Comments Posted By Michael Bauman
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I completely agree with you colette. I also agree that it is something we all need to be aware of. The same problem can had has morphed into a juridical legalism here in the U.S and those who are more othodox than the Orthodox.
Fundamentally it is a mindset that stems from the Enlightenment and Protestant influences in our culture that we can’t avoid which make each individual our own pope.
When even the notion of hierarchical authority, tradition and obedience are so anathama it becomes quite difficult for a grounded Orthodox life in community to take root and florish.
It can be done, but it takes a lot of work. The Church is all too often a Church of the mind still in this country.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 18, 2013 @ 12:23 pm
My take on the hatred of and collusion agains Met. Jonah remains the same: He directly challenged the three major power centers in the OCA all at once. In so doing he quickly and irrevocably alienated himself from any possiblity of actually acomplishing anything.
He wanted to de-centralize
He wanted to change the authority of the Metropolitan Council
He wanted to discuss the nature and scope of the autocephaly of the OCA
On top of that he challenged the moral assumptions of many (although did too little, IMO, to effect change there).
Basically, he upset just about everybody in the first 5 minutes in office (hyperbolic overstatement) even those who might have otherwise been initially on his side.
He made the tactical error of giving his enemies reason to unite against him. If he had taken one thing at a time, he might have had at least some success and still be Metropolitan.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 18, 2013 @ 11:17 am
Now we have converted to even newer faiths to create paradise in this, the only world we shall ever know. Democratic capitalism, consumerism, globalism, environmentalism, egalitarianism.
These words from the article ring true to me. We have made both man and nature into things, resources that must be either used or protected upon the whim of the moment and the sense of the sacred is lost.
Only a sacramental, ascetic faith that acknowledges the Incarnation and all of the effects of that singular event has any hope to restore the sacred understanding of man and the rest of creation.
There is something here that speaks to the nature of the priesthood too. Man has a particular office to take on the sins of others and offer them up, even in blood, and receive the absolution and grace that is different than woman.
Women receive the heavenly seed and give it substance and life in a way that men are incapable of. That is why it is such a great tragedy to send women into combat.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 13, 2013 @ 7:55 pm
Um, the Church is one. Those who set themselves apart from that oneness are first schismatics and usually heretical in belief. The trouble with accepting the term ‘denomination’ for the Church is that it gives a moral and spiritual equivalence to all beliefs. The Church is not a denomination. She is the pillar and ground of the truth.
The passive and unconscious use of that term in this instance clearly indicates an abdication of that knowledge and identity. The leaders of the OCA show their accommodation to the worldly idea of a church as simply a human organization of preference by using the word as they do.
Sorry, your wrong on this one.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 16, 2013 @ 8:00 am
Most of the problems with the insurance before Obamacareless will get worse.
The costs will be higher, availability of services less and recourse to remedy problems truncated.
Two groups who will be hit hard on the price front: men over 55 who use tobacco and young males. Both groups are projected to see premiums go up 200 to 400 percent. The smokers premium will not be subsidized as the young males will be to some degree.
Selection of risk has to occur through underwriting, price, or rationing. For all its faults, traditional underwriting has done a better job.
The real problem with costs is: regulation; fraud; and the routine use of other people’s money in the first place. Obamacareless just doubles down on the problems as a solution.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 2, 2013 @ 1:06 pm
Oh, but Ken, you don’t understand: out governemtn is not like other governments. Our government is elected by the people and will always have the best interestes of the citizenry in mind. No need to fear. (sarcasm off).
The question for we Christians is not which ideology to serve and support, but what we are called to do as Christians in the face of oprression (religious or political); violence; economic collapse; and governmental collapse?
Will guns really help to positiviely address large scale disruption and/or oppression?
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 25, 2013 @ 9:52 am
Basil, since my wife’s family owns a winery with over 500 international awards, I think I can get you a great deal on a good bottle of wine. If you are ever in Wichita, Ks come and worship with me at St. George and then we can break bread together. Great idea.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 9, 2013 @ 8:02 pm
Basil, many converts approach the Church initially from a rationalist/idealistic perspective in part because that is the way they’ve been trained by their previous confession and by our culture. If such converts don’t allow themselves to experience the life in the Church, however, they will become unstable and move on to something else because they never really converted. They are looking for something they can understand (and therefore control) rather than for communion/union with Christ.
Those born into the Church have a similar problem: They can approach the Church in their minds without appreciation or gratitude simply doing what has always been done rather than allowing the living grace to transform them and bring them into something deeper. They can endure this way for a lifetime or gradually drift away because they lack inspiration.
My reading of western history and my existential experience prior to coming into the Church was one of bifurcation. The whole person was not considered in approching God. Heart or head. Strict legal adherence to the commands of Scripture or a too easy sentimentality that Jesus takes care of everything or the Magisterium will do it for them.
The Church takes man in our brokeness and, by the grace of God, returns us to wholeness through our participation in prayer, fasting, almsgiving, worship and repentance. It is both rational and experiential; uniquely personal but embedded in community; depends on hierarchy while requireing a deeply personal, intimate committment from each member. As my recent convet wife puts it: “I didn’t join the Orthodox Church, I am becoming Orthodox.”
I mean no triumphalism. Of course there are people witin western confessions that have been lifted up into real communion and the Church is not free from the centrifugal forces of bifurcation, nominalism universalism and legalism to be sure. That is part of our common falleness.
However, IMO, western Christianity has tended to embrace those forces in a manner that the Church has not. Indeed that is the whole point of the debate between Barlam and St. Grregory of Palamas is it not?
The Church does not embrace the false dicotomies that seem to abound in the west as either/or choices rather than as both/and realities. The exception to this is the divide between life and death; virtue and evil which are real dicotomies.
The ultimate expresson of the both/and approach was made plain by our Lord, God and Savior becoming man. That antinomical reality that was articulated at Chalcedon and greatly resisted by many ever since.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 7, 2013 @ 12:39 pm
Your Grace, IMO, the moral lapse Jesus condemns the most is that of the Pharisees who had the keys to the kingdom and neither entered in nor allowed others to enter. In general, hypocrisy, in my reading of the Scripture, is widely and consistently condemned by our Lord above all other sins. But, I could be wrong.
Divorce and remarriage is definately something that should not happen amongst we Christians, but it does and at no less a rate than the surrounding culture. Our hearts are selfish and hard. So, how is it that we can bind with great burdens those who have little or no knowledge of the truth of marriage revealed in the Church, when we ourselves do not practice it?
Shoot, even clergy are allowed to remarry and retain their priesthood and leadership positions. Some are more equal that others, it appears.
I am beginning to think that much of the ‘marriage’ that takes place outside the Church and some even within the Church is not marriage at all but a sham of sin that does not deserve the name of marriage. A legal contract that is all in which even the children of the marriage are considered property of the state when the marriage fails.
When the marriage canons were written there was quite a bit of syncronicity between civil and eccelsial law and practice. However, the ruling elites considered themsevles above both (not much of a change to now).
Now there is little sycronicity between the truth of marriage revealed in the Church and the way it is described legally and practiced outside the Church. To the extent that our own marriages conform more to worldy standards than to the Church’s, we suffer greatly.
What similarity there is between the Church and the world will soon pass into oblivion as such blasphemies as “gay marriage”, “tri-marriages”; “temporary term marriages”, etc, etc. gain increasing legal status and social acceptance. The state is simply codifying people’s passions.
When someone enters into the Church and wishes to conform themselves to Christ in the Church while having partaken of the sinful understanding of marriage taught in the world, it seems to me there ought to be a remedy for them. Or is a bad marriage entered into for the wrong reasons the ‘unforgivable sin’? Is the sin of adultery in marriage to be born equally by both parties even when only one committed it?
Is it better for people to live in sin fornicating and raising bastard children with multiple partners than to marry and attempt to make a go of it despite not having the tools to do so?
What it seems the Church is saying: “Hey be as promiscuous as you wish with as many partners as you can manage and if you repent, we’ll bless your subsequent marriage. However, if you get married and fail too many times because your spouses abandon you or commit adultery or your spouses die, you are out of luck. “No soup for you!!!!”
I have difficulty with that. It seems capricious and a denigration of real marriage in the guise of defending it because when chastity is attempted and violated, that is punished while wild debauchery is rewarded if one tires of it.
We must and should have the standard that Jesus commands and not tolerate any divergence from it. BUT, when people fail (lay people and those outside the Church initially), they ought to have the ability to ‘go boldly before the throne of grace’ under the guidance and correction of their confessor and their bishop and be restored.
However to routinely allow remarriage out of convention and an unwillingness to uphold the standard is a deadly wrong. That brings us back to the beginning of this post of mine.
I hope I have addressed your points. If I have not then I guess I need more specificity from you as to what I have failed to address.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 7, 2013 @ 11:58 am
Your Grace, I was not even thinking of you or anything you said in any of my respones on this point, neither do I advocate going against the condemnation of divorce or being more lenient than we already are within the Church. I don’t know of anyone in the Orthodox Church I would call legalistic in this matter and I agree there are times when we are too lenient so that tolerance is labled as mercy. That is a shame.
All I am saying is that once a divorce occurs, especially in people raised outside the Church there are many oppourtunities for grace. My wife and I are living proof of that. That fact gives me much cause to rejoice in God and savor His graciousness of which I am totally unworthy. It also compells me to testify to His graciousness to one such as I (a stiff-necked and rebellious child). There is nothing in the canons or in episcopal authority which can condem what God has blessed.
Once a divorce has occured, espeically before coming to the Church, what ought to be the Church’s pastoral response? Are we to hold those outside the Church to the same standards as we are to hold ourselves? We do a bad job of teaching what marriage is to folks in the Church. Outside the Church there is a literal wasteland.
Is physical abuse on the same level as adultery, how about attempted murder, or leaving a woman destitue because the ex stole most of the money and other assets while leaving the woman with the children?
All of these are common occurences. When someone comes to the Church who has been subjected to all of this and more, is there not room in our hearts to accept them and bless any subsequent union within the Church (given proper repentance)? Is she to be forever without intimate human companionship because of the betrayal perpetrated upon her? Is she to be locked out of the Ark of Salvation by giving her unnecessary offense? Jurisdictions vary on this point; I suspect that various bishops within jurisdictions vary on this point.
Divorce is always a heart and soul rending event even when one of the spouses is clearly the most offending party. The Church, IMAO, is duty bound to do all that she can to prevent it and bring all appropriate remedies for healing if it is not preventable or occured prior to coming into the Church.
I am sorry that my lack of facility for the language is such that you were able to infer what you apparently did from my posts. Sometimes I feel as if what I read and interpret as English, others do not. Obviously that was the case here. Remember, I am always open to questions concerning my meaning if you are truly interested. Likewise I strive not to give offense to anyone. Forgive me for the offense I inadvertantly casued you. It was completely unintentional.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 5, 2013 @ 2:57 pm
Rationalism is a system of thought that arrogates the capacity of the human mind to,essentially, the level of the divine while minimizing all other human capacities to experience and express real divinity. The un-holy trinity: rationalism, humanism, egalitarianism: “I think, therefore I am”; “Man is the measure of all things”; equality means no differences allowed.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 4, 2013 @ 10:11 pm
Surely, CO, you realize that the office of the Papcy is the primary reason for the schism that divides us in the first place. It is only reasonable for Orthodox to be anti-papists. For us it is an illegtimate assumption of power.
If you really want anti-papist read http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/encyc_1848.aspx
And this was before all the nonesense of Vatican I.
But if you want to continue to treat us as poor little schismatics who are going to hell that’s fine, just try to understand the nature of what divides us.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 3, 2013 @ 5:50 pm
IMO, Met. Jonah was ‘Gaslighted’. If you haven’t seen the movie “Gaslight” with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman it, IMO, throws a lot of light on the current situation in the OCA.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 3, 2013 @ 5:42 pm
CO. I am sure it is not a surprise that the attitudes expressed here by some toward the RCC exist. While the attitudes may be excessive, the reality behind the attitudes is undeniable.
Your own thinly disguised contempt for the Orthodox way does not help.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 2, 2013 @ 9:50 am
Never said the Catholics did. We Orthodox, because of our jurisdtionalism do.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 2, 2013 @ 9:45 am
Carl, yes he does, but mercy primary without in any way sacrificing the teachings of our Lord. Legalism brings death.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 2, 2013 @ 9:25 am
Mercy cannot be contained or constrained. The attempt to do so is legalism.
Rationalism is a fundamental denial of the humanity Jesus assumed and it was introduced as a method in the West.
Our rational faculty is God given but like any of our faculties subject to debasement by our passions. Chief of which is to usurp God.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 2, 2013 @ 9:22 am
Triumphalism is always wrong…and its “we” heretics and unbelievers.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On March 2, 2013 @ 9:10 am
The problem comes when tolerance is mistaken for mercy. Mercy is never wrong, tolerance always is.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 28, 2013 @ 11:21 am
Thank you Saunca. It is my opinion that if we each go deeply enough we find points of agreement.
It does not hurt that it is a description born of acutal experience rather than mere theory and speculation.
It is tough work even with repentance and God’s graciousness but a work well worth the effort.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 27, 2013 @ 1:54 pm
Its a mess. Some don’t accept any marriage that was performed outside the Church, others do.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 27, 2013 @ 11:15 am
Still there is no question that multiple marriages are a problem spiritually, legally and emotionally. It is quite difficult to have a deeply intimate marriage after a divorce or even after the death of a spouse. The other spouse is always there. The more “other spouses’ there are, the more difficult it is. As I said, it is impossible to annul a marriage, even a bad one.
Re-marriage is unquestionably an accomodation to the hardness of our hearts and our inability to forge stong enough bonds with Jesus Christ to obviate the need for intimate human companionship.
As I read recently: Marriage is not a sin so it is not really amenable to repentance. Certainly the sins committed within marriage are fruit for repentance, but not the marriage itself.
The Church recongnizes the saddness inherent in the fact of multiple marriages despite the hope and joy of a new union and the opportunity to write a new icon on top of an older one that has been desecrated.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 27, 2013 @ 11:11 am
Not exactly hoping, but find a true bishop and sticking to him may not be a bad idea.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 26, 2013 @ 10:21 pm
Its not marriage that is the problem. It is the hardness of our hearts. Sometimes hearts can change for the better. Sometimes they just get harder. It is possible for one party to be faithful and the other not.
Many married outside the Church have no real understanding of what marriage is. Many married in the Church don’t care. Is that a marriage problem?
“I will have mercy, not sacrifice.”
It is impossible to annul a marriage. It is also possible for God to bless what seems irregular and give new life to dry bones.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 25, 2013 @ 10:09 pm
The Theater of the Absurd movement eventually wrote itself into nilistic oblivion pretty much ending with Samuel Beckett’s “play” that was 30 seconds of heavy breathing on a dark stage. However, Ionesco’s plays were a bright spot, revealling and displaing for ridicule the banal hypocrisy of modernity and the indicating the destruction that follows. Exit the King was a high point.
For sheer zany fun, his The Bald Soprano, which I preformed in while in college was the best.
I never saw anything attractive in conventional churches, either Protestant of any stripe or Catholic. Growing up, the Orthodox Church in Wichita was notable primarily for one man who, while on the city council, got up from his chair and went up to a fellow councilman and punched him out of his chair. It made the cover of Look Magazine. Later the same man was arrested and put in jail because he was taking high quality beef for the subscription beef franchise he ran, selling it out the back door and replacing it with inferior cuts to the subscribers. Not a really good witness.
As I mentioned to Mr. Stankovich, Freidich Nietzche was an influence on me that pushed we toward Christianity because I wanted to know the truth which he sought and so spectacularly did not find.
I took me about 20 years (or Lord is patient) before I walked into an Orthdox Church. Haven’t left, for one reason: Jesus Christ is in the Church in a way I simply have never seen or experienced anywhere else (and I’ve look a lot of places).
The Church is not only a safe haven in the midst of the nihlist storm of modernity and post-modernity, but it also is the antidote for all the poisons in our beings. The Church is abundant life in the midst of darkness and death.
As a character in another play I was in said: “What is deep, I will have deeply, what is good, I will have well”.
It is, frankly up to each of us to drink as deeply as we are able of the life giving waters and settle for nothing less. It is simple, love, forgive and repent.
To do that requires that we know the depravity from which we are called to flee. It requires that we know Jesus Christ into whose arms we fling ourselves. For me, that often involves entreating the Theotokos to bring me to her son so that my heart and mind might be transformed to accept His abundance and grace. The same Jesus Christ who was kind enough to introduce Himself to me on a cold hill overlooking Rockford, Illinois one January night in 1968 and whom I did not meet again, really, until I walked into the door of the Orthodox Church in Wichita, KS 18.75 years later.
All too often, it seems, we prefer to wallow and party in worldly excrement. The type of things that Ionesco long ago held up for ridicule and the Scriptures and Patristic Tradition tirelessly warn us against. The kinds of things so evident on this blog and in my own heart all to often.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 19, 2013 @ 5:40 pm
CQ, while not exactly in the words you offer, I do in fact, introduce her and she me in appreciably that way, particularly on the occasions when we go out dancing where the reality might be challenged by the prevailing cultural norm.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 18, 2013 @ 5:13 pm
Father Hans, ever read or seen performed Ionesco’s “Exit the King”? It touches on the matter of intellect and the passions divorced from a matrix of honor and holiness although in a quite oblique and unusal way.
When I first encountered it, I had not even taken baby steps yet toward Christianity. An interesting piece. Ionesco was Romainian raised there before the Soviets took over. This play, at least, was influenced by Orthodox thought and practice.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 18, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Macedonian, never thought you were being malicious just that you didn’t understad where I stood.
It is not enough just to cry barbarism as some do.
I agree with you that every military action since WWII has been un- Constitutional and therefore illegal. The possible exception was Grenada.
That being said, it makes no sense to try and patch up the actions with “rights” language.
Still the problem is inherent in fighting asymmetrical warfare and actually a tactic of those who launch it.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 17, 2013 @ 10:03 pm
Fr. Hans, I’ve read Gilder, but not in awhile. For me, myth and narrative are pretty much the same and real “myth” is grounded in the ineffable experience or apprehension of the divine. Science, the attempt to codify, quantify and rationalize flows from the other two.
Science founded on philosophical naturalism has cut itself off from the source of wonder, order and wisdom it needs to function properly.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 17, 2013 @ 9:46 pm
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Father, I think we are saying pretty much the same thing: creation, in its fullness, is revelation. What you call narrative is what I mean by myth. Good science is not disconnected from myth as the myth is a function of processing the revelation.
These days we pretend that each is a separate and discreet thing.
» Posted By Michael Bauman On February 17, 2013 @ 9:23 pm