Church and identity

Anastasia1

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JamesRottnek said:
And what is wrong with that song?
It's shallow and too catchy and gets stuck in my head so easily that I get tired of it. Oh, and if God is so indescribably, how can we tell people who He is? Psalms tells us about Him. It's not the words that I want to pray to God. I don't feel like this is what I want to say to God when I hear this in a church and I am supposed to sing along.
 

JamesRottnek

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As for it being too "catchy" that is the point of a song. 

As for "if God is so indescribably, how can we tell people who He is?" have you heard the term 'apophatic theology'?  I believe it is something the OO use substantially, just as the EO do.  It acknowledges that God is beyond the comprehension of a human mind. 

Let's look at the lyrics of Indescribable:

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

The entire song is very reminiscent of the 43 chapter of Sirach, which oddly enough I was just reading yesterday evening.  As well, this is very reminiscent of a good deal of Job, as well.  If I am not mistaken, there are Psalms which this is also similar to.

It would be shallow, if you were having this be the extent of your theology, if this was the extent of your belief.  However, as long as this song does not become the be all end all of your understanding of the Truth, there is nothing at all shallow about it.
 

Anastasia1

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JamesRottnek said:
The entire song is very reminiscent of the 43 chapter of Sirach, which oddly enough I was just reading yesterday evening.  As well, this is very reminiscent of a good deal of Job, as well.  If I am not mistaken, there are Psalms which this is also similar to.

It would be shallow, if you were having this be the extent of your theology, if this was the extent of your belief.  However, as long as this song does not become the be all end all of your understanding of the Truth, there is nothing at all shallow about it.
Interesting point. Is there a copy of Sirach anywhere online? I don't have an Orthodox Bible yet-still underemployed
 

Anastasia1

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minasoliman said:
Well, I think you're okay if you're dogmatically and Biblically Christian.  That's really the essence of Orthodoxy there, the beginning of Orthodoxy if anything.  You're on the right path.
What does dogmatically and Biblically Christian mean?

minasoliman said:
Orthodox faith is not something you study in one day or a week to fathom, but something you grow into.
Yeah, I ought to actually study it more than I do.

minasoliman said:
And for history.  History is there for an appreciation of dogmatic beliefs, not a necessary thing to get deeply engaged into, unless you're passionate about it.  But what matters is your faith, and if your faith is quite simple, then I would say, lucky you.
Why lucky me?

minasoliman said:
So, don't be too hard on yourself.
Every time I am not hard on myself, I usually fail at something in some way.
Religion affects the fate of the eternal soul, and as such ought to be of the utmost importance in life as the eternal supercedes the mortal. I don't live up to that and I can't, nor do I know how that look in terms of how one ought to direct the deeds of each day other than to say the should love God and neighbor.
 
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JamesRottnek said:
As for it being too "catchy" that is the point of a song. 

As for "if God is so indescribably, how can we tell people who He is?" have you heard the term 'apophatic theology'?  I believe it is something the OO use substantially, just as the EO do.  It acknowledges that God is beyond the comprehension of a human mind. 

Let's look at the lyrics of Indescribable:

From the highest of heights [...] You are amazing God [...]
Those are relatively impressive lyrics by modern standards.

I was especially impressed by the mention of falling to the knees, awestruck (too bad nobody actually does this).
 

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Anastasia, here is one link to it online http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/pdf/ot/wisdom_of_sirach.pdf

I don't know what translation that is, but it is on orthodoxengland.org, so I hope it's good.  Chapter 43 in the Orthodox Study Bible (I highly recommend it by the way, I managed to get one for free when my priest all of a sudden handed me one the day I met him, God bless the man, he is really a wonderful servant of the Church) goes like this:

Sun, Moon, and Stars
43 The exultation of the heavenlyheights
Is the firmament of purity,
The form of heaven with the vision of glory.
2 The sun, when it appears, making proclamation as it goes forth,
Is a wonderful instrument, a work of the Most High.
3 At noon it dries up the land,
And who can endure its burning heat?
4 A man kindling a furnace works in burning heat,
But the sun burns the mountains three times as much,
Breathing out fiery steams,
And seding forth shining beams, it dims the eyes.
5 Great is the Lord who made it,
And by His command it hastens its journey.

6 He also made the moon to serve in its season
As a declaration of times and an everlasting sign.
7 From the moon comes the sign of a feast,
A light that wanes as it completes its course.
8 The month is named according to the moon,
Being increased wondrously in its phases,
A vessel encamped on high,
Shining in the firmament of heaven.
9 The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
A world shining in the high places of the Lord.
10 By the words of the Holy One they stand according to His judgment
And do ot grow weary in their watches.

The Majestic Creation
11 Behold the rainbow and bless Him who made it,
Exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
12 It circles heaven with its glorious arc,
And the hands of the Most High laid out its course.
13 By His command He makes the snow to fall,
And speeds the lightning by his judgment.
14 Therefore the storehouses are opened
And the clouds fly forth like birds.
15 By His majesty He condenses the clouds,
And the hailstones break into pieces.
16 At His appearing the mountains are shaken,
And by His will the south wind blows.
17 The voice of His thunder makes the earth tremble,
And so do the hurricane from the north and the whirlwind as well.
18 He sprinkles the snow like birds flying down,
And its descent is like grasshoppers alighting.
The eye marvels at the beauty of its whiteness,
And the heart is astonished at its raining down.
19 He pours the hoarfrost like salt upon the earth.
And when it freezes, it becomes like pointed thorns.
20 A cold north wind blows
And ice freezes on the water,
And forms on every pool of water,
And clothes the water like armor.
21 He consumes the mountains and burns up the desert,
And withers the green herbage like fire.
22 A mist quickly heals it all,
And falling dew brings refreshment from the heat.
23 By His reasoning He quieted the great deep
And planted islands in it.
24 Those who sail the sea recount its dangers,
And we are amazed at the reports coming to our ears.
25 For therein are the incredible and wondrous works,
A diversity of many living things,
And a created order of huge sea creatures.
26 Because of Him His messenger has a prsperous journey,
And by His word all things are held together.

How Do We Praise Him?
27 We will say many things and not reach the end,
But the sum of words is seen in this: "He is the all."
28 How shall we ever be able to adequately praise Him?
For He is greater than all His works.
29 Fearful is the Lord and exceedingly great,
And wonderous is His power.
30 Glorify the Lord and exalt Him as much as you are able,
For He will surpass even that,
And when you exalt Him, put forth all your strength;
Do not grow weaty, for your canot exalt Him enough.
31Who has seen Him and will describe Him?
And who can magnify Him as he truly is?
32 There are yet many hidden things greater than these,
For we have seen but few of His works.
33 For the Lord made all things
And gives wisdom to the godly.
 

JamesRottnek

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akimori makoto said:
JamesRottnek said:
As for it being too "catchy" that is the point of a song. 

As for "if God is so indescribably, how can we tell people who He is?" have you heard the term 'apophatic theology'?  I believe it is something the OO use substantially, just as the EO do.  It acknowledges that God is beyond the comprehension of a human mind. 

Let's look at the lyrics of Indescribable:

From the highest of heights [...] You are amazing God [...]
Those are relatively impressive lyrics by modern standards.

I was especially impressed by the mention of falling to the knees, awestruck (too bad nobody actually does this).
Yeah, this has been one of my favorite songs, ever since I first heard it.  I always get a little touchy when Orthodox condemn all modern Evangleical songs as "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs.  Certainly a large number are, or are very close to them.  However, there are a significant number of modern Christian songs such as this that could just as easily have been written by an Orthodox Christian, except the Orthdoox may actually have fallen to his knees, awestruck :p
 

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Another good song is Todd Agnew's Our Great God

Eternal God, unchanging
Mysterious and unknown
Your boundless love, unfailing
In grace and mercy shown

Bright seraphim in ceaseless flight around Your glorious throne
They raise their voices day and night in praise to You alone

Hallelujah, Glory be to our great God

Lord, we are weak and frail
Helpless in the storm
Surround us with Your angels
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
Hold us in Your arms

Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm
Rise up, O Lord, and he will flee before our sovereign God

Let every creature in the sea and every flying bird
Let every mountain, every field and valley of the earth

Let all the moons and all the stars in all the universe
Sing praises to the living God who rules them by His word



If I didn't know better, I'd swear that he took it word for word from an Orthodox Liturgy.
 

Anastasia1

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JamesRottnek said:
Yeah, this has been one of my favorite songs, ever since I first heard it.  I always get a little touchy when Orthodox condemn all modern Evangleical songs as "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs.  Certainly a large number are, or are very close to them.  However, there are a significant number of modern Christian songs such as this that could just as easily have been written by an Orthodox Christian, except the Orthdoox may actually have fallen to his knees, awestruck :p
Would it help if I told you that I was like that before I ever set foot in an Orthodox church? I guess part of what I dislike is that the style sometimes does not feel reverent enough.

Thanks for the link and chapter. :)
 

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Well, I agree that the style is frequently not reverant.  That is a problem, just like those songs that ARE "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs.  However, Indescribable is not such a song in my opinion, and I do get a bit animated when Orthodox condemn all Evangelical songs because some are JIM B. songs.

And no problem, that is one of my favorite chapters now, out of Sirach.  I'd never read any of the so-called Apocrypha until a little while after I had first met Fr. John, and he gave me the OSB.  I just finished Sirach earlier this morning, and it really is a great book to read, especially the last several chapters which recount a vast number of the holy people from before Christ.
 

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Anastasia1 said:
minasoliman said:
Well, I think you're okay if you're dogmatically and Biblically Christian.  That's really the essence of Orthodoxy there, the beginning of Orthodoxy if anything.  You're on the right path.
What does dogmatically and Biblically Christian mean?

minasoliman said:
Orthodox faith is not something you study in one day or a week to fathom, but something you grow into.
Yeah, I ought to actually study it more than I do.

minasoliman said:
And for history.  History is there for an appreciation of dogmatic beliefs, not a necessary thing to get deeply engaged into, unless you're passionate about it.  But what matters is your faith, and if your faith is quite simple, then I would say, lucky you.
Why lucky me?

minasoliman said:
So, don't be too hard on yourself.
Every time I am not hard on myself, I usually fail at something in some way.
Religion affects the fate of the eternal soul, and as such ought to be of the utmost importance in life as the eternal supercedes the mortal. I don't live up to that and I can't, nor do I know how that look in terms of how one ought to direct the deeds of each day other than to say the should love God and neighbor.
Well, what do you think of the Creed? (I believe in one God...)
 

Anastasia1

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minasoliman said:
Anastasia1 said:
minasoliman said:
Well, I think you're okay if you're dogmatically and Biblically Christian.  That's really the essence of Orthodoxy there, the beginning of Orthodoxy if anything.  You're on the right path.
What does dogmatically and Biblically Christian mean?

minasoliman said:
Orthodox faith is not something you study in one day or a week to fathom, but something you grow into.
Yeah, I ought to actually study it more than I do.

minasoliman said:
And for history.  History is there for an appreciation of dogmatic beliefs, not a necessary thing to get deeply engaged into, unless you're passionate about it.  But what matters is your faith, and if your faith is quite simple, then I would say, lucky you.
Why lucky me?

minasoliman said:
So, don't be too hard on yourself.
Every time I am not hard on myself, I usually fail at something in some way.
Religion affects the fate of the eternal soul, and as such ought to be of the utmost importance in life as the eternal supercedes the mortal. I don't live up to that and I can't, nor do I know how that look in terms of how one ought to direct the deeds of each day other than to say the should love God and neighbor.
Well, what do you think of the Creed? (I believe in one God...)
Well, the writing in it is lovely...








I see no problem with it if you refer to the Nicene Creed. I also read that the Nestorian Sogdian creed starts with I Believe in one God, however, as this is of the Nestorian churches, it is likely never used in our tradition.
 

Salpy

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The Nicene Creed is common to OO's, EO's, Catholics (except for the Filioque,) and the Church of the East (which is what the Sogdians were.)  It's pretty basic.
 

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hi, anastasia 1,
you may be interested to read about this:
http://www.antiochian.org/node/17756
an interview with fr. peter gilquist who joined the orthodox church in 1987 (together with hundreds of other people) after spending many years looking for a church which has preserved the beliefs and practices of the new testament Christians.

actually i think it is interesting to everyone who is looking in to orthodoxy.

metropolitan kallistos has also written many good books and articles.
you can find out about him here:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Kallistos_%28Ware%29_of_Diokleia
i haven't met him yet, but as we have only 60 million people in my country, i expect to bump into him soon  ;)

as for Christian songs from other traditions, i think there is some good in them, but when we sing, we remind ourselves of our beliefs, so our songs must be very carefully checked to be sure we do not make mistakes in our theology.
and i agree we should actually fall down and worship  :)
 

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Anastasia1 said:
I see no problem with it if you refer to the Nicene Creed. I also read that the Nestorian Sogdian creed starts with I Believe in one God, however, as this is of the Nestorian churches, it is likely never used in our tradition.
Nestorian? but your Orthodox, not a follower of Nestorius.  ??? ??? ???
 

JamesRottnek

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This Sogdian Creed?

We believe in one God, the Father, who upholds everything, the Creator of all things that are seen and unseen. [We believe] in one Lord God, and in Jesus [Christ], the only son of God, [the firstborn] of all beings, who… in the beginning was not created but begotten by the Father; [true God] of true God… by whose hand the [aeons] were fashioned and everything was created, he who for the sake of men and for our salvation descended from the heavens and clothed himself in a body by the Holy Spirit, and became man and entered the womb; who was born of Mary, the virgin, and [who] suffered agony and [was] raised on the cross [in] the days of Pontius Pilate; and [was buried] and ascended and sits on the right hand of the Father and is ready to come (again) to judge the dead and the living. And [we believe] in the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, who went forth from the Father, the Holy Spirit who gives life.
 

Source: Gillman & Klimkeit, Christians in Asia Before 1500 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 252-253.

This is far from anything near an Orthodox creed, aside from the change in the wording, it is a MAJOR change in theology.  For instance, look at this phrase "he who...descended from the heavens and clothed himself in a body by the Holy Spirit, and became man and entered the womb"  compared to THE Creed "came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man"  That is a major change.
 

Anastasia1

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henrikhankhagnell said:
Anastasia1 said:
I see no problem with it if you refer to the Nicene Creed. I also read that the Nestorian Sogdian creed starts with I Believe in one God, however, as this is of the Nestorian churches, it is likely never used in our tradition.
Nestorian? but your Orthodox, not a follower of Nestorius.  ??? ??? ???
Umm... He said "The creed."  I grew up in a tradition with the Apostles creed and the Nicene creed, plus recording in the book of worship the Athanesian creed (which would not be OO or actively used in my old Lutheran church) I don't have the Nicene memorized any more, so I googled that start of the creed and found another creed I did not know.
 

Anastasia1

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JamesRottnek said:
This Sogdian Creed?

We believe in one God, the Father, who upholds everything, the Creator of all things that are seen and unseen. [We believe] in one Lord God, and in Jesus [Christ], the only son of God, [the firstborn] of all beings, who… in the beginning was not created but begotten by the Father; [true God] of true God… by whose hand the [aeons] were fashioned and everything was created, he who for the sake of men and for our salvation descended from the heavens and clothed himself in a body by the Holy Spirit, and became man and entered the womb; who was born of Mary, the virgin, and [who] suffered agony and [was] raised on the cross [in] the days of Pontius Pilate; and [was buried] and ascended and sits on the right hand of the Father and is ready to come (again) to judge the dead and the living. And [we believe] in the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, who went forth from the Father, the Holy Spirit who gives life.
 

Source: Gillman & Klimkeit, Christians in Asia Before 1500 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 252-253.

This is far from anything near an Orthodox creed, aside from the change in the wording, it is a MAJOR change in theology.  For instance, look at this phrase "he who...descended from the heavens and clothed himself in a body by the Holy Spirit, and became man and entered the womb"  compared to THE Creed "came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man"  That is a major change.
The only necessarily substantial different I see is clothed himself vs. became incarnate.
 

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It may be a clumsy English translation of how the Sogdians translated "incarnate" into their own language.  If there were any Nestorian Sogdians left, we could ask them what they meant.
 
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