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- admin - 09-02-2007
Do you know if that book has set the words of Christ into English poetry?
I have found great benefit in using different versions of the Bible, and having some passages in poetry would be interesting, because different translations and presentations can bring new insights to even favourite passages.
One of the reasons I created the month of readings in Our Daily Life was because I felt for myself that there was great benefit in developing a close relationship with one of the Gospels by reading it over and over.
If the book you mentioned is not a poetry book do you know of any other that it is?
Poetry books - Mark Fletcher - 09-02-2007
Anthony Duncan's book 'Jesus - Essential Readings' is an anthology of teachings attributed to Jesus, selected from New Testament sources and from apochryphal writings roughly contemporary with the canonical Gospels. Canon Duncan presents the teachings in the form in which they were probably first communicated: in poetry and symbolic story. Therefore, this is probably not what you are looking for. All of Rev'd Canon Anthony Duncan's books are worth reading.
The only thing I have ever come across which might be what you are after was a book of spiritual songs put together by a man called John Metcalfe and printed by the John Metcalfe Publishing Trust. As I have chucked all his stuff out (as I don't much care for narrow Puritan Calvinism) I'm afraid I can't give you a website URL or address. I doubt whether he has a web-site, though I might be wrong. I think it's based somewhere in Buckinghamshire! Sorry I can't be of more help in this. It sounds like a good idea though, in some respects.
Chatham - Mark Fletcher - 11-02-2007
For some reason, I feel that I need to record my thoughts before attending my first Orthodox church service, and the first one I have attended at St. Alban's British Orthodox Church, Chatham, today.
Quote:A HYMNE TO GOD THE FATHER by John Donne
I hope that when I go to church today, thy sonne shall shine, and that I will be able to recognise the presence of Christ under the veil of earthly things.
However, the following fears arise in my awareness:
Will I appear to others as the cockroach at the cocktail party?
Will I be the only person present so ignorant as to think that Hagios O Theos may be a Scottish-Greek culinary delicacy?
Will other people there know by some mysterious spiritual telepathy that I am indeed truly evil, the chief of sinners, and eject me?
I hope that lots of incense will provide a spiritual disinfectant to blot out my sins from their awareness, or at least provide a smoke screen. The highest spiritual good and the greatest spiritual wickedness are within touching distance, I believe. Sometimes it's difficult to know which is which. Kyrie eleison.
Going to Church - John Charmley - 11-02-2007
I am sure that the answer to all you questions is 'no' - you will be received with joy as one who is seeking the road.
I shall pray for you.
Correct - Mark Fletcher - 11-02-2007
As usual, John, you are correct. I feel that today was the most significant one of my life. At last I have found my Heart's Desire, and He is altogether lovely. O praise God in His holiness!
I attended the most spiritually uplifting liturgy I have ever taken part in, celebrated by loving people and the kindest, dearest and wisest Priest I have ever met. The beautiful service was characterised by purity, kindness, love, and a powerful gentleness. I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy and Divine Fire emanating from the Saviour.
For some reason, I was expecting to experience our Lord Jesus Christ in the Bread and Wine as a Fiery King wielding all the mighty spiritual forces of his Immovable Kingdom. Instead, I found One Gracious and Merciful, Tender and Compassionate.
I feel as though I have lived my life in a warm mental and emotional soup. Today I was lifted out of the 'soup' and placed in the warming clarity of the sunshine.
Today I experienced The Good, The True and The Beautiful, and I thank God for it. Thank you for your prayers. It's all true.
Divine Liturgy at Chatham - Michael Kennedy - 11-02-2007
I am very pleased that you were able to join us this morning Mark and I thank God that it was such a positive and uplifting experience for you, though I fear that I personally fall far short of your descriptions! But you are right about Father Michael, and other people too have noticed and commented upon his holiness. We are very fortunate to have him as our priest and count it as a great blessing. I am sorry that you had to leave so quickly, perhaps to catch your train back to Dover? We normally have coffee afterwards and I am sorry that we omitted to make that clear with an invitation for everyone to stay. I hope you will join us again - you will be very welcome whenever you are able to make the journey.
Experience - John Charmley - 11-02-2007
I am so glad for you. When people say you have to experience Orthodoxy, those coming to it can get a little irritated - 'what does that mean?' - until you experience it - then, as you found out, you know why it is so important.
There is a kindness and a peacefulness about the BOC, which I am not altogether sure its members always see, but which is so clear to those of us coming from elsewhere. Yes, it is the clarity of God's light; there is no substitute for it - it is 'The Real Thing'.
Today I was received into the Church, and like you, found a fellowship and a spiritual comfort I have never known. The baptism touched me beyond words; and my first communion was even more indescribable. It was coming home - and I thank the BOC for its welcome, and the community at St. Felix, who could not have been kinder.
That Peter Farrington and his lovely son, Callum, should have made the long journey touched me so much; it is so characteristic of the BOC. As you would expect, with Abba Seraphim present and preaching, and with Fr. Tony's presence, it was a unique occasion; I feel blessed.
Fellowship - John Charmley - 12-02-2007
The thanks are all mine - your presence made it so right.
I know there will be many members of the Fellowship who will be where I was last year, that is looking into Orthodoxy whilst feeling dissatisfied with where they are.
All I can say is that anyone wondering whether to take the great step towards becoming a Catechumen should pray for guidance. As I think I made clear in my reflections on being a Catechumen, the actual decision was, to some extent, a leap of faith. Only prayer and your instincts will tell you personally whether to take that leap, but I can testify that it is worth it - and more.
British Orthodox Fellowship: Book group - John Charmley - 30-03-2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I think this may have been mentioned before in this forum, but wondered if it was worth raising again, or whether the lack of response last time suggests it is not an idea we want to take up?
I was wondering whether we might want to have a part of this site for a BOC book group?
In classic book group style we could choose a book, read it over, say, a month or so, and discuss it.
If there were takers for the idea, I would suggest starting with something like Fr. Mark Gruber's Return to Eden which, I am sure those who have read it will confirm, is a wonderful book; those who have not will be in for a treat. It is not expensive to buy, nor is it long, and its subject matter - his experience of Coptic monasteries and Coptic monasticism, could hardly be more relevant to us here.
Re: Questions and answers - John Charmley - 01-04-2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Although, for the moment, as this post rather portended, Mark has gone from our midst, he has left a legacy of questions which remain relevant to anyone with an interest in Christianity; I wonder whether in all humility we should not try to address some of them?
Quote:At present, I am inclined to think that religion is entirely a man-made creation and that at death nothing 'happens' to my consciousness/awareness as it is a product of brain activity, and therefore something of an illusion anyway. I feel that religion should be celebrated and cherished as a human creation, and that there is in truth no 'God' external to my own awareness other than All Being - All Consciousness (The Transcendent Father) which is, of course, utterly inconceivable, but a fact of Reality nevertheless.In expressing this view, Mark is far from alone. I am never sure there is much in the way of utility in addressing this question in this way. Faith is just that - one believes that what the Church teaches is true. If one does not, then it seems improbable that an intellectual discussion will really put that right.
One has to read, to go to Church, and to practice the Christian way of living; one has to open oneself to Him first; He comes to us voluntarily, He does not force Himself upon us. But perhaps one of you has a much better approach than my rather inadequate one?
Quote: On the subject of prayer, I believe that if God "listened" to prayer in the way that most people think, then He would surely not be God. I believe in a God that is pure Spirit - a Universal Consciousness looking out through my eyes and yours, and those of every sentient being. That Consciousness is One and Three at the same time. God seems to me to be "behind" the whole of life because It IS Life (Consciousness) Itself in all its Being and becoming. Praying to It in the way that people do is based on the mistaken supposition of "separateness", whereas in truth, God is All in All. There is nothing mystical about this.
This, again, is a perfectly representative view of what many in this society believe. Of course, the notion that there is a universal consciousness is, itself, an act of faith that is unprovable. But what is it we are doing when we offer prayers to Our Lord?
We know that He knows our needs better than we do; and He knows them before we do. But in praying we open ourselves to Him, we communicate with Our Heavenly Father, laying our hopes and fears at His feet. It is not 'magic', it is a time of quietness when we are with Him. One reason why public prayer is so important is that we come together as parts of the Body of Christ to express our unity in Him.
Sometimes, it seems to me, that we come at the Faith through our wants and needs, and expect it to meet them, and feel disappointed when it does not. Perhaps we need to realise where we have to change to accommodate ourselves to His demands on us, and to adjust our wants and needs to the teachings of His Church. If we recognise we are sinners, how then can we not know that we need to change if we are to be one with Him?
These are, of course, not answers to Mark's questions, but rather reflections prompted by them; it would be good to hear from others on these, or similar themes.
- admin - 02-04-2007
I would be very interested in reading through 'Journey Back to Eden' again, and as part of a group. It is a wonderful book and I think it has value as being written by someone with a certain distance from Coptic Orthodoxy even while closely engaging with it.
Perhaps we could find the best (cheapest) source for it and add a link here so that others could obtain the book before we start? It is one of the handful of books that I keep giving away because it is so useful. I think Mark Fletcher had my last copy.
As ever, seeking the prayers of all for this Holy Week, and offering mine on your behalf.
- Robin Westwood - 03-04-2007
I have been given Journey Back to Eden recently by Fr. Simon, I read the book in three days, (could not put it down), and will re read it again in the next few weeks. As you mentioned it is not a long read, and written by a monk from the Catholic Church who tells the reader 'of a Christianity most of us barely know'. I myself along with a few other people will experience first hand some of the monasteries featured in this book when we visit Egypt for Pentecost with +Seraphim in May. Like Mark Gruber OSB the author, I intend to keep a short spiritual journey of my visit and of the places that we visit.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone entering Orthodoxy, or anyone interested in Monasticism and the early Christian Monasteries and Desert Fathers.
I would also like to see this book added to a book club for review, and certainly added to the BOC Library.
Re: Poetry books - Solly - 20-04-2007
Mark Fletcher Wrote:Anthony Duncan's book 'Jesus - Essential Readings' is an anthology of teachings attributed to Jesus, selected from New Testament sources and from apochryphal writings roughly contemporary with the canonical Gospels. Canon Duncan presents the teachings in the form in which they were probably first communicated: in poetry and symbolic story. Therefore, this is probably not what you are looking for. All of Rev'd Canon Anthony Duncan's books are worth reading.
No, he doesn't have a website. I had all his stuff too, it was my introduction and induction into calvinism, and led me to the Gospel Standard Baptists. His three vol psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is about the only thing of value he has done.