Oh Mark [William Wallis] Driscoll.
The telos of the Christian life is your continual transfiguration into the likeness of Christ, not your comfort.
I hope I didn’t come across as condescending. Just needed to write my thoughts out while I was sitting through that. Love that community dearly, though.
Pulling out all the big guns:
1 Pet. 2:24
"The bible said it. You can disagree with it, but God wrote it."
Le sighhhhhh :(
I’m sitting in the middle of a service at my old ‘non-denominational’ home church [very charismatic/Bethel-esque] and the preacher is giving a sermon that it is ALWAYS the will of God to heal [in the vein of Kenneth Hagan etc] and I have a lot of problems with it. I don’t believe it is always the will of God to physically heal us. It’s interesting to see the eisegetical gymnastics happening though. You best be sure Isa. 53 and 1 Pet. 2:24 will be touched on. Le sigh.
"Like most Western academics, I associated the representatives of institutionalized religion, if not with narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and corruption, then at least with irrelevance. Until my recent encounter with a few extraordinary Christian monks and hermits, I had met no living ‘man of the cloth’ who had inspired me spiritually or intellectually. In my view the clerical hierarchy seemed, with a few exceptions, boring and intellectually inadequate. Organized religion, I believed, had little to offer today to the restless yet serious and intelligent seeker of inner knowledge. At that time I couldn’t have agreed more with a leading biblical scholar who lamented that ‘Christianity as we have known it in the West is anemic and wasting away.’
Once I freed my mind from the shackles of agnosticism and scientific materialism, I assumed that in order to seriously engage in a spiritual, contemplative practice for personal transformation and inner experience, one had to take up methods of meditation such as those practiced by the lay mystics that I had studied or the yogis of India, preferably under the guidance of a master. More romantically, one perhaps had to journey to the exotic East and sit at the feet of self-realized gurus who dispensed their wisdom from Himalayan mountaintops.
My change of heart about organized religion came with an invitation to go on a pilgrimage. My friend Antonis, a Cypriot businessman interested in Christian spirituality, challenged me to join him in the spring of 1991 on a journey to Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain, a thirty-mile-long by ten-mile-wide inaccessible peninsula in northern Greece, to meet ‘living saints that radiate the love of Christ.’ Their prayers, he claimed, cause miracles to happen and their auras are like shining suns. Intrigued, I took up his invitation, and my life and work turned around once again when on that very first visit I met Father Maximos. During the years to come, this extraordinary and charismatic Athonite monk became my mentor, teacher, and key informant of Christian spirituality as it was preserved on the Mountain of Silence.”
After agnosticism, after transcendental meditation, and after the philosophical breakthroughs from my long association with the lay mystics and healers of Cyprus, I was ready for an adventure within the mystical, experiential tradition of organized Christianity that survived in a few ancient monasteries unknown to the West and to mainstream Christianity. There on Mount Athos, reserved since the ninth century as a refuge for hermits and monks, I came in contact with a different Christianity. As Antonis promised me, and with the help of Father Maximos, I was able to meet with hermits considered to be saints who lived in remote parts of the peninsula inaccessible and unknown to the casual visitor. They seemed to me indeed like Christian yogis, the type that Westerners seek in the ashrams of India. I realized then that the spirituality I encountered on Mount Athos with its millennial history had all the hallmarks, and perhaps more, of what we were searching for in the Vedas and Upanishads of India. ”Mount Athos,” I mused to Antonis as we sailed away from that first visit, “is like a Christian equivalent of Tibet.”
..The Athonite tradition that I came in contact with, in spite of its archaic cultural context, filled a gap in my quest. It was not just the abundant feeling of agape, the unselfish, altruistic love permeating the entire cosmos of the Holy Mountain that was so disarming to the pilgrim, but also the power of its artistic expression that touches the visitor on a profound level, at the heart. The chanting of spiritual poetry in Byzantine Greek during long services was an ongoing emotional high which led me to realize the power of art and music in the human adventure to find God. The chanting was a form of prayer meditation which catapulted me into deep moods of peace and tranquility that I had not felt with any other form of meditation.
Mount Athos, however, was not just an emotional and spiritual high. It was also an intellectual challenge. Emily’s and Mike’s engaging conversations and input helped me clarify in my mind this aspect of my work and raise questions that would occupy my mind for the months and years to come. What are the basic characteristics of Athonite spirituality as it was preserved and shaped over the centuries in those ancient monasteries and hermitages? Why have Western scholars virtually ignored this experiential form of mystical Christianity at a time when numerous Westerners have turned their gaze towards Hinduism and Buddhism? What does Mount Athos have to offer to the Western world today that is not available within the mainstream churches?”
-Kyriacos C. Markides, The Mountain of Silence [p. 4-7]
Followers! My power song has been posted now! I am unstoppable!
No joke. I know every word to this song.
(Source: xoa-aox / tightestbutthole)
At least 200 heads of corn, 3 bags of apples, over 100 bags of mushrooms, lots of cucumbers and a few packages of blueberries and strawberries in tonight’s dive.