Maybe not every post will make the cut. Good heavens I’m a whiny bastard sometimes.

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Switching Blogs

Heads up: I’m gonna import all my stuff from this blog to my new blog:

Nothing over there yet mind you.

Blessings, Corey

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The Mind as Me

Just a reminder, in good part to myself, that your mind, your thoughts, are not you. Our minds will often try and convince us otherwise, but there you are.

I highly recommend the following video if you have the time:

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On Miracles

This is really a rather minor point among the reasons why I’m turning Orthodox, but its interesting to me as one just discovering the faith. Anyhoo: miracles.

In a characteristically unselfconcious (I’m certain I’ve heard that word used and yet the red squiggly line disagrees…) fashion Orthodoxy has what I take to be the most astonishingly sensible attitude regarding miracles. Essentially it boils down to this, so far as I can tell: We’re the church. Of course miracles are going to happen, and that’s really nothing to get too worked up over. Which isn’t to say that a certain kind of excitement doesn’t crop up when an icon starts weeping or whatnot, but that excitement is from within a tradition where its not unheard of for saints, having acquired miraculous gifts, to proceed to hide them from everybody.

You get accounts of saints levitating, seeing through mountains, turning into flame, seeing into the future, etc. And while they use these gifts for the edification of the church there is an overall lack of surprise that these things should occur, and an undue emphasis is not placed on them.  There’s praising when it happens to be sure, but on the whole these things appear to be taken, relatively, in stride.  On the one hand I judge this to be better than the traditions which expect miracles to not occur, or denies that they do, and on the other hand I find this preferable to the kind of frenzied demand for the miraculous that one finds in some charismatic churches.  And really: that miracles manifest themselves among the spiritually mature isn’t terribly surprising when one considers all things fairly. After all, the relatively minor miracle of levitation or clairvoyance pales in comparison to the much more extraordinary miracle of a human loving without judging.

I leave you with this, a little jewel from the Desert Fathers:

-Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all flame.-

note: I swear the first few times I came across this it was Abba Moses and not Abba Joseph, but perhaps my memory fails me

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More Specifically, Belgrade Beckons

As was pointed out, since I attend a Serbian Orthodox church it makes more sense for Belgrade to beckon me, being the home of the Serbian Patriarch. Anyway, more on why I am becoming an Orthodox Christian. Again, none of these stands alone as the reason.

An important aspect of my decision is the connection of the Orthodox Church to the historical church. Whatever it was the earliest Christians believed it may be safely assumed to be the faith immediately passed on to them by the Apostles, and I believe the Orthodox Church is the church of the early Christians. The difficulty with maintaining that Protestantism is the true faith is that one is forced to maintain that the true faith essentially vanished shortly after Christ’s Ascension and then reappeared with Martin Luther. As early as 311 AD the Virgin Mary was described as “ever-virgin”, the organization of the church (bishops, priests, etc.) was in place by at least 67 AD, and, baptism for the remission of sins-not as a merely symbolic act- was in place by 381 AD, and so on. I should mention that these are merely documented mentions that I am aware of, and I believe that their acceptance by the church was in place much much earlier.

If the Protestant understanding of Christianity is true, then there were essentially no Christians from, at the very latest 400 AD (the Nicene Creed had been formed and the Three Holy Hierarchs had finished their writings, although I suppose John Chrysostom could have written something in his remaining seven years. Close enough. The beliefs espoused by the mentioned documents were, I believe, already widely accepted beforehand, but 400 AD makes for a convenient benchmark) all the way to about 1517 AD (the day Luther posted his 95 theses). And indeed some denominations have held that the church in fact did cease for a time. I find this, at best, extremely questionable.

Even if one wants to push my 400 AD date up you will still have to put it back far enough that the church will be nonexistent for a good length of time. The only way to get around this would be to postulate that Protestants were hanging out in secret churches for hundreds of years with nobody knowing about it, and I can’t think of anybody that maintains that view.

To be fair to all readers, I grant that the above is merely an argument for Orthodoxy over  Protestantism, not for Orthodoxy above Roman Catholicism. That, I admit, would require a theological and historical knowledge base that I simply do not have. I should also mention that certain Protestant groups maintain a baptism for the remission of sins and have a church hierarchy at least vaguely like Orthodoxy, so the aforementioned topics wouldn’t concern them. However, the theological views of the Three Holy Hierarchs would concern them, and as those views were accepted church theology fairly early on, the issue stands. Interestingly though, Protestant believers with a high church theology and strong sacramental tendencies make up a pretty high percentage of Orthodox converts. There are tales of whole Anglican churches up and converting to Orthodoxy all at once, although I can’t back those up with documentation.

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Today we celebrate the Resurrection! Christ is Risen!

Not much to say, and of what can be said I am qualified to say little of it.

Christ has trampled death and sin.

Today’s a party! Feast time everybody! If you know any Orthodox Christians expect them to be stuffing themselves silly today, and probably throughout the week.

Christ has devastated Hades and has risen up triumphantly!

(the Risen Christ is pulling Adam and Eve, representing the human race, out of the grave. The doors of Hades are broken underneath Him, and there, at the bottom of the icon, lies death bound hand and foot.)

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New Title

That’s right, changed the title. Last one sounded too pretentious (as if the new one doesn’t). Beard-do has a nice ring to it. I should write a book about how to live according to the way of the Beard, or at least someone should.



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