16-04-2009, 11:58 AM
A Koinonia of the Spirit?:"The tomato is in the carrot, and the cucumber is in the green bean."
Dear Father Peter, Dear Marc,
Sometimes to speak of the "koinonia of the Spirit" brings mostly a yawn and the response, 'Oh yeah, I know all about that,' and then it is dismissed. And, I understand that often times, in the present day, the word "community" is the buzzword of those bourgeois who are involved in an anti-bourgeois rebellion of the bourgeois. But, I would like to consider both of these expressions now, today, at this point of our conversation.
Marc, when you wrote:
marc hanna Wrote:. . . some people are genuinely searching for some firm delimiters as a means to proclaim what they are . . .
I agreed with this, but I think what most, if not all who would consider making such a radical move (viz. Protestantism to Orthodoxy) would be looking/searching for is something much deeper than a mere means to proclaim what they are. In my experience, most are searching for a deeper level of communion, or to put it another way, a more authentic and deeper level of community/unity.
In this sense, the hope of the seeker is that he/she would find the Community of communities.
In this genuine searching, the goal and objective would be to enter into communion with *not* an institution; but, a Person, the Person of Christ . . . and the means to this would be through another Person, the Person of the Holy Spirit. In my mind, this is why IF "We" cannot give a unified answer (the 'We' being Orthodoxy), but instead we offer up a divided Orthodoxy--as we can do no other in the present day, lest we attempt to camouflage the situation or do the ostrich thing--THEN it becomes apparent that the "We" does not represent a koinonia of the Spirit, but separate churches (some not even in communion with others).
And, I can see how it might be thought that to just bring in any individual to any form of Orthodoxy would be a good thing. And, I allow some room for this; however, as we are talking specifically about the seeker described above, it occurs to me that one of two things could happen. First, if the avenue of "softening" or downplaying the reality of the situation is chosen, or if it seems wise to not be 100% clear with a seeker about what the relationships of various Orthodox churches are to each other in Orthodoxy today, then this could result in a very negative reaction in the one who came in hopes of finding the Community of communities after he/she comes in and is brought up to speed. Or, Secondly, if it is made abundantly clear at the onset to this kind of seeker, that in reality, the "We", Orthodoxy today, is a group of divided churches, then this could further polarize the thinking of one as it relates to the individual and the ecclesiological (or imperial).
And, for that matter is it so hard to see why those Protestants who link the ecclesiological with the imperial would much rather turn to a bible based church? In this the choice is viewed as being between an inspired emperor and an inspired Holy Writ. This is not hard to understand really.
But, what I'm driving at here is along the lines of Fr. Peter's post, because even after the Truth of an historic Orthodox Christian approach is realized; IF there is not a church with community to be found, THEN the seeker might as well stay where he/she is at. Or, possibly the seeker may feel that with all things considered as it relates to the shape and dimension of Orthodoxy today, he/she may as well pursue personhood on his/her own with a focus not on the ecclesiological, but instead on the Christological, the Pneumatological. In this sense the primacy becomes no longer an identification of or the need to find one's identity in the right church or the right bishop; but, instead there is a refocusing from the place where one finds himself/herself at the present.
And, I'm starting to go out to sea here again, so I'll come back to the jedi as we continue 'considering propositions' . . . but, I think what I am suggesting is that this once particular concrete Community, that could be pointed to, and was a simple thing in the beginning, has become something that is complex today, and something that is abstract and cannot be pointed to--it is much akin to a universal.
And, herein lies the connection to the Creed I think! Just as Fr. Peter has spoke of the possibility of any creed being "exclusive" and as he has spoken of the "open invitation" to be found in the Apostles Creed . . . the gospel of Christ itself is a particularistic message, but it has a universal appeal. The invitation of the gospel of Christ, the Kerygma of Christ, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God speaks to those who would be "We" and is made up of the "We." Is the Kerygma of Christ the Church or is it the Kingdom?
As we consider the Church of God in the beginning and as we consider the Churches of God in the present day, as we consider Orthodoxy in the earliest of times, and as we consider Orthodoxy today, what other kind of relational ontology can there be between the individual members of the Body of Christ than one comprised of those who transcend all divisions in Christ throught the koinonia of the Spirit? What other kind of relationship can there be within the current day context of division?
I appreciate your post about the relation of createdness Father. I think of an Asian gardener who writes about his compost pile in his vegetable garden. As he has said, in reality, because his compost feeds all of his plants each year, "The tomato is in the carrot, and the cucumber is in the green bean." And, I think that to understand what both you and he are saying is very important, especially as it relates to the "We" of the day in which the Creed was written, as well as the "We" and the context of Orthodoxy today.
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 - Rick Henry - 16-04-2009 11:58 AM