Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Light and Fire

A friend recently posted this to our email group:

There is a strong thread in Orthodox thought that heaven and hell are, in fact, the same place, and that the fires of hell and the Uncreated Light are the same thing, perceived in different ways. For the righteous, the Light is warmth and comfort and illumination; for the wicked, it is blinding and burning and torment, in the same way that someone who has spent a long time in darkness flinches from the light of the Sun. God neither condemns us nor punishes us--we do that to ourselves by our response to God.

I think this is a tremendous illustration of what passes for dialogue, conversation, debate between religious feminists and orthodox believers. To us who have embraced orthodox sexuality, we experience the teaching of Holy Scripture as warmth, light and illumination. For the religious feminist, the same teaching is experienced as a torment, something they flinch away from.

It is hard to understand what you experience as burning. You can't really comprehend something that is blinding, or paraphrase accurately something which is tormenting. How can you possibly have a sensible conversation with something that causes you such pain? And it isn't any easier when you do, if you are still able, turn into the light. You know how much it hurts when someone shines a flashlight in your eyes. Or when you flip on the bathroom light during a middle of the night visit. This is the experience of the religious feminist who does begin to turn to the light and embrace its illumination. I think this is why so few make the journey -- the first steps are too painful. Better to stay with the pain you know than to walk through a new pain, not knowing what you will find on the other side of it.

The Wisdom of God, I Corinthians 18ff:

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;

23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

29 so that no man may boast before God.

30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

1 comment:

alaiyo said...

This is so, so true, Kamilla, and you've put it so well.