Author Topic: "Marginalized Voices" by Fr. Cremeens on Charismatic movement in US Orthodoxy  (Read 439 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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Fr. Lawrence Farley has a review of Fr. Cremeens' book Marginalized Voices: A History of the Charismatic Movement in the Orthodox Church in North America 1972-1993. The book is a revision of his dissertation by the same name, and the dissertation can be found here online for free:
https://search.proquest.com/docview/908436164

Fr. Farley writes:
Quote
It also seeks to be fair in its appraisal of the good that the movement accomplished in the lives of those touched by it. Those promoting a two-dimensional view of the phenomenon of charismatic renewal—either positive or negative—will not like this book.
...
The view at the other extreme writes off the renewal as simply and entirely a demonic lie and a counterfeit, another ruse of Satan to confuse people in the last days. ... Fr. Seraphim Rose is characteristic of this view. Ironically his view is as dependent upon a specific eschatological time-table as the first view. The charismatics regard the renewal as a sign of the end-times, just as Fr. Seraphim does, with the sole difference that ... Fr. Rose regards it as part of the Antichrist’s “religion of the future”.   Both views, mirror images of the other, presuppose we are in the end times and that the Second Coming is near.

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/nootherfoundation/marginalized-voices-a-review-and-a-meditation/
I think that Fr. Seraphim Rose considered the Charismatic movement to include demonic activity regardless of whether he saw it as an End Times phenomenon.

Fr. Farley continues:
Quote
I also suggest that the view which asserts that no salvation, grace, or work of the Spirit is possible outside the boundaries of canonical Orthodoxy is too limited a view to account for what actually occurs outside the boundaries of canonical Orthodoxy. Fr. Rose, for all his many virtues, had little direct experience of charismatics in the way that Fr. Timothy did and the people featured in his book. And there is nothing like direct experience for complicating the picture and requiring nuance. Or, come to that, for inspiring humble agnosticism.
Likewise, I think that even Fr. Seraphim allowed for the possibility that the Spirit worked outside of canonical Orthodoxy, he wouldn't change his harsh view of the Charismatic movement's phenomena: he wouldn't accept it even if he saw it occurring within the institutional Orthodox Church.

What do you think of Fr. Cremeen's statement regarding the Church's ability to direct lay persons with charisms?:
Quote
In the final chapter of his book he writes, “The Orthodox Church in North America has yet to address the overall issue of the ongoing charismatic life in the Church [i.e. spiritual renewal in general, not the Charismatic Movement]. No thorough, serious, or authoritative study has been undertaken to give guidance to or provide spiritual formation for Orthodox laity who have been endowed with certain charisms that do not easily fit within the framework of the ordained Orthodox priesthood or the monastic life.”
SOURCE: Marginalized Voices: a Review and a Meditation, September 20, 2018 · Fr. Lawrence Farley   , https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/nootherfoundation/marginalized-voices-a-review-and-a-meditation/
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 05:33:27 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Volnutt

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I've not read this book, but from the outset I don't think it's impossible to say that God in His mercy worked some good to the Charismatics despite their errors, but that Charismaticism is still something that's at best highly risky and should not be encouraged as normal for an Orthodox (especially if you take the example of the Coptic Church's current struggles with Protestantization).
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Offline rakovsky

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As Fr. Cremeens writes in his book, St. Symeon's idea was that there was a sacramental baptism and also a second baptism, one of the Spirit. The Charismatics, including the ones in the Orthodox church, saw the Charismatic movement and phenomena as being the enactment of this second baptism and as a "baptism" missing in the Orthodox Church prior to the Charismatic movement. My criticism of this view is that it denigrates the state of the Orthodox church before the arrival of the Charismatic movement as lacking the second baptism. The Charismatic movement typically took the view that (A) the Holy Spirit's charismatic working and the necessary second baptism was generally missing in Orthodoxy and was meanwhile yet (B) working and present in the non-Orthodox Charismatic movements.

In contrast, I think that a pious Orthodox would accept the concept of both a Spirit baptism and a Water (ritual, sacramental) baptism, and yet not see this concept as implying that the Spirit baptism was absent in non-Charismatic Orthodox Churches.

Another criticism I have is that, as Fr. Cremeens says, the Charismatics saw conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence in believers to be a requirement of a pious believer. They pointed to St. Symenon for support in their teaching on this issue. To quote Fr. Cremeens' book, "St. Symenon wrote considerably about having a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit, even beyond the sacramental experiences of baptism in water and Chrismation (confirmation). This conscious awareness he attributes to what he called a 'baptism in the Holy Spirit.'" Fr. Cremeens quotes St. Symeon:
Quote
"You have given repentance unto a second purification and You have fixed it as a term for the grace of the Spirit that which we received before in the first Baptism, for it is not only by water as You have said that grace comes, but also rather by the Spirit in the invocation of the Trinity. Because therefore we have been baptised as children with no awareness, having been imperfect, so we received imperfectly the grace when we received the pardon of the first transgression... Such was Adam before his sin, such also are all those who have been baptized and know the cause, but it does not apply to those who in their insensibility have not received the intellectual awareness which the Spirit brings about in coming by His works."
My question is: What is the "intellectual awareness" that the Spirit brings about according to St Symeon? Fr. Cremeens takes it to be an awareness of the Holy Spirit's charismatic working in the person? But perhaps St. Symeon means an awareness of the Trinity and of one's baptism?

Do you agree with the Charismatics' idea that a pious Christian needs to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit miraculously present and working in their life, or does Orthodoxy only require of the pious that they be aware of their sacramental baptism itself and leave it up to God how much and whether He wishes to bestow His divine Holy Spirit on the person miraculously?

Fr. Cremeens writes:
Quote
For St Symenon, the water in baptism and the oil of Chrismation are types that need to be fulfilled by being experienced consciously. He explains: "But when a man suddenly lifts his eyes and contemplates the nature of reality in a way he has never done before, then he tremles and tears flood out spontaneously though he feels no sorrow. They purify him and wash him in a second baptism, that baptism our Lord speaks about in the Gospels: 'If a man is not born of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven.' ...

The leaders of the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Orthodox Church saw in St Symeon the New Theologian a spiritual father who clearly taught that [baptized Christians] were in need of a renewal of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that renewal needed to be a CONSCIOUS ENCOUNTER of the Holy Spirit. Orthodox participants in the Charismatic Movement witness that their baptism in the Holy Spirit was precisely this renewal or second baptism.
Don't you think that this is reading modern Charismatic theology into St. Symeon's writings? St. Symeon says that a person can have the second, Spirit baptism by being washed in tears from contemplating reality in a new holy way. But he doesn't specify that awareness of this contemplation and conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence itself is a requirement of having the Second Baptism, does he?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 06:26:43 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Volnutt

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No idea, but I sure hope that St. Symeon didn't mean that (or was wrong if he did). Because I grew up on the Charismatic treadmill of trying to force myself to speak in tongues, feel the warmth of the Spirit, etc. and I'd really rather not be forced back onto it in order to become Orthodox, thanks. :-\
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 06:27:17 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline hecma925

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Do you agree with the Charismatics' idea that a pious Christian needs to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit miraculously present and working in their life, or does Orthodoxy only require of the pious that they be aware of their sacramental baptism itself and leave it up to God how much and whether He wishes to bestow His divine Holy Spirit on the person miraculously?


What do you mean by "be aware" and "miraculously"?
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Offline rakovsky

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Do you agree with the Charismatics' idea that a pious Christian needs to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit miraculously present and working in their life, or does Orthodoxy only require of the pious that they be aware of their sacramental baptism itself and leave it up to God how much and whether He wishes to bestow His divine Holy Spirit on the person miraculously?


What do you mean by "be aware" and "miraculously"?
The Charismatics took the view that the non-Charismatic Orthodox Christians, before the arrival of the Charismatic movement in the Church with figures like Fr. Stephanou and Fr. Zabrodsky, were lacking the Second Baptism because the non-Charismatics were lacking the Charismatic phenomena that they associated with the Second Baptism. The Charismatics tried to distinguish their movement from mainstream non-Charismatic Orthodox experience by demanding "a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit" and "a renewal of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that renewal needed to be a CONSCIOUS ENCOUNTER of the Holy Spirit."

By quoting St. Symeon's reference to "intellectual awareness which the Spirit brings about in coming by His works", Fr. Cremeens I think is saying that the Charismatics required an "intellectual awareness" of the Holy Spirit's presence itself, and not just an awareness that is brought about by the Spirit.


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Offline Volnutt

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Do you agree with the Charismatics' idea that a pious Christian needs to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit miraculously present and working in their life, or does Orthodoxy only require of the pious that they be aware of their sacramental baptism itself and leave it up to God how much and whether He wishes to bestow His divine Holy Spirit on the person miraculously?


What do you mean by "be aware" and "miraculously"?

If they're anything like Pentecostals, then the main miracle is speaking in tongues (being able to prophesy, heal, getting sprinkled by gold dust from Heaven, etc. is more optional)- whether this is supposed to be a human language or an apparently-gibberish angelic one seems to vary from congregation to congregation.

The awareness will be from the miracles themselves and/or intuition and/or (less often) a sense of spiritual warmth.
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Offline Volnutt

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Do you agree with the Charismatics' idea that a pious Christian needs to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit miraculously present and working in their life, or does Orthodoxy only require of the pious that they be aware of their sacramental baptism itself and leave it up to God how much and whether He wishes to bestow His divine Holy Spirit on the person miraculously?


What do you mean by "be aware" and "miraculously"?
The Charismatics took the view that the non-Charismatic Orthodox Christians, before the arrival of the Charismatic movement in the Church with figures like Fr. Stephanou and Fr. Zabrodsky, were lacking the Second Baptism because the non-Charismatics were lacking the Charismatic phenomena that they associated with the Second Baptism. The Charismatics tried to distinguish their movement from mainstream non-Charismatic Orthodox experience by demanding "a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit" and "a renewal of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that renewal needed to be a CONSCIOUS ENCOUNTER of the Holy Spirit."

By quoting St. Symeon's reference to "intellectual awareness which the Spirit brings about in coming by His works", Fr. Cremeens I think is saying that the Charismatics required an "intellectual awareness" of the Holy Spirit's presence itself, and not just an awareness that is brought about by the Spirit.

If you think about it, doesn't the Epiklesis represent a kind of an awareness of the Spirit's Presence every time one goes for the Eucharist?
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Offline rakovsky

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If you think about it, doesn't the Epiklesis represent a kind of an awareness of the Spirit's Presence every time one goes for the Eucharist?
Good point.
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Offline Volnutt

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Continuing the strange pattern of Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog seeming to have a major "word" for a new thread on oc.net at least once every month and a half, we have this posted today.

Not only does he offer a good corrective to Cessationism, the "opposite extreme" to Charismaticism, but I wonder to what extent his words also apply to the Charismatic Orthodox insistence on "being aware" of the Spirit. What do you think?

Quote
This is the context in which we pray and worship and in which we come to perceive God (with what the fathers describe as the “noetic” faculty). We pray and we listen and we think there is only silence. This itself is the secular perception. Everything around us and we ourselves exist, sustained by the voice of God. Their existence is the eloquence of His good will.

But what of miracles? If the whole world is a miracle, then what of those things that are commonly described as miracles? First, they do not belong to a separate category. That someone is instantaneously healed of a disease does not belong to a category of exception: it is a miracle among miracles that happen in a way such that we see the truth that might otherwise seem hidden. The danger in miracles for the modern mind is to think of them as exceptional. In doing so, we imagine the world as divided into the miraculous and the ordinary.

When we pray, if we expect the “miraculous” (in the modern sense), we will grow weary with the ordinariness of our experience. We imagine that we hear nothing, for we have already decided that the sound of the ordinary is nothing miraculous. I always caution inquirers and catechumens in the Church to be prepared to be bored. Though Orthodox services can be beautiful and profound, they are no more beautiful and profound than the world around us. The modern mind becomes bored by the so-called “ordinary,” because it has become accustomed to distractions that play to our passions. “Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 07:23:19 PM by Volnutt »
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“Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.

This is just false...
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 07:29:20 PM by Asteriktos »

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“Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.

This is just false...

Boredom should be appreciated, in any case. Humans have a pathetic need to be entertained every hour of the day, and nowadays with access to all this entertainment we never leave ourselves to be alone with our thoufhts.
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Offline hecma925

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If the Mysteries aren't miraculous enough for a person, he may need to re-evaluate everything.
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Offline Volnutt

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“Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.

This is just false...

I don't think it's false, just maybe incomplete. Boredom comes from not being able to see anything as meaningful or worth investing time in. And in that sense it can come even to people like you and I (I don't know if you saw the thread that I began on this topic a couple of months ago) who are surrounded by things that they "should" find more than occupying.

Fr. Stephen goes on to talk about how he handles his own depression-induced boredom:

Quote
Subjectivity itself, the world as we experience it inside our heads, is notoriously changeable and fails every test of reliability. It is the chimera of our existence, and can never be its foundation.

Years ago, when I was in college, I suffered a severe bout of depression. I was hospitalized for a week. After the hospital, I “white-knuckled” my way through the world and found a path back to sanity. One of those paths was to distrust my subjective experience. Nothing “sounded like fun” (that’s the nature of depression). But I reasoned that I needed to have fun and decided to treat fun as an objective activity. My now-wife and I began doing things that were the “kind of things people do for fun,” in an effort to teach my brain and body how to do something they had lost. It was very therapeutic.

It is a great joy when our inner and outer world agree. The tradition describes a pattern of life that strengthens “noetic” perception, and thus our awareness of communion with God. Largely, that pattern consists of the quieting of the passions and the acquisition of inner stillness. But this pattern, or its result, is simply a description of something within the spiritual life that is of value – it is not its basis or foundation.

So, I think what he would say is that the solution to boredom is to fix your mind and spirit so that, whether or not you're surrounded by all the things that would entertain a "normal" person, you're able to have fun and find meaning (and see God's love) just in being alive. Obviously this is easier said than done, of course!


So, mutatis mutandis, I suppose we can say that Charismaticism is caused by a sort of "spiritual boredom" that is better solved by "getting back to the basics" of the Cross than it is by a neverending lust for signs and wonders.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 07:40:35 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline rakovsky

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Continuing the strange pattern of Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog seeming to have a major "word" for a new thread on oc.net at least once every month and a half, we have this posted today.

Not only does he offer a good corrective to Cessationism, the "opposite extreme" to Charismaticism, but I wonder to what extent his words also apply to the Charismatic Orthodox insistence on "being aware" of the Spirit. What do you think?

Quote
This is the context in which we pray and worship and in which we come to perceive God (with what the fathers describe as the “noetic” faculty). We pray and we listen and we think there is only silence. This itself is the secular perception. Everything around us and we ourselves exist, sustained by the voice of God. Their existence is the eloquence of His good will.

But what of miracles? If the whole world is a miracle, then what of those things that are commonly described as miracles? First, they do not belong to a separate category. That someone is instantaneously healed of a disease does not belong to a category of exception: it is a miracle among miracles that happen in a way such that we see the truth that might otherwise seem hidden. The danger in miracles for the modern mind is to think of them as exceptional. In doing so, we imagine the world as divided into the miraculous and the ordinary.

When we pray, if we expect the “miraculous” (in the modern sense), we will grow weary with the ordinariness of our experience. We imagine that we hear nothing, for we have already decided that the sound of the ordinary is nothing miraculous. I always caution inquirers and catechumens in the Church to be prepared to be bored. Though Orthodox services can be beautiful and profound, they are no more beautiful and profound than the world around us. The modern mind becomes bored by the so-called “ordinary,” because it has become accustomed to distractions that play to our passions. “Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.
Thanks for sharing. I really like how this combats the Charismatic view that Charismaticism has - and piety requires - awareness of the divine Spirit in such a way that mainstream non-Charismatic Orthodox lack. In Fr. Freeman's view, the world itself is miraculous in its creation by God, so one need not have such an unusual, exceptional idea of the Spirit's presence in order to be pious.
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Offline Volnutt

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Quote
“Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.

This is just false...

Boredom should be appreciated, in any case. Humans have a pathetic need to be entertained every hour of the day, and nowadays with access to all this entertainment we never leave ourselves to be alone with our thoufhts.

Or rather, we need to (re-)learn how to be satisfied and interested whether we're being externally entertained or not. Fr. Freeman seems to be saying that a big part of that is learning to ground ourselves in the objective realities of life (especially of life in Christ) and not being captive to our emotions.
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Offline Volnutt

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Continuing the strange pattern of Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog seeming to have a major "word" for a new thread on oc.net at least once every month and a half, we have this posted today.

Not only does he offer a good corrective to Cessationism, the "opposite extreme" to Charismaticism, but I wonder to what extent his words also apply to the Charismatic Orthodox insistence on "being aware" of the Spirit. What do you think?

Quote
This is the context in which we pray and worship and in which we come to perceive God (with what the fathers describe as the “noetic” faculty). We pray and we listen and we think there is only silence. This itself is the secular perception. Everything around us and we ourselves exist, sustained by the voice of God. Their existence is the eloquence of His good will.

But what of miracles? If the whole world is a miracle, then what of those things that are commonly described as miracles? First, they do not belong to a separate category. That someone is instantaneously healed of a disease does not belong to a category of exception: it is a miracle among miracles that happen in a way such that we see the truth that might otherwise seem hidden. The danger in miracles for the modern mind is to think of them as exceptional. In doing so, we imagine the world as divided into the miraculous and the ordinary.

When we pray, if we expect the “miraculous” (in the modern sense), we will grow weary with the ordinariness of our experience. We imagine that we hear nothing, for we have already decided that the sound of the ordinary is nothing miraculous. I always caution inquirers and catechumens in the Church to be prepared to be bored. Though Orthodox services can be beautiful and profound, they are no more beautiful and profound than the world around us. The modern mind becomes bored by the so-called “ordinary,” because it has become accustomed to distractions that play to our passions. “Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.
Thanks for sharing. I really like how this combats the Charismatic view that Charismaticism has - and piety requires - awareness of the divine Spirit in such a way that mainstream non-Charismatic Orthodox lack. In Fr. Freeman's view, the world itself is miraculous in its creation by God, so one need not have such an unusual, exceptional idea of the Spirit's presence in order to be pious.

I think so, yes.

And you're welcome.
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Online Asteriktos

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“Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.

This is just false...

I don't think it's false, just maybe incomplete. Boredom comes from not being able to see anything as meaningful or worth investing time in. And in that sense it can come even to people like you and I (I don't know if you saw the thread that I began on this topic a couple of months ago) who are surrounded by things that they "should" find more than occupying.

Fr. Stephen goes on to talk about how he handles his own depression-induced boredom:

Quote
Subjectivity itself, the world as we experience it inside our heads, is notoriously changeable and fails every test of reliability. It is the chimera of our existence, and can never be its foundation.

Years ago, when I was in college, I suffered a severe bout of depression. I was hospitalized for a week. After the hospital, I “white-knuckled” my way through the world and found a path back to sanity. One of those paths was to distrust my subjective experience. Nothing “sounded like fun” (that’s the nature of depression). But I reasoned that I needed to have fun and decided to treat fun as an objective activity. My now-wife and I began doing things that were the “kind of things people do for fun,” in an effort to teach my brain and body how to do something they had lost. It was very therapeutic.

It is a great joy when our inner and outer world agree. The tradition describes a pattern of life that strengthens “noetic” perception, and thus our awareness of communion with God. Largely, that pattern consists of the quieting of the passions and the acquisition of inner stillness. But this pattern, or its result, is simply a description of something within the spiritual life that is of value – it is not its basis or foundation.

So, I think what he would say is that the solution to boredom is to fix your mind and spirit so that, whether or not you're surrounded by all the things that would entertain a "normal" person, you're able to have fun and find meaning (and see God's love) just in being alive. Obviously this is easier said than done, of course!


So, mutatis mutandis, I suppose we can say that Charismaticism is caused by a sort of "spiritual boredom" that is better solved by "getting back to the basics" of the Cross than it is by a neverending lust for signs and wonders.

Sorry, I should have been more clear (or not said anything if I was too lazy to elaborate lol), I meant the idea of it being a modern phenomenon.

Offline Volnutt

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“Boredom” is what you get when you are not being entertained – it is a modern phenomenon.

This is just false...

I don't think it's false, just maybe incomplete. Boredom comes from not being able to see anything as meaningful or worth investing time in. And in that sense it can come even to people like you and I (I don't know if you saw the thread that I began on this topic a couple of months ago) who are surrounded by things that they "should" find more than occupying.

Fr. Stephen goes on to talk about how he handles his own depression-induced boredom:

Quote
Subjectivity itself, the world as we experience it inside our heads, is notoriously changeable and fails every test of reliability. It is the chimera of our existence, and can never be its foundation.

Years ago, when I was in college, I suffered a severe bout of depression. I was hospitalized for a week. After the hospital, I “white-knuckled” my way through the world and found a path back to sanity. One of those paths was to distrust my subjective experience. Nothing “sounded like fun” (that’s the nature of depression). But I reasoned that I needed to have fun and decided to treat fun as an objective activity. My now-wife and I began doing things that were the “kind of things people do for fun,” in an effort to teach my brain and body how to do something they had lost. It was very therapeutic.

It is a great joy when our inner and outer world agree. The tradition describes a pattern of life that strengthens “noetic” perception, and thus our awareness of communion with God. Largely, that pattern consists of the quieting of the passions and the acquisition of inner stillness. But this pattern, or its result, is simply a description of something within the spiritual life that is of value – it is not its basis or foundation.

So, I think what he would say is that the solution to boredom is to fix your mind and spirit so that, whether or not you're surrounded by all the things that would entertain a "normal" person, you're able to have fun and find meaning (and see God's love) just in being alive. Obviously this is easier said than done, of course!


So, mutatis mutandis, I suppose we can say that Charismaticism is caused by a sort of "spiritual boredom" that is better solved by "getting back to the basics" of the Cross than it is by a neverending lust for signs and wonders.

Sorry, I should have been more clear (or not said anything if I was too lazy to elaborate lol), I meant the idea of it being a modern phenomenon.

Ah, ok.

Well, like most things, it's probably been around forever but modernity gives it a particularly insidious new spin.
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Offline Orest

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Fr. Lawrence Farley has a review of Fr. Cremeens' book Marginalized Voices: A History of the Charismatic Movement in the Orthodox Church in North America 1972-1993. The book is a revision of his dissertation by the same name, and the dissertation can be found here online for free:
https://search.proquest.com/docview/908436164



I don't know what I am doing wrong:  I tried to download the whole thesis at the web link you gave: but only got 24 pages. Help!

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I don't know what I am doing wrong:  I tried to download the whole thesis at the web link you gave: but only got 24 pages. Help!
Sorry, I thought that the PROQUEST website had the whole text for free, but it only has the first 24 pages of the dissertation for free. You might be able to go to a library that has PROQUEST and read it there for free.

Maybe he would email you a full copy. He posts publicly on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/timothy.cremeens.5

He is also selling the book on Kindle for 10 dollars:
https://www.amazon.com/Marginalized-Voices-Charismatic-Movement-1972-1995/dp/1498241514
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 04:41:53 PM by rakovsky »
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I thought ''awareness of the Holy Spirit'' was a normal thing to any christian, no need to be a charismatic.

One of the orthodox morning prayers is this one:
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    O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

Charismaticism is a dangerous movement that has a lot of negative results like cult-like behaviour, promotion of insanity and craziness as ''Holy Spirit indwelling'', hypnosis, fake gifts....


Offline rakovsky

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I thought ''awareness of the Holy Spirit'' was a normal thing to any christian, no need to be a charismatic.

One of the orthodox morning prayers is this one:
Quote
    O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

Charismaticism is a dangerous movement that has a lot of negative results like cult-like behaviour, promotion of insanity and craziness as ''Holy Spirit indwelling'', hypnosis, fake gifts....
In the morning prayer, they ask the heavenly king to come, and at the end of the liturgy there are the words that "We have received the heavenly Spirit". The concept of a second baptism, of the spirit, is also in the gospels.

I am trying to address the issue that Fr. Cremeens raised of how the Charismatic movement criticized the non-Charismatic Christians. The Charismatics proposed that each Christian must not only be faithful, ask for, and hope for the Lord's blessings, like salvation, grace, and the Holy Spirit, but that each Christian must be clearly, intellectually, and consciously aware and recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in himself/herself. As a result, it's common for Charismatics to require that each new Charismatic display "Signs, Wonders, Miracles" ("SWMs") like speaking in tongues as outward evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence in the individual. Hence, Archmandrite Stephanou, despite already being a baptized Orthodox, got a ritual Charismatic laying-on of hands whereupon he went into speaking in tongues when he became a Charismatic in the 1960's or 70's.

To quote from Fr. Cremeen's book:
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The leaders of the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Orthodox Church saw in St Symeon the New Theologian a spiritual father who clearly taught that receiving the sacraments of baptism and chrismation in the Church were not sufficient… they were in need of a renewal of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that RENEWAL NEEDED TO BE A CONSCIOUS ENCOUNTER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Orthodox participants in the Charismatic Movement witness that their baptism in the Holy Spirit was precisely this renewal of second baptism.
So, based on this proposition, one could go around to pious Orthodox Christians and ask each of them about their personal conscious encounter with the Holy Spirit and expect an answer that they had experienced the Spirit's presence. For many Charismatics, this encounter would include the "SWMs".

To support this idea, he writes:
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“St. Symenon wrote considerably about having a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit, even beyond the sacramental experiences of baptism in water and Chrismation (confirmation). This conscious awareness he attributes to what he called a ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit.'”
But it seems to me that this misreads St. Symeon as demanding an awareness of the Spirit's presence, whereas more likely St. Symeon means that the Spirit creates an awareness of divine things like contemplation of the divine reality, and the awareness of the invoked Trinity. He quotes St. Symeon as saying:
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“You have given repentance unto a second purification and You have fixed it as a term for the grace of the Spirit that which we received before in the first Baptism, for it is not only by water as You have said that grace comes, but also rather by the Spirit in the invocation of the Trinity. Because therefore we have been baptised as children with no awareness, having been imperfect, so we received imperfectly the grace when we received the pardon of the first transgression… Such was Adam before his sin, such also are all those who have been baptized and know the cause, but it does not apply to those who in their insensibility have not received the intellectual awareness which the Spirit brings about in coming by His works.”
Here St. Symeon speaks of the awareness that the Spirit causes, not an awareness that the Spirit is present in the individual.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 09:23:55 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline Iconodule

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My admittedly non-expert reading of St Symeon, particularly his hymns of divine eros, gave me an impression that he really meant a vision of the uncreated light and that persons who did not achieve this in their lifetime had failed as Christians. I find this quite troubling in its own way but I don't think this is what charismaticism is about.
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Fr. Lawrence Farley has a review of Fr. Cremeens' book Marginalized Voices: A History of the Charismatic Movement in the Orthodox Church in North America 1972-1993. The book is a revision of his dissertation by the same name, and the dissertation can be found here online for free:
https://search.proquest.com/docview/908436164

Fr. Farley writes:
Quote
It also seeks to be fair in its appraisal of the good that the movement accomplished in the lives of those touched by it. Those promoting a two-dimensional view of the phenomenon of charismatic renewal—either positive or negative—will not like this book.
...
The view at the other extreme writes off the renewal as simply and entirely a demonic lie and a counterfeit, another ruse of Satan to confuse people in the last days. ... Fr. Seraphim Rose is characteristic of this view. Ironically his view is as dependent upon a specific eschatological time-table as the first view. The charismatics regard the renewal as a sign of the end-times, just as Fr. Seraphim does, with the sole difference that ... Fr. Rose regards it as part of the Antichrist’s “religion of the future”.   Both views, mirror images of the other, presuppose we are in the end times and that the Second Coming is near.

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/nootherfoundation/marginalized-voices-a-review-and-a-meditation/
I think that Fr. Seraphim Rose considered the Charismatic movement to include demonic activity regardless of whether he saw it as an End Times phenomenon.

Elder Cleopa also considered some of the phenomena of the Pentecostals as demonic:

Quote
Elder Cleopa

The Greek idol-worshipers of antiquity had similar exhibitions when they prayed to their gods Dionysus, Zeus and the others. When they were found before a diabolic idol they would fall into ecstasy or a trance, shaking and making rhythmic movements with their body, and tumble on the ground, with a few even foaming at the mouth like the demon-possessed of olden times. Next they would get up and sing rhapsodic melodies and make exclamations with demonic delight. The same happened with the Montanists, heretics of the first and second centuries after Christ, the Gnostics, and later the Methodists, the Quakers, the Pentecostals and others. These groups took to making uncanny and strange turns and movements of the body, had hallucinations and were in delusion, and thought that all of this came from God, when in actuality it comes from theologians of darkness who are familiar with Holy Scripture and who lead into delusion the unsuspecting, cheating them with words taken even from Holy Scripture.

https://www.sfaturiortodoxe.ro/orthodox/orthodox_advices_cleopa_speaking_in_tongues.htm

Fr. Farley continues:
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I also suggest that the view which asserts that no salvation, grace, or work of the Spirit is possible outside the boundaries of canonical Orthodoxy is too limited a view to account for what actually occurs outside the boundaries of canonical Orthodoxy. Fr. Rose, for all his many virtues, had little direct experience of charismatics in the way that Fr. Timothy did and the people featured in his book. And there is nothing like direct experience for complicating the picture and requiring nuance. Or, come to that, for inspiring humble agnosticism.
Likewise, I think that even Fr. Seraphim allowed for the possibility that the Spirit worked outside of canonical Orthodoxy, he wouldn't change his harsh view of the Charismatic movement's phenomena: he wouldn't accept it even if he saw it occurring within the institutional Orthodox Church.

It has been a while since I have read Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future and I cannot recall whether Fr. Seraphim actually claimed that the Holy Spirit cannot work at all outside of the boundaries of the Orthodox Church.  His words in the link below certainly do not portray such views:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/howtotreattheheterodox.aspx

What do you think of Fr. Cremeen's statement regarding the Church's ability to direct lay persons with charisms?:
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In the final chapter of his book he writes, “The Orthodox Church in North America has yet to address the overall issue of the ongoing charismatic life in the Church [i.e. spiritual renewal in general, not the Charismatic Movement]. No thorough, serious, or authoritative study has been undertaken to give guidance to or provide spiritual formation for Orthodox laity who have been endowed with certain charisms that do not easily fit within the framework of the ordained Orthodox priesthood or the monastic life.”
SOURCE: Marginalized Voices: a Review and a Meditation, September 20, 2018 · Fr. Lawrence Farley   , https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/nootherfoundation/marginalized-voices-a-review-and-a-meditation/

I have not read "Marginalized Voices".  However, I have no idea what is meant by the bolded text.  What "charisms" among the laity is the author referring to?  In the Orthodox Church, we have many contemporary examples of exalted charisms of the Holy Spirit, including St, Porphyrios speaking in tongues, his clairvoyance, the clairvoyance of Elder Joseph the Hesychast and St. Paisios, miracles worked by St. John of San Francisco, etc.  According the to lives of the saints, such charisms are rare and granted only after a person has been healed of their passions through lengthy asceticism, usually under obedience to a gifted Elder.  If laypeople begin claiming to exhibit "charismatic phenomena" that is not typically found in Orthodoxy but is found in other faiths (like among the Pentecostals), it would be most likely suggested that this person is deluded.  In any case, such a layperson experiencing strange phenomena should seek out a gifted spiritual father to help them discern this phenomena.  If such a person believes that they are a prophet or miracle worker and that they do not need guidance from anyone, that is a clear sign that they are deluded by the demons.

Furthermore, it is true that the saints and Fathers speak of a "second baptism" of the Holy Spirit that results from sincere prolonged repentance and purification of the passions, and may be marked by tears.  However, they also speak of tears that are from the Holy Spirit and tears that are instead from sorrow, despondency, sadness, emotion, etc.  The parish priests could always do more to encourage people to "acquire the Holy Spirit" as St. Seraphim says, by encouraging the time-tested means of doing so through repentance, fasting, prayer, participation in the Holy Mysteries, and seeking guidance from a gifted spiritual father.  However, it has always been the case that sanctity is rare, not because there is anything lacking in the Orthodox Church, but rather because the road to illumination and theosis requires great humility and struggle, and few people are willing to follow this path.  Of course, priests could do more to speak about the lives of the saints and the way to acquire the Holy Spirit so that more people are aware of the way of salvation rather than just attending church because it is a mere cultural practice or family/social obligation. 

As Fr. Cremeens writes in his book, St. Symeon's idea was that there was a sacramental baptism and also a second baptism, one of the Spirit. The Charismatics, including the ones in the Orthodox church, saw the Charismatic movement and phenomena as being the enactment of this second baptism and as a "baptism" missing in the Orthodox Church prior to the Charismatic movement. My criticism of this view is that it denigrates the state of the Orthodox church before the arrival of the Charismatic movement as lacking the second baptism. The Charismatic movement typically took the view that (A) the Holy Spirit's charismatic working and the necessary second baptism was generally missing in Orthodoxy and was meanwhile yet (B) working and present in the non-Orthodox Charismatic movements.

In contrast, I think that a pious Orthodox would accept the concept of both a Spirit baptism and a Water (ritual, sacramental) baptism, and yet not see this concept as implying that the Spirit baptism was absent in non-Charismatic Orthodox Churches.

St. John of the Ladder, in Step 7 says,
Quote
Greater than baptism itself is the fountain of tears after baptism, even though it is somewhat audacious to say so. For baptism is the washing away of evils that were in us before, but sins committed after baptism are washed away by tears. As baptism is received in infancy, we have all defiled it, but we cleanse it anew with tears. And if God in His love for mankind had not given us tears, those being saved would be few indeed and hard to find.

Many saints and Fathers spoke of this, it was not limited to St. Symeon.  That said, we would have to compare the descriptions of the saints and Fathers concerning this second  baptism to that of the Charismatics to determine whether they were speaking of the same thing.  One also has to wonder that if the non-Orthodox Charismatics received the Holy Spirit, why is it that they did not arrive at the same theology and understanding of the spiritual life as the Orthodox saints and Fathers confessed?  To claim that the Orthodox Church somehow needs to be "revived" by receiving the laying-on of hands by people outside of the Church, and that the Orthodox Church was lacking something until the Charismatic movement was developed among people outside of the Orthodox Church, would suggest that the Orthodox Church has not been guided by the Holy Spirit but needs to receive a (different) spirit from the Charismatics.  Is this not heretical nonsense?

Another criticism I have is that, as Fr. Cremeens says, the Charismatics saw conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence in believers to be a requirement of a pious believer. They pointed to St. Symenon for support in their teaching on this issue. To quote Fr. Cremeens' book, "St. Symenon wrote considerably about having a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit, even beyond the sacramental experiences of baptism in water and Chrismation (confirmation). This conscious awareness he attributes to what he called a 'baptism in the Holy Spirit.'" Fr. Cremeens quotes St. Symeon:
Quote
"You have given repentance unto a second purification and You have fixed it as a term for the grace of the Spirit that which we received before in the first Baptism, for it is not only by water as You have said that grace comes, but also rather by the Spirit in the invocation of the Trinity. Because therefore we have been baptised as children with no awareness, having been imperfect, so we received imperfectly the grace when we received the pardon of the first transgression... Such was Adam before his sin, such also are all those who have been baptized and know the cause, but it does not apply to those who in their insensibility have not received the intellectual awareness which the Spirit brings about in coming by His works."
My question is: What is the "intellectual awareness" that the Spirit brings about according to St Symeon? Fr. Cremeens takes it to be an awareness of the Holy Spirit's charismatic working in the person? But perhaps St. Symeon means an awareness of the Trinity and of one's baptism?

Do you agree with the Charismatics' idea that a pious Christian needs to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit miraculously present and working in their life, or does Orthodoxy only require of the pious that they be aware of their sacramental baptism itself and leave it up to God how much and whether He wishes to bestow His divine Holy Spirit on the person miraculously?

St. Isaac the Syrian said:
Quote
Moisten your cheeks with the tears of your eyes, that the Holy Spirit may abide in you, and cleanse the filth of your malice. (Homily 68)

It is true that baptism in the Orthodox Church is not alone sufficient for our salvation if we live past the day of our baptism, but we must continue to repent, to be purified by the passions, and as we are purified we will come to experience the grace (energies) of God.  Sometimes, God may also grant a vision of Uncreated Light or similar phenomena.  However, it is important to remember the story of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos.  He received a divine vision early on but God allowed the perception of His grace to cease so that St. Silouan might be further purified by ceaseless prayer, perseverance, asceticism, and humility.  Through ceaseless prayer we are to become constantly conscious of God, but God might not permit us to be constantly perceptive of His grace, for this could cause us to fall into pride and demonic delusion. 

Fr. Cremeens writes:
Quote
For St Symenon, the water in baptism and the oil of Chrismation are types that need to be fulfilled by being experienced consciously. He explains: "But when a man suddenly lifts his eyes and contemplates the nature of reality in a way he has never done before, then he tremles and tears flood out spontaneously though he feels no sorrow. They purify him and wash him in a second baptism, that baptism our Lord speaks about in the Gospels: 'If a man is not born of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven.' ...

The leaders of the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Orthodox Church saw in St Symeon the New Theologian a spiritual father who clearly taught that [baptized Christians] were in need of a renewal of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that renewal needed to be a CONSCIOUS ENCOUNTER of the Holy Spirit. Orthodox participants in the Charismatic Movement witness that their baptism in the Holy Spirit was precisely this renewal or second baptism.
Don't you think that this is reading modern Charismatic theology into St. Symeon's writings? St. Symeon says that a person can have the second, Spirit baptism by being washed in tears from contemplating reality in a new holy way. But he doesn't specify that awareness of this contemplation and conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence itself is a requirement of having the Second Baptism, does he?

It is very suspect that those eager to spread the Charismatic phenomena in the Orthodox Church will use one saint and his writings in an attempt to justify their experiences.  It is true that we are all called to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the charisms of the Spirit as have many Orthodox saints.  However, when a movement from outside of the Church claims that it has received the Holy Spirit in a special way that deviates from the Orthodox understanding of how the Holy Spirit operates in man, and when phenomena attributed to the Holy Spirit by non-Orthodox is different from the phenomena attested to by Orthodox saints, and when this phenomena is associated with teachings and beliefs that are contrary to what the Orthodox Church has handed down by the Holy Spirit from the time of the Apostles, and when these phenomena among the non-Orthodox appear quite easily and suddently in contrast to the charisms that are exhibited in the lives of the saints after prolonged asceticism; then it becomes more clear whether the spirit(s) involved with Charismatics is the same as the Spirit that is spoken of by our saints.

Met Hierotheos of Nafpaktos speaks at length about truly "becoming a Christian" after baptism and the initial reception of grace, only after struggle and victory over the passions:

http://tokandylaki.blogspot.com/2014/08/education-in-godby-metropolitan.html

Schemamonk Theophanes of Kavsokalyvia (author of the OrthodoxMonk blogspot) has some good posts on the subject of the Charismatic movement:

https://orthodoxmonk.blogspot.com/2010/10/gift-of-tongues.html

https://orthodoxmonk.blogspot.com/2010/08/pentecostalism-and-jesus-prayer.html

https://orthodoxmonk.blogspot.com/2010/08/ecclesiological-dimensions-in.html



Offline rakovsky

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Thanks for a close analysis, jah777.
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Offline rakovsky

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Much of what happens in the Charismatic movement comes from a practice of imagination by the Charismatic practitioner. One Orthodox who had been in the Charismatic movement explained to me that his Charismatic church had imagination or day-dreaming excercizes as a group where they collectively imagined themselves doing things like swimming, but the results were disturbing for him at the time, leading him into envisioning a monster.

Prof. Alexei Osipov has an article warning about people drifting along gullibly into imaginations and "prelest" (a kind of spiritual pride that can be based on one's such "revelations"):
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Individual Revelation and Its Indications

A question of no less importance would also be about the truth of those religious experiences, phenomena, and revelations that a religious person could have. This question concerns the understanding of the existence of spiritual life and a conditional knowledge of the “other” world, because any mistake in this matter is always bound with great danger: he who does not enter into it by the door will be consigned to the lot of a thief and robber! (see Jn 10:1). ...

The methodical development of imagination is based in the experience of one of the pillars of Catholic mysticism, the founder of the order of Jesuits and great Catholic saint Ignatius of Loyola (sixteenth century). His book Spiritual Exercises enjoys great authority in Catholicism. Ignatius himself said of his book that if one reads it, it could replace the Gospels.[36]He tells the reader to imagine the crucified Christ, to attempt to penetrate the world of Christ’s feelings and sufferings, to mentally converse with the Crucified One, etc. All this contradicts in principle the basics of spiritual ascetic labor as it has been given to us in the lives of the saints of the Universal Church. Ignatius’s methods lead to complete spiritual and often emotional disturbance in the practitioner, and from that point, to whatever “revelations.” Here are a few examples from Spiritual Exercises.

The contemplation of “the first day of God the Word’s incarnation” consists of a few preludes. The first prelude consists in “imagining that this happened before your eyes, the whole historical process of the mystery of the incarnation; specifically: how the Three Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity look upon the earth … how the Holy Trinity, touched by its sufferings, decides to send the Word … as … the Archangel Gabriel appeared as a messenger to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
http://orthochristian.com/42352.html
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 11:29:12 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Sharbel

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I'm not familiar with Pentecostalism, or any Protestant vein actually, but I am with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.  And, from what I learned here, the problems I saw in the Catholic version are the same as in the Orthodox version.  The bottom line is that the adherents of this movement purport to be part of a new Revelation, above the Apostolic one and, ultimately, above the Church.  It's poison to the soul of individuals and to the Church.  Let it be anathema.
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