John Chryssavgis

For God’s Sake, Hands Off!

by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis

Trump Bible

In fourth-century Constantinople, an archbishop named Gregory contemplated why God was so silent before the immorality and corruption in politics. Why, he wondered, did God resemble a sleeping lion? But of course a sleeping lion can be awakened and antagonized. We have waited and watched as presidential executive orders and congressional actions, such as those below, provide photo-ops and reason for elation in some quarters, while cause for concern in others.

1) The administration has taken action in purported support of coal miners. It should be considered admirable to stand in solidarity with the hardest, health-risking jobs of blue-collar supporters of the president. But can one honestly say that human compassion is the true motivation when weighed against the loss of clean water and air for millions of people resulting from deregulation that allows mining runoff in streams and coal plants to emit more carbons? Continue Reading…

Politics by Candlelight: Contemplating Political Catharsis and Illumination

by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis

candlelight

“Democracy is coming to the USA.” (Leonard Cohen)

Americans don’t like talking openly about politics across party lines; they prefer to talk in their own silos and not to each other. American Christians – at least, this is my experience among Orthodox Christians in America – would almost identify political argumentation as somehow betraying the Christian Gospel; I’m not so sure, however, that this is based so much on Gospel principle as on some misconception of the right to privacy.

Critics, then, may be politically or religiously ostracized – sometimes both. So at risk of stepping into the unknown territory of political purgatory, as a dual citizen of America and Australia, as a layman as well as a theologian, let me briefly consider the topics of money in politics, immigration as inclusion, and climate change in light of the recent presidential election. Continue Reading…

The Paradox of Unanimity: The Holy and Great Council

by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, with Gayle Woloschak

We are on the eve of the Holy and Great Council, a topic that has weighed heavily in discussions on this blog in recent months.  One major issue that has continually come up for discussion is the fact that the decisions of the Council are to be made by unanimous consent. In effect each Primate (First Hierarch) has the opportunity to veto a decision.  The agreement (at the persistent urging and perpetual reminder of the Moscow Patriarchate, who will not be attending the Council) was that the Council should carry out its decisions by consensus, which in this case is interpreted as unanimity. This is unusual because the canons of the Church do not specify that decisions should be made by unanimity nor has this been the past practice of the Church at Councils.  In fact, most local Councils of the Orthodox Church (including councils of the Moscow Patriarchate) are ruled by a simple majority or in some cases two-thirds majority vote. Continue Reading…