25 February 2018

DESMOS: International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts

The International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts (DESMOS, from Greek "Δεσμός", bond) is an autonomous, international body committed to promoting and supporting Orthodox Scout associations and to be a link between the Scout movement and Orthodox churches.

DESMOS was founded in 1994 with the mandate of the World Scout Bureau, in consultation with the Deputy Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and with the blessing of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

It enjoys consultative status with the World Scout Committee and forms the World Scout Inter-Religious Forum together with the Council of Protestants in Guiding and Scouting, International Catholic Conference of Scouting, International Union of Muslim Scouts, International Forum of Jewish Scouts, Won-Buddhism Scout and World Buddhist Scout Brotherhood.

The object of the Link is as follows:
  1. To develop and promote the spirit of brotherhood and understanding among Scouts of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
  2. To promote warm relations and co-operation between Scouting and the official local Orthodox Churches.
  3. To develop an educational curriculum that should enhance the spiritual dimension in the personalities of young Orthodox in accordance with the purpose, principles and method of the Scout Movement.
  4. To introduce Scouting in such states or areas where Orthodox Church is established.
  5. To co-ordinate the activities of "DESMOS" with non-Scout Organisations having the same objectives.
  6. To motivate co-operation among "DESMOS" members.
  7. To motivate and promote Scouting to Orthodox boys and girls on global basis.
Member organizations include:
  • Armenia: Hayastani Azgayin Skautakan Sharjum Kazmakerputiun
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Savez izviđača Bosne i Hercegovine
  • Bulgaria: Organizatsia na Bulgarskite Skauty
  • Cyprus: Cyprus Scouts Association
  • Finland: Suomen Partiolaiset
  • Greece: Scouts of Greece
  • Israel: Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation: Christian Orthodox Scout Association
  • Jordan: Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides
  • Lebanon: Lebanese Scouting Federation: National Orthodox Scout Association - Scout National Orthodoxe
  • Macedonia: Sojuz na Izvidnici na Makedonija
  • Moldova: Organizaţia Naţională a Scouţilor din Moldova
  • Palestinian Authority: Palestinian Scout Association: Palestinian Orthodox Scouts Association
  • Poland: Polish Scouting and Guiding Association
  • Romania: Cercetaşii României
  • Russia: Russian Association of Scouts/Navigators
  • Serbia: Savez Izviđača Srbije
  • Uganda: The Uganda Scouts Association: Uganda Orthodox Scouts
  • Ukraine: National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine
  • United States: Boy Scouts of America: Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting

11 October 2017

CONTROVERSIAL OPINION: Why I Surprisingly Support Girls in the BSA (but not in the Boy Scouts)!

DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion and does not represent the official position of my Den, Pack, District, Council, Region, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), or the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). I'm posting my personal opinion so that I can point others to it, instead of making the same arguments over and over on social media and in emails.

Some people might be surprised. Mostly I think they are confused about what is really happening. Please read below and see what is REALLY happening. Don't trust the buzz and spin of those with agendas.

First off, Packs get to decide if they wish to remain segregated starting in Autumn 2018 , and so there can be all-boy and all-girl Packs. It is all up to the Adult Volunteers and the Chartering Organizations. (Packs and Troops are chartered by a local organizations such as churches, PTAs, charitable organizations, etc.)

If a Pack decides to become integrated, the Dens are still segregated. There are all boy dens and all girl dens. So boys still get to be boys around boys, and girls still get to be girls around girls!

What about the Boy Scouts (11-17 year old Scouts)? The press release says nothing about letting girls join Boy Scout Troops. It says it will create a new program for girls so they can earn the same ranks as Boy Scouts do. My guess is it will be called Girl Guides, the original name for female Scouts. A name still in use around the world where Scouts are segregated based on sex.

What kind of interest is out there? The survey results are overwhelming and echo the flood of requests the BSA has received from families wanting a BSA program for girls.

At a glance, from Scouting Magazine:

  • 90 percent of parents not involved with the BSA expressed interest in getting their daughter involved in programs like Cub Scouts.
  • 87 percent of parents not involved with the BSA expressed interest in getting their daughter involved in programs like Boy Scouts.

Why the interest? Well many Girl Scouts don't like the current GSUSA program. They say they want to camp, learn knots, and learn to be leaders. The GSUSA Council have been selling off camps at an alarming rate lately, and this ties in to the lack of camping. The BSA has heard this over and over again, and decided to help these girls out, when the GSUSA has chose not to.

Back to Packs, Cub Scouts is a family organization. We have sisters coming to events, doing the same thing as their brothers, enjoying the events just as much, but not being able to earn awards. Why not let them join and earn ranks and Adventure Loops, Awards, and other Badges?

What many don't even know, is that the BSA already has integrated programs with young men and women aged 15-21 in Sea Scout Ships, Venturing Crews, S.T.E.M. Scout Labs, and Exploring Clubs & Posts. Youth Protection programs including 2-deep leadership help keep them safe from predators and inappropriate behaviour.

So in the end, if you want your boy segregated from girls in Scouting, you can choose that. If you want your girl segregated from boys in Scouting, you can choose that. If you want an integrated Scouting experience for your family, you can choose that at certain ages too.

I understand that some parents with only boys in their family, may not understand this move, but take it from a parent of 1 girl and 2 boys, this is really a good move.

Please consider buying some delicious popcorn this month to help support my son's Scouting adventures this year at http://www.popcornordering.com/Popcornordering/Store/Entry?

11 September 2017

Buy Delicious Scout Popcorn!

My oldest son is selling Popcorn to help pay his way for camping and other educational activities. Please consider supporting Scouting by purchasing some at https://www.trails-end.com/store/scout/ZXPHQBKI Everyone who bought last year said that they loved the popcorn and that it was some of the best popcorn that they have ever had. There is an option to donate popcorn to military members if you don't like this extra delicious popcorn.

03 September 2017

Encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Indiction and Day of Protection of the Environment

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Prot. No. 702

By God’s Mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plentitude of the Church: Grace, peace and mercy
From the Creator of All, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ
(September 1, 2017/7526)


Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

With God’s grace, today we enter the new ecclesiastical year, even as we continue to provide witness “through him who loved us” (Romans 8.38) and “give an account for the hope that lies in us” (1 Peter 3.15), living in the Church, in Christ and according to Christ, who promised to be with us “all the days of our life, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.20)

Twenty-eight years have passed since the synodal decree of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to establish the Feast of the Indiction as the “Day of Protection for the Environment,” when we offer prayers and supplications at the sacred Center of Orthodoxy “for all creation.” The relevant patriarchal encyclical (September 1, 1989) invited all Orthodox and other Christian faithful on this day to lift up prayers of thanksgiving to the Creator of all for “the great gift of Creation” along with petitions for its preservation.

We express our joy and satisfaction for the broad reception and fruitful influence of this initiative by the Church of Constantinople. We demonstrated the spiritual roots of the ecological crisis as well as the need to repent and prioritize the values of contemporary humankind. We affirmed that the exploitation and destruction of creation constitute a perversion and distortion of the Christian ethos, rather than the inevitable consequence of the biblical command to “increase and multiply” (Genesis 1.22), but also that our anti-ecological conduct is an offense to the Creator and a transgression of his commandments, ultimately working against the authentic destiny of the human person. There cannot be any sustainable development at the expense of spiritual values and the natural environment.

The Holy and Great Church of Christ has championed and continues to champion the eco-friendly dynamic of our Orthodox faith, emphasizing the Eucharistic purpose of creation, the response of the faithful as “priest” of creation in an effort to offer it unceasingly to the Creator of all, as well as the principle of asceticism as the response to the modern sense of gratification. Indeed, respect for creation belongs to the very core of our orthodox tradition.

We are especially disturbed by the fact that, while it is clear that the ecological crisis is constantly escalating, in the name of financial growth and technological development, humanity has become oblivious to the global appeals for radical change in our attitude toward creation. It is obvious that the resulting deformation and devastation of the natural environment is a direct consequence of a specific model of economic progress, which is nevertheless indifferent to its ecological repercussions. The short-term benefits dictated by the rise of living standards in some parts of the world simply camouflage the irrationality of abuse and conquest of creation. Corporate business that does not respect the planet as our common home cannot be sanctioned as business at all. The contemporary unrestrained commerce of globalization goes hand-in-hand with the spectacular development of science and technology, which despite manifold advantages is also accompanied by an arrogance over and abuse of nature. Modern man knows this very well, but acts as if he is entirely unaware. We know that nature is not restored and renewed endlessly; yet we ignore the negative implications of “trading” in the environment. This explosive combination of unrestrained commerce and science – that is to say, the limitless confidence in the power of science and technology – merely increases the risks threatening the integrity of creation and humankind.

The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church spelled out with wisdom and clarity the dangers of “autonomizing economy” or separating economy from the vital needs of humanity that are only served within a sustainable environment. Instead, it proposed an economy “founded on the principles of the Gospel”1 in order to address the modern ecological challenge “on the basis of the principles of the Christian tradition.”2 In response to the threats of our age, the tradition of the Church demands “a radical change of attitude and conduct”; in response to the ecological crisis, it proposes a spirit of asceticism, “frugality and abstinence”3; in response to our ”greed,”4 it calls for “the deification of our needs and attitude of acquisition.”5 The Holy and Great Council also emphatically referred to the “social dimensions and tragic consequences of destroying the natural environment.”6

Therefore, echoing the decisions of this Council, we too underline through this encyclical the close connection between ecological and social issues, as well as their common roots that lie in the “imprudent heart” that is fallen and sinful as well as in the inappropriate use of our God-given values,” by spiritual and ethical damage. When material possessions dominate our heart and mind, then our attitude toward our fellow human beings and toward creation inevitably becomes possessive and abusive. In biblical terms, the “bad tree” always “produces evil fruit.” (Matthew 7.17) Furthermore, by extension, we would underline that respecting creation and other people share the same spiritual source and origin, namely our renewal in Christ and spiritual freedom. Just as environmental destruction is related to social injustice, so too an eco-friendly attitude is inseparable from social solidarity.

What also becomes apparent is that the solution to the multi-faceted contemporary human crisis – namely, the crisis facing human culture and the natural environment – demands a multi-dimensional mobilization and joint effort. Much as every other vital problem, the underlying and interconnected ecological and social crisis cannot possibly be addressed without inter-Christian and inter-religious collaboration. Therefore, dialogue becomes the fertile ground for promoting existing ecofriendly and social traditions in order to stimulate environmental and communal discussion, while at the same time initiating a constructive criticism of progress understood exclusively in technological and economic terms at the expense of creation and civilization.

In closing, we once again reiterate the inseparable nature of respecting creation and humanity, and we call upon all people of good will to undertake the good struggle for the protection of the natural environment and the establishment of solidarity. May the Lord and giver of all good things, through the intercessions of the all-blessed Mother of God, grant all of you “a burning within your hearts for all creation”7 and “a stirring of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10.24)

+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
Your fervent supplicant before God
1 Encyclical of the Holy and Great Council, paragraph 15.
2 Encyclical, paragraph 10.
3 “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Contemporary World,” paragraph 10.
4 “The Mission,” paragraph 10.
5 Encyclical, paragraph 14.
6 Encyclical, paragraph 14.
7 Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Treatises, Homily 81.

19 August 2017

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America's Response to the Racist & Extremist Violence in Charlottesville

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America stands with all people of goodwill in condemning the hateful violence and lamenting the loss of life that resulted from the shameful efforts to promote racial bigotry and white supremacist ideology in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Orthodox Church emphatically declares that it does not promote, protect or sanction participation in such reprehensible acts of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and proclaims that such beliefs and behaviors have no place in any community based in respect for the law and faith in a loving God.
The essence of the Christian Gospel and the spirit of the Orthodox Tradition are entirely and self-evidently incompatible with ideologies that declare the superiority of any race over another. Our God shows no partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17, Romans 2:11). Our Lord Jesus Christ broke down the dividing wall of hostility that had separated God from humans and humans from each other (Ephesians 2:14). In Christ Jesus, the Church proclaims, there can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or femalebut all are one (Galatians 3:28). Furthermore, we call on one another to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them (Ephesians 5:11). And what is darkness if not hatred? The one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness (1 John 2:11)!
Furthermore, in 1872, Hierarchs from around the world assembled in Constantinople and denounced all forms of xenophobia and phyletism. They agreed that the promotion of racial or national supremacy and ethnic bias or dissension in the Church of Christ is to be censured as contrary to the sacred teachings of the Christian Gospel and the holy canons of the Church. It is formally condemned as heresy, the strongest category of false teaching.
Finally, such actions as we have witnessed in recent days, by self-proclaimed white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and various racists and fascists, betray the core human values of love and solidarity. In this, we pray wholeheartedly for the families of those who lost their lives or suffered in these tragic events. In like manner, we cannot condone any form of revenge or retaliation by any group or individual. Therefore, we fervently appeal to every person of good will, and especially the leaders of our great nation, to consider and adopt ways of reconciling differences in order to rise above any and all discrimination in our history, our present, and our future.

The bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America includes:

  • Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America
  • Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta
  • Metropolitan Antony of the East
  • Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico
  • Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
  • Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco
  • Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York
  • Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
  • Metropolitan Joseph of North America
  • Metropolitan Joseph of the USA, Canada, and Australia
  • Metropolitan Methodios of Boston
  • Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit
  • Metropolitan Nikitas of Berkeley
  • Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
  • Metropolitan Tikhon of America
  • Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco
  • Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America
  • Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia
  • Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh
  • Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey
  • Archbishop Nathaniel of America
  • Archbishop Nicolae of the Americas
  • Archbishop Nikon of New England
  • Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America
  • Bishop Alexander of Dallas and the South
  • Bishop Alexander of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York
  • Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest
  • Bishop Antoun of Miami and the Southeast
  • Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America
  • Bishop Daniel of the West
  • Bishop David of Alaska
  • Bishop Demetrios of Chicago
  • Bishop Irinej of Eastern America
  • Bishop John of Caracas and South Americaa
  • Bishop John of Worcester and New England
  • Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwestern America
  • Bishop Maxim of Western America
  • Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn
  • Bishop Pankratij of Mexico
  • Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest
  • Bishop Saba of North America
  • Bishop Thomas of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic

Here are some of the Bible verses in context from the Assembly's statement (Old Testament quotes are from The Orthodox Study Bible and New Testament quotes are from The Orthodox New Testament, Volume Two):
Deuteronomy 10:17-19: For the Lord your God is the God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the resident aliens, for you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt. 
Galatians 3:26-29: For all are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as were baptized into Christ, ye put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 
Ephesians 5:11-12: And cease having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 
1 John 2:9-11: The one who saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in the darkness until now. The one loving his brother abideth in the light, and there is not an occasion of stumbling in him. But the one hating his brother is in darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not where he goeth, because the darkness blinded his eyes.

09 June 2017

The Biblical Stand Against Nagging, Arguing, or Being Angry (Especially With Your Spouse)

Do you nag your spouse? If so, then stop! Why? The Bible (both Old and New Testaments alike) clearly tells us not to.

Psalm 36(37):8 Cease from anger, and leave rage; have no emulation to do evil.

Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish will pull down with her hands that also which is built.

Proverbs 14:29 He that is patient, is governed with much wisdom: but he that is impatient, exalteth his folly.

Proverbs 19:11 The learning of a man is known by patience and his glory is to pass over wrongs.

Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is the grief of his father: and a wrangling wife is like a roof continually dropping through.

Proverbs 21:9 It is better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling women, and in a common house.

Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in a wilderness, than with a quarrelsome and passionate woman.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Be not a friend to an angry man, and do not walk with a furious man: Lest perhaps thou learn his ways, and take scandal to thy soul.

Proverbs 25:8 The things which thy eyes have seen, utter not hastily in a quarrel: lest afterward thou mayst not be able to make amends, when thou hast dishonoured thy friend.

Proverbs 25:24 It is better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman, and in a common house.

Proverbs 27:15 Roofs dropping through in a cold day, and a contentious woman are alike.

Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: a wise man deferreth, and keepeth it till afterwards.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-10 Oppression troubleth the wise, and shall destroy the strength of his heart. Better is the end of a speech than the beginning. Better is the patient man than the presumptuous. Be not quickly angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of a fool.

Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother without just cause shall be liable to the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca' shall be liable to the Sanhedrin, but whosoever shall say, 'Thou fool,' shall be liable to the fire of Gehenna.

Romans 12:14-18 Keep on blessing those who persecute you; keep on blessing, and not cursing. Be rejoicing with those who rejoice, and be weeping with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Mind not high things, but bring yourselves down to associate with the humble. Cease becoming wise in your own deceits. Render to no one evil for evil. Provide for yourselves right things before all men. If possible, as to that which depends on you, be at peace with all men.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Love is long-suffering, is kind; love is not jealous; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; doth not behave unseemly, seeking not its own, is not provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; covereth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, Love never falleth away. But whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall be done away.

Ephesians 4:26-27  Be ye angry, and sin not. Let not the sun set upon your provocation. Cease giving place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let not any rotten speech proceed from your mouth, but if any, such that is good for building up, as the need may be, in order that it may give grace to those who hear. And cease grieving the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom ye were sealed until a day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and anger, and wrath, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and keep on becoming kind to one another, compassionate, graciously forgiving one another, even as God in Christ also graciously forgave you.

Ephesians 5:22-25 Wives, be subordinating yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also the Christ is head of the Church, and is Himself Saviour of the body. But even as the CHurch subordinates herself to the Christ, so also the wives to their husbands in everything. Husbands be loving your own wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her.

Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off from yourselves all these things: wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, foul language out of your mouth.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore be comforting one another and building up one another, even as also ye do.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 Now we exhort you, brethren, be admonishing the disorderly, be consoling the faint-hearted, be supporting the weak, be longsuffering toward all. See ye that no one render evil for evil to anyone, but always be pursuing the good both toward one another and toward all.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an elder, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, elder women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Iakovos (James) 1:19-21 Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for man's wrath doth not work out God's righteousness. Wherefore lay aside all filthiness and surplus of wickedness, and receive in meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Iakovos (James) 1:26 If anyone among you seem to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, the religion of this one is vain.

Iakovos (James) 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the world of injustice. So the tongue, the one which defileth the body, is being set in our members and setteth on fire the wheel of birth; and it is set on fire by Gehenna.

Iakovos (James) 4:11 Cease speaking against one another, brethren. He who speaketh against a brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. One is the Lawgiver and Judge, Who is able to save and destroy. But who art thou who judgest another?

1 Peter 3:10-12 For the one who doth wish to love life and to see good days, let him stop his tongue from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are toward their entreaty; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 4:8-9 And before all things have fervent love among yourselves, for "love shall cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another, without murmurings.

Verses from the Books of the Old Covenant/Testament are from the Douay-Rheims Holy Bible, except for the Psalms, which are from The Orthodox Psalter: The Psalterion of the Prophet and King David According to the Seventy, with the Nine Odes and Commentary. Verses from the Books of the New Covenant/Testament are from the The Orthodox New Testament Volume 1: Evangelistarion - The Holy Gospels and The Orthodox New Testament: Volume 2: Praxapostolos - Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

12 May 2017

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