I have been criticized a number of times recently because my approach to this pandemic has not been “How do we keep doing business as usual in face of all these obstacles?” but rather “Given that we have this problem, what do we do in the midst of it?” To me, though, the question is whether I believe this present state of things is given to me for my salvation.
This is a moment for grieving, for deep repentance. It is not okay. Do not try to make it okay. That does not mean that we have to go around depressed, angry, etc. But it does mean that this is a moment for grief.
Having an ethnic heritage that was not actually passed down to me as an inheritance seems like another exercise in that odd, defamiliarized life that Third Culture Kids can never quite escape. And what’s more, being an Orthodox Christian has in many ways felt like an exercise in the same narrative. A people who were not my own have become my people.
What I do affects who I am and what I believe, especially when it is something I do over and over. It is my habits, my repeated actions, that influence how I see the world and who I am.
At the end of time, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride forth, bringing famine, pestilence, war and death upon mankind, God will send forth His holy ones to match them and to overcome them.
I am going to go ahead and say yes. But stick with me here, okay?
Things will settle out in this crisis and competing authorities will finally converge on a consensus. But our problem with the hostile wilderness will remain.
The argument against iconography breaks down because those who reject icons do not understand what idolatrous images were actually used for. They were not merely religious art. They are a kind of religious technology designed to trap and control a god.