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Author Topic: Death to the World - The Last True Rebellion  (Read 3496 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: July 12, 2007, 02:09:55 AM »

 Wasn't sure where to post this one; I figured 'reviews' was appropriate. Anyway, I found this site about a month ago and then forgot about it and then found it again. It's a very interesting site with a very interesting look and design. It's largely inspired by the writings of Father Seraphim Rose, but has a lot of stories and quotes from and about many saints and topics. Check out the wallpaper section!

 www.deathtotheworld.com
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 02:12:29 AM by Jibrail Almuhajir » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2007, 08:35:34 AM »

What an interesting site.

One thing that keeps striking me, not maybe quite related to the topic of this site, but quoted in their "About Us" introduction... They call themselves "death to the world," and under "world," according to St. Isaac the Syrian, they mean all passions. Now... DEATH to all passions? Same important question, the one that has already been raised on this site a number of times: are passions by themselves sinful and thus to be killed, or are passions by themselves morally neutral and thus to be mastered, "bent for good?"
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2007, 09:31:54 AM »

What an interesting site.

One thing that keeps striking me, not maybe quite related to the topic of this site, but quoted in their "About Us" introduction... They call themselves "death to the world," and under "world," according to St. Isaac the Syrian, they mean all passions. Now... DEATH to all passions? Same important question, the one that has already been raised on this site a number of times: are passions by themselves sinful and thus to be killed, or are passions by themselves morally neutral and thus to be mastered, "bent for good?"

"Death to the world" and "Death to the passions" does not mean killing the world or the passions, it is referring to mortification, that is, to be as though we are dead to the world.
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2007, 09:43:36 AM »

"Death to the world" and "Death to the passions" does not mean killing the world or the passions, it is referring to mortification, that is, to be as though we are dead to the world.

Exactly. Though "Mortification to the passions" is not nearly as eye-catching. Wink
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2007, 09:58:24 AM »

Honestly, I still do not quite understand it. Do I have to kill (or mortify), say, all sexual passions in me, or do I, rather, have to use them for a good purpose (i.e., to strengthen my marriage, to make my wife and all family happy)?
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2007, 10:20:47 AM »

Honestly, I still do not quite understand it. Do I have to kill (or mortify), say, all sexual passions in me, or do I, rather, have to use them for a good purpose (i.e., to strengthen my marriage, to make my wife and all family happy)?
Again, it's not about killing anything. It's about dying to the world. It's about the goal of "dispassion" or "apethia". It means to be in charge of the passions so much that we are unmoved by their influence and attempts to control us. For example, to be so in control of our anger that we can be gravely insulted without seeking revenge or to defend our self. In other words, it is as though we are dead to the passion of anger.

Exactly. Though "Mortification to the passions" is not nearly as eye-catching. Wink
Exactly!
The original 'zine "Death to the World" has the same target audience as the book "Youth of the Apocalypse", that is, contemporary young adults.
Personally, I find working with young adults both challenging and a good way of staying honest. Young adults don't let you get away with hypocrisy, and demand truth above all else. But getting their attention in the first place is difficult. "Death to the World" as a title combined with pictures of Orthodox Monasticism, (which, if you think about it, is fundamentally counter-cultural, just like many truth seeking young adults) is a powerful attention grabber. I actually have been subscribed to "Death to the World" magazine for a few years, and it's content is just as raw and challenging as it's title, so it's not "phoney" or "false advertising".
The editors are Fr. John Mahler (author of "Youth of the Apocalypse"), Fr. John Damascene (author of "Not of This World- The Life and Teachings of Fr. Seraphim Rose" and "Christ the Eternal Tao"), and Mother Neonilla. All three were Punks before their conversion to Orthodoxy, and have been called the "Punks turned monks". The great thing is, none of them rely on recalling their previous "punk lives" to gain credibility with young people. They know how to talk to young people without patronizing them- which is a great skill to have.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 10:28:25 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2007, 03:49:52 PM »

Though I agree with Heorhij and Ozgeorge in principle (I, too, feel the subject of sex has been beaten to death, here and elsewhere). But, in the interest of not condemning to oblivion what still has the potential to be an excellent discussion despite its tangents, I will return to a review of the following article from this website.

http://www.deathtotheworld.com/articles/014/ofig/ofig.html
“We all now live and walk in the shadow of death, for death is not across the seas,
but is right behind each of us.” -Saint Anthony

This world, full of procrastination and apathy, offers mankind vain ways out of death. The nihilistic machine promises that death is not around the corner from us, but rather is very far away. We are told that we are safe in our neighborhoods; suburbia has become some sort of false haven where death does not exist. This ignorance towards our end has left us rotting inside. Although we might buy into the world’s ‘everlasting beauty’, our souls have become leprous and sinful, rotting like a tomb. We go about our lives without a care, not ever thinking that this day might be our last. Inside we are being eaten alive by worms and our bodies, although they might look young on the outside, give off the foul stench of a rotting corpse. When we ignore this stench and assume that death is very far away, we fail to prepare for it. We buy into the world’s procrastination and think that we can just choose God on our death bed. This is a popular and atrocious lie. Blinded by this world’s procrastination we fail to see reality. But don’t we all know that both the young and the old die and return to their dust? The truth is that we do not know the hour or the day in which death will come to our doors. There is no way to run from it; today could be our last. What will happen then, when the soul is ripped from the body? The soul will remember the sins and temptations of its past life, bitterly sorrowing over every irretrievable day which passed without benefit. Now, when the weakness of the flesh is constrained by the corruption of the tomb, the soul will be lost not knowing where to go. The failure to prepare for this separation from the body will torment the soul and leave it in despair, without its Creator. Remember that death can come at any hour and so begin to prepare for it. Die to the things of this world, so that when you die your soul does not die.

“This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in your vain pursuits.”-Saint Isaac of Syria

I love both the quotations from the saints. Death is a reality; we ought not pursue it, but it definitely pursues us. We cannot escape from it; we all must face our mortality. But that doesn't stop us from trying.

I love the insight this article has about suburbia. Here is a land of excess--giant houses, enormous SUVs, alarm systems, in-ground pools. All the comforts of kings are available for a monthly fee. All of this we have as a type of fantasy, an escape from the reality that we are frail, subject to sickness, sorrow and death. It's amazing how so many view violent films as a type of catharsis, as if seeing false deaths helps us to better imagine our invincibility.

As one who grew up in suburbia, I experience these delusions myself. I know I am not nearly prepared to deal with death when it comes. I am far too reliant on comforts. When my power goes out, I find myself plagued by boredom. I've become dependent on electricity.

This is an amazing article, full of practical wisdom. We would all do well to live with these things in mind.
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2007, 08:39:40 PM »

Heorhij,
I am sorry that our moderator feels that way. I won't post anymore to this thread, too. Forgive me.
Unless I'm writing in green font on the forum, I'm not speaking as a moderator. I'm not trying to moderate this thread, it was simply going off in in a direction I wasn't interested in as a poster.

Jibrail Almuhajir,

Hey, don't be that way. This is, afterall, a legitimate subject.
Absolutely, it's a legitimate question. But the libido is discussed in so many threads in so many sections of the forum that I think it has ample room to be discussed other than in a thread in the Book and Article Review section of the forum.
And I'm sure the whole thread won't be about this passion. There are a whole range of passions that I hope we'll touch on. And I, for one, enjoy your insights. I hope you'll reconsider.
I'm not even sure this thread is even about the passions. The subject came up merely because the title of the publication needed explaining. The thread is not about the passions, but rather a publication.

ytterbiumanalyst,
This is an amazing article, full of practical wisdom. We would all do well to live with these things in mind.
That's what I was saying about the raw content of "Death to the World" matching it's raw title. The title is an attention-grabber for sure, but in my opinion it's an attention-grabber designed to direct readers to attention-grabbing articles. Those who are familiar with the book "Youth of the Apocalypse" will recognise this article: http://www.deathtotheworld.com/lot/lives/martyrnestor/martyrnestor.html which deals with an issue which was raised in this thread- defending those we love as a Christian, but places it in the context of the greater spiritual battle in the world. If people would just read the publication and comment on it's content, rather than offer their own opinions on these topics with no reference to the publication, then this thread would have a legitimate existence in my opinion. But if the thread is just going to be used as a soapbox for people to air their completely unrelated opinions about anything, then what's the point? Well done ytterbiumanalyst in attempting to redeem this thread from the latter fate. I hope it works.
For me, reading "Death to the World" awakens the zeal I felt in my youth which, now, in my middle age, I can direct in more reflective and hopefully wise and temperate ways. I think "Death to the World" is inadvertently an excellent publication for my age group (40's). If I'm going to have a mid-life crisis, I would rather it's energy be directed in reclaiming the spiritual fire of my youth rather than being sublimated into buying a sports car. 
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 09:09:36 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2007, 11:45:27 PM »

Death to the World.  Yeah, yeah, great articles and all, but have you seen their way cool t-shirts?
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2007, 01:01:28 AM »

The thread is not about the passions, but rather a publication.
Technically, quite true. But the introductory article (under 'About Us') is a quote from St. Isaac the Syrian, which they used to describe the websites's raison d'etre. And since the article (where the editors got their inspiration for the title) is about subdoing one's passions, it stands to reason that in talking about the publication, talk about the passions must inevitably come up. As for me posting it in the book and article review, that's where I initially thought it should be. But I see now that I should have put more thought into it and maybe put it in the Faith section. As the moderator, feel free to do so as this would be a better choice.

 The articles they choose are indeed raw, as is the design and layout. It shocks you when you first encounter it. And although I initially thought they could have had a more wider circulation had they went about a different look, I see now that it is quite intentional and well thought out. I'd even say quite brilliant. As ytterbiumanalyst points out in diagnosing our present situation,
Here is a land of excess--giant houses, enormous SUVs, alarm systems, in-ground pools. All the comforts of kings are available for a monthly fee. All of this we have as a type of fantasy, an escape from the reality that we are frail, subject to sickness, sorrow and death. It's amazing how so many view violent films as a type of catharsis, as if seeing false deaths helps us to better imagine our invincibility.
we have a definate need for this type of medium.

 Ozgeorge, how long have you subscribed to this publication? And have you found it helpful on your path to Theosis?
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2007, 01:40:06 AM »

One thing punks have going for them is that their anarchical tendencies want to put to death (whether for real is dabatable, mostly, just counter-culturally in themselves and their social millieu) all the bs of suburbia.
So, the zine was designed to tap into that but say, hey, it's not just your personal reaction to this middle class thing whether for principled reasons (its inherent selfishness, the people left out or left behind) or for personal reasons (you weren't popular in school or the jocks made fun of you) but there is a far bigger reason to reject all this worldliness. If you want to be truly counter-cultural, try on the gospel, try on the sermon on the mount, try on the ascetic disciplines of the Orthodox Church.

I, like Ozgeorge, find that it challenges me to keep swimming upstream against the current of my social environment. I'm a little older than he, but too often I find my real concerns are about accomplishing a few more fulifilling things I might not yet have accomplished (before it's too late - not in terms of death but in terms of social relevance), saving for a comfortable retirement, getting the kids completely out of the nest and situated, hoping for grandchildren, exercising obsessively to stave off looking my age, still being too materialistic, etc.

In that regard, I need a lot of mortification and dying to the world.

If the punks can take their outlook straight to the heart of Orthodoxy and truly experience death to the world, their counter-cultural inclination might become truly counter-cultural through the Church and they may bypass some of the things that hold me back.

We just have too much stuff and are too invested in the culture and the world. Whether one is a punk or not, if through the disciplines of the Faith, they can die to the world and some of its claims, from a young age and continue moving forward (and not re-invest in the culture with a passion, like my "hippie" generation did) they will be better off.
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2007, 03:03:16 AM »

MODERATORIAL NOTE:

As a favor to Gabriel to allow for fuller discussion of a side issue, I split the side discussion on the passions into its own thread and moved the new thread, "Death to the Passions?", to the Faith Issues board.  (Follow this link to the new thread:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12131.0.html)  This explains the cross-referencing of posts that no longer exist on this thread.  My apologies for any confusion this may cause.

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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2007, 07:35:45 AM »

So, the zine was designed to tap into that but say, hey, it's not just your personal reaction to this middle class thing whether for principled reasons (its inherent selfishness, the people left out or left behind) or for personal reasons (you weren't popular in school or the jocks made fun of you) but there is a far bigger reason to reject all this worldliness. If you want to be truly counter-cultural, try on the gospel, try on the sermon on the mount, try on the ascetic disciplines of the Orthodox Church.
Excellent points, and well stated!

I, like Ozgeorge, find that it challenges me to keep swimming upstream against the current of my social environment. I'm a little older than he, but too often I find my real concerns are about accomplishing a few more fulifilling things I might not yet have accomplished (before it's too late - not in terms of death but in terms of social relevance), saving for a comfortable retirement, getting the kids completely out of the nest and situated, hoping for grandchildren, exercising obsessively to stave off looking my age, still being too materialistic, etc.
Youth is wasted on the young! I find it so disheartening to see many of the youth of today either conforming to the values of the world, obsessed with security and acquisitiveness, as though the fire has already gone out in their souls so as to make them industry fodder, or else, unable to bear the dissonance between their ideals and the world, and sinking into despair and depression.
Youth today are simply seen as a market by the world to be exploited. Advertising directed towards this market is geared entirely to making them believe they can achieve their dreams buy buying certain products and services- as though owning an iPhone will make you some kind of demi-god...... In reality, their ideals are simply twisted beyond recognition to the point where even they begin to believe that this is precisely what they want.
But one of the most striking things about the young people I have met in recent times is their love of truth and of what is genuine. Like I've said before, I could never get away with hypocrisy around young people. You have to walk the talk around them, or they'll run you out of town.
An all-night vigil at our local monastery has the genuineness and authenticity which young people today seek, and for this reason, it's always the first introduction to Orthodox Christianity our very wise and beloved Abbot gives to young people inquiring into Orthodox Christianity.
The trick with youth is not to patronize them, not to try and be cool and dress Christianity up to look like a "cool dude". They'll see through it like Grandma's underwear, and if they don't, then it's only because "Christianity" has been presented to them as just another product they need in order to conform, not to Christ, but to the world.
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2007, 08:28:47 AM »

Youth is wasted on the young indeed!
Combine their energy and zeal with us oldsters' little bit of knowledge of the ways of the world and hopefully some genuine wisdom and great things could be accomplished - personally and in term sof society.

On the other hand, imagine combining the energy and zeal of youth with an older generation's knowledge and worldly "wisdom" for sinful purposes - some serious evil could occur from that!

So allowing our mortality to continually "close in" on us as we age, so that we do age,(rather than live vital lives with youthful enegy for three score and ten then dropping like a fly) was a good call on God's part.
Not to mention the fact that the regret over lost opportunites in the foolishness of youth and nostalgia for having that kind of zeal and energy humbles us and therefore aids us on the path of theosis.
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2007, 09:02:07 AM »

Excellent points, and well stated!
Youth is wasted on the young! I find it so disheartening to see many of the youth of today either conforming to the values of the world, obsessed with security and acquisitiveness, as though the fire has already gone out in their souls so as to make them industry fodder, or else, unable to bear the dissonance between their ideals and the world, and sinking into despair and depression.

I'm hearing echoes of Brave New World in your voice.

The trick with youth is not to patronize them, not to try and be cool and dress Christianity up to look like a "cool dude". They'll see through it like Grandma's underwear, and if they don't, then it's only because "Christianity" has been presented to them as just another product they need in order to conform, not to Christ, but to the world.

It's amazing how so many "relevant" churches do turn to advertisement to keep people. There's a local church near my house that has a billboard advert that shows a grammophone next to an iPod and proclaims, "Times have changed; so has church." What I find remarkable is not that they feel the church needs to change (I've learned to take that for granted with Protestants and only be amazed when they say it shouldn't), but that they are advertising the iPod along with their church. I've also seen many church marquees recently which advertise Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and MasterCard. Yep, religion is just another product to this generation.
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2007, 02:23:41 PM »

What an attractive site! Just blogged it.
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2007, 12:10:07 AM »

In another thread in the Reviews section of the forum, Frederica Mathews-Green's article "The Wounded Torturer" is discussed. Her article discusses the horrific experiences of brainwashing and torture of Romanian Priest, Fr. George Calciu under the “Pitesti Experiment”. For those who may be interested, in "Death to the World" there is an interview with Fr. George Calciu in which he describes his experiences entitled: "The Anti-humans and the Re-education Experiment".
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2007, 01:29:15 AM »

In another thread in the Reviews section of the forum, Frederica Mathews-Green's article "The Wounded Torturer" is discussed. Her article discusses the horrific experiences of brainwashing and torture of Romanian Priest, Fr. George Calciu under the “Pitesti Experiment”. For those who may be interested, in "Death to the World" there is an interview with Fr. George Calciu in which he describes his experiences entitled: "The Anti-humans and the Re-education Experiment".
I read it with rapt attention. Can you imagine having to go thru something like that? We have it so easy these days. Especially in Western countries. I remember reading another story about a Vietnamese man during their countries communist times. I don't remember how, but he had become a Christian earlier. But the communist re-education classes almost killed the flame of Christ in his heart. That is until one day his supervisor put him on latrine duty. As he was cleaning, he noticed in the trash can a piece of paper with English writing. He pulled that piece of paper out and had to wash off human excrement to read it (he'd also learned English previously). It was a torn out page from the Bible with the words of Christ telling him that all who drink from the well will thirst again but all who drink of him will never thirst. The next day he volunteered for latrine duty and again, found a page from the Bible in the trash with excrement smeared all over it. Apparently, the man's supervisor had been given a Bible and was ripping the pages out and using them for toilet paper. And each night, this young man would reverently clean off the excrement and read the pages by flashlight, knowing that to be caught would've possibly have been the end for him. A week or so later, he hatched a plan to escape Vietnam and flee to Thailand or Malaysia. One day, a group of soldiers accosted him, shoving him against a wall and asked, "Are you trying to escape?" "No, comrades.", came his reply. Later that night in his bed, he read more Holy Scripture. This time it was about loving the Lord with all your heart. He resolved that if accosted again, he wouldn't lie but tell them about Jesus. The next day, sure enough, this same group of soldiers grabbed him again and asked the same question. This time, the young man admitted that yes, he was planning on escaping. To his surprise, the soldiers begged him to take them with him. And not only that, they too were Christians, risking all they had, as well as their very lives. Long story short, they did escape. Some made it to Thailand and other neighboring countries, while a few others, including the young man, made it to America. I can't remember where I heard or read this story, but it is very inspiring and uplifting. As well as accusatory for those like me who are lazy and genuinely unrepentant.

 I guess two things came up when I read these stories (and others like it). As the question goes, if I was arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? Would I be like St. Peter and deny my savior, or would I pray for a martyr's death? The other thing that comes up, especially when reading the articles in Death to the World, is- am I doing enough (or anything for that matter) to subdue my passions? Up till now, I've enjoyed a fairly hedonistic lifestyle. Now, I've started praying for the gift of tears and for the Holy Spirit to crush my stony heart so that He can rebuild it.

 In Christ,
 Gabriel
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2007, 01:36:59 AM »

Would I be like St. Peter and deny my savior, or would I pray for a martyr's death?
Remember, though, that at the end St. Peter was crucified for his Savior.
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2007, 02:05:36 AM »

I guess two things came up when I read these stories (and others like it). As the question goes, if I was arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? Would I be like St. Peter and deny my savior, or would I pray for a martyr's death?

I think there is a much more insidious form of martyrdom going on today. Christianity (by which I mean, the real Christianity of the Church of Acts) is starting to be seen as "anti-social", "anti-progress", "counter-cultural", and even "treasonous". Anyone who lives the love for their enemies which the Gospel demands is labelled "traitor". Anyone who publicly proclaims that they believe God became Incarnated and entered human history is ridiculed as naive, a simpleton, a believer of fantasies and wives tales. And nowhere is safe from this. Only just now a poster on this very forum stated that:
Those who view Christianity, in any substantial form, as anything other than an Imperial Cult are simply living in a fantasy land.
Only those who manage to die to the world and who value something greater than the world will be able to have their faith (and integrity) survive this onslaught. "Death to the World- The Last True Rebellion" is not just a catchy title, it's a reality.
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« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2007, 02:39:58 PM »

Death to the World is one of the best sites out there, and I hope it becomes a bigger movement, especially in California where it started. 
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