Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let's Cut the Crap

It seems 99 percent of Orthodox blogs are dedicated to defining the higher theological realms of truth or pontificating on the precise rubrics and the shade of rose vestment to be worn. While preparing such a post, Julio Gurrea, says he had a "spiritual gut check" and found himself lacking, not in the faith, but in living it. Returning to his words:

I don’t have problems of the faith. I have a problem with the type of faith I have.

I have the faith of a demon.

He adds:

I’m starting to wish I had never learned words like “hesychasm,” “monologic self-repeating perpetual prayer of the heart,” “energies/essence,” “penal substitution theory of the atonement,” “hermeneutic,” or “ceasaropapism.” In short, I wish I’d never learned a word that I could use as a weapon towards someone else or as a way of making myself feel like my praxis-less Christianity actually means something.

In other words, let's quit talking about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin if we have a disordered soul. Would that all Orthodox internet experts had such humility!

He has good advice for those seeking to get back on the path:

I will, however, offer a tip to others who see the same demonic faith in their hearts and know that it is an aberration.

Here goes: don’t try to just get rid of one sin or “stop doing [blank]” in your efforts to draw closer to God. It doesn’t work. Drawing closer to God is a positive thing, not a matter of not doing something. What is required from you is an active reordering of your life into a God-ward pattern. You may even find yourself having to rearrange your work schedule in order to get home earlier to pray without falling asleep and going to bed at a different time so that you can wake up with enough time left over actually pray. If you keep the...framework of your current life and say, “I’m gonna do all this stuff I currently do minus yelling at my kids...etc.,” trust me, you are going to mess up...Re-order your life. Tell you what, I’ll try to take my own advice starting… now… and maybe we can pray for each other. I know I certainly can’t do it by myself.

A monk once told me the path to repentance is less about fleeing evil that it is pushing out evil with good.

And the good news is, none of us is ever alone in this struggle, Deo gratias!

Update: I see our friend (and an outstanding blogger) Fr. Matthew Thurman had a similar (though more tastefully titled) post about the importance of Confession. Let's all dedicate ourselves to the spiritual life, and curb 'net use if need be if it conflicts with that.


Blogger Fr. Peter said...

I am always amazed at the kind of stuff we find to complain about. I used to be surprised by the comments after liturgy. None of them were about what I had to say, but rather the fact that I wore the wrong color or that the candles need to be replaced. Why do I bother to work on homilies that I think will mean something to people and maybe aid in their salvation? Perhpas vestment color and canldes will help them get into heaven. After all it seems that is all that some Orthodox are interested in.

6:07 AM  
Blogger T.M. Porter said...

So true, so true. I too, fell into the "Orthoblogger mind-set" which led me to restart with a decidedly different approach. I am glad I did.

9:00 AM  

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