Ah, if the veneration of icons scandalize you, I’m sure yesterday’s liturgy was uncomfortable! My experience was such a blessing. I loved how all the senses were engaged during Divine Liturgy. The immersion into the smells and sounds was beautiful. There was a sweet Greek women who came over to me and showed me the correct book to use in broken english to follow along in the liturgy a little easier.
I can’t commit the adequate time right now to respond in full to the distinction between veneration and worship so I would recommend stopping by and asking here. Also, I’m sure Andrew would be glad to share his experience in transitioning from a low-church Protestant tradition to the Orthodox Church in relation to iconography.
Here’s a short video from my friend Lazar Puhalo. At the end he talks briefly about the incarnational statement from iconography.
I highly recommend this brief podcast called Icons and Veneration from Ancient Faith Radio. They have a segment specifically on the veneration of icons as well as the distinction between veneration and worship.
Hope that helps, friend!
I’m watching 12 Years a Slave and this is solidifying why we need Black Liberation Theology.
I really needed to read some Cone.
Pick up “Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings" Selected by Fr. John Dear.
Trust me on this one.
Attending my first Divine Liturgy this morning. I attempted so many times. I remember being in Uganda in January 2013 and seeing an Orthodox Church, and planning on attending and then getting too nervous and not doing it but no more.
Quite nervous and excited. Pray for me if you wouldn’t mind.
antonyofva said: I don’t know if I’d say it is apophatic, because we know and state a lot about life and death, just not in the forms people are used to.
Forgive me, I’m not fully comprehending. Could you expound on it for me? Thanks, bro.
Last week I had a harsh critique of John Piper’s statement [featured below].
"It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die. God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs. So God is God! He rules and governs everything. And everything he does is just and right and good. God owes us nothing”
This sparked quite the controversy on my Facebook wall and a friend who goes to RTS [Reformed Theological Seminary] messaged me and ended the conversation with, “I find peace that God is not to be analyzed but to be glorified.”
Unfortunately, after stating that he said that he was not interested in further dialogue so I honored his request. But I’ve been meditating on it the last few days since that conversation. By ‘withholding analyzing’ he upholds a view of God that assassinates his/her character in order to uphold some pagan view of ‘glory.’
While I applaud my friend’s pertinacity in upholding his tradition and affirm his zeal in his desire to give God the ‘proper glory’, I would like to point out the tradition of the Church in apophatic theology.
Met. Kallistos Ware puts it like this in The Orthodox Way:
All that we affirm concerning God, however correct, falls far short of the living truth. If we say that he is good or just, we must at once add that his goodness or justice are not to be measured by our human standards. If we say that he exists, we must qualify this immediately by adding that he is not one existent object among many, that in his case the word ‘exist’ bears a unique signififance. So the way of affirmation is balanced by the way of negation. As Cardinal Newman puts it, we are continually ‘saying and unsaying to a positive effect.’ Having made an assertion about God, we must pass beyond it: the statement is not untrue, yet neither it nor any other form of words can contain the fullness of the transcendent God.
So it is on a higher level with our use of apophaticism. We deny in order to affirm. We say that something is not in order to say that it is. The way of negation turns out to be the way of super-affirmation. Our laying aside of words and concepts serves as a springboard or trampoline, from which we leap into the divine myster. Apophatic theology, in its true and full meaning, leads not to an absence to be a presence, not to agnosticism but to a union of love. Thus apophatic theology is much more than a purely verbal exercise, whereby we balance positive statements with negations. Its aim is to bring us to a direct meeting with a personal God, who infinitely surpasses everything that we can say of him, whether negative or positive.
By saying that God does not ‘slaughter women and children. And that he/she does not decide when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound.” Is an exercise in apophatic theology, that God looks like Jesus, not like Molech.
"For many, if not for the majority of Orthodox Christians, Lent consists of a limited number of formal, predominantly negative, rules and prescriptions: abstention from certain food, dancing, perhaps movies. Such is the degree of our alienation from the real spirit of the Church that it is almost impossible for us to understand that there is ‘something else’ in Lent—something without which all these prescriptions lose much of their meaning.
Let us stress once more that the purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to ‘soften’ our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden ‘thirst and hunger’ for communion with God.
Great Lent: Journey to Pascha, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Pg. 31
"How does one become humble? The answer, for a Christian, is simple: by contemplating Christ, the divine humility incarnate, the One in whom God has revealed once and for all His glory as humility and His humility as glory.
The lenten season begins then by a request, a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision. It is, therefore, rooted in humility and humility—the divine and beautiful humility—is its fruit and end.”
Great Lent: Journey to Pascha, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Pg. 20