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Author Topic: Sin in Orthodox Theology  (Read 12824 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: December 23, 2003, 02:53:44 PM »

I won't say anything more as I am not a theologian, but for the Orthodox Patristic view I have already given the place to find it.
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« Reply #46 on: December 23, 2003, 03:03:52 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:

Well, of course, I was just joking.

Nektarios is one of the good guys. That's why we can kid with him.

We'll just beat him with carrots and turnips and eat them in his place.

 Grin
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« Reply #47 on: December 23, 2003, 03:15:40 PM »

This begs the question is something that is cooked WITH meat off limits during the fast too?  Or since it is animal products that we can't eat and humans have dominion over animals (thus are not animals themselves from the Orthdox POV unlike the evolutionist's POV) does that make Human flesh legal to eat.....all very serious and important issues.
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« Reply #48 on: December 23, 2003, 03:16:52 PM »

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.

I really have trouble here speaking for the Latins, though I suspect that the same situation applies with them. But this dispute simply does not obtain in Anglicanism.

Look at The Great Divorce. This book is, in the terms of this discussion, very Eastern. And yet Lewis was throroughly steeped in the medieval culture that Anselm supposedly spawned.

The flip side is worse. This unchanging God ends up sounding more and more like Tillich's "ground of being", who does nothing and who cannot act in history. It seems to me that any theory of sin must reflect the paradox in these two positions-- not picking one over the other.
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« Reply #49 on: December 23, 2003, 03:17:06 PM »

Also the Slave brings up a good point about tender meat....if you are going to eat me, right at the end of a 40 day fast isn't the best time Tongue
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« Reply #50 on: December 23, 2003, 03:22:27 PM »

... 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.  

Well, yes, I agree that one should not follow a Priest if they feel he is going against what the general teachings of the Church are. But we are not talking about THE FAITH here. We are talking about a Praxis which has evolved and been open to interpretation.

And as I have posted in the past, I HAVE spoken to other GOA Priests in this area and found them to basically be on the "same page" as what my Priest is advising.
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« Reply #51 on: December 23, 2003, 03:25:43 PM »

Ha so then you can't eat me after all, Vicki says I'm not human and therefore an animal and therefore not fasting! Cheesy
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« Reply #52 on: December 23, 2003, 03:35:36 PM »

hang on - there's something wrong with the reasoning there
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« Reply #53 on: December 23, 2003, 04:14:07 PM »

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.

Well, there isn't a the Rudder. For instance, there is the compilation with commentaries by St. Nicodemus. What is the significance of these commentaries? (Of course, from what I understand you, Mr. Reeves, aren't allowed to like this pedalion because it allows for economy.)

It's really difficult for an Anglican to take the direction of this discussion seriously. Nobody in Anglican is this kind of a legalist, of either the Eastern or Western type. When we see lists of canons like this we look back at Acts 15 and think, "these guys missed the point." Fasting is, after all, nothing more than a discipline. One of the things that one sees in the West is that there is an understanding, especially among monastics, that monastic disciplines are not for everyone, and that following monastic disciplines for most people isn't good for their souls.
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« Reply #54 on: December 23, 2003, 04:16:24 PM »

Well, yes, I agree that one should not follow a Priest if they feel he is going against what the general teachings of the Church are. But we are not talking about THE FAITH here. We are talking about a Praxis which has evolved and been open to interpretation.

And as I have posted in the past, I HAVE spoken to other GOA Priests in this area and found them to basically be on the "same page" as what my Priest is advising.


I agree with you that matters such as fasting have been applied differently in different times to different people and their different situations.  However, this does not make a rule.  For instance, in my Church, there was a time when certain people in certain areas were allowed to eat sardines during fasts because it was cheaper than buying vegetables.  That didn't change the fast for people who weren't affected by those specific circumstances, and the rule for our Church has always been the same: vegan, one meal after sunset/Vespers, to be altered by legitimate ecclesiastical authority as needed.  

You are saying one of your priests told you that you are only required to fast strictly for the last twelve days of the fast, and the full forty days is only for monks, if I'm not mistaken.  While that may be a legitimate exercise of economy for a certain group of people, it is not the rule, but an exception to the rule.  If that's all you're saying, that's fine.  But it seems, at least to some, that you are saying this is the official position of the GOA, and such an assertion requires, I think, more evidence: as far as I can tell, and what others here who are members of the GOA are saying is that the official position of GOA on fasting regulations is the Church's position.  Economy is a different thing.  

Personally, I wonder what is to be gained from taking apart Orthodoxy and compartmentalising it, which is what it seems you are doing/advocating when you say something like I agree that one should not follow a Priest if they feel he is going against what the general teachings of the Church are.  In a certain sense, I suppose I can see some value in that, but Orthodoxy is a package deal: the faith, the rites, the feasts and fasts, the spiritual life, etc., etc.  I think it is safe to say there is a hierarchical ordering of those things, but that's not to say that you can take the essentials and pick and choose "non-essentials" as you see fit.  It is all part of one system, and it should be viewed as such.
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« Reply #55 on: December 23, 2003, 04:19:57 PM »

If fasting is a discipline then it has rules or it isn't a discipline at all. If I want to be a carpenter I can't just decide one day to get a hammer and some nails and some wood and set up shop. I have to start at the beginning, follow a lengthy apprenticeship and then become one who knows what he is doing.

It is difficult for many Anglicans to take this discussion seriously, but not all, and the English Church before the Anglican church was created was not without an understanding of ascesis and discipline.

Canons are only the structure, the scaffolding, of the building of a spiritual life. They should not be confused for the life itself. But if Anglicans have trouble with fasting - and many of them do - it is because they have forgotten that Christ said 'when you fast', not because they have discovered some easy road to spirituality without effort.

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« Reply #56 on: December 23, 2003, 04:23:21 PM »

I agree with you that matters such as fasting have been applied differently in different times to different people and their different situations.  However, this does not make a rule.  For instance, in my Church, there was a time when certain people in certain areas were allowed to eat sardines during fasts because it was cheaper than buying vegetables.  That didn't change the fast for people who weren't affected by those specific circumstances, and the rule for our Church has always been the same: vegan, one meal after sunset/Vespers, to be altered by legitimate ecclesiastical authority as needed.      

Good point. The Irish monastic fathers - who were renowed for both strictness and moderation - taught that in extremis even meat could and should be eaten by monks even during the fast if there was no other food available at all, because the end of the ascesis is life not death.

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« Reply #57 on: December 23, 2003, 04:28:59 PM »

.. it seems, at least to some, that you are saying this is the official position of the GOA...

Not at all. But i DO believe that the GOA is more liberal in teh application of certain Praxis than other Orthodox Churches.

..but Orthodoxy is a package deal: the faith, the rites, the feasts and fasts, the spiritual life, etc., etc.  

If that were so, then there would be ONE Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #58 on: December 23, 2003, 04:43:53 PM »

Yes, that was the case in the British Isles, and perhaps throughout Northern Europe I guess. Beer was of three strengths and the weakest two were used for drinking by ordinary folk and children throughout the fasts since they were made from boiled and sterilised water and were therefore healthy as well as not very alcoholic.

I thought that Russians were allowed spirits in the fast to keep them warm in the cold?

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« Reply #59 on: December 23, 2003, 05:06:10 PM »

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If that were so, then there would be ONE Orthodox Church.

Tom, there is only one Orthodox Church...one, holy, catholic and apostolic...
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« Reply #60 on: December 23, 2003, 05:07:44 PM »

Only beer. Not the rest. The rest must still be abstained from. (And as we now know, alcohol LOWERS the body temperature...so that argument wouldn't work!! LOL)

Well I had it on the authority of a ROCOR priest.  Smiley

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« Reply #61 on: December 23, 2003, 05:21:14 PM »

Sub Deacon Peter

I'l not argue where you were told that - BUT until fairly recently [ last few years Smiley] it was indeed thought that alcohol was warming hence the theory that Russians permitted spirits.

Here in mountain rescues alcohol was given in the mistaken thought that it would raise the body temp and warm them up . Remember the St Bernard dogs used in the Alps for mountain rescue with little barrles round their necks ?

However now medical science has disproved this theory - but the legend seems to hang on Sad
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« Reply #62 on: December 23, 2003, 05:24:05 PM »

Good points, the slave. I am sure that is why it happens. I wasn't knocking Russians btw. I am OO so I'm used to a diversity of practice. I have enough problems with my own praxis to judge others.

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« Reply #63 on: December 23, 2003, 05:34:35 PM »

Tom, there is only one Orthodox Church...one, holy, catholic and apostolic...

And which one is that? Is it the one that I belong to, or the one that Phil belongs to, or the one that Nicholas belongs to?

Personally, I think it's the one I belong to.
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« Reply #64 on: December 23, 2003, 05:35:14 PM »

Didn't think for a minute you were - honest:D

It's just that this fallacy hangs on - though it has to be admitted that a good single malt does give a nice warm feeling as it slips down  Grin Grin

You think you have problems  <<I have enough problems with my own praxis to judge others.>> ?

Try being an eastward leaning RC where there aren't any others that you can meet up with -  because of 4 hours travelling by public transport  Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #65 on: December 23, 2003, 05:39:17 PM »

Tom,

these little digs are really getting tiresome - this is now the last few hours before the Feast of The Nativity.

Please can we have a little bit of peace on earth and goodwill to all men

Or does that only apply to RC  graceless heretics and those belonging to the religion of Beezlebub  [as I was told recently - NO NOT HERE !!]
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« Reply #66 on: December 23, 2003, 06:23:33 PM »

Tom, in the Traditional teaching of the Orthodox Church it [the Orthodox Church] is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  There is only one Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #67 on: December 23, 2003, 06:35:40 PM »

Tom,

these little digs are really getting tiresome - this is now the last few hours before the Feast of The Nativity.

Please can we have a little bit of peace on earth and goodwill to all men

Or does that only apply to RC  graceless heretics and those belonging to the religion of Beezlebub  [as I was told recently - NO NOT HERE !!]

You may view them as little "digs". I view them as valid questions.

Being RC where you DO have a single head and a consistent teaching, I would think that you would understand. But....
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« Reply #68 on: December 23, 2003, 06:37:58 PM »

Tom, in the Traditional teaching of the Orthodox Church it [the Orthodox Church] is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  There is only one Orthodox Church.    

Nektarios, I know what the "teaching" says.

Under the US style of democracy, we are also supposed to have equal rights, but do we?
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« Reply #69 on: December 23, 2003, 06:44:16 PM »

If the teaching of the Church isn't enough for you, Tom what is?
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« Reply #70 on: December 23, 2003, 06:57:38 PM »

If the teaching of the Church isn't enough for you, Tom what is?

Well, obviously the "Teaching of the Church"TM is your teaching and the teaching of the church that Tom actually attends, also Orthodox, is different. I mean, which bishop is he to follow: his, or you?
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« Reply #71 on: December 23, 2003, 07:02:50 PM »

Tom and Nektarios are in the same jurisdiction.  Smiley
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« Reply #72 on: December 23, 2003, 07:05:13 PM »

Actually Kelbe, Tom has said before that he is in the GOA   - which I am also a member of.
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« Reply #73 on: December 23, 2003, 07:05:21 PM »

Tom and Nektarios are in the same jurisdiction.  Smiley

I think you need to read the last three words I wrote more carefully!  Grin
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« Reply #74 on: December 23, 2003, 07:05:54 PM »

whodda thunk that  !!

Well you lives and learns
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« Reply #75 on: December 23, 2003, 07:08:29 PM »

OOOOOOOOOH see what you mean  Roll Eyes Shocked Tongue
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« Reply #76 on: December 23, 2003, 07:35:07 PM »

Well, then we are all agreed; the Greek Orthodox Church and those in communion with it, hold the True Faith and are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Fine with me!  Grin  I like to be on the side of a winner!
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« Reply #77 on: December 24, 2003, 10:09:27 AM »

Keble,

Quote
The flip side is worse. This unchanging God ends up sounding more and more like Tillich's "ground of being", who does nothing and who cannot act in history.

Which isn't the Orthodox position as far as I understand it.

Quote
It seems to me that any theory of sin must reflect the paradox in these two positions-- not picking one over the other.

Exactly - hence the "energies/essence" distinction.

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« Reply #78 on: December 24, 2003, 03:38:01 PM »

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.

I really have trouble here speaking for the Latins, though I suspect that the same situation applies with them. But this dispute simply does not obtain in Anglicanism.

Look at The Great Divorce. This book is, in the terms of this discussion, very Eastern. And yet Lewis was throroughly steeped in the medieval culture that Anselm supposedly spawned.

The flip side is worse. This unchanging God ends up sounding more and more like Tillich's "ground of being", who does nothing and who cannot act in history. It seems to me that any theory of sin must reflect the paradox in these two positions-- not picking one over the other.

You bring up a good point, Keble, which has occurred to me before: if God is totally impassible, how does He act in human history, or how can He be said to be alive at all, life being a thing which involves movement of some kind and, hence, change? Doesn't thought itself involve progress, movement, change?

I can accept that God is impassible, but only by conceding that such a thing is beyond my ability to conceive.

I have often thought along these lines when it comes to my own life and the passage of time. I sometimes get depressed when I see good times pass me by - my own youth, the early stages of the lives of my children - and am struck by the horror of linear time. But then it occurs to me that the passage of time is utterly necessary, that to be stuck in a single moment - in which no time passes whatsoever - would render life and love and joy impossible. Yet there is the paradox: the same movement that makes all the good possible also makes the passing away of the good and the advent of the not good inevitable.

Does any of this make sense?

My ability with language seems woefully inadequate for this topic.

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« Reply #79 on: December 27, 2003, 01:06:03 PM »

My ability with language seems woefully inadequate for this topic.

That's actually a good sign. When it starts seeming adequate, it's usually because you've wandered off into a heresy by cutting something out.
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« Reply #80 on: December 27, 2003, 01:11:20 PM »

God is beyond being. Whatever we say about him is only by way of analogy. We can never define God.
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