Decided to take a week long break from reading/writing. I have some posts ready to go up, but other than that, going to let my brain rest a little.
I found out two things recently that will make my Orthodox friends and followers somewhat sad:
1. One of the youth pastors I am friends with have taken “mission trips” over the past several years to a European country where Orthodoxy is part of the culture. The conversation came up where I expressed my interest in Eastern Orthodoxy. He said that the students and workers didn’t know anything about icons, thinking they were praying to them as if they were gods or akin to function as gods. I knew where he was coming from and his confusion, as I struggled with the same thoughts. I explained that Icons, as I have been explained, are like pictures of your family that you revere and ask to pray for you. “We have pictures of our fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles; why not of our spiritual fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles?” After I said that, he seemed to be both relieved and worried. Next, he told me that they ended up baptizing one of the male natives, therefore excommunicating him from his family, friends, and church. Talk about awkward city.
2. One of my old friends, very smart and informed, ask me yesterday about Eastern Orthodoxy. He asked when it developed as a denomination. At first, I didn’t understand, but then it hit me: My friend thought Eastern Orthodoxy was a denomination developed post-Reformation, akin to Anglicanism or Anabaptists. I had to explain Church history to my friend, and that was awkward, because I thought he was better informed on the subject.
Both of these people are my friends, so please don’t bash them for their ignorance or naivete. But combined with my own experience of ignorance and naivete, it makes me so sad that Church history is not taught adequately in the Western Church, and awareness of all the traditions of Christianity is deplorable.
WARNING: DON’T TRY TO READ ABOUT CHRISTOLOGY IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE AT 3 IN THE MORNING. YOU WILL BE VERY CONFUSED.
I wouldn’t say it’s weird at all, but patriotism is very different. In a lot of European countries, if you fly your country’s flag at any time other than during the World Cup, it has a stigma of being associated with fascists and racists. Whereas in the US, I’ve driven down many streets, and see the US flag hanging from purpose built flag poles built into a house. I guess an equivalent in the US is the confederate flag maybe?
Great insights here. All my American followers should read!
Most people forget (or don’t know) that Nietzsche abandoned The Will to Power. The work was compiled by his sister, and published after Nietzsche died. Nietzsche had some plans to actually publish it after many drafts and revisions for several years, but wrote in his letters to his friends and mother, his felt dissapointment with this major work and went on to write his other major, later works, such as Antichrist.
It was Heidegger who maintained that Nietzsche’s notebooks held the key to Nietzsche’s thought, and that his other works (published throughout his life) were a “foreground” for Nietzsche’s posthumous books. And that thought has been maintained through Heidegger’s and Ricoeur’s influence.
Nietzsche’s sister chose this as the finale to The Will to Power:
"This world is the will to power – and nothing besides! And you yourself are will to power – and nothing besides!"
However, in February 1888, Nietzsche stated:
"I mistrust all systematisers and go out of my way to avoid them. The will to system, for a thinker at least, is something compromising, a form of immorality …Perhaps one will guess by looking underneath and behind this book which systematiser it is doing its best to avoid – me myself.”
I’m not saying that citing the Will to Power or its relation to Nietzsche is illegitimate, but that it must be taken into account that Nietzsche rejected it in his later days (it can be argued that his mind was already deteriorating at this point).
Protect me and save me, chase grief away from me, chase my lowness of heart and my despondency.