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« 'In Christ' or 'Christ in You'? | Main | "It's a Great Day to Get Saved" »

June 11, 2006

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Nor would I. Were you referring ot this, I get the impression it is ultimately responsible to the head of the church in Russia. If you look to the beginning of the sentence you can see 'it' refers to the Russian Orthodox church in Britain.

my bad. You're right on that one.

Would you say this site http://www.orthodox.clara.net/belief.htm gives a true picture of what Orthodox Christians believe? I

Raph? FDR is probably better suited in answering that. I actually like the formality (it actually mirrors alot of the Old Testament stuff) especially when you know what the vestments represent.

God's peace

Seraphim

I can't speak for all those who are seeking out Orthodoxy, but as for me, I just finished a four month study of Orthodox theology and practices including a limited experience with a wonderful Greek Orthodox church in our community. I certainly am no expert. My reasons: I wanted to connect and experience some systems of belief that might help broaden and deepen my own contemplative walk. Basically, I tried to keep my eyes open and see what I could learn.

I observed a tradition (or least a congregation) that is struggling with cultural relevance and identity. What does it mean to be a GREEK Orthodox church if very few people in the community do not speak Greek?

I also believe this (and I know that some may take offense at this idea and I apologize because I do not intend to be offensive by it, only realistic), the Divine Liturgy is a beautiful expression of worship with deep meaning and tradition but it is also rooted in cultural practices and expression from which it originated. While I found it beautiful and engaging because I can follow Greek (somewhat), as I described it to some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (and not yet in Christ), they thought that I was crazy (maybe I didn't do it justice with my description). As the sun streamed in from above with the beams that cut through the smoke from the incense I felt as though I was getting a glimpse into what it might have been like to be in the tabernacle or temple when the cloud of God's glory filled. The liturgy beckoned me to connect with the cloud of witnesses that surrounded us as we worship like those who have worship in this manner for well over a thousand years.

However, my allergies could not take a steady diet of incense. However, as beautiful as the connection to the past was, I couldn't possibly worship like this the rest of my life. My cultural expression of worship with current music styles resonates too deeply with my soul.

As I said, I believe the Divine Liturgy to be a particular cultural expression that has survived the centuries (I won't even go to why this has occurred). I doubt (maybe I will be wrong) that Chris Tomlin and David Crowder will still be used in thousand years (assuming that things do go on). A thousand years is a long time. When I get old enough to retire, my kids will probably want to take drums out of worship and I hope and pray that I don't cry, "We've always had drums!" or worse, "You don't know what heartache and struggles it took for us to get those drums in the church!"

Anyway, I digress. I've been given a deeper appreciation for different cultural expressions of worship (of different kinds) recognizing on a much deeper level that it does take all kinds to reach all kinds of people. I've also been able to experience firsthand some of the ways that my own tradition falls drastically short in helping people experience the presence of Christ. I definitely will have to check out Oden's book (who usually has some great stuff to share).

In Christ,
Mark

I came to Orthodoxy on a winding road via Young Fogeyism, lingering a while on the Canterbury Trail. It was definitely not the "smells and bells" that was drawing me- like Karin, those rather repelled me.

What did draw me was history, legitimacy, and most profoundly, hunger for the sacraments and for Sacrament.

The other things, the liturgy and jurisdictional considerations, I think are all meant to be experienced and worked out from the inside. In the past, catechumens were not even allowed in to see the liturgy of the Eucharist. The church guarded its inner life from curiosity and misunderstanding. When I consider icons being used for "atmosphere," liturgies being borrowed and "updated," Orthodoxy being examined and picked apart to see what is and isn't suitable for postmodern sensibilities, a part of me wishes that the Mysteries were still kept private for the casual onlooker.

Then again, the church is meant to bless all and I'm incredibly grateful that "the best kept secret in Christianity" is getting out to those of us in the West. Resources I can recommend are Bishop Ware's The Orthodox Way, for a glimpse into the Orthodox phronema or mindset, and for more detail, his The Orthodox Church or Dr. Pelikan's The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (and the rest of that series). Along with, of course, the writings of the early fathers.

I wanted to say, the "smells and bells" are something I now greatly appreciate, the moreso as I understand what they represent. As is the hierarchy of the church, which is like the joy of a foster child who finally finds a good father and mother. Perhaps the greatest gift of Orthodoxy is the communion of the saints. How alone and cut off are many Christians!

Of course High Anglicans and Catholics have smells and bells. I went to a "not so high as the neighbouring parish" Anglican church for a bit. They didn't have bells and smells, but lots of ritual and formal robes and although there was a lot I liked, it was a pretty unfriendly place. I think the formality was all-pervasive.

I'm now trying a much less formal Anglican church, and although the vicar has a couple of earrings in one ear and I think he was wearing jeans for the family service, he was wearing his robes for the Communion service this Sunday. I can cope with that small amount of ritual throwback, though.

I like things natural and informal, like I think it would have been with Jesus and his disciples, which is why I like the style of non-conformist churches, but so many of them are Evangelical, which I am not any more.

I like things natural and informal, like I think it would have been with Jesus and his disciples, which is why I like the style of non-conformist churches, but so many of them are Evangelical, which I am not any more.

How would you have found the prayer shawls (not sure if shawls is the proper word) or the rituals observed in temple, the feast days with all the proper observations.

The things an observant jew (like Jesus) would have done daily? just curious not trying to debate...

Orthodoxy has a wonderful Christology, but, it places tradition over scripture, practices idolatry with it's Icons, and the only groups more adept at confounding justification with sanctification are some of the emergent churches. It's virtually Catholicism without the Pope. This trend could only form in a biblicaly and theologically illiterate age such as ours!!

Orthodoxy has a wonderful Christology, but, it places tradition over scripture, practices idolatry with it's Icons, and the only groups more adept at confounding justification with sanctification are some of the emergent churches. It's virtually Catholicism without the Pope.

Ray, you shouldn't hold back like this. Tell us what you really think.

Just to clarify on rebaptism. I'm in the UK as Chris pointed out. I'm well aware of different jurisdiction and have a vague idea of the post bolshevik politics of Russian Orthodoxy. That said, I did hint that I was talking about something that happened over 30 years ago but it was definitely a [re]baptism not a chrismation: the description of the event was clear. I'm pretty sure that the form of Orthodoxy was/is official, ie ROCOR -which I gather has recently renewed full communion with ROC, if I've remembered the initials correctly.

It may only have been the say-so of a couple of people, but we are in one case talking about an orthodox priest who was, in effect, doing a PR job in England for the ROCOR... If the situation is different or changed, I rejoice. But I had good reason to think it so. And unfortunately it does not alter the experience I have had of uncharitableness from *some* Orthodox ...

Anyway, if I've picked up the info correctly, the rebaptism could just have been a policy of a particular bishop at that time?

Leaving "O"rthodoxy aside for the moment, I think the trend towards "o"rthodoxy, specifically within a postmodern, postdenominational context, meants that people have a latent skepticism towards any single church body/institution. Most people you meet off the street, and many average parishioners share this skepticism. Ask a catholic if they really believe that the RC church has the corner on the salvation game and they would likely say no. As would your average Orthodox American (And we are not talking of the born agian convert to Orthodoxy here, but Romanian, Greek, etc) In other words if you asked anyone today if their particular brand of Christianity was "the only way" to God through Christ they would likely not accept such a statement. In the context of such skepticism postdenominational orthodoxy would seek to transcend boundaries, considering them as arbitrary and culturally conditioned. I would submit that the measure of orthodoxy in this context becomes one of "participation" i.e. aiming towards the greatest degree of participation in, and consensus with, the Universal (catholic) Church.

it places tradition over scripture
An absurd statement, because of course scripture is a tradition itself....albeit a written one. Thank God for tradition or we would NOT have the Scriptures!

practices idolatry with it's Icons,
Anyone who studies Orthodoxy, will discover right away that we venerate all sorts of things (our NEIGHBOR of all things!), yet reserve our worship for the Holy Trinity alone.

and the only groups more adept at confounding justification with sanctification are some of the emergent churches

Meaning we havnt changed our soteriology to comform to yours?

It's virtually Catholicism without the Pope.

A very ignorant statemtn. I encourage you to study some more.

This trend could only form in a biblicaly and theologically illiterate age such as ours!!

It is interesting that it is the THEOLOGIANS (Jaroslav Pelikan, Jack Sparks, Frank Schaeffer among others...) who are largely streaming into Orthodox churches

OK, sorry about the formatting gooofusness [fixed by Chris - 7/1/06]

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