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Author Topic: Sin in Orthodox Theology  (Read 12759 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 22, 2003, 06:11:39 PM »

Starting this thread may be playing with fire, but my intention isn't to fuel a heated debate between duelling personalities...

I think Vicki made a very intersting point when she said that a lot of people try to look at Orthodoxy with protestant/latin view of sin.  I think it would be intersting to make this topic into a thread.  

For example in the RCC eating meat on a friday of lent is a mortal sin, plan and simple.  Whereas in Orthodoxy it is seen in a different sense.  

Father Seraphim (Rose) of Platina touches on this issue in some of his writtings.  This is a paraphrase of what he said on the topic.  That when we fall short of what the church perscribes our attitude should always be "God be mericul to me a sinner."  Wanting some sort of dispensation from fasting because we are unable to fast is the same mindset of the pharisee who sees himself as justifed.  If can't fast, we can't...we can only do what we can do.  But our attitude should not be to lower the bar, just to realize we fall short.

As a personal note I cannot keep the strict version of the Great fast, nor do I personally know any non-monastics (and even a few monastics!) who can.  BUT to deny this is what the church ordains would be very sad.  It is something to strive for; a reminder of what the GOAL is.

The best author I have read on this subject is Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpatkos and reccomend his book "Orthodox Spirituality" on this topic.  Basicly his view (and that of the holy fathers) is that the soul is sick and church is its hospital.  Thus the fasts (and other ascetical disicplines) are medicines.  So if you don't take you medicine the illness is not cured and may even become worse.  The doctor (i.e the Spiritual Father/Mother) works out the best dosage for each patient in order for them to find thier cure.  When looking at the church from this perspective one is saved from seeing in from the legalistic latin sense or the anti-clericalsim found in most protestantism that sees all disicplines of the church as imposing laws.
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2003, 06:17:08 PM »

I think you misunderstand the RC view of sin. It is not legalistic.
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2003, 06:20:56 PM »

clarification:  By the full Great Fast I meant that there is no meal the first two days of the fast, one after vespers on the first wednesday, another after friday vespers and then for the rest of the fast one meal a day after vespers.  The exact rules of this (i.e the monastic practice) can be found in Bishop Kallistos' translation of the triodion.
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2003, 06:21:27 PM »

I don't take a strict pass/fail approach to ascesis, rather I understand that I need to be improving year on year, season on season. I look forward to the fasts as an opportunity to grow, and I never handle them as well as I'd like - this years Nativity Fast isn't going so well, but I'm in a mixed household with non-O family visitors and my wife is less able to provide me with a fasting diet. That's my problem, not hers.

But I don't do so well, so I need to do better next time. I miss a Wednesday so I need to have a go at Friday. I fall, God picks me up and gives me another opportunity.

While I still WANT to fast I know I'm still being given grace, and still stumbling forward somehow.

I'm fortunate in being part of a church community, the COP, that has a great many devout folk who do take the ascesis of the Christian life seriously, although I was glad it was Lent when I visited the Mother Church as I didn't fancy trying Middle Eastern meat dishes so much. There's not much laxity when it comes to instruction about the norm of fasting. But a great deal of understanding of each persons situation on their life's pilgrimage.

So I don't find the expectation a burden, rather an encouragement, and certainly not a guilt trip sort of thing, though I'm aware of my weakness and sinfulness when I too too easily give way on a fast day.

PT
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2003, 06:23:41 PM »

Thank you, Peter for a very good example of the Orthodox approach to fasting.
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2003, 06:26:14 PM »

I like the sensibleness of so many of the Fathers who teach that we should grow into fasting, and should approach it with moderation rather than a zeal without wisdom that causes us to fail and despair. This is in line with the whole sense in Orthodoxy that the aim is to heal us and renew us not make us law keepers.

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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2003, 06:31:48 PM »

I take the same approach to ascesis Dc. Peter does. I've never succeeded with my lenten resolutions. I've always failed. But I don't beat myself up. I just try again.
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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2003, 06:42:52 PM »

That's why I like the regular round of fasting seasons. It's not like we fast once every 10 years and it is a cause for utter despair if we fail, rather it's like an athletic training programme. We miss the training on Wednesday but coach encourages us to turn up for Friday. And coach knows when we are able to train doing 10 miles a day and when we need to train 3 miles a day and even when we are starting off and just need to jog round the track a couple of times.

This is the danger of trying to train ourselves. We often go straight for running a marathon a day and chuck the whole thing in when we discover that after a couple of days we can hardly walk.

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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2003, 08:32:48 PM »

At the same time, I think many of us converts sometimes, especially the first time we fast, try to do more than what our priest tells us to do.  I know that I did that.  I know a lot of people  want to know what the fasting rules are.  Personally, if I'd been smart, I would have stayed away from those.  I'm not sure that it isn't a bad thing to ask for your priest's blessing before looking at those.  I think I would have been much better to just do what my priest told me to and not to have been aware of what the fasting rules are.  I think that may especially be true for those of us who have a tendency to be legalistic.  Also, if you are aware of the fasting rules, especially if you are new to Orthodoxy, it is a real temptation to lookat other people and judge them on how they are keeping the fasting rules.  Believe me, you don't want to go there.  The only thing that broke me of it was being taken off fasting for awhile due to health reasons.  I'm now doing it, but how much I can do remains to be seen.  Each fasting season, Fr. has me trying a little more.  I learned a lot from this though, because I learned that we're each different and that there may be very valid reasons why another person may not be fasting strictly, or not at all.  Unless we are flies on the wall when the person is talking to their priest, we have no idea whether they are doing this with their priest's full blessing.
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2003, 11:27:59 PM »

Quote
Nektarios: I think Vicki made a very intersting point when she said that a lot of people try to look at Orthodoxy with protestant/latin view of sin.  I think it would be intersting to make this topic into a thread.

The point may have been interesting, but it was not correct.

The issue was fasting, not sin in general, which I think most Christians understand means "missing the mark," i.e., disobedience to God.

I have noticed a tendency among some Orthodox. Whenever someone disagrees with them, they immediately detect some lingering "Westernism" in the mind of the opponent.

And, of course, Westernism totally invalidates any argument, as everyone knows.

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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2003, 11:56:50 PM »

I don't know anything about any claws, but sin is sin, and I really doubt that there is any difference between the Western conception of it and the Eastern.

There are many things that do not bring one closer to God but that are not necessarily sinful. Brushing one's teeth comes to mind.

If missing a fast is missing an opportunity to get closer to God, but not disobedience to a command of God, then it is not a sin. It is simply a lost opportunity.

If, however, the Church really did excommunicate people for blowing a fast day - and I have no reason to doubt you when you say she did - then at some point the Church regarded fasting as a legal obligation.

The issue is not whether one has a Western idea of sin.

The issue is whether or not failing to fast is a sin.
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2003, 12:14:25 AM »

It is still something which is required to be confessed. OCA General Confession reads it off,  and it is in the guidelines (recently published guidelines, for laity) for confession. It's still a confessable sin.  

I honestly had no idea it was a sin.

I will speak to my priest about this issue. They don't seem to emphasize it that much in my church, but maybe that is a misunderstanding on my part.

I still don't think the problem in this or the previous thread had anything to do with Western vs. Eastern conceptions of sin.

The problem was that some of us did not realize that blowing a fast day was even considered a sin!  Shocked

I still have a problem with the idea of fasting as a legal obligation, given my reading of the Gospels, but I am certainly willing to defer to the greater wisdom of the Church.
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2003, 09:11:07 AM »

They don't excommunicate you for it.


But that's what the Canons say is to be done. A lay person is to be excommunicated and a Priest is to be deposed.

If the Church holds "The Truth" and is "Infallible", then ALL Canons MUST be directly inspired by God, and therefore MUST be applied equally.

And Linus is right in that the concept of sin in Orthodoxy (i.e., falling short) is pretty well understood by Orthodox converts. I mean, we DID have to go through instruction in the Faith before we were allowed in.
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2003, 12:09:34 PM »

There are many things that do not bring one closer to God but that are not necessarily sinful. Brushing one's teeth comes to mind.

Well, actually I think it could be argued that brushing your teeth can bring you closer to God. But the theology of that is pretty Anglican.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2003, 12:40:47 PM »

I think it is within the competence of the Church to make laws. Jesus did not come to abolish the law. On the other hand, it is fruitless to be legalistic about it.

I look at it in a manner akin to secular law. I'm often guilty of speeding. I think that speeding is sinful, more or less, and has the capacity to be very grave.

When I speed, I don't think, "this law doesn't apply to me, because I'm a Christian," and indeed, sometimes I confess my speeding. I'm working on it.

I think it would become legalistic if I said, "I don't speed, therefore I am a better person than people who do." That is the leaven of the scribes and pharisees. Their hypocrisy.

So, likewise, fasting on a holy day is in honor of the day and in honor of the Lord for the love of the Lord. Breaking the fast is sinful for the same reasons not going to church on Sunday is sinful. But there's no need to get legalistic about either one, and neither is there need to be proud.

God's mercy is infinite, and we are finite. Were I Orthodox, I would confess my sin, and put it behind me. It is not Christian liberty to deny something is sinful. That's just legalisms ugly opposite.
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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2003, 12:48:31 PM »

Good topic Nektarios!

My understanding of this is as follows.

Everyone is a recipient of God's benevolence (grace).  He also is drawing all men, subtly (and often not so subtly!) towards the Conqueror of death, and the trampler of satan's reign (which is drawing to a close), our Lord Jesus Christ.

31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. (St.John 12:31-33)

We also know that it is God's plan (at a point no one can know with certainty) to bring this age to a close, remove the "veil" which now causes us to see the reign of God in His creation only dimly, and for all creatures to perceive the terrible (used in the old sense of the term, as in "great" and "awesome" but without the pejorative sense now commonly attached to this term) Glory of the Lord.

While it is true that all receive the uncreated energies of God in various ways (God bringing men into existance, and sustaining their existance, and otherwise showing His goodness towards all creatures), it is only by assimilation into Christ (Who according to His Humanity is consubstantial with mankind, and consubstantial with His Father according to His Divinity), that the insurmountable obstical of our mortality can be overcome, for He alone is the only man Who lived a life upon which the devil could have no claim (for He was absolutely without sin) and Who has overcome the world (overcoming death/mortality).  It is only by being assimilated into the "new man" (new Adam), that our own humanity can be renewed so as to be able to receive this coming Apocalypse (lit. "revelation") as blessedness and peace.

Without such a renewal/regeneration, this revelation is going to be received as anything but blessedness.  In truth, the same Glory which will be warmth and consolation to the Saints, is going to be a terrible inferno and misery for the damned.  This is the real difference between the "Heavenly City" (whose inhabitants will be those who have been prepared for the revelation of the Lord of Glory), and Gehenna, where those unprepared for this final revelation will be consigned (the word "gehenna", used to describe this place, was from an infamous place in the Holy Land, which had come to be used as a garbage dump by the Jews - in short, a place to dump your undesirables.)

"Sin" (hamartia - lit. "missing the mark") then, is fundamentally a problem existing in the hearts of men, begotten/fostered by their already existing mortality, and only made clearer by the Law (this is why St.Paul speaks of the "curse of the Law" - for the Law can ultimatly only underline how often we fail, and demonstrate our absolute helplessness in accomplishing our own salvation by any of our own powers or good intentions; for indeed, the Law promises death, to all who fail to observe it with unerring exactitude - an accomplishment which the Scriptures say, only Christ accomplishes.)

The consequences/fall-out of sin, are things we can no way "blame" God for.  This totally dismantles a long standing angst in many westerners, whose confessions often leave them with the impression that the "exclusion" from the lot of the blessed ("Heaven") of any individual, is ultimatly something God could be faulted for - if only God were more forgiving, more lenient, more willing to overlook our trespasses.  In short, they believe He is a fundamentally cruel entity Who has set us up to fail, and is ever waiting for us to fail.

Of course, the opposite is true - He has implicitly forgiven all, and if anything, actually carefully watches for, assists, and waits on the humilitation of mankind, so that it will fully co-operate with the provision that He has made (in Christ Jesus) for their salvation.  He is the unfathomably loving father of prodigals, not the offended feudal lord in the sky, grouchily waiting for us to "mess up", and should this happen, insatiably in need of satisfaction (as if He cannot forgive men their sins without such - such compulsion is the lot of pagan gods, ruled by fate and other impersonal, ultimatly murkey "eternal laws" - God on the other hand, is the only "being" which is eternal, and He is not compelled by anything - all is from His unfathomable benevolence.)

This Orthodox understanding of sin (and by unavoidable consequence, of God Himself) is the antidote to all perverse "soteriologies" proposed by men, including those which fundamentally do not perceive the obstical to our fellowship with God as being found in men and the works of the devil, but in God Himself (heterodox models of redemption, particularly any that would teach belief in "God the Problem" rather than "God the Father.")

This authentic, Apostolic understanding of sin and redemption (and ultimatly, of God) has innumerable consequences for the Church's life.  Immediately, I can think of one which stands as a bone of contention between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism; the issue of divorce.

Both Roman Catholics and Orthodox realize divorce is a sin - even in the Old Testament (where the Law allowed for a great deal of leniency on this subject) God expresses how hateful divorce is (Malachi 2:16).

Yet in the Roman Catholic Church, there is no possibility (ignoring the sophistry surrounding annulments) of someone being divorced from a spouse, even if the innocent party in the situation, and re-marrying.  Such is a sin, contrary to the evangelical purity taught by Christ.

Orthodoxy agrees with one point - it is a sin (hamartia - "misses the mark.")  Yet She also realizes, in some cases, that re-marriage for many people is the lesser of two evils.  For many people (and we all know who we are), the chastity of body and heart appropriate to marriage is a huge cross - and for many who find themselves on one end of a marriage which has fallen apart (after many attempts to fix the situation), living the rest of their life alone (particularly if there dependent children involved) is going to be more than they can stand.

So the Church has a choice - for the weaker brethren who opt to marry again, expell them from the Church (exommunicating them from the Holy Mysteries, thus depriving them of the means of their salvation - which to be fair, in some situations, is a last ditch way of getting people to have a change of heart), or be willing to forgive and overlook much in their weakness, with the hope they will still be able to work out their salvation.

Such liberality in some cases is itself, expressed in the Scriptures - Christ Himself allows for an exception in the case of a spouse guilty of pornea (a broad term, which pertains to sexual perversity - most likely adultery), and St.Paul expresses leniency in this regard for new-converts; if they cannot bear continuing with a pagan spouse, they may divorce them, and be allowed to re-marry a Christian at some point.  However it needs to be said, even these allowances, are condescencions from the ideal - for as St.Paul indicates (though it will come with great crosses), the Christian spouse can in fact act as a means of sanctification for their heathen wife/husband, perhaps leading them one day to the gates of salvation; such would be a true demonstration of selfless love, the kind of love we are undifferentiatedly called to (but so often fail to manifest.)

The Orthodox understanding of sin, it's origin, and it's consequences, has this kind of effect on Her ministry.  She is a hospital for people at varying stages of their transformation into true "sons in the Son", not a religious country club for the already perfected.

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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2003, 12:54:32 PM »

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Caffeinator: I think it is within the competence of the Church to make laws. Jesus did not come to abolish the law. On the other hand, it is fruitless to be legalistic about it.

Nice post. It makes sense.

However, wasn't the Old Testament Qahal (Ekklesia in the Septuagint) also competent to make similar rules and regs?

What did our Lord have to say about them?

"For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders . . ." (Matt. 23:4).


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« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2003, 01:07:39 PM »

I think He said that because they laid down the law without hope of redemption. It was sacrifice without mercy. The Church offers sacrifice and mercy, in confession.

He also said that when the bridegroom was among us, there would be feasting, but when he's gone, fasting.
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2003, 01:08:02 PM »

Just another bad anecdote.

I went to an Orthdoox Young Adult party recently (proably similar to the one posted as a thread, but different location).  When I got there, the spread of food included (predominantly too!) many Greek dishes with Meat and Cheese.  This was actually at a Bishop's house!  A different Bishop was actually there and after he blessed the food, someone who actually worked at the office downstairs called him on it (questioning the non-fasting nature of the food).  The Bishop's response was, when a Bishop is there to give a blessing, he grants a dispensation and the food (well, meat) turns into fish.  A cop out, but what else was he going to say?  I just went along with it quietly and didn't put up much of a fuss, but we shouldn't have been in that comprimising situation to begin with of course.  The "host" of the party mentioned that Greeks are uneducated about the Advent fast - and this guy worked at a retreat center next to a monastery!

Anyways, no need to dwell on this anymore.  Just another GOA anecdote (still gotta love 'em though).
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2003, 01:27:41 PM »

Linus,

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The issue was fasting, not sin in general, which I think most Christians understand means "missing the mark," i.e., disobedience to God.

Yes, but very often even when using the same words, Orthodoxy and non-Orthodox mean different things.

In the long standing Anslemian tradition (which has marked both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism - indeed, you cannot discuss the basic soteriologies of Luther or Calvin without these assumptions) of the post-schism west, while it is nominally understood God is above being wounded or harmed, in reality sin is perceived to be something God is in some sense threatened by; as if He would suffer some kind of loss, in admitting a sinner into His friendship.  How so?  His "perfect justice" would not be appeased.  Rather, to "forgive", He first has to find someone to "pay up" (last time I checked, "forgiving a debt" didn't involve getting someone else to pay it!)

This is the doctrine (which does substantially contradict the Apostolic teaching) of salvation which has to varying degrees affected all areas of western religious life.  It has proven to be a great source of religious cynicism and even atheism (for our natural sensibilities have a difficult time calling such an imagined being "benevolent" or "good" - frankly, the worst of us have excercised more generosity in forgiving than this soteriological model attributes to God.)

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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2003, 01:27:55 PM »

I think He said that because they laid down the law without hope of redemption. It was sacrifice without mercy. The Church offers sacrifice and mercy, in confession.

He also said that when the bridegroom was among us, there would be feasting, but when he's gone, fasting.

Are you saying God was merciless in the Old Testament?

The Jews had means of obtaining forgiveness upon violation of the various rules and regs of the Qahal.

Jesus said His followers would fast, but did He say they would do it because they were legally obliged to?

I'm being a horse's butt here, I know.

I should just shut up and go get something to eat.
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« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2003, 01:30:53 PM »

I'm often guilty of speeding. I think that speeding is sinful, more or less, and has the capacity to be very grave.

"I Can't Drive 55" - Sammy Hagar
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« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2003, 01:35:33 PM »

I'm often guilty of speeding. I think that speeding is sinful, more or less, and has the capacity to be very grave.

"I Can't Drive 55" - Sammy Hagar

Oh, man, I love that song!

And I got a speeding ticket on I-94 in Wisconsin to prove it!  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2003, 01:41:22 PM »

Tom,

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But that's what the Canons say is to be done. A lay person is to be excommunicated and a Priest is to be deposed.

I'm not doubting what you say here - but I really would like to see the canon(s) you're referring to.

Quote
If the Church holds "The Truth" and is "Infallible", then ALL Canons MUST be directly inspired by God, and therefore MUST be applied equally.

This is incorrect reasoning, founded upon a false understanding of canons and their purpose (and ultimatly who is responsible for enforcing them when penalties are called for.)

The collection of Orthodox canons is called "the Rudder", and with good reason - they are intended to be the guide for the Church's pastors (Bishops), just like the rudder on a boat is used.

Not everything in Orthodox canon law applies to every person and to every situation (for example, some canons only apply to clergy or monastics - others simply couldn't be enforced, because the social/political conditions they stipulate do not presently exist).  Thus, of course some are going to functionally fall into disuse (the best way to look at them is to say they've gone "dormant" - the Orthodox Church is loath to actually "drop" Canons - theoretically, it is possible for said Canons to be ressurected, if the situations they outline were to resurface.)

Many canons cite penalties for certain offences.  However, actually enforcing those penalties is something which is not up to just anyone to do, but those to whom the perceived offender is accountable to.  Thus, if a Bishop chooses not to pursue this, this is up to him (much like the traffic cop, who chooses not to ticket somebody, even though they're going 20 over the limit.)  Of course, like everything else in his ministry, he will have to answer to God for this choice, and all other pastoral decisions he makes (Lord, mercy!)

Given this, the way you're treating the canons (and the contempt you heap on some of them) is entirely inappropriate.

Seraphim
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« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2003, 01:48:21 PM »

This is incorrect reasoning, founded upon a false understanding of canons and their purpose (and ultimatly who is responsible for enforcing them when penalties are called for.)

The collection of Orthodox canons is called "the Rudder", and with good reason - they are intended to be the guide for the Church's pastors (Bishops), just like the rudder on a boat is used.

Yes Seraphim. We agree on this 100% That is the precise point that I am trying to make. They are a guide, not laws.

Given this, the way you're treating the canons (and the contempt you heap on some of them) is entirely inappropriate.

But I don't HATE the Canons. I simply do not feel that they should be pulled out by laity and used to JUDGE other laity.

My Priest has told me what is important. That is who I am OBLIGATED to follow.

And yes, I WILL drink the Kool-aid from my Priest, because he teaches with Love and does not use the Praxis of the Faith to condemn.

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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2003, 01:54:15 PM »

I'm often guilty of speeding. I think that speeding is sinful, more or less, and has the capacity to be very grave.

"I Can't Drive 55" - Sammy Hagar

Oh, man, I love that song!

And I got a speeding ticket on I-94 in Wisconsin to prove it!  Grin

I

HATE

Hearing that song in Connecticut Grin

I love the song...but every DJ in CT, which is always, always, always under construction....applies it with irony when traffic is backed up for miles  and you crawl from one station range to another at 5 m.p.h....and each DJ says...hey..I'll play some Sammy for a bit of humor....LOL

LOL.

That would be frustrating.

That song was tailor-made for the West . . .  or for the Autobahn.

It won't work in Russia . . . too many potholes in the roads!
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« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2003, 01:54:54 PM »

Yes and I can tell you a few uncomplimentary anecdotes of the OCA, much worse than eating meat during a fast. I don't understand why the GOA has become the whipping post of this forum. All jurisdictions have problems.

In Christ,
Anthony

P.S. I'm not a member of the GOA, BTW.

Just another bad anecdote.

I went to an Orthdoox Young Adult party recently (proably similar to the one posted as a thread, but different location).  When I got there, the spread of food included (predominantly too!) many Greek dishes with Meat and Cheese.  This was actually at a Bishop's house!  A different Bishop was actually there and after he blessed the food, someone who actually worked at the office downstairs called him on it (questioning the non-fasting nature of the food).  The Bishop's response was, when a Bishop is there to give a blessing, he grants a dispensation and the food (well, meat) turns into fish.  A cop out, but what else was he going to say?  I just went along with it quietly and didn't put up much of a fuss, but we shouldn't have been in that comprimising situation to begin with of course.  The "host" of the party mentioned that Greeks are uneducated about the Advent fast - and this guy worked at a retreat center next to a monastery!

Anyways, no need to dwell on this anymore.  Just another GOA anecdote (still gotta love 'em though).
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« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2003, 01:55:08 PM »

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Are you saying God was merciless in the Old Testament?

I would never say that! But the pharisees often were, if our Lord is to be believed.

Quote
Jesus said His followers would fast, but did He say they would do it because they were legally obliged to?

No, he didn't say that. But it looks like it worked out that way, and that's what we've got!
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« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2003, 01:56:47 PM »

Elisha, TAKE BACK THE GOA!!!!
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« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2003, 01:58:42 PM »

Yes and all the others too.  Smiley

In Christ,
Anthony

Elisha, TAKE BACK THE GOA!!!!
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« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2003, 01:59:07 PM »

Where is Nektarios?

I say we cook and eat him for starting this thread!  Wink

Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!
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« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2003, 02:00:50 PM »

.... Not YOUR call to say, not the law.

(sigh) Vicki, did I not cleary type:

My Priest has told me what is important. That is who I am OBLIGATED to follow.

 Roll Eyes

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« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2003, 02:01:09 PM »

Linus,

For a good treatment of the topic of what sin is to Orthodoxy and the difference of how non-Orthodox understand the topic read Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpatkos' Orthodox Spirituality or The Illness and Cure of the Soul .  All the ascetical fathers of the church have a very different and un-legalistic sense of what sinfulness means.
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« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2003, 02:03:03 PM »

Linus:

Wasn't it Saint Lawrence who was burned to death and said half way through to his executioners to rotate him since he was done on one side?
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« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2003, 02:05:21 PM »

Line,

For a good treatment of the topic of what sin is to Orthodoxy and the difference of how non-Orthodox understand the topic read Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpatkos' Orthodox Spirituality or The Illness and Cure of the Soul .  All the ascetical fathers of the church have a very different and un-legalistic sense of what sinfulness means.  

I don't think the difference is in the understanding of sin. The difference is in our perception of God's attitude toward it.

Anselm, if I understand him rightly, saw God as offended and angered by sin.

The Orthodox understanding is that our sin does not change God at all or His attitude toward us. It changes us and makes us spiritually sick and unable to respond to God's love as we should.

But sin remains sin - East and West.
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« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2003, 02:08:11 PM »

Tom,

Quote
But that's what the Canons say is to be done. A lay person is to be excommunicated and a Priest is to be deposed.

I'm not doubting what you say here - but I really would like to see the canon(s) you're referring to.

164. Canon of the Holy Apostles

"If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or reader, or singer, does not fast the holy Quadragesimal (Lent) fast of Easter, or the fourth day (Wed.), or the day of Preparation (Fri.), let him be deposed, unless he be hindered by some bodily infirmity. If he be a layman, let him be excommunicated."

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« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2003, 02:08:41 PM »

.... Not YOUR call to say, not the law.

(sigh) Vicki, did I not cleary type:

My Priest has told me what is important. That is who I am OBLIGATED to follow.

 Roll Eyes



And what if your priest is wrong?  I'm not saying he is or he isn't, but one is obligated to follow the Church, and not necessarily any individual cleric, save when he is aligned with the mind of the Church.  That is why your statement made elsewhere (I believe it was something like "My priest is the Church to me") is, I believe, wrong.
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« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2003, 02:09:40 PM »

Linus:

Wasn't it Saint Lawrence who was burned to death and said half way through to his executioners to rotate him since he was done on one side?

Slava Isusu Christu!

While I'm not Linus, I'll reply.  It most certainly was.  My parents' pastor mentioned him last week in his sermon, causing me to instantly like him.  Mentioning saints in one's sermons are becoming far and few between in the Roman Catholic Church nowadays, unfortunately.
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« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2003, 02:12:19 PM »

Linus:

Wasn't it Saint Lawrence who was burned to death and said half way through to his executioners to rotate him since he was done on one side?

Slava Isusu Christu!

While I'm not Linus, I'll reply.  It most certainly was.  My parents' pastor mentioned him last week in his sermon, causing me to instantly like him.  Mentioning saints in one's sermons are becoming far and few between in the Roman Catholic Church nowadays, unfortunately.

So, when we cook Nektarios for starting this thread, we'll be sure to rotate him in honor of St. Lawrence.

Which BBQ sauce do you prefer, Nektarios?

 Grin
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« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2003, 02:12:56 PM »

Elisha, TAKE BACK THE GOA!!!!

Yes...but you get to do it.  I'm in the OCA.  Grin

Tony, maybe it's just the area I'm in, but all the OCA parishes in my neck of the woods tend more toward the conservative end.  I just try to be "pan-Orthodox" and go to events when I can.
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« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2003, 02:14:16 PM »

I can't say it enough, there is a giant gap in the understanding of the very nature of sin between the Latin and the Orthodox.  If anybody really wants to see this any of the writtings of the ascetical fathers clearly demonstrate this.  This is a matter of deep importance because to the Calvinist and the Latin the Cross of Christ was to pay a debt owed to an Angry God.  Yet this is not how Orthodoxy views the crucifixiton of the Lord - so obviously there must be something different.
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« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2003, 02:20:42 PM »

I can't say it enough, there is a giant gap in the understanding of the very nature of sin between the Latin and the Orthodox.  If anybody really wants to see this any of the writtings of the ascetical fathers clearly demonstrate this.  This is a matter of deep importance because to the Calvinist and the Latin the Cross of Christ was to pay a debt owed to an Angry God.  Yet this is not how Orthodoxy views the crucifixiton of the Lord - so obviously there must be something different.

Well, as I said before, the difference is not in the definition of sin but in the "Angry God" part.

The West, following Anselm, saw God as offended and angered by sin. Thus our sin was a problem for God.

The Orthodox understanding is that God is impassible - unchangeable - and thus unaffected by our sin. He still loves us and desires our salvation.

Thus sin is our problem, not God's. It makes us spiritually sick and unable to respond to God's love with faith and hope.

So, the difference between East and West is not in our understanding of sin. It is in our understanding of how God reacts to it.
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« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2003, 02:33:57 PM »

That is only partially true.  For example even the greatest saint that is living in theosis and not committing any acts that are wrong is still a sinner because (s)he falls short of the glory of God even in Theosis.  The danger of seeing sin through the RC perspective is that a list of what is sinful and what isn't can easily be drawn up and Christianity is reduced a mere ethical system.  But this isn't my opinion, it is what is stated by the fathers as can be seen in the books mentioned above.
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« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2003, 02:36:05 PM »

That is only partially true.  For example even the greatest saint that is living in theosis and not committing any acts that are wrong is still a sinner because (s)he falls short of the glory of God even in Theosis.  The danger of seeing sin through the RC perspective is that a list of what is sinful and what isn't can easily be drawn up and Christianity is reduced a mere ethical system.  But this isn't my opinion, it is what is stated by the fathers as can be seen in the books mentioned above.  

Falling short of the glory of God does not make one a sinner.

It makes one not God.

Even the Theotokos falls short of the glory of God.

But who would call her a sinner?
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« Reply #44 on: December 23, 2003, 02:51:28 PM »

Ah now - come on

So, when we cook Nektarios for starting this thread, we'll be sure to rotate him in honor of St. Lawrence.

Which BBQ sauce do you prefer, Nektarios?


Having cooked the poor wee brat - now what do we do weith the barbecued remains - it's MEAT !! You can't keep it till the Fast is over .

Be nice guys [ oh and the gal Cheesy ] - remember his age - the meat would not even be tasty enough - it needs to HANG first to tenderise it  :cwm41:
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