Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kissers and Smashers

Here's a nice little article on iconoclasm from Christian History. I just have one question: If you are not a smasher, why aren't you a kisser?

For many in the West today, Orthodox devotion to icons seems odd, especially the practice of kissing them. And when we learn that for a hundred-plus years in the early Middle Ages arguments raged over pictures of Jesus, causing one of the greatest political, cultural and religious upheavals in Christian History—well, we just don't understand it. What is it about icons that created such a stir, and what do they represent to the Orthodox?

Read the rest here.

Is it worth the cost?

I captured this image at 1:30pm this afternoon. Check USDebtClock.org to see what it is now. Let us all consider whether we want to see this trend continue.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Grace and Hope in Christ

On this feast of the Conception of Our Lady, perhaps the Anglican-Roman Catholic Agreed Statement "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ" merits some special attention, particularly the following paragraph:

59. Roman Catholics are also bound to believe that "the most blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin" (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, defined by Pope Pius IX, 1854). The definition teaches that Mary, like all other human beings, has need of Christ as her Saviour and Redeemer (cf. Lumen Gentium 53; Catechism of the Catholic Church 491). The negative notion of ‘sinlessness' runs the risk of obscuring the fullness of Christ's saving work. It is not so much that Mary lacks something which other human beings ‘have', namely sin, but that the glorious grace of God filled her life from the beginning. The holiness which is our end in Christ (cf. 1 John 3:2-3) was seen, by unmerited grace, in Mary, who is the prototype of the hope of grace for humankind as a whole. According to the New Testament, being ‘graced' has the connotation of being freed from sin through Christ's blood (Ephesians 1:6-7). The Scriptures point to the efficacy of Christ's atoning sacrifice even for those who preceded him in time (cf. 1 Peter 3:19, John 8:56, 1 Corinthians 10:4). Here again the eschatological perspective illuminates our understanding of Mary's person and calling. In view of her vocation to be the mother of the Holy One (Luke 1:35), we can affirm together that Christ's redeeming work reached ‘back' in Mary to the depths of her being, and to her earliest beginnings. This is not contrary to the teaching of Scripture, and can only be understood in the light of Scripture. Roman Catholics can recognize in this what is affirmed by the dogma - namely "preserved from all stain of original sin" and "from the first moment of her conception."

Monday, December 07, 2009

People look east?

On December 1st, the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle delegations from the Orthodox Church in America and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth met at St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas to begin local ecumenical discussions. It was wonderful to make new friends. I look forward to the continuing dialogue.

I also visited with the cathedral's iconographer. He came from Ukraine to paint the walls and ceiling of the new church--a process which took ten years.