Thanks very much for the above. When Kirk first posted this quote it got my attention; however, as you place it up again, and I look at it again, I have to think yes this is IT:
Quote:1.) When I had given much thought and pondered on the matter, I became convinced that these quarrels of Christians among themselves are not a matter of factual substance, but rather one of words and terms.
2.) For they all confess Christ Our Lord to be perfect God and perfect human, without any commingling, mixing, or confusion of the natures.
3.) This bipinnate 'likeness' ( Phil. 2:6-7) is termed by one party a 'nature', by another 'a hypostasis' and by yet another a 'person'. Thus I saw all the Christian communities, with their different Christological positions, as possessing a single common ground that is without any difference.
4.) Accordingly I totally eradicated any hatred from the depths of my heart, and I completely renounced disputing with anyone over confessional matters
Or, in other words, while seeing the autobiographical nature of this passage, even in his tenses we observe the mechanics of a transcendence of all divisions in Christ. All division is spoken of in the present tense, but his view of this division is one of looking back on it, it is in the past, he has moved beyond all of this in favor of a common ground as indicated by Christ in the priestly prayer of John 17. And, yes John, as you say:
Bar Hebraeus is not saying that the differences do not matter, he is saying that they are not what we think they are: we are all confessing the same Risen Christ, the same Trinitarian God, the same soteriology and the same salvation.
Whereby there is a systematic keeping of the gate, but not a system engineered for the purpose of keeping souls out! And, not a gate manned by those who are indifferent to the plight of the pilgrim who may pass by, but in the case of Bar Hebreaus, a gate manned by the passionate follower of Christ who has a zeal for the inner life, for the true life in the Spirit of Christ.
So yes John, this is exactly what I am saying. I feel a strong bond with this man that I have never heard of until he has been presented here. These first three points above resonate with me. I would like to invite others to look at his first three points again . . . boom-boom-boom; but, this fourth point is where the rubber meets the road, isn't it?
We may read and nod our heads in agreement with the first three points above, but what about that fourth?
I think I have come to the conclusion that one cannot truly stand on the common ground of which is spoken of unless one has genuinely moved beyond all of the muck that seems to surround this ground. While I think there are those who have seemingly never not known any other place since their conversion, for most of us, there is a slogging process on the path to the kingdom that involves' much 'thought' and 'pondering' and in the End a 'renunciation.'
And, as consider that this seems to carry with it a moving from a passion for Christ to a somewhat more apathetic condition, or ironically a kind of indifferentism in and of itself, and I wonder exactly what this mode and way of living would look like, what it would sound like, I honestly begin to question the validity of all of this at times.
But, then I see very clearly the same Spirit which was at work in the Apostle Paul at work in Bar Hebreaus, and I see and feel the power of his message in the above four clear and concise statements, and I know that this is IT. Just as St. Paul was not indifferent or apathetic by any means, and just as he moved beyond all divisions and immature views such as the one's held in Corinth in his day . . . Bar Hebreaus displays the same Spirit of Life which allows no room for division regardless of the individual teachers or wordsmiths. As Bar Hebreaus points the way to this common ground he dismisses the various gate keepers and their closed gates in favor of the One Who is the door, the One Whom was sent by the God of the Hebrews Who with open and outstretched arms called over and over to them to 'betach' in Him, to trust in Him. And, this I would like to suggest is where we may find a boundary of sorts as it relates to some of the mucky systems and ways that border the common ground of which Bar Hebreaus writes. Regardless of what adjective is chosen to modify one's Orthodoxy, if its circle does not intersect somewhere with this common ground of which is spoken of,it is no Orthodoxy, it is at best an ignorant orthodoxy, at worst a path outside of Christ for the one who places his faith in a system instead of a Person.
So what about that fourth point? Do we believe what we say, and does what we say align with what we do? Or, to put it another way is our knowing in harmony with our being--does our being model our way of knowing? And, again even a quick look at the life of the Apostle Paul (or Christ in the Garden) will show that when we believe what we say, and when we find our being in our knowing this does not always mean that life will be rosey and sweet. However, simply put, I think Bar Hebreaus covers much ground in a short span when he demonstrates that if there is no such thing as a Common Ground then there is no such thing as a Generous Orthodoxy as the Unity and Oneness spoken of by Christ. And, we read of this priestly prayer of Christ was prayed just after He taught in John that it is the one's who keep His commandments and Love Him who abide in Him and He in them whereby both He and the Father will abide with these. Who would deny this Unity that is spoken of here, or possibly the better question for today is who would confine this Unity to their particular group? These are the ones that Bar Hebreaus addresses above, these are the ones that St. Paul wrote to, and these are the ones that Christ has prayed for 2000 years ago.
What does this transcending of all divisions in Christ look like? What does a Generous Orthodoxy look like where the rubber meets the road? I think it is starting to come into view now with help from Kirk and John via the Spirit of Life, for which I am very grateful.