Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

«— Florovsky on Tradition
—» Trinity 5: The Co-eternal Son (Apologia Pt 7)

Trinity 4: The Son (Apologia Pt 6)

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It is difficult, if not impossible, to talk about the second person of the holy Trinity, the Son, without also talking about a man, the Jewish rabbi Jesus Christ.

During his lifetime, the Apostles were unaware of the divinity of their master and teacher. This ignorance is displayed repeatedly in the Gospel reflections of the evangelists. It was only in reflecting on the Passion, death by crucifixion, and Resurrection of their master that the Holy Spirit revealed to them what “Messiah� means. Christ and Messiah are Greek and Hebrew words, respectively, meaning “anointed.� Israel had been promised Messiah for untold ages; their very national identity was centered around the expectation of the coming reign of a divinely anointed Priest, Prophet, and King. It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in power on Pentecost that they began to understand that Jesus, the Christ, is God enfleshed.

Jesus reveals something completely unheard of: The one God is a Trinity of persons. Neither polytheism nor monism, the orthodox faith revealed by Jesus is that there is one God, the Father, one God, the Son, and one God, the Holy Spirit. This is a completely new way of thinking about God, and its fullness continues today to elude many who box the mystery in. Heresy, as we have already stated, results from subjecting the mystery of God to finite and fallen human reason. The universal councils of the Church in the first millennium of Christian history responded to several heresies by setting up orthodox boundaries for thinking about the Trinity and Jesus Christ.

The first universal or ecumenical council proclaimed what Christians continue to recite in every Liturgy or Mass as the Nicene Creed: that Jesus Christ is the

…one Lord…, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made….

Jesus is a man, but he is also God. As the Son and Word of God, he reveals in his person all the fullness of God the Father. The orthodox faith of the Christian Church is that the man Jesus Christ reveals God to us. Not only in words nor only in deeds—in the fullness of his person, he reveals God the Father. St. Paul teaches that the Son is “the exact image (ikon) of the Father.� Later bishops of the Church, such as St. Irenaeus in the second century, would identify the Son as the explanation (exegesis) of the Father. The fullness of this explanation of God by the Son is seen in the Incarnation, because the Lord Christ is the fulfillment and perfect explanation of the Jewish Scriptures, which Christians call the Old Testament. We will explore the Incarnation further after we discuss creation and the fall of man.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:19 am

«— Fallen
—» Trinity 4: The Son (Apologia Pt 6)

Florovsky on Tradition

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A really great quote from Georges Florovsky on the Church and Tradition over at Pontifications. If you find my poor ramblings on the matter abrasive or triumphal, perhaps a read of one of the best theologians of the twentieth century will be better.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:31 pm

«— Cthulhu for President
—» Florovsky on Tradition

Fallen

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Heaven bend to take my hand;
I’ve nowhere left to turn.
I’m lost to those I thought were friends,
To everyone I know.

Oh, they turn their heads, embarrassed,
Pretend that they don’t see.
But it’s one mis-step,
One slip before you know it,

And there doesn’t seem a way to be redeemed.

Though I’ve tried, I’ve fallen.
I have sunk so low.
I’ve messed up.
Better I should know,
So don’t come around here,
And tell me, “I told you so.�

Sarah McLachlan, “Fallen”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:13 am

«— Transparency: Better Than Annoyance
—» Fallen

Cthulhu for President

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Like DrBacchus, I have been struggling with my choice of presidents. Unlike him, I find something disagreeable in even the Libertarian position, even though I am closer to that than any other position.

  • Current administration:

    It is decent on domestic economic policy, especially since it inherited a recession from the policies of the previous administration. Unfortunately, we probably won’t see the most significant benefits until at least another four years. Its foreign policy is good on military strength but poor on diplomacy. It seems to think acting like a parent is appropriate for a young sibling. I guess the opposing argument would be that the parents are getting fat in the parlour, so someone has to be the parent. Perhaps. Conciliarity seems not to be its strong point. The programs meant to put expression to the campaign phrase “Compassionate Conservatism” seem to have evaporated after September 11, 2001, as defense spending increased. It appears to think that Americans would gladly trade essential liberties for some temporary security. In speech, it is absolutely committed to traditional values, though there are dangerous hints and allegations of cronyism.

  • Sen. John Kerry:

    He likes the word “non-partisan.” In his recent campaign book A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America, he tends to start with the word “non-partisan” and follow with an argument for Democratism over Republicanism. That’s hardly non-partisan, Mr. Kerry. He definitely has a sense for diplomacy and building strong alliances with other nations, but I’m concerned that he would leave Iraq a vacuum for despotic leadership. Domestically, I sympathize with his intent to help the poor and oppressed, but his economic policies are crypto-socialist, as all Democrats tend to be crypto-socialists. I think I might like a socialist country, but our Constitution isn’t that flexible. A robust socialism would require a new Constitution, and I rather doubt anyone wants that. Mr. Kerry appears not to think civil rights abuses are a campaign issue.

  • Michael Badnarik/Libertarians:

    I like these guys. They don’t interfere with your freedom. If you’ve grown up with a deficient grasp of ethics, they’ll let you drown yourself, along with anyone who wants to go with you. On the other hand, if you are hardworking and thrifty, they will not steal your money and give it to those who are not. Should you have acquired the virtue of charity, you are free to bestow your earnings upon anyone you please. More powerfully, you are free to parlay your earnings and your time to create voluntary associations that multiply the practice of charity with each voluntary participant. The role of government is not to be charitable but to govern among free men. The charity is up to us.

    Unfortunately, Libertarians take a dim view of foreign policy, preferring the safe blanket of isolationism to the cold armor of beligerence or the superficial evening wear of diplomacy. I happen to think this is short-sighted and rather dangerous at the present moment.

So, whom do I choose to govern me? I am very torn. The Byzantine theocrat in me says the Libertarian position is too libertarian in a declining society. The Democrats, on the other hand, would encourage the decline into ethical darkness. The Republicans? Well, they want us to believe they’ll act on the problem, but their track record is mostly show and little go. We now have a Republican Congress and a Republican President, and the slaughter of innocents continues. Other ethical issues, though, leave a lingering question: Given our Constitution, is it really the place of government to dictate virtue to it’s people? I believe our Constitution limits the power of the federal government to enforce shifts in morality.

It’s a tough choice, but the answers everyone seems to want involve rewriting the Constitution, in my opinion. And I don’t think anyone wants that. It seems like the Libertarians are the only ones who actually want to implement the Constitution we actually have.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:47 pm

«— To Havdala
—» Cthulhu for President

Transparency: Better Than Annoyance

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<rant>

Some of WordPress‘s features to control spam in comment and discussion areas trip you out. Unfortunately, some annoy you till dead.

Requiring my email address tops my list of annoying bugs features purporting to limit comment spam. I already get tons of gooey, sticky email spam in my Inbox; I want to limit what I get in the future, thank you. Only my closest friends and associates need my email address, and most of them already know it. If they do not, they can use my handy-dandy email form to email me. If I think them worthy of a reply, then — bingo! — they have my email address. Requiring me to reveal my address annoys me when I know the owner of the blog and frightens me when I do not. Once you have my address, what exactly do you plan to do with it?

Adding to the obvious privacy issue, one must ask: What exactly is requiring an email address supposed to do? I find just as many spam attempts with email addresses as without. Additionally, legitimate comments from readers wishing not to give me their address are usually worth it. (See the privacy issue in the previous paragraph.) Plus, it usually seems not to matter if a fake address is provided, like stop.requiring@this.silly.info.

Another annoying bug feature is holding all comments in a queue until they are moderated. This is not nearly as bad as the previous feature, but it slows down conversations. Some of the best conversations in blogspace explode in seconds. Good insights can be lost when a moderator loses track of time. This is especially the case on a blog like mine, where sometimes days elapse before I get a chance to moderate.

The best spam killer is holding comments in a moderation queue if they match certain conditions. There are two ways WordPress checks for conditions that look like spam:

  • more than five links in a comment
  • words on a disallow list are present (cialis, tramadol, paxil, your pet-peeve–word)

These catch nearly all the spam I ever get. If I start getting spam with a new word, I go back and delete the comments (very easily done with WP’s new comment moderation interface), and I add the word to my no-no–list. Easy, and transparent to users. Transparency++
</rant>

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:30 pm

«— Photos
—» Transparency: Better Than Annoyance

To Havdala

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I do not know whether you read my blog or not, but I do not have a Blogger account, and I do not really want one. I do, however, have my own blog.

I resonate with your doubting. When I attended an evangelical Protestant college, my friends were all the outcasts. They were all on their way out of Christianity, or at least to a not-so-conservative brand of it. In retrospect, this is ironic because my direction theologically and philosophically was somewhat opposite, with some resonating harmonies. You can see, if you read this blog, that my journey has taken me into the high-country of the most conservative of Christianities — though I have far more liberty now than ever before.

I found fellowship with the pagans because they were more interesting. They were real. If they had doubts, they didn’t hide them. (And they had better taste than the praise-chorus–lapping majority of the student body.)

That is why the struggle with doubt is something that I associate with real, honest people. I have a nagging distrust of people who have never struggled. It seems to me that some form of struggle in this arena is necessary for strength. And my own life has not been without its own struggle.

I always find it sad when I learn that someone stops struggling and decides to let the waves overwhelm them. The lack of struggle is death. I do not mean only that they become pagans; it is equally sad, perhaps more so, when the struggle chokes their spirit and they become mummified, trapped inside a religious sarcophagus — smiling, happy, and dead.

I am weeping for you, Havdala, not because you are struggling, but because the tone of your post is so desperate. I recognize that despair; I can touch my own scars and remember the pain of despair. I’ve heard that sound before, and it bodes ill. It sounds like you are about to give up. It sounds like death.

I am praying for you, that you will get enough fresh air to continue fighting. Speaking of fresh air, perhaps you should consider taking a break from all things religious, to catch your breath. Return to the struggle when you have the strength to fight.

It looks like this: any doubts, any contradictions, any wounds you have received over the course of your life — you shelve them and distract yourself instead of dealing with them. Personally, I would distract myself with beauty: walks in the woods, visits to art museums, tours of gardens and such. Beauty is very spiritual for me. The important thing is that the distraction be meaningful to you and truly distracting.

Superficially this sounds dishonest; it sounds like running from the fight. In fact, the fight continues unconsciously while you regain your strength. When you return to the struggle — because you cannot escape the struggle indefinitely — you will find issues are clearer, and you will have the strength to take on the Hydra once again.

This is ideally done in the midst of a community that is praying for you; you attend prayers as you are able, without any expectations being made of you. However, sometimes even this is too much. It also helps if you have someone with whom you can talk about these issues — a nun, a priest, or a matushka can sometimes be especially sensitive to the needs of those who struggle.

Whatever you do, I am praying for you.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:34 pm

«— Coming to You Live
—» To Havdala

Photos

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OK, finally I’ve gotten some net time, and here are some relatively recent photos.

These photos were taken at the historic ship USS Nautilus (SSN 571) (except for the one in the blue Utility uniform, taken in my old barracks room). The sail in the background of two of them is from the USS George Washington (SSBN-598), the first ballistic missile submarine.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:56 pm

«— It Brings a Smile to My Face
—» Photos

Coming to You Live

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I am reporting this live from the Apple Store in Hartford, Connecticut, where my 12-inch iBook G4 has been confiscated for upgrades to its connectivity circuits. When it is returned to me in about fifteen minutes, it should be wi-fi capable via a new AirPort Extreme card. Happy, happy; joy, joy.

To learn more about the joys of Apple and how you too can eat lunch with the cool kids, visit Apple’s website.

Update I am now live via my iBook and the Apple Store’s network. WOOT!

Second update I just talked with Reader Joel Wilson via iChat A/V. Seriously cool.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:21 pm

«— St. Basil
—» Coming to You Live

It Brings a Smile to My Face

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Oh, boy. It’s been nearly a month since my last post. Mostly I’ve been busy with stuff. The personal stuff (work, daily grind, etc.) is mostly pretty boring, but you can read about it on my Yahoo! Groups website.

Well, mostly boring. Something is happening in my life that is not so boring. My heart beats more quickly; I smile more often; and generally, life is more liveable. I can now hope with faith in God that the future really is a brighter place than the past. In looking at my changing circumstances, I thank God more than ever for leading me on all the winding paths I have taken so far.

My spiritual father once related words of comfort that he was given by his confessor: At the end, when you look back on your life, all the winding roads you took will appear as a straight line, leading directly to God. I never understood that. All the plot-lines of my story seemed untidy, unresolved. Now, some of them are coming together in a way beyond my imagining, and the providence of God amazes me.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 3:31 pm