Monday, December 6, 2010

A Loaded and Impertinent Question

Wherein exactly lies the essential and fundamental difference between half-naked Hindu priests worshipping golden cylinders in their pagan Temples, and so-called Orthodox Christians who don't even want to try giving up physical intimacy during Fasting? – Just asking...

And no, I'm not talking here about human weakness and failure, which I'm sadly all-too-well familiar with, but about the stubbornly obstinate, stiff-necked, and hard-hearted attitude of some Orthodox neophytes, who think that the history of Orthodoxy begins (and probably also ends) with them and their conversion, and not with a crucified celibate Jew, hanging on a rough wooden Cross outside the walls of a God-forsaken city in The Middle of Nowhere, some two thousand years ago, under the teary eyes of His virgin mother and chaste beloved disciple...


godescalc said...

The difference is that the Hindu priests you speak of worship golden phalluses, and non-fasting Christians do not worship golden phalluses. The former are breaking one of the Ten Commandments; the latter aren't. The former are doing something (idolatry) God thought important enough to mention repeatedly through the prophets, generally in connection with coming wrath and woe; the latter aren't, even though there were probably a lot of Israelites who weren't too scrupulous on the issue. If you really think that there's an equivalence between idolatry and failure to keep a fast, you'd also have to describe a lot of Protestants as phallus-worshippers, because a large number of Prods don't make the slightest effort to fast.

Also, given your posts on how ridiculously, excessively brutal Orthodox fasting traditions are, why the surprise? If faced with such a burden it's entirely comprehensible that some people will think "well it's a nice idea, but totally impossible, so why try if I know I'm going to fail?"

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

non-fasting Christians do not worship golden phalluses

True. (We worship our own..)

Luke 18:11  The RC/EO American Convert stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are: pagans, polytheist, idolaters, or even as this Hindu.

a large number of Prods don't make the slightest effort to fast.

True. (But I'm sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [aka, my own Orthodox]). -- Besides, Protestants are saved by faith alone, so THEY don't need it anyway: WE do.

why try if I know I'm going to fail?

Sorry, Jesus, I didn't recognize You. (You a prophet now?)

Matthew 19:25  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Mark 10:26  And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27  And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Luke 18:26  And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27  And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

godescalc said...

I wasn't playing the prophet - sometimes you just come across things you know you can't cope with; it's a matter of knowing your limits, or at least, having a fairly good idea of them. And perfect knowledge of the future is irrelevant; the issue is whether a certain challenge is so daunting it just becomes easier not to worry about it. This is a matter not of worshipping the phallus, but of not fully seeing the goodness and propriety of fasting, and/or needing encouragement and an increase of faith. (Like, for instance, citing the words of Christ about all things being possible with God: far more encouraging than talking about phallus worship...!) Back when I was a Prod, I'm pretty sure I would absolutely not have coped with having a brutal fasting schedule dumped on me before I really saw the point of fasting; it would have discouraged me greatly and distracted me with (comparative) irrelevancies. (Yeah, I'm acting the prophet again...)

"True. (But I'm sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [aka, my own Orthodox])." who's talking like Jesus now? :) Besides, this is slightly contradicting your implied belief that Orthodoxy is actually correct, in which case Prods would be very much lost sheep, seeking to be Christians and a part of the Church but not recognising the Church when she's right in front of their noses.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

sometimes you just come across things you know you can't cope with; it's a matter of knowing your limits, or at least, having a fairly good idea of them

And it is precisely in THOSE difficult moments that faith and hope step in:

Romans 4:18  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

in which case Prods would be very much lost sheep

Well, as Christ Himself said: And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16).

godescalc said...


I don't disagree with what you say; it's just the comparison with phallus worship that seems maybe a trifle excessive. One can easily imagine converts still having Issues to work through, with fasting way down the list of important matters to grapple with or adapt to; still having traces of Protestant or Pagan mindsets which are hindrances; or simply being in a position where they don't approve of slavery to or worship of the passions, but don't yet see how fasting is useful for taming the passions - they'd be horrified at the thought of worshipping a phallus, but don't see the connection with fasting yet. (As a former Protestant, now Catholic, I can relate, a little.)

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

You can't know how much, how strongly, and how powerfully you're under the empire of passions, and how utterly hopeless your actual spiritual state really is, until you start fasting. Saint Paul said that there are people whose God is not Christ, but their own belly, and Saint Clement of Alexandria added that when he said belly, he also meant those that lie bellow the belly.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

the comparison seems maybe a trifle excessive

Not to the conscience it doesn't: and the mind can't be fooled, no matter how hard one tries to (the truth shall set you free); nor does it take pitty on its owner, but mercilessly tortures him until he changes his ways.

There's a certain, very sudden, almost physical sensation one feels piercing one's back-neck, brain, spine, heart, and chest when presented with an obvious and irrefutable logical truth concerning one's conscience: something one just knows it's true the moment one's exposed to it: the proverbial "gut-feeling" -- and it's this that I'm aiming for.

[I know it's 'below the belt', but -that again- that's what 'half' of the Bible is all about: and paying lip-service to the Word of God, given the fact that Christianity is a "Way" of life, is obviously not the purpose of Holy Scripture].

godescalc said...

I know that feeling, though never in conjunction with fasting sufficiently, and never as a result of someone else telling me off; I've felt it a few times in conjunction with what the Latins call "mortal sin", and with certain things I did which I think were right, but was doing from impure motivation (cf. Balaam's rebuke in the book of Joshua). I could probably use a bit more of it, actually, to kick me into shape.

...also, talk of phallus-worship is below the belt in more than one way, I think...

I notice that the subject matter has now made its way to the latest post; seeing as you're so responsive to the concerns of your readership, can I put in a request, at some point, to explicate the Eastern view of the wrath of God? God's always punishing and smiting people throughout the Bible, and the EOx approach that God simply doesn't get angry (as argued by one EOx friend of mine, a Russian convert) seems to require... further explication, as does the idea that wrath is simply how sinners experience the love of God - a nice idea, but seems to leave something out. Jesus certainly got pretty wrathful, and quite happily scared people witless with threatening hellfire (cf. the sheep and the goats). Your take on this were appreciated.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

To quote Obama: "Yes, I can" (answer you both of these questions) -- but I won't.

I can't explain to you what these things mean for the very same reason you can't explain to an under-aged kid what erotic love and/or physical attraction are like either. (And if you try to, it's gonna come out as something so vague and abstract, like from another planet...) -- Look, I'm sorry: I know this probably sounds like a cheap Morpheus immitation, but I really can't.

All that I can tell you right now is that the manner in which I've described lust-worship is painstakingly true and accurate, without any trace or shadow of exaggeration or poetic patent whatsoever. And what that Russian student told you is also 100% accurate (though I bet you a thousand bucks that he has NO idea what he's talking about: he's probably never experienced it either, and neither have you). And it's far simpler and truer to just say: "how the sinner experiences God's [sin-inhibiting, and therefore horridly-asphixiating] presence", rather than `God's love`: though it's also true that His presence even with sinners is the direct outcome or result of His love for sinners: but since they don't love Him back, it's basically like a woman getting raped, or forced into an arranged marriage with a man she either doesn't love, or even outright despises. It's an extremely mind-harrowing experience, hence "wrath", because the presence is unbearable and the soul hates God at least indirectly, hating the "things" that He re-presents and makes present with Him. It's like an everlasting sensation of being choked to death or drowning, yet without actually ceasing to exist.

Unfortunately, no one can be told what God's wrath or phallus-worship is: You have to see it for yourself.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

And now to touch upon far more terrestrial and earthy things, like... God killin' people! If those people would've lived, and would have accomplished what history (fortunately) never got the chance of recording, due to God's direct intervention, people would still blame Him for not preventing it: so it's really easy to just sit on the side-line and make all sorts of observatory remarks, or bring out all sorts of critiques, yet without also proposing something better in return. For four hundred years were the Jews slaves in Egypt, and for four hundred years had these people time to repent, but instead, they've gone from bad to worse, and would've gotten from worse to disaster, if God would not have stepped in and put an end to their evils and misdeeds [think Sodom & Gomorrah here]. And no, there was no ill-feeling coming from God's heart towards these people. Again: Unfortunately, no one can be told how God's heart is: You have to see it for yourself.

godescalc said...

For a refusal to explain, that's not a bad explanation. Thanks!

Although regarding Sodom and Gomorrah, we have it on good authority that if they'd witnessed the things that certain 1st-century Jews did, they would have repented in dust and ashes. Which raises the question of why miracles that could have caused them to repent were not given to them, but instead lavished on a town which took little notice, thus leaving everyone involved to drain the cup of wrath to its very dregs. So it's not as if the only options were "zap them or let them continue being evil".

Now, I don't have a clue how God sees things and presume He has reason for all this, and Christ's words seem to indicate that Sodom and Gomorrah might get some slack cut them on judgement day;,but "God smites people because it's either that or let them continue being evil" isn't a totally satisfactory answer when Christ Himself indicated that some of the recipients of divine smiting could have been induced to repent without incinerating them.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Their evils had to be stopped, one way or the other. But remember that Christ also descended to Hades or Sheol, to preach to the disobedient spirits that were imprisoned there (1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6). And also don't forget the didactic or instructive aspect of their dreadful punishment (2 Peter 2:6).





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