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Author Topic: June 2014 POM  (Read 980 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 06, 2014, 05:42:15 PM »

June was a stellar month on the Forum, yielding not one, but, TWO winners of "Post of the Month".

Congratulations goes out to:

Justin Kissel for the following post:

Thank you, they are real points, which nobody can prove wrong;...

This post is not so much about your recent points on this thread, but is meant to go a bit deeper here into what lays beneath your posts in general. Do you understand that there are degrees of assurance? That there is a difference between hoping, believing, and knowing? That it's a continuum of certainty, not just two poles? Not everything is "proven right" or "proven wrong." (Actually I would argue that nothing is, but that's a discussion for another thread--it is enough to point out that just having two options is already off the tracks).  

An example: I believe that I will go on the bus tomorrow, I believe I will go to the gym, and I believe that the sun will rise. Now the chances of me not going on the bus and not going to the gym are perhaps 1/10, while the chances of the sun not rising are probably 1/100000000000. When you make these kind of posts (as here, with atheism, with evolution, etc.) you are causing harm. Do you understand that? You aren't simply a faithful and pious defender of the faith who offers irrefutable evidence, but faces others who are too blind or dull or sin-craving to understand. You're doing it wrong.

When you say things like "It is a church that forgot the teachings of the ante-Nicene authors" or that evolution is a lie, and then you say with every bit as much assurance (at least in your tone/words) that there is a God and so forth, this can cause a lot of damage. Some people bemoan the problem of young people going off to college and losing their faith. You know a great way to cause people to lose their faith? Fill their heads with ideas that things like evolution and such are absolutely, positively, uncontestably true, and that thinking otherwise is impious, or worse. Then they go to college and learn about evolution, and maybe start wondering if there is something to it, or maybe fully accept it.

Then they start wondering: if mom and dad and Pastor Bill and Theologian X were so sure about this, and had all this evidence, and they were wrong, then what else were they wrong about? Were they wrong about what is a sin? Were they wrong about the importance of the Bible? Were they even wrong about God? And in this way the black-and-white upbringing or mindset leads them into an unnecessary crisis of faith. Perhaps they think, as many people probably implied or said to them, that you must believe in creationism* to be a real Christian. Or perhaps they think that you don't have to be a creationist to be a Christian, but that they aren't sure what other stuff they might have been taught that was wrong. Either way, their faith can crumble, or at the very least they may simply decide to put off worrying about this whole Christianity thing until they have time later.

And who caused this? The wicked atheist professors? Perhaps they had a part, depending on how dogmatic they were and how willing to abuse their position of authority as a teacher. On the student themselves? Certainly they have some responsibility. But who was to prepare them to face the world? Mom and Dad and Pastor Bill. Instead they built a house of cards with shaky foundations, which eventually came crashing down. (and of course Mom and Dad and Pastor Bill will blame society, or college, or the child, but not themselves...)

This is a bit personal for me. I had just such a crisis of faith, though not exactly along those lines. Nonetheless, after being a fundamentalist Protestant, and even for a while a Bible Studies student at a Christian college, I lost my faith. I realized that many of the things that I was absolutely certain about were at best debatable, and more often simply false. I wasn't a Christian again for about a year and a half. And keep in mind that I'm someone who always enjoyed discussing and reading about such things. If I wasn't actively pursuing answers to these kinds of problems and questions during that time how long would it have been till I found my way back? Five years? Ten? Never? How many other people go through the same problems?

You wanna blame other people for not accepting your evidence. That's fine. I realize not everyone changes their mind and questions their beliefs constantly like I do. But at least do yourself and your family a favor and consider whether there is more grey area than you are often willing to admit, and that the spiritual and psychological health of those close to you might very well be impacted by the answer to that.

*And creationism is just one example of the problem. The problem is the mindset, methods, and approach itself, which is then manifested in many individual issues.


Mor Ephrem for the following post:

Let's remember that what is usually called "church divorce" is in fact permission to remarry.

I do think it would be cruel and to force one spouse to stay with a violent spouse (and btw, there also are cases where women beat men).

However, I am not convinced that in such a case, remarriage must be allowed.

Forgive me, but your posts in this thread sound more or less like Latin objections to Orthodox practice, which, when you break them down, basically amount to "Divorce is a horrible sin, more horrible than anything you might have endured ("allegedly"), and as punishment you can never have sex anymore without automatically incurring more sin because you're just an evil, irredeemable sinner".  

If you are framing the matter in terms of obligation--that the Church "must" allow re-marriage in the specific case quoted above--then I would agree.  The Church doesn't have to allow it.  The Church doesn't have to allow a lot of things, and I've seen my fair share of "the Church" ignoring problems hoping they would just go away rather than require "the Church" to act.  But the Church has a responsibility, an obligation, to see to the welfare of her members.  That may look different in different places and situations, but the fundamental obligation is the same, and I would argue that, unless "the Church" is willing to take up the herculean task of transforming her faithful into an Acts (2.43-47; 4.32-35) style community, "the Church" may very well have to allow things that are not the ideal in particular in order to ensure the best possible circumstances for the ideal in general.  

I have lived in Egypt, so two points
1) In case of divorce or even separation, a woman does not stay unprotected, but returns to her father or closest male relative.
2) Children, according to Egyptian law, belong to their father. In case the parents are divorced or live separately, they may stay with the mother as long as she is breastfeeding and, with the agreement of the father, even after that but at most until they are 11. Then they must definitely come to the father.

PS: If a divorced woman (a Muslim usually, or even a Christian who somehow managed to divorce or get an annulment) remarries, any children who are still living with her must directly be given to the father. That is to prevent them from starting to see their mother's new husband as a father. After all, children belong to the father and adoption is illegal.

I have not lived in Egypt, nor am I Egyptian, so I will not comment on legal particulars.  But I am from a culture and community which is more like them than not, and I would argue there is another side to all this: the stigma of marital strife and, if it gets to that level, divorce.  Since marriage is not merely between two people, but is a union of families, what happens in a marriage affects more than just the spouses.  Do not underestimate the ramifications of this mindset.  

In the name of "protecting the family reputation" so that

a) both families as a whole do not look bad
b) the family of either party, whether guilty or innocent, does not look bad
c) the parents of either party do not look bad
d) the married siblings of either party are not made to look bad in the eyes of their spouses, in-laws, etc.
e) the unmarried siblings of either party are not prevented from marrying "good" partners
and a host of similar reasons, families will exert all sorts of pressure to keep a marriage visibly intact at any cost.  I am personally familiar with cases in which marriages were entered into hastily and without full freedom, with some level of deception, marriages where emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse has been perpetrated not only once (though that would be enough) but consistently for years, etc.  In almost all cases, the "innocent" party is told about how God hates divorce, that God wants him/her to forgive and move on even if the other person doesn't change, that s/he must've provoked this bad behaviour in the other and must endure it, that a "wife's duty" is to be obedient to her husband, even if that means taking the beatings, that St Paul says that spouses aren't to refuse each other so God is pleased when s/he allows the other to have their way with him/her even if it is demeaning, against their will, etc.  The family of the "innocent" party will even try to appease the "guilty" party and his/her family in various ways.  All of this is for one reason and one reason only: to protect the family reputation.  Only in the case of sexual infidelity is there more "acceptance" of divorce, and even in this case, it depends on who is guilty: usually (but not always) families will try to preserve the marriage if the guilty party is the man, but even God won't help if the guilty party is the woman.  

In any case, if the problems in a marriage cannot be resolved or at least hidden from public knowledge, and it ends in separation or divorce, speaking about the woman finding protection in her father's house is a joke.  Usually that family has exerted enough pressure on the woman that she is simply trading one abusive situation for another and can never look at them or love them the same again.  The protecting families look at the divorcee as a burden, even as a traitor, someone who has taken a knife and thrust it into the heart of the family to kill it.  In a similar way, this affects men as well (I've tried to be fair because I'm familiar with both cases), but there are cultural factors which make a woman's situation different.  The divorcee has a difficult time "going on with life" because of the various social pressures that exist: either they cannot appear in public without inviting criticism, shame, looks, or they are prohibited from participating in family and social activities, many stop coming to church either because the parish situation is such that they will be made to feel like an outcast or the family prevents them from going so that they can at least participate without the stress.  Pastoral outreach to these people is abysmally lacking: in most case, they are ignored, and when they are not, they are usually told about how God disapproves of them and will not forgive certain things.  In those cases where the clergy are not so bad, the burden will still be on the person to seek out the Church because eventually even the priests will forget about you after they've "done their thing".  

I don't know if Egyptian culture is like this, but mine sadly is like this more often than I'd like to admit in these cases (and most "traditional" cultures have their own variations on this theme).  "Permission to remarry", in such a situation, is less about "canonical permission to have sex" and more about "allowing someone to live" because the alternative is a form of hellish entombment while alive.  

The Church absolutely has a responsibility to these people.  It cannot simply wash its hands and say

...divorce in the sense of permission for remarriage was allowed by Jesus Christ only in one case, and that is adultery. I don't think it's "wrong" to do what Christ said.

without having a "plan B" for how to take care of these wounded, hurting people.  Or are we to believe that the Incarnate Logos was so annoyed by the idea of sexual infidelity that he allowed a man to divorce his wife for it (but not necessarily the other way around, if we are sticking closely to the words), but did not bother to leave equally clear instructions for those in abusive situations because he just didn't care if women (or men) were abused in other ways?  

Marriage is about more than sex, and resurrection is about more than physical resuscitation after death.  A Church which places such stock in these things cannot be passive.  It must go out to the lost sheep.  How best to do that can and ought to be discussed, but it cannot be left at "certain options are impossible, we have no idea what to do, get lost".    

Both posts are most worthy of accolades!  You, gentlemen, do the Forum proud.

Axios!  Axios!  Axios!!!


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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 06:07:51 PM »

Axios! Axios! Axios!
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 10:37:19 PM »

Both posts are most worthy of accolades!  You, gentlemen, do the Forum proud.

Axios!  Axios!  Axios!!!

I agree! Axios! But I also want to mention my appreciation of Justin's ability to put into words what has been troubling me for some time. When I read it just now, all I could think of was OMG! (if this is not allowed, I am referring to some sort of anime series). At the same time I also appreciate and admire Yeshuaisiam (referred to in Justin's post) and I read his posts with due respect.
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 10:41:44 PM »

I had missed Justin's post in the original thread. I'm glad I got to read it here. Excellent stuff. Well done, sir.

I did see Mor Ephrem's post in the original thread, and that was a pretty excellent point too.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 10:55:56 PM by The Fool » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 07:30:44 AM »


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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2014, 10:22:10 AM »

I am in awe of people who can write posts that long.  Axios!

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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 12:11:26 PM »

Based on how things have gone in recent months, I'm going to conclude that most people don't realize that POM actually means "Posts of Mor Ephrem."

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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 09:19:56 PM »

Based on how things have gone in recent months, I'm going to conclude that most people don't realize that POM actually means "Posts of Mor Ephrem."


Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
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A righteous son of India
And a new apostle to the internet
O Holy Mor Ephrem,
Intercede for us, that our forum may be saved.

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