Well, they can't agree they are one. If they are one, it is in a spiritual sense, not an organic, institutional sense. And who is to say the Lutherans and Anglicans are'nt also one then? You'ld think with all the doctrinal similarities would make unification obvious... if it were not for sin being present in their members.
Oneness is defined by physical communion, nothing less. How can those who do not share communion possibly be part of the same Body? The Church is a physical organism, not a mental construct.
And that's my point exactly, the Church is full of imperfect sinners, why would it be greater than its members?
Because it's the Body of Christ, not merely some human organization.
the Church being the body of Christ is true but at the same time it doesn't mean that the Church perfectly incarnates Christ into the world in every way. Certainly not enough for me to shut off my critical thinking and just accept some authority.
The Incarnation requires that the Church be a physical organism. As does the Creed, which says the Church is One. The Nicene Fathers meant it was One physically, not conceptually. You can't change the meaning of the Creed.
I'm open to hearing other perspectives how science reconciles with faith but that is my own understanding.
The discussion about the Fall is worthy but I really think it deserves its own thread so it can be focused on better.
I don't believe so, I think that God allows diversity into the world because if we were all the same it would be very boring and ugly- God doesn't create according to a single pattern or ideal and the world falls away from that ideal.
He doesn't, but sinful tendencies don't count as "diversity".
He allows some things into the world we perceive as unfortunate or ugly because ultimately greater good comes from them.
Yes. Fighting against the ugly things helps us towards salvation.
There is nothing to "struggle against" in the case of asperger's, just something to accept and a challenge for other people to see the image of God in people who have this.
I agree with this. (I was speaking to SSA with those comments.)
Extreme asceticism is misguided in this perspective, bcause the real asceticism is acceptance, accepting ourselves and other people as God made them to be.
It depends. In the case of asperger's, that may very well be true. And in fact, Orthodoxy does not teach that the inclination towards SSA is itself sinful. That, like asperger's, or an addictive nature, is a product of our fallen humanity. But to lust after fellow men, or to do sexual activities with them, would be sinful.
But I would also say that asceticism is a main cornerstone of Orthodox theology and praxis. The exact formula is different for each person, but we do not believe we are saved by simply living however we want and feeding every hunger that we have.
God doesn't have problems working with the worst sinners and bringing good out of evil, that's people who have the moralistic objections, the same people who think that either God must punish somebody or somehow God cannot save everybody.
I never said anything to the contrary.
The rules are not arbitrary. They are signposts directing us toward God. They are the proven roadmap to salvation, proven by millions and millions of saints. On the other hand, we do not have a single saint who reached salvation by giving in to their passions and doing it their own way.
God can bring good out of evil. God can save an evil person who does evil things and repents. But someone who wants to remain evil will not be saved, because God will not save someone who doesn't want to be saved—he's not a tyrant, after all.
I don't think God's purposes for me are defeated by my choices.
They are. If you give God nothing to work with, then nothing will change. Orthodoxy believes in Synergy. We cannot do it ourselves, and God does not do it himself. We must work in concert with God.
Self-acceptance is very important to me, you do not have the right to take that away from me, just when i'm struggling to find it finally.
We indeed must accept ourselves. But we cannot accept our sinful tendencies. You are painting with far too wide a brush. Not everything that comes naturally is good, or from God.
To save your life, you have to lose it. That is what Christ said. That means you cannot be saved if you hang on to everything and give God no room to work.
My life as it is, disabilities and all, is something I am struggling to accept as having beauty, and here you come and tell me, "no, you have to struggle against it, to measure up to some kind of ideal, be like something else". Why?
Nobody ever said your life wasn't beautiful. You do not have to struggle against what is good or morally neutral (such as a disability). But we do have to struggle against sinful tendencies
, and same-sex attraction and extramarital sex are examples of that.
A disability is morally neutral, but it can give rise to sinful tendencies, and those must be struggled against.
We measure ourselves against Christ because He told us to be perfect. We measure ourselves against the Saints because they reached salvation. So we know they reached the destination.
Why would anyone, traveling through a thick forest, wander off the road without a map? (I actually did this once. I was lost in a swamp for an entire day. It was hellish and frightening.) The Saints have already cut a clear path through the brush, and so that is the path we travel, because it is sure.