A dear friend of mine serves as an Orthodox priest in one of our coastal cities. He told me about a visit to his port of a Russian “sailing ship.” It was a wonderful visit, as he related. The ship had a small chapel on board and a Russian Orthodox chaplain. Together they celebrated a small prayer service in the chapel, which was packed with visitors and sailors. The service including the blessing of water. Traditionally at the end of the blessing, the people are sprinkled with the blessed water. My American friend took the sprinkling brush and (in a common American way) lightly sprinkled the water. He was interrupted, he said, by a loud, “Nyet!”
The Russian priest took the brush from him, plunged it in the water and proceeded to “slosh” the gathered congregation (“sprinkle” simply doesn’t describe such a application of water).
When my friend told me the story, I asked him if he understood what had happened. “We Americans sprinkle water as though we’re afraid to get wet. The Russians “slosh” the water as though they are getting blessed!”
Hey, if you’re gonna do something, do it all the way.
Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle.
If the Gospels and the books of the Old and New Testament were written by men guided by the Holy Spirit, why don’t we know more about the mystery of God and of salvation? Is it possible for the Holy Spirit to transfer words from the Godhead to the mind of a man and through his pen to the paper without that man gaining some of this knowledge as it passes?
Why are there so many factual inconsistencies in the Bible if this was written by a Being who is clued into the mysteries of the universe and supposedly knows how the world works?
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
The ‘scientist as priest’ or ‘science as the new religion’ meme is pretty old now. The interesting thing in this quote from Andrew Brown’s blog is the passivity of the nonbeliever and the believer.
People aren’t replacing religion with science. They are abandoning both. Or, better, they are giving the same passive attention to both. I don’t think that most people are very religious, despite what they think of themselves. They are content to know that the Church exists and is available for weddings and funerals. They are satisfied enough to know that God loves them. All of this is like insurance. Good to know you have it but not something you think much about.
The same seems to be true now of science. Nobody really does science, just as no one really prays regularly. It is sufficient to know that someone is doing science. It is enough to know that there is a priesthood keeping things in their place and overlaying order on the world.
|Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)|
|Jennifer Michael Hecht|