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Thursday, March 12, 2009 

Today’s Desert Father Quote Of The Day

Today’s quote of the day comes from one of the desert fathers; Joseph of Panephysis:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and, as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?”

Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, “If you want to, you can become all flame.”

–The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Joseph of Panephysis 7

It’s important to remember that the LCMS has invited many an emergent leader to speak at conferences, symposium, and youth worker retreats to get their input on how to reach out to young people. While the emergent “narrative” is difficult to nail down, one of the distinguishing marks of many emergents is a desire to return to the ways of the desert fathers in an ancient future method of contemplative worship.

While the emergent rejection of the vapid mega church anthropocentrism which more closely resembles self help daytime talk shows, like Dr. Phil or Oprah, should certainly be applauded, sitting around votives talking about how the desert fathers help us understand our part in God’s narrative isn’t exactly edifying either.

It may be tempting to jump on the emergent bandwagon as we watch the pendulum swing away from the destruction wrought by the church growth movement of the last twenty years but if our eyes aren’t fixed on Christ and Him crucified we’re just falling for yet another destructive fad. Sometimes, the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy.


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So the LC-MS wants our kids to listen to a bunch of kooks in the desert wishing for spontaneous combustion?

Not everyone PG. The LCMS keeps inviting them (emergents) because they seem to be drawing in some crowds tired of seeing some clown on stage walk them through a powerpoint presentation on how God wants to bless them if they’d just let Him with what sometimes looks like a very reverent liturgical service.

But chasing after numbers without a serious look at the underlying theology of a particular emergent group is dangerous for a host of reasons.

The promise of superpowers is probably the most interesting thing about Orthodoxy. Have you heard the legend of the Transfiguration of Seraphim of Sarov? He could apparently glow in the dark at will.

Howdy FC, I’m really not up on the desert fathers. At my Friday night Bible study we are studying Acts with a look at what the early fathers were saying. As I’m sure you already know, it’s easy to see how the use of allegory made its way into the Roman system. The more I read of these guys the less I like them. Clearly not all the fathers were goofy but wow, some of these guys were just moonbat crazy.

I really worry about those LCMS types that think it’s just plain cool to invite emergent leaders to instruct us on how to reach out or retain youth. Without a very serious grounding in Scripture, meditating about Johnny Storm wannabes in what looks like a liturgical setting, is dangerous and needs to be avoided.

I can only think of two kids in the last nine years, maybe, that I would even teach this stuff to as I only have ‘em for an hour a week.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
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