Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Right worship. This is the meaning of the term: Orthodox. Quite an imposing term. Quite a statement of certainty. One might presume synonym phrases, such as: Truth, Righteousness, The Right Way, The One True Way, We Have It All Together, We Have It From the Source. The term Orthodox conjures in my mind's eye images of men in black with beards, either Jewish or Greek, or maybe Russian, but then, the Russian ones are always in white robes and have white beards to match. In my mind's eye mind you.

As of late, the word Orthodox is a coveted term. And it is hardly wonder why it is a coveted word, in a world groping for answers and moorings.

For some this flail for certainty and 'right' answers sends them off trotting in one of many directions, often in circles, trying on many ideas and exploring a bevvy of behaviors, in pursuit of the relativley firm feeling that they have finally put the pieces of their working philosophy together and can now begin the "praxis."

For others, this means laying hold of what has gone before, perhaps "first", in their chosen tradition/religion. Nevermind that "laying hold" of intellectual or spiritual property is a subjective act in itself. Nevermind again that the intellectual property was subjectively gathered.

Take for instance the Russian Orthodox Church. I'm a fan of it, to whatever degree I can be, given that I have never darkened the door of a ROC Church. My fan-ness comes mostly from having read The Brothers Karamazov and really liking Father Zosima and the youngest brother Alyosha who is so influenced by him. Other than this, my only exposure to the ROC are the strange documents I found while hiking in the mountains west of Boulder near an old ghost town named Caribou. The documents were yellowed and crinkled and water stained and stuffed into one of several vw beetles rusting as invalids in the yard of an old unfinished hippie shack with three still handed clocks that faced out from a window with a sign that read: All humans who enter will not leave. Three stools were visible through the curtain and a piece of coal sat atop the middle stool. In the big room sat a large pipe organ. Silver pipes if I remember correctly. Clothes and furniture were strewn haphazard. Nothing orthodox about the house that I found the Orthodox histories and understandings of various Saints.

If the Russian Orthodox are Orthodox in the Christian sense of the word, then do their differences with the Greek Church matter? For the ROC was certainly born from the Greek Orthodox Church - which is perfectly fine, as far as I'm concerned, but what about all of the cultural embellishments? Is that Orthodox? Or does Orthodoxy not depend on cultural influence? If it did, then perhaps the Greek Orthodox would not be orthodox, for the first Chrisitians were not primarily Greek.

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