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Chris Jones
Full-time programmer / part-time Pope
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Very, very wise post, Father. "Never once has the Church opposed 'Statism' per se, or 'federalism' or the centralization of the State. This is hard for me to admit, because I harbor not a few libertarian notions." So do I. I don't think a Christian can be a "libertarian" as such. Not that one can't have some libertarian ideas, but not as first principles. You have to justify them on prudential grounds in the context of first principles that can pass Christian muster. One can believe that "that government which governs least, governs best" -- but not to the point that injustice is allowed to flourish for lack of restraint.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2012 on Vote? at Second Terrace
"American culture, as it is, cannot be the basis for an American Orthodox Church." I don't disagree with this, as written, but I strongly disagree with its implicit premise that a culture -- ANY culture -- can be "the basis" for a local Church. The basis for the Church is the Gospel and the Apostolic Tradition, NOT any human culture, be it Greek, Russian, Carpatho-Russian, whatever. A particular culture is the *context*, not the *basis*, for the Church. "It is certainly more akin to the pre-constantinian church than has ever been present since." Absolutely. A fact of the utmost importance. The Orthodox Church of pre-Constantinian times had no qualms about evangelizing the disparate cultures in which she found herself. The fact that there was "no central mass" culturally did not make the Church stop evangelizing, nor did it make the Church stick to the cultural context that she already knew (i.e. Jewish). In fact the Gospel itself was the catalyst that made it possible for a "central mass" to develop. The Orthodox Church of today, if she is, as she claims, concretely the same Church as that of pre-Constantinian times, should be behaving the same way that the Church of that times did. The "various ethnic memories" of the Orthodox Church have *nothing* to offer contemporary culture. The Gospel has *everything* to offer. Which do you want to give us?
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2012 on Diocesan muse at Second Terrace
"There is no American culture that can predicate a thing called an American Orthodox Church." This can't be right. And if it's not right then the conclusions you draw from it can't be right either. This can either mean "There is no American culture" (full stop), and there can be no American Orthodox Church because there is no culture there to evangelize; or it can mean there is an American culture, but the nature of that culture is such that it is completely incompatible with Orthodox Christianity and with having an Orthodox Church as part of it. If what you mean is the first ("There is no American culture, period") then I say that that is ridiculous. Human beings cannot exist other than as part of a culture. It is a part of human nature. American culture may be ugly, it may be commodified and commercialized, it may be artificial and sanitized, but it is a culture. McDonalds, Willa Cather, American Idol, the NFL, Stephen Foster, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Madonna, the suburbs, the Boy Scouts, George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, Reality TV, and fireworks on the Fourth of July are all artifacts of American culture. It may not be a culture you like, and it may not be a culture that is congenial to your religion, but it is a real culture, and one that is waiting to be converted and transformed by the Gospel. If what you are saying is the second (American culture is incompatible with Orthodox Christianity) then what you are saying is that ours is the one nation that is irredeemable, that our culture can't be converted and therefore if one is to be a Christian one must adopt someone else's culture. I cannot find words adequate to express my revulsion at such a notion. The Saviour commanded his followers to go to all nations, and He made no exclusion for America. If Orthodox Christianity is the true faith, then American culture, for all its faults, is supposed to be grist for your mill. Get out of your ethnic cocoon and get to it.
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2012 on Diocesan muse at Second Terrace
Sorry, I don't buy it. Not that I buy what the 'unionists' (as you call them) are selling either. But the whole lot of you have missed the point. Way back in the 80s when Fr Golitzin taught us canon law, he taught us that the canons are the application of the dogmas of the Church to the particular reality of Churchly life in specific times and places. If that is true (and I believe that it is) then something being "uncanonical" is a very, very grave matter. I think sometimes, rather than saying "uncanonical" it would be clearer to say "unGospel." The canonical principle of "one bishop in one city" is not just a slogan; it is a consequence and an expression of the dogma of the unity of the Church. Consistently and unrepentantly to disregard, to flout, that canonical principle is to deny the dogma of the unity of the Church. Further, it is a denial of the Catholicity of the Church. For what is the Catholic Church? It is one people of God in one place, gathered under the presidency of one bishop, celebrating one Eucharist, breaking one loaf and sharing one cup. When there is more than one bishop and one liturgical assembly in one place, there is more than one Church, and the unity and catholicity of the Church is broken. I think St Ignatius would know what I am talking about. It only makes matters worse that the principle by which the Church is divided is, of all things, ethnicity. Because that makes clear that the ground of unity of the liturgical assembly is ethnicity, and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "I do not see, in unionist statements, much mention of repentance or deification." Perhaps not; but that does not mean that there is not much to repent of, nor that phyletism is not a serious roadblock to deification. "But this sort of union we pray for is already present. It is the union of koinonia, rooted in the Eucharist." This is just a dodge, a way to ignore the fact that the Church is divided and to justify not doing anything to heal the division. Yes, it is true that an Orthodox can commune in an OCA parish or a GOA parish or a ROCOR parish; but that does not change the fact there are multiple Eucharists where there should only be one. You can't say "it doesn't matter, we are all one in the Eucharist" because it does matter, and you are not one in the Eucharist because you are not celebrating one Eucharist. What are we to make of a religion that claims to be "the One True Church," but when you actually go looking for it you find out that it is "the Fifteen One True Churches"?
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2012 on Union benefits at Second Terrace
"Prove to me that American autocephaly will help with theosis" Whose theosis are you talking about? Your own, and that of the faithful who stand at liturgy in your parish? or the theosis of the millions of souls who will not receive the Apostolic Tradition because the Orthodox Churches, who claim that tradition, do not see it as their job to give it to them? And the reason for that, make no mistake, is phyletism. "Autocephaly" is not the answer. But that does not mean that phyletism is not the problem.
Toggle Commented May 25, 2010 on Bored with theosis at Second Terrace
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Mar 15, 2010