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7/3/12 10:10 AM
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Lahi
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Ridge, something I've been curious about: how much freedom does an orthodox lay person have as far as 'independent' ministry goes? For example, could Shane Claiborne or Dorthoy Day have been Orthodox, and still been a part of their respective communities? Or is that type of ministry something done more through Church channels, and with the guidance of Church leadership? Not trying to stir the pot at all, I've just wondered that.
7/3/12 10:16 AM
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reverend john
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It is interesting because everything you just said I am in a hundred percent agreement on. The things I say against the traditional churches are based on the ideologies and structures that keep people from coming into kingdom life, or what you call sainthood. The whole radical discipleship movement says that it is not enough to believe, but that you must believe to the point of following. That you must in deed pick up your cross and follow Jesus.

The easy believism is rampant in most traditions, though I would think it is not taught in all of them. A structure that allows people to attend a gathering rather than take part in one, that encourages people to have something done to them or for them rather than done by them, a community that operates within a culture of the world rather than the culture of the kingdom should in fact be reviled by thoughtful CHristians.

I do not find that these things cannot exist amongst these structures, but these structures hinder them. And being that we as people will most often allow ourselves to go along with the flow of our culture, (CHristian or otherwise), they are not the best structure for making saints.

As to your statement about deviations, don't play innocent. When combined with the idea of apostolic succession you look at deviations as a negative. You suggested as much by saying, "so you know better than those who lived a few generations after the apostles".

rev
7/3/12 10:42 AM
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Grakman
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Edited: 07/03/12 10:54 AM
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I think this is the kind of thing that is wrong with institutionalized churches. There are people giving money to the church who need it but the church buys multi-million dollar VACATION HOMES for retired priests?? LOL

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/28/philly-archdiocese-to-sell-large-nj-beach-house/

Protestants are not without their own foibles of course, but in this case it looks like the Catholic church will be picking up their slack for a cool $58 million.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/27/famed-crystal-cathedral-to-become-catholic-church21073/
7/3/12 10:48 AM
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Lahi
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reverend john - <a href="http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jonathanwilsonhartgrove/2012/07/clarence-jordan-and-gods-movement-today/">www.patheos.com/blogs/jonathanwilsonhartgrove/2012/07/clarence-jordan-and-gods-movement-today/</a> 

a baptist saint, a christianarchist saint and a new monastic saint

rev<br type="_moz" />


That was awesome. I'd heard Clarence Jordan's name but never knew anything about him. Amazing that he survived all that.
7/3/12 10:54 AM
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reverend john
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Reading Dorothy Day's letters about the farm was amazing.

rev
7/3/12 1:05 PM
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Lahi
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Are those 'The Life You Save May Be Your Own'? Like to read those.
7/3/12 1:36 PM
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reverend john
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I read excerpts in a book that was about four Catholic Contemporaneous authors, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy.

rev
7/3/12 1:47 PM
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Lahi
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Thanks Rev, have to find that.
7/3/12 1:49 PM
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reverend john
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yeah, that actually was the name of the book, I just looked it up, http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-You-Save-Your/dp/0374256802

wonderful book

rev
7/3/12 2:37 PM
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Ali
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I read Dorothy Day's autobiography, "The Long Loneliness" a long time ago. I thought it was a really moving and inspiring account of social activism and a faith that grew as she was increasingly connected to a larger world. Easily connected to notions of ego transcendence and community with others, and perhaps some good insight into the Catholic Worker movement that rev references from time to time.
7/3/12 2:56 PM
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reverend john
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yeah, she was amazing. Some of those that came from the Catholic Worker movement are really cool too, even though she disapproved of some of their actions, (particularly the plowshares activists of which I know a few)

rev
7/3/12 2:57 PM
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reverend john
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its funny because she is famous for saying, "don't call us saints, we don't want to be dismissed that easily" yet there is a current movement towards making her a saint. I think she would be very angry about that

rev
7/3/12 3:17 PM
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zealot66
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reverend john - Zealott, I believe in the church being in contact with each other, and standing against injustice with each other. I don't agree with the church coalescing to have power over others.

I also believe the variety of the church is its strength, not a weakness, we all have different charisms. What I do not accept is a structure that dis-empowers others.

rev
John, I was just pointing out what I saw and heard myself. I myself believe the individual grows and fellowships the most in a small environment, not a large one. It wasn't an attack on anarchism. Love you MAN ...haha
 
7/3/12 8:27 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/03/12 8:30 PM
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reverend john - its funny because she is famous for saying, "don't call us saints, we don't want to be dismissed that easily" yet there is a current movement towards making her a saint. I think she would be very angry about that

rev


...lots of interesting questions to unpack there. (Interesting to me, maybe not to someone else!)

There's talk on this forum about the "goal of Christianity" being to "make saints". To the extent that this is true, Day probably wouldn't be angry about it -- that is, this is (presumably) not, in fact, dismissive. But we can see how the word is used dismissively....

I was wondering based on a couple of threads lately about whether there's an operational definition of "saint" for purposes of some sort of "goal"; and whether spiritual practice (for lack of a better term) is or even should be "goal directed" in that sense.

Often people seem by "saint" to mean someone who has mastered their impulses to behave in a principled way that makes their physical comfort or immediate impulses fairly low on the list of priorities, and some other-directed action as a bigger priority. But I'm not sure if sometimes it doesn't mean something far less definable, like a "mystical connection" with the "source of being" that non-saints like me don't have, or... or... or... if it's something we just nod at, as if we know what's being said.

(Mind you, NONE of that really is a response to what Day said fairly clearly; it's more a response to the supposition that she would be angry at being labeled this-thing; that would imply a certain meaning of this-thing, and it may not be a shared meaning.

So I wonder about the "saint" talk. How do we know one we see one? To the extent that creating saints is a goal, we ought to know one we see one!
7/3/12 9:39 PM
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reverend john
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The reason Day did not want to be called a saint, is that in her tradition saints were special people, with special callings. She believed that everyone was called to stand up for justice, to care for the poor, to stand against corporate and political violence and oppression. This is not the realm of a "super class" of Christians, but the marks of true followers. She didn't want her message to be thrown away as, just for special people.

rev
7/3/12 9:47 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/03/12 10:02 PM
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Beautiful explanation, rev --

I just used "she'd be angry" as an excuse to unpack what various people have meant. But yeah, if it were taken the way it was most-probably used in the context she most heard it, i.e., a "super class" of Christians, I'm sure you're completely right. The word "saint" is dismissive. Or an excuse for "the rest of us" not to work too hard!
7/3/12 11:09 PM
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Ridgeback
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Edited: 07/03/12 11:24 PM
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Ooops, just saw that Lahi got the title.  Good book.  I have listened to the audio book at least three times.
7/3/12 11:15 PM
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Ridgeback
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Lahi - Ridge, something I've been curious about: how much freedom does an orthodox lay person have as far as 'independent' ministry goes? For example, could Shane Claiborne or Dorthoy Day have been Orthodox, and still been a part of their respective communities? Or is that type of ministry something done more through Church channels, and with the guidance of Church leadership? Not trying to stir the pot at all, I've just wondered that.

 Lahi,

Sorry, I just saw this.  Can you explain what you mean more by and "independent" ministry?  I don't think Day's ministry was "independent" compared to any of the other social movements in Catholicism. 
7/3/12 11:23 PM
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Ridgeback
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 As far as the "saints" thing goes any knowlegeable Catholic theologian will tell you that every single Catholic on the planet is called to be a Saint.  In Pauline doctrine all Christians are already "saints" or "priests" on some level, but there is also an idea of being called to the fullness of the stature of Christ, which is something that clearly not every person who calls himself Christian achieves in this life.  Anybody who uses the recognition of Saints as an excuse to bow out of the process of transformation is fudging their faith.  And of course there are countless people who have died Saints that will never be recognized as such on this side of things.  This is taken for granted in Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Even so, it would be dishonest to pretend that everybody is equal in this regard and that the uniquely sanctified in this life don't draw people to themselves just as Christ did (because people see Christ in them).  In this respect we are all "saints," and are all called to be Saints, but most of us will not die Saints.  According to the concept of Epektasis, however, we are eternally called to grow more and more into communion with the inifinite life of the Trinity, so there is hope that this process of sanctifcation goes on beyond death. 

I think there were forces in Catholicism that would have been happy to sideline or marginalize Dorothy Day.  Keep in mind that this was a woman who was against the use of arms in WWII.  She also heavily advocated Marxist economic ideas (along with some distributist notions she gleaned from GK Chesterton, her mentor Peter Maurin, and a pope whose name eludes me) so she was considered extremely radical and left of center by most American Catholics.  I think she saw the saint label as one of many attempts to marginalize her and her ministry, but she would have been the first to recognize the sanctity of St. Francis of Assissi for instance so she recognized the special place of the big "S" saints in her tradition.
7/3/12 11:29 PM
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reverend john
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Yet she says calling her a saint would be dismissive

Rev Phone Post
7/3/12 11:35 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/03/12 11:47 PM
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Those things seem consistent to me.... she was sensitive to various, even contradictory, word-meanings; I'm sure she was sensitive to popular usage vs. any particular specialized usage.

I'm still wondering about this particular specialized meaning, though -- the goal directedness of this call-to-Sainthood, and whether there's anything clear about when that's achieved. What does it mean to be called to the fullness of the stature of Christ? (Not that we become part of the trinity, obviously, so what? I am not sure if the space limitations of HG posts are what's making this unclear, or if it's really unclear).
7/3/12 11:47 PM
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reverend john
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It is a journey towards Christ likeness. It never is complete. Christ calls us to follow Him, to be filled with the Spirit, and to obey. As we walk in obedience, as we partake in His grace and mercy we are to become transformed by the renewing of our mind. To be set free from the bondage of this earth, and culture, and free from its slavery.

The problem I find is that in recognizing "saints" according to criteria such as a certain amount of miracles must be attested to the person and so on, it by its very specialness, takes away the impetus for the "normal" people to strive towards true discipleship.

Though I know the word saint is a biblical word, I believe that it can become unhelpful in certain conversations. I believe like Ridge does that the ultimate goal of the church is to encourage and support people in becoming disciples of Christ. Not fans, not the crowds, but real followers. Too often we see these people as unattainable holy people and lean almost to worship of them, but what is more healthy is to see them as men and women who have gone before us and inspire and encourage us towards Christ.

rev
7/3/12 11:53 PM
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Ali
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So it's an aspirational thing... not actually a State of Being that is "achieved". (Or as you say, "It is never complete"). I'm with you on the criteria -- attested miracles and so on. I totally understand that sort of definition and why you'd have a problem with it. I don't think we are all "called" in that sense, either -- attested miracles, formal canonization. (In fact I don't think anyone is "called" to that, it being a posthumous designation with all sorts of political or other mundane implications).
7/4/12 12:19 AM
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reverend john
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yet we should look back and find much to praise and be inspired by. St. Francis, Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, St. John Crysostom are all amazing people, worthy of our admiration.

So many protestants through the baby out with the bathwater

rev
7/4/12 12:33 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/04/12 12:33 AM
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And yet we should also remember that all heroes have clay feet. No exceptions. (Which I think you've said already -- the "dismissiveness" of some uses of the term "saint"; or the idolatry that comes up for who were real folks).

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