An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
By this I do not mean the economic sort of materialism, but the philosophical materialism: nothing but the material universe exists. This leads quite naturally (pun intended) to the biological determinism that I often wave a demeaning finger at here.
But my wife turned me onto the Wittingshire blog that has a sort of LOTR theme to it, and I noticed on the sidebar they offered this particular definition of the Ring which leads specifically to this post.
Philosophical Materialism is, of course, the default indoctrination program that we are teaching our youth today and it is also the default indoctrination program of many of our work related diversity training and indeed even in many of our rules in the workplace. When we toss up the notion that no belief in the immaterial world is better or ultimately different than any other belief in the immaterial world we will end up getting the message: they are all illusory.
Orthodoxy is not just about the immaterial world...far from it. Last sunday, the Triumph of the Icons speaks loudly that the immaterial and the material are ONE...and indeed Christ Himself is the crescendo of that work of beautiful music. But the denial of the immaterial world turns Christ into a mere man. The Ring of Power? I can see it.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them
The darkness of biological determinsm...yes it will indeed bind us.
to further our conversation this morning, I would offer that Christ's love in and through us is what will make the difference. Yes, being politically involved when we are able to fight evil(yes evil!), we should. But when that fails, love is what will conquer all. Not in the physical(King Aragorn and his armies etc...)sense, but in the spiritual. For this world will be transformed through that very love when Christ returns. Words with love are very powerful, but words without? Well, I think Gollum's character reflects that pretty well.
But Jared even Tolkein seems to show this. What will end the tyranny of the ring? Not the armies of Gondor or the armies of Minas Tirith (though they may play an important role)...but a humble little hobbit and his companion who in the end must work together to resist the ring and destroy it in the very heart of the enemy stronghold.
The armies of Gondor and Rohan are mere defenses against the onslaught of deterministic tyranny and in the end Aragorn's leading of the Amry of Minas Tirith was but a diversion, no?
Perhaps we, like the free people's of Middle Earth, have a secret weapon that the enemy has not even conceived of.
The ring gives power according to the power of the individual. Mortals who get the ring get endless life. Real materialism is trying to make ourselves self sufficent so that we don't need God. Any doctrine can be used to do this even the cross of Christ.
The secret weapons are therefore love and humility. In my infinite wisdom, I would say we don't need to wait for Christ to return for at least some patch of the world to be transformed. I would say that is why there are such strange occurances around the saints.
The real question is what do we want to do. Me, I think I'll pull down my barns and build bigger ones.