Author Topic: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts  (Read 2282 times)

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Offline minasoliman

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OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« on: December 18, 2015, 02:08:28 PM »
I would like this to be a replacement to the POM nominations we had.  If you have a post you like that you think is edifying, worthy of people's attention to read, post it here.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline nothing

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 02:12:56 PM »
I wonder if an exorcist would help this person?
“Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

Romans 3:13

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 02:19:01 PM »
Thank you for this, Mina.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 03:02:58 PM »
This was POM nominated by Carl Kraeff a while ago:

Clergy directly represent the Church....and more-so their Bishop.

If a bishop were to attend such a wedding, it would be scandalous....therefore, the priest, who stands in for the bishop at the parish level, is also barred by the bishop from such an event.

The laity, are not under such restrictions because each individual does not hold the same position within the Church as the bishop, and his representative, the priest.

However, we are all called to be saintly, and to exemplify all that is good and kind....and people will judge the Church by our actions, words and deeds.  It is for us to be a good example.  We know what we ought to do.  Our conscience guides us.

If you even have the slightest reservation about SSM events, or anything....then perhaps you ought not do it.  If you feel you might lose a friendship by not attending an SSM event....well...was there ever a true friendship to begin with?  If the other person cannot respect you sticking to your beliefs, then they aren't really a friend.

....and to answer


And, Maria, I cannot say for you, but is your faith really something that can be denied by going to a gay wedding?  Is God as Creator denied by it?  Is the Begottenness of the Logos denied by it?  Is the Incarnation of Christ denied by it?  Is the birth via the Theotokos denied by it?  Is the suffering under Pontius Pilate denied by it?  Does it deny the death of Christ?  Does it deny His Resurrection?  Does it deny Does it deny His ascension?  Does it deny His seat by the Father?  Does it deny His imminent return?  Is the everlasting nature of His Kingdom denied by it?  Is the Lord, the giver of life denied by it?  Is the procession of the Spirit from the Father denied by it?  Does it deny that the Spirit spoke by the Prophets?  Does it deny that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic?  Does it deny the one baptism?  Does it deny the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come?

God isn't denied by attending a SSM wedding, however, if you follow the teachings of the Church, and the Church doesn't recognize or support an activity, then it is in YOUR best interest to abstain from that activity.

This holds true for all things that go against Church teachings.  If you are fasting, do not attend a gala banquet, because it will be difficult for you to hold to your fast.

If you are trying to remain chaste, do not watch movies that are X-rated, look at porn, etc.  Why open yourself to temptation.

Why take the chance, that through your participation in something, you might actually stumble, or perhaps even water down your own faith, and allow a chink to develop in your armor.

This is a thin line....and it is up to each individual to make their own decisions, knowing full well that one day we will all stand before the Lord and answer for our actions, words and deeds.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 08:07:46 PM »

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2015, 03:50:37 PM »
But we can repent for our sins and we can redeem this sins with good deeds, then we will not go to hell, but go to the Kingdom of God.
Your statements imply penal substitution and merits, both of which are rejected by Orthodoxy.

If the reason we go to hell is to pay the price of our sins, that means that the reason Christ dies is to appease a God who must have satisfaction, a "god" who must punish someone for the sake of justice.

We don't "redeem" our sins with good works. It isn't as though they cancel one another out. We repent of our sins and God forgives them because He is merciful. When we do good deeds, we are not meriting anything; we are merely doing what we are supposed to be doing, just as a servant doing what there master commands isn't going above and beyond, but is merely doing his duty.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2015, 06:01:39 PM »
Don't let doctrines and theology wear you down.  I think we tend to like to think systematically and compartmentalize our beliefs, when in fact, our beliefs should be connected to the way we should be and the way we behave, in the way we have our relationships, as you yourself I can imagine desire.  For some time, as a child, I tended to be confused as to what the Trinity is because I just wanted to conceptualize my mind on something, rather than live a life of experience and relationship in something.  As St. Paul describes the Trinity so perfectly here:

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8 )

1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
(Galatians 4)

As you said perfectly, love is about thinking of the other before yourself.  And even more than that, love is about the giving of the self.  Now, as you put it earlier, God is transcendent, and it is difficult to describe him.  But we describe God as a relationship, not as a "thing" that can be grasped conceptually.  If God is perfect love, then God gives His whole self to us.  Clearly, we become adopted into His divinity.

But more importantly, we do not dwell on thought of inheriting infinity as if to receive some glory we can brag about.  That does take away from the beauty behind our relationship with Love.  What we can enjoy is the fact that to "become God" is not to become infinite or omniscient or omnipresent, but to be Love, and to exude this Love to all others.  He made me a Son and a co-heir of Love by having His Spirit of Love dwell in me.  Love showed Himself in human form, that this flesh I have which was once alone living in selfish wants now can be used as a means of living in Godly fulfillment.  This limited, weak, ignorant flesh is the means by which I partake of the infinite, omnipotent, and all-knowing Love.  The narrative is powerful because the narrative is true not just in existential ways, but also in every manner possible as true, that there should be no weakness of any falsehood be found in it, that it may not scandal those who have put their hopes in Love.

And since God is forever transcendent, we are forever his children, that in such a manner that He gives Himself to us completely in Love, we cry out to him as any one who is most intimately sharing in that Love in the most appropriate title, "Abba, Father".

I know you find it superfluous to care whether the narrative is true.  But I do pray that in finding how true it is in your own personal relationship that it may enlighten you to accept its truth in other, more literal aspects.  Perhaps, you can pray to the Father and share with him that you are truly selfless, that you do not care much about whether to live in some sort of eternal glory as if to gain some sort of riches in an earthly sense, but to just share your life eternally in Love, simple as it sounds, and yet profound with infinite joy as it contains.

And, actually, if I could, I would post the whole thread for the unique and exemplary way Mina has been inviting and handling discussion.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Ainnir

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2015, 07:50:23 PM »
^^ Beautiful.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2015, 10:38:23 PM »
Don't let doctrines and theology wear you down.  I think we tend to like to think systematically and compartmentalize our beliefs, when in fact, our beliefs should be connected to the way we should be and the way we behave, in the way we have our relationships, as you yourself I can imagine desire.  For some time, as a child, I tended to be confused as to what the Trinity is because I just wanted to conceptualize my mind on something, rather than live a life of experience and relationship in something.  As St. Paul describes the Trinity so perfectly here:

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8 )

1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
(Galatians 4)

As you said perfectly, love is about thinking of the other before yourself.  And even more than that, love is about the giving of the self.  Now, as you put it earlier, God is transcendent, and it is difficult to describe him.  But we describe God as a relationship, not as a "thing" that can be grasped conceptually.  If God is perfect love, then God gives His whole self to us.  Clearly, we become adopted into His divinity.

But more importantly, we do not dwell on thought of inheriting infinity as if to receive some glory we can brag about.  That does take away from the beauty behind our relationship with Love.  What we can enjoy is the fact that to "become God" is not to become infinite or omniscient or omnipresent, but to be Love, and to exude this Love to all others.  He made me a Son and a co-heir of Love by having His Spirit of Love dwell in me.  Love showed Himself in human form, that this flesh I have which was once alone living in selfish wants now can be used as a means of living in Godly fulfillment.  This limited, weak, ignorant flesh is the means by which I partake of the infinite, omnipotent, and all-knowing Love.  The narrative is powerful because the narrative is true not just in existential ways, but also in every manner possible as true, that there should be no weakness of any falsehood be found in it, that it may not scandal those who have put their hopes in Love.

And since God is forever transcendent, we are forever his children, that in such a manner that He gives Himself to us completely in Love, we cry out to him as any one who is most intimately sharing in that Love in the most appropriate title, "Abba, Father".

I know you find it superfluous to care whether the narrative is true.  But I do pray that in finding how true it is in your own personal relationship that it may enlighten you to accept its truth in other, more literal aspects.  Perhaps, you can pray to the Father and share with him that you are truly selfless, that you do not care much about whether to live in some sort of eternal glory as if to gain some sort of riches in an earthly sense, but to just share your life eternally in Love, simple as it sounds, and yet profound with infinite joy as it contains.

And, actually, if I could, I would post the whole thread for the unique and exemplary way Mina has been inviting and handling discussion.

Yeah it is patronizing with the required lack of engagement in real debate and prerequisite appeal to pious clap trap that manages some how to be less clear than nothing's posts.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2015, 10:39:36 PM by orthonorm »
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 05:23:26 PM »
I was deeply involved in Orthodox Judaism for about two years. After my inevitable falling out of my Jewish faith, it took over a year of strong atheism and spiritual confusion to get me back into a religious life.

Now, I've been Christian for a few months longer than the time when I was Jewish. My hope now is, of course, that I may Christ for the remainder of my life.

I'd like to think that one of the reasons why I've lasted as long as I have, given my predilection for obsession and other overzealous behavior, is that I explained to my spiritual father these unhealthy tendencies and we worked through a program of gradually acquiring the Faith. I checked in and continue to check in with him regularly, to assess how I was responding to any sort of new practice introduced and whether or not it was truly contributing to my spiritual growth or simply adding psychological stress to some unrealistic fantasy of "being religious."

It depresses me all the more, then, when I see people, especially those in their young adulthood (as I was when I first became religious), time and time again follow the same expected trajectory:

1) Nominally or non-religious

2) Hyper religious with unchecked zeal

3) Heavy doubt coupled with despondency, inevitably leading to...

4) Nebulous religious identity kept only out of the shame of being perceived as a complete failure, and finally:

5) Hard atheism and materialism


I really don't think we, as a religious community, do enough to combat this vicious cycle that plagues the lives of so many people who could live healthy and spiritually enriching lives. We discount the need for spiritual guidance. We insist on the acceptance certain tenants or political beliefs that are, at best, incidental to the core faith. We don't properly address the very real needs of people who come to the faith from atypical backgrounds. We attempt to fit ourselves and others into the "Orthodox mindset" without properly examining the minds we wish to conform.

I guess I don't really have any profound solutions to these issues. It just distresses me so to see people, whether online or in real life, go through this cycle time and time again. We're so hard on ourselves and each other, that we miss addressing these problems while the spirit is still willing. Often, we only see the signs of overzealous behavior and spiritual toxicity in hindsight. People are ashamed to bring up the issues that they find disagreeable or feel challenged by. There's a pressure to conform, immediately. Pastoral care for the individual is often an afterthought in the realm of lofty ideas of "correct stances."

That's all for now...
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2015, 01:55:35 AM »
No fear mongering here.  The plain truth is that families are a mess.  I know because part of my job is to assist in the clean up.

As for the rest of what you said, it seems you are tossing together a whole bunch of disparate topics which all could be developed into their own threads.  If you'd like to engage them, then please start new threads for them.

Never did I make a single definition of normative marriage, though I believe every society does.  Even in our age, we are struggling to make new definitions even while the latest fad is to 'do away' with them.  In the end, however, the passions always win.  Jealousy, insecurity, and all the rest take over.

My comment about romance seemed to have confused you, which is uunderstandable considering how many conversations you are trying to maintain here.  It is in reference to the concept of "attraction" which is the subject of conversion therapy.   The problem is that when attraction becomes the centerpiece rather than a component of the equation, the overall balance is thrown.

It goes back again to the conflicting notions of 'appetites' versus 'attractions'.  The former is internalized, whereas the latter is externalized.  Classical thought settled on the former, and understood sexuality as an appetite that should not interfere with marriage, which goes against most modern conceptualization of marriage, particularly the newer generation of culture warriors, but also those demanding 'gay marriage' and all the latest trends.

I just don't think it is possible to have a reasonable discussion about the topic until we have a better grip on the longer history of humanity and stop using the very new concept of psychology.  I'm not against psychology per se, but I don't like to theologies it nor assume it is the single operating factor in either marriage or sexuality.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2016, 07:32:33 PM »
In case almost none of you read the article, as seems to be the case, the priest did not call Jesus a bastard.  He instead was summarizing the position of many opponents of Christianity in the first few centuries.  "All of which was intended as an insult: Jesus was a bastard." If I were to start describing the views of Nazis during WWII, and then said "All of which was intended to mean: Hitler should win the war," would that mean that I, personally, support Hitler, or that the people I'm discussing support Hitler?

Further, as seen at the end of the article, his point is not "Jesus is a bastard" (though, as was mentioned, technically he was: according to Oxford Dictionary, a bastard is "A person born of parents not married to each other," which is true of Jesus, unless you want to get into an interesting and disturbing line of thought).  Rather, his point is "So what if he was?"

@Mods, what about sticking this thread?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2016, 07:36:44 PM »
Maybe first we should see if it can fulfill its function as showcasing what's good in OC.net.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Ainnir

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2016, 03:09:03 PM »
Maybe first we should see if it can fulfill its function as showcasing what's good in OC.net.

I agree with your caution, but it's easier to add to it if one can find it.  If people can find it and add to it easily, perhaps it may begin to fulfill its function more quickly.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2016, 05:54:48 PM »
If I were talking about its being used enough, that would be fine. I am talking about its being abused, with quotes that aren't representative of Orthodoxy and the best of the forum.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2016, 06:02:32 PM »
I am talking about its being abused, with quotes that aren't representative of Orthodoxy and the best of the forum.

Are you the universal judge of what makes things Orthodox?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2016, 06:05:26 PM »
I am talking about its being abused, with quotes that aren't representative of Orthodoxy and the best of the forum.

Are you the universal judge of what makes things Orthodox?

An odd question. Are you nominating me?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2016, 06:08:46 PM »
I am talking about its being abused, with quotes that aren't representative of Orthodoxy and the best of the forum.

Are you the universal judge of what makes things Orthodox?

An odd question. Are you nominating me?

Of course, not. I am worried, however, you nominate yourself.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2016, 06:09:39 PM »
You may be confusing me with someone else. I have no standing here to pin this thread.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2016, 02:25:10 PM »
Argumentative posters just make themselves look bad.  They can also make you look good if you can respond to them without sinking to their level.  Evil looks more evil when light shines upon it.  It is up to you to be the light, and that light is the light of virtue.

The world will never be a place of virtue, and so I think that the posters who act out here are a good training module for dealing with the world.  Be patient and kind here, so that you are ready to be patient when you really need to be.  The test will come.  All of us will be tested.  Are you ready?

No, the test won't be about what you say, but what you don't.   

If you don't take the bait, you won't get reeled in.

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2016, 06:25:00 PM »
I also have to guess, since you are the spokesperson for what is or isn't Christian, that St. John Chrysostom possibly said this in a brief moment of paganism, or modernism, or Westernism, or globalism, or whatever other "otherness" we can conjure up and fear as though we had a knife to our throats: "For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice."

The Fathers such as St. John did not use or approve your terms "free speech," "freedom of expression," "freedom to offend," and "human rights."

As for St. John Chrysostom, it's ironic you choose him for your champion, as the following is famous:

Quote
But since our discourse has now turned to the subject of blasphemy, I desire to ask one favor of you all  in return for this my address and speaking with you: which is that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city. And should you hear anyone in the public thoroughfare or in the midst of the forum blaspheming God, go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face, strike his mouth, sanctify your hand with the blow; and if any should accuse you and drag you to the place of justice, follow them thither; and when the judge on the bench calls you to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels. For if it be necessary to punish those who blaspheme an earthly king, much more so those who insult God.

In context it's a lot more complicated than a literal surface reading, out of its historical context, might lead someone to think...

1) The passage is from "Concerning the Statues," which is an important part of the context and why St. John would be speaking in such an exaggerated manner. It was a time when things could have easily kept spinning out of control, and the population feared that they were going to be slaughtered. Their actions had stoked the Emperor's wrath, and continuing with anything other than humility and repentance and complete obedience with the law and government might have ended very poorly for all of them. It was a time to take drastic actions so that "if all you who are present will but choose to take in hand the safety of  the inhabitants of this city, we shall speedily have it amended throughout".

2) As people defending St. John against the charge of anti-Semitism are fond of (rightly) pointing out, he used rhetorical techniques and tactics all the time, and hyperbole was one of them. While I do think St. John would have endorsed striking someone (it is a backhand, not a punch or brawl), nonetheless the language here is clearly exaggerated; after the passage you posted, among the next things St. John says is: "...although it should be necessary to die, do not shrink from chastising a brother. This is thy martyrdom, since John was also a martyr. And although he was not commanded to sacrifice, nor to worship an idol, yet for the sacred laws that were despised, he laid down his head. Do thou too then contend, even to the death, for the truth, and God will fight for thee!" All theologically true, but also going overboard especially taken out of its circumstances.

3) This is what he says a few statements later about these people he is speaking of: "And make me not this cold reply. 'What matters it to me? I have nothing in common with him.' With the devil alone we have nothing in common, but with all men we have many things in common; for they partake of the same nature with us; they inhabit the same earth, and they are nourished with the same food; they have the same Lord; they have received the same laws, and are invited to the same blessings with ourselves. Let us not say then, that we have nothing in common with them; for this is a satanic speech; a diabolical inhumanity. Therefore let us not give utterance to such words, but exhibit such a tender care as becomes brethren!" He is not contradicting himself here ("strike his mouth... exhibit tender care"), but rather is putting forward the common sense idea echoed by Fathers before and after him: that different cases call for different responses. Thus he says: "When we happen to see a fight taking place in the forum, we go into the midst of it, and reconcile the combatants! But why do I speak of a fight? If, perchance, we see an ass fallen down, we all make haste to stretch out a hand to raise him up. Yet we neglect our perishing brethren! The blasphemer is an ass; unable to bear the burden of his anger, he has fallen. Come forward and raise him up, both by words and by deeds; and both by meekness and by vehemence; let the medicine be various."

So... I guess if you want a practical application: if your city has rioted and personally offended the President of the U.S., and the President is thinking about sending the military in to kill you, and some people are still doing things to antagonize, in that case it is ok to strike them. Note though that it is meant to have a sobering effect, and is more of the type of strike endlessly used in television and movies, in a "get ahold of yourself!" fashion. The passage is not endorsing anything like using violence to force someone to alter their conduct or beliefs; all St. John wants is for people to quiet down with the rebellious and contrarian stuff so that the Emperor doesn't come in swords blazing.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2016, 06:31:48 PM »
Not as many as you, Father, and so I will leave it to you to corroborate Rohzek’s idea that Voltaire and the United Nations are their best successors.

If you haven't read all of them, then you really don't have to right to invoke "The Fathers."

Frankly, it is the high of arrogance to speak authoritatively for them when you have not read them all.  Even I don't make such a claim, and for darn good reason: I've seen the actual collection of the "Fathers," and it is an enormous compendium taking up shelf after shelf, and not even 1/3 of it has made it into English.  And, the English translations are about as reliable as modern Bible translations... some of the same people were involved in both.

If you want to quote someone, then go right ahead.  But, even if you are 99% certain you could get away with saying "The Fathers" about something (e.g. "The Fathers are against us falling head over heels in love with Satan and all his little wizards!"), just don't do it, because it is not your place or even mine to do so if you have not done the due diligence to actually read all of what they say.

And, yes, I would say that a large number of American clergy who say "The Fathers" are gaseous bags for doing so.  You can tell when you open the bibliographies of their books and find not hardly any, if any at all, untranslated works cited from "The Fathers."  Several of the most popular 'wind machines in cassocks' can't even read Greek to begin with, or only with tremendous difficulty.  I know this because I know their tutors and I know them.

I don't mean to take this all out on you, Porter, but I think the phrase is being abused in our general context of Orthodox Christians.  People use it as a blanket statement for, "Well, from the stuff I've decided to read, written by the guys who decided to read some stuff that somebody decided to select and translate from a lot of other saint stuff, I make this universal declaration."

Not only is it annoyingly arrogant, but it isn't true: "The Fathers" didn't exist in the context in which "The Fathers" wrote.  They didn't even load up on bibliographies and chain referencing.  And they never, ever expected people to read any of their works as authoritative and the 'final answer.'

A few blow-hards are smart enough to tuck in a disclaimer to this effect in their 'introductions,' but we all know that you skip over that to get to Chapter 1 and never look back.

My apologies for the rant, but this just hit a nerve as I'm dealing with a few 'robo-theologians' who are good at parroting but lousy at being Christians.

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2016, 06:34:58 PM »
Not as many as you, Father, and so I will leave it to you to corroborate Rohzek’s idea that Voltaire and the United Nations are their best successors.

If you haven't read all of them, then you really don't have to right to invoke "The Fathers."

Frankly, it is the high of arrogance to speak authoritatively for them when you have not read them all.  Even I don't make such a claim, and for darn good reason: I've seen the actual collection of the "Fathers," and it is an enormous compendium taking up shelf after shelf, and not even 1/3 of it has made it into English.  And, the English translations are about as reliable as modern Bible translations... some of the same people were involved in both.

If you want to quote someone, then go right ahead.  But, even if you are 99% certain you could get away with saying "The Fathers" about something (e.g. "The Fathers are against us falling head over heels in love with Satan and all his little wizards!"), just don't do it, because it is not your place or even mine to do so if you have not done the due diligence to actually read all of what they say.

And, yes, I would say that a large number of American clergy who say "The Fathers" are gaseous bags for doing so.  You can tell when you open the bibliographies of their books and find not hardly any, if any at all, untranslated works cited from "The Fathers."  Several of the most popular 'wind machines in cassocks' can't even read Greek to begin with, or only with tremendous difficulty.  I know this because I know their tutors and I know them.

I don't mean to take this all out on you, Porter, but I think the phrase is being abused in our general context of Orthodox Christians.  People use it as a blanket statement for, "Well, from the stuff I've decided to read, written by the guys who decided to read some stuff that somebody decided to select and translate from a lot of other saint stuff, I make this universal declaration."

Not only is it annoyingly arrogant, but it isn't true: "The Fathers" didn't exist in the context in which "The Fathers" wrote.  They didn't even load up on bibliographies and chain referencing.  And they never, ever expected people to read any of their works as authoritative and the 'final answer.'

A few blow-hards are smart enough to tuck in a disclaimer to this effect in their 'introductions,' but we all know that you skip over that to get to Chapter 1 and never look back.

My apologies for the rant, but this just hit a nerve as I'm dealing with a few 'robo-theologians' who are good at parroting but lousy at being Christians.


Thank God!
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2016, 10:21:04 AM »
-sub-
The term planet earth is an innovation which has arisen in recent centuries with the error of heliocentrism.

If one wants to confess a pure doctrine of Orthodoxy, they should be careful not to refer to the earth as a planet, unlike the current Pope as well as Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew, who regularly speak in error when they refer to our planet earth.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2016, 10:22:11 AM »
I don't want to make this about Porter's discussion, because, frankly, I have not studied the thread enough.  What caught my eye was that phrase, and it set me off.

I've seen that type of lingo catch on and be used to explain all kinds of stupidity.  Stuff that does not even make sense in light of the Gospel.

Where I think we have gone wrong is that we have allowed the interpretation of the "Fathers" (e.g. those patristic sources someone has cherry-picked, cleaned through translation, and then turned into a stand-alone 'teaching') to com,e between us and the very simply message of the Gospels. 

Yes, the Church does guide us on how to interpret the Scriptures, but it also doesn't contradict them.  We listen and we hear, and hopefully we understand with the help of the Holy Spirit.

And, they were not handed down to us to teach us how to be right or disprove our enemies or entertain our distracted minds.  The Scriptures call us to repentance.  That's the Gospel.

Are we repenting of our own sins, or busy trying to get others to repent of theirs?  Are we arguing with each other just to score points?  Is it about our resentment of someone else?

I think we get so caught up in trying to 'win' that we forget what we are really supposed to be doing.  We can have fun and joust, but if we do not have love for one another, then really we don't believe in the Gospel or much else beyond our own self-ascribed intellectual fertility... which is usually just fertile enough to grow weeds and not much else.

Sure, I am as guilty of this sin as anyone else here.  I just hope that others see how dangerous the road becomes when we invoke the entire Church on our little debates.

Truly, it seems to me that unqualifyingly invoking the Church or the Fathers in our debates and discussions borders on taking the Lord's Name in vain.

I hope some of us can see the connection.

Offline wgw

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2016, 10:23:39 AM »
I don't want to make this about Porter's discussion, because, frankly, I have not studied the thread enough.  What caught my eye was that phrase, and it set me off.

I've seen that type of lingo catch on and be used to explain all kinds of stupidity.  Stuff that does not even make sense in light of the Gospel.

Where I think we have gone wrong is that we have allowed the interpretation of the "Fathers" (e.g. those patristic sources someone has cherry-picked, cleaned through translation, and then turned into a stand-alone 'teaching') to com,e between us and the very simply message of the Gospels. 

Yes, the Church does guide us on how to interpret the Scriptures, but it also doesn't contradict them.  We listen and we hear, and hopefully we understand with the help of the Holy Spirit.

And, they were not handed down to us to teach us how to be right or disprove our enemies or entertain our distracted minds.  The Scriptures call us to repentance.  That's the Gospel.

Are we repenting of our own sins, or busy trying to get others to repent of theirs?  Are we arguing with each other just to score points?  Is it about our resentment of someone else?

I think we get so caught up in trying to 'win' that we forget what we are really supposed to be doing.  We can have fun and joust, but if we do not have love for one another, then really we don't believe in the Gospel or much else beyond our own self-ascribed intellectual fertility... which is usually just fertile enough to grow weeds and not much else.

Sure, I am as guilty of this sin as anyone else here.  I just hope that others see how dangerous the road becomes when we invoke the entire Church on our little debates.

Truly, it seems to me that unqualifyingly invoking the Church or the Fathers in our debates and discussions borders on taking the Lord's Name in vain.

I hope some of us can see the connection.

I agree, that was a good one,

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2016, 01:56:32 AM »
The title says it all. What steps can I take to avoid convertitis?
1) Spend time with non-Orthodox people you care about.  If you stop caring for them and start looking down on them, you are getting ill.

2) Remember that until you unconditionally love everyone, you are not much of a Christian... so work on that.

3) Find a way to serve people.  Do some type of service to others, and that is in addition to what serving you may do in your parish.  Being a Christian means being a servant.

4) Take responsibility for all negative emotions: anger, resentment, disgust and annoyance with others, etc.  It is wrong and your fault... always. 

5) Get a hobby.  Makes something, or do something for fun that isn't TV and computer-based.

6) Remember that all the Orthodox books you read are nothing compared to loving others.  The more you love, the more you change for the better.

7) If someone is criticizing you, there's a good chance they are right, even if they are usually wrong.  Ask for help sorting it all out.

Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2016, 02:49:12 AM »
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2016, 10:39:19 AM »
...

And, I am sorry if I didn't make this clearer: you do not acquire the 'mind' of the Church (we could have a fun time unpacking οἶδα and δαῆναι and φρονεῖν, which I'm still trying to wrap my head around, because the Classical categories do not fit so clearly with modern language) with books read like as a self-help process.

The Fathers are read in a plurality.  WE read them, not you and not me.

The same goes with learning about the Church: WE learn, not you and not me.

That means living in a community and learning from those around you.  Not books.  Books are for later.

I'm not saying this is you, but there are a lot of people who think they can just curl up with a bunch of texts and, in a very short period of time, attain theological insights that took the writers decades of asceticism to experience.  The truth is you can read those texts (in most cases, we are actually reading modern authors who read/translated some of the texts, hence our bibliographies of second- and third-degrees from the original) and still not understand them because you need to understanding first.

If you don't have the ability to understand, then you won't understand.  God has to change you from within, and then the texts will be opened to you.  It is not automatic: there are plenty of scholars who read those same texts and never repented or converted.  So, study is not enough.

Only God is enough, and He works, for the most part, in a gentle and gradual way, which we tend to summarize as 'slowly.'

You and I don't need to cram books as we need guidance on how to be Christians.  We need help in yielding to the Spirit.


Let's put this another way: when we were not in the Church, and thriving in our own previous context, didn't we feel certain that we knew the truth?  Then came doubts, and eventually we saw that we were deceived.  This proves that the mind of man, our mind, is faulty and broken.

You want to trust it again?

You can't, and so you can't assume you can read The Fathers and speak for them as if you knew what you were talking about because you can't really know unless those outside of you can agree that you know what the truth is. 

That's not as easy as it sounds.  I watched seminary professors haggle and debate among each other over matters I thought were settled.  Were they wrong, or was I?

....  I am worried that people invoke "The Fathers" against others for the sake of entertaining debate and fail to understand the depth and the holiness associated with them.  I certainly don't thin we should ever invoke God or the Virgin Mary or the Church or the Holy Fathers when addressing people we don't love.

I think too many people sense that we use those Holy Names without any love in our hearts.  Being right and being loving are two different subjects.  I believe there would be more people listening to us if we actually loved them rather than tried so darn hard to prove they are wrong.

...

The bolded was personally convicting and very uncomfortable...thank you.  I don't say God is slow, though, I am just in a hurry because my kids won't stop growing.   :-\
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 10:40:37 AM by Ainnir »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2016, 03:23:19 AM »
Raylight, this is a very personal subject and we appreciate you sharing this with us.

Your psychiatrist was perhaps accurately describing your past experience with Christianity. But it doesn't have to be like that.

You have to ask yourself: is homosexuality at the core of your person? Do you identify with same sex attraction so much that it has become a part of your very being?

If you adopt a position of complete identification with your passions (which is possible with any passion, not just homosexuality), then one's religion can indeed come across as something akin to an abusive relationship. However, that is a result of a false projection of what it really means to follow Christ. It doesn't mean destroying or abusing yourself. It means being free to live as we are meant to live: in communion with God, with love for His creation.

I think homosexuality is unfairly singled out as the "big sin" of this era, but that's due to a variety of ephemeral factors, none of which are very important. The truth is that every single one of us struggles with our passions, regardless of how little society regards them as a problem. We need to move beyond identifying with that which hurts us and find ourselves whole in Christ. That means living the sacramental life, a life of prayer and sacrifice for our fellow men.

Don't try to change yourself all at once. Begin simply with the next good word, thought, or deed. Living this way, your perspective will change.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2016, 03:39:36 AM »
Raylight, this is a very personal subject and we appreciate you sharing this with us.

Your psychiatrist was perhaps accurately describing your past experience with Christianity. But it doesn't have to be like that.

You have to ask yourself: is homosexuality at the core of your person? Do you identify with same sex attraction so much that it has become a part of your very being?

If you adopt a position of complete identification with your passions (which is possible with any passion, not just homosexuality), then one's religion can indeed come across as something akin to an abusive relationship. However, that is a result of a false projection of what it really means to follow Christ. It doesn't mean destroying or abusing yourself. It means being free to live as we are meant to live: in communion with God, with love for His creation.

I think homosexuality is unfairly singled out as the "big sin" of this era, but that's due to a variety of ephemeral factors, none of which are very important. The truth is that every single one of us struggles with our passions, regardless of how little society regards them as a problem. We need to move beyond identifying with that which hurts us and find ourselves whole in Christ. That means living the sacramental life, a life of prayer and sacrifice for our fellow men.

Don't try to change yourself all at once. Begin simply with the next good word, thought, or deed. Living this way, your perspective will change.

What's the title of this thread again?

Pious garbage? If not, can someone edit it?
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2016, 12:28:52 PM »
how hard is it to be kind and forgiving of others who sin against you?  That's not aimed at you, but all of us.  I would say that many posters here, claiming to be wise in the ways of Christianity, can barely manage elementary good manners.  Christ tells them to turn the other cheek, and they go on jihad against those who offend them with their audacity to be 'stupid.'  They mock and scorn, and then mock and scorn Christians for mocking and scorning.
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2016, 01:13:10 PM »
how hard is it to be kind and forgiving of others who sin against you?  That's not aimed at you, but all of us.  I would say that many posters here, claiming to be wise in the ways of Christianity, can barely manage elementary good manners.  Christ tells them to turn the other cheek, and they go on jihad against those who offend them with their audacity to be 'stupid.'  They mock and scorn, and then mock and scorn Christians for mocking and scorning.

LOL, I just put that in Quotable Quotes.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2016, 07:13:09 PM »
I thought it was also edifying ;)
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2016, 07:48:59 PM »
Many people who leave religion and become Atheist or Agnostic, base their decision on evil and suffering in the world. Some of them claim that all the evil and suffering that is taking place today is pointless. Therefore, there can't be a God that would allow unnecessary suffering. Others claim that the existence of suffering in itself, whether meaningless or not, is a proof against God's existence.

On what basis do you consider what is happening today is evil and unjust? I mean after all, from a Darwinian biological point of view, this is all natural part of life. There is nothing evil or unjust about it. It is how life ought to be.

Another point, if you consider the wars and suffering that are taking place today are pointless. How did you come to such conclusion? Can you see the future and determine whether the suffering today is pointless or not? Did you know that WWII as evil and awful as it was, without it, we wouldn't have Human Rights Declaration, United Nations, Criminal Justice Court. Without what happened then and there, we wouldn't have Nuclear weapons deals, and we would likely been dead already.  Without the evil which was committed against innocents in the Holocoust, we would probably found ourselves facing something even much worse. That reminds me of an episode on Family Guy where they go back in time, and Brian takes a chance to prevent 9/11. When they come back, they find the world even worse, where people died from a nuclear war, all that was because 9/11 didn't happen which changed the course of things.  Of course, it is an imaginary show, but it describes my point precisely.

Sometimes bad things happen, but in the big picture, they prevented something even worse.

Unless you have the power to go out of time and space, and view history from A to Z, you will not be able to determine if evil and suffering today are pointless.

If Family Guy is providing you any insight into the world, I suggest rethinking a lot of things about your life.

Hypothetical evils averted is one of the best excuses for doing evil.

The problem of evil is a non starter. Greater minds than ours have tried to reconcile the problem, and they managed to produce nothing but monsterous apologies.

Christians are called not defend God from the suffering, but to help those who do suffer. If you feel the need to defend God, the you likely suffer a lot, and I hope you able to meet a Christian one day. They will gladly help you unburden yourself and you might then find the faith and strength to help others do the same.

But you may find yourself playing at Diogonese for some time.
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2016, 04:18:55 PM »
Part of it revolves around the question: what does infallible mean? Is it a matter of knowledge and trust, or hope/faith and trust? (of course these can all work together, but it is also important that sometimes they don't) I would argue that all the things in the Scriptures and pre-Christian Jewish culture, was discussing the type of trust that leans towards faith and hope, that doesn't have to do with evidence in the head so much as evidence in the belly and heart. When the Old Testament says things like "Be still, and know that I am God," or "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God," it is talking about such things as it relates to daily life and dangerous enemies and having faith and placing your hope in God, and not reasoning and rational argumentation. The "evidence" God gives in the OT of his existence isn't really something you can have academic debates over, like what economic theory is best or when/where/how the native Americans initially spread throughout the Americas. Rather it is the stuff of burning bushes and manna from heaven and seas parting.

The atheist mentioned in the Psalms isn't condemned for being an atheist because he did 4 years of thorough analysis of all the philosophical reasons for the existence of God, but decided that the evidence was not sufficient to accept that 'hypothesis.' He is condemned because, for the Psalmist, someone who was an atheist simply didn't seek God, and didn't want to seek God, and was probably wicked (something mentioned in the atheist-related verses in the Psalms which was later repeated by Jesus, in part for example in the famous Jn. 3:16-21).

Atheists sometimes mention Judg. 1:19: "And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." For some people whose concept of infallibility rests in the rationality kind of trust, this seems like an absurd passage then--how can God be all-powerful and all the other omni-stuff and yet be thwarted by chariots of iron?  (so they say "aha aha!" as if in victory). But the rest of the chapter gives an indication of what the problem is: it is not that God is not strong enough, but rather that the humans are not faithful and consistent enough. The text says: "And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand." And this resulted in quite a few victories, but there was a line in the sand, and at some point Jewish hope and reliance on God faltered.

Verse 19 is pretty much the turning point of the chapter. Before that is victory, victory, victory. Then verse 19 begins with "And the Lord was with Judah." Yet from that point on almost everything is about the mixed results the Jews got because they only do as they were supposed to do some of the time. Someone could (and probably has) written a five-volume work on this theme/type of story, because it's seen in the OT constantly: God promises, people agree to cooperate, God helps, people falter because they lack faith or become greedy or desire comfort or something else, so God leaves them to their own devices, which eventually ends up coming back to haunt the Jews.

Now, it would seem to me that this continued into the early Church. People did not trust God, as experienced in the Christian context, because of irrefutable proofs or some sort of infallibility based in evidence or authorities. If there was anything like infallibility, it was based in trust in God, experience and activity; the temptation to trust in a text, a custom or liturgy, or a person, as some kind of guarantee of God's favor or help was the same type of temptation that the OT had mentioned over and over. It's easy to simply trust X [Bible, Church Fathers, Pope] as being unable to err or mislead--it's great peace of mind. But the peace of mind God called us to is in him, and not in humans (at most it is through humans, but we cannot assume that). Trusting Moses was good, but putting your faith in him as though infallible was not. Trusting in victories God gave you, even land and such, was fine; but slacking off and thinking the land and stuff proved that God would be with you was to misunderstand. What we see are merely the instruments in the hands of God; if those instruments are separated from the hands of God then they are no longer properly/best guided by him, and are no longer a 'guarantee' of success.

Thus the Eastern view, then and now (more or less), of Peter and primacy and Roman infallibility: sure Rome has a primacy, it's a bulwark, it's the place you appeal to when others seem dreadfully wrong or lost, and so on. Until... it falls, falters, rebels, becomes lukewarm, or whatever. That is, until it wiggles its way out of the hand of God; the devil cannot take Christians from the hand of God, but that does not mean that God forces Christians to remain in his hand if they insist to be left go of. This happens with individuals, but is usually only really felt in a noticeable way when a whole lot of people get release like this. Then the people, as a group and as individuals, are no longer part of a visible manifestation of the spiritual cooperation of God and man. They become humans trying to do their best in seeking that which they want, with varying degrees of help, opposition, inspiration and rejection from God. In essence, Rome has primacy as long as she is faithful, and even is infallible (in a we-can-trust-them in our day-to-day-living sense, not a factually-correct-for-all-time-and-in-all-ways sense) as long as she is faithful. But this isn't how we often use the term infallible--or how it has come to be used, anyway. And if infallibility is going to indicate some kind of  perfection of things, then it seems like a term best left out.

But as for the part that things like faith, trust, human faults, etc., plays, conditional infallibility seems to me to be the only one that makes sense (lol, irony) anyway. There could be no such thing as infallibility in a vacuum. There is no such thing as something-infallible=end of discussion. There are always layers of stuffs (that is the precise theological term) between such theoretical infallibility and the people who populate the earth. A Protestant speaks of the infallible Epistle to the Ephesians, for example. But there are conditions: the translator/editors/etc. must not have warped the text to a harmful degree (they must be faithful to the original), and the person reading it must understand it correctly, whether interpreting it or 'being open to the Holy Spirit teaching you' (the reader must be faithful and spiritually ready). And there might be other conditions: perhaps a certain word means X, but they don't realize it and think it means Y; in that case the Protestant might say that the Holy Spirit would have to wait until the person learned the X meaning before God could truly open up to that reader the meaning.

Whatever may be true in theoretical systems, there's no such things as bare infallibility in practice. Whether we are speaking of the Pope/anti-Pope issue, or who decides (and how) what counts as an Ecumenical Council, or what sort of (supposedly infallible?) process is followed to decide which books are in the (infallible?) Bible, infallibility could never be alone. Assurance, even 'perfect assurance,' would always take place within personal experience, within human contexts (if we are discussing humans, and not, say, angels), and including all dangers for mistaken understandings, distortions and other problems that come with that.

So is that really infallibility? I think the term unhelpful, since it seems to not be taken in the above way by most people. If, along the lines of the above, a distinction between inerrant and infallible could be worked out and popularized, then maybe. Or perhaps  if it's just understood that that concept of infallibility is not about some kind of fixed, immutable thing, but rather something 'fixed' because, God, but which must have a second (or more) elements align properly with it (humans being the second element, and 'aligning' probably meaning a whole lot of stuffs) if it is to have some real-world relevance and concrete use.

Really, though, it seems more psychological than anything. We talk about assurance because that comforts us, or reassures us that we're on the right track, or aren't screwing things up royally. But infallibility or no--text, bishop, council, prophet, whatever--you can get to where you want to be only with trust/faith/hope in God. You can get there without a single letter of written Scripture, without ever having heard of Nicea, and without ever being told the Pope of Rome declared yada-yada-yada. Those things are helpful, and it's not that their reliability is meaningless, it's just that infallibility vs. non-infallibility probably doesn't, or maybe just shouldn't, have a lot to do with our getting to God. And if it does have a lot to do with things as they are for us, if we have a heavy reliance or need on that kind of visible authority or guarantee, maybe that's a bad thing and not a good thing?


(Sorry for the ramble)

tl;dr (is there such a thing as infallibility? is it an orthodox concept?)
maybe, maybe not; why does a person think it matters? and does the reason that they think it matters, matter?

whether there is or isn't, the focus has to be on God anyway
OR
trust in the examples of God working in the world (councils, etc.) is natural and good; reliance on those workings as though they are perfect is dangerous; near-complete reliance is antichrist

some would say they need to see/know of an infallible authority before placing/continuing their trust, but that's a methodological and practical dead end at best

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Offline nothing

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2016, 05:31:08 PM »
Thanks for this thread, really helpful in working through my own beliefs about this, which had hitherto been pretty much aligned with RC Sproul's. Still don't understand, but feel further jumbled up and I think that is a good thing as I try to come to some conclusion.
Setting the nature talk aside, God became a real human being and died. Orthodox hold to the Theopaschite formula which says that God suffered and died as a real human being. Anything that hints at frustrating this is unacceptable. For us, saying that God didn't die but only the human nature died either implies that Christ didn't really become human, or it is simply stupid (like saying "When that rock crushed my hand, I didn't get hurt, only my hand got hurt.")
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2016, 03:08:24 AM »
I also think that part of the problem is that we think there are two kinds of worship. Sometimes we think that "praise and worship" songs are okay because it's part of the western culture.

What is worship? What is praise? What is Liturgy?

Worship is in the Eucharist. If our goal is union with Christ, we can't achieve it without the Eucharist.

Worship is the Eucharist? Is it? In what sense? Do you mean the two are equivalent?

I'm just thinking out loud here. But it seems that we start with what Protestants do. They call what they do on Sunday mornings "worship". Then we say, what we do is our equivalent to that, it is our "worship", and it is better and more traditional. But this doesn't seem fair to Orthodoxy at all, because it starts with what Protestants do as a baseline and compares, rather than understanding and presenting from Orthodoxy. It assumes the two are comparable when they are not at all.

When we say "worship" today, what that seems to mean in our culture (it's pretty vague, isn't it? It can mean different things do different people) is an act of the heart, maybe a confession or proclamation of faith, or even a confession that His is worthy. If I say "worship" to anyone at work, in a Christian context, they'll probably think of a "Christian" waiving their hands while singing a song. Or at least singing a song.

But worship means something entirely different to us. And I don't think the starting point can be "what you do on Sunday morning", or a simple equation with the Eucharist (except in a vary specific sense).

When the Psalms say "worship", or when the Deacon cries "worship", or when we sing "amoini mar en o-oosht / O come let us worship", the word has a particular meaning. It doesn't mean "do the Eucharist", or the Liturgy, or sing a song. It means "do obiesence". It means fall down prostrate. It is a physical act of reverence. Of course an attitude of the heart is presupposed for it to be authentic, but the actual word refers to a physical act.

The word worship in English is a poor translation that tilts us towards the Protestant mindset. But even if we started saying "do obiesence" in all these places in the Liturgy, what does the English word "worship" mean? It means to confess or express that one is worthy. A judge in a court used to be called "your worship", because they were appointed to judge because they were worthy to do so. When we sing "axios" to the saints, we are saying "worthy", what we are doing is exactly what the English word "worship" means, but we call it "veneration", because the English word "worship" has shifted to mean not just to confess that one is worthy, but to confess that one is worthy as only God is worthy. What used to be expressed by "adoration".

So prostrating down is not the Eucharist, and confessing God is all-worthy is not the Eucharist, so really, it isn't very accurate to say that worship is the Eucharist. Strictly speaking, the Coptic rite has a single worship service a year: the Liturgy of worship, or the Liturgy of prostrations on the Eve of Monday after Pentecost. And worship is one aspect of many in the Liturgy.

The Liturgy is not just worship. The Liturgy is the work of the people. It includes thanksgiving, it includes worship, it includes praise. It is our rational sacrifice and service to God. As you say, it is our union with Christ and in Him with one another, something not even thought of in Protestant "worship".

So I think we do ourselves a disservice when we say that Protestants have their worship, and we have our worship, the Liturgy, and only the Liturgy and not Protestant style worship is worship in our opinion. This is starting with the Protestant mindset and saying ours is better. Rather the Protestants worship on Sunday in their own way, and we do the Liturgy, something fundamentally different, and unknown in the Protestant world. It is unique, it is without comparison. I feel that without this distinction, the way we talk keeps us in the arena where people can disagree with one being better than the other, and tend to say your worship works for you, and my worship works for you. We need to step out of that Protestant worldview and address the topic from an Orthodox mindset. Not Protestant worship is defective and ours is proper.

Rather, Protestants gather on Sundays to "worship", to confess that God is worthy, primarily by singing. And we gather on Sundays to be united to Christ and become gods, thanking Him, praising Him, worshiping Him, offering ourselves to Him as sacrifice, and receiving life and union with Him in His Body and Blood.
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2016, 03:42:52 PM »
I feel kinda bad for some of these people. If they say nothing and try to keep to themselves they have all sorts of people prying into their lives (and garbage cans, taking pics of them as they exit everything from ice cream shops to Paris hotels, etc.), trying to sensationalize things and drum up ratings/clicks: "Oooooh, what are they hiding? Why so quiet?"  So people get tired of hiding, being private only to have cameras shoved in their face, hounded, questioned, even good-naturedly prodded by friends/family, and finally they give in and do/say this or that or the other thing. Then BECAUSE they say something they get it, 'oh, you think you're so special,' 'who cares if you're X?'  'why would you think yourself an expert on X?'  'why can't you just keep things to yourself?' 

Twitter is kind of the nexus of all of this lately, esp. because it is used to do everything from make important announcements about billion dollar mergers, to report terrorist attacks in up-to-the-second speed, to posting pics of what you had for dinner, to slinging mud over football teams. It can be everything from uber-serious to uber-trivial, and the internet doesn't always care which is intended. Seems like every day (even though I try to avoid them) I see headlines of stories about some celeb who made some comment on twitter and is now causing an uproar. The internet can be very serious business I guess. Meanwhile, Syria, ISIS, poverty, etc. gets a reaction of: "meh, 'y so srs?'" 
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2016, 01:40:54 PM »
Having cold doesn't stop me from taking the Holy Communion: do we believe it's truly for healing our souls and bodies? If so, it's not a problem. If not, we actually should never approach.
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2016, 06:59:16 PM »
I also see nothing wrong with using contemporary music, as long as we are worshipping God.

What do you mean by "contemporary music", and what is "worshipping God"? How do you do it, I mean.

By contemporary music, I mean songs in modern-day music styles, such as Rock. I see nothing wrong with praising God for sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, regardless of music style.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking Orthodox parishes to start using rock bands, or anything like that. Nor am I some super-fan of rock. I just don't see how God would view choir as inherently more holy than other music genre.

(I'll preface my answer by saying that I come from a non-denominational, worship rock band, own all the WOW Worship CDs, go to Third Day and Jars of Clay worship concerts background, so this informs my view.)

Fr Giryus pointed out that "worship must be in 'spirit and truth'", OrthodoxWiki says that worship is "faith in action". We know that the liturgy is "the work of the people", and that it is par excellence our worship service. Obligatory Lex orandi, lex credendi. The anaphora starts with:

Quote
Priest: Let us stand aright! Let us stand with fear! Let us attend! That we may offer the Holy Oblation in peace.

The people respond: A mercy of peace! A sacrifice of praise!

The worship that we offer to God has to be pleasing to God- it has to be what He wants, or it's not really worship at all. Cain offered God vegetables, and it wasn't what He wanted. It didn't count. My experience with contemporary Christian worship music is that while it is well-intentioned and definitely comes from a place of wanting to verbally project honor and love for God at Him, it's "you-centered" in that it starts from a place of personal taste/preference- what music speaks to you? What music gets you to that place of an emotional experience? What bands or songs make you feel hyped about it all? I know that there are different musical styles in Orthodoxy for the liturgy and that people have their preferences about which they find more moving or enjoy hearing more, and I don't have an issue with people trying to craft the very best and most beautiful settings to sing/chant our liturgy in. But the liturgy is supposed to call us upwards, to "lay aside all earthly cares, that we may receive the King of all". Whether the choir is out of key or whether the music is lovely or whether it's one old Greek guy crooning, in the liturgy worship happens.

Contemporary Christian worship music is not created from that place. It's designed to be emotionally manipulative because if you don't get something out of it (an emotional experience), worship didn't happen. It's not just about a particular style of music; you can't separate it from its origins or from its creators' assumptions about what worship is. And if you come from that background, those assumptions about what worship is can be really hard to shake. For that reason, I think it can be dangerous- once you are used to "feeling something" when you sing these songs, and then you go to a liturgy where you don't feel some emotional high, you can really struggle. You can wonder what's wrong with you and feel down that you aren't getting more out of liturgy when how you feel really isn't the point at all.

So, if you (general you) want to praise God for sending His Son, the Church has a way for you to do that in a way that God desires for you to do. It isn't about musical style and only musical style, it's about the difference between vegetables and meat.

I hope that makes sense.
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2016, 04:05:04 PM »
I also see nothing wrong with using contemporary music, as long as we are worshipping God.

What do you mean by "contemporary music", and what is "worshipping God"? How do you do it, I mean.

By contemporary music, I mean songs in modern-day music styles, such as Rock. I see nothing wrong with praising God for sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, regardless of music style.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking Orthodox parishes to start using rock bands, or anything like that. Nor am I some super-fan of rock. I just don't see how God would view choir as inherently more holy than other music genre.

(I'll preface my answer by saying that I come from a non-denominational, worship rock band, own all the WOW Worship CDs, go to Third Day and Jars of Clay worship concerts background, so this informs my view.)

Fr Giryus pointed out that "worship must be in 'spirit and truth'", OrthodoxWiki says that worship is "faith in action". We know that the liturgy is "the work of the people", and that it is par excellence our worship service. Obligatory Lex orandi, lex credendi. The anaphora starts with:

Quote
Priest: Let us stand aright! Let us stand with fear! Let us attend! That we may offer the Holy Oblation in peace.

The people respond: A mercy of peace! A sacrifice of praise!

The worship that we offer to God has to be pleasing to God- it has to be what He wants, or it's not really worship at all. Cain offered God vegetables, and it wasn't what He wanted. It didn't count. My experience with contemporary Christian worship music is that while it is well-intentioned and definitely comes from a place of wanting to verbally project honor and love for God at Him, it's "you-centered" in that it starts from a place of personal taste/preference- what music speaks to you? What music gets you to that place of an emotional experience? What bands or songs make you feel hyped about it all? I know that there are different musical styles in Orthodoxy for the liturgy and that people have their preferences about which they find more moving or enjoy hearing more, and I don't have an issue with people trying to craft the very best and most beautiful settings to sing/chant our liturgy in. But the liturgy is supposed to call us upwards, to "lay aside all earthly cares, that we may receive the King of all". Whether the choir is out of key or whether the music is lovely or whether it's one old Greek guy crooning, in the liturgy worship happens.

Contemporary Christian worship music is not created from that place. It's designed to be emotionally manipulative because if you don't get something out of it (an emotional experience), worship didn't happen. It's not just about a particular style of music; you can't separate it from its origins or from its creators' assumptions about what worship is. And if you come from that background, those assumptions about what worship is can be really hard to shake. For that reason, I think it can be dangerous- once you are used to "feeling something" when you sing these songs, and then you go to a liturgy where you don't feel some emotional high, you can really struggle. You can wonder what's wrong with you and feel down that you aren't getting more out of liturgy when how you feel really isn't the point at all.

So, if you (general you) want to praise God for sending His Son, the Church has a way for you to do that in a way that God desires for you to do. It isn't about musical style and only musical style, it's about the difference between vegetables and meat.

I hope that makes sense.

+1
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2016, 12:34:08 PM »
The Carolingians most certainly contributed to the circumstances that made the rise of the papacy ripe. However, some of the fundamental building blocks of papal supremacy came from Rome itself, even from St. Leo the Great, who put forth a highly questionable and unorthodox view of ecclesiology centuries before.

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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2016, 12:55:27 AM »
Please forgive me, anyone, who was insulted by the wording of my question.

I hope that Raylight will accept my apology for "jumping down his throat" as it were.

Edifying because forgiveness always is.
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Re: OC.net Notable/Edifying Posts
« Reply #44 on: Yesterday at 10:08:11 PM »
"Irenaeus says, on the authority of Polycarp, that the apostle John once entered a bath to bathe; but, learning that Cerinthus was within, he sprang from the place and rushed out of the door, for he could not bear to remain under the same roof with him. And he advised those that were with him to do the same, saying, Let us flee, lest the bath fall; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.28.6)

Why do you spend so much time worrying about the nakedness of physical bodies, and ignore the nakedness of the sinful human soul? Instead instruct your beloved one to becloth their soul with the garment of the light of the Christ, and then their mind and body will also know no nakedness nor be perturbed by the brazenly-presented flesh-suits of others.

I just thought that this post, in context, was revelatory and apt. When you start to read the story in quotes, it is not immediately apparent how it matches the topic, and then the point really comes home.
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