15-04-2009, 11:52 AM
On "Nailing Down Absolutes in Orthodoxy Today"
It is so easy to be misunderstood when communicating online like this. So, I would like to attempt to be very clear with you that I appreciate the spirit of your posts and their content very much (case in point the concluding paragraph of your last post).
And, I agree with you that I did not serve up a softball to you in my last post about the first word in the first sentence of the Creed; but, I guess when we consider the different directions of my last post the question becomes 'is this an example of a severe deficit of attention, or is this train of thought spot on?'
And, in order to consider this further, possibly we can back this trolley up a bit and review/remember how we got here. As Father Peter has set this up to be a study that allows for individual experiences of real people livin' in the real world . . .possibly we can trade our telescope for a microscope, so to say, and bear down on the precursor of this thread which was the question(s) of a seeker, the one who would be Orthodox.
I really feel like I can relate to Don in many ways even though he has not 'converted' to Orthodoxy and I have 'converted' to Orthodoxy. But, as Don is leading with his heart in his posts here on the BOC site, I wonder if you can listen with your heart to what Don has been saying in some of his posts? In the following Don speaks for not a few in the present day, I think, as he wrote:
Quote:Surely in the Orthodox Church there are at least SOME non-negotiables - things that are proclaimed as being objective revelation from God. Things that can be discerned as being truth by the mystic as well as by the logician.
Can you hear the sentiment behind this Marc? "Surely . . . at least SOME non-negotiables . . . objective revelation." What I wrote about in my last post is where we end up when we do pursue this question, the question of the "We" to its logical end conclusion.
And, then look at the optimism in this quote by Don:
Quote:Father Peter, I thank you for your response. Scaffolding...YES! That is a very helpful insight! You have given me some good stuff to chew over, thank you. Yes, I do agree with you that the Creed would be a good place to start nailing down some absolutes.
This is what I am addressing as much as anything here Marc. Don is looking for some absolutes in the Creed that are non-negotiable in the Orthodox Church. And, with the strong emphasis on ecclesiology and polity in the Orthodox Church, I am making the point that we cannot even say definitively who "We" are as a body.
And, as Don shares that humans long for definition in the following:
Quote:And I think that as humans we all long for such authority and certainty.
How are we doing so far in supplying him with ecclesiological absolutes in the Orthodox Church? For, that matter, does it matter how much we type and think on this first word in the first sentence of the Creed? Is it possible to use the Creed to provide straight answers to straight questions like Don's . . .
And, again . . . what is the title of this thread? It is "Considering Propositions," and this in order to give some answers for those who are up against a wall, as Don also wrote:
Quote:But here I come up against my brick wall - How does one arrive at the objective certainty? Where does one draw the line between the essential and the superficial? This has been the jist of my question.
But, is it possible to use the Creed in this way? Is it possible to provide the kind of absolutes that are spoken of above for the one(s) who would draw a line as Don has said. And, this is interesting to me as it is presented because this demonstrates a good kind of division. Do you see what I mean Marc? Does Don want to draw a line in order to "divide" or in order to "unite?"
What is his motivation in desiring to draw a line? Obviously, it is to promote union/communion based on a desire for authenticity, but on an even deeper level please read his writing below:
Quote:Although I am not at present no longer a 'card carrying' Protestant, I am as yet uncertain as to where to plant my flag of commitment.
This is a person in a kind of theological no-man's land. This is a person without a country in a sense. Initially, there is a type of freedom that is experienced that is not a burden but a joy; but, after a while for most folks in this position, the initial feelings turn to frustration, then apathy, then despair.
So, it matters. Possibly, more in our day than in the day the Creed was written it matters when the seeker comes knocking at the door of Orthodoxy.
But, the question at this point is, how long will the seeker, the one looking for answers in the way of objective certainty (the one who would 'convert' to Orthodoxy), keep knocking at the door if we cannot even tell him/her definitively who "We" are?
Possibly, this is why some of the EO draw the sharp and distinct lines of division that they do, as they offer up finely honed answers to the question of the nature and limits of the Orthodox Church. Because they see the madness in offering any other answer as it relates to the One Holy Orthodox Catholic Church. Possibly, these rigorists do understand that if they explain it any other way, then the model being presented would be much akin to the divided churches of Protestantism!
Even if we take all the different directions that we are forced to travel when we consider the question of the "We" in the Creed and attempt to tie them together in the hope of a definitive answer, in terms of a prismatic center, in an integrative motif which yields a Christocentric Ground as the answer . . . even if we do this, where can Don plant his flag in this ground? If we conclude that within Orthodoxy today, the way to locate and identify the we is to transcend all divisions in Christ in a spirit of brotherly love, then are we saying something like, "To be honest Don as it relates the Church and especially the ecclesiology and polity of the Church there are no absolutes to be found in Orthodoxy today, in practice, but only, in theory, can there be an objective certainty?/! (how's that for post modern thinking Don?)
And, this can be developed further . . . but that for another conversation. As for today, the question is what does Orthodoxy today say to the one who comes knocking in search of both "identity" and "community?" Or, at the very least what does Orthodoxy today say to the one who comes knocking in search of understanding who "We" are?
I guess we can have him/her read the Apostles Creed and 'consider the propositions' to be found in it.
But, possibly he/she has already read the Creed and knows there is nothing specific of and limited to Orthodoxy in the Creed and it is subscribed to and prescribed by many other Christian faith traditions and denominations who make competing truth claims.
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 - Rick Henry - 15-04-2009 11:52 AM