Being and Chaos

In our modern understanding of being, being is commonly opposed to nothingness.¬† Something exists and by this we mean has some sort of material reality, it is a thing, or it does not exist, meaning that it is imaginary and has no real time space existence.¬† The difficulty of discussing the existence of God as ‘a being’ within this paradigm is what has created most of the unprofitable discussion surrounding atheism in our society.¬† This understanding was preceded for centuries, particularly in Western thought, by an understanding initiated by Plato and further elaborated by the Middle and Neo-Platonists.¬† Platonism opposed being not with some concept of non-being that equated with non-existence, but with becoming.¬† There are things which simply are.¬†‚Ķ

The Oak of Mamre

The episode at the oak of Mamre, recorded in Genesis 18, is one of the strangest and most mysterious in the scriptures.  It has long been depicted in Orthodox iconography as the Hospitality of Abraham.  Beginning with Andrei Rublev, a detail of this scene has been the only approved Orthodox iconographic depiction of the Holy Trinity.  This Trinity icon is used by some local Orthodox churches as the icon for the feast of Pentecost.  The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost marked the conclusion of the revelation of the Holy Trinity to humanity.  The episode of the oak of Mamre, in many ways, represents the beginning of that revelation. Genesis 18 begins by stating that Yahweh appeared to Abraham…

Creation and Ascension

The feast of Christ’s Ascension represents one of the most important liturgical moments of the Christian year.¬† It is, unfortunately, generally under-appreciated.¬† Due to where it falls in the cycle of feasts, it is sometimes seen as a sort of epilogue to Pascha.¬† In our modern life, it falls in the summer which has become a time for vacations, time off from work and school and even sometimes church.¬† It falls in mid-week, which in the modern working world makes its participation more difficult for many people.¬† For ancient people, however, the feast of the Ascension of Christ would have been intuitively the most important.¬† The Ascension represents the culmination of the gospel which was proclaimed throughout the world by‚Ķ