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“Christians must simultaneously engage the world around them (an invasion) and be aloof from it (a retreat). A believer plants one foot in Paradise and the other in the here-and-now. This is an attitude that is realistic yet not grounded in fear and a desire for self-preservation. It is a worldview rooted in the teaching of Christ and his apostles, and affirmed by centuries of failed attempts to do otherwise. On one hand, it is important to insulate ourselves and our children from needless temptation; but on the other hand, we mustn’t look askance at our neighbor.” (Rev. Fr. Joshua Lucas)

“When I stop reverencing God, I become the center of my world Then my life loses focus and my thinking becomes scattered. But when I am awestruck by everything He is and everything He does and all that He gives me, I engage in life with renewed purpose and clarity of thought.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick)

“The Pharisees were so rigid in their religion that they were unable to respond to and engage the world around them. Thus, they rejected John as being too mournful and ascetic, and Christ as being too merciful and joyous…we must engage in real relationships: first with God and then with others.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 7:31-34, Father Andrew of Athos)

“Relationships involve “give and take.” Thus, if we engage with others who have different beliefs, values, attitudes, and habits than we have, we must be on guard that their outlook will affect us, even unwittingly. On the other hand, it may be that by our association with them, we might find that we can influence them…in our reading of 2 Corinthians 6:11-16, St. Paul admonishes his congregation, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (vs. 11). Paul’s directive may be unpopular in our “pluralistic society.” Yet, he had a point for us to consider as we seek to live faithfully amid the diversity of peoples in today’s world. However, we will find that we need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to decide on our relationships with outsiders to the circle of faith. We will need the Spirit’s guidance to know what associations will be of spiritual benefit to others.” (Fr. Basil)

“…we are engaged in ongoing spiritual warfare…we must depend on illumination, divine knowledge, and the Gospel in order to survive. We need a constant supply of godly wisdom to shield and direct us. Politicians, promotions, and panaceas will not suffice…In the words of the Holy Fathers, one who engages in this unseen warfare is fighting against himself or, more correctly, his own self-love, self-centeredness, or, in secular terminology, his egoism which is rooted in self-assertive human pride…We must engage in spiritual warfare. An invasion is taking place, more serious than any invasion of migrants streaming across borders. An infiltration of the mind and soul is occurring, more dangerous than any political ideology or religious extremism. It is a rapidly spreading contagion far more consequential than any germ, microbe, or virus. All worldly threats recede in the face of the greatest risk of all: the death of the soul and the loss of eternal salvation. By succumbing to the world and its enticements, we are turning away from Christ. But we can emerge victorious by fighting back, by aligning ourselves with Christ…” (Dynamis 4/2/2020, Archbishop Averky (Taushev), Dr. Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou)


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