Sunday, December 18, 2016

Commemorate the Saint, but have some Fun

Thirteen days ago, Deacon Steven D. Greydanus wrote on his NCR blog: “Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, original inspiration of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, and beloved figure of irascible social-media memes celebrating the famous incident in which the good bishop, attending the Council of Nicea, became so enraged at Arius’s blasphemies that he struck him.”

It’s been a few years since I read about that incident, but I’m not sure the words “so enraged” correctly describes it. The words I remember were, “filled with righteous anger,” but the Saint of the Day podcast on Ancient Faith Radio does say, “so incensed with the blasphemies of Arius.”

Nonetheless, today on the Julian calendar is the feastday of our Father Among the Saints, Nicholas, the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra.

To placate the requests for a sequel to the two year old video of mine that Deacon Greydanus featured on his blog, I rewrote the famous poem by Clement C. Moore, ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas,’ also known as, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’

Apparently Deacon Greydanus deducted points because I had some fun with a metric pun in ‘I Saw Santa Punching Arius.’ To be honest, the metre [μέτρον] is a little unstable in my new video because I didn’t take as much care with it as I do my serious poetry. I did mean to say, “He slapped Arius’s face,” but proper English got the better of me while I was filming and I said, “He slapped Arius’ face.” I also had to edit out a word, which left the following word in the wrong tense, and had to edit out a couple hesitations. I left the filming of the main part of this video until the night before the feast because I didn’t get a chance to do it earlier. This is also why I just used the mic on my video camera, which sounds horribly tinny.

If Deacon Greydanus wishes to check out some of my serious poetry, he could buy the new revision of my last book, which now includes a very serious theological poem. The metre changes to note a character change, a change within a character, or the two natures of a Character. (I have no problem with Miaphysitism nor Dyophysitism, so please don’t accuse me of the Nestorian or Monophysite heresies.) This is a very serious poem and, while my more recent video is more serious than the older one, the video from two years ago was mostly just a bit of fun.

I also do semi-serious memes,

but we won’t get too much into that now.

The above memes, as well as my most recent video, implies that public space is usually not a safe space for Christians. The enforcement of “political correctness,” more often than not, is a subversive bullying tactic to push the logically contradictory, but “enlightened,” dogma of relativism.

These memes and videos, like the poem of Clement C. Moore, have subtle ulterior motives. In Moore’s time, some Protestants viewed Christmas as the result of Catholic ignorance and deception. However, his poem was largely responsible in popularizing the child centric version of Christmas we have today, which is not a bad thing at all in my book.

This former Protestant attitude about Christmas has become popular among some Roman Catholics concerning other great feasts, such as The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. To doubt the commemorated events of a feast, let alone one of the Twelve Great Feasts, is pretty much an act of heresy to Orthodox Christians, both in Union with Roman and otherwise. To quote my above mentioned book: “The principle of lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of praying is the law of believing) may even be more strongly held in the East than in the West.” One wonders if this criticism of Eastern tradition would have been the case with The Dormition of the Theotokos if Venerable Pius XII hadn’t declare the Dogma of the Assumption in 1950.

I do find it entertaining to have been assumably lumped into the category of those who disparagingly use the term “Church of Nice.” I’m not sure who coined this term, but I did receive ad hominem attacks and other fallacious counter-arguments from the first person I know of to over use this term. I won’t mention any names, but he was, and possibly still is, rather fond of interpreting the Canadian bishops’ 1968 ‘Winnipeg Statement’ in a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture rather than a hermeneutic of continuity and union. He also refused to even acknowledge the subsequent publication by these same bishops of the ‘Statement on Family Life and Related Matters’ in 1969 and the ‘Statement on the Formation of Conscience’ in 1973.

With all the enemies without and within the Church, it is important to not take it all too seriously. After all, St. Paul does encourage us to be “morons [μωροὶ] for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10).

Of course, I’ve never liked the motto “What would Jesus do?”

I prefer, “What did Jesus do?”

He spoke the truth and when people began to leave, He turned to His most loyal followers and said, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67)

I can only reply the way that idiot St. Peter [ἰδιώτης (cf. Acts 4:13)], the first Pope of Rome, replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68–69)

While I attribute half of the views of my popular video ‘I Saw Santa Punching Arius’ to my dad, even though it does offend his pacifistic views, Hieromonk Teodosy claims more than the other half of views are his. This priest monk of the Great Schema thought Deacon Greydanus should see the Baptismal Renewal in Sunset Lake on the Sunday after Theophany. He says, “That's how St. Nicholas and his friends do it!”

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