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Author Topic: The Wild Things of God  (Read 528 times) Average Rating: 0
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GTAsoldier
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« on: November 05, 2011, 03:23:15 PM »

Peace everyone,

I'm not too sure if this is the right place for this but I just wanted to share a site with you all. Before I inquired into orthodoxy, I've been reading a lot of material from this site/blog called "Frimmin" and this particular part of the site called "The Wild Things of God". Here's the link:

http://frimmin.com/faith/

It discusses Christian spirituality and mysticism and the love God. As I look back on this site, I've notice that a lot of the stuff posted is entirely Christian (except for the topic on "universal salvation and hell" which is in some ways contrary to the Orthodox view of salvation if you read it fully). I affirm that the material on this site led me here to inquire on the Orthodox Faith. It's not Orthodox by nature, but it's mostly "ecumenical" in a way that it touches upon almost every Christian tradition's essentials in the category of spirituality (including Catholic, Orthodox, etc. It even affirms theosis, and panentheism.

Here's an except on the author's article on theosis (bolded some areas for emphasis):

Quote
Theosis and the Church

When I started going to the Catholic Church, I'd frequently things hear things like: "we are Christ to one another," "I saw Christ in that person." My impression was "Wow! Catholics are, like, you know, so totally spiritual, dude!" (Over time I learned better!) But the Catholic Church has kept this spiritual teaching alive from its very beginning with Christ, Paul and John, and numerous sections of the Catechism refer to the divine sonship and divinization of man and our partaking of his Divine nature. (see sections 257, 260, 265, 398, 460, 1265, 1812, 1988, 1999). The Eastern Orthodox Church has gone even farther, refining divinization to the point that it is a central doctrine, some even say the doctrine of spirituality, and there it is widely discussed and taught as such.

Theosis is far less well-known in most Protestant circles, although some, for instance, Quakers, have kept an traditional emphasis on Christ as the "Inner Light," and Pentecostals and Charismatics are particularly aware of the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Anglican C. S. Lewis believed strongly in deification in the traditional sense (some of his quotes are presented here), and John Wesley was strongly influenced by theotic thought from the Church Fathers.

Some points of clarification: deification does not mean that we will only have a divine nature, but that like Christ, we will be one, with God, both human and divine. It is not "future evolution," it is the consummation of present grace. It also does not mean that we become part of the essence of God, but rather our human nature, and our identities, are transformed and united with "the energies of God."

Thomas Aquinas described it like a poker being held in a fire. The poker becomes a fire, in that it takes every attribute of the fire. It burns, radiates heat and light, emits energy as it is transformed by the fire's energy. And yet, it though it has "become fire," it is unquestionably iron as well.

What does this union with God look like? It can be as singular as Jesus enduring the Cross to pronounce forgiveness on all. It can be as inspiring as the transformation of Francis of Assisi into a person of such mercy and love that he has been called "alter Christus" (another Christ). However, more often it is the process at work in people yielding themselves to God so humbly that you would not think that there is anything unusual about them at all. Yet they have yielded their selves to the point where God fills them completely, and they always aware of being "one with God," the Ground of Being.

One who has united with God in this life can only continue to go deeper after death. Mary has received graces from God to preach around the world for almost twenty centuries, pouring out her love and prayers for this world, as Christ pours out his. And soon after her death, the hyperactive St. Terése of Lisieux began making the first of hundreds of reported appearances to minister to others. Perhaps this is part of becoming "gods with God by the grace of God!"

The Christian understanding of theosis is not trivial or pat. It's not a casual, New-Agey "Sure, I'm a god" idea that avoids the realities of profound humility and commitment. This transformation comes by choosing to be so empty that God can fill us totally. The ego gets lost, just as a wax form is lost when a jeweler pours molten gold to make a ring. It is a process which demands self-emptying, which most of us resist, and resistance makes the emptying too painful. In many of the references to theosis in the Bible, suffering and death are also mentioned. Christ died to demonstrate the complete selflessness of perfect love, and our union with him also involves death—the death of the ego and eventually the death of the body. Uniting ourselves to Christ changes us through love and humility. A willingness to "share his sufferings so as to share his glory" (Rom. 8:17) leads to a truly great glory, living in divine Presence. This is a gift beyond any and all possible merit, a gift of the most unspeakable grace.  Whenever I think about the divinization that God is calling us to, calling me to, I am filled with deep awe, amazement, and immense gratitude. I don't think anyone who can speak blithely about this understands it. I myself do not. All I know is that our God is good.

But far and away the most wonderful part of theosis is that it begins here! It starts today.

Any thoughts, criticism, analysis from you all?

Peace,

GTA
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 05:12:35 PM »

No in-depth analysis from me, but I quite liked the piece.  I think it touched on some critical points, differentiating our mysticism from some of the flakier New Age brands, while simultaneously highlighting its centrality to our teaching.  For those not exposed to Orthodoxy, they're often times shocked at the fullness of our mystic teachings.  Of course the apparent chasm between appreciating the mysticism and accepting dogmatic teachings of the Church becomes a significant obstacle to many. 
"What? You mean I don't get to be united with God and do/think whatever I want?  No fair!  Angry"

Still, this sort of exposure is good, methinks.
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