Sunday 5/10/15

  1. It’s only a dilemma if you’re looking at it wrong
  2. LCMS to Orthodox conversion
  3. Our “Progressive” future
  4. Euphemisms

1

If I were a better person, my mind might not have raced off to current events when I read Saturday’s devotional:

Now, with the Jewish king Herod Agrippa’s ascension to the throne, those Jews who opposed the Church gained a political ally in their violent campaign against the Jewish Christians.

Saint Luke records this political shift toward violence, which begins with the execution of the Apostle James. “And because he [Herod] saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also” (Acts 12:3). When those with worldly power oppose the will of God, Christians are often made to suffer as a result of those beliefs and choices.

Even in modern times government authorities may turn against the Church … Saint Luke makes it clear that Herod’s goals are political: the king is playing for the favor of his citizens in a nation with a nearly all-Jewish population. The Jewish supporters of Christ compose an unpopular minority, and thus make a useful target.

Government necessarily depends upon control and the power to enforce the law. By pleasing most people through the oppression of the Christians, King Herod aimed to build up his popular support, solidify his power, and keep his newly restored kingdom in the hands of his family ….

The superficial political application, which flitted across my mind briefly, was “Well, then: I guess I need to vote for Republicans who’ll know that their election depended on ‘the Christian vote’ so they’ll not persecute us, as increasingly do the Democrats who know our votes are forfeited already.”

The somewhat less superficial political application followed: “But wait a minute: what ugliness will the Republicans then devise to build up support among ‘the Christian vote’ by irritating or punishing core Democrat constituencies? RFRA is fine, but I’ve seen some really weird GOP initiatives, clumsily worded and poorly defended, to pander to voters who “claim The Name” but seem more interested in power than discipleship.”

In other words, can I vote for my religious freedom, by voting for Republicans, without them trying errantly to please some religious right stereotype by punishing someone else?

Maybe it’s best to finish the devotional:

The God-given goal of the Church, on the other hand, is the redemption of all people who choose Christ … Access to God’s kingdom belongs to everyone on the face of the earth. Furthermore, since God is Ruler of all, the Lord’s will is to be honored (Acts 12:11), no matter what governments have to say. Even we may be asked to resist for the truth some day.

The early Church unites in the face of Herod’s arrests and executions, trusting in “constant prayer” (vs. 12). Although Herod’s attacks are popular with society, the hand of the Lord proves greater, for “He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn, and the Lord shall deride them”

2

[T]he best way to help children grow into faithful Christians is by giving them the food for the journey, the bread for the way: the Holy Eucharist. However, it is not just a novelty that Holy Orthodoxy gives the Eucharist to the baptized of all ages. Rather, it presupposes the very heart of our existence as humans—that it is only in Christ’s body and blood given to us that we are enabled to become fully human again.

In Orthodoxy, God is mercy. God is not an angry judge, nor is he wrathful. Rather, God is a Father, who is always and ever filled with that which he is: mercy. No need for belated commentary on various theories of the atonement, for no single theory accurately conveys the reality. Rather, I should only like to say that you can tell a lot about a church from its liturgy, as I have mentioned already. But, more specifically, for example, the word “mercy” appears 140 times in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

(Joshua Genig, a convert to Orthodoxy from a Missouri Synod Lutheran Pastorate)

3

The Gospels and the Communist Manifesto are on the wane; the world’s future lies in the power of Coca-Cola and pornography.

(Nicolás Gómez Dávila)

4

It is possible to inculcate in the contemporary bourgeois any stupid idea in the name of progress and to sell him any grotesque object in the name of art.

(Nicolás Gómez Dávila)

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.