Thursday, August 21, 2014

Christian conscience, and more

  • Conscience. Fr. Robert Hart: The Christian approach to matters of morality cannot be simply due to what is written in the Bible, though it must agree with that and not deviate from it. However, we know that part of the New Covenant is to have the Law of God written on the human heart by the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31f). That is not the same thing as being merely existential in one's approach.
  • Steve Sailer: A funny thing about Attorney General Eric Holder is that he comes from a long line of mulatto Barbadians and was carefully raised in a West Indian bubble in New York, almost as isolated from African-American culture as his boss was at Punahou prep school.
  • What is a life coach? It strikes me as a collection of random anecdotes and "follow me" incidents. It seems to inhabit the Internet marketing blogs and podcasts. As Jay Leno quipped, it's what FRIENDS used to do for you before society fell apart and people became so isolated, atomized, lonely (as happens in cycles, as Face to Face blogs).
  • Rod Dreher: Religious identity and belief of all kinds is unstable today, and there are no foolproof ways to stabilize it. A clue, Watson: It all gets down to the question "thy will be done or my will be done?"; the hallmark of fake religion is that it is all about me, me, me, the special little snowflake me, instead of about God, God, God, the awesome and wonderful God. Dreher's Benedict option: Fr. Gabriel Kostelnyk. Hunkering down honorably: Acting Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sterniuk).
  • I think prayer ropes and the Jesus Prayer as lay practice are a Western myth about Orthodoxy; Orientalism like Suzy Wong and inscrutability. In Orthodoxy, that's NOT the equivalent of the rosary; it's not widespread. It's an almost esoteric monastic thing. Sort of like kabbalah is nothing to do with most Jews. SOME Eastern Catholics use them; "converts," not the ethnics I've known. Doing what they think is very Orthodox. It's a good thing but not a big part of the traditional lay culture.


  1. I agree John. Apart from converts and monastics, I have never seen a prayer rope used. My previous father in confession (a priest monk) advised me not to use a prayer rope and to pray the Trisagion instead of the Jesus Prayer. It was good advice for me. The fathers warn about the danger of praying the Jesus Prayer without proper guidance and as I do not have anybody qualified enough to give such guidance I am quite content to struggle on without it.

    1. Yes, the Trisagion is an Orthodox staple of liturgy and lay devotion, not the Jesus Prayer. Thanks for reminding me.

      Right, Franny and Zooey: don't play with the Jesus Prayer.


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