Tag Archive for: self-determination

Independence means Responsibility

Armodoxy for Today: Independence Means Responsibility

On this day in 1776, the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire signed the Declaration of Independence making them the thirteen United States of America. The document has been revered internationally for its eloquence in proclaiming the basic human right of self-determination. Herein is the tie with religion in general and with the Christianity in particular.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,” begins the Declaration. The document is a masterpiece which talks about self-governance, and consequently, the case for personal responsibility, because there is no one else to blame but yourself for your actions.

A child who is caught doing something wrong, passes the buck onto a friend, a sibling or perhaps even exclaiming, “The devil made me do it.” To believe in predestination means that your actions are predetermined by some higher power. The expression “written in the stars,” is commonly used and in Armenian, the word “jakatagir” is used for “fate” because it literally means “written on your forehead.” There is no escape from this fate, for it is written beforehand! And therefore, what mistakes or evil you do is not your fault. You are not accountable because you had no choice to do otherwise.

Christianity rejects fatalism. You are indeed responsible for your actions. Over and over again Jesus teaches lessons on personal accountability and responsibility. He speaks about forgiveness and repentance because these require the acceptance of responsibility for actions.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” continues the Declaration, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, are identified as gifts from God, and to exploit these gifts is done with the consent of the people.

Today, we celebrate freedom as a gift from God along with a reminder that these ideas were etched in the Declaration of Independence a quarter of a millennium ago and are still being pursued. The celebration of the oldest continuous democracy, the United States, is an opportunity for us contemplate the divine gift of life in all of its ramifications. Take time to read the parables of Jesus. He instructs us to live life, to enjoy the freedom granted to us by God, so that we may enjoy this life in the pursuit of happiness.

Let us pray, Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of life and the freedom to choose the direction of our life. Open our eyes to the beauty of life so that we may better appreciate the wonders of freedom that are granted to us. May we be moved to action as directed by our Lord Jesus. Amen.

Orange Color Politics

Next Step #439: Politics is front and center in this episode as Fr. Vazken visits his childhood church, remembers the ugly politics inside the church and now  on the world stage with US elections in a few days. Social ethics – the importance of self-determination and a rejection of destiny, finding the tools to make our decisions. A metaphysical discussion has political and practical implications and applications in our world today. And no, we don’t serve on the altar!
Observer” by Gor Mkhitarian
Truman/Dewey picture
Murder at the Altar by Terry Phillips
Catholicos at meetings in New York
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary
Embracing Faith Conference – Save the Date 
Whitewashed tombs
St. James, Los Angeles
USC School of Religion
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
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Luxury of Omniscience

Next Step #433: Remember when voting was sacred? What’s happened to the sacredness of self-determination? Talents that inspire and others that need inspiration, a different look at the prospects for peace and understanding. Bullying on the world stage. Armenian independence at 25, cross comparisons with a 240 year old cousin. Symmetry in nature and the universe inspiring wonder. Have you read that in the cup? If not, here are some secrets of coffee cup reading. Fr. Vazken connects the dots in this episode.
“Hayastan Ashkhar” by Armenian Public Radio
Parable of the Talents
AC101 Series
Coffee cup reading (AC101 #21)
Twinkie Defense
Purple Fingers and Hope
Superman father/son talk
Sponsored by Predator Cycling – specializing in custom carbon bicycles, components, accessories and repair.
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!

Props for the Play

Next Step #410: Quest for Peace – a different way of looking at responsibility in Artsakh & Armenia. As clergy are placed as props* in the grand opera, here’s a chance to reject political agendas and opt for self-determination in sync with Christ’s invitation. Taking Christ OUT of the Church is not too bad when you realize it’s demanded by Christ Himself. Much food for thought in this edition.
* Definition of Prop: a pole or beam used as a support or to keep something in position, typically one that is not an integral part of the thing supported.
Links: “Nobody’s Fault” Dixie Hummingbirds
Adam Schiff & Condoleeza Rice on the word “Genocide” (from minute 3:20)
Vespers & Talk on Peace – April 13, 2016
AYF Azeri Protest April 8
Catholicos Aram statement
Jesus Christ Superstar (Movie)
Politics First – Antonovich’s Respect?
Cover Photo: Flowerboxes in Yerevan by Fr. Vazken, 2014
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!