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Author Topic: Death to Discourse by a Thousand Paper Cuts  (Read 4316 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: August 25, 2005, 08:32:51 AM »

To quote Fr. Alexios of the Athonite monastery Karakallou:

"Ecumenism does not really have the humility to listen to another perspective apart from its own, especially if it suggests that ecumenism is itself a lie. Ecumenism allows for comparisons, but not conclusions that one tradition is more genuine than another. And in the end, ecumenism discourages any decisive action that would be in opposition to its own goals. In truth, Christ’s words to the Pharisees apply to the ecumenists, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”"

So, after one year, seven months, and nineteen days, it has come to this. In the midst of the oldest established permanent floating crap game theological dispute in New York Alexandria we have a quotation of the Olympian-- well, Athonian-- pronouncement of some monk as though his authority on the matter counts for squat.

When it comes to not listening, this pompous monk takes the cake. First, he has ecumenists all wrong. But that's not really important, because he then goes off to make the classic liberal theology move of equating "listening" with "agreeing". You know, my kids (the 9 and 12 year olds, anyway) say "you're not listening!" all the time as a tactic to avoid having to say, "you're not agreeing to let me do what I want!" So in essence he's denouncing himself as a pharisee and a hypocrite. And really, I see no reason to pay attention to his word when I can find out better myself by reading the real stuff.

And here we are, and here I come as the agenda-laden Keble who started singing in Orthodox weddings back when you were still (by my calculation) in middle school, and I'm wondering, "if a year and a half of Orthodox chrismation turns people so bitter, why in Hell would I want any part of it?" The world does not need more bitter people, does it? What is there to be so bitter over? If there is anyone here who has something to be bitter about, I am that man-- whose church's theological agony is in the papers for all to see. I really do not see the point of fighting to the death a theological dispute which, when it comes down to it, has refused to die in a millenium and a half.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2005, 11:56:33 AM »

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The world does not need more bitter people, does it

I would say that Orthodoxy just magnifies what people really are. That's why the spiritually lazy continue to be spiritually lazy, only more so. The prideful become even more prideful. The intelligent and thoughtful even more so. The religious more religious. And so on. Please don't join the Orthodox Church, Keble, I don't think I can take a magnified version of you... . .  your "I'll take the moral and intellectual high ground and condescendingly shout pointers to you youngin's" approach quite honestly is more than I can take even now.  You're like the guy who used to be friends with someone who was friends with someone who was a movie star, and now you go around saying things like "Yeah, I knew so-and-so the movie star really well, but I never really wanted to get close to them anyway. I never liked them much. Not as sophisticated as me."

Whatever.

And this isn't bitterness. It's anger at seeing you knock any younger person with your high-falutin rhetoric, and the funny thing is that many times it is even contradictory! I remember when you were scolding young Juvenaly on ECafe for rushing to the defense of others, and you were psychoanalyzing what that meant... and then like 2 days later you were doing the exact same thing on his blog! You're not as smart as you think you are, Charles. You might be middle-aged, but you still have a lot of growing up to do. You're still  like the high school bully who sees the people younger than him as the immature prey that he can feast on (intellectually in this case, not physically).
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2005, 12:27:52 PM »

With respect to the venerable Keble it is not just Orthodox (and the 'extreme' protestants) who are troubled by ecumenism. I have an excellent book which was brought to my attention on OC.net a long time ago by a Baptish minister and writer. He is clearly troubled by many of the trappings of ecumenism, old and new heresies and 'borrowings' from other faiths with appear to have entered almost the Christian 'mainstream', even were these are clearly against Christ's very own teaching.

The words used by Keble to describe a monk, who is as entitled to a point of view as anyone else including Keble, is described in very judgemental and unChristian terms, surely?

Sobriety is surely needful when considering such important issues as salvation, what is needful and what is unhelpful?

Among the Orthodox, as with any group, there are some who articulate their faith well, others who will be earnest but given to error and some who appear to have confused tribalism with following Christ.

These faults are not peculiar to the Orthodox, but appear to be characteristic of any group regardless of subject or affiliation. My limited experience of those of a ecumenist orientation is they are often 'hail fellow, well meet' until or unless one makes clear that their enthusiasm for 'Ecumenism' is not shared or is troubling. One Catholic nun went from being all effusive and slightly overwhelming to making Dr Ian Paisley look like a favourite 'poodle' in two minutes flat.

I sometimes wonder what wisdom our present day ecumenists have over all the strugglers, martyrs and Church Fathers, in that they today appear to have a clarity, wisdom and knowdledge that those who went before did not, despite ours being days of indifference, and comfort.

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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2005, 01:49:38 PM »

Dear Keble,

Despite my dedication to Holy Orthodoxy, Monk Alexios, though of venerable life, does not speak for me. And there's some Orthodox friends of mine, for whom he also does not speak. Some, perhaps many, of us prefer HG Kallistos or HG Zizioulas, Fr. Schmemann, Fr. Men, St. Maria Skobtsova, Paul Evdokimov, Elizabeth Behr-Sigel, who are all of a different mind.

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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2005, 04:31:04 PM »

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And here we are, and here I come as the agenda-laden Keble who started singing in Orthodox weddings back when you were still (by my calculation) in middle school,

Who are you talking about?

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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2005, 05:25:35 PM »

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we have a quotation of the Olympian-- well, Athonian-- pronouncement of some monk as though his authority on the matter counts for squat.

Actually Papa Alexios is the author of several books, translator of a few more, well known spiritual father and spoke at the Thessaloniki confrence on ecumenism (from whence I drew the quote in question).  He is an American convert to Orthodoxy that is now an Athonite priest-monk, that is not an easy process.  So I'd say he has a little authority worth respecting on the matter.

Quote
When it comes to not listening, this pompous monk takes the cake. First, he has ecumenists all wrong. But that's not really important, because he then goes off to make the classic liberal theology move of equating "listening" with "agreeing".

Pompous?  Do you even know Fr. Alexios?  I'm willing to bet that you have never met him.  If you do ever get the chance though you will realize he is one the most humble of persons.  So please let's not engage in charactar assination of one of my close friends. 

The point is that after dealing with ecumenists one realized for all their talk of open mindedness they are more closed minded than the "fundamentalists" they go tilting after like windmills.  I guess by analogy it would like the war protests that turn into violent gatherings.  At the end of the day most ecumenists disbelieve in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as strongly as any of their "fundamenalist" counterparts believe in it. 

And Charlie as for calling me bitter and other ad hominem remarks - that is a prime example of the hatred you resort to when your ecumenistic position is attacked. 
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Keble
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2005, 05:41:57 PM »

I would say that Orthodoxy just magnifies what people really are. That's why the spiritually lazy continue to be spiritually lazy, only more so. The prideful become even more prideful. The intelligent and thoughtful even more so. The religious more religious. And so on. Please don't join the Orthodox Church, Keble, I don't think I can take a magnified version of you... . .

I don't know that's it's Orthodoxy or even conversion per se, and I don't think it's magnification either.

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your "I'll take the moral and intellectual high ground and condescendingly shout pointers to you youngin's" approach quite honestly is more than I can take even now.

Which is kind of funny, because it has seemed to me that your posts of late have been a lot more, um, mature. And ordinarily I wouldn't even bring such a thing up; it would ordinarily be the stuff of PMs passed back and forth behind the scene. But those facts, they are hard things. I am over twice Silouan's age, and my close exposure to Orthodoxy goes back over a decade. I've been studying religion closely since I was in 9th grade-- I didn't have any choice at the time, because I went to a religious school and they not only made me take sacred studies, when I skipped a grade they made me take it twice in one year. I've been arguing religion on the internet since before Silouan was born.

It's all well and good to say "maturity is as maturity does." It's a funny thing about those old exchanges with Juvenaly (whom I continue to worry about and pray for, and to whom I feel a certain responsibility): he took up my challenges and made them real. I still have regrets about that, an old man's regrets about bad advice heeded and good advice defied. But at least his enthusiasms and such were those of the young man he actually was (and still is). Now all I can do is pray that in spite of his tribulations, his faith remains bright.

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ÂÂ  You're like the guy who used to be friends with someone who was friends with someone who was a movie star, and now you go around saying things like "Yeah, I knew so-and-so the movie star really well, but I never really wanted to get close to them anyway. I never liked them much. Not as sophisticated as me."

Orthodoxy is a movie star?

Perhaps part of what you miss in this is that I've tended, when talking about Orthodoxy itself, to point at things which superficial investigation could show to be incorrect. I can do real research (see the dreaded Varangian thread), but an awful lot of what is nonsense around here is stuff that a quick Google gives anyone the means to refute. I don't know any movie stars (though I do know two movie actors) but I do know how to look up info about them and the movies they've made on IMDB. Yes, the continuing demand I make to "Verify!" does give me that parent/teacher tone. And you know what? Real adults do verify, or when they are caught in failures, they own up to them-- as I have tried to do here. Resisting such demands is juvenile!

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And this isn't bitterness. It's anger at seeing you knock any younger person with your high-falutin rhetoric, and the funny thing is that many times it is even contradictory!

OK, first, on rhetoric. For better or worse, my discourse is at a level which betrays my education and breadth of reading. It is what it is, and imputing condescension on it is your sin, not mine.

Second: I don't knock "any younger person". But the extremely common tone in this forum of assuming the voice of learned, aged theologians and scholars of ecclesiology is phony when it is adopted by someone who isn't even out of college yet. There are some younger people here who do at least have the education, if not the age and experience, to back up doing this, and funny thing: I don't think, at least, that they get the treatment you decry. But in the present instance: the person in question presumes. Even beyond making statements about Orthodoxy, the statements about ecumenism (and they are repeated over and over and over as a kind of ecu-baiting in every Orthodox venue with a traditionalist presence) cannot be backed up with any real experience. The relationships between the churches are huge, subtle, and frankly not something that I expect an Athonite monk to really have any clue about, much less a recent high school graduate and convert.

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You're not as smart as you think you are, Charles. You might be middle-aged, but you still have a lot of growing up to do.

As do we all, until we die.

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You're stillÂÂ  like the high school bully who sees the people younger than him as the immature prey that he can feast on (intellectually in this case, not physically).

You've practically dared my to psychoanalyze this, so here goes: you've cast religious discussion as a playground! And that's exactly the opposite of where I'm coming from on this. In fact, my biggest nagging issue with talking about religion-- particularly on-line-- is the feeling that it's a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. I have three kids, each with issues you as yet can only imagine dealing with; I have twenty-five years of experience in two parishes under five rectors and three interims; I've been through a church building program, a rector sacking, and all the trials of being an Episcopalian. I am absolutely sure that I step out of line. But this is NOT a playground, and there ARE going to be times when the difference in life experience manifests itself. You are welcome to dismiss me as a cranky old fart (at your peril of course Wink ) but there are going to be times when the differences of age and experience manifest themselves.

Back in my earlier internet days, I presumed to dispute with an actual theologian at the University of Chicago. I've disputed with Louie Crew who is now on the Executive Council of ECUSA. You have hardly begun to taste what real, adult theological argument with me is like. Second raters say, "you're not as smart as you think you are." Real first raters don't have to say it: they demonstrate it in their arguments. I'm not a first rater, for sure; but I can see who is.
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Silouan
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2005, 05:42:33 PM »

While we are speaking of Fr. Alexios here is a link to the full text of what he said at the Thessaloniki confrence: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/fralexistalk.aspx

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Keble
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2005, 05:48:49 PM »

Actually Papa Alexios is the author of several books, translator of a few more, well known spiritual father and spoke at the Thessaloniki confrence on ecumenism (from whence I drew the quote in question).ÂÂ  He is an American convert to Orthodoxy that is now an Athonite priest-monk, that is not an easy process.ÂÂ  So I'd say he has a little authority worth respecting on the matter.

And I will do him the courtesy of reading his address.

Quote
And Charlie as for calling me bitter and other ad hominem remarks - that is a prime example of the hatred you resort to when your ecumenistic position is attacked.

Since we have suddenly reached a first-name basis, Derek, I see the difference between what you posted when you first converted, and your current terrier-like grip in the flesh of every controversialist topic that arrives. Once you were full of joy at your conversion, and now, it seems, you are always angry. And yet, when it comes to one's religion, it seems that I have every reason to be angry in my church, with the changes that have happened. What has happened in yours?
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Silouan
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2005, 06:07:32 PM »

My friends call me Nektarios, at home it switches back and forth and at work it is almost always Derek - but you're free to call me however you wish.  Anger is my own sin, and not the fault of Orthodoxy.  Obviously true Christianity is without anger (except at one's own sins) - and I have fallen far short of how a Christian should act.  But if I do have anything for me in my defense it is my Orthodox Faith. 

As to the idea that Fr. Alexios is just an athonite ignoramus:  http://www.reginaorthodoxpress.com/aboutfralexis.html
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2005, 07:03:57 PM »

My friends call me Nektarios, at home it switches back and forth and at work it is almost always Derek - but you're free to call me however you wish.ÂÂ  Anger is my own sin, and not the fault of Orthodoxy.ÂÂ  Obviously true Christianity is without anger (except at one's own sins) - and I have fallen far short of how a Christian should act.ÂÂ  But if I do have anything for me in my defense it is my Orthodox Faith.ÂÂ  

As to the idea that Fr. Alexios is just an athonite ignoramus:ÂÂ  http://www.reginaorthodoxpress.com/aboutfralexis.html

Well, I like the name Derek, and a few named Derek and wish there was a venerable Orthodox Saint in the West named such, but I don't think there is.

I also like the named Charles - for all those Charleses, Karls, Carloses, etc.  But after consulting the learned Vincent Rossi, the closest he can find is a monk named Carloman who was the son of Charles Martel, so SOL on an Orthodox St. Charles (well, I guess you could used Charles as a form of Carloman).

That is my say in this thread.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2005, 07:52:10 PM »

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Well, I like the name Derek, and a few named Derek and wish there was a venerable Orthodox Saint in the West named such, but I don't think there is.

It is a nice name, and I do wish I would have had the option of keeping it.ÂÂ  But my search for a saint bearing that name was only a sketchy link - St. Theodoric from Pre-Schism France.ÂÂ  But even then the connection between Derek and Theodoric is not strong, so it was decided for me to find a completely new Patron.ÂÂ  Through some happenings and some reading St. Nektarios really stuck to me me, thus I'm Nektarios now.ÂÂ  

Quote
also like the named Charles - for all those Charleses, Karls, Carloses, etc.ÂÂ  But after consulting the learned Vincent Rossi, the closest he can find is a monk named Carloman who was the son of Charles Martel, so SOL on an Orthodox St. Charles (well, I guess you could used Charles as a form of Carloman).

Since Pope John Paul II's name before his Papacy was Karol, I'd assume he was named after a Saint Karol (as Poles are apt to do).ÂÂ  And I know there are RC St. Charles/Carl, but I would assume they were named after a previous Karol/Carl/Charles....which stands to reason there is somewehre an Orthodox (i.e Pre-schism) Karol.ÂÂ  

Now back to the main topic at hand (Keble's postings).ÂÂ  Thinking about it I find it curious that you can make such a full picture of me (i.e the angry-young-convert syndrome) or be duped into thinking that my postings here even paint a full picture of me (or that anyone's postings for that matter paint a full picture of themselves).ÂÂ  I come to this board to read others opinions (and learn from them) and to refine my own views on various matters.ÂÂ  Unlike others though I don't use this as much of a social network - since I have real life friends.ÂÂ  So perhaps that makes me look angry.ÂÂ  So unless you have actually met me, you don't really have the right (or even enough information) to make the judgements you do.ÂÂ  Perhaps you should ask the board members who I have met in real life if you judgements are correct.ÂÂ  

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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2005, 09:53:32 PM »

Silouan,
Even though you're a young teenage punk, guilty of everything you're accused of by simple fact of your young age, you are indeed one of the most mature voices I've read on the internet.  No go soak your head and don't let me praise you any further!!!
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2005, 11:04:37 PM »

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I've been arguing religion on the internet since before Silouan was born.

Are you sure about that?  The internet?

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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2005, 12:10:14 PM »

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Are you sure about that?  The internet?

Sure, Al Gore invented it a little over twenty years ago.

Although, before that you had this system of BBS and e-mail.  It existed, but it was a far cry from the GUI system we had previously, to the best of my understanding.  From what I gather, it had more in common with ham radio operators (in its usage) than to the present day monster.  That's my post for the week.
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2005, 12:18:41 PM »

And behold, before there was Internet there was DARPAnet/ARPAnet

http://www.albany.edu/ltl/using/history.html

and lo, even then there was debate and discussion of religion.

Ebor  Smiley

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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2005, 12:21:27 PM »

 Shocked I refuse to believe that there was previously debates over religion before OC.net! lol
Interesting link.
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2005, 01:52:12 PM »

Shocked I refuse to believe that there was previously debates over religion before OC.net! lol
Interesting link.

That's what I meant.  The comercialized internet as we know it has only existed since about 1992.  Before that, I can remember using it via Archie, Gopher, and email, but it is a rare bird indeed who might have been debating theology on the internet before the mid 90's (though perhaps people did on Usenet).  So the question is how old is Slouan, since Keble claims to have been debating theology on the internet before Slouan was born.  That would make 1)Slouan very young or 2) Keble a very early adopter.



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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2005, 02:04:26 PM »

If I were a betting man, I'd add option 3) that Keble may have "overstated his case"....
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2005, 02:32:24 PM »

Since it seems to be such an engaging topic for the rest of the board, I was born at 3:02 PM on the 16th of December in the year 1986. 

So yes Keble is quite correct that he (and probably almost every other poster for that matter) is older than me, wiser than me and quite a bit more intelligent.  That all being said, I do fail to see the relevance of my age to this discussion. 
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« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2005, 02:47:32 PM »

As this is a private debate between old friends, I'll bow out.
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« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2005, 02:57:30 PM »

Since it seems to be such an engaging topic for the rest of the board, I was born at 3:02 PM on the 16th of December in the year 1986. 

Well, if Keble was debating theology on the internet in 1986, I bow to his superior online-ness.  I can remember discussion such things on BBS's and CompuServe back then, but the internet was still restricted to only a relatively few users in government, military, and academia.

BTW, I also don't see the relevance of your age, and I'm only a couple years younger than the venerable Keble.

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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2005, 11:15:57 AM »

Someone correctly guessed that my early participation was on usenet. The oldest message of mine I could find in the Google/Dejanews archive is from about Oct/Nov 1984.

The reason it got called the "internet" was that it formed out of the cross-communication of the various netwroks and schemes already in existence. Usenet was based upon a phone-based store-and-forward system, though in fact ARPANET connections were also used. By the time I came along there were connections to CompuServe and DECNET (and a bit later, to Bitnet) Hypertext was a delerious vision of Apple in those days and what most people think of as the internet-- the ARPANET-based World Wide Web-- was still some years in the future.

How many people here know what "seismo bangs everybody" means?
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2005, 11:36:40 AM »

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seismo bangs everybody

That is pretty far back.

Still, that makes you a pretty young man when you started "debating theology on the internet".  I was pretty much an idiot when I was that age.  Were your learned theological views fully formed back then, and the same as they are now?

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« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2005, 04:15:24 PM »

So yes Keble is quite correct that he (and probably almost every other poster for that matter) is older than me, wiser than me and quite a bit more intelligent.ÂÂ  That all being said, I do fail to see the relevance of my age to this discussion.ÂÂ  

Age, wisdom, and intelligence we are endowed with, the former incresing without our help, the latter perhaps fixed, perhaps not, and wisdom-- well perhaps we can learn greater wisdom, or fritter it away.

In 1984 I had been an Episcopalian for seven years, with two years of sacred studies before that. And even in 1984 I said a lot of foolish tripe. But when I was 19, I was in college, and just attending church, and when in class I put on any kind of appearance as an expert, I got slapped down for it-- as I deserved.

And I'm looking at the full text Fr. Alexios' talk, and it's essentially a long glurgy list of conversion stories. I don't know whether he's an ignoramus, but he isn't engaging anyone but a friendly audience it what comes across rather as a pep talk.
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« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2009, 06:41:59 AM »

Always loved the title of this thread.
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If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
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« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2009, 07:09:08 PM »

Ah the past can be strange. 
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2009, 07:31:55 PM »

Hi, my name's Justin, and I'm a former curmudgeon.  Wink
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Joe: 'Is it creepy for a 35 year old guy to date a 19 year old girl?'
Desiree: 'Not if she's the one to push for the relationship, babe.'
Joe: 'But...'
Desiree: 'You'll shut up if you're smart.'
Joe: 'Ok.'
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« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2009, 04:54:29 PM »

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."  -- L. P. Hartley
 Wink
 
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"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
ozgeorge
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« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2009, 05:02:40 PM »

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."  -- L. P. Hartley
I like it!
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« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2009, 12:14:33 PM »

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."  -- L. P. Hartley
I like it!

Having a bad case of "Quotations" can be useful at times, like Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time who says that some author said/wrote something better then she could verbalize it.   Wink
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"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
ialmisry
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« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2009, 09:54:15 AM »

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."  -- L. P. Hartley
I like it!

Love it!

Quote
Having a bad case of "Quotations" can be useful at times, like Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time who says that some author said/wrote something better then she could verbalize it.   Wink
ACh!  I hated that book!

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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
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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« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2009, 10:23:12 PM »

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."  -- L. P. Hartley
I like it!

Love it!

Quote
Having a bad case of "Quotations" can be useful at times, like Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time who says that some author said/wrote something better then she could verbalize it.   Wink
ACh!  I hated that book!
"If we all liked the same thing, there wouldn't be enough to go around."  Old Irish saying.

Then again, on such topics as books one person my like one and another not and there is no shame or insult in private tastes.   Wink

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"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
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Posts: 29,530



« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2009, 10:28:17 PM »

Why do people keep bumping this thread? Don't you know how embarrassed I am of what I wrote? Sheesh! Wink
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Joe: 'Is it creepy for a 35 year old guy to date a 19 year old girl?'
Desiree: 'Not if she's the one to push for the relationship, babe.'
Joe: 'But...'
Desiree: 'You'll shut up if you're smart.'
Joe: 'Ok.'
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