turned my study of the Orthodox Church into a more general quest for depth in my ownÂ spirituality. As I read and study the history of the church, I feel the need to read more, sort of working my way through a maze – a turn here, a turn there, a dead end here, an outlet there. And oftentimes I find myself at the same place I was earlier. Yes, very much like a maze.
One of the more interesting things was reading the history of Icons, their symbolism, the arguments for and against. John of Damascus argued and for the most part won the argument for Icons in the early 700’s, although there would still be a period of about a hundred years before the issue was settled in the Orthodox Church. As a good Southern Baptist boy, it is strange to me that these symbols could assist a person’s faith but they surely must given the conflicts regarding them. And I like his argument about being able to represent Jesus in a material way since God chose to become flesh and dwell among us. Interesting. And I like the “principle of clarityÂ set forth inÂ Canon 82 of the Trullan Council (692) which declares that Christian art, in the light of the Incarnation, should eschew obscure symbolism and pursue instead the unambiguous clarity of representing the person or incident itself.” (from Icons as Christian Art by Robert M. Yule)Â In other words, don’t picture Jesus as a lamb, picture Him as a man. I like that.
Father Stephen has an interesting blurb on “givenness” and I enjoyed thinking about it. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with his take on the Reformation being a constant change but understand his point. One of my thoughts is to wonder why they think that they are emulating the “early church” but their model is one that started in the 3rd or 4th century and not the first. The first century church was nothing at all (at least in my estimation) like the third century – so why stop there? Why not go all the way back? Jesus came to free us but by the third century the church had incorporated many of the same rules that the Pharisees and Sadducees forced upon their flocks. I don’t understand why we would willingly accept these bindings.
So, that’s where I am today. Skipped visitation last night, just didn’t want to go again. And I’ll skip church tonight, JM’s coming over to play around on the guitars. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I picked up Koontz’s latest Odd Thomas novel, Brother Odd. Odd is living in a monastery, so that fit in a weird sorta way. Late.