Sunday, November 30, 2003
here it is.
Here is an excerpt from a recent Terry Mattingly column.
"Few would fault the clarity of the Orthodox response to the September marriage of Denis Gogolyev and Mikhail Morozev in the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Chapel in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia."
"The bishops defrocked the priest, bulldozed the church and burned the wreckage."
"Father Vladimir Enert, who married the gay couple, committed a sin in doing so," a church spokesman told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. "He desecrated the place. We therefore needed to destroy the chapel."
I love Orthodoxy!!!
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
I was looking up some info on the Trans-Saharan Highway this morning when I came across this "fact" at the CIAs website: 100% of Mauritanians are muslim.
Really? Maybe the CIA and the State Department should talk.
Well, I was able to put two of the icons up (see yesterdays posts). Christ Patocrator and the the Theotokos. I only had two frames that were close to being the right size. And even then I had to do some trimming.
The Christ Pantocrator Icon is really an important mile-stone in my conversion to Orthodoxy. Years and years ago I hear Bernard Bell describe it in one of his sermons at PBC. It sounded amazing. Then a couple of years later when I visited Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Ben Lomond I saw it and was almost overwhelemed.
Cyndi is baking today. We have vigil tonight. The vigil services are so beautiful. We have them every Saturday night. But Saturday night is a difficult time to find parking near Van Ness and Green. I miss living in San Francisco. rarely had to drive. Never had to look for parking. Went weeks at a time without having to drive. Taking the buss to church was always fun. North on Filmore, then East on Union. It was like going on one of those gray line tours through the beautiful parts of the City.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
I’m not sure why this story comes to mind. Maybe because it is Advent and I am contemplating the Incarnation. Maybe because last week I was reading C.S. Lewis’s the Horse and His Boy , and in the book was a character who talked about Aslan as though he were too good, too lofty, too grand to be a mere lion, an animal. (Aslan corrected him.) God does "trailer-park" things to get his message across. He doesn't worry about offending the sensabilities of people who read the New Yorker and drink Agrapart and Fils. In fact, offending sensabilities is what God seems to be all about. I mean, God became a baby, a real baby, born in a stable, he had to have his diaper changed like us. In the words of Frederick Buechner "if you haven't taken that seriously enough to be offended by it, you haven't taken it seriously enough".
Anyway, last Christmas Cyndi gave me a calendar with twelve 5-color process lithographs of Icons on stretched linen. So, tonight I am going to take various diplomas and pictures and certificates out of their frames and put icons in them instead.
On another note, Saturday, While Cyndi was at work anslem and I were working around the house. We looked out over the balcony and across the street and our eyes behleld a cat, tawney and striped. I called out to it "Meow! Meow!" and the cat turned toward us and came nigh. But there was behind us another cat which we had not seen. And the other cat was black with white hind-quarters. That black cat came up the stairs to us, but not the striped cat for it would not stand on the stairs. Anslem was amazed. He didn't know his dad could talk cat. But the black cat did yawn and show its fangs, causing fright to Anslem, who though he wanted to touch the cat was now very afraid because of the teeth. So I pourd a saucer of organic non-homoginized (ream on the top) milk for the cat and we stood back 5 feet, as close as anselm would get to the cat, and watched it drink. When the cat had its fill and walked away, Anselm clapped his hands.
Our house is almost all put together. I'll talk to the priest Thursday and see when he can come down for the house blessing. He might want to wait until theophany since it is so close, and the week following theophany is when the anual house blessings occur. As soon as I get the date from the priest I'll let you know. The service is short and fun, and the food is always good.
Monday, November 24, 2003
I always put lots of links in my posts. One of them was to the Jesus Film website. Yet you "assumed". This makes me think the links do not appear on your computer. Are you using a B/W monitor?
Thanksgiving is celbrated at church. Our main service is called "Eucharist", that is greek for thanksgiving. We see no better way for us to fulfil our priestly function of giving thanks than by celebrating the eucharist. Then we eat. My parents will be with us on Thursday for the Eucharist and the feast, but won't be coming to the vigil on Wednesday night.
Is leaving yourself that option an option for EV Free clergy?
Bill and I are getting together next week or so to talk and see how we want to do this. We'll see what turn up with it.
As far as Thanksgiving, we're going to Christa's parent's place in Orange COunty. We're leaving Wed morning about 5 am in order to beat some opf the traffic and coming back on Sat. I think we're going to see both the Kazmark's and the Bixby's when we're down there. Where are you doing Thanksgiving? Are your parents coming to your church?
Yes, you can add our church to the link. It's bayhills.net
I'm probably more pre-mil than any other, but I think I want to leave myself the option of being proven wrong.
What are you guys doing for Thanksgiving? Cyndi is making the famous cranberry walnut pies. I think this is the recipe she uses. But I could be wrong. (It happens sometimes.) This will be the first time my parents have been to church with us since our conversion. I'm kind of nervous about it.
Also, I came across this best toilet idea ever. I am trying to talk cyndi into getting one.
You never got back to on wherther or not you want to add your church's website to the blog's links section.
Friday, November 21, 2003
It reminds me of some of the discussion last week at the Licensing COuncil I was at. There was a bit of a debate about that which our faith is based upon. The guy who was being questioned had said that our faith rests on the Bible. Naturally, some of the others pretty well nailed him on this, because our faith is not in the Bible but in Christ. He agreed and said that he had perhaps misspoke or had bee misunderstood. Of course it is Christ on which our faith is based, but it is through the revelation of SCripture that we know about that which we are to have faith in. His point should have been that we have faith that Scripture does reveal Christ to us. In that sense, our faith is based on the Bible as revelation of CHrist.
Not to jump topics, but last week we hired a new auditor for the bnak. Bald head, thin black mustache...looks like G. Gordon Liddy. I guess that it is more effective for a bank auditor to look like Liddy than, say, Woody Allen.
Have you ever wanted to strap a muderer into "Ol' Sparky" and watch him fry?
For Advent I am reading The Chronicles of Narnia again. I haven't read them since I was thirteen or fourteen. There is a lot in there I missed back then. While reading last night I was moved to tears by a conversation between Aslan and Shasta.
I came across this discussion on the Orthodox Convert email list. It mentioned your denomination. I thought you might be interested. Also, after reading the conversation I am wondering if you have read the EV Free statement of faith. Do you agree with the whole thing?
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 10:40:03 -0800 (PST)
From: "Peter T. Chattaway"
Subject: Re: Statement of Faith
Several times during my life I have been required to sign the
following or a similar statement of faith for jobs or job-related projects. The last couple of times I've found it problematic and now, since
converting to Orthodoxy, find that it doesn't fit for me on several levels. I'm curious to hear your responses on any or all of the points contained. I'm weighing what I will do the next time this comes up.
Statement of Faith
1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative word of God.
2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This, right here, is one of my biggest beefs with evangelicalism, and I
say that as one who still has at least one foot in that camp. My beef
is, namely, that the Bible takes precedence over God. Incredibly
And that's before we get to the question of *whose* Bible. :)
Isaac : But back to your question about signing off of "statements of faith"
that seem either thin or mistaken: I was asked to sign one very like this for a summer gig at Regent in Vancouver a couple summers ago. What I did was make fairly meticulous annotations in the margins, indicating how I meant these words. They granted me special dispensation as an "ecumenical scholar," and we went from there. The document itself turned out to be a great opportunity to begin what ended up as a genuinely rich conversation when I showed up to teach.
Peter: Just curious, what did you teach at Regent College? I taught
journalism at Trinity Western University for a few years, and I had to "annotate"
my statement of faith, too -- but they were used to that there, because
the university's statement of faith is, I think, identical to that of the
Evangelical Free Church (which includes specific positions on the end
times, etc.), and they obviously have a lot of non-E-Free teachers
Thursday, November 20, 2003
And the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley is working with the Patriarch Athenagoras Institue to offer a MA degree in Orthodox theology. I can not imagine more bizarre marriage. How in the world is the GTU going to adapt to the Orthodox insistance that we are the Church, that the Faith is not negotiable, and Jesus is the only King. I predict a stormy relationship.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
You probably already know this, but the canons were given either by the Apostles or the various church councils.
Also, it should be remembered that the canons had not formalized at the time St. Paul was dealing with that problem in Corinth. St. Clement (3rd bishop of Rome) only collected the Apostolic Canons and published them around A.D. 110
You know what? This whole discussion of excomunications and anathemas brings to mind 1 Cor. 16:22. I will never have sex with a relative, an probably never do any of the other things that the canons say are worthy of anathema. But falling under anathema is still a very real possibility. I must always be careful to not let my own desires or the things of the world smother the love I have for Jesus. I think as long as I concern myself with this, I won't have to worry too much about the canons.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Anyway, here is how I understand it. There are two kinds of excommunication: private and public. Private is much more common. That happens whenever one of the faithful commits a gross sin. We are excommunicated simply by being unworthy to receive communion. This is not punishment. It is done for the safety of the individual, lest he get sick and perhaps die.
Public excommunication is different. This is usually done when someone's sin is public and notorious. I think most bishops delgate this responsibility to the pastors of the parishes. It is a pastoral decision as to when a person can be readmitted to the the Holy Mystery.
I only know of two cases of public excommunication that have occured in the past 1/2 century. One was of a group of homosexuals who were (and remain unrepentant). There the excommunication was done by the local priest after consulting his bishop. The other excommunication was done by a metropolitan who responded to a rebellion led by some of the clergy in a parish. That was a little bit more complicated because clergy were being excommunicated and deposed. In that case the metropolitan appointed a group of priests to hear the case. In the end the entire parish (except a handful of clergy and faithul who stayed loyal to their bishop) was excommunicated. But for most of them it did not last long. The Metropolitan gave the lay people permission to go under the protection of another bishop. The clergy were deposed forever. Most of them repented and are admitted to communion now, but under a different bishop. The former-priest who led the rebellion is still excommunicated, though he attends church regularly. It is up to the bishops as to when he will be comunicated again.
Another interesting case is that of Count Leo Tolstoy. As you probably remember from college, he was excommunicated for some of the things he wrote which do not conform to the Gospel. He was unrepentant till his death. However, in the week he died the Church reached out to him on his death bed. When the priest arrived at his house and asked to see him his family turned the priest away and would not let him talk with the count.
Excommunication is always a means to an end, and that end is reconcilliation.
Anathamatization is different still. It is not desinged to bring the sinner to repentence. Instead it is designed to protect the faithful from the sin of the one who is anathamatized. The list of who should be anathamatized is specific. Here are two canons from the Counci of Chalcedon that require excomunicatino or anathematization:
Canon 7. "We have decreed that those who have once been enrolled among the clergy, or have been made monks, shall accept neither a military charge nor any secular dignity; and if they shall presume to do so and not repent in such wise as to turn again to that which they had first chosen for the love of God, they shall be anathematized."
Canon 8. "Let the clergy of the poor-houses, monasteries, and martyries remain under the authority of the bishops in every city according to the tradition of the holy Fathers; and let no one arrogantly cast off the rule of his own bishop; and if any shall contravene this canon in any way whatever, and will not be subject to their own bishop, if they be clergy, let them be subjected to canonical censure, and if they be monks or laymen, let them be excommunicated. "
Those who are anathema are treated as though they never existed. Their books are not read, they are not spoken to, they are not allowed into the churches. Anathamatizations are rare.
Another question for you...This comes out of what I've been reading in 1 Cor this month regarding sexual immorality and kicking someone out of fellowship. how does the Orthodox church deal with excommunication???
You can always call me with your address. That can be the 'other media'
Novostoi reports that the Russian Orthodox Church has broken off communication with the American Episcopalian Churuch.
This is in-line with the SCOBA Statement on moral crisis.
I'll send you the address via other media.
I made a new thing last night: Cole Slaw. As you might know, I have an aversion to mayonaise. I heard a really gross joke in 1992 and have had trouble with mayonaise ever since. So, I haven't had cole slaw since then. But last night I made a variation on a cole slaw recipe I found in "The Vegan Epicure".
The Solids: 1 cabbage, 2 carrots, 1 red bellpepper.
Dressing: 1 avacodo, 1/2 cup silken tofu, 1 inch raw ginger, juice of one small lemon, a little black pepper, a little salt. Put in blender. make it smooth. pour it over the solids. mix it up really good.
Monday, November 17, 2003
By the way, I need your new home address. We're sending out invitation this week for our Christmas DInner Party. It's Saturday night Dec !3.
Yes, he is simply restating what has been handed down. There is nothing new in Orthodoxy.
72 pages? Hmmmm. Must have been a collection of some of his sermons, or maybe one of his letters. Most of the sermons can fit on one or two pages.
You might want to look here for the writings of St. John Chrysostom. This site might be more user friendly.
Here is his most famous sermon. It is preached every year at Pascha.
The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom
Pastor of Constantinople (~400 AD)
Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!
I tried to downloan one of Chrystostom's sermons from the link you gave me, but it was 72 pages long! How about a 1-page devotional from him??????
Friday, November 14, 2003
Do you fast?
Give me proof of it by your works. If you see someone who is poor, take pity on that person. If you see a friend being honored, do not be envious. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eyes, and the feet, and the hands and all the member of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is
sinful. Let the ears by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes,
but bite and devour our brothers and sisters?"
- St. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom: Not verse by verse. (I'm not even sure the New testament had been divided up into verses at that point in history.) You have to remember that all of St. John's sermons were preached in the context of the liturgy, and in the liturgy the readings are prescribed by the lectionary. So, for instance, on the third Sunday after pentecost he preached on Matthew 6:22-33. Actually, beginning on the Monday following pentecost and going for 11 weeks he preached on a different passage from the Gospel of Matthew.
St. Nicholas: Claims to fame include but are not limited to:
- Archbishop of Myra in Lycea (modern day Turkey) He was chosen to be Archbishop in an odd way. The people who had to pick the next bishop for the see couldn't decide. So they left it up to God. They said, the first priest who walks through the door of the church will be the new Archbishop. Nicholas, who was the abbot of the local monastery just happened to be the first to walk through the door.
- Founded many orphanages and was especially concerend for the welfare of children
- Grabbing the sword of an executioner and saving the life of a political prisoner
- Enduring horrible tortures under tha last great Roman persection
- Losing his temper at the council of Nicea and hitting Arius (this resulted in the other bishops deposing him and striking his name from the official list of attendees
- Rescuing three girls from lives of prostitution by providing them with dowries
- raising some dead people back to life
- continuing to found orphanages even after he was deposed
- Might have calmed a storm that threated a ship (info is spotty)
- After he died, from his body flowed a liquid that healed people
- After the muslims conquored Turkey (A.D. 1083) his relics were moved to Bari, Itally, where they continue to heal people.
- The healing liquid still flows form his body.
- He died Dec 6, A.D. 345
- First church erected in his honor, A.D. 430 in Constantinople by Emperor Justinian.
It was James Dunn in his book on the early church who made the comment about Orthodoxy and John. I think he was referring a bit to mystical character of John...a bit more mysticism than in the other gospels.
I've never heard of Nicholas before. Well, actually, I have, but usually around Christmas time.
Did Chrystostom do a ver-by-verse exposition of all of Matthew?
Thursday, November 13, 2003
I can't vouch for the translation, but 19th century Anglicans were generally, pretty good.
The “canon within the canon” is a very old idea. Goes back to, at least, Martin Luther, perhaps to Marcion. The problem with the whole canon within the canon idea is that the books not in the inner canon can wind up totally outside the canon. Consider the case of the Apocrypha in the protestant churches. The books called the Apocrypha were in the canon, then they were grouped together and placed at the backs of Bibles or between the OT &NT. Then they were called inspirational or educational, but not inspired. Now most Bibles printed in America do not contain them.
About the Gospel of John in Orthodox spirituality. It is common to refer to Jesus as the “Word, our God”, “Christ the Immortal Word and Son of God”, or simply “the Word” in Orthodox prayer. Maybe that is what the author is talking about. Or maybe he is referring to the similarities between the liturgy and the worship described in Revelation. Or he might be referring to the emphasis placed on eating and drinking God in John 6. We read most (maybe all?) of the Gospels during the year. So I don’t know that we emphasize St. John’s gospel over the others.
Regarding St. John Chrysostom and why he is greatly revered by Orthodox:
As you will remember from when you visited my church, we sing to him at the end of the liturgy (Troparion in tone 8, below). The words of that Troparion give you some idea of why we love him. Among other things, he is famous for:
- standing up to the immorality in the court of the Christian emperor
- preaching a series of sermons that encouraged and comforted the people of Antioch while they were awaiting their doom (they had rioted and toppled over a statue f the emperor – a treasonous act).
- His sermons on the Gospel of St. Matthew are the oldest complete commentary on that Gospel.
- Refused to play politics.
- Continued living as an ascetic after being appointed Patriarch of Constantinople.
- Died in exile (the imperial court hated him).
- He revised the Liturgy of St. Basil and his revision is still in use today in the Orthodox Church (it is the Liturgy we use most often).
But he is not the most revered of the Church Fathers. That honor would go to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycea. He is the only one of the Church Fathers who is commemorated every week, in the weekly cycle of prayer.
This acutally touches on something I read recently (I don't remember where) about there being such a thing as a 'canon within the canon'. THe first time I heard that phrase I freaked out a bit, but once I understood it, it made a lot of sense. WHast it means is that different denominations, churches, etc, will tend to put much more emphasis on some parts of SCripture than on others and some sections of Scripture tend be avoided altogether (how many sermons have you ever heard on Obadiah?). Pentocostals tend to put great emphasis on Acts and 1 Cor, more legalistic churches put more emphasis on James, etc. But one thing he said which was interesting, and i'd like to hear your thoughts on it. He said that the Eastern Orthodox church tend to get a great deal of their spirituality from the gospel of John. What do you think about that?
The lamb recipe was absolutely incredible. WE froze the rest of the marinade for a later time. WE got some of those small, thick Australian lamb chops from Costco, broiled the chops with the sauce and...,oh boy...it was like a Diane Krall culinary moment.
One other question...why does the Orthodox church have more respect for Chrystostom than any other early church father. I'd be interested in looking at a sermon or two of his. Where could I find that?
He might be the greatest preacher ever.
Troparion in tone 8
Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe;
It has shone to the world the riches of poverty;
It has revealed to us the heights of humility.
Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom,
Intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls.
Kontakion in tone 6
Having received divine grace from heaven,
You teach all men to adore the one God in three persons.
O all-blessed John Chrysostom, we rightly praise you,
For you are our teacher, revealing things divine!
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Top 5 best selling Christian books week ending 9/13/03
1. The Purposeless, Driven Church, by Rick Warren (Thomas Nelson)
2.The Purpose-Driven Woman's Guide to Extreme Hormonal Imbalances, by Rick Warren (Thomas Nelson)
3. Purpose-Driven Bathroom Remodeling, by Michael Payne (HGTV Books)
4. The Late, Great Purpose-Driven Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey (Seven-Headed Dragon Press)
5. The Anti-Biblical and Faith-Defiling Roots of the Purpose-Driven Church Movement, by Hank Hanegraaff (CRI Press)
CHICAGO — In neighborhoods around the country, the familiar chorus of pre-Halloween mourning has gone up from church-going children whose parents refuse to let them participate in the Oct. 31 holiday. Read the whole story here.
Metropolitan Maximos said: "Do these Anglican thinkers realize that an evil spirit may be behind all these things?" Read the whole article here.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Here a sub-deacon is leading him to the bishop to be ordained.
Here he is being tonsured. The bishop cuts off some of his hair as his first offering to God.
Here he is actually doing his new job.
And here he is at the end of the liturgy with the Bishop Tikhon an rest of the clergy who served that day.
Recomendation on posting: write your posts in a word processing program then copy and paste to blogger.
The lamb recipe looks good. What did you like most about it? Do you know yow to do links yet? I ask because that recipe would have been a good thing to link to.
I came across this website today. I wonder why these people just don't become Orthodox?
I have a new fish steamer. Big enough for a very large trout or a very small salmon. Do you have any good recipies for steamed fish?
Monday, November 10, 2003
Regarding your comments about fasting, I'm not sure a 40-day fast is such a good idea. As I recall, George did one and look what came out of that
This is much more the type of discussions that I want to have with you...more personal.
One thing that I've been doing recently is taking a verse or two, or a spiritual thought/concept and using it to mediate on during my prayer times. This week I'm working through 1 Cor 6:18-19, the ideas the my body is a temple of teh Holy Spirit and the high price that was paid for me by God. I think in the next couple of weeks I'm going to work in "Take up your cross and follow me".
I'm also going to send a recipe to your email address from epicurious. It's a lamb dish that we made last night which was pretty incredible!
However, on Saturday night, when it was raining hard we asked God for clear skies and he heard our prayer. We were able to move with out getting soaked.
Saturday, November 08, 2003
There is a temptation to be prideful because of the little nothing fasts I do as an Orthodox Christian. It helps me to remember that my fast is no more difficult than the fast of 200 million other Orthodox Christians who are do the same thing with me. Also it helps me to remember that my fast is no big deal. I mean, come on, I'm still eating! Its not like I'm going hungry. So I have to drink black coffee and skip meat, I still get to eat peanuts, hummus, and Cliff Bars. Also, I blow it a lot. I don't know how many wednesday mornings I've been 1/2 way through a cup of cofee when I noticed I'd put milk in it. I can't even be attentive enough to abstain from a table spoon of milk. But the food thing isn't even the biggest part of the fasts, the prayer and alms-giving is. And I really suck at both of those. Maybe someday I will be full of love, and completly without pride. That is what these ascetic practices are supposed to accomplish. They are medicine to me. It is the medicine seeker churches choose to ignore.
Well, I really have to go to bed now. Church starts at 9:30 tomorrow for the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and all the Heavely Hosts.
Friday, November 07, 2003
Well, we are nearly packed. Very tired. We still have to do the boys room. And the cleaning. And the actual moving.
MacArthur just came out with a book called 'Hard To Believe' which deals with the gospel and the seeker church movement(He's against it...surprise,surprise). His main argument is that the gospel focus of the cross/sin/redemption has been effective for almost 2000 years. Why do we have to change to make it more 'palatable'? I've been in seeker churches before and there are very few people there who would be considered mature believers.
What are Russian pastries? Beyond the obvious...pastries that are Russian.
And St. Nicholas' day in Dec. 6. That's again a pretty big deal. But I'll be at my parents house for thier annual Christmas Party.
Every sunday is a wine day, for the obvious reason. I just looked at the calendar and saw that most Saturdays are wine days, too. There are a few other wine days, during the period. Wine (alcohol) and olive oil are permitted almost every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday during the fast. (As I said, this is not as intense a fasting period as Great Lent). But most of these days are major feasts, such as the entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple or the the commemoration of St. Herman of Alaska. Fish is okay on most Sundays and Saturdays. Meat and dairy: none, zip, nada.
Hey, I don't know if you read what I wrote about Saddleback church or not, but I came across this this article about seeker churches in the archives of Touchstone magazine and thought it relevent.
Do you only blog at work? You have internet at home don't you?
Magazine recommendation: Touchstone Magazine
So when do you want to go up wine-tasting, Martini-swilling and cigar-chomping again?
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Dinner tonight is pork roast stuffed with apples and onions.
Side of greens (chard, turnip, kale, mustard) sauteed in olive oil and garlic.
Blue Boar ale.
We don't eat this rich all the time, but Advent is comming up so we thought we'd live high before the begining of the fast. The fasting periods might be my favorite parts of Orthodoxy. God says, "Slow down, lay aside every weight, enjoy just being with Me."
We are moving on Sunday. Lots of packing. House is full of boxes. Took apart the boy's bed. Bookshelves are next. Then tables. I'm worried about Sunday. We do not have enough help.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
When I was a kid I was in a denomination that at one time opposed television. I am not sure why people in that denomination opposed television, but at one time they were also opposed to movies, and bowling alleys. They ended the opposition to movies and television before I was born. They hung onto the prohibition on bowling until I was a teenager. I don't know what evil they saw in bowling, and I don't know what they saw in television of the 1950's; but I see the fruit of television today: a decline in reading, a rise in vulgarity, increased sensuality, rampant violence, inability of youth to pay attention to weighty matters, and the loss of Texas family dancehall culture. It is my understanding that the Coupland Dance Hall is the last. If you find yourself in Texas and want to waltz, you better stop by. Who knows when television will kill it.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
I was thinking about adding a signature to the end of my emails. What do you think about the famous Mr. Boffo line "You gotta really like gin".
Monday, November 03, 2003
How about this:
1. We stay to one subject until all of both of our questions have been asked and answered and
2. we each only post once per day.
What do you think?
When I ask a question, i don't want to know what the church says...I want to know what you think about a particular issue (preferably in 100 words or less
1. Primary vs. Seconday Sources
2. What the Orthodox consider normative
It's easier than me trying to explain it. Besides, it has pictures.
As for your question about is the church people or an organisation: It isn't an either/or thing. It is both. God called us his peculiar people. But he also called us a body with various members, and those members are organized. The church is different. It is what it is.
Why do you ask? What are you thinking?
Here is a link to Red Meat. Do you know how to put links into the text of your message? It's really easy especially on a PC. No code writing required. But even on a Mac it's just a few key strokes.
By the way, little Syndey Carter was at the Emergency Room this weekend. SHe burned her hand pretty badly on a glass fireplace. Bryan called me and said they will know by the end of the day whether she will need skin grafts or not...sounds like it was second and third-degree burns.
There is also a new 5-cd set of Johnny Cash music coming out on Nov 25. The first three are outtakes from his American Recordings stuff, the 4th is an acoustic gospel cd and the last is kinda the best of the last 10 years. You can find the track listings at maninblack.net
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Saturday, February 7
Buck Owens and the Buckaroos
plus Red Meat and DJ Toby
Doors at 8 p.m. Show at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $22
If you haven't seen Red Meat before you have to be there.
I think the Great American Music Hall is probably the better place to see them, but , heck, it's a good excuse to go to Bimbo's.
Saturday, November 01, 2003
This is a difficult question to answer. It really has to be answered, and then only in part by a liftime spent praying the prayers, alms-giving, partaking in the sacraments, and living the life of the Church. But I will try.
I think it is because we believe in the Church. In the Creed of the Orthodox Church we say we believe in 4 things, profess one thing, and expect one thing:
The writings of any saint are not one of the four things we say we believe in. But neither is the Bible. Both of those flow out of the fourth thing we say we believe in, the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church".
We believe in the Church as much as we do in the Resurrection of Jesus.
We believe the church is One. There are not two Churches. The dispensationalists are wrong. All human beings who are saved are saved in the Church. The holy prophets Noah, Samuel, and Elijah are part of the church.
We believe it is Holy. It has to be because it is the body of Christ. Really. Just think about that. The Church is really the body of Christ. When the Church acts, Christ himself is acting.
We belive it is Catholic. That means more than just "universal" as some modern translators of the Creed have renedered the word. It also means whole, complete, lacking nothing. When St. John died the church did not lose anything. Everything the Apostles needed to pass on to us, they passed on to us. There are no new doctrines, there have never been any new doctrines, and there can never be any new doctrines that the Apostles did not tradit to us.
We believe it is Apostolic. Now this is the place I wan't to spend the most time. Let's look at the word Apostolic. What do Orthodox Christians mean by this?
First... We believe our church is the same church the 12 Apostles and their helpers spread around the world. We see no break in the continuity of the Church from Pentecost to today. We have had no reformations or counter reformations. So in this sense we believe that the Orthodox Church (Whenever I use the word "Church" in this post I only mean Orthodox Church.) is Apostolic. But wait! There's more!
Second... It means more than merely being descended from the Apostles. It also means we are sent commissioned to carry the Gospel. Our English word Apostle is a transliteration of the Koine word 'apostolos', which is more properly translated 'messenger". You know about this so I won't write anymore about it.
Third... The Apostles were given authority. They were given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.
So how did they exercise this power? They taught, they preached, the defined doctrine, they regulated entrance into the church, they remitted sins and they did not remit sins. They appointed new bishops, priests, and deacons.
Now remember, we believe the Church is One. And because the church is one, it is necessary that Holy Trinity Cathedral is the same church as the one St. James presided over in Jerusalem. So, none of this authorty passed from the earth when St. John died.
Am I saying that everything the Church says is as important as the Bible? No. We don't even say all parts of the Bible are equally important. The Gospels are bound alone in gold and set on the altar. The Epistles are not. We always stand when the Gospels are read. We sometimes sit when the Psalms are read.
I guess what I am saying is this: The Church claims the ability to determine what is true. In fact, we say we are the pillar and ground of the truth.
So, it is not so much that we think St. Ignatius is normative. Rather, whatever the Church says is true is true. So, when the tradition of the church tells us that the Gospel of Matthew is in the Bible but the Gospel of Peter is out, we live by that. When the tradition of the church tells us to fast on Wednesday and Friday we live by that. When the tradition of the church accepts the teaching of St. Ignatius and tells us how to regard bishops, priests, and deacons we live by that.
So, it is not that we think the Bible is normative (However, it is the most importat part of the tradition and I do not want you to think I am saying is not heald in the highest esteem) or the writings of any saint are normative. What is normative is whatever the church says is normative. But of course, there is no new doctrine, so it's not as scarry as it might sound at first. In general, we anathamatize people who dream up new doctrines.
"“It’s never too late to say you’re sorry,” said Dr. Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. This summer, thousands of “messengers” at the SBC meeting in Phoenix officially repudiated pro-abortion resolutions of earlier years. Foy Valentine, Land’s predecessor, was a member of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights and supported the argument “that abortion in some instances may be the most loving act possible.” In 1973, the SBC welcomed the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, declaring that it protected “religious freedom” against the efforts of the Catholic Church to impose its morality on the nation. This June, the convention voted to “lament and renounce statements and actions by previous conventions and previous denominational leadership that offered support to the abortion culture.” In the late 1970s, the SBC and most other evangelical Protestants were turned around on the abortion question under the leadership of Francis Schaeffer, the Swiss philosopher-theologian, and C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General. Since then, evangelicals have been indispensable allies in the contention for the culture of life. Dr. Land is right. Short of the final judgment, it’s never too late. "
All I have to say is this: If Roger Williams spiritual decendants had paid attention to the tradition of the church they wouldn't be making these apologieis today.
"You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" Didache 2:1–2 (First Century).
"Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" Letter of Barnabas 19 (1st Century)
"Those who give potions for the destruction of the child conceived in the womb are murderers; as are they who take the poisons which kill the child." 8th Canon of St. Basil the Great (4th Century)
But, as we know, Baptists believe that every individual Christian has the right to make up their own mind about what the Bible says and give no heed at all to what the church has said for 2,000 years.
You know what? Writing this stuff makes me feel very superior. I should be careful. I'm a scummy sinner, too and have yet to make it through 1 hour of wakefullness without sinning. So, sure the Baptists are wrong, but that doesn't mean I get into heaven for knowing they are wrong. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
Of course, I had an inkling of pride for being so humble right now. Oh, I know exactly what Romans 7 is about. I live it every day, every minute. Thank God for Romans 8.