Why WE NEED a Fast before Christmas

Why do we American Christians NEED a fast during the Christmas season?   One reason is because we embrace the values of capitalism as championed by Adam Smith.

“Adam Smith championed the social value of harnessing the instinctual drives of curiosity and self-interest within the framework of the marketplace to create a self-regulating economic order. […]Smith worried in his writings, as did many other thinkers of the time, that human envy  and our tendency towards compulsive craving, if left unchecked, would destroy the empathic feeling and neighborly concerns that are essential to his economic model and a free market’s successful operation.[…]In America, living with such an abundance of choice, we have discovered some disturbing facts about human behavior – facts that from knowledge of modern neurobiology are predictable and that confirm Smith’s worst fears. In times of material affluence, when desire is no longer constrained by limited resources, the evidence from our contemporary American experiment suggests that we humans have trouble setting limits to our instinctual craving.

This comes as little surprise to the behavioral neuroscientist, for it is now well established that under certain contingencies it is possible to ‘overload’ the reward circuits of the brain, triggering craving and insatiable desire. As the quintessential reward driven culture, America bears witness to this truth, for there is considerable evidence suggesting that unchecked consumption fosters our social malaise, eroding self-constraint and pulling the cultural pendulum toward excessive indulgence and greed. “(Peter C. Whybrow, American Mania: When More is not Enough, pgs. 7-8)

Archbishop Seraphim Pleads Not Guilty

My blog is not a news blog but my sharing things which I think about as an Orthodox priest. I also serve on an OCA Committee which deals with issues related to clergy sexual misconduct, and so this news story is something which I have thought about over the past couple of years.

Ex-archbishop pleads not guilty in sex case

WINNIPEG SUN    November 17, 2011

Former archbishop Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim has pleaded not guilty to molesting two 10-year-old boys.

A former archbishop with the Canadian arm of the Orthodox Church in America has pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually assaulted two boys during the time he worked in Winnipeg.

Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim, 65, appeared Thursday for a preliminary hearing into allegations he abused two 10-year-old boys between December 1984 and June 1987.

At the time, Storheim was a rector at Holy Trinity Sobor, located at the corner of Manitoba Avenue and McKenzie Street in the North End.

A publication ban prevents the printing or broadcasting of any evidence presented by the Crown at Thursday’s hearing.

Storheim flew to the city last November to turn himself into police, who were holding a warrant for his arrest. He was quickly released on a promise to appear in court.

He had stepped aside from his high-level position in the church months earlier.

The church said Storheim had been granted a leave of absence while police investigated the accusations; Storheim suggested he stepped aside for health reasons.

As a point of clarification, Archbishop Seraphim is, I believe, considered under suspension by the OCA’s Synod of Bishops, so he has not been defrocked nor has his title or episcopal rank been taken away from him by the OCA.

Sadly, as the news story relates, Archbishop Seraphim’s accounts of why he was originally put on leave of absence do not match other facts known from statements from the OCA which was clear that he was first put on Leave of Absence because allegations of sexual misconduct had surfaced.   He had also on another occasion denied knowing what the allegations were about but certainly others knew and some discussed it with him.

The court is supposed to make a determination today as to how to proceed with the case.