Originally posted 12-11-13
Theosis – that is the topic for the day (or whenever it is that you listen to this podcast). For this episode Jonathan is joined by Doug Perkins (Father Anthony) who is the priest of St. Michaels Ukrainian Orthodox Church. If you are going to talk about something mystical and Eastern then it is a good idea to talk to someone from that tradition. You can check out his blog and podcast here.
Theosis is the notion, or approach to becoming like God, divinization for the Western folks. We are not suggesting that one becomes God, but rather that an individual can grow to a place of holiness through the grace of God; sanctification for you holiness movement folks. This concept does not work if one has a heavy view of the brokenness and depravity of humanity especially one that harbors notions of original sin. If we are born worthless and weighed down with sin, then how can we ever hope that we could even begin to approach the holiness of God. The notion of theosis suggests that it is possible to grow in our divinity, in the goodness that we all have just by being a part of God’s creation. Yes, we all tend to make bad decisions from time to time getting in the way of the process. Sometimes they are really, really bad decisions, but the potentiality is still there to grow in the divine. For all of you existential nuts out there you may find a correlation. The difference is that this is not completely about simply making the right choices – God must be involved in the process or else it is not possible.
Such an approach holds up the life of Christ as an example to follow and the cross as the assurance of grace when we miss the mark. This broadens the previous podcast episode which looked at the role of the cross and the resurrection to the life of Christ. Now we are not only looking at the end of Christ’s ministry but the entirety of his life. Salvation is found in the cross and the resurrection, but also in living the way Christ calls you to live. He shows us that way with his own life. The idea of theosis is often paired with knosis which is the emptying of oneself. Empty yourself and take on the divine life showed to us by Christ.
If you want to read a fun, late 19th century take on this notion we recommend P.T. Forysth’s The Person and Place of Jesus Christ.
Christmas music! Bah. Boo. Put it away! No more decking halls or looking for front teeth or sad songs about not being home for Christmas. In church context stay in Advent, wait, don’t jump the gun, and stop singing that blasted music!
Oh, and sleep. Try to get enough sleep. You need it, you can’t live without it, so get to sleep. Maybe use a past episode to help you snooze away.
Opening the Word
One of the standard “Last Supper” texts – Jonathan and Doug discuss the different approaches they have towards the Lord’s Supper in their tradition and both agree that it is not something to take lightly and offer to just anyone. There is a shared understand within the community that makes the moment holy. It isn’t just a meal.
Thanksgiving! Ok, a little late, but not too early to start planning for next year’s turkey feast! Have it be about the gathering, the people, the games, and the fun. And you probably shouldn’t play Risk – it will end with someone crying and that isn’t what Thanksgiving is about. It’s about bankrupting people in the game of Monopoly!
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