations from Rwandan church leaders over the American association’s finances, oversight, and long-term direction.

“All the Christian churches are becoming increasingly global, and as they do, these kinds of cross-cultural tensions—or perhaps these are better seen as cross-cultural abrasions as we sometimes just rub each other wrong—are likely to increase,” said Douglas Jacobsen, author of The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There.

AMIA claims it gave 12 percent of its collections to the Church of Rwanda over a seven-year period, but bishops there demand to know what happened to the money.

“That’s not our question,” Brust said. “That’s a gift to Rwanda. We give the money with no strings attached.” (Update: On Friday afternoon, AMIA officials issued a statement on the $1.2 million in dispute. Much of it, the organization said, went to travel-related expenses for Rwandan church leaders. “Approximately $800,000 was part of the tithe that paid expenses for the Province directly from the Anglican Mission or was designated to another need,” it said. “The remaining $460,000 was a designated gift given to the Anglican Mission for special projects in Rwanda … and were given over and above the tithe.”)

The dispute reached the boiling point last week (Nov. 30) with a letter from new Rwandan archbishop Onesphore Rwaje to Murphy, giving him a week to submit to the Rwandan bishops’ authority.

Murphy responded by resigning his leadership position in the Province of Rwanda. In his resignation letter this week (Dec. 5), he said AMIA’s relationship with the African church was a “voluntary submission” that would not be renewed at the association’s upcoming winter conference.

AMIA launched more than a decade ago as an alternative to the Episcopal Church. The goal: to promote orthodox teaching and practice in the wake of infighting among American church members over sexual ethics.

“Americans entering into these relationships often described what was going on in the Anglican Communion in terms of the rising dominance of righteous and spiritually gifted Southern Christian leaders—and happily allied themselves with African and Asian archbishops who seemed to fit that mold,” said Miranda Hassett, author of Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism and now an Episcopal priest in Madison, Wisconsin. “What’s happening now with AMIA, on the face of it, seems like a renunciation of that logic or narrative”…

Read on here.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 10, 2011 at 10:01

Terry Jones Running for President of USA

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The Huffington Post reports (with a video too):

Terry Jones, a controversial pastor who has made national headlines for publicly burning the Quran, is mounting a campaign for president of the United States.

Jones isn’t starting small either, and it seems he’s going straight for the big leagues. The campaign, named “Stand Up America Now,” aims to propel him to the White House largely on a seven-point platform which includes deporting all “illegals” and immediately bringing all of the troops home, according to ABC Action News.

The pastor’s message appears to remain anti-Muslim. A statement from Jones announcing his campaign goes as far as to solicit donations in order to specifically oppose radical Islam according to Fox News. “Please financially support us as we continue our stand against radical Islam,” it reads.

Jones gained a level of infamy after President Barack Obama was forced to request he not burn a copy of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2010. Though he cancelled his initial plans, he ultimately followed through on his word and burned the religious text in March. The act sparked widespread protests in Afghanistan, some of which turned deadly…

Do read on here. You’ll also find his campaign promises and agenda.

And God help America if he does gets elected!


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 28, 2011 at 15:24


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