MC Protocol 101 – The Introduction

There is a new TV show on iTunes called American MC.  It purports to show a bunch of guys who are trying to start an MC (Motorcycle Club), and they make the claim that they are going to do it the right way.  However, the show should be subtitled ‘How not to start an MC’ as these guys, who seem to all be seasoned riders, know nothing about Motorcycle Clubs.  Real Motorcycle Clubs are built around established traditions and protocols that define our culture and failure to follow those traditions and protocols, or even worse, deliberately disregarding them, is a huge part of why most new clubs are denigrated, never recognized in the community, and do not last.

In American MC, there are is a scene where the stars of the show are sitting inside of a bar when in walk several members of the local dominant club.  The American MC cast all sit around staring at the Dom members, debating over whether someone should go talk to them and finally get their prospect to be the first one to approach the Dom club.  A second scene is almost as bad.  While filling up at a gas station, another club pulls in to the gas station.  The other club is a well-established, and respected, MC.  Again, the American MC cast simply stand around and it is left to the other club to walk over and ask the American MC riders who they are.  If these guys were serious, they would have taken the initiative to introduce themselves in both situations, being respectful to both a dominant club and to a long-time established club.

One of the most important things that anyone involved in MC culture needs to learn is how to introduce themselves.  It seems to be a lost art form in most cultures these days as most kids want to just walk up to someone, and say something asinine like “whaz up bro,” as if that were a proper introduction.  Or worse, they ignore the other person and don’t introduce themselves at all.  So, we’re going to look at two different types of introductions which every member and aspiring member of any motorcycle club needs to know. Continue reading “MC Protocol 101 – The Introduction”

The Orthodox Christian Should be the Funniest Man in the Room

A really interesting, and good, article at the Orthodox Christianity blog.

The Orthodox Christian Should be the Funniest Man in the Room

…the Orthodox Christian should be the funniest man in the room. He should have all the best stories. He should have the most joyous and largest heart. He should be the most giving. He should be the one that when he walks into the room, he lights the room up and everybody is attracted to him — that should be us. If it’s in the workplace, or if it’s in the grocery store, or if you’re just visiting your in-law’s house and they happen to be Protestants. When you come, you should light the place up. That’s what we’re supposed to be. Because we should, because we have all the joy – we have Pascha. We have Pascha, you know, we have that. That’s what they need, and that’s what they want. So, when they see us, then they will ask us the question that St. Paul said they should ask us “What is the reason for the joy that you have in you?” And then we can tell them about the Orthodox Church.

The Holy Fathers Sure Guide to True Christianity

by By Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim Rose

Remember your instructors, who have spoken
the word of God to you; whose faith follow,
considering the end of their life… Be not led
away with various and strange doctrines.
Hebrews 13:7, 9

NEVER HAS THERE BEEN such an age of false teachers as this pitiful 20th century, so rich in material gadgets and so poor in mind and soul. Every conceivable opinion, even the most absurd, even those hitherto rejected by the universal consent of all civilized peoples—now has its platform and its own “teacher.” A few of these teachers come with demonstration or promise of “spiritual power” and false miracles, as do some occultists and “charismatics;” but most of the contemporary teachers offer no more than a weak concoction of undigested ideas which they received “out of the air,” is it were, or from some modern self-appointed “wise man” (or woman) who knows more than all the ancients merely by living in our “enlightened” modern times. As a result, philosophy has a thousand schools, and “Christianity” a thousand sects. Where is the truth to be found in all this, if indeed it is to be found at all in our most misguided times?
In only one place is there to be found the fount of true teaching, coming from God Himself, not diminished over the centuries but ever fresh, being one and the same in all those who truly teach it, leading those who follow it to eternal salvation. This place is the Orthodox Church of Christ, the fount is the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, and the true teachers of the Divine doctrine that issues forth from this fount are the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.
Alas! How few Orthodox Christians know this, and know enough to drink from this fount! How many contemporary hierarchs lead their flocks, not on the true pastures of the soul, the Holy Fathers, but along the ruinous paths of modern wise men who promise something “new” and strive only to make Christians forget the true teaching of the Holy Fathers, a teaching which—it is quite true—is entirely out of harmony with the false ideas which govern modern times.
The Orthodox teaching of the Holy Fathers is not something of one age, whether “ancient” or “modern.” It has been transmitted in unbroken succession from the time of Christ and His Apostles to the present day, and there has never been a time when it was necessary to discover a “lost” patristic teaching. Even when many Orthodox Christians have neglected this teaching (as is the case, for example, in our own day), its true representatives were still handing it down to those who hungered to receive it.. There have been great patristic ages, such as the dazzling epoch of the fourth century, and there have been periods of decline in patristic awareness among Orthodox Christians; but there has been no period since the very foundation of Christ’s Church on earth when the patristic tradition was not guiding the Church; there has been no century without Holy Fathers of its own. St. Nicetas Stethatos, disciple and biographer of St. Simeon the New Theologian, has written; “It has been granted by God that from generation to generation there should not cease the preparation by the Holy Spirit of His prophets and friends for the order of His Church.” Continue reading “The Holy Fathers Sure Guide to True Christianity”

Theosis and Our Salvation in Christ

Athanasius the Great summed up the connection between the Incarnation and our salvation in the famous line: God became human, so that we might become god. The doctrine of theosis (deification) sums up the Orthodox understanding of salvation in Christ. It is also the source of friction between Reformed and Orthodox Christians. In this blog posting I will show how the Orthodox understanding of theosis is grounded in Scripture and affirmed in the teachings of the early Church Fathers. In light of the controversial nature of theosis I will be highlighting the Orthodox understanding of theosis through the comparing of paradigm differences between Orthodoxy and the Reformed tradition. I close with a discussion of the practical consequences of the paradigmatic differences.

2 Peter 1:3-4

Many Protestants find the doctrine of theosis dubious despite the fact it is found in Scripture. We read in 2 Peter 1:3-4:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (NIV)

This does not mean we participate in God’s essence (ousia). Rather we are transformed into the likeness of Christ through participation in his grace, i.e., divine energies. The footnote commentary in the Orthodox Study Bible for 2 Peter 1:4 reads:

This [Theosis] does not mean we become divine by nature. If we participated in God’s essence, the distinction between God and man would be abolished. What this does mean is that we participate in God’s energy, described by a number of terms in scripture, such as glory, life, love, virtue, and power. We are to become like God by his grace and truly His adopted children, but never becoming God by nature.

The phrase “participate in the divine nature” (NIV) or “partakers of the divine nature” (KJV, OSB) is a translation of: “γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως.” [Greek NT] The Greek for “participate” or “share” is κοινωνος (koinonos) which has a range of meanings. It has been used with reference to sharing in glory (1 Peter 5:1), sharing in Christ’s suffering (Philippians 3:10), and fellowship in the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:1). It can have a spiritual/sacramental sense. Participation in a religious service, Christian or otherwise, has definite spiritual consequences. Participation in a pagan sacrifice results in participation with demonic forces (1 Corinthians 10:20) and likewise participation in the Eucharist results in participation in Christ’s body and blood (1 Corinthians 10:16). The emphasis here is on participation, transformation, and experiential change, rather than a judicial declaration of legal status. This distinction is central to the different attitude Orthodox and the Reformed have toward the fullness of salvation in Christ. Continue reading “Theosis and Our Salvation in Christ”