I am drafting this blog post from my iPad, on a bus, which has me thinking about my transmission and public transportation. I like taking the bus. I did not like how I got to the bus this morning, namely a seven mile bike ride, mostly uphill, that was a lot harder than I remember bike-riding being from back when I rode my bike more (I was 15).
I have lamented the terrible public transit in Nashville on more than one occasion. It’s like the city is trying really hard to catch up to Atlanta, which if you have ever driven through Atlanta, you know, feels like driving throw the hollow parts of a row of cinder blocks that stretch on for as far as the mile can see. But on days when my legs are reminding me that I am 38, and I am gathering my chi for the return stretch this afternoon, I get especially irritated with how terrible public transit is.
If you have ever heard me talk about my mom, then you know how badass I think she is. Mom is basically deaf. She grew up in a small town that thought “deaf” meant “stupid.” Nobody expected her to do much. She did not expect much from herself either. She married an abusive alcoholic, eventually left him, went on to put herself through school, raise me and my sister, publish a slue of short stories, and recently retired with distinction from civilian military service. She is also a world-class saber fencer. She made the veteran World Team again and this year will be going to compete in Germany.
There is a little Luddite living inside of me. This is ironic given that I am basically an academic technologist. But there was a time when I eschewed gadgets. I thought Kindle was going to ruin literature. I used a pen to take notes. I even carried a little hardback journal around with me for random musings. It was almost like I was being a little bit hipster before being hipster was cool.
Today, I am typing the draft of this blog on my iPad in Evernote, which will sync to the cloud, so that I can access it anywhere and on any device.
My parish priest recently announced that he was retiring, and my immediate thought was, “Oh crap!” I love my priest. We do not always see eye-to-eye, but I respect and appreciate him. I know I have not made his life very easy sometimes. Every so often, I will say something online which will send the trolls to the interwebs to try to figure out where I go to church, who my priest is, and how many ways they can report me. Like I said, my priest and I often do not see eye-to-eye, but he also understands that there is a difference between theological opinions he disagrees with and heresies that deserve excommunication. I know for a fact that there are some priests who would have withheld communion until I shouted the error of my ways from the rooftop. I have wondered what I would do when faced with that kind of a decision, and I honestly am grateful that I have never really had to think too hard about it. That may change. Continue reading “On Being a “Vulgar” Theologian in the Orthodox Church”
Soon the Orthodox Church will convoke a Great and Holy Council, the first such council in over a millennium. Though by no means ecumenical in any official sense (at least not yet), it is a historic meeting, for which I have felt a deep and abiding ambivalence.
I am a convert to the Orthodox Church. Unlike many converts, I did not see the deep and rich traditions of the Orthodox Church as providing me with resources to be more fundamentalistic than I was before (such as I hear creationists citing Basil as proof of a young earth). I was never a fundamentalist. What attracted me to Orthodoxy was the ambiguity of it all, which is another way of saying Mystery. Jaroslav Pelikan, another convert, described Orthodoxy as the church of the seven councils that we deem ecumenical. We have a lot of other canons, synods, traditions, and opinions, but they are not finally and firmly authoritative in the same way that those minimum of dogmas are.
The Orthodox Church is gearing up for the “Holy and Great Council” to meet this June. This is a big deal. We have not had a gathering like this in over a thousand years. And church leaders started planning for this particular meeting in the 1960s. That is over fifty years ago! The Orthodox Church is a bit like a confederacy. We are a bunch of different Orthodox Church-es, more or less divided along national boundaries, that agree that we are really just one church. The upside of this power structure is that it keeps us from doing anything too stupid all at once. The downside is that it can be hard for us to do anything at all. So on the one hand our polity makes us inevitably conservative, but on the other hand that conservatism can get confused with the spirit of Orthodoxy itself. Continue reading “When Was “The Tradition” Finished?”