Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Divine abandonment of the reprobate.

December 28, 2010

This interesting thread reminds me of a topic I heard in a Greek monastery concerning God’s abandonment of certain individuals to a reprobate mind http://bible.cc/romans/1-28.htm There is an analogous verse in the Qur’an about how Allah will blind the eyes and stop the ears of the unbeliever so that their condemnation may be increased. On the other hand Paul seems to acknowledge “gifts differing” and a tolerance for diversity “let those who fast and those who eat do so for the glory of God” and his saying that “I shall become all things to all people so that by any manner some might be saved.” Now it seems to me that the parable of the sower of seeds clearly instructs us that not every seed would take proper root but perhaps only 1 in 4 (if one wants to be literal and fundamentalist.) I for one have never viewed someone like Paul as “the sock puppet of God” falling into some kind of trance and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him which (if I am correct) would mean that each Biblical author is a subjective author stating things from their own human perspective and describing their own personal experience of the Divine in a very subjective manner. Maximus the Confessor took exactly the opposite position from Aquinas in the Summa regarding which comes first, understanding or faith. Maximus sees faith as a gift from God which God gives to some and not to others and gives in varying degrees and gives with a foreknowledge from His pre-eternal vantage point of how each individual will receive the gift of faith through their free will cooperation. Understanding develops only after the gift of faith and only as much understanding as might be salvific for a certain individual in certain circumstances. Such a view accounts for what it might mean for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart ten times. Aquinas on the other hand sees understanding as prior and from understanding proceeds faith or belief which explains why Aquinas quotes from Aristotle so often while the Greek patristic writers of the early centuries ignore Aristotle and the other pagan philosophers. Aquinas’s view as well as those such as Anselm who construct PROOFS of God’s “existence” seem to put religion on an equal footing with mathematical proof such that any reasonable person might be forced to believe as the result of some syllogistic line of reasoning.

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O.K. admittedly this is from a different Facebook thread:

One would not easily guess that Eisenhower thought in such terms. It was not until his first inauguration that Eisenhower was baptized. Rev. Billy Graham discovered that Eisenhower had not been baptized and inquired as to the “why.” Eisenhower explained “Well, I have been rather busy lately.” It has been observed that neither Eisenhower nor Reagan were particularly religious but chose to use religion to combat the Communist threat which they saw as atheist. I see Reagan as a somewhat simple but sincere person who felt that the end justified the means and that the Communist foe must be defeated by any means whether neutron bombs or whether it was supporting religious movements which might not be all that wholesome or pure in their agendas or all that conducive to fundamental notions of free speech, press and peaceful assembly. I suspect thats why Reagan so easily became entangled in the Iran-Contra scandal.

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Yet another thread: I have spent several years all together in New York City working around Orthodox Jews and I know from first hand experience that there are some who are quite middle class small business owners who work very hard and struggle to make ends meet. Then of course there are many very wealth Jews. I never attend parties or groups unless I am absolutely forced because I only enjoy interacting with single individuals in lengthy conversations and I have come to much prefer Internet exchanges. I am more comfortable with conversation as an exchange of small essays which has only become possible with the advent of message boards, instant messaging and social networking. I am very reluctant to tell lies for a complex variety of reasons although I am not incapable of telling a lie when it comes to some issue of self-preservation. But then I am hardly typical or representative and the fact that I do not fit the typical mold in so many ways has a lot to do with why I am a financial and career failure.

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Bible Sees It Coming But Christians Do Not

July 2, 2010

Alex: For those who question the usefulness of regulation in mitigating (never mind preventing) disaster, consider the awfulness of not having at least 99.9985% pure seawater coming out of Dutch Skimmer vessels in the Gulf.

William: The Book of Revelation says that 1/3 of the air, sea and land will be destroyed and 10 vials of plague will be unleashed (or is it seven)… but anyway, all these events seem quite Biblical… and yet people who are supposedly of deep faith pray fervently that our status quo world will go on forever.. that prosperity will be unending and that such is God’s will??!!

Why do you suppose it is that The Book of Revelation says “woe unto her who is with child in that day” and “in that day people will pray for death but death will not come?”

Alex: There are seven seals. I’m not sure how many vials of plague there are supposed to be.

I’m betting on destruction by supervolcano myself. I think it’s just a bit too arrogant to assume we’re capable of doing to ourselves what the earth (with minor twitches) has been doing to species on the brink for millions of years.

William: I get mixed up but 7 or 10 but the bottom line is obvious… that’s why I didnt even bother to Google. Also, the KJV CORRECTLY translates “kai xronos ouketi estai” as “AND TIME SHALL BE NO MORE [shall cease]” rather than NIV “and there shall be no more delay. Straight out of Stephen Hawking. The heavens are rolled up like a scroll (only mentioned one other time in Isaiah) and time itself stops….. TIME-SPACE. Interesting, huh? Oh yeah and MILLIONS OF YEARS… so who cares… that is like forever (duh!)…. our sun will end as a giant dwarf in 8 billion years BUT in only 1/2 million the sun will be so large that life on earth is impossible… BUT WHO CARES because that is so far away… we are a nation who only looks as far as the next quarterly reports…

We only need geniuses like McCain to chant his mantra “our system is perfectly sound ” (er.. self-correcting?)

Alex: A red giant evolves as the hydrogen burns out, and then to a dwarf star William. You’re still looking at a billion years (not 1/2 million) before the atmosphere starts to be burned off. The oceans boil away at 3.5 billion. Much more fun to think about the Sagittarius and Andromeda galaxies smashing into the Milky Way before then.

Or maybe CERN will just produce a stable strangelet. Not with a bang, so to speak.

William: Let me try to dumb it down. Christian nations are destroying the ecosystem and yet are totally in denial that their own scriptures (the last book of the New Testament entitled “Book of Revelation”) predicts exactly what is now happening. All those Bible-believing Christians can’t believe that it is not their God’s will that they live forever in unending prosperity.

Alex: Yes, I suppose there is a sort of disconnect between christian faith and christian practice. Has that ever not been the case? I suppose they had a different idea about how their world would end (poli-centric and not techno-centric), but there have certainly been successful luddite christian cults that contrast with that example (which, perhaps like the Shakers, simply abstained themselves out of existence).

William: If changing topics gives you a wedgie, perhaps you should join a monastery? I don’t think I am very far off topic. A Scandinavian think-tank of scientists spent several years studying global warming and came to the conclusion that it is irreversible and therefore any money spent on trying to reverse it would be a waste (and we would get more bang for the buck putting money into HIV cure/prevention or clean drinking water for certain African nations or some other practical achievable goal.) Those scientists appeared on PBS and shows like Charlie Rose but I don’t think they made it to places like Fox or CNN.

Have you ever heard the expression “we won the battle but we lost the war?”

Excuse me for trespassing on Fantasy Island… please by all means, reverse all those fixable problems and continue on with your “Brave New World.”

My point was PRECISELY that you and many others are in a denial in your own fantasy island, and you think your are on the eve of some wonderful golden age, which YOU see as Brave New World but which is really financial, ecological and social ruin and possibly extinction…

IMHO we are all screwed and things will only grow worse and worse… each of our two “party” system talks like the country would be a better place if the opposing party were ELIMINATED and yet we abhor the one party society that is Communist China… isn’t that a RIOT!?

I agree with what Noam Chomsky suggests, namely, that the Neanderthal existed for 400,000 years with a “government” we call anarchy. Homo sapiens have only been around for 200,000 and I doubt we will be around for another 200,000. In a strange way the Neanderthal were MORE successful since they lived in harmony with nature and had no problems with health insurance…

I feel that when we all go extinct, the universe will be a better place…

I just find it amusing that Americans vote a twit-brain Bonesman like Bush in for two terms, who is basically a war criminal who should stand trial before the Hague, and who tries to usurp more power to the Executive branch than was ever intended by the founding fathers, who prays on camera with pursed lips and squinting eyes like a victim of hemorrhoids, who trots out all his sob stories about how he was an alcoholic but a walk on the beach with Rev. Billy Graham opened his eyes, how the whole nation is worried about things like abortion and same sex marriage when the environment and economy is collapsing.. and we try to fix things with FAITH BASED organizations when clearly Jefferson intended to erect a wall between Church and State… and to top everything off, the frosting on the cake, their precious Bible PREDICTS all this ruination… but they are in denial, and they want to support Israel so that Israel can rebuild the third temple, so that prophecies can be fulfilled so that Jesus can come again…

I have not touched a drop of alcohol or a flake of tobacco in over 2 years and hope I never do… not that there is anything wonderful about becoming much older than I am. I would be delighted and relieved if a doctor told me I had six months to live. Its just the principle of the thing.

But, you know what… if PROHIBITION came up for a vote, I would vote NO… not because I see alcohol as good (it is terribly destructive) but PROHIBITION CREATED far more problems than it solved (ever heard of the Mafia and bootleggers)… and prior to Rowe vs Wade abortion WAS criminalized which only meant that wealthy women went to countries where it is legal while poor women died in back alley abortions…. WE CANNOT LEGISLATE MORALITY…. Switzerland is actually SMARTER than we are… If you are a heroin addict in Bern, you register with the government and report each day and they give you TWO injections of pure heroin (junkies in NYC have to take six, cause it is watered down crap)… BUT now the government is your PUSHER and you have to do what your pusher says SO you have to go to social workers and get a job,… and you know what, IT WORKS…

And right this minute, Kurds are trekking over snow-covered mountains with back pack full of booze to sell to the mullahs in Iran.. and somewhere some mega-media preacher is in some motel paying some prostitute to do something terrifyingly unnatural with tupperware…
So… step right up, and repeat after me, and take JC as your personal savior… and you too will be BORN AGAIN and as Charles Stanley says, you will have THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF SALVATION….

A Polity of Angels

June 28, 2010

I respond, I react, I brainstorm. And do you have some ultimate goal or agenda? Do you know already where all your writing and thoughts will lead?

If the American Right is Bible-based, but they do not understand the inherent weakness of human nature, or the doom which is woven into the fabric of their own optimistic tapestry then they are their own worst enemy.

The endemic defilement in the very fabric of human nature which can never be cleansed is (among other things) greed. Communism is a governmental system for angels (to provide according to one’s abilities and to take only according to one’s needs.) [And by the way, there is only place in the world where pure Communism has been successful for over 1000 years; the monasteries of Mt. Athos.] Even on the first page of Hobbes’s “Leviathan” we read, “If people were angels there would be no need for government.” One must look into the Talmudic notion of “yetzer hara” (our tendency towards wrong doing.) Our human weaknesses CAN be harnessed by competition and greed through capitalism. King Solomon said that if it were not for the “yetzer harah” then no cities would be built; there would be no competition. But perhaps the cataclysmic doom of an Armageddon is build into the dynamics of our system.

I should repost here what I put on Sam Shropshire’s thread today:

If we examine the Book of Revelation it does say that 1/3 of the air, earth and ocean will be destroyed and the sea will turn the color of blood, so perhaps it is part of God’s great plan that all these prophecies come to pass, and who are we to defy the will of God’s holy words? Several times in Scripture we are told that the poor shall always be with us and there shall always be wars and rumors of war until the last times. And yet, we constantly try to eliminate poverty and work towards world peace! Does this make Biblical sense to you?

P.S. I just now remember how Reagan was convinced that his survival of that assassin’s bullet was surely a sign that he would be an instrument of God’s will

Choosing a Companion for Adam in Genesis

June 27, 2010

David, I listened to Kathy Baldocks 2nd video regarding Biblical interpretation and I have an interesting observation to make. It is well known that Genesis contains TWO creation accounts. In the first account, God simply creates Adam and Eve, and not a great deal is said. BUT Chapter 2 verses 18-20 is obviously open to the following interpretation: God initially created Adam and placed him in the garden. But then, God decided that Adam was lonely. SO God created all the animals and presented them one by one to Adam to see WHAT ADAM would name them. By the way, this suggests that language is something arbitrary that humans created and not something divine which was disrupted by the Tower of Babel (nor did Allah DECREE that Arabic would be the language for a certain people and Islam would be their religion.) Back to verses 18-20, we see that NO SUITABLE companion is found for Adam. We are left with the impression that Adam might have been happy with the giraffe or the hippopotamus and that Eve would never have been created.

The Spirit of the Inquisition

June 26, 2010

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,870552-1,00.html

“Even today the spirit of the Inquisition and unfreedom has not died out,” said the Rev. Hans Küng, dean of the Roman Catholic theological faculty at Germany’s Tübingen University, in a lecture on “The Church and Freedom” that he delivered across the U.S. last spring. Such polemics, directed at conservative Italians in the Roman Curia, drew big, interested crowds—3,000 at Boston College, 5,000 in Chicago, 6,000 in San Francisco. The Jesuit-run St.Louis University gave Küng an honorary doctorate of laws, hailing himas “a man of vision.”

Many clerics firmly believe that youthful Theologian Küng’s criticisms denigrate some venerable, valuable institutions of the church, and for them that doctorate was the last straw. On May 25, while Pope John XXIII was dying, Rome’s Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities issued an instruction that would require Catholic universities to get clearance from Rome before awarding honorary degrees. The author of the decree is believed to be Archbishop Dino Staffa, who is the chief assistant to Giuseppe Cardinal Pizzardo, the congregation’s conservative prefect.

Speaking of Stupidities. Explaining the instruction last week, Staffa argued that Catholic universities have recently been giving out too many honorary degrees, often to men who are “not worthy of merit.” Asked if Küng, who is a peritus (theological expert) of the Vatican Council, fell into this category, the archbishop replied that “there are many periti of the council who speak stupidities.” As far as Küng is concerned, “if we give honorary doctorates to him, it would seem that we approve his ideas.” Staffa claimed that the instruction is still under study by the congregation, but many schools have received it (and a few have scornfully pigeonholed it).

Why Staffa has little liking for Küng’s ideas is easy to see. In his new collection of essays and papers called The Council in Action (Sheed & Ward; $4.50), Küng pleads for such reforms as internationalization of the Roman Curia, reduction of its power, greater authority for regional councils of bishops. He speaks of “reactionary doctrinaire tendencies” in certain council fathers, and dismisses the agenda items drawn up for the council by the Curia-dominated preparatory commission as “ill-prepared, partisan schemata.”

Not one of these views is heretical, although some Catholics feel that Küng shows excessive zeal in pointing out the defects of the church. Küng is still listed as one of the council’s theological experts, but there are rumors of an instruction pending in Rome that might restrict his freedom to publish or give public speeches. If so, Küng would join a long list of distinguished Catholic thinkers who have been silenced, at least temporarily, by Curia officials.

The great Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was forbidden to publish his nontechnical works during his lifetime. In recent years, three of France’s finest theologians—Jesuit Henri de Lubac and Dominicans Yves Congar and M. D. Chenu—have been temporarily relieved from teaching posts and forced to submit their writings to the Holy Office for special censorship. Last year Austrian Jesuit Karl Rahner was required to submit all future writings to his superior in Rome for clearance, a restriction since lifted; Father John Courtney Murray of the U.S. was advised not to write any more on his special field of study, church-state relations. “In the Catholic Church of the 20th century,” a U.S. priest dryly explains, “the grace of martyrdom has been given to the intellectual.”

At Odds with Renewal. Such direct measures may have been acceptable in other ages, but many Catholics believe they are out of keeping with the renewal of the church urged by Pope John. In the Jesuit weekly America, Father Robert Graham makes a strong case for a new “civil rights” policy that would include a drastic overhaul of Holy Office procedures. A number of bishops—reportedly including New York’s Francis Cardinal Spellman—have protested the instruction by the Congregation of Seminaries, and Pizzardo has advised papal nuncios and apostolic delegates not to circulate the decree.

The existence of the order suggests that any considerable change in the methods of the Holy See will have to be carried out by the council. Like John XXIII before him, Paul VI seems to have discovered that elevation to the most powerful spiritual office on earth does not automatically give him control of Rome’s vast bureaucracy. “It has been written of my predecessor that he once said, ‘I’m in a bag here,’ ” the Pope told a friend recently. “Well, I’m not in a bag. I’m inside a crusher.”

What is God’s Plan?

June 15, 2010

YOU want ME to TELL you what conclusions to draw? I am rather surprised Sam. A child would sincerely ask what to think of such things. But most who participate in such “threads” are mature, educated adults who draw their own conclusions. Therefore I find “Tell us!” a somewhat disingenuous response. But since you have throw down the gauntlet: I have had fundamentalists tell me that the Earth cannot be more than 6,000 years old. One pastor said that God merely CREATED dinosaur fossils (not dinosaurs but merely the FOSSIL REMAINS) to test the faithful (i.e. those who are truly faithful will not be tricked into believe that the Earth is older than 6,000 years.) If we do accept the findings of archeologists, mathematical physicists, geneticists et al then we must somehow concede that “the way things were” for millions of years MUST somehow be part of God’s plan if there is such a thing as a God and if such a supreme being does have a “plan.” Consider the aboriginals who survived for countless thousands of years in total harmony with the ecosystem. They did not have concerns about health care because the process of natural selection insured that those who survived were robust. Perhaps they only lived 40 or 50 years, but those years were filled with quality, meaning and purpose in a way that we moderns will never understand. If the Neanderthals had speech than were they not “human,” did they not have “souls” and were they not in conformity with “God’s plan.”

Jaroslav Pelikan – The Christian Tradition

June 3, 2010

Jaroslav Pelikan – The Christian Tradition – A History of the Development of Doctrine
Volume I, Pg. 5 – The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600)
ISBN 0-226-65371-4

The relation between believing, teaching, and confessing also implies that both the subject matter and the source material for the history of the development of doctrine will shift, gradually but steadily, as we trace it through the history of the church. This is not intended to say that a doctrine, once formulated, stops developing and becomes fixed; not even the dogma of the Trinity has stood perfectly still since its adoption and clarification. It does mean that having developed from what was believed to what was taught, and perhaps even to what was confessed, a doctrine gradually became part of the authorized deposit of the faith. To trace its further development we shall have to look, increasingly though by no means exclusively, to its professional expositors, the theologians, as they speculated on it both in their philosophy and in their mystagogy, as they studies it and criticized it, as they used it to interpret the very Scriptures on which it was supposedly based, and as they expanded and revised it. In later volumes of this history, therefore, the history of doctrine will move into, but will never quite become, the history of theology. A graphic sign of this shift through the centuries is contained in the evolution of the theologian’s vocation. During the years 100 to 600, most theologians were bishops; from 600 to 1500 in the West, they were monks; since 1500, they have been university professors. Gregory I, who died in 604, was a bishop who had been a monk; Martin Luther, who died in 1546, was a monk who became a university professor. Each of these life styles has left its mark on the job description of the theologian, but also on the way doctrine has continued to develop back and forth between believing, teaching, and confessing.

Paltalk Bible Discussion on Wisdom

April 17, 2010

I gained a new insight yesterday during a long Bible discussion in Paltalk.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p80.htm

Excerpt:

..physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 yeas ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage.

Here is an excerpt of my reply to a Facebook thread on this:

You all miss the whole point of my post I suspect. Someone in Paltalk said they doubted that the RC would accept anything which contradicts Genesis

    AND I POINTED OUT THAT

, on the contrary, the Pope acknowledges that geneticists and physicists have made strong arguments; i.e. the RC his hardly fundamentalist. There are Roman Catholic Old Testament scholars who deconstruct the Old Testament to reveal the existence of various authors in say Genesis based upon style of language and who entertain as a reasonable conjecture such theories as those of Julius Wellhausen (Prolegomena to the History of Israel – 1878) recognizing four sources of authorship; Yahwest (J), Elohist (E), Priestly (P) and Deuteronomist (D).

In particular I am impressed by “Reading The Old Testament – An Introduction” by Lawrence Boadt, C.S.P, Paulist Press ISBN 0-8091-2631-1

Lawrence Boadt, CSP, is an ordained priest in the Paulist Fathers, and professor emeritus of Scripture Studies at the Washington Theological Union. He has written and spoken widely on Old Testament topics, and currently serves as the president and publisher of Paulist Press in Mahwah, NJ.

Even in the 4th century Basil the Great wrote the Hexemeron essay on the six day creation in Genesis and stressed that something like a day could be a metaphor for an eon, since the psalms say that “for God, one day is a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.” The early century Greek theologians were hardly fundamentalists who took each verse at its literal meaning. At least the Ratzinger was willing to tip his hat to the geneticists and entertain the possibility that they may be on to something. People who insist the Earth is 6000 years old are utterly silly.

(end of excerpt)

First, consider that the serpent in the garden was described as the wisest or shrewdest of all the creatures. Next, consider how King Solomon prayed for wisdom and God promised Solomon that he would not only be wiser that all who came before him but also wiser than all who came after him. Now consider that Jesus calls John the Baptist the greatest man born of WOMAN (which is gyne but not parthenos/virgin). Finally, Jesus states that “a wiser than a Solomon is in your midst” (presumably himself).

We may conjecture from all this the following.

1.) Solomon IS the wisest human of all times, but Jesus is WISER being theos-anthropos and not simply anthropos (i.e. God-man).

2.) If John the Baptist is the greatest born of a non-virgin (gyne) therefore John’s greatest consists in something OTHER than wisdom (i.e. wisdom is necessary but not sufficient).

3.) Genesis concedes that a non-human, the serpent, might be more crafty or shrewd that all other creatures, including humans.

The Greeks like to cite a verse from Isaiah “unless you BELIEVE you shall not UNDERSTAND” to stress that FAITH comes first as a gift from God who foreknows how each recipient will use a gift (yet such foreknowledge in no way robs anyone of free will). Maximos the Confessor (circa 6th century) states in the Philokalia that (paraphrased) “Faith comes first as a gift and from faith proceeds understanding but only as much as is necessary to be salvific for a recipient.”

Aquinas takes the opposite position in the Summa, namely, that understanding comes first and faith follows from understanding.

The Sorrowless Grain of Rice

April 11, 2010

From my Facebook correspondence:

I don’t imagine life is a bed of roses for anyone, male, female, straight, gay, religious, atheist, conservative, liberal. A woman once came to Siddhartha Gautama (the historical Buddha) with her problems, so he told her to bring him a grain of rice from a household which has never known a moment of sorrow. She knocked upon many doors far and wide across the kingdom but returned to Siddhartha empty handed but with the new realization that many had sorrows greater than her own.

I met a wonderful young lesbian woman in her 20’s who works as an aid to the elderly in our building. She is comfortable with her sexual orientation. Her biggest problem that I notice is that she goes out drinking a lot on weekends and getting drunk. I have not touched a drop of alcohol or a flake of tobacco in 2 years now and hope I never do. Young people do not realize how subtly destructive such habits are.

It occurred to me just this week that our personal lives as well as the scriptures are meant to be metaphors for subjective interpretation and deconstruction rather than as some fundamentalist explicit equation not open to interpretation. Why would Jesus say SEARCH the scriptures for therein will you find… if there were some explicit unquestionable verses to point us to. We can tell Siddhartha’s unhappy client many things which are tried and true common sense but that wisdom will mean nothing to them until they spend some years knocking upon every door for that elusive grain of rice and realize for themselves, admit to themselves, that it does not exist. Also, the Epistles somewhere speak of bishops who “rightly divide the word.” Surely this means subjective interpretation rather than mechanical and objective application of some quadratic formula. Well, I shall post this now if it is not too long.

Handwriting On the Wall- Weighed & Wanting

April 2, 2010

diogr49: folks were chatting while you read but i let them be free

diogr49: and I noticed a few Amens

dio mio_2: i am nobody

diogr49: well, BUT, you were reading about a Somebody

dio mio_2: they let me pray the office in the different rooms

dio mio_2: yes

diogr49: but it is not good for me to be a Catholic Nazi

diogr49: ha ha

dio mio_2: its a big time right now fir us catholics

dio mio_2: catholic fascist?

diogr49: you know, strict,

diogr49: chastizing others

dio mio_2: i was chatised right of a big room once

diogr49: God moves whom He will and God is sufficient

dio mio_2: it was my loss

dio mio_2: sounds like st theresa of avila

diogr49: the more judgmental people are the more they seek to hide their own uncertainty

diogr49: in the final analysis, there IS no analysis; all is subjective

dio mio_2: but you dont have rules and norms law and order universal teaching where are you?

diogr49: everything stands or falls in the final I-Thou relationship

diogr49: well, the world is filled with laws as it is filled with transgressors

dio mio_2: the i thou relationship i havent hears that expression for many a year

diogr49: one cannot legislate morality

diogr49: it just popped into my head

diogr49: our minds can be conduits if we become quiet

dio mio_2: my father confessor talked of the i thou relationship

diogr49: like wi-fi routers or hot spots

dio mio_2: he was fransiscan

dio mio_2: whats a conduit socrates?

diogr49: Carl Rogers used an interesting technique, of serving as a MIRROR to the other

dio mio_2: please explain

diogr49: well, we cannot know what conducts us

diogr49: from the good treasury of the good heart the good person brings forth good things

dio mio_2: i see

diogr49: but we are judged by every word

diogr49: and presumably every thought

dio mio_2: it all become a bit much fo r us to bear

dio mio_2: scrupulosity is not good

diogr49: for there is only one “knower of the heart” as Prophet Samuel was informed when he was sent to find king David

diogr49: there is among the Greeks economia and akrivia or exactness

diogr49: so by strictness we do one thing, and by economy we tolerate other things

diogr49: things which deviate from strictness

dio mio_2: yes i suppose so

diogr49: so “If you would be PERFECT then go and do these most difficult things and take up your cross”

dio mio_2: i would not be perfect

diogr49: BUT if you would simply gain eternal life, then at least observe THESE things

dio mio_2: i will try

diogr49: ah, but Jesus said those words to one person, so, they must serve some purpose

diogr49: not to all, but to a few at least

dio mio_2: yes diogr

diogr49: one man wanted to follow the disciples but was gently turned away

diogr49: and the Spirit in Acts forbade preaching in a certain region during that season of time

diogr49: the sheep know their masters voice, but as the Greeks say, we are LOGIKA PROBATA (logical sheep) so we must listen and discern.. for faith comes by hearing (listening) and hearing by the Word

diogr49: and we pray that bishops RIGHTLY DIVIDE or interpret the word

dio mio_2: are you copying this from a book?

diogr49: but, we are all vessels of clay

diogr49: no, i speak from my thoughts extemporaneously

dio mio_2: gbu

dio mio_2: but you have so many thoughts

dio mio_2: is not one enough to ponder for a lifetime?

diogr49: if you read “The pilgrim” by an anonymous russian, who says the prayer of the heart, then you notice that the pilgrim internalizes the scriptures until it becomes his nature

diogr49: but you see i am a parrot whose cage has been in some interesting parlors

dio mio_2: ok

diogr49: so, i repeat what i have heard many times

dio mio_2: yes i am nothing but a clever monkey ot parrot myself

diogr49: but, through the alembic of my memory and personality, it is transformed and seems fresh

diogr49: Yeats prefaces all his poems with one line from Augustine

diogr49: Oh thou Beauty most ancient yet most fresh! Far and wide I did seek thee, and all along, Thou was withing

dio mio_2: very good

diogr49: in Euclidian geometry if point A is distance X from point B, then B is equally distance X from point A

diogr49: BUT in spiritual geometry, though we may be distant from the divinity, the divinity yet dwells within us, very near

diogr49: Paul said something like this

dio mio_2: gbu diog

diogr49: the ancient Greek prayer “O Thou who are everywere present and fillest all things COME AND ABIDE with in us”

dio mio_2: thankyu for a wounderful retreat

diogr49: how strange that we beckon that which is every where present to come and dwell within us

diogr49: but, you see, though we journey through many lands far and wide, we call only one place home

dio mio_2: i wish i had had time and no fear so i could have read and thought too

diogr49: so when the two apostles followed Jesus, and he showed them where he dwelled, the were quite amazed

diogr49: but why should they be amazed by a simple bed and table and chair

dio mio_2: i wish i had been to school

diogr49: but when Solomon completed the temple, he said “how can God, whom the universe cannot contain, dwell in this small temple

diogr49: Faith is a gift, given to each of us, as much as is necessary for the individual who has GIFTS DIFFERING… and from faith proceeds understanding, but only as much understanding as is necessary to be salvific

dio mio_2: yes diog

diogr49: but you see, this is not me speaking, but centuries of tradition

diogr49: which i have simply internalized

dio mio_2: it is you speaking

diogr49: birds sing, but it is not their song they sing

diogr49: well, yes, it is words on a screen

diogr49: words are sounds

diogr49: simply sounds

dio mio_2: its effort and heart

dio mio_2: its a will to share

dio mio_2: its self realisation

dio mio_2: actualisation

diogr49: habits can be our best friends or our worst enemies

diogr49: exactly

dio mio_2: its evnegism

dio mio_2: evangelism

diogr49: we choose through our free will

diogr49: nothing may happen without the individuals freewill consent

dio mio_2: one must be able to have a freewill

dio mio_2: that is not always possible

diogr49: Kierkegaard pointed out that it was Abrahams will to choose to empower the voice he heard as Gods voice and not some idle imagining

dio mio_2: maybe he was right

diogr49: Samuel as a youth heard a voice, but only when instructed by that elderly high priest did Samuel understand how to respond to that voice

diogr49: Eli, i forgot the high priests name for a moment

dio mio_2: without knowledge we are nothing

dio mio_2: or at least less tha n it

diogr49: Samuel was consecrated as a prophet before his conception, when Hanna his mother was praying

diogr49: and Samuel was sent to rebuke and reform the wayward sons of Eli

diogr49: and yet, aged Eli, failing in eyesight, was the vessel which preserved the tradition to guide young Prophet Samuel, now to respond to God’s voice

diogr49: so, in that very drama we see the problem and the solution

dio mio_2: whats the time with you there diogr?

diogr49: the problem is our fallen earthen nature, yet we are vessels which transmit the solution to all future ages in the form of tradition

dio mio_2: would you pray the divine office with me?

dio mio_2: evening prayer?

dio mio_2: we could take it in turns

dio mio_2: each reading a psalm or canticle

diogr49: how would i bring up the text

dio mio_2: universalis.com

diogr49: yes i have mic, please give me link to reading

dio mio_2: vespers

diogr49: and instruct me when to read

dio mio_2: http://universalis.com/vespers.htm

diogr49: i was thinking of that verse, 2 or 3

dio mio_2: which was that dio?

diogr49: wherever 2 or 3 are gathered together

dio mio_2: you are something of a thinker which i am not!

diogr49: that is why 3 bishops are ideal to consecrate a new bishop, by akrivia exactness, but 2 are sufficient by economia

dio mio_2: ys that happens

diogr49: among the greeks and russian

dio mio_2: the greek and russian orthodox churches frighten me

dio mio_2: the universal does not

diogr49: what we do not know or understand frightens us

diogr49: we are frightened by the unknown

dio mio_2: yes true

dio mio_2: yes and by our own sin too

diogr49: and when we know all ways then we are at home and at peace with the world

diogr49: the truth is one, but the paths to it are many

dio mio_2: its most terrible to contemplate that our father in heaven saw us think and do our evil

dio mio_2: he was watching us

dio mio_2: that frightens me

diogr49: well, consider what it means to “hunger and thirst after righteousness”

dio mio_2: but e is ever merciful and loving

diogr49: normally we thirst long before we hunger

diogr49: yet, the bread is first, and THEN the wine

diogr49: only when flesh is pierced does blood flow

diogr49: and throughout the old and new testament, the phrase hunger and thirst appears NINE times

dio mio_2: ok

diogr49: but nine is a unique number, 2 times 9 is 18 but 8 plus 1 is nine

diogr49: 3 times 9 is 27 but seven plus 2 = 9

diogr49: so, 9 is like God… it mingles through the universe yet remains unchanged, untainted

dio mio_2: ok

diogr49: 9 is like God become man so that, as 4th cent. Athanasius said, man might become as God

diogr49: which is the divinization of mankind

diogr49: which is a Greek theme of the Christians of the first several centuries

diogr49: i was in a russian monastery and then a greek monastery in the 1970s

billy_b0777: dedication

diogr49: i was a novice for 13 months in the greek athonite monastery in brookline mass.

diogr49: nice

diogr49: may I have the link to Chrysostom’s homily, please

Reading From the Catecheses by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
The power of Christ’s blood
If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish,” commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors.” If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.
If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.
“There flowed from his side water and blood.” Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolised baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit,” and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.
Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.
(end of homily)

diogr49: i just now realized

diogr49: Adam slept during creation of Eve

diogr49: Abraham was in trance before God came with vision

diogr49: and the apostles slept in Gethsemane while Christ worked part of the salvation

diogr49: so, three sleepings

dio mio_2: http://universalis.com/readings.htm

diogr49: and three marriages

diogr49: marriage of male and female

diogr49: marriage of God and chosen people

diogr49: Marriage of Christ and Church

dio mio_2: wow diogr

diogr49: interesting

dio mio_2: you are very thoughtful

dio mio_2: very good

Alert: fitzy5729 reddotted by: diogr49

diogr49: i suspect bad intentions

diogr49: in that fellow

diogr49: he wants to bait us

dio mio_2: we are all sinners

diogr49: and Paul says not to fall to vain disputation

dio mio_2: i am the worst here

diogr49: if he has internet, he can easily seek meanings

billy_b0777: well dont take bite

diogr49: so, he lies,

dio mio_2: good billy!

diogr49: i knows perfectly well how HE wants to understand it

billy_b0777: yep

dio mio_2: hi billy

diogr49: i might be a fool but i aint born yesterday

billy_b0777: now that is funny

dio mio_2: i continually get it all wrong

diogr49: the russians always have “fools for Christ” but this is rare among greeks

billy_b0777: who ???

diogr49: a fool for Christ is someone who crucifies themselves with foolishness for Christs sake

billy_b0777: please

diogr49: whenever one visits Russian monasteries, one will often see someone who is child like and cared for by monastery

diogr49: seemingly devoid of adult reason

diogr49: if you google on RUSSIAN “FOOL FOR CHRIST” you will find much

diogr49: i am sure

dio mio_2: i am staying with Rome and the west DIO

dio mio_2: gbu

diogr49: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foolishness_for_Christ

billy_b0777: good

diogr49: i have spent my life studying all world religions

dio mio_2: i have wasted my life

diogr49: but, even in waste, we spend

diogr49: we expend

dio mio_2: i am a beggar for gods help and mercy

dio mio_2: thats all i am really

dio mio_2: i am not much good to anyone

billy_b0777: good thing to me

diogr49: there is a story about a man in a flood, who climbed upon the roof and prayed for God’s help

diogr49: a boat came by, and offered him help but he said “i will wait for God”

diogr49: then a helicopter came, and offered him help, and he said I will wait for God

dio mio_2: yes thats a good story

diogr49: he finally died and came to heaven, and saw God and said, Why didnt you help me

diogr49: God said “I sent you a boat and a helicopter”

dio mio_2: poor me!

diogr49: we must be able to discern the help

diogr49: we may lead a horse to water but cannot force the horse to drink

dio mio_2: yes diogr

diogr49: Rumi said “seek THIRST for without thirst, water is of no value”

diogr49: so, i can say to you SEEK THIRST, but you must decide for yourself what is pure water, and what is muddy water

dio mio_2: diogr has been saying some great things

diogr49: pure water is never drawn from a broken cistern

diogr49: or well

diogr49: the early Greek bishops called a misguided pastor a broken cistern

diogr49: consider the 5 wise virgins and the 5 foolish

diogr49: they were ALL VIRGINS, all pure… purity is necessary but not sufficient

dio mio_2: we all live with that today

diogr49: the foolish lacked OIL, which in Greek is a pun on charity, works

catfishjim2000: were in the book that tell you diogr?

diogr49: oh, the Greeks have spoken of all this for centuries

catfishjim2000: as l have not come across it

dio mio_2: amazing diogr

catfishjim2000: have not

diogr49: in the Greek monasteries, these are old logs to the lumberjacks

dio mio_2: james diogr has lived in monesteries

diogr49: well, you might read the Philokalia

diogr49: the philokalia was composed by 70 authors from 3rd century to 11th century

catfishjim2000: l be too monesteries

diogr49: but the bulk is written by Maximos the Confessor

catfishjim2000: for a day

dio mio_2: i visited too james

diogr49: aha, but orthodox monasteries are a different world

dio mio_2: benedictine

dio mio_2: how so diogr?

catfishjim2000: its was very cold up there

diogr49: well, you must read the philokalia to begin to understand

catfishjim2000: l went in the december

diogr49: just as Protestants refuse to read the Apocrypha, and then complain that they do not understand

dio mio_2: i cant read with respect to you diogr

diogr49: Isaiah said “unless you believe, you shall not understand”

dio mio_2: i dont refuse its a matter of physcology problems

diogr49: i guarantee you that Chrysostom would drink from the well of the Philokalia

dio mio_2: i believe you

diogr49: and the monastics over the centuries drank from the well of Chrysostome

diogr49: i do not offer you poison

diogr49: but only you can take the medicine

diogr49: i would suggest to anyone that they acquire Jaroslav Pelikan’s 5 volume paperback history of development of Christian Doctrine

diogr49: he was a Yale Sterling professor of History

diogr49: he is quite readable for the layperson, and quite unbiased

diogr49: i mean, no hidden agendas

dio mio_2: i am staying with our bishop diogr lol

dio mio_2: i am a simple fool

catfishjim2000: well we be to church today

diogr49: i guarantee you that Pope Benedict has read all such things

diogr49: as well as Hans Kung

diogr49: but the choice will always be yours

dio mio_2: i dont want to get confused its all far too much for my tiny mind to imagine

catfishjim2000: ok

dio mio_2: i am in WALES

diogr49: my wife now gives me chores to do

diogr49: i will stay logged in

dio mio_2: diogr are you eastern orthodox

diogr49: i was Greek Orthodox for 20 years, and afraid of Catholicism, i looked at Hans Kungs books like vampire sees a cross

diogr49: you are a good man, and good men are hard to find

diogr49: maraming salamat po

dio mio_2: diogr49 do you go to a church now?

diogr49: as Gen Douglas McArthur said “I shall return”

diogr49: i thought i was just in church with you, n’est pas?

diogr49: you and i are the church for a moment, no?

dio mio_2: diogr stop avoiding my question

diogr49: if the church is not you and i just now,… then where is it

diogr49: pride is a great enemy

dio mio_2: you are being devious

diogr49: and now, again, fear

dio mio_2: i am disapointed

diogr49: you desire disappointment… and we find what we seek

dio mio_2: its been great being with you diogr

dio mio_2: gbu

diogr49: the saint can see saintliness even in the worst sinner, but a sinner sees sinfulness even in the holiest of saints

dio mio_2: i am not looking for either in you

diogr49: you are trying to convince yourself

dio mio_2: i was only wondering if you were roman catholic

diogr49: because you are uncertain and afraid, that is my conjecture

dio mio_2: i am bt not concerning you

diogr49: but only you can know what is in your own heart, and it is not for me to inquire or understand

dio mio_2: ok

dio mio_2: lol

diogr49: you are so close, yet so far

dio mio_2: ok

diogr49: one never sees a smiling icon

dio mio_2: nice to meet you

dio mio_2:

dio mio_2: catfish why are you going to work in hpspital

diogr49: i speak of spiritual distance, not geometric

diogr49: the famous “handwriting on the wall” (mene mene shekel uparsin) “you have been weighed and found wanting”

dio mio_2: you are very knowledgeable and respectable diogr49

diogr49: but no one could understand until Daniel interpreted

diogr49: if i remember

diogr49: the handwriting was metaphorical, not literal

diogr49: Chrysostom was metaphorical, but modern denominations are literal

dio mio_2: mene mene shekel uparsin

diogr49: Bible based… but the first epistle was only written in 55ad, and the Gospels were not completed until 100ad

diogr49: so, where was the Bible based church for 30 years

diogr49: few people consider that

dio mio_2: in the memory

diogr49: tradition produces scripture, scripture does not produce tradition