The series continues. Last summer, I asked a series of questions, "What has [fill in the blank] tradition gifted the larger Church?" The one rule was the answers had to be edifying, which twitter people are (mostly). You can find the results of this twitter series on my blog or using the hashtag, #GiftingTheChurch (thanks for the idea Pastor Daniel).
It started with a Frederica Mathewes-Green book, Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey Into The Mysteries of Orthodoxy. After reading Scott Cairns' book, Short Trip to the Edge: A Pilgrimage to Prayer, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about the Orthodox branch of Christianity, which I only learned about in my 30s. Studying this branch of Christianity opened up doors to church history, early church fathers, a worldwide understanding of Christianity in general. Basically, it continues to expand my understanding of the Jesus movement, The Way. I'm thankful.
Day Eight - Orthodox
- A way of reading the Bible with more than one layer of meaning in each text, and reading the scriptures through one another and Christ.
- Introduced to Orthodoxy 30 years ago, I see more emphasis on intuitive & visceral awareness of an incarnational presence; whereas my reformed heritage is more a striving for spiritual attainment through cognition.
- the saved are to participate in the divinity of God just as God participated in the humanity of mankind. It's a difficult truth since the serpent twisted it into his lies to Adam & Eve.
- Black hats and beards. ...and some really special theology (apophatic, theosis, etc). I dig the singing, too.
- The embracing of mystery.
For me, a reminder that Church history isn't just the history of Western Europe. -Alexandra
- Synergy *with* the Holy Spirit as vital to salvation, which is theosis (becoming like God), rather than a language of being *used by* God. An Incarnational center that resists degradation (but not mortification) of the body, because God became man & meets us through our senses.
- Specific to Oriental Orthodox, unity in a great diversity of liturgical traditions.
- An experiential bridge between the ancient Christian past and modern existence.
- The entire tradition of the Syriac-Orient, third lung of Christianity.
- The canon of holy scripture.
- Extensive use of typology and paradox in exegesis.
- Also the Biblical canon, weeding out the big early heresies, preserving in our prayers the teachings on the co-eternity and equal glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and of course the right veneration of the Holy Theotokos and the saints.
- The iconographic view of personhood and community.
- We know the names and stories of the people in the Bible like St Photini (the woman at the well).
- Many women saints called Equal to the Apostles, women disciples of the Lord, and other titles recognizing their holiness. There is no sense that holiness is a male prerogative.
- Their conviction that worship is fundamental or symbiotic with doctrine – their notion that the Divine Liturgy is a timeless realm that imitates and participates the eternity of the heavenly throne room.
- Mystery, mysticism, recognition of Scripture as part of the "totality" of God's revelation, historic roots to early Christianity.
- Respecting the holy Otherness of God even as their public worship fosters a closeness to and immersion in the divine Mystery.
- They seem to have preserved the vital connection between culture and the Holy Faith.
- The term "tradition" comes from the Latin traditio, but the Greek term is paradosis and the verb is paradido. It means giving, offering, delivering, performing charity. The Orthodox Church has given all of us this love.
- That there are other theories of the Cross. For most of my years, penal substitutionary atonement was all I knew.
- A pre-middle ages understanding of salvation and Gehenna. I also want to say Christus victor because I had never heard of that concept before I started delving into the orthodox faith.
- Orthodox Holy Week is the highest and best expression of all Christian faith. Even to visit during Holy Week is to enter into joy and to know God’s mercy.
- Great culture and food festivals here. Incense. Churches full of light and scent. (I'd encourage anyone to visit.)
- I like how much Scripture there is in the liturgies. The tempo & melodies sound like people singing in tongues or prophecying in a Pentecostal or Charismatic context. A relic of a different time in the Early Church?
- Deification as a central way of speaking about salvation.
- Bread for everyone Blessed or consecrated.
- An appreciation for the value of time.
- A counter-Enlightenment world view that includes no separation between reason and the mystical.
- The historic creeds of the church: eg. apostles’, Nicene, Chalcedon.
- An understanding of mission work less about conversion, more about perceiving God in the midst of a new people.
- The oneness of heaven and earth -theology of the Saints.
- Prayer & the Monastic movement’s devotion to Christ. Plus a few great early church writings!
Ah yes, including Christ Pantocrator, which is my favorite.
The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God. -Hippolytus (a.d. 170-236)