Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Free Chant: Resurrexi

Go here for a free downloadable album of Gregorian Chant done by seminarians of the Institute of the Incarnate Word ("IVE" in Spanish). An old friend from my military days is a seminarian with the IVE, and brought this resource to my attention. Very good!

7 comments:

MHL said...

Great music. Thanks!

Canadian said...

Beautiful! I love this stuff.

P.S. How are things going? I have been attending an Orthodox mission full time for about 2 months now and part time for about 6. Some things I love--the Liturgy, the reverence, the historical connection etc. I am finding though, some things that trouble me. A dreadful lack of personal scripture reading or knowledge. Some are more concerned about the details of fasting for Lent than having a foul mouth(Lent is even given as an excuse for having a foul mouth). Some excessive language regarding Mary in some of the Akathist hymns and other places. Prayer to the saints. Some parishoners run incessantly to the Priest rather than to Christ or scripture (openly admitted by them). I don't know...I feel like I can't go back to evangelicalism, yet something seems amiss here too.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Thos said...

Canadian,

Thanks for stopping by. Maybe I need to post a little bit on my blog. It's been too long; I haven't been a great blogger...

Thank you for sharing your experiences at an Orthodox mission, and the feelings this experience has given you.

You said, "I feel like I can't go back to evangelicalism, yet something seems amiss here too." This statement followed some things that struck you as amiss. I certainly feel that I can relate with the "can't go back" feeling. I wonder if we can't go back for the same reasons. I can't go back to accepting some of the presuppositions, but some comments you made make me think you are okay with those presuppositions.

To wit: you seem to hold to a sola scriptura-like view that says the scriptures will deliver an answer to problems if we delve in. You said, "Some parishoners run incessantly to the Priest rather than to Christ or scripture". I guess by 'incessantly' you mean they don't focus on the revealed word at all, and I'd agree with you that that's a problem. I think the Roman Catholic would say that it's unfair to say one is running to their priest *rather than* Christ, because his office puts him in the place of Christ (in persona Christi -- isn't that the Latin phrase for this sentiment?). I just had a long debate with a Protestant brother on infant baptism. I can't say "go to Scripture" so that we come to agreement. He and I both know the parts of scripture that speak to this debate. I can't say "go to Christ", because that'd probably come across as insulting. We've both prayed for understanding (and I don't mean to doubt that, in time, Christ can give us that understanding). The Episcopal structure allows one to go to Christ and Scripture BY going to the priest (at least, ideally).

Hang in there about their "dreadful lack of personal scripture reading or knowledge." What I mean is, that doesn't mean they're not the True Church, and maybe they need you to be a light about the grace in scripture reading just like you need them (if they're right) to be a light about the grace in the Eucharist. Same with their misunderstanding of the benefits of fasting.

Finally, and I'm concerned that I sound like I'm critical of you for what you said (because I'm really glad you shared, it's just that I have little to go on, you noted a few things that surprised me. You noted "Some excessive language regarding Mary" and "Prayer to the saints." Well, the Mary stuff doesn't surprise me. I'm still quite with you. But the prayer to saints part -- that's what they do.

I mean, it's a deep, deep part of both Ancient Christian churches to pray to the saints. So if you feel that there's something right about being there, but they've got that wrong, I would hypothesize that you're viewing them with a protestant's eye (which may be fine). It could be that you think they've got beautiful worship right, but their teaching authority is absent. I have approached this more from the other end, of questioning teaching authority, and seeing where that has taken me. I don't know that I've done it right, because when I get intellectually stuck on one point, I am totally stuck. But it's just a difference I see in our approaches. I really admire that you've worshipped there to see how it goes. I wish I were more willing to do that.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

Canadian said...

Thos,
Thanks for your response.
You said:
"To wit: you seem to hold to a sola scriptura-like view that says the scriptures will deliver an answer to problems if we delve in."

I have rejected that scripture can be rightly interpreted either without sacred Tradition, or outside the context of the ecclesial community. I don't see the scripture as primarily a sourcebook for answers (prooftexting) but rather that gift from God which sweeps us to Christ for salvation. (2Tim.3:15)

It just seems that ignorance of scripture is not considered really that serious of an issue, that's all.
"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." -- St. Jerome, A.D. 340-420

Also, I'm not advocating running to scripture as an individual, but rather as one within the communion of saints in the spirit of David--Oh, how I love thy law, precepts, commandments, word etc,etc.
I don't want them to use scripture like a Protestant, but in discussion with those other than the priest, the lack of scriptural knowledge directly affects things for the worse. The seed of the word naturally flourishes in the fertile soil of the hearts of the faithful, bringing forth fruit.

I am still working through several other issues; looking at the Orthodox response to the docrines of grace, the will and it's freedom, the larger scriptural canon, etc.
I really want the Eucharist, but I can't blindly give the nod to some of these things and just keep moving ahead at the pace I have been. We're slowing this train down a bit for now. Thanks for your encouraging and hopeful words.

Thos said...

Canadian,

Thanks for your well written response. I'm pretty sure I'm with you now.

Here's a question then: would you say that there is competence in things like catechesis, tradition and the liturgy BUT ignorance about scripture? Or is the scriptural ignorance in line with other ignorance? I do not mean to equate scipture with the others, but if the ignorance is across the
board, maybe we know what we're working with. Also, does the missional nature of your church have any play here? Or are they mostly born and bred Orthodox?

The things you are still working through sound very intruiging. Do you think the Orthodox view of grace differs from your Baptist roots or from Catholicism? One purely doctrinal issue I found very different in Orthodoxy (though not without merit) is their view of original sin/original guilt. I was surprised to see there was no consensus on the point.

I'm sure you did the wise thing by slowing the train down, but let me warn you about the emotions that might follow (if your experience is anything like mine). You may at some point feel like the honeymoon is over -- the causes of affection have become familiar, and the causes for anxiety are bright and glaring. I went through a pretty lengthy period (re: Catholicism) where I felt like I missed the window of opportunity to convert, when I was still fairly infatuated.

But all that to say that slow is good. It would be horrible to convert (tell all the family, etc.), and then stop and wonder if it was all wrong. I'd rather stay here and make sure it's all right.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

Canadian said...

"It would be horrible to convert (tell all the family, etc.), and then stop and wonder if it was all wrong. I'd rather stay here and make sure it's all right."

This is basically what I told my priest. This is not like changing evangelical churches or denominations. I don't want to become a catechumen or be chrismated only later to decide I made a wrong decision. It's not like I expect to have absolutely no reservations or questions, but I need to be convinced this is the apostolic faith.

The priest seems to have a shepherd's heart, he is available for parishoners, and wants to see their "progression unto salvation". (This eastern soteriological view still causes my ears to perk up, salvation here is ontological not forensic) He has given catechesis and instructional classes. His homilies are very sincere and not empty fluff.
He himself has been Orthodox for 4years, the people are all converts except for two elderly ladies who grew up EO. Part of the problem may be that the mission is so small that we can't just blend in and examine Orthodoxy without intimate personal contact with people. Also, a larger church may have more mature parishoners who can answer questions. I feel like I know more about Orthodox theology and history (meagre as it is) than they do (except for the priest). At this point, I really need to learn and have important questions answered, not feel responsible for helping Orthodox know their faith better.

Yes, grace is seen differently here. There is no evident merit theology as with Rome and Protestantism. Christ is on a rescue mission on behalf of the Father to restore the cosmos to God. Christ is not just reversing our guilty status, but repairing our corrupted nature so that our Persons can be united with him in baptism and the Eucharist. The goal is to be partakers of the Divine nature through grace, not to be legally made acceptable for heaven someday.

Your points about infatuation are good. This is why I left my Baptist church to attend the mission full time. What would happen when fully immersed there? How would I feel about the liturgy after hearing it over and over; what does Orthodoxy look like from the inside; how do folks interact with one another, the priest, or with Christ himself? My initial comment on this thread gives some of my feelings and reaction to the above questions.
I said to a Protestant friend recently that I feel like I am staring out at the ocean which is (or represents) God. As a Protestant, I would likely scoop up a pail of of water, examine it, test it, observe it and send it off for detailed theological analysis to certain exegetes (of my own persuasion). It seems the Orthodox would rather kneel down on the shore, have someone pour the pail of water over their head letting it run down over the entire person and then take a deep drink to slake the thirst of both body and soul. God is to be experienced, not examined. We are to know Him, not just know about Him. This is what attracts me to Orthodoxy, however I just haven't seen it played out in person yet and that has me somewhat nervous and doubting.

Grace and peace.

George Weis said...

Very Pretty Music :) I would love to hear it in a cathedral!

Canadian, your last statement on the Orthodox Church is very persuasive. I like the idea anyway!
God certainly should be KNOWN not just known about. But I wouldn't say that all protestants have the examine God view... many do to be sure!

May the Lord Bless Each of you for His Name Sake!
-george-