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Archive for June, 2012

I Don’t Go in for Hierarchy

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been reading the first few chapters of Touching Heaven the last few days. There’s something in it that sticks in my craw.

In a word, it’s hierarchy.

So, first, some context: the book is about Orthodox Christianity, written by a guy who grew up Protestant and later (I assume) converted to Orthodoxy, spent some time with some Russian monks. A lot of what he says is good to my ear: the role of mystery, the way the liturgy makes faith tangible, the pitfalls of a faith that exists only in the vacuum of the mind or the pages of books, the startling experience of God in one’s practice. I like that he puts more importance on silently reciting the Jesus prayer while gardening than on the attempt to climb the rungs of church leadership.

The thing I get stuck on is Read more…

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Self-assertion Started It

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

“Genesis… contains two major parts: the primeval history… which tells how human self-assertion brought the world to the brink of destruction; and the history of Israel’s ancestors” (The Oxford Study Bible, page 11).

Human self-assertion.

That is an interesting way to put it – and by far the most non-judgmental way I think I’ve ever heard to frame these first stories. Human self-assertion. To assert oneself isn’t inherently evil or wrong, and yet to do it in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons… the way we’ve been dealing with the environment for the last seventy-five years, and with natural resources since the whole colonial era, comes to mind. Read more…