What is a Safe Church and do you belong to one?

In this day of malicious preaching can we find a safe church that is compatible with the message of Jesus Christ?

Can all believers be welcome at God's table?

Can a Safe Church boast of the compassion of Jesus Christ and yet turn people away?

Can a Safe Church be only for those we like to be around or approved of?

One would think they have to look no further than their own pastor, minister, priest or bishop.  But that is not always the situation or instance.  A Safe Church is a place where one can go to find not only the Love of Christ, Jesus, but the truth of what it means to be "Christian".  For having "Love" for one's brother is not enough!  The plan of salvation that Jesus Christ brought to mankind is for those who are willing to struggle out of true pain of heart for all those things to come in the next life. This often times require that one has such an understanding of the faith that delineates true Christianity from that which is actually anti-christ-ianity. 

In Joshua 1:9 it is said "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Yet, we also learn just previous to that passage, it also says in Joshua 1:7, "Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go." and we further learn in the next sentence (1:8) "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it..." 

Jesus Christ said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," (Matt. 5:3) and "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." There are many ways in which we can describe or define the "poor in spirit" and even those "who mourn" of which there are many today who are indeed poor in their spirit for the problems that exist in so very many denominations of the Christian world's churches.  There are many who 'mourn' the changes that have been taking place in those very churches they either belong or had belonged to. 

We also learn in Matthew 5:6-11 the following:

"Blessed are the those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied... 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 men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you."

The words "Be Not Afraid" are timeless in the Old and New Testament; they ring loudly... and clearly.  They challenge us to bravely lift up our cross and  follow Jesus Christ.  To accept, understand, practice and celebrate that we are part of the living body of Christ and are commanded to live a life that gives honor and glory to God!

 

It is true that there are many wolves in sheep's clothing in these days whose loud voices spread message of hate. There are those who spread what appears to be the "Love" of Christ, but not that of "Jesus Christ". But it was also so in times past.  Yet, the admonition of our Lord is very clear.  The only way to the Father is through Him, Jesus Christ for there is no other.  There can be no prayer or worshiping with those of other non-Christian religions for they cannot come to the Father.  And those who hold to a false idea of what 'worship' is by allowing for an 'entertainment' approach in their temples are only advancing the causes of the Evil One.  Thus, our task is to stay true to the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and Patristic Fathers which encompass our observance, both spiritually and materially, the Seven Oecumenical Councils.  For such spiritual and material life is truly Good News to our hearts and minds.  Jesus Christ never said it would be easy as regards others, but as regards those who are truly sincere in their spirit and in their daily life according to their nature and degree of abilities; he would be with them.

 

In true Orthodox Catholic Christian Churches (Temples), there is little to no need for the entertainment of music beyond a choral or faithful joining in with such that befits the adoration of Jesus Christ and all that was of ancient times.  You may not necessarily find 'pews' but some seating arrangement for those who are infirm or incapacitated for long standing or kneeling.  This is as it should be! No politicians are allowed to speak from the pulpit and our clergy do not speak on things 'political' but spiritual and truthful, not necessarily pleasing to the ears for Jesus does warn us in his 'Good News'... and thus our clergy pass that message on to the people too.  But there is much that can be uplifting and beneficial to the faithful to aide them in keeping to the path of true struggle in this life for the life to come.

It is one of life's certainties that we are become excited when we hear "good news"... yet many people haven't heard the "Good News" that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Sadly, in this increasingly technical age,  many have turned away from the very message of love, acceptance and affirmation preached by Jesus the Christ. Tolerance is required to some degree, but only to the degree that we can love the sinner, the person who has lacked or is lacking true understanding of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, but we do not and must not throw 'pearls before swine' which are those who fail and refuse to accept the oral and written traditions handed down through time and history from the roots of faith, Jesus Christ. To some, it simply doesn't matter. 

But it DOES MATTER!

Life without those faith values is not complete.  Life without such faith is merely existence.  Existence... nothing special... nothing holy.  If you believe that, then each of us is nothing more than a "blip" on the radar screen of time... dust with no soul.

But we are SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! 

God's boundless love for us is clearly evident in the Old and New Testament Scriptures.  The core message preached by Jesus Christ was one of reconciliation and love...  A message many of today's churches and people have lost in favor of an entertainment approach to worshipping, political agendas, aggression, discrimination, hatred and exclusion in their abusing and misusing the Good News as though it is a tool they can use to hit over everyone else's head.  These are NOT elements of the message that Jesus preached.  In fact, they are the very sources of pain and rejection experienced by many Christians today...  They are sources that must be understood and resolved so that the pain and anguish may be eliminated. Pain that we, as Christians, must reject... most especially when those sources of pain come from the pulpit not founded on the Love that Jesus Christ, His Apostles and the patristic fathers taught.   For the Love that Jesus Christ and His Apostles taught, was such that was bound up with both the oral and written traditions of the past to the then present.

The Church (faith) as it is lived and practiced in these present times in the various temples or churches of worship have become a place for entertainment and money changers.  Our Faith is not one of entertainment, nor is it meant to be one for money changers either.  And, it is surely not a place where the pulpit can be used to spread political messages of individuals in government or seeking election to government offices be they city, county, state or nation nor for other political items of society and Caesar (government).

And They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love...

Will they? In many cases, that could not be further from the truth.  Sometimes you cannot even recognize the Christian message in faith communities. But YOU can change things... Believe the Gospels, Teach the Gospels, Live the Gospels, BE the Gospels.  Then, people will know you are Christian ... by your love. But also, more importantly, know the understandings of the Gospels as provided and articulated by The Church established by Jesus Christ and the Holy Apostles which has come down through time and history as being both the oral and written traditions, understandings or teachings.  For in them only can one find true faith in spirit and truth. For such understandings are true spiritual food that require a pain of heart struggle in this life for the life to come.  There is no easy way, no way!

"Come Follow Me"

Those words ask -- no, charge us with a holy commission --  they charge us to keep our faith... to live and spread the Good News! Never allow your faith to be taken away by the actions of others.  Faith is the one thing in this world that NO ONE can take away from you... no matter how hard they might try. Only you can throw it away. 

The American Orthodox Church, American Orthodox Catholic Church, North American Orthodox Church and the Catholic Christian Church are homes to many who have been hurt or turned away from other communities, or those who need a community that is affirming and welcoming.  It is not a church of pain, but a church of healing and welcoming.  Healing that comes from knowing and loving the Lord. Welcoming that comes from others who have been liberated by the Gospels. 

There are two ways in which to view the New Testament of the Holy Bible which is based on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and Patristic Fathers, along with the admonitions enjoined by Jesus Christ as regards the Old Testament.  For some to listen and even to come to an understanding of them is painful because they sometimes cause for a self-conviction of one's own being.  But that is the beauty of the Message that Jesus Christ gives.  It is also a message of forgiveness to those who are truly sincere repentant sinners.

Please consider joining -- or starting -- a parish of the American Orthodox Church, American Orthodox Catholic Church, North American Orthodox Church and the Catholic Christian Church in your area.  We will help you.  Share the joy of living true Christian lives as we live our time-honored traditions of spirituality, prayer, community, and compassion.   We welcome you who are truly sincere in spirit and truth, unconditionally, to our faith family and want you to know and believe that you are welcome. 

Understand that the "Orthodox Catholic" Christian faith is not a 'denomination' at all, but is the root and branch of the Christian faith itself.  It is the Christian religion! All others are either schismatics and schismatics from other schismatics who preach and teach the very hate and heretical messages not in accord with the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles, the ancient Seven Oecumenical Councils and Patristic Fathers.

By The way... for those of you who are not well informed... there is no such thing as a "Non-Denominational" church or temple of worship.  Why?  Because each so-called "non-denominational" minister, pastor, priest or so-called 'reverend'... has been taught by others who are very denominational.  Those who call themselves "non-denominational" are cafeteria christians who look at Holy Writ and the ancient church as a smorgasbord where if there is something not liked, they dismiss it or avoid it altogether.  That is a 'christianity' of the Evil One... it is one which was promoted by the Evil One through the subtle, and often painful, interaction of those clergy and people (who attend them) with the antics of mainline churches.  In short, it got to hot for them and they had to get out of the proverbial 'kitchen' or they were not accepted for proper and true ordination to the rank they claim to hold... and many have come from a 'protestant' sect or cult with their bag and baggage but in a manner that is, again, a cafeteria style of christianity with hugs, smiles, lovvy-dovy attitudes and approaches while holding out their other hand with a plate for your money. These 'non-denominational' cults (for that is what they are) are a place for entertaining the flock and feeing their flock on that which makes the flock 'feel good' about themselves.  That is not true Christianity!  That is an easy out for both the clergy and the people so as to not take responsibility for themself and their faith. 

Let  those past painful church experiences dissolve into nothingness as you reach out to a community that embraces you, celebrates you, affirms you... AND LOVES YOU...  just as you are:  A gift from God. But also, it is a place where responsibility is needful in order to embrace and be embraced in God's Love!  God is not cheap!  He requires faithful observance to the message His Son, our Lord and Savior brought to mankind. 

You may find that some of our many pages at this web site provide you a beginning toward understanding.  For instance, our Pascha 2006 page is a biblical beginning which may afford you a starting point.  Then there is also our Orthodox Information Center page which will add to those understandings.  These two areas alone can aide in your beginning journey, only if you understand that our faith does require struggle from within and outside.  Remember though, reading is not enough.  Digest the information and understandings within yourself.  Some things you may have difficulty with.  Our Vladyka (Spiritual Father) +Joseph Thaddeus will help you.  You may send him an e-mail at thaddeus@apostle1.com or telephone him at (505) 544-8279 and leave your return telephone number if you are in the United States, Canada and Hawaii only.

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