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Author Topic: My Daughter's Menorah  (Read 9298 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 15, 2006, 11:26:30 PM »

Upon picking my daughter up today at her private pre-school the teacher gave me a menorah that she had made (along with other children). This did not sit well with me so as calmly as possible I handed it back to the teacher and said, thank you, but we are not of the Jewish faith. OH the teacher replied "this is part of diversity training." Have you Jewish students in this school I asked? (I knew the answer - none, we live in a predominantly white Anglo-Saxon neighborhood where even Orthodox Christians are an anomoly) The answer from the teacher "I don't know."

Now the teacher is a great teacher and I realized that it was her superiors who probably put her up to this. I assured her that we were pleased with her and that I was not angry, just annoyed. I informed her that we were Christian and that Christ's birth will be celebrated in our home. She asked if we were Roman Catholic and I said no- Russian Orthodox. (I got a puzzled look with a smile. ) Diversity, why don't I come in and teach on Orthodox Christmas traditions (fat chance.)

Now, lest some of you think I am anti-Semitic you can stop right there. Trite as it may sound I have several Jewish friends and business associates whom I am sure would be equally annoyed if their children brought home a creche with a baby doll inside representing Jesus.

Comments. Was I too harsh? Should I have let it go? Should I talk to the superiors? My wife would have let it go probably because at my daughter's age it is meaningless. My daugher gets in arguements with her Catholic friends over the correct way to cross yourself.

Welkodox is not permitted to comment on this  Grin

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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2006, 11:44:43 PM »

Was it a Menorah or a Hanukiyah? There is a difference.
The Hanukiyah is what is used at Chanukah for the Festival of Lights on the Eight Crazy Days of getting socks and bad ties after lighting the one Hanukiyah candle each night. It has nine arms for nine candles, eight and one in the center for the lighting candle.
The Menorah is a seven armed candelabra used on Holy Days except Chanukah.

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Panagiotis
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2006, 11:51:18 PM »

If you had $695 you could have bought one from: http://easternchristiansupply.biz/products.cgi/c37/c96/c73/40753



It could have been a great opportunity to discuss the many traditions of Jewish origin which we use in our Churches (Psalmody, the Seven Branch Sanctuary Lamp, the Great Incensing, the Curtain of the Iconostasis, the two Seraphim over the Altar........)

But more importantly, your daughter made it herself. Now she feels as though she has done something so bad that you, her father, reject it.
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2006, 12:02:07 AM »

George,

I think that is a bit harsh.

aserb,

I can understand why you did what you did, at the same time, I don't think I would have returned the Menorah (or whatever it is called - which is not the point).  The truth is, I think it is more important to raise our children to be secure in what they are (Orthodox) rather than worry about symbols or items from other faiths.

George does raise a good point when he talks about shared customs and symbols, which is natural between Judaism and Christianity.  I remember the first time I went to a Jewish Service, I was stunned at how similar the Cantor sounded to an Orthodox Priest.

Here's what I would have done.

Brought it home and explained to your daughter the differences between Orthodox Christianity and Judaism.  I would have also requested a "sit down" with the principle and inquired if they had any intention of teaching something about Orthodoxy Christianity and if not, why not.  If she was willing, maybe you could have come in and taught something about Orthodoxy, or brought in your Priest or someone in the know.

For me, I decided (this year) I was going to send out "Christmas" cards only to all of my family, friends and co-workers.  Normally, I send politically correct "holiday" cards to non-Christians.  Not so this year and to my surprise the experiment did not go well.  I was told by TWO Jewish partners not to send the Christmas cards in the future.  I found it especially perplexing as the one who had the greater problem with the card is a lobster eating, swine chomping, non-observant Jew, who found "Christmas Cards" the route to assert his Judaism.  I suppose to each their own.

Don't beat yourself up over what happened.  Just be confident in the Truth and that the Truth will be as clear to your daughter as it will be to you.
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2006, 12:23:28 AM »

I think that is a bit harsh.
Oh dear! You're right! It came out pretty harsh. Sorry aserb!
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2006, 12:37:53 AM »

I did a little searching and lo and behold - John 10:22 mentions the celebration of Hanukkah.  The refrences for the story in the Old Testament are 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 and alluded to in 2 Maccabees 1:18.  Since Hanukkah is a big topic right now, rather than fight it, embrace it as a way to talk about symbolism and prophecy in the Old Testament as pointing towards Christ in the New Testament.  

Added on edit... since it seems to be an hot topic elsewhere, my handy old NAB proved very useful for looking this up and I'm still not sure why the translation is considered to be THAT bad.
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2006, 12:57:55 AM »

HI guys:

No offenses taken at all. I should note that my daughter is four years old and while I was returning the Menorah (as I was told that it was) my daughter was busy running after a friend to play tag. Later on she never missed the item.

SouthSerb. I send politically correct "holiday cards" but to known Christian clients and associates I add Merry Christmas to the sentiment.

My young daughter has already attended a Bat Mitzah service and spent most of the time not paying attention - same as liturgy. ALthough in liturgy I try to point out the beauty of the church to her, the icons, etc, and keep her as interested as possible.
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2006, 01:31:27 AM »

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. (See John 10:22-23).
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2006, 02:50:50 AM »

Judaism is not only a faith but a cultural heritage. Is having anything culturally Jewish in your home something sinful in Orthodoxy? I have heard yes and no. Which is it? Sorry for going a bit off topic but it does relate as to the Menorah/Hanukiyah as being something "evil" it seemed at first when approached with a four year old daughter and was quick to reliquish this item away from his hands like it was radio-active. No offense Aserb; its just how it looked on paper. I understand its not a racial issue, but it does make me laugh a little.

I am Jewish by birth. I was raised in a mixed family of Jews and Protestants, oddly with Roman Catholic relatives and Mormons. Holidays were fun. When I converted to Orthodoxy, I just added a flavor to the mix. But having any of the cultural practices, such as Chanukah, considered sinful? I already have the answer from my Spiritual Father and local Parish Priest, but I am asking you guys this question. What do you think?

Blessings,
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2006, 07:18:49 AM »

If they were learning about Hanukah, that should mean that they will learn about Christmas. You should be glad! Many schools cut everything religious out. If they celebrate these holidays at all, they tend to celebrate them all. Whether or not the classroom has a mix of kids, the kids WILL be exposed to children of different religions eventually. There's nothing wrong in teaching them about the other religions. It only helps point out the truth of the Orthodox Faith. Making a paper menorah or eating latkes or playing dreidle is not the same thing as reciting the Jewish prayers or something.

This WILL continue to come up throughout her educational career. You should think about how you want to handle now. I have taught students who were conservative whatevers and whose parents told me they were not to celebrate any holidays, including birthdays. So, in my classroom, I never forced them to participate if they were silent or sat out, but neither did I stop them from participating if they themselves chose to.

Right now, I'm doing activities for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, and some secular winter things. I have that mix of kids in my classroom--Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, non-religious, etc. I explain each holiday truthfully--but I try not to make any kid feel unwelcomed. When one of my 4th graders announced to me that he doesnt celebrate Christmas or Chanukah (he's muslim), I said ok, and moved on.

Some parents choose to not allow their kids to participate in activities for different religious' holiday. Most of what they learn is about culture and history, I see nothing wrong in teaching that. If it goes beyond that into the practice of religion, say, if I were Jewish and the kids were REQUIRED to participate in a Nativity scene play, I would speak up. You, as a parent, have the right to determine in what your child will participate, and you should do so BEFORE she comes home with a menorah. And rest assured that teachers know this area of conflict and most try to tread with careful steps.
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2006, 07:33:54 AM »

Jews have played an important part in our country's history. If I'm not mistaken, some of our founding fathers were Jewish. The menorot should be appreciated at least for its symbolic value, in celebrating the Jewish people's victory over oppression.
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2006, 09:22:39 AM »

***gag***
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2006, 09:43:34 AM »

***gag***

What is there to gag about? It's in the book of Maccabees.
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2006, 03:07:11 PM »

Matthew:

With all due respect come back to this post when you are a father.
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2006, 08:58:56 PM »

In elementrary school, we sang a Chanukka song for music class. My parents did not object, considering that we also sang Christmas songs in class, and that it's good to learn about different cultures. It's not like Judaism is a fringe cult, it's played an important part in our nation's history.
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2006, 01:23:30 AM »

ASerb,

I felt the same way as you did when my children had to create paper Menorah's and learn about this Jewish feast day in public school. But I figured it was an opportunity for me to share our faith in the class. So I asked the teacher if I could read the children a story about the night of Christ's birth and bring in our little creche (by the way, seven of the 20 kids were Jewish). The teacher really couldn't say no since she had shared the Jewish religious story of Hanukkah.

We were even allowed to do more when our elementary school chose Greece as their country of study for the cultural arts day our elementary school celebrates once a year. My sister and I quickly volunteered to create the "museum" of cultural artifacts from Greece. She set up a simple bed and table with linens from Greece she borrowed from her father-in-law who is Greek to show the simplicity of life of the average Greek home of long ago. We then borrowed an unused iconostasis from our parish and set it up against one wall. Behind the iconostasis a CD player played the chants of the monks from Simonpetra while the children were in the museum. We enlisted a Greek Orthodox priest and an Antiochian Orthodox priest to come in and be our "docents" to Orthodoxy. They brought in their vestments and had our sons light the incense in the censer...the museum felt like a mini-Orthodox chapel. One of the priests handed out icon cards if the children answered his religious questions correctly. It is amazing that we didn't get in trouble but Orthodoxy is still exotic enough that most non-Christians do not feel threatened by it. One Roman Catholic mother said her boys loved their icon cards and put them above their beds.
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2006, 10:51:46 PM »

Tamara:

What a great story!  Instead of whining an complaining you took action.

Mt daughter is only four. I don't know how much the kids n her school will get out of it.

Dan
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2006, 12:43:24 AM »

ASerb,

I chose an age appropriate nativity story that was written for kindergartners. You would be surprised at how much the little ones understand. I let them hold the creche figures while I read the story. St. Nicholas feast day would also be another good way to share our Orthodox traditions during this time of year when the schools focus the spotlight on the traditions of Hanukkah, Ramadan, and the made-up holiday of Kwanzaa (I really wonder how many African-Americans actually celebrate this one Huh).
Anyway....Orthodox Christianity does not evoke the negative cononatations that evangelicalism tends to bring out in liberal educators...I have found we can get away with alot...incense, icons, chanting, etc...for some reason it seems to appeal to them.

sincerely, Tamara
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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2006, 01:52:58 PM »

I'm not a religious diversity person.
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2006, 02:04:29 PM »

ozgeorge

Good response!

I think that the reaction was appropriate enlight of the very reason the teacher explained as to why they were making the objects in the first place. "Diversity"

We are required by "diversity" to respect the differences we share with others culturally, religiously, racially etc. This does not mean that we are to allow others to force feed their cultural or religious ideas and traditions into us. Diversity is a careful balance of social intercourse which embraces all envolved in a proceess that grows little by little.

Racial discrimination is more tolerated today in many countries, communities, neighborhoods than "diversity".

I would have allowed my daughter to take the menorah home. I would have had her study its meaning and what aspect of it she is connected to. We Orthodox keep forgetting that we are part of the heritage of Israel and much of our pratices are common though have different meanings.

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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2006, 10:16:58 AM »

ozgeorge

 We Orthodox keep forgetting that we are part of the heritage of Israel and much of our pratices are common though have different meanings.



Not me.  I am afraid that I do not have a lot of respect for the Jewish religion at this time in history.  Yes, it prepared the way - 2000 YEARS AGO.  Since the coming of Christ, Judaism is nothing more than "a synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9), and the practicers of that religion nothing more than children of the Devil (John 8:44).  This is why the Canons forbid us to have any contact with Jewish religious customs and ceremonies that have not been sanctified by the Orthodox Church.  This does not mean that we practice intolerance when we refuse to participate in other religion's practices.  I recognize the right of all people to worship God in the way they choose, and I would do nothing to prevent THEM from worshiping whatever they want to call a god.  However, for me and my house, we serve the Lord.  I don't need their idols or their symbols anywhere near MY house or MY family.  What they do in their own house is up to them.  And also, this is not "anti-semitism" or some other such rot.  I have nothing against Jewish people as people and, in fact, admire the contributions that they have made to nearly every facet of science and art.  I just have no use for their religion, and I don't want it thrust on me or my children as some form of demonic syncretism.  I have no use for those who deny Christ, be they Jew or Muslim or Godless Communists.  I believe Aserb acted correctly as a confessor of the Faith.
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2006, 07:12:04 PM »

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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2006, 09:37:54 PM »

Thank you all for your replies. I do not want you all to get carried away now onto other topics. I failed to mention that although my daughter is enrolled in a private school, the school does not own its own building. It rents a building from a Methodist church. In the lobby of the building, upon entrance and you cannot miss it, is a beautiful porcelin figurine set of the Nativity. I guess in my rant I forgot that every day everyone that enters her school building is faced with the Nativity scene. oops  Kiss my bad. (.... tip toe away quietly now . . . . .)
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2006, 12:23:30 AM »

I am reminded of the seder suppers my old church at university held every year. http://www.staugustine-uf.org/

It was a lovely taste of what Jesus and his disciples would have done 2,000 years ago, not to mention ENORMOUS fun, especially singing the Jewish songs!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover_Seder

It also deepened my experience of Holy Week. If I don't find one at a church near me, I might be tempted to make a visit to Gainesville and attend.


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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2006, 12:29:07 AM »

Christians should not be participating in seder suppers.
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2006, 01:14:40 AM »

We were all Christians participating, and the whole supper was imbued with Christian significance. I felt like a Messianic Jew who knew the end of the story, that Jesus would complete the story.

I think many of those participating gained a greater understanding of the story of the Israelites and of how much the Old Testament prefigures Christ. Some people ignore that part of the Bible as "not about us."
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« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2006, 01:25:32 AM »

Participating in such events is wrong in the same way it is wrong to hold Zen Retreats, which unfortunately some Catholic parishes do as well.  It doesn't matter if every single person there is Christian.

The Seder dinner is specifically inappropriate though.  The songs sung such as the Nirtzah, or the leaving out of the cup, are about hope for the comming Messiah.  They are sung by people who believe the Messiah has not come, and the Rabbinical Judaism of today is not related to the Judaism of the Second Temple.

To participate in a Seder service is basically like celebrating Pascha with a Pascha never happened party.  I would be amazed if there is an Orthodox priest anywhere who would grant dispensation to attend such an event.
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« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2006, 02:05:14 AM »

First of all, the seder is modified somewhat for Christian use. Secondly, it is not a liturgical action but a re-enactment, a demonstration held in the building adjoining the church. No one is actually waiting for the coming of a Messiah---we know he has already come, which is why we re-enact it (the very meal, many believe, at which Jesus instituted the Eucharist). The whole point of the meal is to celebrate God's deliverance of his people.

It is a very educational and spiritually fruitful experience. The focus is on God's providence and Jesus's deliverance throughout. It is not at all comparable to Zen meditations.
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« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2006, 02:25:29 AM »

Participating in such events is wrong in the same way it is wrong to hold Zen Retreats, which unfortunately some Catholic parishes do as well.  It doesn't matter if every single person there is Christian.

The Seder dinner is specifically inappropriate though.  The songs sung such as the Nirtzah, or the leaving out of the cup, are about hope for the comming Messiah.  They are sung by people who believe the Messiah has not come, and the Rabbinical Judaism of today is not related to the Judaism of the Second Temple.

To participate in a Seder service is basically like celebrating Pascha with a Pascha never happened party.  I would be amazed if there is an Orthodox priest anywhere who would grant dispensation to attend such an event.

In nomine Iesu I offer you peace,

During Advent, in the west, we sing in the Liturgy "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel" not because Christ hasn't come but because we await His Return!

With His Second Coming 'in mind' can you not see a place for the Seder Dinner for Christians?

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« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2006, 02:58:37 AM »

Quote
The Seder dinner is specifically inappropriate though.

Of course it is, they drink the blood of Christian children at those.   
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« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2006, 03:02:51 AM »

Of course it is, they drink the blood of Christian children at those.   
I didn't think you would be the kind of person who believes in and would spread the Jewish Blood Libel Νεκτάριος.
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« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2006, 10:45:25 AM »

Whoaaaaaa !!!!

I love all you guys but we're getting off of the track here with the Seder dinners.

My initial rant was not theologically motivated it was more politically motivated. The push for diversity, in my opinion, seems to be crowding out traditional Christianity. That's my beef. The menorah that my daughter made at school just set off my pet pieve. My daugher will fully learn about Christmas (both east and west celebrations) and I fully expect her to learn of or about other faiths when she is older and can look at them with a critical eye. I am not an ant-Semite.

So let's move on!!  Wink
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« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2006, 12:16:57 PM »

In nomine Iesu I offer you peace,

During Advent, in the west, we sing in the Liturgy "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel" not because Christ hasn't come but because we await His Return!

You are right. We sing the original Latin version of this song at mass each Sunday of Advent. The words date from the 8th century.
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« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2006, 01:00:04 PM »

We were all Christians participating, and the whole supper was imbued with Christian significance. I felt like a Messianic Jew who knew the end of the story, that Jesus would complete the story.

I think many of those participating gained a greater understanding of the story of the Israelites and of how much the Old Testament prefigures Christ. Some people ignore that part of the Bible as "not about us."

There are several problems with this line of thinking.  First off, I am an Orthodox Christian, not a Messianic Jew who knows the end of the story.  In fact, the whole term "Messianic Jew" is bovine effluent.  As an Orthodox Christian, I am neither Jew nor Greek (nor Barbarian, as my ancestors).  I am part of the Body of Christ.  A Jew who converts to the Orthodox faith is part of the body of Christ.  Baptism makes us a new creation.  I am not a Messianic Barbarian, but a new creation.

Also, if you need defunct traditions to gain a greater understanding of how the Old Testament prefigures Christ, you have missed the boat when it comes to the Orthodox Faith.  The entire Liturgical cycle is a reinactment of the history of Salvation, from the fall of Adam to the Ressurection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The readings during Great Lent encompass the greater part of the Old Testament.  The Psaltar is the hymnal of the Church.  What is lacking in the True Faith that needs to be filled with heathen ceremonies in direct violation of the Canons of the Church?  How can a Jewish dinner even remotely compare to the actual presence of the Holy Spirit at the Liturgy?  How can any dead ceremony ever compare to being "surrounded by a cloud of witnesses" at the Liturgy?  We do these people no favors and show them no love when we try to validate their traditions and empty rituals.  Instead, we should stand fast to our own faith and provide a beacon to them.  Invite them to find the fullfillment of all that the Prophets foretold.  "What they have longed for many a year has been fullfilled in Glory here."  It is our duty to confess this Faith.  No man will ever live long enough to learn all that has been left for us by the Fathers, Apostles and Confessors.  Life is too short to dabble in other religion's symbols.
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« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2006, 01:04:11 PM »

Enough already with the Seder and Jewish ritual talk oy gevaltz! Roll Eyes
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« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2006, 01:10:02 PM »

Also, if you need defunct traditions to gain a greater understanding of how the Old Testament prefigures Christ, you have missed the boat when it comes to the Orthodox Faith.

Thus spake Saint Punch.  Roll Eyes Give it a rest.
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« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2006, 01:23:50 PM »

Also, if you need defunct traditions to gain a greater understanding of how the Old Testament prefigures Christ, you have missed the boat when it comes to the Orthodox Faith. 

Perhaps you have missed the boat on reading comprehension.
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« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2006, 09:12:26 PM »

Quote
My initial rant was not theologically motivated it was more politically motivated. The push for diversity, in my opinion, seems to be crowding out traditional Christianity. That's my beef. The menorah that my daughter made at school just set off my pet pieve. My daugher will fully learn about Christmas (both east and west celebrations) and I fully expect her to learn of or about other faiths when she is older and can look at them with a critical eye. I am not an ant-Semite.

Dan, I completely am with you on this one and feel the same way. Luckily we have a principal who supports parents who are Christians by not ignoring us. Today we went to my son's holiday carol concert at his school. The kids sang the usual Santa Christmas carols along with a Hanukkah medley. The principal (a faithful RC) ended the concert by playing "Silent Night" on the guitar with the whole school singing in the background (it is a public school in the SF bay area in case anyone is wondering).
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« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2006, 10:02:24 PM »

Thanks Tamara

Also thanks for not going off on a tangent  Grin
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« Reply #39 on: December 21, 2006, 01:32:37 AM »

 Wink Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2006, 06:42:30 PM »

Not me.  I am afraid that I do not have a lot of respect for the Jewish religion at this time in history.  Yes, it prepared the way - 2000 YEARS AGO.  Since the coming of Christ, Judaism is nothing more than "a synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9), and the practicers of that religion nothing more than children of the Devil (John 8:44).  This is why the Canons forbid us to have any contact with Jewish religious customs and ceremonies that have not been sanctified by the Orthodox Church.  This does not mean that we practice intolerance when we refuse to participate in other religion's practices.  I recognize the right of all people to worship God in the way they choose, and I would do nothing to prevent THEM from worshiping whatever they want to call a god.  However, for me and my house, we serve the Lord.  I don't need their idols or their symbols anywhere near MY house or MY family.  What they do in their own house is up to them.  And also, this is not "anti-semitism" or some other such rot.  I have nothing against Jewish people as people and, in fact, admire the contributions that they have made to nearly every facet of science and art.  I just have no use for their religion, and I don't want it thrust on me or my children as some form of demonic syncretism.  I have no use for those who deny Christ, be they Jew or Muslim or Godless Communists.  I believe Aserb acted correctly as a confessor of the Faith.


I find your sense of removal from the Jews from the above post quite powerful.

Todays Jews have very little to do with the Biblical people and their religion. Most people who refer to themsleves as Jews today have little in common with the people of scripture in every aspect. It is very very hard to see todays Jews as Jews. When I think "Jew" in all seriousness I can only imagine the 2000 years ago nation and before.

I donot agree with how you worded yourself but I think that if I understand what you mean we both may share the same Orthodoxy.

We must not become partakers with blasphemers and heritics. We must keep our faith pure and untainted as possible removing all aspects of worldy admirations lusts and concerns. WE are responsible to teach our children the same or face obsorbing their sin do to our negligence. We are not to be selective or palcative on this. Its not intented to hurt but to enrich us with a fullness of faith in God alone through Christ.

It is for our protection.

Be careful then...

Especially if you are like the large majority of people on this forum. Too many of us except the ways of "our" heritage and traditions MORE than the strict adherence to the faith of the Holy Church.

Do you have a big green tree in your house that you just MUST have to make the "holiday" cheerful and so that the kids can have a "good" expereince? How about a big snowman on the lawn and a wreath on the door? You have missle toe hanging over the door ways? How many times have you told your kids or some other kids about santa clause and the north pole? Do you sing or let your kids or somebody elses kids "frosty the snowman" or "rudolph the red nose reindeer"..?

These questions are not directed at you but I ask them to make a point and that is that WE reject the symbols of Jews and except tradition of heathens and pagans. (Huh?)

NO offense. I know that everybody loves the "christmas" traditions I named to the point that most of these practices and symbols have been given honorary christianization. Even some of our priests support the activities. I know that they are time honored

Fine.....

But anybody who checks the background for any of these traditions will find that they all creeped into the church from local pagan and or heathen traditions NOT from the traditions of the Holy Fathers and that these traditons even today provide nothing except a since of fun and excitement regardless of what Holy thing they intend to mean or demonstrate.

And the poorer you are the less you are able to participate in these traditions.

SAD....Christ came to this world for the poor man, the down troden. It seems that many societies has started "toy" drives so that the "poor" can have a christmas. Oh!....toys are Christmas?

This tradition of toy drives are designed so that the rich and well off can feel good with all the gluttony and excess they indulge in at this time.

Its all sad and pityful.

The poor really need to know about God and His advent. His blessed birth from the Holy Virgin Mary mother of God. This is what we should be giving to the poor...all people. NOT toys and a turkey dinner. In my mind we should be giving these things everyday as our Lord taught us.

I want us to be pure on this. If we keep the Menorah from our children from reasons stated. Then we should keep the whole sale pagan images of trees, elvs, reindeer, the north pole etc. from them to. From the whole commercial industry of western christmas.

Which is worse?

At lease the Menorah has real biblical significance which can teach about the advent.

The trees, and snowmen and the whole situation we entrench our kids and ourselves in teaches absolutely nothing about our God and His salvation plan. Just nice christianized traditions with a pagan past.

If I had to choose I will take the Menorah over a tree any day as long as the subject is seriously about real religious "symbolism".

Please remember:

Love your neigbhor as yourself.

This does not mean be Jewish or muslim but struggle to respect those around us hoping and praying that we all may be one in Christ.

May God have mercy on us all..Amein

Dcn Amde

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« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2006, 06:54:32 PM »

Thanks Tamara

Also thanks for not going off on a tangent  Grin

Since when to threads NOT wander off-target LOL  Grin
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« Reply #42 on: December 21, 2006, 07:36:03 PM »

Wow.  I'm impressed.  This is the absolute first time that I've heard collecting stuff to give the poor described as invented to make rich people feel good.  Next Amdetsion will be telling us that medicine was invented by healthy people so they could feel good about not being sick and feel superior to ill people.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #43 on: December 21, 2006, 07:55:28 PM »

Amdetsion

If you read an earlier post of mine, my objection to  the Menorah was politcal not theological
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« Reply #44 on: December 22, 2006, 06:04:42 AM »

Amdetsion

If you read an earlier post of mine, my objection to  the Menorah was politcal not theological


I never could see the correctness of mixing politics and religion. These two are oil and water.

I am showing as simple as I know how that we have more to concern ourselves with than just the Menorah as it relates to the your post your that I previuoly quoted. I was not knocking teaching your kids or kids about santa and reindeers and all the other so-called christmas traditions. That is not my place. You must make the choice. I can only say that these traditions are lies invented outside the church. These traditions are older than the church. As such if you keep your daughter from the Menorah than you might think closer about the things you already do allow her to be envolved in. Many children get all the "christmas" cheer but never learn about God. This should really concern a man like you.

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« Reply #45 on: December 22, 2006, 06:33:26 AM »

Wow.  I'm impressed.  This is the absolute first time that I've heard collecting stuff to give the poor described as invented to make rich people feel good.  Next Amdetsion will be telling us that medicine was invented by healthy people so they could feel good about not being sick and feel superior to ill people.  Roll Eyes

Thats funny....

I hope you are not as lost as this response to my post makes me believe.

I have already recieved positive personal messages on what I said.

What did you miss?

I am always supporting clothing drives, food drives etc. all year long. NOT JUST AT CHRISTMAS.

I am talking about people (which may include you) that give at christmas time only. They never consider the poor in thier daily lives all year. And should be now more concerned with the giving the poor (in spirit) the truth of GOd and HIs advent at this time. Toys are not really helping the poor. Poor kids do not need toys they need real help mostly spiritual but also materially. This help you cannot put in a bag and think "O.K. I did my part" as you go about your day stretched out in your 750 BMW.

Christ taught "you will have the poor with you always". So the season of giving is all year everyday.  And we must nourish the spirit and the needs of the body of all people who are needy. This is true Christianity.

The "toy drive" example I used is a corporate invention. American office buidings are packed with toys in the lobbies. The example here is meant to show mainly how the poor is given "toys" instead of the gift of the advent of God the true food and gift of light. This gift can heal and enrich.

But you were just being funny right?

You do not believe that toy drives at Christmas reallly helps poor kids.
 
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« Reply #46 on: December 22, 2006, 08:21:35 AM »

Amdetsion, you can start off by reading this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

After that, we can talk about your arrogated duty to judge everyone you come across.

 Roll Eyes This is getting seriously off-topic...
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« Reply #47 on: December 22, 2006, 09:15:21 AM »

Amdetsion:

There are some protestant sects that believe that we shouldonly celebrate the Jewish holidays because they are the only one's mentioned in the Bible. (Did you convert from one of these sects?)

I am Orthodox and Christmas celebrations are part of our tradition.
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« Reply #48 on: December 22, 2006, 09:40:28 AM »

From Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/?s=why+pagans
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« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2006, 01:52:10 PM »

All this blah blah blah about jewish tradition. I think you were looking for solutions and validation about your reaction?  Cheesy Grin Cheesy Wink

Your child attends a private school. Private school means that it is probably costing you more to send her there than to a public or charter school. Private schools tend to take parental concerns pretty seriously and probably consult with them heavily through a board and various subcommittees. Bottom line? You have direct impact with your dollars therefore you have a say in what happens with your child's education

Solution? Visit the teacher in person and say something to the effect of: "I apologize for overreacting, I overreacted because we feel that you are not fairly representing Christians in your current curriculum. I would really like to see Christianity representated in some form in your holiday curriculum, here are some materials that may help you. Locate age appropriate materials and bring them to her. In addition to what I have suggested, offer to read the story of the The Nativity, create a puppet show or any other thing that you would feel  would be good to share with a bunch of 4 year olds about the birth of Christ.


PCness boils down to "Look at the neat stuff the brown people in funny clothes are doing" and fails to recognize human diversity as a whole. I find those who chant the mantra "If we just try to understand we would all just get along". Easier said than done. 
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« Reply #50 on: December 22, 2006, 02:19:58 PM »


I find your sense of removal from the Jews from the above post quite powerful.

Todays Jews have very little to do with the Biblical people and their religion. Most people who refer to themsleves as Jews today have little in common with the people of scripture in every aspect. It is very very hard to see todays Jews as Jews. When I think "Jew" in all seriousness I can only imagine the 2000 years ago nation and before.

I donot agree with how you worded yourself but I think that if I understand what you mean we both may share the same Orthodoxy.

<large snip>

Please remember:

Love your neigbhor as yourself.

This does not mean be Jewish or muslim but struggle to respect those around us hoping and praying that we all may be one in Christ.

May God have mercy on us all..Amein

Dcn Amde



Father Deacon, I believe that you understood my point.  I do tend to be somewhat barbaric in the making of some points as I am far more used to arguing labor law than I am theology.  I agree with nearly everything you said.  Good points!
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« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2006, 02:36:50 PM »

Amdetsion:

There are some protestant sects that believe that we shouldonly celebrate the Jewish holidays because they are the only one's mentioned in the Bible. (Did you convert from one of these sects?)




I am an Orthodox Christian. As were my fore-parents.

I never celebrate "Jewish" holidays.

I celebrate Christmas and all other Church Holy days in accordance with the traditions of the Holy Orthodox church which includes observing the current ongoing advent fast.

I have found some converts who are more dilligent and faithful more knowledgeable about the Holy Church than many of us who are from long Orthodox pasts. I have learned from them as well. This forum is a great place to hear the opinions of views from converts in a fresh perspective.

I have very little knowledge or exposure to protestant sects or thier religious ideas. These people need our prayers.

They worship and pray in the name of Christ and the "holy ghost" but are not Christians although they are commonly referred to as such.  That is the main thing I know about these groups.

I have however reason to believe that some things that are from the Holy Church they keep in some form or another. and use as they see fit.

I find it interesting that how hard it is to tell a protestant from a catholic or from some orthodox. Especially at this time of year. The stories that are told to the children about flying reindeer and and santa coming down the chimney and so on seems to be the universal canon for christmas. These are all lies but are used to make the "season" bright.  

It does not surprise me that protestants adhere to these traditions and keeps pasing them on to thier children considering the situation they are in. But it shocked me when I found that their are orthodox christians that maintain these same traditions.

I was like you at first. I thought these orthodox christians were converts from protestantism. I learned quickly that I was wrong.

As they say you live and learn.
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« Reply #52 on: December 22, 2006, 02:39:04 PM »

speaking of diversity in Noth America, its a shame that ppl don't really know about our religion. It's either we're Easternized Catholics, westernised Muslims with some Catholicism shaken on top, Jewish, or some earthy Bhuddist religion...I mean Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and that girl from Friends are (Greek) Orthodox, as well as a slew of other celebrities.

As an aside, I think part of the reason we're not known too much is as simple as the fact that I won't bring my friends to liturgy knowing that they won
 understand about 70% of whats going on. No exposure- no knowledge.

END RANT.
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« Reply #53 on: December 22, 2006, 02:44:56 PM »

Amdetsion, you can start off by reading this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

After that, we can talk about your arrogated duty to judge everyone you come across.

 Roll Eyes This is getting seriously off-topic...

I re-read my previous posts.

I guess thier an aire of 'over confidence' in my wording. I would not think arrogent.

Never-the-less please accept my apology.

I am only trying to provide some guidance and defend the purirty of the Holy Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #54 on: December 22, 2006, 02:48:10 PM »

You've really gone and done it this time aserb!
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« Reply #55 on: December 22, 2006, 02:51:45 PM »

speaking of diversity in Noth America, its a shame that ppl don't really know about our religion. It's either we're Easternized Catholics, westernised Muslims with some Catholicism shaken on top, Jewish, or some earthy Bhuddist religion...I mean Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and that girl from Friends are (Greek) Orthodox, as well as a slew of other celebrities.

As an aside, I think part of the reason we're not known too much is as simple as the fact that I won't bring my friends to liturgy knowing that they won
 understand about 70% of whats going on. No exposure- no knowledge.

END RANT.

I agree.

But like I have posted already "we" fall into a social pattern witch is by nature protestant in America. We think that we are becoming "more" American which we are but the error is we are doing it at the expense of giving away our Holy Orthodox traditions.

We are happy acting like them. So 'they' wonder why this strange religion?
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« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2006, 03:01:02 PM »

Never-the-less please accept my apology.

And please forgive me if I have given offense, as well.
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« Reply #57 on: December 22, 2006, 03:09:11 PM »

Lawrence Welkodox - I loved Fr. Stephen's blog  Cheesy

Well, we are nearing the Nativity as it is observed on the New calendar and with that thought I ask forgiveness of all here if I have offended you in any way and pray for peace on earth, good will to men.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  Wink
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« Reply #58 on: December 22, 2006, 03:27:02 PM »

They worship and pray in the name of Christ and the "holy ghost" but are not Christians although they are commonly referred to as such.

According to Jesus, they are.

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« Reply #59 on: December 22, 2006, 03:57:56 PM »

speaking of diversity in Noth America, its a shame that ppl don't really know about our religion. It's either we're Easternized Catholics, westernised Muslims with some Catholicism shaken on top, Jewish, or some earthy Bhuddist religion...I mean Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and that girl from Friends are (Greek) Orthodox, as well as a slew of other celebrities.

Well, you certainly wouldn't want people to learn about Orthodoxy from Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks and Jennifer Aniston, would you? Jim Carrey, by the way, is not Orthodox. He was raised Catholic, but I don't know if he practices still.
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« Reply #60 on: December 22, 2006, 11:51:45 PM »

According to Jesus, they are.



O.K.

But thats for Him to say.

I only know that He said " Leave them be; who is not against us are for us". This is in acts of the Apostles. He does not disregard those who worship in His name but are not in line with the apostolic authority. I do not interpet that reading as meaning that these people are also Christian. By Orthodox definition a Christian is a person who has excepted Christ as thier Lord and Savior and are baptised in accordance with the Holy Universal Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

All others are not Christian. These people can be considered or call themselves christians. that is not my concern. People can do all kinds of things without it being correct or proper.

I do not mean that these people are not worthy of salvation. I can not judge this. I am saying that they are outside the Holy Church which is Orthodox and thus NOT Christian. Thus Holy communion is not given to these people in the Holy Church. Actually NO sacrament is given to a protestant in the Holy Church unless the person has repented and is baptised in the Holy Church.

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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #61 on: December 23, 2006, 01:45:12 AM »

I only know that He said " Leave them be; who is not against us are for us". This is in acts of the Apostles. He does not disregard those who worship in His name but are not in line with the apostolic authority. I do not interpet that reading as meaning that these people are also Christian. By Orthodox definition a Christian is a person who has excepted Christ as thier Lord and Savior and are baptised in accordance with the Holy Universal Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

All others are not Christian. These people can be considered or call themselves christians. that is not my concern. People can do all kinds of things without it being correct or proper.

I do not mean that these people are not worthy of salvation. I can not judge this. I am saying that they are outside the Holy Church which is Orthodox and thus NOT Christian. Thus Holy communion is not given to these people in the Holy Church. Actually NO sacrament is given to a protestant in the Holy Church unless the person has repented and is baptised in the Holy Church.

Is this the "official" Orthodox opinion? Didn't the early Church Fathers refer to the heterodox as "Christian heretics"? How can people of faith, who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, not be considered Christian - even if they are for the time-being outside the Church?
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« Reply #62 on: December 23, 2006, 02:50:16 AM »

I am astounded at the arrogance in this thread -- not that I have any place to judge, or anything  Tongue

Orthodoxy will survive whether or not we become ultra-Orthodox, anti-Christmas tree Christians or not.  Where is the faith in the gates of hell not prevailing?  I am not concerned with "saving Orthodoxy" against those "heathen pagans" any more than I am concerned about well... *insert something trivial here*.  I find it fascinating that some people think that if they don't teach their children "proper" Orthodox behavior that Orthodoxy will vanish off the face of the planet.  Not that I'm advocating not teaching your children, but really...I think Holy Orthodoxy will be just fine with or without a Christmas tree.

/end poorly written rant

As for your situation, aserb -- I probably would be off put if I had a child and s/he came home with a menorah they made at school, too.
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« Reply #63 on: December 23, 2006, 05:23:12 PM »

Oh I thought tha Carrey was Orthodox since he's apparently Greek (Othodox) but maybe not...
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« Reply #64 on: December 23, 2006, 05:34:05 PM »

O.K.

But thats for Him to say.

I only know that He said " Leave them be; who is not against us are for us". This is in acts of the Apostles. He does not disregard those who worship in His name but are not in line with the apostolic authority. I do not interpet that reading as meaning that these people are also Christian. By Orthodox definition a Christian is a person who has excepted Christ as thier Lord and Savior and are baptised in accordance with the Holy Universal Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

All others are not Christian. These people can be considered or call themselves christians. that is not my concern. People can do all kinds of things without it being correct or proper.

I do not mean that these people are not worthy of salvation. I can not judge this. I am saying that they are outside the Holy Church which is Orthodox and thus NOT Christian. Thus Holy communion is not given to these people in the Holy Church. Actually NO sacrament is given to a protestant in the Holy Church unless the person has repented and is baptised in the Holy Church.

The millions of devotees to CS Lewis will be shocked to learn that he was not a Christian.
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« Reply #65 on: December 23, 2006, 05:43:18 PM »

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All others are not Christian. These people can be considered or call themselves christians. that is not my concern. People can do all kinds of things without it being correct or proper.

This seems somewhat extreme, even by traditionalist standards. IIRC, even Justin Popovich didn't deny that, in some way, those outside the Orthodox Church were Christians.

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The millions of devotees to CS Lewis will be shocked to learn that he was not a Christian.

Very true. Lewis is one of the few modern Christian writers that Catholics, Orthodox, and (non-calvinistic) Protestants can all enjoy greatly. There are others (Chesterton, Pelikan, etc.), but Lewis is probably the best known one.
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« Reply #66 on: December 23, 2006, 07:13:08 PM »

I am astounded at the arrogance in this thread -- not that I have any place to judge, or anything  Tongue

Orthodoxy will survive whether or not we become ultra-Orthodox, anti-Christmas tree Christians or not.  Where is the faith in the gates of hell not prevailing?  I am not concerned with "saving Orthodoxy" against those "heathen pagans" any more than I am concerned about well... *insert something trivial here*.  I find it fascinating that some people think that if they don't teach their children "proper" Orthodox behavior that Orthodoxy will vanish off the face of the planet.  Not that I'm advocating not teaching your children, but really...I think Holy Orthodoxy will be just fine with or without a Christmas tree.

/end poorly written rant

As for your situation, aserb -- I probably would be off put if I had a child and s/he came home with a menorah they made at school, too.


I am sorry that you feel that "defending" the orthodoxy of the universal church is of no concern to you and that for people who are concerned with defending our orthodoxy are arrogent.

The Church is established by Christ for the rightious in Him on earth for us men (people) who are in Christ by His grace.

The gates will not prevail against it is because first It is His Body and His Blood and next becuase their will always be TRUE FAITHFUL in HIM (The Church) until He returns. This second part is prophetic. It says that God knows that His true beleivers even if they are the smallest group on earth; rather 5 or 10 or 1 million will remain true and unchanged in the lord no matter what. The greek term is "Orthodox" ...straight. true, doctrine.

It is much too cavalier and presumptious for you or anyone else to think that "we" can live with and accept conflicting behaviors and activities that are NOT the ways of the Holy fathers and yet still be orthodox (straight, true) people.

We can loose our orthodoxy. One person at the time.

Yes! you are right their will always be true orthodox faithful in the Holy Church which hell shall not prevail against. But that number may not inlcude you or your kids or me or my kids.

Thats the fear.

I am not of the beleif that simply being baptised and attending services in an orthodox church is the only duty of our lives in Christ's church on earth. The Holy Church is our home and this home is our life. It defines our whole life on earth. This life keeps us separated from the ills of this world and those who love the ills. We are thus orthodox based on all aspects of our lives not just sunday church services.

I must say we fool ourself if you think otherwise.

Allowing our kids as well as ourselves and others who are influnced by us to participate in activities and behaviors that were not designed to glorify God and were not the product of our Holy fathers is a dangerous practice.

Such is the cause of disallusionment and fall into secularism and a wordly life.

The Orthodoxy imparted to us by our fathers so provide for us that we may edify God correctly and properly in spirit and in truth to enrich ourselves in Him and His grace by removing ourselves from the ways of THIS world and freeing us from the prison of worldly lusts so that we may keep His great and immortal gift in us and un-tainted for those coming after us.

This takes hard work. A daily committal. a strong focus on what we include in our lives and what we do not. Being popular or accepted as such is not a requirement for us.

The current attitude of 'we can do what we want; it does not matter' which is seen with many orthodox particularly those who are very influenced by western traditions is a sign of the new age of acceptance among our ranks to individuality and self help we see so prominent among protestants and RC's today. If we track the progress of these two groups we can see today that they have very little connection to what they formelry were. They have migrated into very complex cristiosocio-econopathasies (my own word or 'neologism') which is to say: more centered on the world and how we can live better even feel better albeit in the name of God.

The decorated pine trees, flying reindeer, santa the elf, candy canes, wreaths, misle toe, fruit cakes, chest nuts roasting, jack frost, slay bells ringing, HO HO Ho, deck the halls...etc. All this stuff is very pretty and fun. But all lies at this time of fasting and advent and any other time.

These are blasphemous activities mainly because God is not and can not be glorified, edified nor worship within these colorful and fanciful highly appreciated and widely loved and excepted pagan activities and idolic symbols. Read about the Norse worship of winter with the pine trees, masks, yule logs, barn fires etc. All purely western as western can which may be O.K. but that they are heathen and pagen to the core is the problem. You can read many books today on this fact. There are people today who are now trying to take back these traditions to be seen for what they "really are". These are people who are fully faithful to the new up-surge in the religions of the Germanic past. They are putting out many more books and films and whatever they can to re-take what they call "their pagan religion" from those who are using these idolic elements as christian.

We see today that all kinds of people observe these traditions. Even the enemies of the Holy Church and the faith in Christ. I see people where I live spending hundreds of dollars on all these things with much favor and attention to detail. I know that certain of these people are heretics and God haters.

They say to me that "this is really not christian".

I am have to respond.."you are right".

If I say.. "it is" ..they say "show me in the bible santa and the north pole and frosty the snowman". I would have to.."say I can not".

I had one guy ask me... "is there even a church supported "canonical" tradition you can sight which establishes these activities as "church" sanctioned"? Then before I could answer that he said... "I do not mean a statement of approval from a bishop or two or three at some past point which the orthodox always site on different; I mean a true universal establishment like most orthodox tradtions" .. I said.."well put Sir". I must get back to you". I have'nt yet. But that happened long ago.

I learned this: I WILL NOT ALLOW MYSELF TO BE TAKEN APART LIKE THAT FROM A NON-BELEIVER EVER AGAIN. IF I CAN NOT SUPPORT THE ACTIVITY I UNDERTAKE WITH SOUND ORTHODOXY THEN I WILL NOT BE CAUGHT SUPPORTING IT.

I stopped putting up trees and all the other idolic elements that can be associated with pagans and loved by non-believers.

I also stopped telling the children the fantastic and foolish stories associated with these idols.

This was a personal choice.

The more I studied the origin of these things however the more concerned about them I became. I have not found anything good to date associated with these idols.

Maybe their was a chance for these idolic symbols and activities but if their were that chance is long gone.

I know everybody wants and loves these traditions and many I did not name and as I usually find I expect to get a beating for my view. I will say that I am sorry in advance only because this may be hurtful to some no matter how true my point is.

I do not want to hurt but help us all to protect our orthodoxy.

I want to help each person I know (and myself) see the path we must keep in order to be true to orthodoxy which is the life of those who are living on earth within the Church which is one Holy, universal and apostolic in the Lord Christ Jesus our Savior.

The menorah is a jewish symbol today yes. It is our duty to respect our neighbor and in that we must understand our differences and remain focused. And as I said; if we are going to protect the kids from the menorah than protect them from santa (during advent), from peter cotton tail (during resurrection or pascal) and from hallows-eve which occurs during the feasts of the Virgin Mary Mother of God in many orthodox communities.


Then read in scripture when Christ taught the apostles plainly "suffer the little children unto me"

How can that be done if little 'suzy' is in a witches costume because her orthodox parents thinks its cute and that they are in line with the other kids and what they want. Christ said "suffer" them. This is a charge that does not allow room for interpetation. It means even if it hurts.

God bless all during this advent time and may the fast be completed in safety and in
peace.

Dcn Amde Tsion

(Pronounced: Ah-m-deh  Se-yone)

« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 08:23:25 PM by Amdetsion » Logged

"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #67 on: December 23, 2006, 07:42:17 PM »

I do not know who CS Lewis is.

Is he Orthodox?

I have the impression that he is not.

Maybe those who would be surprised would be even more surprised that he is not a Christian by any Orthodox Communion on earth.

Thsi would be revealed as soon as he tries to partakeof the Body and blood of Christ in a true Orthodox Communion.

NO Orthodox priest whois in line with the Holy Church will administer communion to this person.

I imagine he is a bright guy who has allot of good teachings. I have read good teachings from various preachers and speakers which help with the faith in Christ.

I have yet to consider them Christians.

If the Orthodox Church recognize these people as correct Christians than I will also.

What bishop has accepted this person "Lewis"?

As Orthodox in my community the Church instructs on ALL matters of the faith. We thus are very cautious about reading and listening to people such as protestant preachers and the like. Thus as a practice, I do not read the writtings of modern day religious writters.

If these people reject the Holy fathers they reject me and what I stand for.

If they are so good and christian why are they outside the holy church?

I can not judge them. Christ is the judge.

I generally provide a common christian opinion and treatment to these people. But do not actual see them as Christian.
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #68 on: December 23, 2006, 10:22:10 PM »

The decorated pine trees, flying reindeer, santa the elf, candy canes, wreaths, misle toe, fruit cakes, chest nuts roasting, jack frost, slay bells ringing, HO HO Ho, deck the halls...etc. All this stuff is very pretty and fun. But all lies at this time of fasting and advent and any other time.

These are blasphemous activities mainly because God is not and can not be glorified, edified nor worship within these colorful and fanciful highly appreciated and widely loved and excepted pagan activities and idolic symbols. Read about the Norse worship of winter with the pine trees, masks, yule logs, barn fires etc. All purely western as western can which may be O.K. but that they are heathen and pagen to the core is the problem. You can read many books today on this fact. There are people today who are now trying to take back these traditions to be seen for what they "really are". These are people who are fully faithful to the new up-surge in the religions of the Germanic past. They are putting out many more books and films and whatever they can to re-take what they call "their pagan religion" from those who are using these idolic elements as christian.

Christ is born!

Amdetsion,

If you choose not to follow the Western custom of decorating a Christmas tree to celebrate the birth of Christ, that is your prerogative. However, any claim that such a practice is pagan exposes the superficial thinking that is found in modern Fundamentalism. Modern Fundamentalism is anti-history and quite foreign to Orthodoxy and does, in fact, fail to recognise the very ancient Christian practice of inculturation; the practice of transforming something that was previously pagan into that which is Christian; to the glory of God.   

For example, in 609, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon as the Church of Mary and the Martyrs. The Pantheon is one of the greatest architectural achievements of Rome, and it was built as a place of worship to honour all the Roman gods. In this step of transforming the Pantheon from a temple to all the gods to a church of all the martyrs, we see an ultimate act of inculturation. What was once a pagan temple becomes a Christian Church; to the glory of God.

There is also story of how St. Patrick, when preaching to some soon-to-be converted Irish Druids, was shown a sacred standing stone that was marked with a circle that was symbolic of the moon goddess. St Patrick made the mark of a Latin cross through the circle and blessed the stone making the first Celtic Cross. Celtic Christians didn't hesitate in seeing the circle of the Celtic Cross as a symbol of eternity that emphasises the endlessness of God's love as shown through Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  Here, a pagan symbol was Christianised; to the glory of God.

It is true that we also find pagan remnants in many Christian feasts; Halloween for instance. However, this merely shows that what was good and holy in pagan tradition always has found its home in Christian tradition.
 
Why was December the 25th chosen as the Feast of the Nativity of Christ? It is likely that early Christians saw the truths present in the pagan festivals of that time; above all the Natalis Invicti, or the feast of the ‘invincible’ sun, which was celebrated on the 25th itself. The Fathers of the Church, notably Cyprian, declared that this ‘anniversary of the invincible’ was made actual in Christ’s Birth; the only ‘invincible’ One and the Sun of Justice. In this act of inculturation, a pagan festival is overlaid with the Christian; to the glory of God.

Because of the ancient Christian practice of inculturation, decorating a tree to celebrate the Birth of Christ has nothing to do with anything that is either pagan or idolatrous. To claim it is, is to overlook the intention to glorify God. However, if you consider such an act would be sinful for yourself, you must follow your conscience – but in so doing, it might be advisable to leave others to follow theirs.

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« Reply #69 on: December 23, 2006, 11:26:48 PM »

The decorated pine trees, flying reindeer, santa the elf, candy canes, wreaths, misle toe, fruit cakes, chest nuts roasting, jack frost, slay bells ringing, HO HO Ho, deck the halls...etc. All this stuff is very pretty and fun. But all lies at this time of fasting and advent and any other time.

I do not see or comprehend how a fruit cake or mistletoe or pine trees or bells on a sleigh are "lies" rather then a food or plants or a musical bit of metal on a means of transport.  How does a food "lie" at any point in time?

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These are blasphemous activities mainly because God is not and can not be glorified, edified nor worship within these colorful and fanciful highly appreciated and widely loved and excepted pagan activities and idolic symbols. Read about the Norse worship of winter with the pine trees, masks, yule logs, barn fires etc.

May one ask what are your sources of information on the Norse and the customs of those people and of which part of their history?  Thank you.

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All purely western as western can which may be O.K. but that they are heathen and pagen to the core is the problem. You can read many books today on this fact. There are people today who are now trying to take back these traditions to be seen for what they "really are". These are people who are fully faithful to the new up-surge in the religions of the Germanic past. They are putting out many more books and films and whatever they can to re-take what they call "their pagan religion" from those who are using these idolic elements as christian.

And what books can you cite as sources for this information that you are putting forth, please? Why do you count any such works are trustworthy?  If you are referring to the "neo-pagans" how do you know that they are reliable sources as opposed to records of Christian customs, albeit perhaps "western Christian" ones that have come down through recorded history?

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We see today that all kinds of people observe these traditions. Even the enemies of the Holy Church and the faith in Christ. I see people where I live spending hundreds of dollars on all these things with much favor and attention to detail. I know that certain of these people are heretics and God haters.

How do *you* know that they are "God haters"? Why should your opinion of other Human Beings be accepted, please?

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They say to me that "this is really not christian".

I am have to respond.."you are right".

Why do you believe them?  What makes them correct?  An idea that one likes is not necessarily True.

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If I say.. "it is" ..they say "show me in the bible santa and the north pole and frosty the snowman". I would have to.."say I can not".

I had one guy ask me... "is there even a church supported "canonical" tradition you can sight which establishes these activities as "church" sanctioned"? Then before I could answer that he said... "I do not mean a statement of approval from a bishop or two or three at some past point which the orthodox always site on different; I mean a true universal establishment like most orthodox tradtions" .. I said.."well put Sir". I must get back to you". I have'nt yet. But that happened long ago.

Why would someone ask for Biblical evidence of something that did not exist until a song was written in 1950, which is to say "Frosty"?  In places where it snows, people have built snowmen or other sculptures and it's not limited to Christmas; what is wrong with doing that?  What is wrong with play? I'm sorry, but that does not make sense to me.  As to the North Pole, it exists as a geographical place even if it isn't mentioned in the Bible.  Japan isn't mentioned in the Scriptures either, nor Australia, nor many other things and places and customs on this planet, but why does that matter?  It doesn't make them wrong or evil because of that absence.

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The more I studied the origin of these things however the more concerned about them I became. I have not found anything good to date associated with these idols.

Again, I ask, what is the material that you have studied, please?  Can you give authors and titles and can their arguements and source material be tested?

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Maybe their was a chance for these idolic symbols and activities but if their were that chance is long gone.

Who are you to say that and on what authority please?

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I know everybody wants and loves these traditions and many I did not name and as I usually find I expect to get a beating for my view. I will say that I am sorry in advance only because this may be hurtful to some no matter how true my point is.

It is your opinion.  Others have other opinions.  On what grounds should your opinion be taken as true for all people in all places please?

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Then read in scripture when Christ taught the apostles plainly "suffer the little children unto me"

How can that be done if little 'suzy' is in a witches costume because her orthodox parents thinks its cute and that they are in line with the other kids and what they want. Christ said "suffer" them. This is a charge that does not allow room for interpetation. It means even if it hurts.

You seem to think that "Suffer" in this passage from the Gospel of Mark means pain and sorrow and unhappiness.  I have seen this misinterpretation before.  It means nothing of the kind.  The quote from Mark 10:14 is from the King James Version and reads

 "But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."

It is in the context of the disciples rebuking, that is to say being hard on people who had brought children to Our Lord for him to touch.  In the English of the early 1600's "Suffer" had the meaning of to "allow" or "permit" or "let".  This can be seen in the same passage in the Revised Standard Version:

"But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs."

and the New American Standard:
"But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

This does not mean doing things to children so that they "hurt" or are treated cruelly.  I'm sorry, but your interpretation of the passage and how it applies to real human beings is in error.  It is important to read scriptural passages in context in order to get the meaning more clearly, it would seem.

With respect

Ebor
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« Reply #70 on: December 23, 2006, 11:45:31 PM »

I do not know who CS Lewis is.

Perhaps you might want to find out a bit about him and what he wrote before you make any blanket statements about someone of whom you know nothing?

Clive Staples Lewis, author, scholar and Christian, an Anglican 1898-1963.

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I have yet to consider them Christians.

 Roll Eyes Sad

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Thus as a practice, I do not read the writtings of modern day religious writters.

That is your perogative.  But then you can hardly have any understanding or honest idea or opinion of them, I might suggest.

Ebor
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« Reply #71 on: December 23, 2006, 11:51:10 PM »

That is your perogative.  But then you can hardly have any understanding or honest idea or opinion of them, I might suggest.

Ebor,

You're wasting your breath. He won't listen. After all, you are not a Christian.  Wink
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« Reply #72 on: December 23, 2006, 11:55:26 PM »

Incidentally, Mr. Lewis has been dead 43 years, and his books continue to sell over a million copies a year. There are over 100 million copies of his Narnia books alone in print. Many thousands of people came to know Christ through his works.

He was (and is) a Christian's Christian.
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« Reply #73 on: December 24, 2006, 12:13:03 AM »

Incidentally, Mr. Lewis has been dead 43 years, and his books continue to sell over a million copies a year. There are over 100 million copies of his Narnia books alone in print. Many thousands of people came to know Christ through his works.

He was (and is) a Christian's Christian.

Completely off-topic, but it's not going to be the first post to be so.... I absolutely love C.S. Lewis' "Til We Have Faces".

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« Reply #74 on: December 24, 2006, 12:22:31 AM »

Completely off-topic, but it's not going to be the first post to be so.... I absolutely love C.S. Lewis' "Til We Have Faces".



It is a brilliant book and iirc Lewis himself thought that it was his best fictional work.

Ebor
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« Reply #75 on: December 24, 2006, 12:29:47 AM »

Ebor,

You're wasting your breath. He won't listen. After all, you are not a Christian.  Wink

 Smiley

To paraphrase Captain Barbossa "I'm disinclined to aquiesce to his opinion."

Ebor
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« Reply #76 on: December 24, 2006, 12:31:03 AM »

It is a brilliant book and iirc Lewis himself thought that it was his best fictional work.

Ebor

I must say that I totally agree with him. An amazing book. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #77 on: December 26, 2006, 02:16:23 PM »

O.K.

I see as usual that the love for paganism is strong based on the last few responses to my previous post.

I beleive that this is normal for sinners such as we all are.

I know I am a great sinner and I have had a hard time accepting (in pratice) the fruitful and rightious ways of our fathers on various matters. I have learned the hard way on some things and have simply conformed on others (without resistance) and on some I still struggle. I am thus no better than the next person.

I will as I hope anyone else would sher what I have learned. We each have to make choice on what we are ready to accept. And naming something "christian" is by no means acceptance.

Sound orthodoxy prevails.

This all seems reminisent of the Hebrews in the wilderness who after having been given certain things to keep from thier prior captivity and having been told to not look back at others failed when it mattered the most on both blessings. They took the things they could keep and gave them over to the Pagan Gods they were to ignor in great disrespect for God.

Today we want to believe we can arbitrarily drag pagan idolitry into the Holy Church because WE do not find it a problem. WE even challenge anyone who does not agree with this folly.

To state that pantheon is an example of something pagan being christianized is pointless. We all know that a bishop can consecrate a building and as such reneder it sacred. We know that a bishop such as St. Patrick who I hold in great respect (not like the drunken pagans (so-called christians) that consider themselves venerating him in the USA and other places with lehprocons and magic and booze); can take a pagan image of the sun worship and renew it making it symbolic of the sun (SON) of man Jesus Christ. These are clearly actions of the Holy Church and not common practice of lay people.

The cross was a pagan idolic symbol of death. Christ removed its pagan "practices" and established it in Him giving the cross the true power of God where anyone who beleives no longer keeps the OLD WAYS but are NEW. So Thus trhe cross is death for people who use it now along with the former "pratices" it represented in the past even if they have a belief in Christ.

Those who worshipped diannah and all the various gods associated with the pantheon after its christianization no longer keeps ANY of the previous practices. Everything is NEW in Christ.

All those who worshipped the sun once they were baptised in Christ are NEW; ALL things are NEW. The former lusts and practices once enjoyed are gone. Each person is now a new soul in Christ.

Thus we are to deny our former lives and remove ourselves from our former lusts.

Christ gives us a new life.

The decorating of trees and the fantastic dreams of gifts and magic which we teach our kids are from our former lusts. These pagan activities are not christianized with us they were left behind when we accepted God. As I said before I have not heard of any bishop or bishops who have established tree decorating, flying reindeer and all the other things named previously as "christian". These are local western pagan traditions that are still being praticed among people who are Christian. These christian people (not the Holy Universal and Apostolic Church) has maintained these pagan activities albeit with a "christianess".

Certain request for me to present authoritative back-up on my posts is anwered this way:

1. Read the teaching of the Holy Church on Advent.

2. Read on any website regarding the winter soltice celebrations. Type keyword: Christmas Trees, Wreaths etc. you will get all the info you need. BUT NONE of the information will point you to any teachings of the Orthodox Church. The common point of reference will be "pagan"

3. Ask your deacon or priest about the "christian origins" of the tree decorating etc.

4. The History Channel (USA) has a website for which I purchased a 2 hour video which details all of the so-called christmas traditions. I watched the whole thing already. ALL of the tradtions are secular and of pagan origins. See it for yourself.

Like the scripture teaches: 'Get wisdom get knowledge but of all your getting "get" understanding'.

The scripture also teaches: 'Study to make thyself worthy'...

As for CS Lewis; I do not know him as I said. And I may never know him since I am only drawn to teachings from the church fathers. People outside the Church may have good "chirstian" ideas or thoughts but they (the person) not of the Holy Church. I am hopeful that they find the true faith in Christ which can only be found in the Orthodox. We have the highest degree of understanding since we teach from the unbroken line from Christ to the present.

Also when I consider what the world knows as the anglican church; the CS Lewis (person) becomes more ignorable (for me). I have read the very sad story of how the world got we call the "anglican church". Quite an unfortunate situation. I surprised that intelligent people still connect with this situation.

I pray that those who learn from them will find Christ in all truth and His One Holy Universal and Apostlic Church Orthodox in the Lord. I recently met some former anglicans who are now Orthodox.


I pray that all who celebrated the nativity on Dec. 25, 2006 be blessed with a renewal and regeneration in the faith of Christ the savior of the world.

Peace

Dcn Amde Tsion
 
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« Reply #78 on: December 26, 2006, 04:59:46 PM »

What I find odd is that, apparently (for some), Christianity was able to take pagan things and "baptize" them for Christian use 1,500 years ago, but is unable to do so today. Perhaps Christianity is less potent or competent today, eh Amdetsion? I guess the Church is just stuck in the past now, unable to cope with the present, actively transforming society. Such a shame.

Quote
I do not know him as I said. And I may never know him since I am only drawn to teachings from the church fathers.

Ok, how about this one...

Quote
Into the life eternal the Holy Scriptures lead us, which teach us through divine words. But so long as our immaturity forbids our understanding their deep thought, we exercise our spiritual perceptions upon profane writings, which are not altogether different, and in which we perceive the truth as it were in shadows and in mirrors. Thus we imitate those who perform the exercises of military practice, for they acquire skill in gymnastics and in dancing, and then in battle reap the reward of their training. We must needs believe that the greatest of all battles lies before us, in preparation for which we must do and suffer all things to gain power. Consequently we must be conversant with poets, with historians, with orators, indeed with all men who may further our soul's salvation. Just as dyers prepare the cloth before they apply the dye, be it purple or any other color, so indeed must we also, if we would preserve indelible the idea of the true virtue, become first initiated in the pagan lore, then at length give special heed to the sacred and divine teachings, even as we first accustom ourselves to the sun's reflection in the water, and then become able to turn our eyes upon the very sun itself.

If, then, there is any affinity between the two literatures, a knowledge of them should be useful to us in our search for truth; if not, the comparison, by emphasizing the contrast, will be of no small service in strengthening our regard for the better one. With what now may we compare these two kinds of education to obtain a simile? Just as it is the chief mission of the tree to bear its fruit in its season, though at the same time it puts forth for ornament the leaves which quiver on its boughs, even so the real fruit of the soul is truth, yet it is not without advantage for it to embrace the pagan wisdom, as also leaves offer shelter to the fruit, and an appearance not untimely. That Moses, whose name is a synonym for wisdom, severely trained his mind in the learning of the Egyptians, and thus became able to appreciate their deity. Similarly, in later days, the wise Daniel is said to have studied the lore of the Chaldaeans while in Babylon, and after that to have taken up the sacred teachings. - Basil the Great, Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature
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« Reply #79 on: December 26, 2006, 05:27:50 PM »

Quote
it puts forth for ornament the leaves which quiver on its boughs
Ornaments on trees? ......Clearly a "lover of Paganism"! Wink
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« Reply #80 on: December 26, 2006, 06:20:10 PM »

What I find odd is that, apparently (for some), Christianity was able to take pagan things and "baptize" them for Christian use 1,500 years ago, but is unable to do so today. Perhaps Christianity is less potent or competent today, eh Amdetsion? I guess the Church is just stuck in the past now, unable to cope with the present, actively transforming society. Such a shame.

Asteriktos,

Fortunately, it is only a shame for some, as you so succinctly point out.

This is, of course, all down to perspectives. In his essay "Meditation In a Toolshed, C.S.Lewis offers this parable for two ways that people "see". Standing in his dark shed, he noticed a beam of light shooting through a crack. If he looked at the beam, all he saw was the light. If he looked along the beam, he saw through the light to the garden outside. Lewis compared these twin perspectives to the human capacity for objective analysis and subjective experience. Human beings view phenomena from either outside or inside, but not both simultaneously.

In his era, Lewis said, those who looked at things dominated. The analytical Modern viewpoint, in the words of the poet, Wordsworth, "murdered" experience in order to "dissect" it.

We have witnessed the overthrow of the Modern worldview, but those who still view the world through that lens, however, continue to look at not along; understanding art, poetry and myth - and even Christmas trees - primarily as vehicles of doctrine, which they presume to graph as one-to-one correspondences, i.e. the Star Wars' Force = Eastern religion, the magic in books like Narnia, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter connects precisely with dark supernatural powers, the Christmas tree somehow honours pagan deities that no Christian believes exists.

We witness this kind of thinking all the time, when Roman Catholics and the Orthodox are accused of idolatry for venerating holy statues and icons. Interestingly, though it has been suggested by Amdetsion that laypeople are somehow seperated from the Holy Church and have no say in such practices, it was due to laypeople that Iconoclasm was finally overthrown; and, as you are aware, the Empress Theodora (a layperson) is honoured every "Sunday of Orthodoxy".







« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 10:12:11 PM by Riddikulus » Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
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« Reply #81 on: December 27, 2006, 02:50:32 AM »

Daniel, Moses;

These people are Gods elect.

Who would question the work of these men?

Even Moses' sister was at deaths door due to her beligerent questions regarding Moses' Ethiopian Wife. Only his prayers loosed her from Gods rath.

The decorated tree, elves, wreaths and all the other so-called christian activities and idols are not a part of life today because of REAL Holy men.

These non-biblical advent idols are from pagans. NOT Holy men.

If the Church consecrated the trees and other pagan idols we see  piled up in and around peoples homes during advent than I would have no point. But the Holy Church has NOT.

You will never see an image of santa the elph and rudolph the red nose reindeer in an Orthodox Church sanctuary. If you do I suggest you find a real Orthodox Church to worship in. These images are pagan and donot belong around orthodox christians no matter what age they may be; in or outside the Church sanctuary.

Thus those who are into these things are doing them for themselves. These things are not Church sanctioned at all.

Maybe you CS Lewis lovers should request that he be sainted?

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« Reply #82 on: December 27, 2006, 04:08:14 AM »

You will never see an image of santa the elph and rudolph the red nose reindeer in an Orthodox Church sanctuary.
Good heavens! I've never seen a cow in an Orthodox Church Sanctuary either! I've been committing idolatry by eating beef all these years!
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« Reply #83 on: December 27, 2006, 04:46:44 AM »

OK I have to comment. This thread has gotten way off base from its original intent and I would like to request that it be shut down.

Thank You
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« Reply #84 on: December 27, 2006, 06:02:10 AM »

Done.
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