I wonder if "Legless Donkeys" or "On Flying Pigs" would make a good title or sub-title for something?
And, when you say:
Quote:This is partly because one reads so many things about what it is 'they' believe, often from the same people who tell others what we Oriental Orthodox 'believe' and get it badly wrong.
I think we see a model of a problem that exists universally in the Church, and in other world faith traditions as well. When I was an Evangelical, I would meet new people from other Christian denominations and the non-denominational and pretty close to 100% of the time as I would share my 'knowledge' of their assembly and they would share their 'knowledge' of my assembly, we would both find that we had it 'badly wrong' in some key areas! Between hearsay and literature that is so heavily biased, it is easy to see why things are like they are, and why there are such donkeys and pigs as above.
Last night, I stayed up past my bedtime and watched a two hour special on PBS on "The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain." I did notice at the beginning of the show that the major contributors to this production all had Arabic names, and there was some top notch history presented here, I think. But, the way the commentary and drama was mixed with the talking heads/experts, at the end of the program I was almost persuaded that we would all be better off if there was a liberal Islam (which allowed much room for religious tolerance and diversity) in power world-wide. The show clearly demonstrated that when either a Puritanical Christianity or Islam was the ruling force, all others were persecuted, books were burned, treasures were lost, creativity and intellectual endeavors languished. But, when a liberal Islam was in power, Christians, Jews, and Muslims (and all) lived in peace and harmony--the Muslim, Jew, and Christian scholars and artists/craftsmen worked side by side thinking, translating, writing, creating . . . it was a concrete utopia during this time in Islamic Spain--a model for all! So who wouldn't want history to repeat itself here in this way? We all worship together and work together and live together in peace and harmony under a liberal Islam. But, I wonder what this same production would have looked like if it was funded primarily by those with Hebrew names, or those with Christian names?
And, yes, as you imply we do like to think that 'we' are right and 'they' are wrong (whoever the 'we' and the 'they' is--it doesn't matter. Even within other faith traditions and systems, based on my reading, in different Buddhist traditions, for example, there are the same things going on there, the same dynamics, models, and disinformation going on there (viz. the thinking that 'you are *not* a True Buddhist, but 'we' are True Buddhists!). It's just nutty, everyone wants to be right. Regardless of an individualism or community mindset, people want to think that 'they' have it right. Ironically though, I think in all of this regardless of which system or non-system is being promoted and defended (to the point of donkeys loosing legs and pigs flying about) what we see is nothing but a rank particularism at the end of the day, in this type of 'knowing.'
And, it doesn't really matter when one is caught up in all of this does it? It doesn't really matter whether one is caught up in debates about Vatican I or Vatican II, it doesn't matter if it is Orthodoxy or orthodoxy, or Buddhism or buddhism, or on down the line. As long as one is caught up in disinformation, based primarily on the motive to have it right and be right for the sake of being right, what is the difference between fiction and this way of 'knowing' and 'being?' What does this way of living have to do with Truth? I can see no correlation between the driving force of these competing systems for Christian living or any other type of living, as it relates to Truth as Love.
And, possibly this is why St. Cyril of Jerusalem was slow to condemn teaching as being overtly heretical when it was possible that there were errors in reflection at play. Yes, discretion/discerment. To be completely honest, the only writing from St. Cyril that I have read is from what you have quoted him here and elsewhere John; but, it seems from what I have read that the wise St. Cyril models something very rare in our day. It appears he models and sees the imperativeness of speaking the Truth in Love.
Because, how can there be any reconciliation or anything other than an artificial unity at best, where the Truth is not spoken in Love?
And, there are different ways to look at what is being said here, especially in the modern day that we live in today; however, from where I sit, as it relates to solidarity of any kind, Truth in Love is the Highest Common Denominator without which there is no generousity/charity of any kind but only a self-seeking/serving and selfish
particularism regardless of what color the robe one wears, or what shape the medallion is around one's neck, or what food and drink is on the table. Without Love what we wear, eat and drink is nothing. Without Love we are nothing--we are no 'thing' and no 'where' but in a bad sense.
And, we did not get to a conversation directly contrasting Agape
, or the "Royal Road" today. But, that's okay. God willing there will be another day. All in God's timing.