Sunday, November 30, 2003

Hey, Jeff, I just read a very interesting article on the dating of Christmas in touchstone magazine.
here it is.

Its been a good week. Wednesday night Vigil. Thursday liturgy. Giant thanksgiving meal. Sunday liturgy followed by an Ethiopian feast in honor of the first missionary to Ethiopia.

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

Since it is baking time of year, I'm sure we will all be refering to the Periodic Table of Dessert.

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 was startled the first time I looked in the cupbard at my church and saw dozens of shot glasses. And every sunday a quite abit of wine is consumed at lunch. And on major feasts the chief warden of the parish brings SKYY vodka and pours shots for everyone, and someone always brings champagne, and whisky, and sometimes, beer. Having been a protestant, where even moderate drinking is moderated and no one would think of consuming egg-shaped jello shots to cellebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.... well, I just didn't know what to think. But last night while Cyndi was reading to me from Prince Caspian there was an appearnce by Silenus and Bacchus and a huge revel with wine and dancing and much happiness. And the whole thing was presided over by Aslan. And when it was over Lucy said to Susan something like "That was a lot of fun. But I I'd be afraid to be with those two (she meant Bacchus and Silenus) if Aslan wasn't here." And I thought to myself, yes... That makes all the difference. The feasts at church are different and safe because the Lord is present.
I’ve never liked icons on paper. They seemed beneath the dignity of the people being portrayed. But I’ve not liked paying out big bucks for icons on wood either. Sometimes I would ask Anslm’s Godfather where he got a certain rare icon and he would reply: “Two words: Laser Printer” I would totally cringe. But back in the summer I was in a car with him and my Bishop's assistant and I was telling her about my feelings. Then she told me she used to have the same opinion of paper icons, until she visited a monastery and shared that opinion with the abbot. He took her to a little room and showed her a paper icon that was miraculously weeping. That changed her mind about paper icons.

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.

Jeff, a frined sent me this thing on Old Testament Parenting by Ian Frazier.

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.
Jeff, check this out if you want to know what a group of small "o" orthodox theologians think about Johnny Cash.

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

Interesting. It wasn't on the tape they sent me. (I ordered it when I first married Cyndi).

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?
I assume when you say the 'Jesus' film, you're talking asbout the Campus Crusade one. Yes, the Anunciation is in there. It's got a big scene right at the beginning.

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.
Good for you! That's excellent. I figured they would get you involved pretty quickly. What are you going to be teaching? Will you an Bill be teacing the same thing like you and George taught Luke? (Tangent: Did you ever notice that in the Jesus filme, even though a huge deal was made over it's adherence to St. Luke's Gospel, they left out the Annunciation?)

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.
Hey, it looks like I'm back in a teaching ministry at our new church. We've been jumping into a Young Adults group that is just starting. All of the people there, except the leader Bill Davis is under 27 or so, so initially I saw my role there as a bit of a mentor. Well, Bill came down with the flu yesterday and asked me on short notice to lead the group last night. it went very well and he asked me to teach every other weeek from now on.
I asked about whether or not you've read the whole EV Free stament of faith because the last time we talked about eschatology you made ajoke about being Pan-mil and The EV Free Chuch is strongly Pre-mil. (Notice, Swindoll is president of DTS not Concordia) Are you going to be able to work in a denomination that is sostrongly pre-mil? When they ordain you will you be able to assent to their statement of faith without reservation? Also, will they accept you, seeing that you have no strongly held position?

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

Trinity Seminary is the seminary for the EVFree denomination, so it is the same statement of faith. That's actually a really good point about the statement on the Bible preceding the one on God. I'm sure they don't take it as #1 being more important than #2, etc, but it is an interesting observation.

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.
Jeff, does your church have a website? Do you want to ad it as a link?
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.
Jeff, thanks for the times on your party.

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?

Message: 14
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

Our party on the 13th is going to start at 6 Pm and will probably be over about 9 Pm. Oh, and Michelle Cooper is in town and will be coming also.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I came across this today. I'm glad the Patriarchate of Alexandria is rediscovering its missionary calling and not just trying to hold on. But they have a had a pretty rough 1500 years so I can't really rip on them too much. Actually, I'm not ripping on them at all. I'm just excited to see them on the advance and not just conducting a hold operation.

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

Oh, well. That would really be conjecture on my part. But It looks to me like excommunication. But maybe a little anathema trown in for good measure. (Looking at 2nd Corinthians makes it appear that anathematization is what took place.) These are not "bright-line" things. Bishops (in this case, Apostles) can use whatever wisdom God gives them to deal with the pastoral situation. The canons are not absolute law of the "break it and go to hell" variety. They are guidelines for pastors.

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

So which do you think would have happened to the man in 1 Cor 5? Public or private excommunication? Anathematization? it seems from the text that Paul is doing it for the man (given over to Satan for destruction of flesh) but there's also a sense in which it is done for the sake of the congregation in Corinth. THey were glorying in the fact that they could have such a man in their congregation.
My priest sent me this article. THought you might enjoy it. It mentions a bishop who has been deposed. I know he has not been anathematized. Not sure about excommunication.
Well, there are canons that deal with excommunication, but those are really the purvue of bishops. I don't spend a lot of time reading them. Not that they are not important. They are very important, they are for the ordering of the Church. My main concern is the ordering of my own soul.
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.
An aversion to mayonnaise????? Dude, we're brothers!!!!!!!!!! I can't stand the smell, texture or anything to do with it. Actually, there are two things I think it goes well in..one is tuna salad and the other is a turkey club sandwich. So what's the mayonnaise joke? (do I really want to know?)

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'
A few little things....

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.
Result: Yummy.

Monday, November 17, 2003

I haven't belonged to a wine club in a while. We're not drinking that much wine right now because Christa is still breatfeeding (well, technically, Caleb is...) But once she's done with that after the holidays, we might get back into one. We belonged to the one from K&L Wine in Redwood City. They were always pretty good.

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.
Jeff, I know you are in a wine club. Which one? This one? Do you like/dislike it? Why?
Yesterday was my Name Day. Cyndi bought me a biography of Ronald Reagan and we had sushi. Anslem liked it. It is still a couple of years before he can safely eat raw fish, but he really liked the california rolls and the cucumber rolls. He also liked the edamame and tempura vegetables.

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 think Chrystostom is loosely quoting Isaiah 58. The subject there is true fasting and isaiah wants to know why the peoplefast from food but nothing else changes in their lives as a result.

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

Well, Advent starts tonight. Here is what St. John Chrysostoom said about the fasting.

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
Super hyper busy today. But very quickly:

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.
Doesn't everyone have an Uncle Harry Powers somewhere in their history? It's like having an Aunt Gertrude-you're just not American without one.

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

Oh, I for got to give you a link to his sermons. Here it is.

I can't vouch for the translation, but 19th century Anglicans were generally, pretty good.
Well, the author you mention (but you didn’t give his name) is right about Pentecostals being into Acts & 1Cor. But to that I would add Samuel,Kings,Chronicals,Theaslonians. I think I heard more sermons from I & II Kings than any other books. The only time I remember hearing a sermon on Obadiah was 1983. The preacher was my uncle Harry Powers, a Pentecostal.

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.

So how do I select my passages for meditation? They kinda come out of what I am reading in Scripture or doing in my spiritual reading. It's somewhat subjective and based on what I God is pressing upon my heart at any given time.

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?

Today is the feast day of our father among the saints, John Chrysostom.
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

Oh my! I am having too much fun with the Lark News website. Look at what I found:

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)

Christian Kids rebel against Hollween Boycot

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.
How do you select your passages for medtation?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

My friend Andre was ordained a reader on Satudrday.

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.

You're so funny. Everything I say is personal.
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

I just did a whole post and my computer blew it out...

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!

Very very tired. The move was so hard. Had to hire a day laborer to help. I told Cyndi we are not moving again unless it is back to San Francisco.

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

Jeff, I should be in bed by now, but I was thinking about the advent fast that is comming up and "seeker churches". The seeker churches have forgotten - no, that isn't right - they have turned a deaf ear to Jesus' command "take up your cross and follow me". I realize that you might think Orthodox over do it, as far as asceticism is concerned, but when a person is received into the Orthodox Church, the first command they hear is that same command of our Lord's. And the priest then takes a cross out of the water of baptism and it is fastened around the persons neck as a lifelong reminder that we are to suffer with Christ. These little asceticism are nothing comapared to Jesus fast in the desert or John the Baptist's asceticism. But most of us are too weak to attempt something so strong. If I were to do a forty day fast with not food at all Satan would tempt me to think I was a spiritual giant, and I would fall. Baby steps. That is what most Orthodox do. Under the supervision of their pastor they might do more. But pride kills and the people allowed to do more are few. In Orthodox monasticism there are several grades of monks(novice, riasaphore, lesser schema, and great schema). The grades are like steps on a ladder. Each step requires greater discipline and love. (I don't know any of the details. I'm not a monk.) Few go beyond Riasaphore. Many never make it past novice. I have read accounts of monks who were given permission to take the greater schema and then were attacked by satan and fell because of pride.
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

They have another name like pyroghi or pershogi. I'm not sure how to say it. I was tol that I can just say "russian pastry" and everyone will know what I mean. But here is a recipe for them. They are out of this world. Also there is one woman who alwys bring cream cheese, dark rye bread, smoked salmon, and paper-thin sliced red onions. you just pile everthing on the bread, take a shot of vodka and chomp into it. It is really great stuff.

Well, we are nearly packed. Very tired. We still have to do the boys room. And the cleaning. And the actual moving.
That's a pretty good article. I especially like the baseball analogy. yes, i think most 'seeker' churches pretty much suck. CHrista had some friends who were clearly not believers but fit into the 'seeker' category. THey went to Saddleback for a couple of years, being not married and living together. I'd like to know what kind of church it is where you can go there for a couple of years while living in sin and not be convicted of that sin.

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.
Well, Thanksgiving Day is a God-Pleasing holiday so at my parish we celebrate the Eucharist (grk. for thanksgiving) and then have a huge feast. Cyndi is making the famous cranberry walnut pies again this year. There is always turkey, ham, russian pastires, sausage, lots of wine and vodka.

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.
Actually, I don't think Orthodox are not allowed to be vegan. I think we are required to eat meat on feast days, lest we give room to pride. No one is allowed to think they are better than anyone else.

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.
You said that you fast for MOST of the days between Nov 15 and Christmas. What days do you not and why not on those days?
I didn't know you had to be a vegan to be Orthodox
For Orthodox, Advent is a forty-day period of solemn fasting and preparation. It is not as intense as Great Lent, which preceeds Pascha, but is still ascetical in nature. Most days from November 15 through December 25 are free of meat and alcohol and dairy products. There are some exceptions. We eat nothing from the end of Vespers on December 24 until commuinon on December 25th.

I've seen Touchstone before...I can't remember where, maybe Barnes and Noble. Christa is going to be out of town from Dec 18-23. What about something then? WHat about Advent keeps you from going out???
I don't know if I'll have time before the 15th. That is the start of Advent. So it might have to wait until after Christmas.

Do you only blog at work? You have internet at home don't you?

Magazine recommendation: Touchstone Magazine
This is the first time I've been back in a couple of days...out seeing dealers in the field. Oh, it looks like Miss Sydney Carter is going to be just fine-thank God. No skin grafts needed.

So when do you want to go up wine-tasting, Martini-swilling and cigar-chomping again?
Islam is evil

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Well, this is a super busy day. Went to lunch with the CEO, CIO, and Customer Service Director. Big budget lunch: Hot dogs at Costco.

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

I heard about dance halls in Texas in the 1920s-1950s. They were big square barn like buildings with benches around the outside walls, a refreshment stand outside, and wood floors for dancing. They were the kinds of places whole families would go to on a Friday night. Square dances, circle dances, two steps. Warm nights, fiddles, and cold beer, the weak flavorless kind, Texans drink. Kids would run around outside, see adults interact with each other, run around between the dancing adults, fall asleep under the benches, learn to dance, hang out with adults. It sounds like such a great idea. I wish there were some way to bring that kind of thing back. But television is heroin that kills communities. Getting people out of their houses, away from "Survivor" and their video games is not easy. Square dancing takes effort. Teaching children to be social is difficult. Much easier to turn on TV in the parents room, turn on X-Box in the kids room, segregate communities by age, and get fat.
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.
I was looking at the calendar last night and saw that my name day is coming up (Sunday, Nov 16). I've never thought much about St. Matthew. In fact, when I wa a little kid I used to get him confused with St. Matthias. This being our first year of being Orthodox we haven't begun any nameday tradtions. Hopefully, next year we can do the full-on molieben thing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I don't know about the gin quote. I struggle with the whole quote thing. Most of the quotes I want to put up I can't, because of the whole professional image thing. But, I think it is okay, the gin quote, i mean. It depends on the person to whom you are sending it. I have a bad cold. (if you have a fever is it still a cold or has it become someting else? Plague, for instance.)
My computer blew up on me today...this is the first time it's been working.

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

I've been thinking about what you wrote for the past hour. I'll try to answer you tomorrow. Actually, I have written a 600 word reply and have saved it in a Word document, but I'm not sure that it will be useful to our discussion. I might scrap it and start over tomorrow night.
Well let me ask you this...what can I do to be more responsive to you? One thing would like from you is is to know that I am actually talking to Matt. Too often I feel as if I am talking to an official spokesman for the church. Does that make sense??
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?
Well, where do we go from here? I do not think anything in opposition to the teaching of church. If I did, I wouldn't have become orthodox. So when you ask what I think on a topic, of course, you are going to hear get a response from that is my best understanding of the church's teaching. I can't apologize for that. And I won't apologize for being thorough, either. It does no good to be vague. But I am tired of doing all the heavy lifting in our conversation. You keep bringing up new topics before we even reach a conclusion to the first. At least, say to me "I agree with you" or "I don't agree with you and here is why...". Is that too much to ask for?
So I'm a bit frustrated too. I'm hoping that we can have discussion where things can be tossed back and forth in a paragraph or two. That's what I'm looking for. i don't want to have a long, drawn-out theological discussion...I want to have a conversation with a friend. And when I see something that comes back and its three pages long, I just don't want to deal with it.

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) Sometimes I feel as if I'm not having a conversation but rather am reading a theological textbook.
You can't just say something like that and then disappear! You have no idea how frustrating that is for me. I feel like I give you very detailed and thoughtful anwers and you just thow something vague, inexact, and poorly formed at me. You have to give me more information before I can respond. What, exactly, do you think is supposed to happen and what are the deficiencies in you see in Orthodoxy?
Jeff, Cydi looked at the blog and said I should direct you to the Community Supported Agriculture website, since Two Small Farms does not serve your area. Two Small Farms is a CSA.
So, what did you think of the answers I gave to your questions?
1. Primary vs. Seconday Sources
2. What the Orthodox consider normative

I ask because it seems as if your conception of the church is much more of an organization than a group of people. I hear a lot about liturgy, vigils, feasts, etc. which all seem to come from an organizational identity. But I hear very little about people. I see you have a liturgy where you do the virtually the same thing week in and week out, but very little about the work of God on the people. Oh, gotta go...
Great deja vu on the radio today.. Coming back from lunch, KFOG was playing The Clash's 'London Calling'. Great Jr High memories
Click here to learn how to make a link.

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?

No, i don't know how to put links into the text. Edumicate me.
Just a quick followup question. Do you consider the church to be primarily an organization or people?
The longest post I made this weekend only took 1/2 an hour. But you asked some serious questions so I gave you serious answers. Do you expect less? I don't.

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.

Did you have anything else to do this weekend except write on this blog??????

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

Jeff, look who's going to be at Bimbo's:

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.

You need to listen to this. It is an episode of This American Life from WBEZ in Chicago. You have to sit through some yucky stuff but the very last segment is a story about Johnny Cash and June Carter and the Ring of Fire.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Jeff, On Friday the 31st of October, you asked why the Orthodox Church treats the writings of the Saints, such as St. Ignatius as Normative.

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.

If you read the crostini recipe aloud with an Indian accent, and say "Oh! it tastes so magical!" after every third ingredient it is a lot of fun. Try it.
I found this in the October 2003 issue of First Things Magazine:

"“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.

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