Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Orthodoxy and Time?

Well, apparently few or no scales fell from my eyes when I officially became Orthodox--I still have some of the same questions, etc. as BC (Before Chrismation!).

But this did occur to me on Sunday, and I'm trying to process it. I was somewhat crankily wondering again about the continual prayers of repentance and seeking forgiveness--seems like a big set-up for us semi-OCD folk--but then suddenly I caught a glimpse of another way of looking at it--as though time--and therefore, repentance/forgiveness--aren't merely linear, moving along uni-directionally in a cause-and-effect stream, but are also, and at their deepest levels most truly, existential, more like a place or a condition--a deep pool in which we saturate ourselves--than a sequential event, a transaction that we complete and then move on from, checking it off our list.

I'm not explaining this well and I don't really understand it or even like it (well, in some ways I like it--it feels deeper and more nourishing than the model I'd been used to, but also more demanding because it's not tidy and succint), but I think some of this may be true.

It also occurs to me that various people had tried to explain this to me, but I hadn't taken it in.

Feedback, anyone? (I hadn't realized that there was some kind of default restriction on comments, but I've taken that away.)

8 comments:

Just Another Jim said...

I think you're exactly right. Repentance is less an act that we have to do but rather an attitude in which we dwell. Thus it is existential in character. That is precisely the meaning of the beattitude, "Blessed are they that mourn ..." Mourning is a state of being in which we sorrow for the state of our selves, our community, and the whole world. And authentic mourning does not lead us to say, "God, I demand you to change this!" but rather, "God, I'm sorry for how we've mucked this up and I repent of it."

I very much like the way you describe it when you say that repentance isn't linear nor cause and effect. For all of us ex-Protestants, that's a hard conceptual leap to make.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Heh-heh. The scales fall off gradually, as you are exemplifying. We all still see as in a dim mirror.

I LOVE the way you put it!!!

Anonymous said...

I came upon your blog having asked Him to guide me towards someone as akin to Thomas Traherne as myself.I found your Thomas Traherne post of 2008 and was curious about what you might have written more recently. As you ask for feedback I have interpreted it as a sign...
I wish I could write in Portuguese and you could read it as I read English and other foreign languages. I have always dreamt of such pentecostal possibility. Anyway I entirely share your previous quoting: "...I read poems from strange languages with freedom and pleasure because I can believe in all that has been lost in translation. Though all works, all acts, all languages are already translations."
Ortodox or Pentecostal or whatever Path you choose scales will fall from your eyes whenever He touches you, isn't that so?

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you, Jim, Anastasia, and Anonymous!

Anonymous, wouldn't you love to have dinner with Thomas Traherne?!

I get impatient re. the scales falling off. I most identify with that tall Russian scientist lady in the most recent Indiana Jones movie who demands to know everything right away, and then her head explodes...

Anonymous said...

I'd rather meet Traherne on that mysterious shore, walk by his side,and listen to him talking for hours on end (he liked it so much...and Susannah complained about it... I wouldn't...)I'd have him tell me about "enjoying the world aright"... feeling the sea itself flowing in my veins, being clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars". This is it... Angelus Silesius wrote about the same:
Man redt von Zeit und Ort / von Nun und Ewigkeit:
Was ist dann Zeit und Ort / und Nun und Ewigkeit?
It is 23.06 PM here. I'll be back on Friday. Listen to Teresa d'Ávila's beautiful poem so beautifully sung by Mina in this video (I would have chosen other images...):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahOxWyPDBFM&feature=related

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Anonymous, can you translate the youtube song for me? Thank you, and blessings to you!

Leticia said...

Saint Theresa's (song)poem has already been translated:

God alone is enough.
Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough

Thank you for your blessings. I leave you Saint Francis' (from Numbers 6: 25)"The Lord make His face shine upon thee..."

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you, Leticia--words to treasure!