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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Synergy

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  • Christopher Orr
    The link I gave before to a Fr. Stephen Freeman post gets at something like this, too. Also, here s a pertinent selection from St. Anthony the Great (+356)
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 14, 2010
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      The link I gave before to a Fr. Stephen Freeman post gets at something like
      this, too.

      Also, here's a pertinent selection from St. Anthony the Great (+356) whose
      life was written by St. Athanasius:

      "We remain good through resembling
      God"<http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2007/04/turning-to-god-we-have-cured-our.html>

      God is good, dispassionate and immutable. Now someone who thinks it
      reasonable and true to affirm that God does not change, may well ask how in
      that case, it is possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are
      good and showing mercy to those who honor Him, while turning away from the
      wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God
      neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are
      passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honor Him, for that
      would mean He is swayed by pleasure . . . He is good, and He only bestows
      blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the
      other hand, if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him; but
      if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. By
      living in holiness, we cleave to God; but by becoming wicked we make Him our
      enemy. It is not that He grows angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is
      our own sins that prevent God from shining within us, and expose us to the
      demons who punish us. And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain
      release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made
      Him change, but that through our actions and our turning to God we have
      cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God�s goodness. Thus
      to say that God turns away from the wicked is like saying that the sun hides
      itself from the blind."

      - Excerpt from The Philokalia, Vol. 1, Text 150; Engl. tr. by
      Palmer-Sherrard-Ware, p. 352. Quoted in Orthodox Dogmatic
      Theology<http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/dogmatics_pomazansky.htm>by
      Protopresbyter
      Michael Pomazansky [+1988]; tr. and ed. by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose [+1982]
      (Platina, CA: St. Herman Press, 1997), p.350-351.


      Christopher
      **


      On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 5:29 PM, Benjamin Harju <benjamin.harju@...>wrote:

      > Yeah, like that. Also in the sense that our everyday life becomes an
      > expression of the life of Jesus Christ, with whom we are united in
      > communion. I chose the word assimilate because it expresses the idea that
      > the salvation that our Lord accomplishes is something that is kneaded
      > throughout the whole of a person. Our activity not only is the work of
      > faith, but is also our cooperation with the goal of Divine Grace. Apart
      > from our active engagement of God's willing and working in us, we never get
      > beyond the potential or theory of what we believe Christ has done for us.
      > All this is to say that Christ's cross and resurrection are intended to
      > accomplish a change, a healing, in each unique person. God will not force
      > this healing change, just as He did not force Adam and Eve to remain
      > faithful, so it is left to us to take responsibility for our own
      > involvement
      > in the salvation Christ has for us. Like dough we need to be kneaded, but
      > like those who are one day to be held accountable for themselves we must
      > freely struggle to submit to the Creator's deft hands.
      >
      > In Christ,
      > Benjamin Harju
      >
      >
      > On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM, mrthatoneguy92 <timsteele2@...
      > >wrote:
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Thanks, Mr. Harju.
      > >
      > > What exactly do you mean by "assimilate" our salvation? As in living it
      > out
      > > and making it a part of our everyday life?
      > >
      > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > Benjamin Harju <benjamin.harju@...> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Yes, basically. If you have further concerns about synergy, I hope you
      > > will
      > > > continue to feel free to address them.
      > > >
      > > > Since salvation is not ever something anyone can earn, but is rather
      > > > something we must engage and assimilate through activity (faith works),
      > > > synergy is a must. In Orthodoxy pure passivity would keep a person from
      > > > ever assimilating the Divine gift of salvation (like only
      > half-believing,
      > > if
      > > > there could be such a thing). The role of synergy comes to the fore in
      > > > daily life - in prayer and keeping the commandments. Here the Christian
      > > is
      > > > faced with his/her own sin and need for God. The Church, through 2000
      > > years
      > > > of experience, has learned the common depths of sin at work - the
      > > passions -
      > > > and is able to guide the penitent in the struggle, so that the struggle
      > > is a
      > > > profitable one. Awareness of the influence of the passions is a must
      > for
      > > > the one who wishes to know what synergy is all about in Orthodoxy,
      > > because
      > > > synergy is most often a struggle - by the Grace of God - against one's
      > > own
      > > > sin and toward the gifts that God offers. Struggle is key; it is the
      > > > constant activity of faith.
      > > >
      > > > A good (GREAT) book that articulates the practical role of synergy in
      > > > spiritual struggle is "Path to Sanity" by Dee Pennock. It outlines the
      > > > influence of the major passions and directs the Christian in the proper
      > > > manner of spiritual struggle. I wish I had read it as a Lutheran.
      > > >
      > > > The practice of synergy reveals a deep dimension to sin that I did not
      > > find
      > > > in Lutheranism - not even in Luther's Theology of the Cross - a
      > > seriousness
      > > > that Lutheranism does not know (despite how serious it desires to take
      > > > sin!). I know that sounds like a slam, and I apologize for my
      > bluntness,
      > > > but I think it's worth taking the risk of offending someone. The
      > practice
      > > > of synergy reveals - in an existential sense - the depths of man's (my)
      > > > sinfulness and the greatness of God's love and mercy toward us. It's
      > the
      > > > difference between reading about Paris and going to Paris. It is also
      > how
      > > > the Orthodox take up their cross daily and follow after Christ.
      > > >
      > > > In Christ,
      > > > Benjamin Harju
      > > >
      > > > On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 11:50 AM, mrthatoneguy92 <timsteele2@
      > ...>wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > So, synergy could basically be described as God working within and
      > > through
      > > > > us, and us cooperating with that said work?
      > > > >
      > > > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>
      > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > > > "mrthatoneguy92" <timsteele2@> wrote:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Wow... that is deep. I'm going to have to chew on that one for
      > > awhile.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>
      > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > > > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@> wrote:
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > I think it's especially important to remember that no one -
      > > including
      > > > > > > Christ! - earns salvation. Forgiveness is not forgiveness if
      > anyone
      > > -
      > > > > > > including Christ! - pays for it; that turns forgiveness into
      > > > > reimbursement
      > > > > > > or paying on one's behalf.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Similarly, sacrifice need not be to anyone. A soldier jumping on
      > a
      > > > > grenade
      > > > > > > to save his friends is not a sacrifice to anyone, it is simply
      > > > > sacrificing,
      > > > > > > giving what need not have been given. Christ's sacrifice is not
      > to
      > > any
      > > > > > > person - it is kenosis to the point of death, death on a cross,
      > and
      > > > > descent
      > > > > > > into Hades.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > You won't really 'get' the essence/energies distinction. I don't
      > > think
      > > > > I
      > > > > > > have beyond the textbook definition. The shorthand is: God is
      > > present
      > > > > > > Personally, Himself in His energies, His actions. Grace is in
      > some
      > > > > sense
      > > > > > > the presence of God Himself - often said to be the Holy Spirit.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Grace is something that is always present and fillest all things
      > -
      > > not
      > > > > just
      > > > > > > the predestined, the elect, those that believe. We are all imbued
      > > with
      > > > > > > grace enough to choose and work synergistically, or not; this
      > grace
      > > is
      > > > > not
      > > > > > > reserved for some only, in a special, unique way (for some, but
      > not
      > > > > all).
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Christopher
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > On Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 7:46 PM, mrthatoneguy92 <timsteele2@>
      > > wrote:
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > Thank you, Christopher, for your help! I appreciate what you
      > have
      > > > > said.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > 1) One of the first things I saw as being an area of agreement
      > > > > between
      > > > > > > > Lutheranism and Orthodoxy is that salvation cannot be earned. I
      > > have
      > > > > always
      > > > > > > > appreciated that in all my talks with Orthodox Christians, that
      > > there
      > > > > has
      > > > > > > > always been an emphasis on the fact that salvation is not
      > earned.
      > > It
      > > > > helped
      > > > > > > > me overcome some automatic safeguards that would have come up
      > due
      > > to
      > > > > being
      > > > > > > > raised Lutheran.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > 2) I have been looking at the whole theology of God's Essence
      > and
      > > > > Energies.
      > > > > > > > I am still confused (which I suppose is normal at this stage).
      > > > > However,
      > > > > > > > despite my lack of understanding, I still see what you are
      > trying
      > > to
      > > > > get at.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > > > > > > xcjorr@ wrote:
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > I would add that if you remove the idea that 1) salvation is
      > > earned
      > > > > and
      > > > > > > > the idea that 2) grace is simply God's undeserved favor rather
      > > than
      > > > > God's
      > > > > > > > energies and presence, then the synergy 'problem' ceases to be
      > a
      > > > > problem at
      > > > > > > > all.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > That is, this is a problem created by the Lutheran schema.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Christopher
      > > > > > > > > Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > > > > > > From: Benjamin Harju <benjamin.harju@>
      > > > > > > > > Sender: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > > > > > Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 19:02:12
      > > > > > > > > To: <LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Reply-To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Synergy
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Tim,
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Synergy is based on the notion of human freedom and God's
      > > respect
      > > > > of that
      > > > > > > > > freedom. Fallen man is bound as a captive under the tyranny
      > of
      > > the
      > > > > devil.
      > > > > > > > > He is comparable to the Israelites enslaved by the Egyptians.
      > > The
      > > > > power
      > > > > > > > > holding fallen man in bondage is death, and its sting is sin
      > > (1Co
      > > > > 15:56).
      > > > > > > > > So fallen man is under a tyrant, suffers the lash of sin, and
      > > is
      > > > > shackled
      > > > > > > > to
      > > > > > > > > Hades by death. Yet in this situation he can still exercise
      > his
      > > > > will,
      > > > > > > > > though because of his bondage to sin and death he cannot
      > fully
      > > or
      > > > > > > > > consistently accomplish that will. And, of course, his will
      > > cannot
      > > > > > > > > accomplish his release and return to God!
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Synergy, for the unconverted man, means assenting to the
      > > release
      > > > > effected
      > > > > > > > by
      > > > > > > > > our Passover Lamb, Christ. Basically that's all that fallen
      > man
      > > can
      > > > > do is
      > > > > > > > > say yes or no, so that is what God requires. Faith in the
      > heart
      > > > > must work
      > > > > > > > > through outward confession and commitment.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Synergy for the converted man means struggling against your
      > own
      > > > > love of
      > > > > > > > sin
      > > > > > > > > and conditioning toward it (passions) and to persevere by
      > God's
      > > > > Grace in
      > > > > > > > the
      > > > > > > > > commandments of God. This is the ascetic struggle, also known
      > > as
      > > > > daily
      > > > > > > > > repentance or bearing the cross and following Christ. Again,
      > > it's
      > > > > about
      > > > > > > > > willingly and purposefully growing closer to God. Man is
      > > invited to
      > > > > do
      > > > > > > > it,
      > > > > > > > > and God supplies the Grace of His Spirit so it is possible.
      > God
      > > is
      > > > > not
      > > > > > > > > passive man's autopilot, but rather the active man's
      > Energizer.
      > > The
      > > > > Holy
      > > > > > > > > Spirit perfects, He does not take over. The demons do not
      > > respect
      > > > > free
      > > > > > > > will
      > > > > > > > > and try to trick man and lead him into bondage so that they
      > can
      > > > > take over
      > > > > > > > a
      > > > > > > > > man.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > In the faith-works paradigm man believes and so he works. His
      > > work
      > > > > is
      > > > > > > > > beneficial in his growth in God because God supplies His
      > > personal
      > > > > > > > Energies
      > > > > > > > > (Grace) to man. The believing man is the active man. Faith
      > > works.
      > > > > In
      > > > > > > > > Lutheranism faith is a passive recipient, and based on what
      > is
      > > > > received
      > > > > > > > it
      > > > > > > > > works in gratitude. In Orthodoxy faith is activity, and this
      > > active
      > > > > faith
      > > > > > > > > receives Grace, which draws man deeper into union with God
      > and
      > > > > furthers
      > > > > > > > the
      > > > > > > > > potency of his personal spiritual warfare.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > I hope this is a decent start.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > In Christ,
      > > > > > > > > Benjamin Harju
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > On Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 3:23 PM, mrthatoneguy92 <timsteele2@>
      > > > > wrote:
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > > I'll be honest- even though I've done my fair share of
      > > research
      > > > > and
      > > > > > > > > > dictionary looking, I still don't quite understand synergy,
      > > how
      > > > > it
      > > > > > > > relates
      > > > > > > > > > to the whole faith vs. works thing, etc.
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > > If y'all could help me understand it better, that would be
      > > > > greatly
      > > > > > > > > > appreciated.
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > > - Tim
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > ------------------------------------
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
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      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
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