Tuesday, April 21, 2009

St. Basil on "In the Beginning"

"Thus the writer who wisely tells us of the birth of the Universe does not fail to put these words at the head of the narrative. "In the beginning God created;" that is to say, in the beginning of time. Therefore, if he makes the world appear in the beginning, it is not a proof that its birth has preceded that of all other things that were made. He only wishes to tell us that, after the invisible and intellectual world, the visible world, the world of the senses, began to exist."
-St. Basil of Caesarea, Hexaemeron, Homily I

If "In the beginning God created," the presupposition must necessarily be that God existed even before time itself, in a manner of existence which must be beyond our understanding. This means that God does not "change" nor is subject to change, but works within the universe of time from outside of it.

We perceive God in time because we are created beings, but God Himself is beyond the beginning and end of things; He knew exactly that Adam would sin, and when he did sin God knew exactly how He would redeem humanity. He knows exactly what will become of each and everyone of us because all of time and space are held in His hand.

-Steve K.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Define the Soul for Me

This is my new theological question for the next few days. It came up as I'm trudging through "Severus of Antioch" edited by Pauline Allen. Basically, the Orthodox teaching according to St. Severus is that God the Word assumed humanity including the "rational soul."

Now, my first instinct is that Divinity would have "taken the place" of the soul in the Incarnate Christ. As per St. Severus' teaching, I am trying to correct my understanding of the soul. I have some thoughts on the subject, but I'd love to read some feedback (stevekurian@yahoo.com).

-Steve K.
(photo from orthodox-library.com)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

D'souza/Singer Debate

I just saw Dinesh D'souza debate Peter Singer at Princeton University. The experience was absolutely amazing, though, admittedly, I've seen most of the arguments before on the web or in print.

I think the part that resonated most with me was how profound existential questions can be answered by orthodox (lowercase o) Christian theology. Note, I'm not giving a complete appraisal of the debate in this blog posting. What I am saying though, is that, very often in the debate, Singer would ask a question framed as "If a God exists than this..." or "Why would a God in the Judeo-Christian sense allow for this..."

Very specifically he asked D'souza why people lived morally before Christianity. To this D'souza gave the Christian answer, "because all people are stamped with the image of God." Now, I don't think Singer gave this argument much thought, seeing as how he already presumed the non-existence of God. But that was besides the point, the debate was about whether man can be moral without God, not on His existence. I don't think Singer gave a positive affirmation of morality without God other than saying the ways in which morality developed and why biologically it is ingrained in us.

Well, because something is ingrained and biological, doesn't make it absolute. If we are moral because we are helpless to do so, is it really morality?

-Steve K.

Conservative Episcopalians Forming New Church

Conservatives within the Episcopal Church angered by the liberal views of the church's leaders plan to form a rival denomination.

The new Anglican Church in North America will include four Episcopal dioceses that recently split from the U.S. church, along with breakaway Anglican parishes from Canada.

The announcement comes after decades of debate over what Episcopalians should believe about issues ranging from salvation to sexuality. Tensions erupted in 2003 when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop.

My question: What makes an Anglican "conservative?" Fidelity with the founding tenets of the Anglican communion? Does that mean as Henry VII or Blessed Augustine (the English one...not the "real" one)? The Anglican Church was founded on a tension between Roman Catholicism and English Reformation.

I believe Henry VIII wished for a Church in all things Catholic with the English language as a medium, but settled for what he and his daughter Elizabeth could get. To me that makes a true "conservative" Anglican indistinguishable from a modern Catholic who'd pretty much espouse the same ideas (am I wrong about this??).

The Episcopalian response:
"And we reiterate what has been true of Anglicanism for centuries: that there is room within The Episcopal Church for people with different views, and we regret that some have felt the need to depart from the diversity of our common life in Christ," the Rev. Charles K. Robertson said in the written statement.

Diversity within a single communion? Just because the Anglican Church has committed neither to Catholicism or Protestantism since its very beginning doesn't make it a good idea. There's a good reason why the Church is seeing declining membership in Western Europe, while its more "traditional" branches in Africa and Asia are flourishing.

-Steve K.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Do You Mind if I Use a Gift Card for this Horrifying Procedure??

Just in time for Christmas, the Planned Parenthood gift card, for use with all of PP's various products....including abortions.

Let's go over this:
Good Gift: Delicious Sausage & Cheese

Bad Gift: Abortion

- Steve K.

(photo from yes-zim.com)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why Don't They Just Ask for World Socialism?

"WCC, an ecumenical fellowship of 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, has criticized the current international financial system for not only being “inefficient,” but also “based on injustice.”

The church body urges the United Nations to “take leadership in redesigning an international financial architecture that establishes a global system of regulation as well as enlarges the space for developing country governments to enhance social protection in crisis periods.”

Among the proposed changes to the economic system is unconditional cancellation of illegitimate debts claimed from poor countries; the removal of structural inequalities in the global trade system; the establishment of mutuality, transparency and civil society participation in negotiations; and the formation of a “just and sustainable” financial framework with climate change in mind.

"Rich, industrialized countries have … an ethical and moral obligation to pay for the ecological damages they have inflicted on poor countries through their disproportionate appropriation of natural resources and unsustainable lifestyles," the WCC statement declared. "

- Full Article from Christian Post

So here's the wish list for the World Economy:
1) Must be climate friendly
2) Must be "just" and "efficient"
3) Must be "sustainable"
4) Must be one global system (does that mean central planning)

Sure, this sounds peachy, but people aren't pawns on a chess board and you can't have massive economic regulation without massive abrogation of individual or local freedoms. Churchmen aren't exactly economists, and economies happen even when nobody's looking.

Can you even "manage" a world economy? What about third world countries with corrupt and/or extremist regimes (or constantly changing regimes)? Needless to say that central planning has never...ever...worked, and the terms "just," "efficient," and "sustainable" all are subject to interpretation.

To me a "fair" trade would be one where neither side puts up a barrier to exchange, to them "fair" actually means favoring the side they deem more aggrieved.

-Steve K.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

AWFUL 80s Song Turns Out to be Orthodox...

I found this out rummaging through wikipedia today. "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister actually repeats:

Kyrie Elaison down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Elaison through the darkness of the night

So apparently is was Mr. Mister (80s band name...irritating after the first time you hear it) reciting a short prayer. You see, my brother and I always swore he was saying "Carry a laser."

Carry a laser through the darkness of the night!

That actually makes MORE sense.

-Steve K

Monday, November 24, 2008


As the lone Orthodox presence on the lonely stretch of road between Philadelphia and North Jersey...

If you are interested in going to see Dinesh D'souza debate Peter Singer at Princeton University, let me know so we can coordinate. You will NOT be disappointed.
-Steve K

Pope Questions Interfaith Dialogue

"In quotations from the letter that appeared on Sunday in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading daily newspaper, the pope said the book “explained with great clarity” that “an interreligious dialogue in the strict sense of the word is not possible.” In theological terms, added the pope, “a true dialogue is not possible without putting one’s faith in parentheses.”"

Having not actually read said document, it's difficult to comment. Sounds like Pope B16 is calling out "dialogue" for the charade it is. I imagine that by "parentheses" he means standing as a third party outside of a religious dialogue. However, a world view is a world view...even a neutral stance requires the adoption of certain secular assumptions...and secularism comes from a particular tradition itself.

-Steve K.