Jul 27, 2015

Ancestors of God

It occurred to me in Church yesterday that everything I was experiencing in the Liturgy was according to gender.  In the Orthodox Church we worship as male and female, and this is something missing in modern Christianity.  The roles of males and females are not interchangeable in the Orthodox tradition.

Nothing in Orthodoxy is generalized.  Everything has a created identity...even trees, water, bread, etc. Everything has a true material meaning as it is...not as we make it.  Creation is something that we must receive as reality, and this includes gender.  Roles are derived from identity...the role of a tree is that of a tree, because it is a tree.   A tree cannot sing, even if we imagine the beautiful rustling of leaves to be a choir.

The roles of male and female must derive from gender, because we are male and female.  Perhaps the first iconoclastic disaster was the removing and mingling of gender roles...and the modern Christian Church has participated in this obliteration of creation.

In the Orthodox Church there are very clear and defined gender roles.  And rather than this being a restriction, we celebrate this as our liberation...to be what we are created to be, male and female.

He created them male and female.

Iconoclasm has deep consequences...it is a heresy.  What has replaced the creation of "in His Image" is a world of our own making...and the consequences will be our destruction.  For only in the true image are we created, we cannot be something "other".  We are not God, we are His creation.

He created them male and female.

The safest place for our gender confusions is in the Church.  In the Orthodox Church we do not spiritualize gender...we live our gender through roles...literal roles.  Male and female are not interchangeable.

He created them male and female.

I will make a bold and radical statement:

The rejection of the icon is the destruction of reality.  Iconoclasm will destroy the world.

My name day was Saturday, and as I pondered the icon of Joachim and Anna at the golden gate I grieved for a world that is void of such images.  I shudder at the images of the world.  I cling to the Image of God in the icon.

In the embrace of Joachim and Anna lies the ancestral heart of Christianity, as if every begat is made present in that one embrace.

Man and woman, embracing, conceiving, begetting.

All those begats, the lists we say are boring, that we like to skip over, they are the real story, the real story of man, the reality of our salvation.

He created them male and female.

Christian marriage is that embrace...the embrace that begets...and when it doesn't we hurt, we cry out, we suffer.

Anything "other" will never be "in His Image", it will never be Christian.

He created them male and female.






  1. Well said, my friend! Well said.

  2. Beautiful! So glad to be reading your well written thoughts again! 😊

  3. What a wonderful post - I love the picture of Joachim and Anna that you present, and the phrase, "the embrace that begets" is so rich and overflowing, as you note, symbolizing all the begats and the story of our salvation. Glory to God!


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