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Author Topic: an ex-catechumen comparing the Episcopalian Lent  (Read 3165 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gorazd
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« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2013, 07:14:18 PM »

Orthodox parishes in America aren't very ethnic. They have people from Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia, Romania etc."
If they manage to bring together these ethnicities in one Church, it's not an ethnic one anymore. An ethnic parish would be one strongly dominatzed by one particular ethnicity.
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« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2013, 11:23:46 AM »

From the impression of their website (English only) and services (English only) I'd have an impression is an ethnic church-club for rich businessman that has no interest in missionising or helping the poor.

Haha. That's an eye-opener statement. As an American, "ethnic church" describes people from outside the English-speaking world, typically from Eastern Europe. But, when you visit Eastern Europe, "ethnic church" describes English-speaking churches. I never thought about it like that before. Thanks.
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« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2013, 12:36:19 PM »

A quick aside before I get to the meat-I can't speak to Fr Thomas' book, having not read it (more on that in a second), but if he perhaps references the idea that homosexuality might stem from child abuse, this was actually the leading theory until the genetic theory finally won out. It could be less of Fr Thomas being intellectually dishonest or naive and more Fr Thomas not being as up to date on the psychological and scientific literature as you would like.  

  It is good to know Fr. Thomas Hopko has revised his position.  I feel he is genuinely trying to follow Christ, which is why his book was rather shocking to read.    For somebody that values the insights of psychology and science, his book at the time ignored much of that.  I'm glad to hear his understanding seems to be evolving.

"Evolving."  That word is buzzing.

Bottom line, I would take it, his stand remains Orthodox on the morality of homosexual behavior.

Herein lies the rub- outside of Central FL, I found the stance on same-sex attraction to be far less "nuanced" and far more approving, and triumphantly so. There is a vocal majority within tEC where there is no room for debate or intellectual engagement, the mission of tEC is clear- to champion with utmost approval the homosexual lifestyle and drown out any suggestion that there might be sin involved anywhere.  

Yes, there's a difference in my mind between showing compassion and sensitivity and uncritically embracing the assumptions and politics of a community, many of whom are spiritually wounded to start out with.
OK-which side of the difference do you side with?

If the diocese of Central FL appeals to you, at least in this regard, more power to you. But I would caution you- there is a witch-hunt in tEC right now, and there is increasingly less tolerance of those dioceses and bishops that refuse to toe the party line. PB Jefferts-Schori has shown not only an unconstitutional and non-canonical use of the "abandonment of faith" clause but a willingness (again, unconstitutionally and uncanonally) to over-ride the local diocese's decision-making process and install bishops faithful to tEC's "new revelation from the Holy Spirit".  

     I am aware of this and I've thought about talking about this with the pastors in this diocese some time about what provisions are in place to protect the diocese from uncanonical acts.
If cutting off from communion isn't among them, none of any importance would be the answer.


And again, something strange- the other Episcopal dioceses I have seen have, despite all their talk of loving the poor, had rather paltry outreach efforts with maybe a day a year at a soup kitchen and the occasional canned food drive. More money went to supporting "gay-is-okay" charities and Planned Parenthood than went into the pockets of the homeless.  

  That is my impression too, alot of liberal Episcopalians seem to equate political activism with corporal acts of mercy.  The fruit of repentance becomes white guilt and political consciousness.  Having been the victim of a government beaurocrat a few times, I'm not sure "big government" is the answer.  Nevertheless, I really do have a social conscience and to some extent I agree with some of what might be perjoratively called "liberation theology" by conservative Protestants (such as what the slain Archbishop Romero of El Salvador spoke out for)- it has a long tradition in the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism.
I'm not sure the slain archbishop was either conservative or Protestant.

Fair enough. If you aren't convinced that the Orthodox Church is THE Church, you are better off tabling the discussion for the moment and finding a denomination that suits your needs for now. I went back and forth for years examining the evidence and exploring all the different options before I was convinced enough by Orthodoxy that I could honestly pursue membership in the Church.  

  The "evidence" in terms of objective facts is so grey to me it's no longer persuasive.   I do, however, think I should look for other experiences of being Orthodox before I give up altogether.  Nevertheless, I feel that the Church is bigger than merely a sect.

If you view the Orthodox as a sect, you have already given up.

Anybody who thinks Methodists and Episcopalians are a seperate "Church" is confused- Episcopalians do not claim to be the One True Church and others are excluded- this idea is foreign to classical Anglicanism.
Tell that to those who lost their heads-quite literally-in England for not belonging to the "classical Anglican church."

No, we are not confused.  We are just aware that the Methodists and Episcopalians cannot make any valid claim to be the One True Church.

Apostolic succession may be a good thing,
no, it is a necessary good thing.

but few Anglican divines were willing to condem Christians as "non-Christian" who had different forms of church government.
Read up a bit on the history of Scottish Kerk.

However, neither did most Anglicans consider the church "invisible": the Church is always visible by the Lord's Word and Sacraments (Baptism and the Holy Eucharist), and the sacraments validity are not dependent on the worthiness of the minister but God's promises in His Word and the faithfulness of the ones who receive the sacraments (this is as St. Augustine and St. Cyprian articulated, at least).

For me, it is not important at all that I be in the right church and others be in the "wrong" church- it was a grave spiritual error that I once entertained this ungenerous spirit
denying the Truth does not come from generosity.

I do not believe God works this way anymore
That God has stopped working this way or you have decided believe otherwise?

and even the aformentioned Father Daniel Hickman has told me he doesn't view things this way either.  Nor does this mean I think the distinctions between denominations or churches are irrelevent.  I just view this as a generous orthodoxy, not an indifference to doctrine altogether.
A distinction without a difference.  Labeling it "generous" doesn't make it so.  

It really is at this moment more about me trying to listen to God and where He wants me to be-
Beware of echoes.

this is not an intellectual task where some scholastic tools can guide us, not as far as I'm concerned.
True enough, but are you sure that is what is driving you aware from Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2013, 12:57:13 PM »

I'm pretty sure that if I visited an Anglican chapel in Warsaw only (the only one in Poland) I'd see no poor people and almost no converts. Only some rich foreign yuppies and some hipster converts. From the impression of their website (English only) and services (English only) I'd have an impression is an ethnic church-club for rich businessman that has no interest in missionising or helping the poor.

  I'd imagine Anglican churches in Eastern Europe exist principally to be pastoral, to serve the Christians who cannot commune in the Eastern Orthodox Church.   But (some) Orthodox are not making this claim here, that they exist pastorally in the West to serve ethnic minorities.  They are making the claim that they are the One Holy Catholic Church and Protestant and Catholic churches are apostate.  See the difference?   Anglicans in Warsaw are not there to convert you or tell you how your ancient church is wrong.
The Anglicans writings before the 20th century (which I mostly deal with when I deal with Anglicans) are full of the smug satisfaction that they are right, and they will "reform" us of our wrongs.  The relativism of the 20th century mellowed this into a patronizing assimilation, resulting for instance in the Church of South India and other Protestantizations of the Mar Thoma Orthodox Christians.

The Lord didn't say hiding your light under a bushel was a virtue.

I am not speaking about visible ministries to the poor, of course many churches can justify themselves easily by pointing to social works.  I'm talking about the subtle assumptions about the culture of the church.  Not everybody is privileged with a middle-class lifestyle or mobility (BTW, I am not in a wheelchair, that is not the nature of my disabilities), and if the hearts of the people are not genuinely open to diversity, then the people never will feel part of the congregation.
 
"Diversity." That word is buzzing.

The early Fathers, even the apostles, condemned this sort of thing, where the poor and the outcasts did not have their dignity recognized and they had the poorest standing a congregation.
That the Apostles did. They did not do so, however, in the name of "diversity."

At least in the Episcopal church people reached out to me and tried to learn about my situation, people really tried to learn my name and my girlfriend's name and so on and to understand the nature of our disabilities and why we do not have "careers" like they do (and I know alot of people like this who would never bother darkening a church door because it scares them too much, they fear rejection).  And the ministers and priests were extraordinarily gracious and never told me that I lacked "enthusiasm", they treated me like the wounded soul I am, they were the good samaritans who helped me after I had been beaten and robbed.
Good for them.

I really have to wonder if people like Fr. Peter Gillquist and other evangelicals haven't misrepresented Orthodoxy to the West.  Just because a church has an unshakable conviction they are the Church, and a more Eastern mindset doesn't necessarily justify the triumphalism or exclusivism that many evangelicals seem to gravitate towards (being "true believers" has always been appealing to pietists).
 
No, the gathering of converts into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does.

This is not a condemnation of Eastern churches or eastern cultures, rather it points to a need for cultural and religious dialogue
you mean like the WRO?
and on the part of would-be converts, philosophical sophistication.
Ah! How much heresy has "sophistication" spawned!
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« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2013, 01:10:15 PM »

I think you are confusing a robust ecclesiology with a multitude of ecclesiologies. Both the "Russian" and "Eucharistic" views are correct- one grows out of the other.  

   I'll look into this more.. it's difficult to find Orthodox theological resources on the web that are anything but polemical against Protestantism and Catholicism.  I'm always willing to learn, but this is actually one of the weaknesses of being Eastern Orthodox- there isn't alot of material out there to justify other than "this is tradition the way we've always done it/always understood it".  This can seem very anti-intellectual, especially because many Protestants read the same early Church fathers and come to different conclusions.

Quote
 
Don't get me wrong- when I speak of the "outright heresy of iconoclasm" I am speaking of the teaching (or anti-teaching) itself only. I grew up a Southern Baptist, so I know how often practice can conflict with rhetoric in this regard.  

   Yes, but its important to distinguish between the anti-catholic polemicism and how people actually practice their faith.  

Quote
 
You mean aside from the fact that a Receptionist does not see himself as approaching "One Cup" but rather a multitude of cups, each depending on the individual faith of the person approaching the chalice as to whether or not the contents are the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord?  [/qoute]

  Be fair-  Receptionism says there is one cup but Christ is only received by faith.  If you have no faith, it is nothing but wine and bread to you.

  
Quote
 Despite what the Millennium Development Goals might have one believe, there is more to Christian love than just taking care of the poor and gay. Sometimes, exclusion is indeed the height of Christian love- as we find in the same Epistle.  

  I think there are pastoral concerns on the part of many Episcopalians about excluding people "for their own good".  Like what the Roman Catholics do when they exclude autistic individuals from the Eucharist.  It sounds nice for Roman Catholics to care deeply about the spiritual needs of others, but it presumes to judge someones worthiness based on limited, human criteria.  Jesus was always surprising the religious authorities of his day about whom he would touch and converse with, treating this important point as secondary or irrelevent cheapens part of the Gospel message- that Jesus is the Messiah come to proclaim the year of Jubilee, forgiveness of debts, to set prisoners free and open the eyes of the blind.  It is about God and his agenda, not the faithfulness of the recipients, their understanding, or even their preparation.

Quote
  Surely the safest way to guard the chalice is to invite only those "baptized and Chrismated members of the Orthodox Church" to approach- the priest cannot give every person a quiz as they approach, if only in the interests of time.

  In one of Jesus parables, Jesus says that people should be compelled to come to the wedding feast, finding anyone who will come, no matter how disreputable.  He put no moral qualifier there.  

    I do agree that the Eucharist should not be approached casually, but it is hard not to go through the anamensis and words of institution and come away thinking that one would be consuming mere bread and wine and not receiving Christ (unless one were an atheist, I suppose, and doubted that miracles were possible or God existed)  Martin Luther also believed, as you do, that the Eucharist should be approached with faith so that we will not be condemned, however it is also approached for the forgiveness of sins, meaning it is precisely because we are sinners with need Christ in us.

Quote
The question of closed communion is not a question of sin/not sin- it is assumed in every step of preparation that we are indeed sinners! Even the priest, the first person whose lips touch the chalice, asks forgiveness of the people. It is assumed in distribution that we are indeed sinners- "for the REMISSION of SINS."  

  Then why isn't the prayer to be accepted as a communicant enough?  Why have a veritable checklist (confession, fasting, apparrently alot of fear) to receive the Body and Blood of Christ?  Doesn't that potentially cheapen the idea that the Eucharist is God's gift to us and reinforce an egocentric spirituality that ignores God's role in our salvation?

Quote
 But the Eucharist IS dangerous- it is dangerous to those who would treat it with triviality or contempt, the Southern Baptist who sees only leavened bread instead of crackers and wine instead of grape juice, or the ELCApalian who would gladly distribute it to every Hindu/Buddhist/Muslim/Atheist/dog/cat who comes along. To those who would treat it as a mere snack or a treat to make visitors feel welcome it is extremely dangerous. It is dangerous because it is the very Body and Blood of God. Our Lord's touch did not wound the sinners- it inspired them to go and sin no more. But for those who touched our Lord not apprehending, say Judas Iscariot, the consequences are dire indeed.

  The whole idea of assosciating Jesus Christ, his risen and glorified being, with random illness and death imagery to me is repugnant.  I hope this is not the Orthodox teaching.  Because he has crossed through the veil and cleansed the heavenly temple with his own blood, he offers himself freely without condemnation for the forgiveness of sins.  That message is more true than the bronze age religious stories about gods randomly striking people dead.

 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 01:14:36 PM by Daedelus1138 » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: April 12, 2013, 05:34:01 PM »

Daedelus1138, I am not sure if you saw my latest PM, but my email to you bounced. Please send me your email address if you are still interested in hearing from me. Thank you very much.
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« Reply #51 on: April 12, 2013, 06:02:59 PM »

I think you are confusing a robust ecclesiology with a multitude of ecclesiologies. Both the "Russian" and "Eucharistic" views are correct- one grows out of the other.  

   I'll look into this more.. it's difficult to find Orthodox theological resources on the web that are anything but polemical against Protestantism and Catholicism.  I'm always willing to learn, but this is actually one of the weaknesses of being Eastern Orthodox- there isn't alot of material out there to justify other than "this is tradition the way we've always done it/always understood it".  This can seem very anti-intellectual, especially because many Protestants read the same early Church fathers and come to different conclusions
because they don't leave their "reformed" preconceptions behind.

If all you can find is polemics against Protestants and the Vatican, you aren't looking hard enough. Even in English (let alone in Russian, Greek, etc.).

 
Don't get me wrong- when I speak of the "outright heresy of iconoclasm" I am speaking of the teaching (or anti-teaching) itself only. I grew up a Southern Baptist, so I know how often practice can conflict with rhetoric in this regard.  

Yes, but its important to distinguish between the anti-catholic polemicism and how people actually practice their faith.
Then don't read polemics.  There are plenty of devotional works out there.

 
You mean aside from the fact that a Receptionist does not see himself as approaching "One Cup" but rather a multitude of cups, each depending on the individual faith of the person approaching the chalice as to whether or not the contents are the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord?  

  Be fair-  Receptionism says there is one cup but Christ is only received by faith.  If you have no faith, it is nothing but wine and bread to you.
If it is an Orthodox chalice, it is the Body and Blood of Christ, no matter what you think or believe.

 Despite what the Millennium Development Goals might have one believe, there is more to Christian love than just taking care of the poor and gay. Sometimes, exclusion is indeed the height of Christian love- as we find in the same Epistle.  

  I think there are pastoral concerns on the part of many Episcopalians about excluding people "for their own good".  Like what the Roman Catholics do when they exclude autistic individuals from the Eucharist.  It sounds nice for Roman Catholics to care deeply about the spiritual needs of others, but it presumes to judge someones worthiness based on limited, human criteria.  Jesus was always surprising the religious authorities of his day about whom he would touch and converse with, treating this important point as secondary or irrelevent cheapens part of the Gospel message- that Jesus is the Messiah come to proclaim the year of Jubilee, forgiveness of debts, to set prisoners free and open the eyes of the blind.  It is about God and his agenda, not the faithfulness of the recipients, their understanding, or even their preparation.
"Go your way and sin no more."

Surely the safest way to guard the chalice is to invite only those "baptized and Chrismated members of the Orthodox Church" to approach- the priest cannot give every person a quiz as they approach, if only in the interests of time.

  In one of Jesus parables, Jesus says that people should be compelled to come to the wedding feast, finding anyone who will come, no matter how disreputable.  He put no moral qualifier there.
Have the Episcopalians edited this out now?
Quote
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

I do agree that the Eucharist should not be approached casually, but it is hard not to go through the anamensis and words of institution and come away thinking that one would be consuming mere bread and wine and not receiving Christ (unless one were an atheist, I suppose, and doubted that miracles were possible or God existed)  Martin Luther also believed, as you do, that the Eucharist should be approached with faith so that we will not be condemned, however it is also approached for the forgiveness of sins, meaning it is precisely because we are sinners with need Christ in us.
don't forget the repentance part.  Christ didn't die for us to skip it.

The question of closed communion is not a question of sin/not sin- it is assumed in every step of preparation that we are indeed sinners! Even the priest, the first person whose lips touch the chalice, asks forgiveness of the people. It is assumed in distribution that we are indeed sinners- "for the REMISSION of SINS."  

  Then why isn't the prayer to be accepted as a communicant enough?  Why have a veritable checklist (confession, fasting, apparrently alot of fear) to receive the Body and Blood of Christ?  Doesn't that potentially cheapen the idea that the Eucharist is God's gift to us and reinforce an egocentric spirituality that ignores God's role in our salvation?
No.  Only perhaps to those who think they have nothing to repent of.

But the Eucharist IS dangerous- it is dangerous to those who would treat it with triviality or contempt, the Southern Baptist who sees only leavened bread instead of crackers and wine instead of grape juice, or the ELCApalian who would gladly distribute it to every Hindu/Buddhist/Muslim/Atheist/dog/cat who comes along. To those who would treat it as a mere snack or a treat to make visitors feel welcome it is extremely dangerous. It is dangerous because it is the very Body and Blood of God. Our Lord's touch did not wound the sinners- it inspired them to go and sin no more. But for those who touched our Lord not apprehending, say Judas Iscariot, the consequences are dire indeed.

  The whole idea of assosciating Jesus Christ, his risen and glorified being, with random illness and death imagery to me is repugnant
 
Yes, a lot of Episcopalians have a problem with St. Paul. I Cor 11:30.

I hope this is not the Orthodox teaching.  Because he has crossed through the veil and cleansed the heavenly temple with his own blood, he offers himself freely without condemnation for the forgiveness of sins.  That message is more true than the bronze age religious stories about gods randomly striking people dead.
Nothing random about it.  Christ didn't die to give anyone a free pass nor a blank check.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 06:22:12 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: April 12, 2013, 08:32:53 PM »

Today halfway through the Orthodox service, at the dismissal of the catechumens I left feeling sad to wait on my ride.

Forgive me if I misunderstand, but it sounds like you left during the dismissal of the catechumens, even though you wanted to stay. I have never been to an Orthodox Church that makes non-Orthodox people leave during the liturgy of the faithful. I wasn't even aware that some churches still follow that practice. All of the churches that I have been to have been very inclusive to non-Orthodox, except where it really counts: the sacraments.

I am very pained that you had a negative experience of Orthodoxy. I pray that you will find a better experience at another parish, or upon speaking to the people individually.

 I would recommend that you read the works of the late Father Alexander Schmemann. We are blessed to have his writings; he wrote during a time when Orthodoxy in the U.S. was essentially a scattering of ethnic groups who (as a whole) did not live in the true, Orthodox Christian way. He railed against complacency, against lack of compassion, against seeing the Church's guidelines as legal requirements, and against the "frozen chosen" mindset that you experienced.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 08:33:29 PM by lovesupreme » Logged
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« Reply #53 on: April 12, 2013, 08:36:28 PM »

Today halfway through the Orthodox service, at the dismissal of the catechumens I left feeling sad to wait on my ride.

Forgive me if I misunderstand, but it sounds like you left during the dismissal of the catechumens, even though you wanted to stay. I have never been to an Orthodox Church that makes non-Orthodox people leave during the liturgy of the faithful. I wasn't even aware that some churches still follow that practice. All of the churches that I have been to have been very inclusive to non-Orthodox, except where it really counts: the sacraments.

Just as an aside, I don't know of any parishes that keep these practices in the States, but some monasteries keep them to greater or lesser degree. Some ask that non-Orthodox and catechumen remain in the narthex for the service. Others further ask that they leave at the dismissal. This is particularly true of the Ephremite monasteries, which follow the Athonite practice.
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« Reply #54 on: April 12, 2013, 08:39:38 PM »

Today halfway through the Orthodox service, at the dismissal of the catechumens I left feeling sad to wait on my ride.

Forgive me if I misunderstand, but it sounds like you left during the dismissal of the catechumens, even though you wanted to stay. I have never been to an Orthodox Church that makes non-Orthodox people leave during the liturgy of the faithful. I wasn't even aware that some churches still follow that practice. All of the churches that I have been to have been very inclusive to non-Orthodox, except where it really counts: the sacraments.

Just as an aside, I don't know of any parishes that keep these practices in the States, but some monasteries keep them to greater or lesser degree. Some ask that non-Orthodox and catechumen remain in the narthex for the service. Others further ask that they leave at the dismissal. This is particularly true of the Ephremite monasteries, which follow the Athonite practice.

I've also heard that this happens at monasteries. But I've never heard of a parish that is, for all intents and purposes, open to the public, requiring it.
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« Reply #55 on: April 12, 2013, 10:47:28 PM »


On a side note, I've read a blog criticizing Fr. Thomas Hopko's work "The Christian and Same-Sex Attraction" as and I must apologize- apparrently there are people that think he was "too" soft on this issue, shockingly.  There are apparrently alot of Orthodox Christians that aren't that different from protestant fundamentalists on this issue.  It has been years since I read his book and at the time I only focused on the reiteration of the "traditional" teaching (which I think was mostly done as a nod to those who wouldn't be willing to listen to the rest of his book), and I ignored his calls for justice and dignity for gays and lesbians- including dignity and rights for their relationships.  I can better understand where he was coming from, he doesn't want the Orthodox Church identified as a church merely interested in capitulating to humanism (which sadly it seems in many minds that is what has happened to the Episcopal Church).

Barring the Lord coming back to tell us otherwise, we have only the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition to go on and must hold on to those traditional teachings on the subject. Those churches that commune active homosexuals are wrong to do so. So much worse is the heresy of those denominations that ordain active homosexuals to the ministry. I think it would be fair to say that the Orthodox view homosexual activity to be a sin, just as they do other sins. The issue for the Orthodox has never been to reinterpret our faith that has been given to us. Thus, the (in)famous Evangelical saying, love the sinner but hate the sin, is true for all serious Christians--especially the Orthodox. Thus, our discussion is never about whether homosexuality is a sin, but it is about how to minister to those who are afflicted with it. I personally think that our energies are misspent on this issue as only 5-10% of the population has this problem. Larger issues are certainly present: abortion, pornography, adultery and divorce--from amongst the "thou shalt not" types of sins. At the same time, most Christians (and Orthodox) fall short in being the sort of disciples that we need to be.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 10:49:35 PM by Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) » Logged

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« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2013, 07:04:35 PM »

. As for intellectual challenge- if the local "traditional" parish constantly saying things in homilies such as "It is not important that the Resurrection be an historic event," then I'm fine without receiving that at liturgy. If you want intellectual challenge, try out the Three Hierarchs or St Gregory of Palamas or Lossky. I say this not to knock the Anglican tradition- where I found much of value and without which I would not be Orthodox today- but to point out that the criticisms of tEC as a whole are not that far off base.  

  I wouldn't tolerate a sermon about how the resurrection wasn't history, I'd just walk out of that church. but my views about human sexuality are more nuanced than what seems to pass for out of the pens of people like Father Thomas Hopko, whose book, "the Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction" (recommended years ago by my priest), has some intellectually dishonest or naive things to say about the lives of gay men and women.   That's what really offends me about some traditionalists - the rhetoric is often dishonest and openly bigoted (Fr. - MK was here Hopko even goes so far as to slip in the slur of pedophilia, very slyly and perhaps not even consciously).   It's possible to be orthodox about your beliefs about Jesus divinity and so on, and also have grave reservations about traditionalist attitudes to sexual minorities, or minorities in general (at one time after all people justified slavery using similar reasoning to justifying brutal treatment of sexual minorities... this is thoroughly lost on people steeped in a naive biblicism that doesn't subject our readings of Scriptures to a Christian heart).

  I have talked about all of this with various clergy in the CF Episcopalian diocese and nobody puts my desire to love and serve God on trial.  I think we might have our honest disagreements if we pressed the matter but we acknowledge we are trying to be faithful to God in a very complicated world, in fact that pretty much is what Bishop Brewer said about the subject when it was an issue a year ago or so after his enthronement, there was an implicit acknowledgement of diversity possible on that issue, something that is often denied in the Orthodox church.  In short I've found Episcopalians and Anglicans (since I know a few of those two in the UK) to be gracious, and in itself this is a good thing spiritually.

Quote
While I have yet to attend any Orthodox parish, period, that could be considered "welcoming" by Protestant Evangelical standards, I am perfectly okay with that- I like and value relationships that develop organically, without the feeling that people are saying "hi" just to get me to come back next week.  

  I'm very introverted- sort of hard not to be when you are on the autism spectrum.  And yet I really do value the people that come up and greet me at the Episcopal church, even if its sometimes ackward.  I used to cynically think it was all about getting you to come back, very much used to St. Stephen's aloofness, but I realize in interacting with some of the Episcopalian people, it is more about an excitement and energy at seeing a new face, than some kind of cynical agenda.  They aren't doing it to win converts but because they love God and their community and want to share that with other people.   And that energy is frankly a good thing, even if I cannot really convey it myself- I'm more contemplative.    So I'm getting used to it.  It isn't at all phoney like some "evangelical" circles who are interested in winning convert points, I've seen several people show genuine interest in our disability issues.  Even if it's a conservative diocese, they are still Episcopalians and have a bit of a social conscience (my own preference is the anglo-catholic side of things and the "preferential option for the poor").

  
Quote
 But Orthodoxy emphasizes the relation of the person to Christ in the Church- "sin" is missing the mark, something we all do. Ask any saint and he would proclaim himself to be the very worst of sinners- and mean it. That we are sinners does not let us off the hook to attempt to defeat sin. As our Lord said to every Publican, Prostitute, and Paralytic- "Go and sin no more".  

   Andrew Sullivan  wrote this http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2012/04/04/what-did-jesus-think-about-lust/ .  Really internalizing that message during Lent, that God has high ideals but always accepts our inadequacies, has made me realize things in a different light, and it fits very well with Anglican spirituality.  On the other hand, the focus on struggle against sin can miss the mark itself if it becomes a source of despair or pride and takes our eyes off God and focuses it on ourself.   I'd agree more with Martin Luther's "Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still... Pray boldly, for you are also a mighty sinner".  Repentance is what God does in us, not what we do to be right with God.  None of us can be right with God, no matter how holy we feel we are, or how religious we are, or how many laws we obey, that's the whole point of Jesus sacrifice- it's God's initiative not our own.  That message is often obscured in the Orthodox church, at least in my experience.  

   I have honestly considered if I lived elsewhere in the country I might not be attending an Episcopalian church.  Maybe I would be Orthodox if I couldn't stomach the idea of being a Continuing Anglican (many of them are even worse in being the Frozen Chosen) or Lutheran.  However I don't think its a given for me anymore that the Orthodox church is the only faithful option.


Has anyone clicked on the link in the above quote, yet?  Just by the sound of it, it might the culprit.
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« Reply #57 on: April 22, 2013, 11:06:52 AM »

I do agree that the Eucharist should not be approached casually, but it is hard not to go through the anamensis and words of institution and come away thinking that one would be consuming mere bread and wine and not receiving Christ (unless one were an atheist, I suppose, and doubted that miracles were possible or God existed)  Martin Luther also believed, as you do, that the Eucharist should be approached with faith so that we will not be condemned, however it is also approached for the forgiveness of sins, meaning it is precisely because we are sinners with need Christ in us.
don't forget the repentance part.  Christ didn't die for us to skip it.  

  In Anglican classical theology, much like Lutheranism, repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit in man, not man working on his own power.   Legalism is a real danger here, if we make repentance a human work.  There are means of grace, sacraments, such as baptism, the Eucharist, and the rite of reconciilation, but these are so we can know God's love and grace, not a work that we do to earn God's love.   Repentance is the inward change of the heart that God alone does.   None of us will be perfectly repentant in this life, we are all sinners.  And our religion, our orthodoxy, and so on will never be good enough for God, it will always fall short.   To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.  More and more the Holy Spirit is revealing to me, this is true of every facet of the Christian life- a Christian should be generous with their love and their orthodoxy and think of others and their beliefs and behaviors in the best possible light.

   I don't see this as a "Protestant" issue, I see it as a Christian issue.  Anybody who goes around demanding others repent is in danger of overlooking their own sinfulness and brokenness, and their own denial of God's forgiveness of their own sins.  It is a subject that should be approached with a healthy dose of the fear of God.   All sorts of sin will enter ones life through this sort of judgementalism.


Quote
Nothing random about it.  Christ didn't die to give anyone a free pass nor a blank check.

  I would ask you to examine your conscience.  I think the real love of God terrifies you.  He gives rain and sun to the righteous and unrighteous, can't you see virtue in doing the same?  

  I pray that God gives us all more free passes, we will certainly need them.
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« Reply #58 on: April 22, 2013, 11:36:21 AM »

I don't think anyone should be examining others and demanding they repent, but we are all called to repentance.  If someone is not repentant, they would be partaking of the Lord's body and blood unworthily and bringing damnation on themselves.  It is not my job to determine if you are repentant, but if you are going before a priest who has been entrusted with the body and blood of Christ, it is important that you have participated in the sacrament of confession before participating in the sacrament of the eucharist.
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« Reply #59 on: April 22, 2013, 11:38:27 AM »

To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.
You'd rather have an eternity of doing nothing?
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« Reply #60 on: April 26, 2013, 11:09:40 PM »

To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48, the legalistic and unloving gospel of Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #61 on: April 29, 2013, 10:54:27 AM »

Liza,

I clicked on it earlier and no problems. Just clicked on it again and no malware warnings.

Thanks for verifying this for me!!!!
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« Reply #62 on: April 29, 2013, 04:23:12 PM »

To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48, the legalistic and unloving gospel of Jesus Christ.

   I for one know that theology is more complicated than simply probing around for some verse to support ones arguments.  There must be theological reasoning involved too. 
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« Reply #63 on: April 29, 2013, 05:37:08 PM »

To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.
You'd rather have an eternity of doing nothing?

Sounds like heaven . . .
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« Reply #64 on: April 29, 2013, 07:43:19 PM »

I do agree that the Eucharist should not be approached casually, but it is hard not to go through the anamensis and words of institution and come away thinking that one would be consuming mere bread and wine and not receiving Christ (unless one were an atheist, I suppose, and doubted that miracles were possible or God existed)  Martin Luther also believed, as you do, that the Eucharist should be approached with faith so that we will not be condemned, however it is also approached for the forgiveness of sins, meaning it is precisely because we are sinners with need Christ in us.
don't forget the repentance part.  Christ didn't die for us to skip it.  

In Anglican classical theology, much like Lutheranism, repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit in man, not man working on his own power.
Your point?

Legalism is a real danger here, if we make repentance a human work.
Damnation is a real danger here, if we think we can sit on our posteriors and let the Spirit take us for a ride.

There are means of grace, sacraments, such as baptism, the Eucharist, and the rite of reconciilation, but these are so we can know God's love and grace, not a work that we do to earn God's love.
No one said anything about earning God's love.  But rejecting His gifts of grace, i.e. the Holy Mysteries, isn't going to help matters.

They are the works of God, and we know Him through them like knowing water by drinking it, not by knowing H20 is its chemical formula.

Repentance is the inward change of the heart that God alone does.
Tell that to the Anglicans and the Lutherans.  The Orthodox know it as synergy.

None of us will be perfectly repentant in this life, we are all sinners.
That doesn't excuse use from trying.

And our religion, our orthodoxy, and so on will never be good enough for God, it will always fall short.
That doesn't excuse us from cleaving to His Church.

To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.
Letting people wallow in their sin is simply cowardly and unloving.

More and more the Holy Spirit is revealing to me, this is true of every facet of the Christian life- a Christian should be generous with their love and their orthodoxy and think of others and their beliefs and behaviors in the best possible light.
That's true. It doesn't mean we shouldn't notice its darkness.

I don't see this as a "Protestant" issue, I see it as a Christian issue.  Anybody who goes around demanding others repent is in danger of overlooking their own sinfulness and brokenness, and their own denial of God's forgiveness of their own sins.  It is a subject that should be approached with a healthy dose of the fear of God.   All sorts of sin will enter ones life through this sort of judgementalism.
There is a difference between judging people for their sins, and calling sin what it is.  It seems you have lost that with your drift into Episcopalianism.


Nothing random about it.  Christ didn't die to give anyone a free pass nor a blank check.
I would ask you to examine your conscience.  I think the real love of God terrifies you.
On the contrary.  I depend on it.

He gives rain and sun to the righteous and unrighteous, can't you see virtue in doing the same?
Sure. He also judges with true judgement.  You seem to see no virtue in that.

I pray that God gives us all more free passes, we will certainly need them.
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« Reply #65 on: April 29, 2013, 07:50:19 PM »


On a side note, I've read a blog criticizing Fr. Thomas Hopko's work "The Christian and Same-Sex Attraction" as and I must apologize- apparrently there are people that think he was "too" soft on this issue, shockingly.  There are apparrently alot of Orthodox Christians that aren't that different from protestant fundamentalists on this issue.  It has been years since I read his book and at the time I only focused on the reiteration of the "traditional" teaching (which I think was mostly done as a nod to those who wouldn't be willing to listen to the rest of his book), and I ignored his calls for justice and dignity for gays and lesbians- including dignity and rights for their relationships.  I can better understand where he was coming from, he doesn't want the Orthodox Church identified as a church merely interested in capitulating to humanism (which sadly it seems in many minds that is what has happened to the Episcopal Church).

Barring the Lord coming back to tell us otherwise, we have only the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition to go on and must hold on to those traditional teachings on the subject. Those churches that commune active homosexuals are wrong to do so. So much worse is the heresy of those denominations that ordain active homosexuals to the ministry. I think it would be fair to say that the Orthodox view homosexual activity to be a sin, just as they do other sins. The issue for the Orthodox has never been to reinterpret our faith that has been given to us. Thus, the (in)famous Evangelical saying, love the sinner but hate the sin, is true for all serious Christians--especially the Orthodox. Thus, our discussion is never about whether homosexuality is a sin, but it is about how to minister to those who are afflicted with it. I personally think that our energies are misspent on this issue as only 5-10% of the population has this problem. Larger issues are certainly present: abortion, pornography, adultery and divorce--from amongst the "thou shalt not" types of sins. At the same time, most Christians (and Orthodox) fall short in being the sort of disciples that we need to be.
It is far less than 5-10%, which is part of the reason why our energies are well spent on it: the society at large promotes the agenda of gay extemists (and not all homosexuals are such), and promote it.  Now, for instance, nearly every show has to have its gay character: does that really represent their numbers in society.  No, they do not.  Yet we are, for instance, now supposed to redefine marriage and now infertility as well-in France and CA the issue of mandating insurance pay for "infertility treatment" of gay "marriages"-to accommodate society to these extremists by defining down deviancy.
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« Reply #66 on: April 29, 2013, 10:21:36 PM »

To demand perfection out of a Christian is simply legalistic and unloving.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48, the legalistic and unloving gospel of Jesus Christ.

   I for one know that theology is more complicated than simply probing around for some verse to support ones arguments.  There must be theological reasoning involved too. 

You can't just "reason" scripture away when it clearly contradicts your position.
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« Reply #67 on: April 29, 2013, 10:59:05 PM »

That doesn't excuse use from trying.  

  Some people are badly broken.  I refuse to condemn them for not measuring up to your standards of "effort".  The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world precisely so that the unlovable would be loved.  When the Church fails to minister this love in Jesus name, it is a dereliction of the Lord in favor of the evils of being religious, much like the Levite and Pharisee in Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan.  To be with the unlovable is to stand at the foot of the cross.  It is ugly, painful, and challenging.  This is demanding but you are the one emphasizing perfection.

Quote
Letting people wallow in their sin is simply cowardly and unloving.  

  Do you think this is the Episcopalian approach? Go read people like the Reverend Fleming Rutledge some time: her approach to homosexuality is pastoral, culturally relevent, but hardly sentimentalist and very much respecting of the biblical wittness.

  Should I judge the Orthodox Church by the same standards, by the fact that most of it clergy live under an aura of xenophobic nationalism and superstition?  Or should I recognize that in every age there are wheat and tares in every flock, and that none of us get it all right all the time?

There is a difference between judging people for their sins, and calling sin what it is.  It seems you have lost that with your drift into Episcopalianism.  

   Have you had any meaningful contact with the gay community, listened to their stories?  How can you possibly minister to people when you have an agenda to set them straight, but can't yourself afford to be straightened out in the process?  Do you think you are without sin and better off?    I recommend you read a book, "Love is an Orientation", by a young man named Andrew Marin, to understand how little influence conservative Christians have within the gay community.

  I think about my own sins alot, thank you.  I often am aware how much I fail God.  But I have a clear conscience on that matter because I keep my eyes focused on God despite my failures. I really don't think you know what you are speaking about.
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« Reply #68 on: April 29, 2013, 11:51:45 PM »

That doesn't excuse use from trying.  
Some people are badly broken.
Unless you are a Pelagian (in which case one is a heretic denying the Truth), you know that all people are badly broken.

I refuse to condemn them for not measuring up to your standards of "effort".
I haven't said a thing about, let alone condemn, anyone meeting any standard.  I just point out that anyone who refuses even to pay lip service to the standards Christ-not I-set in the Church consigns himself to utter failure.

Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.  Your denying virtue its due tells me that you do not have a problem with anyone failing to reach for that standard, you have a problem with us who will not lower-or worse yet, will not eliminate-the standard.

The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world precisely so that the unlovable would be loved.
To give His unconditional love, not His unconditional approval.

When the Church fails to minister this love in Jesus name, it is a dereliction of the Lord in favor of the evils of being religious, much like the Levite and Pharisee in Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan.
You will-or should-notice that the Good Samaritan didn't let the man's wounds fester: he poured wine on his wounds. An astringent, it stings, but not as much as pus putrifying the limbs and causing death.  Just pouring the oil, which soothes but doesn't clear the wound, wouldn't be love.  

Jesus said, in the Sermon of the Mount, "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will in no way enter the Kingdom of Heaven."  Go tell Him about His "dereliction."

To be with the unlovable is to stand at the foot of the cross.
At the foot of the Cross was Our Mother and the Beloved Disciple.  Neither were known for their lax standards.

It is ugly, painful, and challenging.  This is demanding but you are the one emphasizing perfection.
No, that would be Christ, as quoted above.  I haven't made any such demand, but you have denied the existence of perfection.

Letting people wallow in their sin is simply cowardly and unloving.  
Do you think this is the Episcopalian approach?
The group you seem to have fallen in with, yes.  Definitely the Spong-Robinson strains.

Go read people like the Reverend Fleming Rutledge some time: her approach to homosexuality is pastoral, culturally relevent, but hardly sentimentalist and very much respecting of the biblical wittness.
I respect adherence to the biblical witness.  As for relevance, I don't have much time to waste on the preacher du jour: I go for what will stand a century from now, indeed for eternity.

Should I judge the Orthodox Church by the same standards, by the fact that most of it clergy live under an aura of xenophobic nationalism and superstition?  Or should I recognize that in every age there are wheat and tares in every flock, and that none of us get it all right all the time?
You should recognize that you are in no position to judge Christ's Church.

Modernism is a superstition, a xenophobic nationalism which privileges itself over the Apostles.

There is a difference between judging people for their sins, and calling sin what it is.  It seems you have lost that with your drift into Episcopalianism.  
Have you had any meaningful contact with the gay community, listened to their stories?
First, what would have to explain what does that have to do with whether something is a sin or not?

Second, define "meaningful."

How can you possibly minister to people when you have an agenda to set them straight, but can't yourself afford to be straightened out in the process?  Do you think you are without sin and better off?
 
No, but you seem to think you are.

I recommend you read a book, "Love is an Orientation", by a young man named Andrew Marin, to understand how little influence conservative Christians have within the gay community.
And?

I think about my own sins alot, thank you.  I often am aware how much I fail God.  But I have a clear conscience on that matter because I keep my eyes focused on God despite my failures. I really don't think you know what you are speaking about.
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« Reply #69 on: April 30, 2013, 12:28:29 AM »

I don't get what the OP is going for. He has obviously made his choice. Surely there are places that would serve as a better echo chamber than this forum, where most will call out his error.
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« Reply #70 on: April 30, 2013, 12:53:42 AM »

Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.  Your denying virtue its due tells me that you do not have a problem with anyone failing to reach for that standard, you have a problem with us who will not lower-or worse yet, will not eliminate-the standard.  

  No, I have no problem with people not reaching the standards because I myself do not reach those standards.   Jesus point of having high standards was not to condemn any person for failing to measure up to them, but to point to God's graciousness and mercy.

Quote
 Jesus said, in the Sermon of the Mount, "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will in no way enter the Kingdom of Heaven."  Go tell Him about His "dereliction."  

  It's a hard saying because its easy to think Jesus is being legalistic, but in fact this is not what Jesus is saying at all.   He's merely trying to point out how the pharisees brand of righteousness is in fact no righteousness at all, but is quite odious to God.  Good-hearted prostitutes and tax collectors will go to heaven based on their faith, the pharisees may not.  Jesus never condemned people for having difficult lives (look at the Samaritan woman at the well, for instance), he condemned people for their indifference to cruelty and suffering.

  See the difference?

Letting people wallow in their sin is simply cowardly and unloving.  
Do you think this is the Episcopalian approach?
The group you seem to have fallen in with, yes.  Definitely the Spong-Robinson strains.   [/quote] [/quote]

  Most of them I know are much more conservative than Spong.  Spong's views are a minority among those dubbed "liberals" as well.

  Gene Robinson I won't comment on in detail because I don't know him fully and it would be a sin to misrepresent his views.  What little I've seen of him suggests to me that he is his own thinker and not necessarily a follower of Bishop Jack Spong.  He preaches about the incarnation at times, I know, whereas Spong does not.  I prefer to see people in their best possible light.  It is you who are lumping those two men together.

Quote
And?  

  Do you think the church has no duty in this regard to evangelize all people, including the gay community? Or do you simply prefer to ignore difficult, marginalized groups, being a "respecter of persons"?  

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« Reply #71 on: April 30, 2013, 01:11:45 AM »

I don't get what the OP is going for. He has obviously made his choice. Surely there are places that would serve as a better echo chamber than this forum, where most will call out his error.
The idea is for us to affirm it, an evangelism of a different sort.
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« Reply #72 on: April 30, 2013, 01:34:31 AM »

Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.  Your denying virtue its due tells me that you do not have a problem with anyone failing to reach for that standard, you have a problem with us who will not lower-or worse yet, will not eliminate-the standard.  

  No, I have no problem with people not reaching the standards because I myself do not reach those standards.   Jesus point of having high standards was not to condemn any person for failing to measure up to them, but to point to God's graciousness and mercy.
Not quite: "you must be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."

He held up those standards to show what we can become, what we are called to be.  If we follow Him, instead of going our own way.

Jesus said, in the Sermon of the Mount, "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will in no way enter the Kingdom of Heaven."  Go tell Him about His "dereliction."  
 It's a hard saying because its easy to think Jesus is being legalistic, but in fact this is not what Jesus is saying at all.
Fact is, if I want to know what Jesus is saying, I go to the Orthodox Church, not to you.  

He's merely trying to point out how the pharisees brand of righteousness is in fact no righteousness at all, but is quite odious to God. Good-hearted prostitutes and tax collectors will go to heaven based on their faith, the pharisees may not.  Jesus never condemned people for having difficult lives (look at the Samaritan woman at the well, for instance)
He asked her to get her husband, and when she couldn't produce him, He pointed out that she was living with someone who wasn't her husband.

he condemned people for their indifference to cruelty and suffering.
He told the Samaritan woman at the Well that she didn't know what she worshiped, because "salvation comes from the Jews," i.e. the Orthodox.

See the difference?
Yes, but evidently you do not.

Letting people wallow in their sin is simply cowardly and unloving.  
Do you think this is the Episcopalian approach?
The group you seem to have fallen in with, yes.  Definitely the Spong-Robinson strains.

Most of them I know are much more conservative than Spong.
Is that really saying anything?

Spong's views are a minority among those dubbed "liberals" as well.
yet you all commune with him.

Gene Robinson I won't comment on in detail because I don't know him fully and it would be a sin to misrepresent his views.  What little I've seen of him suggests to me that he is his own thinker and not necessarily a follower of Bishop Jack Spong.  He preaches about the incarnation at times, I know, whereas Spong does not.  I prefer to see people in their best possible light.  It is you who are lumping those two men together.
No, that would be PECUSA, which ordained both.

And?  
Do you think the church has no duty in this regard to evangelize all people, including the gay community? Or do you simply prefer to ignore difficult, marginalized groups, being a "respecter of persons"?  
I prefer  not to respect sanctimony.
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« Reply #73 on: April 30, 2013, 01:50:48 AM »

I am not speaking about visible ministries to the poor, of course many churches can justify themselves easily by pointing to social works.  I'm talking about the subtle assumptions about the culture of the church.  Not everybody is privileged with a middle-class lifestyle or mobility (BTW, I am not in a wheelchair, that is not the nature of my disabilities), and if the hearts of the people are not genuinely open to diversity, then the people never will feel part of the congregation.

The Anglican Church is not open to poor people since the services are in English, not in the local language. And English is not understood by older or poorer part of the population.

Oh?  Then why do several parishes in Arizona have services in Spanish?
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« Reply #74 on: April 30, 2013, 01:52:07 AM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

If you're still wondering why some consider Episcopalians to be "spiritually lightweight," reread this post of yours. More 'traditional' Christians generally do not appreciate being told their sincere convictions for various aspects of the Christian tradition are rooted in "stubborn pride."

Yeah, because arguing over whether or not Christ is in two natures or of two natures is a sure sign of spiritual maturity...
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« Reply #75 on: April 30, 2013, 01:54:59 AM »


On a side note, I've read a blog criticizing Fr. Thomas Hopko's work "The Christian and Same-Sex Attraction" as and I must apologize- apparrently there are people that think he was "too" soft on this issue, shockingly.  There are apparrently alot of Orthodox Christians that aren't that different from protestant fundamentalists on this issue.  It has been years since I read his book and at the time I only focused on the reiteration of the "traditional" teaching (which I think was mostly done as a nod to those who wouldn't be willing to listen to the rest of his book), and I ignored his calls for justice and dignity for gays and lesbians- including dignity and rights for their relationships.  I can better understand where he was coming from, he doesn't want the Orthodox Church identified as a church merely interested in capitulating to humanism (which sadly it seems in many minds that is what has happened to the Episcopal Church).

Barring the Lord coming back to tell us otherwise, we have only the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition to go on and must hold on to those traditional teachings on the subject. Those churches that commune active homosexuals are wrong to do so. So much worse is the heresy of those denominations that ordain active homosexuals to the ministry. I think it would be fair to say that the Orthodox view homosexual activity to be a sin, just as they do other sins. The issue for the Orthodox has never been to reinterpret our faith that has been given to us. Thus, the (in)famous Evangelical saying, love the sinner but hate the sin, is true for all serious Christians--especially the Orthodox. Thus, our discussion is never about whether homosexuality is a sin, but it is about how to minister to those who are afflicted with it. I personally think that our energies are misspent on this issue as only 5-10% of the population has this problem. Larger issues are certainly present: abortion, pornography, adultery and divorce--from amongst the "thou shalt not" types of sins. At the same time, most Christians (and Orthodox) fall short in being the sort of disciples that we need to be.

When did the Spirit flee from the Church?  And when did the Church stop being the Body of Christ?
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« Reply #76 on: April 30, 2013, 03:08:47 AM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

If you're still wondering why some consider Episcopalians to be "spiritually lightweight," reread this post of yours. More 'traditional' Christians generally do not appreciate being told their sincere convictions for various aspects of the Christian tradition are rooted in "stubborn pride."

Yeah, because arguing over whether or not Christ is in two natures or of two natures is a sure sign of spiritual maturity...

Re-read whole thread and the OP's initial arguments.
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« Reply #77 on: April 30, 2013, 09:27:37 AM »

He held up those standards to show what we can become, what we are called to be.  If we follow Him, instead of going our own way.  

  The Lord Jesus says we should do good works so that others will praise God. The glory of God is the issue, not our own moral perfectability.  It is a mistake to reduce Christian holiness to moralism.  The Holy Spirit sets us apart from the world, but if that means that we become morally perfect, I'm afraid I don't agree.   God will do great things in our lives despite our inability.   I hold out no illusions that in this mortal life I will be sinless. I  don't think that's the purpose of the Christian life.

He asked her to get her husband, and when she couldn't produce him, He pointed out that she was living with someone who wasn't her husband.  

  She said, "Sir, I have no husband".  I just never thought the point of the passage was to condemn her as a sinner, but to point out that Jesus accepted her despite her difficult life.  It's here we see the compassion of Christ without sentimentalizing the kind of life she lead.

Quote
he condemned people for their indifference to cruelty and suffering.
He told the Samaritan woman at the Well that she didn't know what she worshiped, because "salvation comes from the Jews," i.e. the Orthodox.  
 

  I think the whole point of that discourse is to point out that Jesus message is above religious institutions.  The Samaritan woman uses her paganism as a dodge against taking Jesus seriously, and Jesus disarms her by pointing out the limits of all religion to worshipping God "in spirit and truth".

Quote
Spong's views are a minority among those dubbed "liberals" as well.
yet you all commune with him.  

  This is a result of Anglican beliefs regarding Holy Communion and Baptism, which are different from Eastern Orthodoxy. There are many dioceses where Bishop Spong would not be welcome to represent Anglicanism as an authority.  Anglicans have moved on, on the whole thankfully, from the medieval era when hurling anathemas were seen as the optimal solutions to disagreements:  many pray for Bishop Spong or Bishop Schori.  I believe this is the truly Christian thing to do.

No, that would be PECUSA, which ordained both.  

  Your problem seems to be this assumption there is a "Pure Church" some place where everybody agrees on everything and somehow the Orthodox Catholic Church is immune from that?
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« Reply #78 on: April 30, 2013, 09:40:30 AM »

When did the Spirit flee from the Church?  And when did the Church stop being the Body of Christ?

   Despite all the rhetoric, it is apparrent some eastern Orthodox understandings of pneumatology aren't particularly open to the idea that tradition is a living thing that can grow or develope based on human experience.  I think honestly because once you dig past the rhetoric, there is an embarrasing amount of religious nominalism there, as there is in most of Christian history.  People prefer to rest on the faith of their ancestors rather than seek out a living faith for themselves.

  Having said that, I agree that Scripture and Tradition are important.  But I don't think either can be interpreted infallibly by human beings, and its a mistake to think at a particular time in the past people had a better faith than people do now. The early church was full of disagreement and heresy and its never really changed.    However, Christendom as a political institution is crumbling, and that scares some people too much I guess.

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« Reply #79 on: April 30, 2013, 09:41:05 AM »

Yeah, because arguing over whether or not Christ is in two natures or of two natures is a sure sign of spiritual maturity...

Perhaps. But ordaining women to the priesthood and episcopate is even worse.
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« Reply #80 on: April 30, 2013, 09:44:11 AM »

 Anglicans have moved on, on the whole thankfully, from the medieval era when hurling anathemas were seen as the optimal solutions to disagreements:  many pray for Bishop Spong or Bishop Schori.  I believe this is the truly Christian thing to do.

The Apostles "hurled" anathemas.
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« Reply #81 on: April 30, 2013, 10:33:07 AM »

He held up those standards to show what we can become, what we are called to be.  If we follow Him, instead of going our own way.
The Lord Jesus says we should do good works so that others will praise God. The glory of God is the issue, not our own moral perfectability.  It is a mistake to reduce Christian holiness to moralism.  The Holy Spirit sets us apart from the world, but if that means that we become morally perfect, I'm afraid I don't agree.   God will do great things in our lives despite our inability.   I hold out no illusions that in this mortal life I will be sinless. I  don't think that's the purpose of the Christian life.
No one said it was.  It does require, however, acknowledging the existence of sin, and avoiding it.
He asked her to get her husband, and when she couldn't produce him, He pointed out that she was living with someone who wasn't her husband.  
She said, "Sir, I have no husband".  I just never thought the point of the passage was to condemn her as a sinner, but to point out that Jesus accepted her despite her difficult life.
Who said "condemn"?

He accepted her, but not her lifestyle.

It's here we see the compassion of Christ without sentimentalizing the kind of life she lead.
We also see Him making confront the kind of life she led.

he condemned people for their indifference to cruelty and suffering.
He told the Samaritan woman at the Well that she didn't know what she worshiped, because "salvation comes from the Jews," i.e. the Orthodox.  
 
I think the whole point of that discourse is to point out that Jesus message is above religious institutions.
You thought wrong.  He specifically says the Jews know what they worship and the Samaritans do not. The question of His superiority to religious institution didn't come up.  As His message is the institution of His Church, you last statement makes no sense.

The Samaritan woman uses her paganism

The Samaritans were not pagans: they claimed to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  She says "our Father Jacob."

as a dodge against taking Jesus seriously
no, she uses it to change the subject from her lifestyle, which He just revealed.

and Jesus disarms her by pointing out the limits of all religion to worshipping God "in spirit and truth".
No, He prophestised His institution of the Catholic Church, which has no limits, being "Kath'" "according" to "holos" "the whole."

Spong's views are a minority among those dubbed "liberals" as well.
yet you all commune with him.  
This is a result of Anglican beliefs regarding Holy Communion and Baptism, which are different from Eastern Orthodoxy.
All heresy is.
There are many dioceses where Bishop Spong would not be welcome to represent Anglicanism as an authority.  Anglicans have moved on, on the whole thankfully, from the medieval era when hurling anathemas were seen as the optimal solutions to disagreements:  many pray for Bishop Spong or Bishop Schori.  I believe this is the truly Christian thing to do.
Praying for them is, "praying" with them is not.

We are aware that Anglicans on the whole have move on from Truth, the NT not being medieval but downright ancient.

No, that would be PECUSA, which ordained both.  

Your problem seems to be this assumption there is a "Pure Church" some place where everybody agrees on everything and somehow the Orthodox Catholic Church is immune from that?
No, the Orthodox Catholic Church is certainly immune from the Pure Church, being that selfsame Pure Virgin Bride of Christ.  Not one out of a harem, much less a whore.
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« Reply #82 on: April 30, 2013, 10:40:37 AM »


On a side note, I've read a blog criticizing Fr. Thomas Hopko's work "The Christian and Same-Sex Attraction" as and I must apologize- apparrently there are people that think he was "too" soft on this issue, shockingly.  There are apparrently alot of Orthodox Christians that aren't that different from protestant fundamentalists on this issue.  It has been years since I read his book and at the time I only focused on the reiteration of the "traditional" teaching (which I think was mostly done as a nod to those who wouldn't be willing to listen to the rest of his book), and I ignored his calls for justice and dignity for gays and lesbians- including dignity and rights for their relationships.  I can better understand where he was coming from, he doesn't want the Orthodox Church identified as a church merely interested in capitulating to humanism (which sadly it seems in many minds that is what has happened to the Episcopal Church).

Barring the Lord coming back to tell us otherwise, we have only the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition to go on and must hold on to those traditional teachings on the subject. Those churches that commune active homosexuals are wrong to do so. So much worse is the heresy of those denominations that ordain active homosexuals to the ministry. I think it would be fair to say that the Orthodox view homosexual activity to be a sin, just as they do other sins. The issue for the Orthodox has never been to reinterpret our faith that has been given to us. Thus, the (in)famous Evangelical saying, love the sinner but hate the sin, is true for all serious Christians--especially the Orthodox. Thus, our discussion is never about whether homosexuality is a sin, but it is about how to minister to those who are afflicted with it. I personally think that our energies are misspent on this issue as only 5-10% of the population has this problem. Larger issues are certainly present: abortion, pornography, adultery and divorce--from amongst the "thou shalt not" types of sins. At the same time, most Christians (and Orthodox) fall short in being the sort of disciples that we need to be.
It is far less than 5-10%, which is part of the reason why our energies are well spent on it: the society at large promotes the agenda of gay extemists (and not all homosexuals are such), and promote it.  Now, for instance, nearly every show has to have its gay character: does that really represent their numbers in society.  No, they do not.  Yet we are, for instance, now supposed to redefine marriage and now infertility as well-in France and CA the issue of mandating insurance pay for "infertility treatment" of gay "marriages"-to accommodate society to these extremists by defining down deviancy.

Defining down deviancy is a huge problem indeed and goes hand in hand with defining down the human potential of sanctification. Thus, the focus to feeling good, to getting along, to eschew criticism, to become warm, instead of hot, Christians. I believe the Lord had the last say on this. So, the problem with most "liberal" or "enlightened" Christians is the Lord's promise that He will spit them out. They live in delusion indeed.
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« Reply #83 on: April 30, 2013, 10:47:35 AM »

I hold out no illusions that in this mortal life I will be sinless. I  don't think that's the purpose of the Christian life.

I hold out no illusions that I will be sinless in this life either, because I know full well how weak I am. I strive nonetheless. You, on the other hand, seem to discount the necessity (or possibility?) of such striving - which strikes me as decidedly non-Christian. When Christ says, 'go and sin no more' do you assume that this only applies at the particular time and place of the passage? It seems to me to be an indication of His expectations of us all in general.

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« Reply #84 on: April 30, 2013, 03:41:49 PM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

If you're still wondering why some consider Episcopalians to be "spiritually lightweight," reread this post of yours. More 'traditional' Christians generally do not appreciate being told their sincere convictions for various aspects of the Christian tradition are rooted in "stubborn pride."

Yeah, because arguing over whether or not Christ is in two natures or of two natures is a sure sign of spiritual maturity...

It's more spiritually mature than communing with atheist bishops.
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« Reply #85 on: April 30, 2013, 06:03:36 PM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

If you're still wondering why some consider Episcopalians to be "spiritually lightweight," reread this post of yours. More 'traditional' Christians generally do not appreciate being told their sincere convictions for various aspects of the Christian tradition are rooted in "stubborn pride."

Yeah, because arguing over whether or not Christ is in two natures or of two natures is a sure sign of spiritual maturity...

It's more spiritually mature than communing with atheist bishops.

Is it?  How?
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« Reply #86 on: April 30, 2013, 07:51:46 PM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

If you're still wondering why some consider Episcopalians to be "spiritually lightweight," reread this post of yours. More 'traditional' Christians generally do not appreciate being told their sincere convictions for various aspects of the Christian tradition are rooted in "stubborn pride."

Yeah, because arguing over whether or not Christ is in two natures or of two natures is a sure sign of spiritual maturity...

It's more spiritually mature than communing with atheist bishops.

Is it?  How?
Have the Episcopalians/Anglicans removed  II Corinthians 6:14-15 officially yet from their standard version?
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« Reply #87 on: April 30, 2013, 08:03:47 PM »

Have the Episcopalians/Anglicans removed  II Corinthians 6:14-15 officially yet from their standard version?
Nope.  It's still there.  And it's still about marrying pagans, just as it always was.
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« Reply #88 on: April 30, 2013, 08:18:35 PM »


On a side note, I've read a blog criticizing Fr. Thomas Hopko's work "The Christian and Same-Sex Attraction" as and I must apologize- apparrently there are people that think he was "too" soft on this issue, shockingly.  There are apparrently alot of Orthodox Christians that aren't that different from protestant fundamentalists on this issue.  It has been years since I read his book and at the time I only focused on the reiteration of the "traditional" teaching (which I think was mostly done as a nod to those who wouldn't be willing to listen to the rest of his book), and I ignored his calls for justice and dignity for gays and lesbians- including dignity and rights for their relationships.  I can better understand where he was coming from, he doesn't want the Orthodox Church identified as a church merely interested in capitulating to humanism (which sadly it seems in many minds that is what has happened to the Episcopal Church).

Barring the Lord coming back to tell us otherwise, we have only the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition to go on and must hold on to those traditional teachings on the subject. Those churches that commune active homosexuals are wrong to do so. So much worse is the heresy of those denominations that ordain active homosexuals to the ministry. I think it would be fair to say that the Orthodox view homosexual activity to be a sin, just as they do other sins. The issue for the Orthodox has never been to reinterpret our faith that has been given to us. Thus, the (in)famous Evangelical saying, love the sinner but hate the sin, is true for all serious Christians--especially the Orthodox. Thus, our discussion is never about whether homosexuality is a sin, but it is about how to minister to those who are afflicted with it. I personally think that our energies are misspent on this issue as only 5-10% of the population has this problem. Larger issues are certainly present: abortion, pornography, adultery and divorce--from amongst the "thou shalt not" types of sins. At the same time, most Christians (and Orthodox) fall short in being the sort of disciples that we need to be.
It is far less than 5-10%, which is part of the reason why our energies are well spent on it: the society at large promotes the agenda of gay extemists (and not all homosexuals are such), and promote it.  Now, for instance, nearly every show has to have its gay character: does that really represent their numbers in society.  No, they do not.  Yet we are, for instance, now supposed to redefine marriage and now infertility as well-in France and CA the issue of mandating insurance pay for "infertility treatment" of gay "marriages"-to accommodate society to these extremists by defining down deviancy.

Defining down deviancy is a huge problem indeed and goes hand in hand with defining down the human potential of sanctification. Thus, the focus to feeling good, to getting along, to eschew criticism, to become warm, instead of hot, Christians. I believe the Lord had the last say on this. So, the problem with most "liberal" or "enlightened" Christians is the Lord's promise that He will spit them out. They live in delusion indeed.

Funny, I think the exact same thing about you.
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« Reply #89 on: April 30, 2013, 08:55:01 PM »

Have the Episcopalians/Anglicans removed  II Corinthians 6:14-15 officially yet from their standard version?
Nope.  It's still there.  And it's still about marrying pagans, just as it always was.
Yeah, we still don't do that, but, of course, that's another thing Episcopalians/Anglicans do, what the NT says be d----d.
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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