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Who is Jesus, Anyway?

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Written by Basil on 05/18/2003 9:20 PM. Filed under:


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This quote, on Dmitri’s blog, is the perspective of most modern Christians:

What’s problematic with any Christian religion is when that denomenation or sect believe that their faith is superior to others. The very fact that you would even toy with the idea that your friends and loved-ones, whom you’ve known your entire lives, are living the life of heretics is truly upsetting.

Which is essentially this position:

What’s problematic with any …religion is when [they] believe that their faith is superior to others. The very fact that you would even toy with the idea that your friends and loved-ones, whom you’ve known your entire lives, are living the life of heretics is truly upsetting.

Modern Christians typically believe this because,

The schisms of the church have been around since the time of the 1st Apostles.

True enough. The first controversy arose over circumcision. Further on, Gnostics and Docetists denied the Incarnation.

Paul had to call out Peter on some things . . . I don’t understand why we can’t just believe in one thing and realize that everything else is tertiary.

Indeed, there was much controversy in the first century church. However, the controversy between Peter and Paul over the Gentiles did not divide them. They remained in communion with one another in the church.

Which one thing is it that we believe? That God is One? That God is a Trinity? That Jesus is the Son of God? That Jesus is God? That the Holy Spirit is God? That the Church is the body of Christ? That the Eucharist is Christ’s body and blood truly present to us? That Mary bore God in her womb and is therefore Theotokos and Mater Theou? That images of Christ and his saints are a necessary part of Christian worship?

These are all one thing for the Orthodox. Is that the one thing that we hold in common? Even to agree on all of those statements, what does it mean to say that Jesus is the Son of God? Is the Word of God uncreated or created at a point in time? It is never about “one thing.”

Long before I was Orthodox, I had many arguments with my classmates about whether these things were important or not. My point, and the point of traditional Christianity, is that the councils of the Church are necessary to give us that “core” that so many Christians, who have forgotten what it means to hold “the faith of our fathers,” take for granted.

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45 Responses to “Who is Jesus, Anyway?”

  1. James Says:

    This is a response to what Basil is responding to more than to what he’s saying.

    The problem I have is the “everything else is tertiary” comment. Who decides what is first place and what isn’t? Christianity isn’t supposed to be about me and my KJV or NIV Bible figuring it all out on my own terms. St. Paul himself asks if the Word of God came by the people who disagreed with him (and the answer was no).

    It seems to me that non-Orthodox are very happy to designate our doctrines as open to debate, but question their beliefs and they’re ready to fight. The thing I like about Orthodoxy is that the whole faith doesn’t change based on the personal opinions of the minister in charge.

    I don’t say this stuff to be offensive, but it truly bothers me when people say I should be compromising with that kind of, “Don’t you get it!?!?!?” kind of question.

    So, what is tertiary? The Divinity of Christ? The Virgin Birth? The bodily resurrection of Christ? The presence of Christ in the Eucharist? A very popular statement that the Roman Catholics use is, “Ours is not a salad bar faith. You don’t get to choose what you want and leave other things.” Yes we certainly do believe in “one thing,” which is the whole faith of Christ’s one Church, but I don’t know what you would call “tertiary.”

  2. pete Says:

    “It seems to me that non-Orthodox are very happy to designate our doctrines as open to debate, but question their beliefs and they’re ready to fight.”

    That’s a rather broad claim, don’t you think?

  3. James Says:

    Pete, “it seems to me” is my statement that “in my opinion …” If my opinion was that all non-Orthodox wear green on Tuesdays it would be exactly that: my opinion. It has been my experience that … Of course, I’m responding to a statement that is exactly what I’m saying. A statement that “everything else” is open to debate.

    In other words, the statement I’m responding to is a non-Orthodox wearing green on a Tuesday.

  4. Chris J. Davis Says:

    Wow James. I really couldn’t follow any of that last comment. And I think I agree with his intent Petey-boy, that to him it would seem that way. Unfortunately in our travels (some long, some short) we American Orthodox have found this feeling to be prevelant in the Protestant world, like it or not.

    And I think that it is safe to say that his statement isn’t blanket as much as true, since the protestant faith is based on rejection and in some cases reform of Classical Christianity, that which we hold dear.

  5. pete Says:

    of course, i understand that it’s your opinion, and i’m not suggesting that you’re not entitled to it—think whatever you want. i’m just suggesting that your statement is perhaps a great deal broader than the evidence warrants. certainly there are protestants who respond to challenges to their faith with hostility, but there are also protestants who do not respond that way. By opining that non-Orthodox (all non-Orthodox, the statement implies) behave in X way, all persons holding to non-Orthodox traditions are reduced to the same category of behavior. That’s not especially fair, and it’s not accurate, either. In addition, it suggests that Orthodox (all Orthodox, by the same means of reduction) do not respond with such hostility—once again, not fair, and not accurate.

  6. James Says:

    Chris, if you had eaten your magic mushrooms this morning like you were supposed to have you wouldn’t have any trouble reading that comment. 😉

    Just kidding. We don’t eat magic shrooms. On a more serious note, I guess I need to figure out a way to express the pain I feel, which is a result of my past religious experiences, in a way that doesn’t seem judgmental. I just get upset when I see people, like my parents specifically, who would really benefit from the tools that Orthdoxy gives, but who have been taught to reject them by their parents and others. Is that your fault Pete? No, of course not; it has nothing to do with you. So, does making you feel judged help? I doubt it. I’m sorry if that’s how it made you feel.

  7. James Says:

    Pete, I am very sorry if I offended you. I do believe that you read more into what I said than was there, but perhaps I should have been more careful how I worded it. The statement that Basil and I were commenting on expressed a certain tendency that I believe is not conducive to true ecumenical discussion. That’s the issue I want to talk about.

  8. Pete Says:

    James, I appreciate what you have to say, and I am not offended. I believe that the Orthodox tradition offers a great deal of corrective, particularly to Americanized Christian faith (not naming denominations or traditions on purpose here, because I suspect that America has influenced most [if not all] religious traditions far more than it ought.) Thanks for the discussion.

  9. Pete Says:

    and don’t call me petey-boy.

  10. James Says:

    “Petey-boy”?

    I just though that was something you and Chris had worked out.

  11. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    I certainly don’t want to get into a semantical argument. However, what I meant by ‘believing in one thing’ was that, for instance, I am a Christian.

    (Note: since there will be a few of you who misinterpret what I just said, allow me to clarify. I am NOT categorizing or some how attempting to differenciate between traditional Evangelical Protestantism and Orthodoxy. Nor am I attempting to categorize one or the other as ‘right or wrong’.)

    With that said, allow me to continue.

    I am a Christian, which in it’s most basic definition means, I am a ‘follower of Christ’. Taken a step further, it could also be said that I am a ‘friend to sinners’.

    I certainly don’t want to cause any ‘flare-ups’, but I did answer your question, which you seemed to have conveniently left out of your blog entry.

    Bottom-line, what makes us all Christians is that we believe in the ‘core’ of the Christian faith.

    What is that ‘core’? I’ll repeat what I originally said:

    ‘Christ took the form of man, lived the life of a man, was wholly man and wholly God, died on a cross for our sins and was raised three days later after defeating death and now sits on the right hand of God the Father.’

    But let’s go a step further. Even that ‘core’ idea is simply a defining factor that separates true Christianity from the ‘back-biting’ and ‘in-house fighting’ that seems to plague the Church today. What is that defining factor? It’s ‘love’. Pure and simple. ‘Love’ is what defines and separates our faith from all the other religions of the world. (In regards to the ‘in-house’ fighting, I realize that I may be generalizing.)

    As Christians, we are supposed to love our fellow man, and ‘do good to those who hurt and despise you’. (Before anyone jumps on me, I’m not saying that we’re suppose to love sin. It clearly states that we’re to ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’.)

    Do I have problems with the Orthodox faith? Absolutely. Do I know enough about it? Absolutely not. Is it fair for me to judge Orthodoxy based upon the few that I’ve met? Not if I’m open-minded. Nor is it fair for you to make judgements of people that are trying to ‘make it’ and ‘find their way’, just as you are.

    Before you retaliate and say that in my orginal post, I did attack the Orthodox religion, I suggest that you reread what I wrote. You’ll see that I summarized by saying that if everything I said about Orthodox Christians and Orthodox religion was true, then I would be no better than the very people I was referring to.

    There were many comments to my post: James, Chris, and Sockmonk, just to name a few.

    I guess my problem though, was that I listened to everyone ‘blast’ evangelicalism (and yes, you have to admit, you did blast it) and then tout Orthodoxy as the ‘victim’ of a misunderstanding society and yet, you turned right around and did to them (Evangelicals), exactly what you criticized them of doing in the first place! How hypocritical!

    And the biggest problem of all, is that if you truly do believe in Orthodoxy, as you say you do, then you just broke the greatest commandment, which is to love.

    You’re absolutely right, the early church/Peter and Paul did stay in fellowship, but look at the church now!

    It’s broken. And continuing to fuel the fire of judgementalism, mistrust and misunderstanding isn’t going to resolve anything.

    If you all are so upset about the bookstore and their lack of Orthodox related material, then write to the owner of the store. Write to the president of the company. Get some petitions signed. Set up a meeting and show them that they’re missing out on a key demographic. If nothing else, appeal to their pocketbooks. Prove to them that Orthodoxy isn’t just a ‘fringe group’ thing. Show them that there really are a large number of you out there.

    But don’t just go home and complain about it on your websites. That solves nothing. And case in point, wastes more time than anything else.

    Are their some wacked-out Evangelicals? Absolutely. Has the Evangelical movement lost touch? Yes. But I have a hard time believing that Orthodoxy is any better. Though the Church is, or rather, will be Christ’s Bride, in it’s earthly form, it’s still an institution run and governed by fallen man and God is still working to ready it and us for eternity.

  12. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Also, what you deem as ‘traditional Christianity’ is what I define as man’s follied attempts to understand, ‘bottle’, define and package God.

    The ‘traditional church’ was a gathering of the followers of Christ. The earliest (other than the travels of Jesus and His disciples), would probably be the Passover meal that Christ had with His disciples.

    They gathered together and He told them to have communion ‘in remembrance of me.’

    I don’t recall any mention of Theotokos, Mater Theou or the worship of saints. Though I suppose I could have jumped over a few chapters . . .

    All the various denominations, all the different ‘traditions’ that we’ve tacked on over the years and all of the theological arguments that have developed are simply man’s flawed attempt to understand and rationalize God.

    I’m sorry, but it’s ludicrous to think that we, with our finite minds, will ever, truly know God until we stand before Him.

    Faith, true faith, is by its very nature, the absence of reason. It’s the complete acceptance of something, even when there’s no direct evidence, reason or compulson to do so. That’s why true faith, is such a dangerous thing. It gives an ordinary man the strength and courage to strap bombs to his chest and blow up a bus. Fanatic, yes. But he had true conviction and faith.

    Faith is unfettered . . . faith . . . is . . . well it’s faith.

  13. Karl Thienes Says:

    Mr. H.B.G.,

    Forgive the long post—
    You are right, of course—love is the foundation of our faith. You also rightly point out that the Orthodox do tend to “beat the world with a stick” from time to time. A few points from your comments struck me:

    1) It should be noted that even if comments were made that were not worded nicely, or even lovingly, we still need to ask ourselves “Is it true?” Love, by itself, without unity and truth is worthless. It is a mockery of the true Love who hopes that “all will come to the knowledge of the truth.” Much of what Orthodox people say about Protestantism is hard to refute, even if the way in which it is said comes across as unduly critical and nasty.

    2) You wrote, “the early church/Peter and Paul did stay in fellowship, but look at the church now!”
    When the Orthodox say “church” they mean the 2000 year undivided, unified, Church that has stood the test of time teaching and practicing the Apostolic Faith. There is unity in Orthodoxy that goes well beyond what mere humans could maintain. Of course, the rest of Christendom is very fractured. I think this may be what you see…we see it too. But *all* of this “Christianity” can’t be The Church. (St. Paul had very nasty things to say about those who believed, practiced, taught and were a part of “Christian” groups that were not organically connected in fullness to the original Church (Gal 1:9) We need to take those warnings seriously….

    3) You wrote, “what you deem as ‘traditional Christianity’ is what I define as man’s follied attempts to understand, ‘bottle’, define and package God.” Again, we have very different definitions of the word “tradition.” I would agree totally with this statement if you were referring to western theology which has been totally taken out of the context of the Church’s life, spiritual teachings, and experience of God in prayer etc. Many non-Christians claim that ALL of what has been revealed about God (like the Bible) is just a way of “packaging” and bottling God. “God is whoever or whatever *I* think he is for me,” they say…without a unified 2000 year old Church how could you argue with them?

    4) You are right—most denominations are the “works of men.” That is why we have to wonder if Jesus was lying when he said he would preserve his Body(!) intact, full and unified until the close of the age….how can the Body of Christ (Eph 1:23) be “broken” as you said? Can Christ be broken?

    5) You wrote, “I’m sorry, but it’s ludicrous to think that we, with our finite minds, will ever, truly know God until we stand before Him.” This is something the Orthodox would never say! Apophatic theology is the foundation of how we understand the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ. It is the Scholastic theology of the west that has made people think that we “can know God” through sheer intellectual activity. The Orthodox would agree with you here!

    6) You wrote, “Faith, true faith, is by its very nature, the absence of reason.” Actually faith is the *transcendence” of reason, not the removal of it. Reason plays an important role, but truth faith must go *though* it, not around it.

    7) Just a point of clarification: we don’t “worship” saints, anymore than you “worship” a friend who you ask to pray for you. We honor the saints because God honors them. And we ask them to pray for us, because we know “the prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5) Early church history shows us conclusively that liturgical worship, sacraments, veneration of the martyrs, a hierarchy of bishops and priests…all of these and many other things most think are “the additions of men” are not. Just because something isn’t written in Scripture doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Have you gone to Sunday school, used an organ in church, said the word “Trinity?” etc…? I missed the chapter and verse that lists these out!

    The Orthodox may be a bit hot-headed at times. For that, you may have to forgive us when we go off the deep end. We offer you the same. I pray that we all may love more fully, so that all may unified, both in love and in truth.

  14. James Says:

    Everyone, apparently my comments have had no positive effects here, so I want to say I am sorry to everyone, especially Mr. Hibbity Gibbity. Mr. HG, if I have offended you then I am very sorry. If I have made you think that all Orthodox Christians are hot-headed judgmental hypocrits, then I have done wrong. I have sinned, even.

    Mr. HG, you and I have very different ideas about God, the Church, Scripture, and so on, but me just blasting those things doesn’t help. I have had bad experiences with “Protestants” (a term that is losing it’s relevance I’m afraid), but then again I hit a parked car once and was told not to worry about it by the Protestant owner. He said the damage done had been done by someone else, but the average person would have at least been tempted to take me for a ride.

    My point is that to me there isn’t a bare minimum of beliefs that make a bunch of other things unimportant because these things related to who I am and who God is, but you not agreeing with me doesn’t give me the right to hurt you or offend you. Now I’m beginning to understand why a certain person I know isn’t fond of computers, but that’s another story. You and I disagree Mr. HG, but Lord willing we can come to some kind of agreement. You say you’re a friend of sinners? Well, good because that is exactly what I am; a sinner that is.

  15. Simeon Says:

    Wow, ruff, ruff, grr, grr.
    Can’t we all get along?
    or,
    We all get to cant along!
    La, la, la-la.

    Be honest, I don’t know. Our country is one that everyone has an opinion and that is opinion is one which is truth in the minds of each of its bearer.
    I have come to the conclusion that the truth, when explored, is complicated and takes a lifetime. I am going to just do the prayers at church, and concentrate on these, too much begs my attention.

    I am going home now, my brain hurts.

  16. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Howdy all.

    First of all, James . . . I’m not mad at you. I just want to understand. That’s all.

    Second, I think that some may still have mistaken my post as being ‘hot-headed’ which it was not intended to be. Yes, the original post, over at Sillyness, was hot-headed and somewhat misguided.

    Third, thank you Mr. Thienes for your response. It is clear to me that you are well-versed in the Orthodox faith and as such, I have no authority to challenge or question you.

    Also, thank you for providing me with that elusive word ‘transcendence’. It was the perfect word to use in my attempt to define faith. At the time, it just elluded me.

    Also, pertaining to the ‘worship of saints’, again, I am not at all well-versed in the Orthodoxy, but I was just repeating what Basil stated in his original post.

    There. Now that that’s all cleared up . . . let’s go beat up the Mormons. Better yet . . . I’ve always wanted to knock on a Jehovah’s Witness’s door. : )

  17. James Says:

    Knock on a JW’s door? That would be funny, eh?

  18. Bishop Says:

    MHG,
    Thank you for your comments and your journey. Most of us have been there at one point or another. And it is the pain that we have experienced on that journey that makes us speak out the way we do sometimes.

    The only thing that I would like to draw your attention to here is that Basil was not saying that we Worship Saints, he said that the Saints are a necessary part of worship.

    I know that this concept is difficult to wrap one’s brain around, it was for me for a long, long time. However, we believe that when we pray, we pray with the entire Church, past, present and future. Eternal life means that those that have gone before us are still living, and we treat them as such. This then alows us to pray *with* the saints and ask them to pray for us the same way we would ask our Priest to pray for us.

    Continue to ask questions and push for good answers. Too many times we get complacent about how we talk about this stuff and need to be reminded not to presume anothers level of understanding.

    Peace to you on your journey.

  19. basil Says:

    The concept of a core is foreign to the faith of the Apostles. Our relationship to Christ in the Church is likened by St. Paul to a marriage. Asking what is the least common denominator of the faith is like asking one’s spouse or fiancé, “What is the least that I can do and still be married?” The Christian faith of the Apostles is a maximal faith. Just as Romeo and Juliet do not ask about the least they can do to be in love, the faithful who accept the “faith once for all delivered unto the saints” (St.Jude) do not ask, “What’s the least we can do and still be called Christians?”

    The very task of finding the least common denominator faith is becoming increasingly impossible, as more interlocutors such as Marcus Borg and John Shelby Spong attempt to strip Christianity of any real meaning or relevance.

  20. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    That may be so. I’m not attempting to strip it of it’s relevancy.

    In fact, in my original post, I never really questioned Orthodoxy at all. I was simply questioning the handling of and subsequent response to, the bookstore situation that Dimitri originally blogged about.

    You’ve all jumped to the cause of defending Orthodoxy and I think that’s fantastic! I would too! But ultimately, that was never my point. Unfortunately, on this blog, I too lost my focus and stumbled into the quagmire of Evangelical and Orthodoxic doctrine.

    My mistake.

    However, I still believe that there is a fundamental belief, or ‘core’ to all of Christiandom. You can add whatever you like, but regardless, so long as you believe in that ‘core’, then you still fall into line with countless billions, regardless of your ‘title’.

    You’re correct. We shouldn’t engage Christianity with a ‘how little must I do to get by’ attitude.

    I was simply saying that if you were to ‘strip away’ everything that I would call ‘extras’, the ‘core’ of the Orthodox faith, would be a belief in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished. Afterall, without that faith, without that firm foundation, all of your other practices would be for naught.

    However, I would never expect you to admit to this, since everything that I see as superfluous you deem as essential to your understanding of the ‘core’.

    So until we stand before God the Father and He explains it to us, I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    But again . . . the discussion was never about Orthodoxy . . . it was how some people handled the situation.

    Good discussion.

  21. Karl Thienes Says:

    Mr. HBG,

    I agree-Good discussion!

    Here is something to consider: C.S Lewis was wrong–“mere” Christianity is “no” Christianity, or at least becomes so quickly.

    Having a “core” set of beliefs, or even a creedal statement of faith doesn’t mean much without a proper hermeneutic.

    If someone were to ask for a “core” statement of the Orthodox faith, we might point them to the Nicene Creed. However, almost instantly the question would come up: “What do you *mean* by this….” Hence the need for a context, a tradition, a hermeneutic…dare I say, a Church! :)

    You wrote: “I was simply saying that if you were to ‘strip away’ everything that I would call ‘extras’, the ‘core’ of the Orthodox faith, would be a belief in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished.”

    But that is just the issue! We consider the Church to be the primary reality Jesus “accomplished” and established! That the rest of Christendom refuses to accept this makes unification under any other set of “core” beliefs or practices pointless, from our POV.

    Even with the core you outlined earlier problems crop up quickly. You wrote, “Christ took the form of man, lived the life of a man, was wholly man and wholly God, died on a cross for our sins and was raised three days later after defeating death and now sits on the right hand of God the Father.”

    You don’t need to answer these questions, but they are examples of how a seemingly all sufficient core suddenly needs a little more help when confronted from the outside:
    What does it mean to “be a man?” When you say “wholly man and “wholly God” was he both at the same time? If so, how? If not, why not? When you say he “died for our sins” do mean for everyone or just the “elect?” What are the implications of “defeating death?”

    I could go on, but my point here is if Jesus Christ is the Truth, then there is no such thing as “extra” truths, or truth that is “core” and connecting truth that is “tacked on”…As St. Jude says, “the fullness of the faith was delivered once to the saints.” (Jude 3).

    Those who wish to say that if we could just acknowledge our shared “core” we could bridge the gaps between use don’t understand something key. This is that their “core” has an origin: and that origin is The Church; the same Church where the Bible was written and canonized, where the proper hermeneutic is found, where the fullness of the faith is, and where all Truth is found, because it is the very Body of Him who is The Truth.

  22. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Alrighty. Well first, I hope you don’t think I’m being antagonistic, but I’m going to keep ‘poking’ you until one of us relents.

    However, since that won’t happen, I’ll probably quit; especially once grey matter begins to ooze from my ear.

    You’re correct. I could offer a rebuttal to the questions you raised, but I’m not going to. Afterall, isn’t that what I’m trying to strive against?

    So I’ll strip my statement down even further.

    Jesus Christ, was the Son of God and out of love for humanity and because He was found to be without blemish, He offered up His life as the ultimate sacrificial lamb.

    Is that not THE ‘core’ belief of all true Christianity?

    Also, before Christ’s life and eventual death; before the action that He took, there was no Church as you describe it.

    I guess I just don’t understand . . . Christ never made mention of all the things that the Orthodox Church seems to put an emphasis on.

    The Church, although brought about by the Holy Spirit, didn’t exist until the Pentacost.

    You asked me before if I had ever used an organ in church, gone to Sunday school or used the word ‘Trinity’. I have and you are correct, those aren’t mentioned specifically in the Bible.

    That’s why I don’t consider myself to be a typical evangelical protestant. If anything, I am a non-demonational . . . Christian. Plan and simple. I attempt to follow the teachings of Christ.

    Yes, I go to church. Thankfully, they don’t use an organ, but they do use a band. Whether it’s an organ or not is of little difference. We’re supposed to praise Him. It doesn’t matter how.

    Sunday school isn’t obligatory. And as for ‘Trinity’, you’re correct, it isn’t mentioned specifically, but the Bible does mention Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I’m digressing.

    You said (loosely) that the Church is where we turn for guidance, for understanding and ultimate knowledge of our faith, and that ‘the Bible was written and canonized [there].’

    However, the Bible is a written record of God’s interaction with humanity. It was written by man, but was divinely inspired by God, Himself.

    Did the Bible, or rather, the Word of God, need man in order to exist? No. It existed because John 1:1-2 ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.’

    Our origin was not in the Church. Our origin was in God. The Church was created as a direct result of Christ’s sacrifice and the infusion of the Holy Spirit into men’s lives. The Church is anywhere ‘two or more are gathered in my name.’

    However, if you’re referring to the Church as the provider of Doctrine and guidelines, then ok. Though it must still be mentioned that those doctrines and guidelines are still man made and therefore still fallible.

    The Church, in my opinion, wasn’t supposed to be any specific, recognizable organization. It was simply a metaphor for the Christian community in the world. The Church as we know it today and the one in your defintion (as I understand it) is the Church, as created by man.

    Again, I don’t want to argue on this. A very real fear is that we’re just going to go around and around. Something that I won’t do.

    I thank you for your insights, which have helped me to ‘shake off’ some of my complacency and helped to reinforce why I believe the way I do.

  23. Karl Thienes Says:

    Mr HBG,

    I certainly don’t want to “go round and round” if that is what it turns into…feel free to “keep pokin'” as long as you want. Feel free to email me privately, if you want. Where the discussion goes I leave in your hands. You’ve raised some great points and questions…

    Just a few things:

    1) It doesn’t seem you’ve really answered my main point. And that is that you can’t have a “core” without that which gave birth to that core. In other words, your new core has words like “sacrificial lamb” and “without blemish.” These phrases didn’t just come out of nowhere. You took them from the Bible. And the Bible came from somewhere…And all of the sudden we’re back to the Church.

    My point was that everything you believe as a “non-denom” Christian came from somewhere. And that “somewhere” is The Church which Jesus founded (not the ones man has created since. In fact, even a “non-denominational” church is a denomination! Your present church community has a history. It’s beliefs, models of worship, doctrines etc all came from somewhere….

    2) *Every* group that even nominally calls themselves “Christian” would probably agree with your core. How can we tell heresy from truth if all that matters is the core? Shouldn’t there be more to Christianity than “Jesus died for your sins”?

    3) You wrote “Christ never made mention…” Check out John 21:25. Jesus did a lot that the Bible doesn’t contain. Why? Because the Bible was not meant to be the foundation of truth. (Although everything in it is true) In fact, the Bible makes it clear that it is the Church which is, as St. Paul writes, “the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15)

    4) Jesus Christ is the Word, the Logos of God, not the Bible. John 1 is *not* a historical account of the biblical text–it is a reference to the divinity of Jesus! The Bible didn’t exist from all eternity with the Father..Jesus did! The Bible is simply the written account of the Tradition of the Church.

    5) Modern day churches *are* the creation of man. But Jesus established one church (Matt. 16:18) which remains to this day as He promised it would. The Church, being the Body of Christ is both a visible, incarnated physical group as well as the Body of Christ himself. It can never be broken or splintered. And it can never be a nebulous “spiritual” entity. Thus, the many “churches” in the world could not possibly comprise the Church because they all teach contradictory things about every single aspect of Christianity.

    6) Here are some question to mull over:

    Since Jesus is the very embodiment of Truth, how can groups who disagree on the very nature of salvation, who God is, how to worship, etc fulfill the prayer of Jesus in John 17? Did that prayer go unanswered? Or has God preserved his Church throughout the centuries intact?

    How can we fully understand and participate in the Christian life if we are not in communion with all of the saints who have gone before us (Heb 11:40-12:1)?

    How could we call ourselves fully united to Christ, if we are totally disunited from all of the Church Fathers and saints both in practice and in belief, something St. Paul explicitly warns against? (2 Thess. 2:15, Gal 1:9 etc).

    How can we trust the Holy Sprit in our lives, if we don’t believe the Holy Sprit would preserve the fullness of the Christ’s Body from the days of Pentecost unto ages of ages (John 16:13, Matt. 16:18) just as Jesus had promised his disciples? (John 17)? Might this unbelief in the Church be the very thing St. Paul warns us against when he says “do not grieve the Holy Spirit?” (Eph 4:30)

    Things to think about…

  24. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    As Katie, over at SoJoyful would say . . . ‘blarg!’

    And as the grey matter oozes from my ears . . . touche!

    Karl, I’m taking a break. You’ve raised some good points, though I feel like you’re contradicting yourself in at least one of them.

    It would appear that Orthodoxy is an extremely cerebral faith.

    However, I do prefer to have the ‘faith of a child’ in some aspects. Though questioning can be useful, too much questioning can lead to apparent ‘answers’ for everything.

    Though I am tired of this topic for the moment . . . I will be back in a few days to tackle it anew.

  25. Karl Thienes Says:

    LOL! Blarg..I like it. Once again, Katie strikes again :)

    I am curious to find out where you see a contradiction… :)

    Actually, Orthodoxy is a very experiential faith, full of mystery and questions! It is the Catholics who have the true “cerebral” faith. The Eastern church leaves a lot of things to “simple faith”…

    (Although, St. Paul warns us not to prefer the faith of child in matter of doctrine and truth…check out 1 Cor. 13:11)

    I may seem cerebral because I have read and studied a lot. (I am 26 yrs old, btw). Thus I may come across as an “intellectual”…most Orthodox are not.

    You’ll find that Orthodoxy has more questions than answers…it just happens to have the answers for most of what plagues modern Christendom and that is the only side of us you see! We moderns tend to think we need to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to Christianity…a thorough look at the history of the Orthodox Church puts all of that needless work to rest. Then the *real* work begins….

    I will collect my grey matter and wait for your response! (Too bad we couldn’t sit down over a beer to have this discussion!)

  26. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Actually . . . you know what? I’m not going to comment anymore.

    I had a really nice rebutal, but I deleted it.

    I did read the passages that you suggested. I suppose I just read them differently.

    Again, this discussion was not originally intended to be based on theology or doctrine, but more on the underlying principles of Christianity in general.

    I’m not getting into a semantical discussion about this.

    I look at the current church like this. Imagine the church as a piece of wood. The wood splinters and hundreds of pieces embed themselves into flesh (the World). Over time, the splinters pick up things from this new environment (pus and infection). Are these new elements part of the original piece of wood? No. Are the splinters, by themselves functional? Yes. Are they a whollistic representation of the entire piece of wood? No. They offer only fragments of a greater design. Only when drawn out, cleaned off of the extra doctrines (pus) and then brought back together, can the church ever be the complete and entirely functioning tool that it was meant to be.

    If the Orthodox faith believes that it truly is a whollistic and completely accurate representation of the ‘original piece of wood’, then I think that’s unfortunate and untrue. I believe that you are simply one piece of a larger whole.

    Just as Evangelical Protestantism is a piece of a larger whole.

    I believe that we all have our unique gifts and only when we are truly cleaned up and put back together will we ever realize the full potential of those gifts.

    God has maintained his Church . . . Christianity does still exist. That’s all I took from that passage that you led me too.

    However, that doesn’t mean that He won’t allow man’s folly to destroy the physical unity.

    However, the spiritual unity will always exist.

    Again, the Church is a metaphor for the entire world of believers, i.e. the Body of Christ.

    Unfortunately, over the centuries, the physical church began to take on a definitive shape, as Christians began to loose touch with the fact that THEY were already part of the church. The church was and is all of Christendom.

    Do we need a hermeanutic? Sure. But shouldn’t our hermeanutic be taken from the life of Christ, instead of creating a set list of rules and doctrines and law codes?

    Blah. I’m done. I could expound indefinitely, but I won’t.

    Indeed, we are beginning to go ‘around and around’. I believe that we are saying many similar things, just in very different manners.

    Anyway. Good discussion and I will read whatever you post as a follow-up to this. However, I won’t respond any more to this topic. We need to move on.

  27. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Mmmmmm, beer. Just read your previous post. It is unfortunate that we can’t discuss this over a beer.

    Not that beer would help clarify things. No, instead we’d just end up singing out favorite hymns . . . thereby perpetuating yet another stereotype (at least for me) – a drunken Irishmen, singing.

    Either that, or our discussion would end up with us screaming, “Oh yeah? Well my God can beat up your God!” (I love that line.)

    But hey, I’ll be down in the Lexington, Kentucky area in a few weeks. If you happen to be in the area, let me know. I know of a great Irish pub . . . actually . . . I can’t remember the name of it anymore. Anyway, nice place.

    The contradiction was in point number one. It seems like very loose circular reasoning to me . . . but again . . . I’m tired of analyzing it at the moment.

    Yeah, I guess I just assumed that Catholics just took their faith for granted. It seems to me to be a religion based more on repentance and ‘going through the motions’ than anything else.

    I agree with Kevin Smith when one of the characters in his movie Dogma said, “Catholics don’t celebrate their faith, they mourn it.”

    Catholicism seems to be shrouded in death. It’s not the living, breathing Christianity that I want to be part of. I don’t want to memorize liturgical canons or archaic litany.

    I want to shout and praise the living Christ! The God-man that died for my sins!

    Sadly though, I realize that Evangelicalsim is quickly falling into the definition that I used to describe the Catholic church.

    Maybe I need to sit in on an Orthodox sermon. Just check it out and see if my preconceived notions are accurate or based on a biased viewpoint.

    I’m at least willing to check it out.

    There’s got to be something better than people singing in monotone: “I want to know you . . . I want to love you more, I want to know you Lord . . . “

    All that makes me think is, “Geez, I sure don’t want to know the God that they’re worshiping. He must be a billion years old and ready to keel over. They must be afraid of waking Him up and giving Him a heart attack. That’s why they’re singing like that.” : (

    Oh well.

  28. Karl Thienes Says:

    Mr. HBG,

    Well, I hope I haven’t caused you offense. Your tone seems a little defensive and agitated..but perhaps I am reading into it? (This is why we needed beer…and face-to-face discussion!)

    I suppose this will be my last response as well. Perhaps we can continue the discussion at some point in the future….

    You wanted to focus more on “underlying principles of general Christianity”…but this vague notion without solid, patristic, historical, unified theology and doctrine is meaningless. It may inspire good thoughts, or even moral behavior but it does not give us the ability to live the life of *fullness* that God has for us.

    This fullness should include things like doctrine…why assume “life in Christ” wouldn’t? Especially if doctrine is nothing more than the truth about reality? (That’s all doctrine is you know!)

    I like your wood analogy.
    However, what if God preserved the original piece of wood in all of its splendor, and wholeness? Jesus promised that his Church would never be broken–so we take that promise seriously. The Orthodox are not a “representation” of the original piece of wood–we *are* the original piece of wood that everyone else has broken away from! Why assume that the original has been lost or destroyed? Where is the evidence for that claim?

    It’s worth noting that from the day of Pentecost the Bible never speaks of Christians who were not a part of the one Church! In later generations, early Christians experienced schisms, and argued over who was the true Church; but they never lost the belief that there was an identifiable, visible body that was the fullness of the original church.

    You may feel this is triumphalistic, but you won’t find a single Christian writer before the year 1500AD who would agree with you. I challenge you to think about that….

    You may not like the fact that the Orthodox Church claims to have kept the fullness of the Apostles teachings, the fullness of the early church’s worship and the unity of the Church that Jesus promised–but it is a historical, scriptural, liturgical and sacramental fact.

    And thank God for it! We are not left to our own fallen selves to reinvent the Christian faith and worship based on our own whims!

    Jesus came to establish a Church, not “Christianity”….and it had a definite shape right from the first days of the Church. You’ll find, if you study the history of the early church, that all those pesky things like priests, liturgy, sacraments, icons, asking the departed to pray for us, …all of these were present from the earliest days. They are not dislocated “doctrines” or “rules” or “laws”…they are just a beautiful holistic part of what it meant (and means) to be a Christian.

    I was a Protestant once too, you know…these things are hard. They were for me. But the evidence is overwhelming, if you really look into it.

    I guess my last question to ponder is this:

    Isn’t it possible for the fullness of the Christian faith to include more than what you may have been exposed to? And if it was true, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to experience the fullness that God has preserved in His Church?

  29. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Indeed, I am open to such an idea.

    In fact, I now begin to question what our discussion is even about anymore.

    I agree with your assessment of doctrine.

    But I do not agree with the idea that the Orthodox religion is the original piece of ‘wood’ that all the ‘splinters’ have broken away from.

    I just don’t see that.

    Orthodoxy is just one part of a much larger whole.

    What you call the Church, I call the fellowship and community of believers throughout the entire world. In my opinion, that is the Church that God sustained.

    I guess bottom-line, I have a difficult time with organized religion of any sort.

    I would much rather follow my own path, in accordance with Biblical doctrine and the teachings of Christ, than be part of a regimented, controlling establishment, which is based upon man’s attempts and understanding of how to get closer to God.

    And that’s what I think Orthodoxy is. Heck, that’s what I think all organized religion is. Again, it’s man’s attempt to package God. Even my ‘own path’ falls into that category.

    I am much more about making my Christian walk a personalized faith, than a faith based upon tradition and preset formula.

    I think there are a lot of unnecessary additions. And until God shows me differently, my opinion will not be changed.

  30. basil Says:

    Mr. HG, I’ll take you up on the beer Guinness at that Irish pub! Hell, yeah. Would that be McCarthy’s, or some other place? That would be truly something to look forward to. I assume Chris (Dmitri) could come along, too? 😀

  31. sockmonk Says:

    Just caught up with the discussion. Please count me in if there’s Guinness involved. :-)
    I do want to say one thing about the style of singing. I was a charismatic evangelical protestant for most of my growing up years, and jumped around among several different denominations. Used to love to sing those happy choruses; they made me feel good, and usually seemed genuinely worshipful. Of course there were a couple whose lyrics didn’t seem quite right… are there any that bother you? Now with our “solemn” sounding hymns, I can see why you might call it mourning. In fact, the idea is to chant and sing the prayers without getting all emotional, in an attempt to make our faith and experience something that doesn’t depend on emotion. As I mentioned in another comment on another blog, this was very helpful to me when I was newly grieving the deaths of my parents and sister. I don’t think I can overstate that.
    It’s been fun to watch this conversation. I hope you can come pray with us or another Orthodox parish some time; that’s the only way to learn what Orthodoxy is about.

  32. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Sweet. Beer swilling Theologians! : )

    Hmmmm, McCarthy’s. Isn’t that one right across the street from the gay dance club? 121? Something like that . . . Anyway, the pub I’m thinking of is right across from UK. I wanna say that it’s Kitty O’Shea’s. I have fond memories of it because it was the place where I first embibed of an alcoholic beverage. Thus began my law-breaking days at Asbury. Ahhhh.

    This is specifically for Karl. Sorry Karl, not frustrated with you. More with myself. I knew my limitations going into our discussion, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. Then, when I knew I should ‘get out’, I kept discussing anyway. Thanks for your patience.

    Hey Sockmonk . . . hmmmm, don’t know what it is . . . but I really like your name. SOCKMONK! sock MONK! SOCK monk!

    Alrighty. So Karl brought up some really good points. Though I still stand by many of mine. However, Sockmonk brought up some other good points.

    Personally, I enjoy praising God. I love ‘shouting unto the Lord’. It makes me feel great! Do I love getting caught up in the emotion? Absolutely! I love that feeling of the Holy Spirit just flowing freely.

    And again, from an uneducated point of view, it would seem that the Orthodox faith is too controlling. That it won’t allow the Holy Spirit to do its work.

    Again, I guess I don’t know enough about it. But it just seems to me that the Orthodox faith has a phrase or prayer for everything. And though that may be comforting at times, how does a prayer that someone else wrote, help further the personal relationship between God and you? Seems kind of impersonal, if you ask me.

    Oh well.

    So Basil is a philosophy major. Sockmonk . . . what are you?

    Thanks for the discussion. Haven’t been this ‘cerebral’ in many a year.

  33. Karl Thienes Says:

    Hey, Mr. HBG,
    Everything is cool with me. :) I’ve enjoyed the discussion a lot, and am glad you’ve “kept pokin.” You’ve helped me think through these issues more clearly and I’m glad I’ve brought out the cerebral in you! I wish I lived in the KY area…Irish pubs rock!

    Ok..so here are some more thoughts, based on your last post:

    The written prayers and hymns of the Church don’t circumscribe our prayer life; they provide a foundation and jumping-off place for pouring out our own hearts to God.

    Using words, songs and hymns given to us in the Church and written by holy men and women who knew God doesn’t mean that when I pray them I can’t mean them too. Have you ever said the phrase ,”I love you” to someone? I’m sure you mean it when you say it—yet that phrase isn’t just a free, spontaneous utterance from your soul. It has a context. It came from somewhere….you take something passed down and make it your own. That is what we do with liturgy.

    Even the lyrics of the typical “praise song” sung at a non-denom church is not your own prayer! You’ve taken what someone else wrote and make it your own. So the question isn’t “free-form” vs “stale, controlling liturgy.” The real question is “what am I going to let be the foundation or core of my prayers?” Is this song/hymn/prayer actually the fullness of what I could be praying? Does it fit within the context of Scripture, the Church,? Etc….

    Now that I’m Orthodox, the quality of my prayers no longer depends on my subjective eloquence or feeling. Prayer becomes a daily act of faithful obedience to God. By praying the Scriptures (like the Pslams) or the Liturgy (which is full of Scripture and Christ-centered) I am being immersed in God’s truth. I am letting it seep into my soul so that when I utter a spontaneous prayer it will come from a God-centered foundation. So actually, and paradoxically, praying the prayers of the Church is the most *freeing* thing one can imagine! Finally, I don’t need to work myself up into a “spiritual lather” to pray!

    The main problem with modern worship is that it operates from the individualistic perspective of, “What can I get out of this?” Orthodox worship focuses more on the question, “Is this worship pleasing to God? Is it, in fact, true worship? Is it connected with all those Christians who have gone before me?”

    Do I think about my own self during worship? Sadly, more often than I’d like. Can Protestant’s truly worship God? Of course! So don’t get me wrong….
    G.K. Chesterton once wrote something interesting that pertains to this issue of set-prayers. He said, “The recurrences of the universe rose to the maddening rhythm of an incantation, and I began to see an idea. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.”
    One more thing and then I’ll stop for now: There is a world of difference between the word “individual” and “personal.” The latter implies a communal relationship; the former is static, solitary, and alone…..(see my post on 2/6 on my blog for more on this…)…

  34. DrBacchus Says:

    Wow. Where to start?

    OK, first of all, the notion of the church as a block of wood splintering and embedding itself into flesh, which subsequently becomes infected and gangrenous is … disturbing. Revolting, in fact. I hate most analogies, due to how quickly they break down. The purpose of an analogy is to lend insight. This analogy has to top my list of amazingly bad analogies, as, not only does it not lend insight, but it also makes me vaguely nauseous.

    On a lighter note …

    As usual, I am disturbed by the idea that it is never appropriate to claim to be right on a particular matter, thus implying that others are wrong. I would say that it is *essential* to make these claims. But I believe I’ve probably beaten that horse most nigh to death.

    Finally, I’d like to once again express umbrage at the “all protestants” thread that once again rears its ugly head in a number of remarks. My favorite being the statement that someone has had “bad experiences” with protestants, but then encountered one that actually told the truth! Shock and alarm! It’s comments like this that make racists ugly people, and it’s comments like this that make many Orthodox christians (particularly, I’ve noticed, those new to the church) very ugly to those who are not part of your church.

    Oh, yeah, one more thing. C.S.Lewis takes great pains to state that “mere christianity” is not something to be strived after as a “least possible to get by” kind of approach, and speaks at length about how much he resisted the idea of even writing the book, for fear that someone would take it that way. So to say that “Lewis is wrong” seems to indicate that you haven’t read the book, or at least that you didn’t understand what he was getting at.

    Anyone I haven’t offended yet? If so, it was not my intention to overlook you. 😉

  35. Karl Thienes Says:

    Dr. Bracchus,

    Indicating trepidation about writing a particular thesis and then proceeding to write a book that defends said thesis, in great detail, seems to be a little bit disingenuous. All “qualifiers” aside…

    “Mere Christianity” is the poster child book for modern, pop-evangelicalism’s defiant refusal to acknowledge the crucially important issue of ecclesiology. Lewis’ “hallway and room” analogy makes this worse. You can’t write a book about generic “Christianity” and then conclude it by saying, essentially, “Just pick a church to be a Christian in; it doesn’t really matter much which one.” Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus…

    I’ve read almost every book and essay Lewis wrote. And while I think he is one of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century, his refusal to really tackle deep ecclesiological matters in his works, especially in “Mere Christianity” mars his legacy, IMHO. He saw and wrote about a great many things, and was very adept at picking up on “trends”…his voice is very prophetic on issues of women’s ordination (God in the Dock), the demise of academia (Abolition of Man), and the destructive nature of worldly wisdom (Pilgrim’s Regress). But for some reason, he didn’t understand or foresee the juggernaut of “church-less Christianity” that would come to dominate modern Christian thought. The fact that he, in part, contributed to this makes some of his writings “wrong” IMHO. YMMV, of course… :)

    One more thing: in regards to the wood analogy. While I disagree with its implications (and wrote extensively against it in a previous comment) I do think that it is insightful, and not just merely “revolting.” These analogies help show how modern Christians may view the church…thus leading to a richer discussion and a chance to point out some fundamental ideas people may believe in.

    But analogies do break down of course…as do many of our discussions in general! :)

  36. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Dr. Bacchus is cool. Despite the fact that he disapproves of my ‘wood’ analogy . . . HE seems to understand where I was headed with my whole argument.

    Thank you. Sorry Karl.

    Hmmmm. I still think the ‘wood’ analogy works. Very loosely, yes. But it was the only one I could think of at the time. Sheesh.

  37. James Says:

    Irish stout is nasty! I’ll join you all, but for a lighter beer. Visit my blog for my comments.

  38. Karl Thienes Says:

    I understood perfectly where you were headed with your whole argument in regards to the wood analogy…I just disagree, both with your premises and your conclusion. We come at this issue with widly different understandings of the basic terms involved.

    However, I agree with both you and Dr. B in regards to over-generalizations of peopel and your being upset with comments made about Protestantism in general…I always discuss things in terms of ideas, not specific people. (no, really I do!) :)

    I wish I was cool like Dr. B!

  39. DrBacchus Says:

    Well, I hate all analogies, since I tend never to gain useful insight from them. I realize that this is a failing of mine, since I tend to be quite the literalist.

    To quote my IRC bot:

    [rosie] analogy is when you compare something simple to something complex and unrelated. This serves three purposes. The person who really understood what you were talking about will be baffled. The clueless neen who had no idea what you were on about will be lulled into a false sense that they understand. And the annoying idiot who was only pretending to understand will stop asking all those stupid questions. It’s rather like when the wombat ate the smoked herring.

    Analogies invariably confuse me more than simply talking about the thing itself.

    Regarding Lewis, I defer to your wider reading, evidentally, of Lewis’ work. I will admit that I found the hallway and doors analogy to be utterly unhelpful. (See comment about analogies above.) As with any analogy, there are dozens of ways that it could be interpreted, and none of them reflect the reality of the thing being described. Why not just talk about the thing itself? I will further admit that I have not read much Lewis in the last decade, unless you count watching Shadowlands a few times. 😉 I read Mere Christianity 5 or 6 years ago, but the rest of my Lewis reading was back before the *other* Bush administration.

    And, you really can be cool like me. You just have to … um … I’m cool? Wow. That rocks.

    At many times, I see my role, among my many Orthodox friends, to be the voice of the non-Orthodox. (Please note, that’s O not o in Orthodox. Important distinction. I strive to be orthodox.)

    But, alas, I need to go pick up my Jeep, so I’ll continue this conversation later. I’d love to get in on the Guiness, if you want to save me a seat.

  40. sockmonk Says:

    Mr. HG: to answer your question “What are you?” My first impulse is to launch into a lengthy autobiography, after giving capsule biographies of my grandparents and parents. But you were probably just wondering about education background. I went to Asbury College for four years, majoring first in Computer Science, then in Intercultural Ministries/Missions, but left 13 quarter-hour credits shy of a degree. Later went to University of Phoenix (Online Campus) from 1995 to 1998 and got a B.S. in Business/Information Science. I can’t stop there though, so here’s a couple more factoids: Denominations I was part of growing up include (in roughly chronological order, duplicates omitted): non-denominational/cult (“The Walk” led by John Robert Stephens); Holy Order of MANS (bonus points if you’ve heard of it); charismatic Lutheran; Assemblies of God; United Methodist; Free Methodist; Conservative Mennonite Conference; Evangelical Orthodox Church (current parish, before we joined the Orthodox Church in America). I’ve been married for nearly eleven years, and have four children ages three through nine.

    As an aside to DrBacchus about “all protestants” remarks, it’s remarkably difficult to say much of anything about protestants that truly applies to all of them. It’s a side effect of the tremendous diversity. This tends to be frustrating from both directions.

    On set prayers… when I was quite young (maybe five??) I went to that non-denominational freewheeling church, but we visited my grandparents’ very traditional country Lutheran church. I asked my mom why they didn’t just pray what God told them to pray instead of reading prayers out of the hymnal. She said that maybe God told them what to pray a long time ago. (“God told them what to pray” may have been “led by the Spirit” or whatever, I know I don’t recall the exact words.) A few months ago our priest read us something by St. John of Kronstadt especially recommending that we add our own prayers to the prayers of the church, so that the prayers remain alive and not become stale. Many other saints showed awareness of this danger and suggested various ways to avoid it as well.

  41. Chris J. Davis Says:

    I have been silent on this subject of late since I am an ecclesastical ameoba when compared with the collected theologians and scholars that have expounded on this subject… oh yeah and Mr. Hibbity Gibbity as well.

    I will state again that I have not been privy to any information or evidence that would refute the Orthodox claim of age and genesis. Also I would agree that there must be Truth which is absolute; which leads to the undeniable fact that not all of what is labeled “Christianity” can be true. That road leads to relavitism, and we don’t want that now do we.

    And yeah I am gonna be there for the beer, I am the irish..ist of ’em all! And of course you can have a seat Bacchus, no party is complete without the god of reverie and next morning stomach pain.

  42. James Says:

    Chris,

    So you like stout? Yuk! Oh well, if I were to join you I would have a lighter beer. I can’t believe it. Stout! Well, we all have to have our flaws. 😉

  43. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Chris,

    YOU’RE Irishies . . .ish . . sih . . .(whatever) of us all? Oh please! Which one of us looked like Conan freaking O’Brien until recently? Besides, you’re Silent Bob . . . get over it. :)

    Thanks for the ‘nod’ to my theological, ideological, philosophical knowledge . . . your ‘faith’ in me warms my heart. : P

    And take heart James . . . I hate all beer. I’m a ‘froo froo’ drink kinda guy! Midori Sours! Ah yeah! If it tastes like candy and gets me drunk, I am SO there!

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