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“Lover or Prostitute?” By Daid Ryser

28 Jan

“Lover or Prostitute?” The Question that Changed My Life  By David Ryser

prostitution

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.

Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.
Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.
What do I mean when I say “really know Him?” Our understanding of knowing and knowledge stems from our western culture (which is based in ancient Greek philosophical thought). We believe we have knowledge (and, by extension, wisdom) when we have collected information. A collection of information is not the same thing as knowledge, especially in the culture of the Bible (which is an eastern, non-Greek, culture). In the eastern culture, all knowledge is experiential. In western/Greek culture, we argue from premise to conclusion without regard for experience–or so we think.
An example might be helpful here. Let us suppose a question based upon the following two premises: First, that wheat does not grow in a cold climate and second, that England has a cold climate. The question: Does wheat grow in England? The vast majority of people from the western/Greek culture would answer, “No. If wheat does not grow in a cold climate and if England has a cold climate, then it follows that wheat does not grow in England.” In the eastern culture, the answer to the same question, based on the same premises, most likely would be, “I don’t know. I’ve never been to England.” We laugh at this thinking, but when I posed the same question to my friends from England, their answer was, “Yes, of course wheat grows in England. We’re from there, and we know wheat grows there.” They overcame their cultural way of thinking because of their life experience. Experience trumps information when it comes to knowledge.
A similar problem exists with our concept of belief. We say we believe something (or someone) apart from personal experience. This definition of belief is not extended to our stockbroker, however. Again, allow me to explain. Suppose my stockbroker phones me and says, “I have a hot tip on a stock that is going to triple in price within the next week. I want your permission to transfer $10,000 from your cash account and buy this stock.” That’s a lot of money for me, so I ask, “Do you really believe this stock will triple in price, and so quickly?” He/she answers, I sure do.” I say, “That sounds great! How exciting! So how much of your own money have you invested in this stock?” He/she answers, “None.” Does my stockbroker believe? Truly believe? I don’t think so, and suddenly I don’t believe, either. How can we be so discerning in the things of this world, especially when they involve money, and so indiscriminate when it comes to spiritual things? The fact is, we do not know or believe apart from experience. The Bible was written to people who would not understand the concepts of knowledge, belief, and faith apart from experience. I suspect God thinks this way also.
So I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God–much less love Him. READ MORE
repent

Patriarch Bartholomew: No to Homosexual Marriage

10 Sep Ancient Faith

Patriarch Bartholomew: No to Homosexual Marriage

September 9, 2013 10:27 PM

 

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed in unequivocal terms that the Orthodox Church cannot sanction same-sex marriage. This is bound to make some of the Orthodox Progressives squirm because there is no room for doubt, no artificial distinction between Church and society where the moral teaching applies to the former but not the latter, where there is a different ontology implied for those within the Church and those outside of her. 

This statement was delivered at a homily in Estonia but also posted on the Patriarchal website so it carries the imprimatur of the Patriarchal office. Note Pat. Bartholomew’s reliance on the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul describes Roman culture at the time. Again, this is significant because the Patriarch’s reference to St. Paul’s admonition shows the teaching applies not only to the Church, but to society as well. The erroneous idea that the Orthodox Church has nothing to say to the larger culture about homosexual marriage has been repudiated Pat. Kyrill in the past and now by Pat. Bartholomew.

The condemnation, a strong word but borrowed from the text below is quite clear:

To our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed families through the Mystery of Marriage at Cana of Galilee and changed water into wine, that is, into joy and feasting, and to His Body, the Orthodox Church, the partnering of the same sex is unknown and condemned, and they condemn the contemporary invention of “mutual cohabitation”, which is the result of sin and not the law of joy

Note too the Ecumenical Patriarch’s implicit reasoning that homosexual marriage threatens the family:

The Church, my beloved parents and children, and subsequently the family, which consists lawfully and by the command of God of men and women, and the children acquired, is not a foundation or association or a simple organization, but a Body, as it is wonderfully depicted by the Apostle Paul. And this parallelism is accurate and true. Church and marriage. Husband and wife. Body and its members.

This community, signified in the Mysteries and in the obedience of Faith, both in the Church and in the family, is sanctified and mystagogued through the Mystery of Marriage, which, according to the Fathers, is a mystery of co-creation, and the ontological link of love with the Head of the Body, to ensure health and life, which is salvation and sanctification.

The language is a bit labored as is often the case with missives from Constantinople where too many ideas are packed into too few sentences. Nevertheless, the meaning is clear and the arguments that the Church has no interest in the broader health of the culture and should remain silent about the critical moral issues of the day should be put to rest.

 

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