A man’s got to know his limitations

August 30, 2013

Thadam_reation_iconic1ere are few things that I can do to aid Syria’s roughly two million Christians, the vast majority of which are Orthodox (and many of the remainder Eastern Catholic), but what I can I do, namely pray for them throughout the day, post stuff on Facebook that I get from Jonathan Companik, John Anderson, Gabe Martini, or a host of others. One of the things that encourages me is that many of the things posted are picked up by my evangelical friends and relatives and shared on Facebook. Aside from that, I find that I must bend myself to the things God has asked of me, which I have been neglectful of these past few weeks, namely reading, writing, and teaching. Now, I shouldn’t so much say the reading part, for I have been doing a lot of that, but there comes a time you can take only so much from heretics (in this case the sixteenth-century radical, Michael Servetus), and so you seek to purge your mind with other things. I have found that looking at the lunatic foreign policy of the current administration (as opposed to the bonkers foreign policy of the previous one) only agitates me, and so I have to move to matters less of the moment, and leave things out of my control in the hands of God, whose mercies are infinite. So I turn to theological blogs, and one of my favorite, for a number of reasons, is Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy. Read the rest of this entry »

November 10, 2012

Original at Lux Christi

Several weeks ago one of you Gentle readers sent me some questions, and at last I shall start addressing them. I have chosen a more simple one, though I must admit, that this is a relative term, as they were all actually good and weighty questions.

To wit:

“When Jesus says that a good ‘tree’ produces good fruit and
a bad ‘tree’ produces bad fruit, is this ‘tree’ referring
to *nature* or *person*? Have we all become ‘good trees’
via Christ’s consubstantial incarnation/death/resurrection/ascension
or do we personally choose which type of tree to become via free will
and synergism? If the latter, how can a ‘bad tree’ *person* make herself
into a ‘good tree’ *person*on the Orthodox paradigm if the former
category can only produce bad fruit? So I guess the question might
be ‘do the roots of these trees go down into our *nature* or our *person*?’

Read the rest of this entry »

The Love and Hate of God in Romans 9

July 8, 2012

[This was originally posted on Lux Christi.]

At last recovered from fishing (but more on that later). At last to some thoughts on Romans 9. One of my former Calvinist mentors once opined that most people had little problem understanding why God hated Esau: what the real conundrum was, was why did He love Jacob? For Orthodox, of course, this is a false alternative, for Romans 9, the passage in which St. Paul cites Malachi about loving Jacob and hating Esau, is not about individuals, but the divine providence in preserving the godly seed. As an aside, in beginning to think about this, I would commend St. John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Romans. Calvin unhappily cited St. John’s teachings on this subject: “Moreover although the Greeks more than others, and among these especially Chrysostom, have exceeded decorum in extolling the powers of the human will, nonetheless, all the fathers, with the exception of Augustine, in this matter are so wayward, vacillating, and confused, that nothing clear  can be had from their writings Read the rest of this entry »

The End of Catholicity II & III

May 26, 2012

For those of you following, here are the last two iterations. Please (and I mean please) comment. I am severely straightened by house guests and plumbing problems from doing I would like to the blogs today.

Here’s End of Catholicity II.

And here’s III: The End of Catholicity III, or Calvin Uncatholicized, or Life without St. Ignatius of Antioch

The End of Catholicity I

May 25, 2012

{I have posted two items on my blog (this one is here), and post them also here. You can respond at either place. While a lot of traffic has been generated, no one seems up to saying anything.}

This post is in part a response to something posted by my long-ago acquaintance, Peter Leithart. I have already written at much greater length on this topic over at Energetic Procession, and I would encourage you to read that as well.

I have a a number of acquaintances, Roman Catholics, who seek to minimize the distinctions between themselves and we Orthodox. On some issues I will admit there is not a lot that separates us, but our distinctive stances come down to a matter of emphasis. On other issues, there is still much to hammer out, and I am always glad when opportunities arise that afford verbose debate with those Catholics who are my good friends. I am not interested in mealy-mouthed Catholic apologists: Give me Bill Tighe, Mark Kelly, and Michael Liccione any day over those who wish to treat doctrine as an ancillary, or even tertiary aspect of the Christian life. Read the rest of this entry »

Microscopic Faith

May 14, 2012

Early last week I was at my university when a colleague asked me to meet him to talk about several items. So, we walked around our campus, a rather attractive place which is often a draw for students, discussing various matters. He asked me, in the course of our wide-ranging conversation, whether I believed the bread and wine of the Eucharist was the body and blood of Christ. “Of course I do,” I replied, “I’m Orthodox.” He knew this. Then he asked me a rather odd question: “You do know that if you put that wine under a microscope that it’s just wine?” [You can read more here, or jump to content below.]

Read the rest of this entry »

Sproul the Nestorian

April 9, 2012

My dear father confessor, Fr. Thomas Edwards, whenever asked what his favorite feast is, will always respond that it is the one we are celebrating that day. Each feast renews in us the reality of that feast. And so when we enter into Pascha we enter anew into our Lord’s resurrection. And just as all feasts are animated by this Feast of feasts, so the vivifying effects of Christ our God’s passion comes to as again through the intermediaries of the other, lesser feasts. Fr. Tom loved to tell on Theophany about the feast as it was celebrated in a Yogoslav concentration camp by the then Fr. Vladimir (later Bishop Basil) Rodzianko. On that day the prisoners marched in a circles, and Fr. Vladimir stood in the middle of the circles, praying the service for the blessing of waters, even though the only water they had was that of the mud in their boots, and the snow falling from the sky. But Fr. Vladimir could proclaim: “This day this snow has become for you the waters of Jordan.” Thus, by the power of the Spirit the grace of the Jordan came to those even in the midst of the tyrant’s prison. Another dear friend, Cyril Quatrone, told me that whenever he read the story of a martyr, that martyr’s passion, he would always pray for this martyr, since God, who dwells in eternity, can take his feeble prayers and use it to strengthen that martyr, e.g., St. Ignatius of Antioch, at the hour of his trial, even though his trial is long past. (More here.)

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