Orthodox Christianity “CHILDREN, DO NOT DESPAIR…”by John Betjeman ORTHODOXY AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE What is the Christian life? Children, do not despair because your lives are difficult; only struggle against sin. Elder Sophrony of Essex If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8 Once Saved, Always Saved?...having once chosen for Christ, having once crested the spiritual hill on the Schwinn of the soul, so to speak, are we at liberty to sit comfortably and coast for the remainder of our lives, leaving all to God and gravity? Or is the Christian life a battlefield in the vast cosmic war; is my life one face of that great struggle, a life and death struggle to which I awaken each day, to which I re-commit myself each day? What is sin? Is it a thought? Is it an act? Blessed Seraphim of Platina says it is like a web in which we are enmeshed. More than acts, it is dark proclivities; sinful acts are just the tip of the iceberg. Lurking beneath each sinful act is the vast, unseen mass of our inclination to the sin. It is the proclivity to anger, or to the lust of the flesh, or to avarice; it is a deep and abiding resentment, or a preference for the stomach, or sloth, or gambling, or intoxicating chemicals—choose your preference—it is the preferring of these things to the Light. The man who says that he is without sin, lies. Or he is blind to his inner life, obtuse and insensitive to the teeming world within. What, then, is the Work? Firstly, the sinful act must be avoided—at the very least, we must struggle against it; even if we fail sometimes, we must struggle. This is the prerequisite; this is like learning to count. One must learn to count before one can study geometry and algebra and calculus. Having set ourselves in opposition to the sin, then, we undertake the larger task, the uprooting of its dwelling place, the dismantling of its foundation in our deep places. We begin to lay the axe to the root of the tree. Who can know the small, forgotten details of a life, the private pains and absences and griefs, the unanswered longings? Who can know how the little crevices and faults were opened—the tiny flaws into which, over long years, with our silent assent, the Beast has quietly seeped, and there fortified himself? In each life these details are different; each human’s sinfulness is unique. Yet all sins are the same. They all are inlets of the same dark sea, all of the same darkness, conformed differently. The Fathers say that each of us has a most deeply held sin, one dark tendency most tenaciously adherent, its tendrils insinuated intimately into the bricks and mortar of our deep places, brooding, close to our living core. And the Fathers instruct that it is this keystone sin that we must focus on most acutely. When the grip of this dark inclination is weakened, as we patiently dissect it away from our deep places, the other sins will be weakened, too. It is as if this darkness channels, pirates some of our life force to our dark realm, to feed the dark army. How is the work accomplished? How is the Beast dissected from the inner man, the deep heart? This is the labor of Christ’s Church. This is the work of the Orthodox. The Church understands herself to be a hospital. The hospital’s function is not fellowship. It is not about doing nice things for God. Her task is the recovery, the regeneration of individual souls. And the man who is satisfied with the state of his soul is a fool and deceived. Certainly fellowship and works of mercy are part of the life of the Church. In some Western confessions, though, they seem to have become substitutes for, distractions from the deep and essential work. But, properly understood, these are fruits of the growth of the soul, consequences of the labor of regeneration, a natural outpouring, an overflowing of the Divine Light from a healing life. They should not be seen as ends in themselves. NEXT MONTH: ORTHODOXY AND THE LABOR OF REGENERATION Inquiries to All chapters copyright © 2014 St. George’s Orthodox Church, by author Nick Martone, c/o Edenton, NC. St. George’s Church Telephone 482-2006 P.O. Box 38, Edenton, NC. 8 Albemarle Tradewinds August2015 albemarletradewinds.com
There are a lot of people that like pistols. We use them also. But most experts feel that a revolver is more suited for beginners or folks that just don’t shoot very often. Here is a list of 24 reasons we think that a revolver is a better choice for the general public. Question of the Month Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish the most interesting ones in our next issue! Last Month’s Question: Should the Confederate flag be banned? The Confederate flag may not be something we can all agree on, but the first amendment 1-The revolver is the safest weapon ever made. certainly is. To ban the flag would be a contradiction to our freedom of speech. 2-Low Maintenance. 3-Exteremly reliable. When you talk about banning the Confederate flag, it brings to question, which one, 4-Quick and easy to draw. 5-If you have been trained on one revolver, you have been trained all revolvers. and why is only one of the many Confederate flags viewed by some as a symbol of 6- Fewer shots needed for training. 7-A shooter has a greater choice in caliber of rounds. hate while many others remain ignored? 8-If weapon misfires, just continue to pull trigger. For example, The SC state flag was the first 9-Anyone can shoot a revolver. Confederate flag to fly over captured US 10-First time shooters will find the revolver to be a natural fit and easy to shoot. territory when it went up over fort Sumter in 11-Loading a revolver is idiot proof. 1861. The new GA state flag is a copy of the 12-Revolvers are made quicker and easier. first national flag of the Confederacy, the 13-No safety or quick triggers. “real” stars & bars. The VA state flag is also 14-Revolvers cost less than other weapons systems. a Confederate flag adopted in 1861. The 15-Revolvers are better weapon for instinctive shooting under stress. motto on the flag, Sic semper tyrannis, was 16-Revolver looks less aggressive which makes the weapon system more jury-friendly. a message to Lincoln. 17-A shooter can buy a grip which fits their hand. These are just a few of the many Confederate flags still in use today. Dixie Land is 18-Can be in one’s pocket for better concealment. 19-Can be carried in your pocket year round. dotted with Confederate symbols, hidden 20-Less expensive to shoot. in history and revealed only through study; 21-Natural weapon for pointing. any attempt to erase these reminders of our 22- A new shooter cannot grip improperly. past is an ignorant attempt to hide our history. If we don’t know our history, how can 23-A lot of stopping power in a small package. 24-After a shoot, safer to transport. we learn from it? We are all aware of the issue of slavery, but what about the other issues that lead up to that war, such as federal intrusion upon our way of life and the right to self-government. Will we find ourselves once again facing unfair taxes, unconstitutional decisions by the Supreme Court? Will they disregard the 10th amendment, re-interpret our constitution or add new laws that continue to erode our freedom? Will they force us to accept issues we find morally objectionable? Will we have another The AT reaches 60k readers each month in printed and president like Lincoln, abusing his power social media ......call Ken and under the guise of peace and unity? learn how. -Libertarian & States Rights Advocatefacebook.com/AlbemarleTradingPost Albemarle Tradewinds August 2015 9 Should military recruiters be allowed to carry fire arms?