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Author Topic: Fr. Seraphim Rose: God's Revelation to the Human Heart  (Read 4570 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 09, 2006, 09:49:18 PM »

Today, I was looking for a father's day gift on Amazon, which would double as something that I would enjoy, considering that my father and I usually share the same tastes, aside from his dislike for punk and hip-hop. When purchasing Blood on the Tracks and Exile on Main Street, I looked at Fr. Seraphim's books to qualify the order for super-saver shipping, and saw that priced at five dollars was his most popular book on Amazon.
Has anyone read God's Revelation to the Human Heart? I'm looking forward to a mystical and deeply spiritual read, especially from one of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the 20th century.

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 01:14:00 AM »

I have it, and I found it to be quite moving. However, it's very short, but I think it gets its message across. Considering it was just taken from a lecture he delivered in California.
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2006, 02:03:56 AM »

.....one of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the 20th century.

Says you.  And many others besides.  Personally, I just don't get it.
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2006, 02:09:26 AM »

Quote
Has anyone read God's Revelation to the Human Heart? I'm looking forward to a mystical and deeply spiritual read, especially from one of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the 20th century.

Yeah, I think it is a great book.  You won't walk away going "that was super profound" or "that was so spiritual."  Instead it just feels real - and the text shows Fr. Seraphims burning love for Christ. 
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2006, 03:23:09 AM »

Personally, I just don't get it.

Then perhaps you should pick up a copy...?

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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2006, 03:24:03 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9240.msg123752#msg123752 date=1149919766]
ÂÂ  Instead it just feels real - and the text shows Fr. Seraphims burning love for Christ.ÂÂ  
[/quote]

Is this the best of Fr. Seraphim's books?
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2006, 04:09:56 AM »

Says you.  And many others besides.  Personally, I just don't get it.
Why not?
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2006, 06:48:11 PM »

Quote
Personally, I just don't get it.

Everything he says is sort of disputable or fringe. For example, someone said that he had a "burning love for Christ". Well, was that the same love that caused him to say that all seminaries besides Jordanville were modernist, or to refuse communion to new calendarists for most of his life? I have read 6 or 7 of his books (ironically I've probably read more of his books than anyone on this forum Wink )... and to be quite honest I don't see what all the fuss is about.
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2006, 07:19:09 PM »

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For example, someone said that he had a "burning love for Christ". Well, was that the same love that caused him to say that all seminaries besides Jordanville were modernist, or to refuse communion to new calendarists for most of his life?

Having a true love for Christ doesn't make one immune from mistakes in judgement or other errors.  The text in question shows that Fr. Seraphim places a strong emphasis on creating a loving heart as the important factor in Orthodoxy. 

It is also worth noting that many of his publications were edited or published after his death, having been drawn from materials that Fr. Seraphim himself may have never meant for publication.

Quote
I have read 6 or 7 of his books (ironically I've probably read more of his books than anyone on this forum  )... and to be quite honest I don't see what all the fuss is about.

As well read and as much as you claim to be an authority on this matter, there are several other people on this forum that have read as much, if not more, than you and have come to a very different conclusion.  How many monasteries that have spun off from Platina have you visited?  How many monastics from these establishements have you had correspondences with?  How many priests who personally knew Fr. Seraphim do you know?   
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2006, 01:35:44 AM »

Though it has no weight on the quality and truth of Seraphim's theology, this is supposedly a source on his past homosexuality:
http://www.pomona.edu/Magazine/PCMSP01/saint.shtml

I find this kind of stuff comforting, that even the worst of sinners such as myself can somehow find holiness.

Peace.
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2006, 02:02:51 AM »

Everything he says is sort of disputable or fringe. For example, someone said that he had a "burning love for Christ". Well, was that the same love that caused him to say that all seminaries besides Jordanville were modernist, or to refuse communion to new calendarists for most of his life?
One thing we have to remember is that Fr. Seraphim was a layman, then monk, then priest-monk in the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR), a very traditionalist church body.  So also was his spiritual father, Archbishop St. John Maximovich.  Say what you want about Fr. Seraphim as an individual, but most of your complaints should probably be directed toward the ROCOR in general rather than at Fr. Seraphim, who sought faithfully to live and preach Christ as he knew Him within the ROCOR.
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2006, 02:45:47 AM »

Peter, you speak of traditionalism as if it's a bad thing.
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2006, 08:07:59 AM »

Peter, you speak of traditionalism as if it's a bad thing.

No he doesn't. (Even though, yes, it can be).
For the sake of clarity, "he" is Peter and "it" is "traditionalism", and what it "can be" is a bad thing.
Returning to fundamentals can be a good thing, but for the most part, "fundamentalism" is a bad thing. It is an idolatry of what one perceives to be "fundamentals" (which are not necessarily so).
I've noticed that the name of every heresy ends with the suffix: "ism". So I am always cautious of "isms".
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2006, 08:51:35 AM »

Pet peeve time: please do not use "fundamentalism" outside the context of the American Protestant theological system. "Traditionalism" is a better word for what goes on in Orthodoxy anyway.

I've been really disappointed at what I've read of Seraphim Rose's work, though I haven't read this particular work. But his works on creationism and the new age have the unmistakeable sign of the third rate, because he relies heavily on second rate sources.
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2006, 11:18:45 AM »

Quote
Having a true love for Christ doesn't make one immune from mistakes in judgement or other errors.

Very true. Fr. Seraphim loved God, but made mistakes. That about sums up my position. The difference, I guess, is in how many mistakes you see in his work.

Quote
The text in question shows that Fr. Seraphim places a strong emphasis on creating a loving heart as the important factor in Orthodoxy.

That'd be a good thing. Unfortunately, I don't think that Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general) cultivates so much as magnifies. And I think that some of the recent studies on why (chemically) we do what we do would back that up. I am not endorsing determinism, but there does seem to be a part that genetics and body chemistry plays in religious experience which is totally out of our control. Put straightly, sometimes the monk who spends hours in prayer is not so holy as people think, but just enjoys and is inclined to such activity. People have known this for a very long time, and applied it to other activities (e.g., employment), but it's only been recently--so far as I know--that people have started to explore the fact that our religious life (or lack of it) has some basis in psychological and physiological factors out of our control. This is not to say that whether we are Christian, or Buddhist, or atheist is predetermined; certainly we make the choices in the end. However, we should not pretend like it is all 100%,unfettered free will. It is not.

Quote
It is also worth noting that many of his publications were edited or published after his death, having been drawn from materials that Fr. Seraphim himself may have never meant for publication.

Well in that I can certainly sympathise! I'd have a heart attack if someone starting publishing some of the texts I have saved on my hard driveÂÂ  Grin

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As well read and as much as you claim to be an authority on this matter

That was meant partly in jest, I certainly never claimed to be an authority on Fr. Seraphim Rose. Smiley Earlier in the thread there seemed to be a post or two that implied that those who didn't "get" Fr. Seraphim should read the book in question. I was trying to point out that, not only had I read the book, but I'd "I've probably read more" than anyone here. If that is incorrect and someone has read 8, or 9, or 10 books, then... um, well, then nothing. It was half a joke and half an answer to a comment, and I even included the word "probably" in there. *shrugs* I guess my basic point was that someone couldn't just say that I hadn't read enough of him, or about him, to understand him. I've not only read, but I even wrote an essay trying to clarify some things in his writings. I have no want to misrepresent him. However, that means I also won't cover up his mistakes under terms like "love" either.

Quote
here are several other people on this forum that have read as much, if not more, than you and have come to a very different conclusion.

That's great. I'm glad they enjoyed the book.

Quote
How many monasteries that have spun off from Platina have you visited?ÂÂ  How many monastics from these establishements have you had correspondences with?ÂÂ  How many priests who personally knew Fr. Seraphim do you know?

Probably the average amount. That is to say, almost all people on a forum like this will talk about saints, with very little personal connection to said saints. If personal relationships is the base criterion for discussion of saints here at this forum, I would expect that there aren't many, if any, discussions on such matters. But such an expectation would be wrong... because such a criterion is faulty Wink
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2006, 12:09:44 PM »

Just to add my two cent's worth, Fr. Rose's God's Revelation to the Human Heart was the very first book by or about Orthodox Christianity that I read. I was given to me by the matushka of the parish I attend as a gift.

While there were some parts I did not understand, I did get the sense of the burning love for Christ that Fr. Rose had.

It is not deeply mystical, but it is a good short read as an introduction to Orthodox Christianity.

ChrisC
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2006, 05:17:00 PM »

Pet peeve time: please do not use "fundamentalism" outside the context of the American Protestant theological system.
I'm not sure why you think I was using it outside this context. I was comparing it to traditionalism, not substituting the two words.
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2006, 05:27:59 PM »

I have read several books by Father Seraphim of blessed memory, his books on love and spiritual growth I found to be very good and helpful in my journey along the Orthodox way.ÂÂ  His love for the Russian people and Holy Russia are quite eveident in articles he wrote for the Orthodox Word series.ÂÂ  Some of his theological books I could not identify with as they were contrary to the writings of other Orthodox writers and trained theologians.ÂÂ  I believe that his works as I noted have affected me profoundly in accepting or rejecting his teachings. I think like all of us he was a man who was struggling along the path to Theosis and honor him for that.

In Christ,
Thomas

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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2006, 06:32:01 PM »

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Put straightly, sometimes the monk who spends hours in prayer is not so holy as people think, but just enjoys and is inclined to such activity.

I found it amusing you think you are stating something so incredibly shocking.  There is a lot more to holiness and monasticism in general than simply spending hours in prayer.  Those whose forte is their private prayer in their cells often stuggle at other parts of the monastic life, mundane physical labor, obedience, hospitality to guests or showing Christian love to others.  In a monastery you'll find all sorts of people with different personalities, likes and dislikes - similarly there are different paths to holiness. 

It is also funny how you claim this as some great and new finding.  The Orthodox Church has known for a long time that people have different proclivities and always sought the redemption of the whole man - hence our worship includes all of the senses with iconography, incense, music, annointing with oils, communion etc.  That is why the Church fought so strongly against the iconoclasts. 

Quote
That is to say, almost all people on a forum like this will talk about saints, with very little personal connection to said saints. If personal relationships is the base criterion for discussion of saints here at this forum, I would expect that there aren't many, if any, discussions on such matters. But such an expectation would be wrong... because such a criterion is faulty

Fr. Seraphim has not been glorified a saint by any Orthodox jurisdiction, in case you didn't know.  You are switching your approach to what ever suits your needs - either take the acedemic approach and stick with it or a piestic approach.  Rather than admitting that you aren't familiar with any of the Platina spinoff monasteries or that you don't have any close contacts that were monastics with him or knew him during his life you justify your ignorance as just being the average amount for those Orthodox people.  So while that level of research is enough for you to feel sophisticated in the world of blogs, internet fora and Walmart, it is pseudo-academic.  Real academics don't come to conclusions like - I haven't actually done much research (but neither have most actual Orthodox people, so it's OK) but since some people actually like to pray and Fr. Seraphim took some hardline political stances - he wasn't holy and his works are bad."   
 
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2006, 08:16:07 PM »

Peter, you speak of traditionalism as if it's a bad thing.
Thank you, Ozgeorge, for providing such a good defense of my position. (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=9240.msg123872#msg123872)

I don't think of traditionalism as a bad thing per se; in fact, I see myself as somewhat of a traditionalist in that I value traditional teachings and practices more highly than today's modernist ideals.  When I spoke of ROCOR as a traditionalist church body, you'll note that I didn't say anything judgmental about ROCOR's traditionalism.  I spoke of traditionalism in this context as being a value that is good in itself but, like anything, can be twisted and deformed into a Pharisaism.  I actually see much in ROCOR's traditionalism that is worthy of great praise.
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« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2006, 08:24:32 PM »

Pet peeve time: please do not use "fundamentalism" outside the context of the American Protestant theological system. "Traditionalism" is a better word for what goes on in Orthodoxy anyway.
I'm sorry.  I'm not going to submit to your restricted definition of the term "fundamentalism," nor should anyone else here on this forum.  If you want, I'm willing to make a distinction between "Fundamentalism" as an American Protestant phenomenon and "fundamentalism" as a more general mindset that is very much a part of this Western Protestant system but is also just as much a part of the dark side of Orthodox traditionalism.

Quote
I've been really disappointed at what I've read of Seraphim Rose's work, though I haven't read this particular work. But his works on creationism and the new age have the unmistakeable sign of the third rate, because he relies heavily on second rate sources.
Would you care to explain why his sources are second rate?
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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2006, 09:38:04 PM »

I spoke of traditionalism in this context as being a value that is good in itself but, like anything, can be twisted and deformed into a Pharisaism.ÂÂ  

Yes, I know what you mean, when we become slaves to the letter of the law rather than its spirit, closing our eyes to the divine light that transcends blind dogmatism.

Peace.
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« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2006, 05:22:27 PM »

The problem with saying that about fundamentalism, PtheA, is that in pracitce it is almost impossible to keep the two senses distinct, and that therefore you'll end up attributing views to someone who doesn't hold them. Fundamentalism exists first as the American Protestant system, and then is extended by analogy to other theologies to which the fundamentalists object. And I suppose, ozgeorge, that your usage stands exactly at the limit of what is really meaningful-- in that The Fundamentals aren't really fundamental, and are in fact disputed by other similar Protestant "conservative" groups (e.g. dispensationalists).

Anyway, in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future he relies rather heavily on The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow by Constance Cumbey. This latter book is rubbish, underinformed alarmism. And as a result, Fr. ROse's book suffers the same defect.
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« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2006, 05:46:04 PM »

The problem with saying that about fundamentalism, PtheA, is that in pracitce it is almost impossible to keep the two senses distinct, and that therefore you'll end up attributing views to someone who doesn't hold them. Fundamentalism exists first as the American Protestant system, and then is extended by analogy to other theologies to which the fundamentalists object. And I suppose, ozgeorge, that your usage stands exactly at the limit of what is really meaningful-- in that The Fundamentals aren't really fundamental, and are in fact disputed by other similar Protestant "conservative" groups (e.g. dispensationalists).
With all due respect, I just think you requested a strictness to which I am not willing to submit.  You don't have to like it, but I see no reason to kowtow to how you would like us to use the word "fundamentalism."  If you want, I can just not use "fundamentalism" at all and speak instead of the more general mindset that is foundational to both Protestant Fundamentalism and Orthodox hypertraditionalism, and that is self-righteous, judgmental Pharisaism.

Quote
Anyway, in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future he relies rather heavily on The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow by Constance Cumbey. This latter book is rubbish, underinformed alarmism. And as a result, Fr. ROse's book suffers the same defect.
How is the latter book rubbish?  Would you mind giving me specifics, because I've never read the book.
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« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2006, 05:50:00 PM »

...he relies rather heavily on The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow by Constance Cumbey. This latter book is rubbish, underinformed alarmism.

Could you give a brief synopsis on this book?  I have no idea what it is.
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« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2006, 07:39:46 PM »

Outside of his preference for chocolate chip cookies and opinions on Darwinian evolution, I don't really know much concerning the teachings of Fr. Seraphim Rose. What speaks to me is his actions, in what he did with his life and for God despite having been a slave to sin for so long.

Peace.
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« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2006, 09:10:18 PM »

With all due respect, I just think you requested a strictness to which I am not willing to submit.  You don't have to like it, but I see no reason to kowtow to how you would like us to use the word "fundamentalism."  If you want, I can just not use "fundamentalism" at all and speak instead of the more general mindset that is foundational to both Protestant Fundamentalism and Orthodox hypertraditionalism, and that is self-righteous, judgmental Pharisaism.

Well, um, thus you already have a word: "Pharisaism". And it is highly contestable that this is the "foundational" characteristic, when one could-- with a lot more accuracy-- point to their common opposition to modernism, and in the case of the real fundamentalists, particular opposition to source ("higher") criticism.

And to step up to the bigger problem, you've essentially put yourself in the same boat, because Orthodoxy in general could very well be accused of the same fault, except to a less extreme degree. What's happening here is that the fundamentalists represent people of definite opinions who can be safely ridiculed; whatever other group is equated with them can be condemned by proxy, ignoring the fact that these other "fundamentalists" are of wildly differing character.

If they're pharisees, the call them that.

I'll have to dredge up Constance CUmbey from the Six Foot Shelf, and right now I am off to make strawberry jam, which is more improtant than theology.  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2006, 09:43:35 PM »

Was Father Seraphim a pharisee?
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« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2006, 11:02:59 AM »

Could you give a brief synopsis on this book?ÂÂ  I have no idea what it is.

http://www.equip.org/free/JAC925.htm

I found this critique of the book on the internet; I have not read the book and know not of Constance Crumby.

I also have only a passing knowledge of Fr. Rose; however, I understand that his book The Soul After Death has its critics, due to the reference to toll houses. Would anyone care to comment on that?

With love in Christ,
ChrisC
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« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2006, 11:11:15 AM »

I meant Cumby.

The index fingers are faster than the mind today.

With love in Christ,

ChrisC
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2006, 12:29:44 PM »

Was Father Seraphim a pharisee?
If you're asking me, I would say most emphatically, NO!
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2006, 12:47:56 PM »

Well, um, thus you already have a word: "Pharisaism". And it is highly contestable that this is the "foundational" characteristic, when one could-- with a lot more accuracy-- point to their common opposition to modernism, and in the case of the real fundamentalists, particular opposition to source ("higher") criticism.
You're probably right on this count.  I see a strident opposition to modernism in segments of all the major Christian traditions.  This opposition has tended to take on some of the general characteristics of each of the traditions it has infected: emphasis of some Protestants on a fundamentalist version of sola scriptura and the hypertraditionalism found in some segments of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.  Regardless of how this anti-modernist spirit manifests itself, it always seems to lend itself to producing the same fruit of Pharisaism.
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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2006, 03:01:40 PM »

Was Father Seraphim a pharisee?

I don't see why you asked this.  The "pharisee" charge is between Keble and PtA and strictly over the semantics of the words "Fundamentalism" vs "Traditionalism".  I don't think anyone here thinks Fr. Seraphim was pharisee.  Pat Robertson?  I certainly think so, but that's my opinion and he and Fr. Seraphim are worlds apart.
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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2006, 03:11:08 PM »

I don't see why you asked this.  The "pharisee" charge is between Keble and PtA and strictly over the semantics of the words "Fundamentalism" vs "Traditionalism".  I don't think anyone here thinks Fr. Seraphim was pharisee.  Pat Robertson?  I certainly think so, but that's my opinion and he and Fr. Seraphim are worlds apart.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Fr. Seraphim was a traditionalist.  But, according to Fr. Damascene's biography, Fr. Seraphim fought very hard to oppose the Pharisaism that often grew out of ROCOR's traditionalism.  In fact, he regretted very deeply his perception that he had unwittingly encouraged such Pharisaism with the zeal of his earlier writings.  I think Fr. Seraphim called this Pharisaism the "super-correct syndrome."
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« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2006, 04:38:42 PM »

If you're asking me, I would say most emphatically, NO!

I don't think he was either. In fact, he taught against phariseeism, which he termed "super-correctness."
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« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2006, 05:07:40 PM »

I don't think he was either. In fact, he taught against phariseeism, which he termed "super-correctness."

Did you even read PtA's response?  You're just mimicking him.
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« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2006, 06:01:47 PM »

Did you even read PtA's response?  You're just mimicking him.
NAH!  I know what M777 did.  He immediately quoted one of my earlier posts without first reading through to the end of the thread.  If he had read to the end of the thread first, he would have noticed that I had already said exactly what he was going to say.  Easy way to end up mimicking someone.  Wink
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« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2006, 11:43:44 PM »

This could be helpful for our discussion...

"Super-Correctness" - Chapter 63 from Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works
by Hieromonk Damascene
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/fsr_63.aspx

Peace.
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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2006, 08:54:12 PM »

Though it has no weight on the quality and truth of Seraphim's theology, this is supposedly a source on his past homosexuality:
http://www.pomona.edu/Magazine/PCMSP01/saint.shtml

I find this kind of stuff comforting, that even the worst of sinners such as myself can somehow find holiness.

Peace.
Please delet this was my first, but had problems with save button
 
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 03:19:44 AM by Father Paul Andrew » Logged
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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2006, 09:38:24 PM »

Though it has no weight on the quality and truth of Seraphim's theology, this is supposedly a source on his past homosexuality:
http://www.pomona.edu/Magazine/PCMSP01/saint.shtml

I find this kind of stuff comforting, that even the worst of sinners such as myself can somehow find holiness.

Peace.

I went to this web site about Father Seraphim when I finished it brought tears to my eye and Peace and joy to my Heart and Soul. If Father Seraphim hasn't been made a SAINT yet I think he sould be
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 03:20:22 AM by Father Paul Andrew » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2006, 02:15:19 AM »

What attracts me to Seraphim Rose is not specifically his theology as much as his life and how Christ changed it.

Peace.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 02:16:00 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

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