Author Topic: Comma  (Read 868 times)

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Offline Porter ODoran

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Comma
« on: June 21, 2014, 03:49:39 PM »
When I was a young ignorant heretic, I contributed to a blog, where I wrote these words.

Quote
I think it is the most important comma in the history of the universe; it can be found in the so-called Apostle’s Creed:

"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell."

Let me repeat that:

"... born of the Virgin Mary COMMA suffered under Pontius Pilate ..."

That comma obscures the life, temptations, teachings, doings, healings, sayings of Jesus. It obscures Jesus. To do that, I'd think the hymnbooks would need a font at least a hundred stories high.

("Hymnbooks" because in the back of them is where the Creeds are found in most Protestant churches.)

I no longer feel any exasperation with the Creeds or their emphases, but I wonder what anyone thinks about the complaint above, if only as a proxy for the overall tendency of the Church to see Christ as risen Lord to the exclusion of his own account of himself (in St. John) as the only man (Son of man) who had seen heaven and come down to teach us in the light of that how to live (and to give up life).
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Comma
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2014, 03:54:20 PM »
I'm not sure I understand this.
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Comma
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 04:03:25 PM »
Well, it might help if I simplify and just observe the following: that, in my Orthodox New Testament Gospel of St. Matthew, between the birth of Christ from Mary and the first mention of Pilate elapse sixty-seven pages or twenty-six chapters, i.e., almost all of the book. Almost all I may know of my Lord by his life and teaching directly are in those pages. Yet creeds and schisms have rarely concerned themselves with them, and I found this more than curious.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Comma
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 04:41:17 PM »
Well, it might help if I simplify and just observe the following: that, in my Orthodox New Testament Gospel of St. Matthew, between the birth of Christ from Mary and the first mention of Pilate elapse sixty-seven pages or twenty-six chapters, i.e., almost all of the book. Almost all I may know of my Lord by his life and teaching directly are in those pages. Yet creeds and schisms have rarely concerned themselves with them, and I found this more than curious.

Creeds were never meant to be comprehensive but rather concise confessions of faith and often were formulated in part to counter certain heretical ideas of local or universal significance.  I'm not sure why we would need a Creed that explicitly affirmed every detail contained in the four Gospels.  It doesn't seem to make a difference if we say "and I believe that he warned against the leaven of the Pharisees and the Saduccees, teaching that it was about hypocrisy and not about bread that he spoke; and he gave to Simon the name Peter at Caesarea Philippi because he rightly confessed his divine Sonship and Messiahship; eight days later he was transfigured on the mount, and Moses and Elijah spoke to him about his death, while the same Peter, not knowing what to say or do, wanted to build tabernacles, etc."  You'd be better off simply reciting all four Gospels in order from start to finish and having everyone say "Amen" at the end. 

I guess I still don't get it.   
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Joha

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Re: Comma
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2014, 05:04:45 PM »
either I don't get it either or my reply is:

If your point is "I'm missing some" well: Looking at a hand and telling you miss the shoulders doesn't make sense. The shoulders are a part of a complete body of course and without a shoulder there would be no hand. But still the shoulder isn't part of the hand... to see the shoulder you need to look at the whole picture.

Do I make any sense? At least in my mind I do  ;D

If I don't get it... well tell me please

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Psalm 57:2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.
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Re: Comma
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2014, 05:11:32 PM »
I think I get what he's saying, and (if so) think it an interesting point. True, creeds are not meant to be comprehensive statements, but it is interesting how the majority of the life of Jesus is just implied. I don't think we would or should expect a full exposition of everything in such brief creeds, but clearly they wish to reinforce important elements of the faith, so I can see how it'd strike someone as odd that the dogmatics about God get so much time, while the actual actions and words (as for example recorded in the Gospels) aren't spoken of that much. This is especially interesting, I think, considering that this was originally used as a baptismal creed, for people who had up to that point not been exposed to certain elements of Christian theology (ie. neophytes), and that even today most people who say the creed in Church probably have little understanding of the meaning or history behind many of the terms.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Comma
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2014, 06:03:37 PM »
Mor Ephrem, you make a good practical point. My only reply could be that how one summarizes can be at least a subtle mark of what one values.

Well, there have been made answers (not exactly creeds) to the question my complaint raises, usually arraying themselves into opposing extremes. I'll offer an extreme of each extreme, for illustration -- first, Francis of Assisi's first Rule:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a6I-x5WEaCWbEcRO4mS8VAct2f_cUlAf4K3lPF0VZAg/edit?usp=sharing

(paraphrase is mine); second, the preterist Dominionists' position: that what Christ said and did on the earth was a riddle for the Jews of his time, all of which was fulfilled when he returned for these Jews at the fall of Jerusalem, and that it has no meaning for the Church and is even pernicious for the Church, which was founded upon secret instructions to SS. Peter and Paul and inherited the Law of Moses.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 06:07:57 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline genesisone

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Re: Comma
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 08:23:39 PM »
The Creed developed in response to various heresies. Did anyone ever seriously question the substance of Jesus' earthly ministry? Even now, most people will admit that He wandered about teaching, helping others, and generally annoying those in power. Heretics, however, did question His birth - thus, "incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary"; perhaps His historicity - to account for the inclusion of Pontius Pilate; His death, burial, and resurrection - "suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again". The Creed is not a summary of the Gospels but of a distinctly Christian faith. It's quite possible to believe that Jesus was a good teacher, even a prophet, but those who limit their beliefs to those points cannot say the Creed with sincerity.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Comma
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2014, 08:44:59 PM »
The Creed developed in response to various heresies. Did anyone ever seriously question the substance of Jesus' earthly ministry? Even now, most people will admit that He wandered about teaching, helping others, and generally annoying those in power. Heretics, however, did question His birth - thus, "incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary"; perhaps His historicity - to account for the inclusion of Pontius Pilate; His death, burial, and resurrection - "suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again". The Creed is not a summary of the Gospels but of a distinctly Christian faith. It's quite possible to believe that Jesus was a good teacher, even a prophet, but those who limit their beliefs to those points cannot say the Creed with sincerity.

Upon reflection, I don't know if I agree the Gospels are unconformable to a Creed. "I believe I must take up my stavros and follow" is a minimal encapsulation that springs to mind.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy