November 18, 2017

Open Mic: January 6, 2016

magi

A blessed Epiphany to you, and welcome to the first Open Mic of 2016.

For any who might be new to Internet Monk, several times throughout the year, we throw the doors open and invite any and all to come and participate in conversation on topics of their choosing. We always hope that new readers and those who haven’t commented before will join us in these non-directed discussions.

It is not a complete free-for-all, however. We follow some basic rules, which are stated and re-stated in various ways with each Open Mic post.

Here are a few of those fundamental rules for Internet Monk commenting, especially on open thread days —

  • Know that you are welcome here. You don’t have to agree.
  • Be respectful of others.
  • Be concise and clear in your comments.
  • When in a conversation, stay on topic and don’t resort to silly stuff like name-calling.
  • Don’t dominate the discussion.
  • Please listen.
  • No questioning of another’s salvation allowed. No dissing other traditions.
  • All good things must come to an end. Pay attention to when the horse gets dead, and stop beating it.

With these simple parameters in place, the floor is yours today.

Enjoy God’s gift of conversation…and each other.

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hey y’all! Just wanted to post here a greeting!

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    My prediction for the Vikings-Seahawks game this Sunday in Minnesota…and the winner is…

    The Siberian Express!

    (check the weather forecast for the game!)

  3. Without getting into the political side of this debate, can anyone recommend some theologically sound, Christ centered resources on Christians and their relationship with guns? It seems that all I ever hear are the extremes of the argument (own all the guns you can/don’t own a single one). I feel certain that the truth is somewhere else.

    • Dan from Georgia says:

      Wade Burleson wrote a blog post that seems to be down the aisle of what you may be looking for. Note that his conclusion is, I think, pro-gun ownership, but he doesn’t resort to hyperbole and name-calling those he disagrees with:

      http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/12/a-biblical-response-to-its-not.html

      There are other web articles around that are more in line with the Pacifist line of thinking. You are right though, that it is very hard to sort through all the muck and hysteria in some (most?) of these articles.

      • I just read in the paper this morning that 2015 saw a large spike in firearms purchases but not so large a spike in first-time buyers. Gun hoarding?

        On a related subject, I have been visiting my daughter and son-in-law in North Carolina for the past week. He is a sergeant in the Marines so he took me to a gun range to get the experience of firing a weapon. I am not a gun enthusiast, I am agnostic on the subject of gun ownership and not so agnostic on the current gun control meme that is current in the media, but I DID enjoy the experience. Although I have no desire to purchase a firearm the experience DID strengthen my respect for those who train for, and professionally, use firearms.

        If someone says that they are afraid of guns, I would suggest taking a course on gun use and then going to a range a let the professionals there inform you about the subject. You can STILL be “anti-gun” but I can guarantee that you will, at least, have a new found respect instead of fear of guns.

        I think the whole subject of Christians and guns will run along the same lines as Christians and serving in the military, or Christians and support for war. It is a complicated subject that is, too often, marred by slogans, memes and accusations.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          If someone says that they are afraid of guns, I would suggest taking a course on gun use and then going to a range a let the professionals there inform you about the subject. You can STILL be “anti-gun” but I can guarantee that you will, at least, have a new found respect instead of fear of guns.

          And you will learn the safety precautions for such a dangerous piece of equipment.

          If all you know is “Keep Away! Guns are EEEEVIL!” you won’t know how to handle one safely if you DO run into one.

          Thing is, today’s “gun control meme” is just a secular version of Restoring Prayer in Schools or Posting Ten Commandments in Govt Buildings or Homeschooling — Our Righteous Agenda That WILL Solve Everything (and more important Demonstrate MY Moral Superiority over YOU!).

          • HUG is spot on. It’s a rallying point bandwagon. You must be totally opposed in complete opposition to the enemy, no sharing of good ideas. Common sense left a long time ago.

          • It’s interesting that the material result of all this back and forth about gun control is more people buying guns. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that gun makers were paying off the big mouths on both sides of the issue to keep the debate hot, current, and front and center in the national consciousness.
            Fear is driving both sides of the gun control debate, and nothing sells guns better than fear.

        • I only like shooting with former military. I know they have the experience and respect for firearms that most civilians don’t have. I don’t fear guns, only shooters. From seeing people bring decades old uncleaned sidearms to the range, to foreign exchange students coming this close to taking a hammer to a hollow point “just to see what happens”…yeah. But I literally work around people either openly or concealed carrying every day, so I know proper respect can be taught and a safe atmosphere maintained.

          And yeah, gun hoarding, spot on. With the rounds to go with it.

        • Randy Thompson says:

          Thanks, Oscar. Your post expresses my feelings as well.

          My understanding of the gun debate can be expressed in two experiences I’ve had of hearing guns in the distance. My first experience took place in (urban) New Haven, CT. There, at least when we lived there years ago, we often heard gunshots in the distance. From New Haven, we moved to (rural) Sherman, CT, up in the Litchfield Hills.There too we would hear gunshots in the distance.

          My point: Gunshots in the distance meant something very different in an urban setting than they did in a rural setting. In an urban setting, gunshots were something menacing and scary, and rightly so. In a rural settings, gunshots were simply the sound of someone hunting or target shooting, and were nothing to worry about.

          The gun debate, in part, depends on the meaning of gunshots in the distance.

          Of course, arming oneself to “shot back” at the government is an entirely different and disturbing matter.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I do not believe there is a Christian or Christ-Centered position on gun control or ownership.

      I do not own a gun, but I grew up with guns. I have experienced having a gun pointed AT me, with intent.

      I not often ponder WHY *apparently* so many people feel so frightened, and talk as if a gun battle my break out at any moment and THEY need to be able to join in at a moments notice. But still not a Christian question – I think that is a mental health question.

      Where I live now is one of the safest places to live that in all of human history has ever existed. Yet we have loud Open Carry demonstrations. I do not care much about guns … But I worry about those people.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I do not believe there is a Christian or Christ-Centered position on gun control or ownership.

        There’s a LOT of Second Amendment Sunday preachers who will denounce you for that.

        (But unless they’re preaching in crimson speedos and thigh-high hooker boots with a ponytail, Fu Manchu mustache, and Zardoz helmet, you can blow them off.)

      • Even if they were armed with a gun, the great majority of people not extremely well-trained would be ill-prepared to defend themselves against an attacker with a gun intent on taking their life. They would be just as likely to shoot a bystander as the assailant, if they even were able to get their weapon out. It takes nerves and training to stay in control and prevail in a firefight; neither hunting nor target shooting provide the skills necessary.

    • The New Testament has nothing to say about gun ownership for obvious reasons but it does have a lot to say about our relationships with each other. But as much as they like to claim to be set apart American evangelicals are just as much a part of their culture as anyone else. When I listen to the pro-gun side of the debate I have the same reaction I do when I read “just war” theory. All very interesting and creative but it has very little to do with the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the NT. But then very little the church does these days has anything to do with the teachings of Jesus in the NT.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > All very interesting and creative but it has very little to do with the teachings of Jesus

        I never get that far – to if it related to Jesus.

        Both arguments leave me with the question “do these views/positions have any relation to *REALITY*?”.

        • Randy Thompson says:

          I increasingly worry that much if not most theology has little relation to reality.

          • I think even Paul would have issues with how his epistles have been made into religious theology not based in reality.

  4. Star Wars. Does its popularity tell us anything about culture (good or bad), and about storytelling?

    (please try to avoid spoilers for those who may have not seen the new one yet)

    • The most recent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, tells us that our culture likes to get the same story over and over again, with similar villains, similar heroes, and most especially similar, almost identical, Weapons of Mass Destruction, themselves destroyed in similar ways.

      • I agree that parts were similar (and that may have been a good idea since they were trying to get the series back on solid footing), but I think the new characters were, in ways, better than the originals (other than Han, Chewb., and Obi-wan).

        I do think you may be right about the theme of familiarity. What does that mean for our culture that is changing so fast? Will they cling to anything that brings back that sense? What should the church do in light of that?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > that may have been a good idea

          Agree, clearly a bit og strategic writing, IMO.

          > I think the new characters were, in ways, better

          Yes, without a doubt.

          > for our culture that is changing so fast?

          Is it? This seems assumed. Personally I see a lot of stickiness and rigidity in our culture. That is why the rifts are so loud and hot. It may be that ‘our culture’ is not changing, but that it is breaking apart – AND [with emphasis] fracture is not collapse [end emphasis], it just means you get new distinct cultures – confined by legal history to inhabit shared institutions.

          > What should the church do in light of that?

          Churches need to just man up and make choices, IMO. In a rifting culture being for everyone in any meaningful way is a complete fantasy. But that does not mean they need to be antagonistic. Most churches have already chosen even if they do not admit that to themselves – the problem is that if you choose without self-awareness of choosing then antagonism is a natural result. Much of the talk of the Benedict Option vs the Nehemiah Option vs the Jeremiah Option is pastors / theologians trying to create a religio-political vocabulary – which they have not needed for a long time – in order to discuss this choice.

          • Christiane says:

            I don’t think fundamentalist-evangelicals have the needed temperament to apply any Benedictine model successfully to their lives . . . the Benedictine model of community wouldn’t fit appropriately in a strict fundamentalist setting at all. I suppose what attracted fundamentalists to the Rule of St. Benedict was the idea of an ordered community, but the whole premise of that kind of monastic life finds its home in the Catholic tradition, which fundamentalist-evangelicals abhor.

            I’m not sure what the attraction really was there, but maybe it had something to do with authority and control . . . (?) . . . most certainly, I cannot see faith being a reason why fundamentalists would be drawn to the thinking of St. Benedict, no.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            Evangelical BenOp is a fascinating thing – and one might not be wrong to think it is mostly Double Speak. They seem to mean a kind of Separatism [while insisting it is not Separatism].

            Check out the Mere Orthodoxy BLOG – there is a lot of BenOp there. I keep reading it because I am fascinated if this will gel into a coherent idea or dissolve into rhetorical gew. There are some clearly intelligent and articulate people hammering on the BenOp meme; but they haven’t yet gotten down to rubber-meets-the-road how an Evangelical BenOp in-the-world-but-not-of-it community would be established, let alone sustained.

            I was more hopeful a couple months ago, MO came close to really discussing the issues involved. But now they seem to have backed off and started referring to critics as “lazy” for not understanding what they mean by BenOp and that it wasn’t ready yet to provide concrete answers.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > tells us that our culture likes to get the same story over and over again

        Of course, that is what cultures do. The rinse-and-repeat is the beating heart of a culture. The question is what is it pumping, and how is the consistency of that changing [assuming it is].

        How many of the Norse fairy tales I grew up with were the same story over again? A lot, that was how the values of the culture were encoded, reinforced, and passed on.

        • Very true. There really aren’t very many new stories.

          But I think the latest installment of Star Wars lacks creative and imaginative retelling of its story. It in no way matches the initial creativity of the first Star Wars film, and trilogy of films. Better special effects, some interesting characterization and acting (but does anybody in TFA match Harrison Ford in either dramatic or comedic chops?), a strong female hero, but nothing really creative in the retelling. Good entertainment, good nostalgia, that’s it.

      • Despite its flaws, I LOVED the new Star Wars movie. Saw it twice, liked it better the second time as I was less distracted by those flaws and plot holes.

        And I absolutely LOVED the female lead. If that role is cast differently or wrong (case in point: Hayden Christiansen as Anakin), the movie might have wobbled more in my mind.

        I also liked Abrams touch with the characters, plot and dialog.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        “The Force Awakens” is essential the same story as the first Star Wars movie. It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad I saw it, but it really is the same story.

        • Oh, you can tick each plot point off as the movie moves along. Which I did upon first viewing, which distracted me a bit. Upon second viewing, I let all that go and enjoyed the film MUCH more.

        • Oh…but it also included some elements from Empire Strikes Back, which I thought was good of Abrams to do. I think that means the next movie’s storyline will be a bit more original.

        • Randy Thompson says:

          I posted the foregoing hours ago. Since then, I stumbled upon Ross Douthat’s op-ed column from the NY TImes in which makes the same point I did, but a whole lot better and with a lot more depth than I could muster.Here’s a link to the article (I think; I’ve haven’t tried this here before!): http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/21/star-wars-and-decadence/

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Our culture is starved for original content, and doesn’t know, because it’s so filled up on remakes, reboots, sequels, and adaptations. We are comfortable with what is predictable, which means that it gets harder for artists with original content to get noticed.

      That being stated, I saw The Force Awakens twice. No judgments, please.

      • Dan from Georgia says:

        I have yet to see it. No spoilers please! And no judgement here. I am a Star Wars fan.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I remember an editorial years ago describing “this years summer blockbusters” as “a sequel of a sequel of a sequel of a reboot of a sequel of a sequel of a sequel of a sequel of a comic book”.

        • True- but keep in mind that sometimes the sequels are better than the original.

        • Don’t forget the movies based on video games and Disneyland attractions…

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And the big-budget, live-action feature films remaking 40-year-old Saturday Morning TV cartoons. A Hollywood High Concept Fad I have NEVER understood. Not when I could grab better original material at random from my bookshelves.

          • Randy Thompson says:

            I’m personally waiting for a Disney movie based on the Dumbo ride. . . maybe

            “Dumbo Versus Mothra.” Or,
            “Star Trek: The Wrath of Dumbo.” Or,
            “The Dumbo Supremacy.” Or,
            “50 Shades of Dumbo.” Or,
            “Star Wars: Dumbo Awakens.”

            Any other suggestions?

          • “Fast and Furious Dumbo”
            “Dumbo’s Hunger Games”
            “Harry Potter and the Feeding Trough of Dumbo”

          • “Dumbo Wars: The Heffalumps Strike Back”

      • But are people wanting the sequels? Is there a sense of returning to that comfortable place in a world that is rapidly changing?

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          I think people respond to what is marketed well. Everything else is probable, but I wouldn’t make the assumption myself.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > But are people wanting the sequels?

          Looking at the demonstrable reality of ticket sales: Yes. People do want quality sequels, and do not want crappy ones.

          • Agreed. I put out a Facebook post about a year ago that asked, “Which sequels were equal to if not better than the originals?”

            Here’s my list:

            Aliens
            Toy Story 3
            Fast Five, Furious 7. (I remember going into Fast Five grudgingly, was TOTALLY drawn into it. Six was okay, but loved 7.)
            Mission Impossibles 4 and 5. (Like Fast Five, went into Ghost Protocol with NO expectations, found it – and Rogue Nation after it – to be totally enjoyable.)

            There are more, but those stood out to me as actually improving upon the originals.

          • I agree w/ you on the MI movies.

            Also, Star Trek 2, Star Wars Episode 5, The Dark Knight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, etc…

          • Wrath of Khan, yes! And the whale one! (Star Trek 4)
            Empire Strikes Back, yes!
            Dark Knight – well, it was almost too dark for me, and Batman Begins was great.
            And yes, many of the Marvel ones have had good sequels.

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            “Which sequels were equal to if not better than the originals?”

            Vito and Michael Corleone say “Hello.”

          • I thought of that one, but was not sure if it was not more seen as equal to the 1st one, but not necessarily better than.

          • But equal counts, so GF 1 and 2 are in the mix

          • In my Facebook post, GF 1 and 2 came up, yes.

          • Cedric Klein says:

            Superman 2 (Christopher Reeves)

            The Bride of Frankenstein

      • Twice, planning a third trip at least. Loved it.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Agree, seen it twice. I went the second time with family. The real proof of quality, IMO, is that it is a better movie the second time.

          I am not planning to see it in the theater a third time. But if it happens I won’t mind.

        • As I posted above, I enjoyed it more upon second viewing, hope to see it a third (in the theater).

      • Christiane says:

        the Brits do some great television series . . . they are creative and interesting to watch . . . their crime and detective mysteries are usually of high quality, and sometimes they spin off a really original show . . . their ‘Doc Martin’ is a winner (if you like that sort of thing)

    • It speaks to the perennial appeal of fantasy worlds and stories, which are always a welcome change from the nihilism that pervades so much of our movies and TV currently. The universe of Star Wars is an enchanted place, sort of like Middle Earth, and so speaks to the same longings and griefs.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        As Star Trek did 10-15 years before Star Wars, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic did 30 years after.

        All three debuted at times of maximum cynicism, maximum pessimism, and Am-I-Not-Edgy Trendy Nihilism. Times when “It was all over but the Screaming.”
        * Star Trek three years after the Cuban Missile Crisis
        * Star Wars at the peak of Post-Vietnam Angst
        * MLP:FIM during the start of the Second Great Depression and never-ending wars and Grand Unified Conspiracy Theories.

        • HUG, I’ve been watching through Futurama, and last night I saw the creationist episode. So good.

          That show encourages me while making me laugh.

        • And Narnia and Middle Earth post WWII, written by veterans nonetheless. Which makes these sorts of stories a tad rebellious and subversive in a good way of the times in which they arise.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Star Wars. Does its popularity tell us anything about culture (good or bad), and about storytelling?

      I doubt one movie can tell you much about the state of a mass over-culture.

      BUT, if it say anything, I read it as positive. This is the first fantasy / sci-fi movie is a long time where the main character is not a whinney petulant self-centered brat..

      ASIDE: … and where seasoned experienced people do not choose to put a petulant brat in charge of a billion dollar space craft with a crew of a hundred souls… ugh, the current Star Treck movies…

      The two new protagonists do not whine – AND they do not brag. At least once one of the new main characters denies the opportunity to take credit for saving the other – just says “yeah, that was lucky” and moves on. They meet their circumstances head on. And both display a clear moral compass; no fawning about what to do, or if it involves them – So, that guy stole your friends jacket? Ok. I am going to hit him in the face with a stick.

      It has been quite a long time since I have seen a movie where I would be happy to have friends or be neighbors with someone resembling the protagonists. So I say +1 The Force Awakens. More characters like that please.

      • Good points about the character of the two protagonists. They were well written and portrayed.

        I even liked how Kylo Ren was portrayed/written. His anger management moments were a marvel!

        • MelissatheRagamuffin says:

          I love that scene where he’s busting up the torture room after Rey escapes. The two storm troopers come walking along, one stops the other, and they go back the way they came. I thought that was hilarious.

          • I thought it was hilarious when, in the midst of the driving snow, Hans responded to Chewie’s generic roar: “Oh, you’re cold!”

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        “This is the first fantasy / sci-fi movie is a long time where the main character is not a whinney petulant self-centered brat..”

        Alas, the main villain is. He is obviously destined to succumb to the power of the Light Side, probably in the last act of Episode IX, but we are doomed to much petulant whining along the way.

        • Hmm…I actually liked how he was portrayed in the movie. To me, he actually came across less whiney than Anakin Skywalker; his display of anger was, I thought, well done. In fact, his fits of rage came across as much more uncontrolled, probably truer to a person with the Force who can’t control his emotions, as say Darth Vader might’ve been before he’d gone totally dark.

          • They made a big mistake in having him take off that helmet-mask. It diminishes his villain mystique. On the other hand, they made a big mistake in having him wear the same kind of headgear as his grandfather.

            I bet that Rey becomes enmeshed in the Dark Side, and the dude that’s the bad guy right now ultimately saves her from it. That’s the way I’d move the plot, if it were mine to move.

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            “…he actually came across less whiney than Anakin Skywalker”

            What’s that I see down there, embedded in the ground? Oh, it’s the bar.

    • And one for Darth Vader and his hapless grandson:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9yLDKm_BtQ

  5. Marcus Johnson says:

    Reading about Epiphany, I am learning that the temple was supposed to be the proper place to worship Yahweh, yet the Magi would probably not have been allowed to worship in the Jerusalem temple. I haven’t found anything in the Old Testament that allows for gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in place of animal sacrifices. So, the story of the Magi seems to be a story of the wrong kind of people, going to the wrong place, giving the wrong kind of gifts in worship, presents which were more a product of their culture than right doctrine. And yet, because they were aware that God was in the room, their act was considered an act of worship by the writer of the Gospel of Matthew.

    Thoughts on this? Corrections?

    • Marcus, considering that Joseph and family were soon to be pretty much in the same position and dilemma as Syrian refugees today, it must have been helpful for this family with no resources to suddenly have what probably amounted to tens of thousands of dollars at their disposal. If you’re looking for a moral to the story, perhaps it’s that God doesn’t seem to be prevented from working outside the system. Thank God.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        Interesting take. Me likes.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Have you heard the theory that when the Holy Family had to bug out of Judea, they probably went to Alexandria? Biggest Jewish community outside Judea, and probably plenty of work for a carpenter/contractor. Great place to go to ground if you were a Jew.

    • Typical of the sort of life Jesus ended up living. True and just in every sense yet always seeming to break the rules. There is a lesson in that for us to be sure.

    • The Court of the Gentiles would have bern eadily accesdible to them, actuslly…

    • What use has God for a temple? or a tent? or a mountain? or a starship?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Probably none, but people need all the above; so an association between a god and a people will involve all the above.

        • I’ve been reading a great book by Barbara Brown Taylor called “An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith” in which she shares how she (and we) can find God outside the walls of any church. In other words, wherever you go, you can find Him. Don’t need no stinkin’ building, tent, mountain, etc. etc.

          http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5662443-an-altar-in-the-world

          • Dana Ames says:

            Rick and those above him 🙂

            In the Orthodox Church, the Magi are part of the Christmas cast of characters and are remembered on Christmas Eve and Day. We know they arrived on the scene later. It’s not the temporal sequence of events that is center stage, but rather the faith (trusting loyalty) of the people involved that is highlighted on Christmas. Paradoxes abound – God calling the shepherds (low people on the social totem pole), the Magi (foreigners who worshiped other gods), a nondescript pregnant teenage girl, her guardian who still doesn’t quite know what to make of it all…. At Christmas we sing:

            “Thou wast born secretly in a cave, but heaven spoke through a star and proclaimed Thee to all, O Savior. And it brought to Thee Magi, who worshipped Thee with faith: have mercy on them and on us.”

            Epiphany, or Theophany as we say (“openly God”) is about 2 things:
            1) the baptism of Christ and what that means;
            2) the first-ever self-revelation of God as Trinity at Christ’s baptism.

            “When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest – for the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, calling Thee His Beloved Son, and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world, glory be to Thee!”

            I’ve put this bit of information here at Rick’s comment because it’s germane to what he’s reading. Theophany is the first instance of making-evident of what the Incarnation means for all of creation. God has united himself to it all, blessing it and beginning to draw all things to Christ through the Priesthood of the True Adam (and of humans as they are united to him). The liturgical poetry talks about light a lot. There are echoes in that poetry of what we hear at Pascha. Holy Water is blessed and people take it to their homes; we not only sprinkle it on stuff, we drink it – because it has been blessed to be what water truly is, a source of life and healing. Many priests go to the nearest body of water and bless it, as that water will eventually touch all the ends of the earth, reminding creation of its blessing and sanctification. One congregation in Colorado goes up to the Continental Divide and the priest blesses the snow there. In cold countries, people cut cross-shaped holes in frozen lakes and rivers, the water is blessed, and some people traverse that cold water “through” the cross – down at one end of the cross, up and out of it at the other. In the season between Theophany and the pre-Lenten Sundays, people have their homes blessed by their priest with the holy water. (This is also a social event – invite friends, serve food and drink…)

            Yes, we worship inside buildings, and we make our buildings as beautiful as we can. In the Orthodox Church, all of material creation is able to be God-bearing – otherwise, how could Christ have become incarnate, or give us himself in the Eucharist, or impart the life of the Holy Spirit through anointing, or baptism, or any of the other sacraments (and we don’t stop at 7) if that were not so? Theophany is not about pantheism – it’s the beginning of the fulfillment of the purpose of every part of Creation. (…he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth – Eph 1.10) So of course one can find God outside the walls of the church – he made Creation so. We do believe, all things considered, that it’s safest spiritually to look for God in the Church first (not the building, but the Body of Christ through time), but we don’t put limits on how God reveals himself to anybody.

            I love being in the Orthodox Church because everything has extremely personal and at the same time cosmic significance – and yet one does not have to have a PhD to be able to apprehend the God-charged-ness of all this, nor is it ooey-gooey “mysticism”. We show up, we seek to be open to God and offer ourselves to him however we are able, we bow, we cross ourselves, we receive him into our very bodies with gratitude, and ask him to help us love our neighbor. Simple stuff.

            Forgive the space my enthusiasm takes – even though I am wordy, some of this is still very hard to put into words. I love Theophany – I am so grateful to be in a Church that sees God this way. Happy Feast!

            Dana

  6. What in the hell is going on out in Oregon? Radical Mormons? Armed takeover of federal propetry? Prophetic expectation based on interpretation of the Book of Mormon? The prophet Moroni? Is this another Branch Davidian tragedy in the making?

  7. Unwise and unled
    no angel or star in view
    we look for a light

  8. I wish to go where metachlorians dare not tread.

    The Force Awakens: not a great movie. Very predicable. Thin characters are still a problem. Plot? What plot? Once again, Harrison Ford carried the movie. The one bright side: I’ll admit that it wasn’t horrible, as I was expecting. Why is it getting such high reviews, including a 93% from Rotten Tomatoes? What is standard for great movies these days? Transformers?

  9. I only wish to say Happy New Year to all at IM. This site is the Internet’s longest-standing blessing to me.