Vasilios Theodorakis – An Online Author is a digital repository of all my written work (in text and podcast formats)…

April 18, 2016

Personal Salvation

Filed under: Culture And Society,General,Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 9:09 am

Most people can’t be saved from themselves. Their lives are intertwined, and seldom separated from mechanisms of personal destruction. Whether those mechanisms are generated by the environment and their experiences, generated by genetics and inherited, or passed on by a previous generation that didn’t take the time to excise them – whatever the source of the problem, people rarely develop the insight or find the courage to face their demons and save themselves. Natural cowardice and/or self preservation of the ego, prevents most individuals from accepting the challenge created by taking a good hard look at themselves in the mirror.

The source of these demons is less important than finding the courage to deal with them. And the absence of courage, is the reason why many avoid the task altogether, or, try to get someone or something else to do the work for them. It’s not surprising then, that theological and religious notions of salvation often boil down to this – in terms of personal evolution, it is up to the individual to save themselves from their own demons, irrespective of the source of those demons.

If every human being took the time to address their own issues, not only would they save themselves, but collectively, they would save society. Sadly, this is not the case. People project the need for salvation onto others rather than themselves – i.e. if I save this person, I too will be saved. It is far easier to focus on another’s problems, than to acknowledge and work on one’s own shortcomings. Or, and this happens far too often, people hand over responsibility for personal salvation to a deity, rather than accepting and doing the hard work required to clear out the skeletons in their own closet.

For those, who do do the hard work – I salute you, but realise, you are the exception not the norm!

December 1, 2011

Dark Forces and Time?

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 10:45 am

Let’s put aside disbelief in the spiritual realm for the purposes of this post, and let’s imagine for a moment, a world where the dark forces had no sway on the universe in which we live – let the mind run with that idea for a few minutes. What would reality look like?

No inflicting of pain or suffering on others? Maybe. No death and dying? Possibly. No temptation to sever our communion with the Source – God? Definitely.

Now add to this metaphysical equation that “time” is not a natural facet of how the universe was constructed (i.e. in the beginning there was no time) and is in fact a symptom of moving away from the Source. Then finally, and because of the overwhelming negativity of time (death and decay), let’s assume that it and the dark forces are intimately connected – i.e. time is an extension of their activity in and on the universe.

If you happen to agree with this train of thought, what does it all mean? For starters, we’re stuck with the parasitic nature of the dark forces because we are trapped in time and inadvertently exist in the same realm as they do. That our struggle against them will continue until we exit time and/or the universe unravels and re-ravels itself (is transfigured) and time removed from the equation. And, that the best any of us can do, is maintain the struggle for order while trying to do the “right thing” by all living beings. In the end, this is, and will always be our greatest weapon against the bodiless (incorporeal) entities that target the weak minded, and try to use us as both instruments of mayhem, and sources of God’s uncreated energies.

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2011

October 22, 2010

In The Absence Of Religion

Filed under: Culture And Society,Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 4:19 pm

Years ago, one of my social work colleagues entrusted me with the horrors she experienced during the break up of the old Yugoslavia. Much of what she described is far too graphic for the likes of this little blog, so let me give you the sterilised version. Both her and her husband grew up in a tiny village along the boarder of Croatia and Serbia, and identified themselves as Croatian Muslims. Their village was made up of both Roman Catholic Christians and Muslims who were descended from Ottoman Turks. The two groups had lived together harmoniously for decades, but when the Serbian army reached their village, the soldiers tried to separate out the groups. All the women of child bearing age were rounded up and raped and all the men, irrespective of age, were taken to concentration camps. Her husband, and a few others managed to escape, get back to the village and help her and some relatives get across the boarder into Hungary. From there, they eventually gained refugee status and migrated to Australia.

Why did this colleague share her ordeal with me? At the time I was an overly zealous young social worker and notorious for touting the virtues of Orthodox Christianity. Her experiences and pain very quickly brought my naivety about religion to an end. Interestingly, she never blamed the Orthodox Christian Faith for what happened to her. She believed that no genuine religious person could have done what those Serbian soldiers had done.

Her story did get me thinking about the sociological basis to law and order, and helped me come up with the following idea in the 1990s.

If an individual has genuinely internalised a peace loving religion and uses that religion to inform their conscience they cannot carry out such horrendous acts – even if society falls apart. Why? Because they carry around within themselves a sense of right and wrong.

On the other hand, if an individual has not internalised their religion and does not have an internal yard stick directing what is right and wrong, their morality is governed by external restraints i.e. like a society’s laws. Therefore, were a society to fall into anarchy, as Yugoslavia did, and were most of its citizens secular with no internal yard sticks of right and wrong, then its not hard to see how individuals without a personal morality could perpetuate the barbaric acts that were carried out on my friend’s village.

Unfortunately, as I’m no academic, I never carried out any serious research to back up my theory. Many refugee horror stories however, tend to support its premise, even if that premise makes people who lead secular lifestyles in stable societies like Australia very uncomfortable.

So my question to the good secular atheist is this: you live your life based on what external forces tell you is right and wrong i.e. the laws of society. What happens if those laws are suddenly removed, and you have no law courts or police officers telling you what to do or what not to do? What will you use as your reference point? What will pass as “right” and what will pass as “wrong” and who will decide it for you? Or do you think you are some how different to those Serbian soldiers who suddenly realised they no longer had to answer to anybody or anything! I fear that most people who are not bound by a code of ethnics, drawn from a higher power, revert very quickly to their animal state – we are not as advanced as we’d like to think!

Despite how untrendy it is to adhere to a religion and internalise a moral yard stick, I fear it’s the only thing that will save civilisation in the long term. Shocking case studies, such as those that occurred during the break up of Yugoslavia or the civil wars in Africa, add weight to my theory and the notion that just being “a good person” really means nothing. Nothing that is, unless an individual’s morality is drawn from God and written in their heart!

Post Update: 26/11/2010
A friend recently challenged me on part of this post’s premise, and on reflection, I have to concede that internalising morality and ethics need not be based on religion. The important thing is that one’s moral yardstick is (or has become) an internal construct and is not based on external enforcement! In this way even the secular can maintain law and order even if their social system has collapsed. Thanks for highlighting this John M.

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

October 4, 2010

Living In The Grey

Filed under: Culture And Society,Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 10:35 am

Those living with a log in their eye should not be preaching to those living with a splinter in theirs. Reference – Matthew 7:3

We are unfortunately surrounded by institutions and personalities who claim a holier than thou stance, yet in reality do despicable things to other beings or have despicable personal lives. There are of course the very good (the saints) and the very bad (the demons) – both of which walk amongst us – but most humans fall somewhere in between. I’m definitely one of these middle dwellers.

Being neither a particularly good nor a particularly bad person, my life continues to be lived in the grey, no matter how hard I try to improve myself. I therefore think the best any of us can hope for is to be honest about who and what we are on a day to day basis. To pretend otherwise wastes everyone’s time and doesn’t allow for genuine improvement.

Keeping in mind this general shortcoming, I strongly believe having a single human role model is not only a nonsense but down right dangerous. No human being is that Godly and should not be placed on too high a pedestal. The God-Man i.e. Christ, is of course the exception to the rule.

In spite of this, at least one thing can always be learned from every individual. To not look for that lesson in each day’s interpersonal encounters is a temporal tragedy.

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

August 31, 2010

Contact From The Future

Filed under: Religion And Theology,Science And Technology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 4:21 pm

None of us will ever hear from the future unless, we hand down the ideas (through story) and the ability (through invention) to reach back in time and speak to ourselves.

Those of us who choose to do nothing will in turn, never change the course of history, let alone communicate with it. Alternatively, those of us who do something – no matter how small – will increase their legacy exponentially across time. One’s investment in action (or thought) deposits the principle (genetic or memetic) in creation’s temporal bank account. i.e. Once deposited (in time) an action or idea can never be withdrawn and therefore accumulates like compound interest for the rest of the universe’s life. This means growth is guaranteed and “the filling of the void” really can and will take care of itself – that is – as long as we try.

In the end though, only God can track the total effect of us twirling in a field singing his praises or the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in the sun – not even the grandest A.I. computer will ever track all the variables involved or their cascading consequences on existence. So, until we reach God’s status of Omniscience we should console ourselves with the fact that everything does count and that the only way to move forward with life is to live it in such a way that guarantees “there is a tomorrow” – not one that guarantees there is no tomorrow!

N.B. The concept of Memes is one of the few things the atheist Richard Dawkins has come up with that’s useful to everyone. Ironically most of his material is about his “belief” in science not its “facts”. This being the case, its strange how he’s unable to see that while he bags other religions, his own approach to knowledge has turned science into a religion as well! The fact that Theists like me use his memetics material on a daily basis must really rub him up the wrong way. ;)

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

July 23, 2010

Window To The Invisible World

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 10:30 pm

In Orthodox Christian Theology, icons are not merely religious works of art. They are very literally windows to another time and/or place – its not hard to see why as a child I hoped my bedroom window would also take me to other places. (Please see last week’s post on – “Window To The Visible World”.)

The mysticism of iconography describes how the icon is simply a barrier that separates us from the person that resides in the invisible world (the world at the end of time), a previous moment in time or a place that may no longer exist.

If you accept this premise, observing people kissing icons starts to make sense. The people on the other side of the icon’s surface are literally there with the people greeting them – just like a living person would be. And just like the living, those in the icon can be greeted with a kiss – all that separates us is the pane of glass or the surface of the image. Just like all that separates us from the invisible world is death.

This notion however, is almost impossible to grasp by the Western mind which can’t cope with things existing outside of time and space. It also doesn’t help that Western thought no longer includes the invisible world in its interpretation of reality.

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

April 2, 2010

Good Friday 2010

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 11:35 pm

I’ve never quite mastered the art of compromise and have paid for this dearly, missing out on financial gain, credibility and peace of mind.

Years ago I had the opportunity to become a priest – it’s a long story, but lets just say I knew people who were prepared to make it happen, as long as I was prepared to turn a blind eye to the nationalistic heresy (phyletism) that’s rife in the Orthodox Church. Going down that path might have guaranteed me a life of security, credibility and a warm fuzzy feeling that I was helping the Faith. At the time though, I had lived by my wits and by the grace of God for so long that I could not discern whether I’d be taking on the role because of the benefits or because of a genuine desire for spiritual service. The benefits on offer, for someone who had been as deprived as I had been, were just a little too tempting and I could not risk following through on such a decision. If I did, there would always be some doubt (in my mind) as to my motivations. And so, my work for “The Big Guy” continued to occur on the fringe, with no financial gain or personal benefit.

Even though passing up the offer was extremely difficult on me and a slap in the face for those who were supporting me, I felt it was the right decision. In making it, I had (as a minimum) not compromised a promise I made to myself, which was, to lay down one’s life in service to Christ – not language, not culture and definitely not country. With this as my bottom line, I’ve subsequently inched forward and worked towards teaching others as much as I can about the Faith. As happens on a regular basis however, my local church yet again made a mockery of everything I’ve fought for since 1983.

This evening, my wife and I tried to attend the Orthodox Christian service of “Matins of the Lamentations” which is about paying one’s respect to Christ in the tomb. This happens before the resurrection service tomorrow night. Instead of Roman soldiers guarding the tomb however, we were presented with children dressed in their great grandparent’s national dress. In addition to this, not a word of English was spoken or chanted during the service – English, by the way, is the only language these children understand. I’m sure I wouldn’t have reacted so badly, if the language being spoken was still understood by more than a handful of the congregation, but the language (in use) is as foreign to these people, as Latin was to the Roman Catholics in the 20th century.

Before going on, I should also point out that one of my own failings is that I haven’t learnt how to stomach the ignorance these people display for the Faith or the way they discriminate against outsiders. Let’s put aside for a moment, that every time someone like me walks into a church we get looked up and down for not dressing in the “right” clothes, or for having long hair and a pony tail – this pretentiousness and discrimination is far too entrenched to change in a hurry. What I can’t put aside however, is that in 2010, they’re still unable to differentiate between their own religion and their ancestors’ nationalism! As far as they are concerned the Faith is just another ritualistic part of their 1950s time-capsuled culture (which was perpetuated in the suburbs of Australia). I wonder what the Fathers and Mothers of the Church would have thought of this situation – Orthodoxy that doesn’t include a relationship with God!

These children, who were dressed up in someone else’s national costume were easily 4th or 5th generation Australians. One has to wonder whether their parents will ever realise that establishing a sense of identity is difficult enough for a child, let alone when it’s not allowed to plant both feet firmly in one country. Rolling nationalism into religion is a particularly desperate attempt to keep alive an ethnicity (across generations), and unfortunately is being done at the expense of the Faith. Orthodox Christianity was never about Hellenistic culture and country it was about the universal worship of God! Anything that got in the way of that worship (being universal) was always modified, especially language that became incomprehensible and foreign nationalism that overruled theology! The Faith is also about accurate history, if you want to depict the soldiers at the tomb, they were Roman, not 19th century Evzones. And if you want to depict Christ – Christ was a Jew not some Hellenistic national! What “line” are we running here – that “God was, is and always will be Hellenic”!

I honestly fear for the future of my Church in this country, and I’m gravely concerned as to why the clergy continue to allow people to convert to this Faith when converts are not welcomed and do not have a place to call home for themselves.

My message to both the Orthodox Church in Australia and its priests is make up your minds – decide whether you want the Faith to be part of this country and if so, make appropriate changes that allow it to be accessible to all Australians (like separate missionary churches) – or – take these congregations, aka the glorious diaspora which seems to pine/long for the homeland, encourage them to sell off all their Australian assets and move to where there is no conflict of interest between nationalism and religion. After more than 60 years of this nonsense, it’s time to make a choice and either put down roots for both the descendants and converts of the Faith or pack it up and leave!

I, on the other hand will continue to live in Australia and continue to operate as an Orthodox Christian, even if I have nowhere to practice my Faith. To this day I do not have a single local church where I can attend all services in the language in which I think and write – and that language is and will always be English. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against running services in multiple languages – but please – start offering appropriate liturgies in the language of the land – after all, what country do we think this is!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

August 24, 2009

Formal Worship and Nature

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 8:35 pm

A few years ago, a couple of my nieces decided to put on a “utility play” as a Christmas presentation for all the relatives. Even though the girls came from a family that didn’t follow any formal religion, they were still aware of the basic Christmas story (through media and friends) and went about trying to recreate it by themselves. The term “nativity” was unfamiliar to them so they came up with a word that sounded similar i.e. “utility”. In spite of their parent’s best efforts, these children sought to participate in some level of religious ritual even if it meant making it up from scratch.

What I find interesting, is that I’ve seen other children raised in families with no formal ritual or religion, do a very similar thing. In all instances they try to re-enact stories associated with local beliefs, which they’ve heard about through members of their community. For example, a friend of mine whose people were traditionally Buddhist has raised his kids without any reference to religion; yet, these kids know of the Budda story (through other friends) and try to make up plays about him.

This may of course be about child conformity, but I believe the innate tendency of children to gravitate towards religion is about humanity having a built in need for ritual and spirituality. In its absence, we will always substitute something in its place – just look at how sport is followed and worshiped in secular countries like Australia. The bottom line is we are animals, born on a planet with physical cycles and we have always been tied into these cycles – its hardwired into our genetic make-up. When we progressively removed ourselves from those cycles, that is, by developing sedentary lifestyles, our internal clocks did not suddenly abandon our need for routine or ritual even though we had cut close ties with the environment. In fact, the further we removed ourselves from the cycles of the earth the more dependent we became on ritual in order to “feel ok and normal”. Millions of years of evolution couldn’t be left behind by our genome, just because culturally/socially we had stopped paying attention to the seasons and acknowledging the sun’s rising and the moon’s setting, etc. The simple answer to the good atheist’s question of “Why do we need religion?” is that we need routine and ritual to feel complete and religion is still the best fulfiller of this need.

Built on top of this psychosocial fact is the metaphysics of the situation. Anyone who has ever gone camping and watched the planet come to life in the mornings, or watched pets in captivity when the sun reappears, knows that all sentient creatures turn to the sun and welcome another day of existence with gratitude. So much so, that I swear you can almost hear them thanking existence/their Maker/their Source for their lives. I’ve often thought that the places of worship we build can never match the living cathedral of the planet, where all creatures are allowed to witness the sun breaking over the horizon, are allowed to stand side by side (both friend and foe) and offer up their gratitude in their own way – even if that “survival of the fittest ceasefire” only lasts for a moment of each morning. In this cathedral, this daily event (which inadvertently sanctifies everything that participates) is the right of all life, not just Homo sapiens. The associated tragedy of our settled lifestyles is that many creatures in captivity often can’t see the sun to fulfil our most prehistoric of all biological rituals.

We may therefore have created formal worship (for ourselves) because it completes us in the absence of standing alongside our planet’s brethren as the sun re-appears each morning. In addition to this explanation of formal religion, many religious texts (written by people of insight) have described how non-corporeal beings in the invisible world also hold elaborate liturgies in praise of their Source. e.g. With Christianity, there are many instances in the Bible that describe how the Seraphim and Cherubim have always held formal worship before God. Combine all these physical and metaphysical theories together and it’s not hard to see why we feel most at home when we have something to look up to and thank – whether it be the sun, God or a sporting team.

A thousand years from now, I have no doubt that my nieces’ contemporaries will construct other religious plays that pay homage to existence, God and the meaning of life. Even if no adults are left who believe in anything other than themselves, children will know what to do. I believe our young will continue to hear the call of the sun (or is that the Son?), which is hardwired into our genome, until it is beaten out of them by non-believing adults. It is only the adults who have forgotten to stand beside the Pelicans and be grateful for the fresh air that fills their lungs, the sun that warms their skin and the light that illuminates their eyes. In every era, a few of our children take this instinctive insight into adulthood. Those who do will always be our seers and guides in life.

Addendum For Orthodox Christians: Nature And Christ?

As a species, the more we moved away from the natural world and into the artificial world of societies and cities, the more important formal ritual became. Our internal body clocks which had built in memories for cycles, seem to have happily accepted the replacement of routine (like work) and ritual (like religion) to make up for being taken out of the planet’s normal patterns.

For good Christians, Christ inadvertently had to show up in order to remind us of what we had once known instinctively but had forgotten. Knowing us better than we knew ourselves, he had to re-educate us in regards to His presence, which had existed prior to the creation of the universe, and continued to exist as a conduit to God even though we had forgotten about the conduit and had forgotten about Him. He even had to become one of us and walk among us, for we had become so fixated on our own species, that we were incapable of understanding a connection with the Source other than through our own constructs and through one of our own kind. Living away from nature for so long, we couldn’t see what all the other creatures could still see naturally. Christ’s visit was to primarily restore us to our natural state.

Ironically, some groups of people – especially the nomads, still had a sense of the Source and the connections to the Source through the planet’s natural cycles. Colonial Christian missionaries however, spent hundreds of years prying nomadic peoples away from their lifestyles and unbroken connections with the earth, only to settle them in towns and offer them religion to replace the ritual they lost through settlement. This type of social engineering was not only discriminatory and stupid but also spiritually wasteful! It was analogous to having access to a meal but then throwing the meal into the bin and giving the restaurant’s patrons exactly the same meal (only this time arranged differently on the plate). In addition to this, the restaurateurs (i.e. missionaries) went on to claim that the patrons (i.e. nomadic peoples) never had any food in the first place. Their final strategy was of course to indoctrinate all survivors that this was always the case.

If these people had been left alone, their separation from the Source would never have occurred. Our history is unfortunately riddled with examples of how colonialists “had” to save those that did not need saving, “had” to offer them a connection/communion with God when it was already there and “had” to force them out of Eden as the colonialist’s ancestors had been forced out of Eden thousands of years earlier. How dare someone continue to exist within Eden, when everyone else had inadvertently thrown themselves out in search of bigger and better things than the earth could provide naturally! Ah… the notion of greed – civilisation’s finest friend and first ever catalyst is unfortunately still with us.

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2009

July 7, 2009

Take A Look Around, This Is What We Are!

Filed under: Culture And Society,General,Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

If you happened to walk into our house, you would be assaulted by a myriad of books – sci-fi, poetry, sociology, psychology, political science, teaching and extremely uncool encyclopedias.

Then there’s the vintage board games, toys and manual typewriters; the music collection with a who’s who of the 60s, 70s and 80s; DVDs galore – now that all the retailers sell popular titles and TV series for under $10.

There’s 30 years of PCs, Macs and software; furniture that spans 7 decades; a stucco house that was built in the 1950s and has barely changed; the Hills Hoist cloths line; a mixture of native trees, veggies and lawn; the second love of my life – my kayak – the first of course being my wife, Helen.

Finally, we both have long hair, wear daggy cloths, love architecture and good design but have never felt the need to possess flashy things ourselves – or maybe that’s because we’ve never had a lot of money!

We critique all things political within the Australian and Pacific context; love cartoons, sitcoms from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s as well as British comedy; refuse to support the use, abuse and slaughter of other sentient beings and only consume nutritional food that has a minimal impact on the planet.

All in all, our culture is that of popular culture, yet there are those who look at my name and still presume my culture to be something altogether different. My identity is based on a mainstream (politically green) Australian footing and my moral/ethical boundaries defined by my Orthodox Christian religion.

At the age of 42, I am very comfortable with this combination. The amalgam of influences that has gone in to make the “me” is rich – a complex weave with many happy memories – especially from the 1980s and the last ten years of my marriage. I am under no illusions however that my culture is anything but popular culture, especially popular English speaking culture. I was born in Australia and bar three months of my life, have lived that entire time upon her shores. For better or worse I live the English language, think in it and revel in playing with its vocabulary and structure.

There is only one thing that is missing – my religion refuses to put down roots in this country and refuses to recognise the legitimacy of people like me. The Orthodox Christian Church treats us as though we are invisible.

All my life I have fought this attitude – it is dysfunctional and has a destructive effect on any well balanced human being. It asks one to denounce one’s actual experience and culture and adopt a culture that has no relevance to one’s everyday life. Needless to say, this has resulted in the bulk of my family and peers walking away from Orthodox Christianity all together.

Lets put aside the obvious hinderence for a moment, i.e. that its current liturgies are not accessible to English speaking mainstream Australians. The other major obstacle to participation is its ethnic based Churches and the bulk of it’s ethnic based people who are down right unwelcoming. The Church in Australia has become a closed club rather than the universal Church that Christ established – what an institutional mess!

(There are many reasons as to why this happened but the biggest contributor is that the Orthodox Faith did not establish itself in this country the way it traditionally established itself in other countries – i.e. through missionary churches.)

Unlike Bishop Kallistos Ware, who as an Anglican (in the UK) walked into an Orthodox Church and felt at home, if the average spiritually interested Australian walks into any of these ethnic based churches, at best they’ll get dirty looks, at worst they’ll be confronted and ushered out. So much for following Christ’s example of welcoming all! What is even more perplexing, is that this structure continues to baptise mainstream Australians into itself, even though there are very few places across the continent where English speakers can worship and even fewer places where they can experience a sense of belonging!

The only thing I take comfort from is that the current situation is a heresy according to Orthodoxy’s own dictum – Phyletism – which says that any church established in a new land should be operated in the language of that land – this principal has always been in our canons. The hope therefore continues to be, that in addition to these ethnic based parishes, missionary (English speaking) parishes will one day be built in this country. In a nation based on democracy and choice, one should be able to worship in the language in which they think – Indigenous, Slavic, European or English.

In the meantime, I am happy with who I am, love that I’m a product of popular culture drawn from more than five decades and that my first language is English. I have no intention of changing any of this to accommodate the short sightedness of the current administration controlling my religion.

Thus, were you to walk into our humble abode – you’ll find ABC’s Radio National blaring in the background not SBS; reruns of Seinfield and The Simpsons on TV not Inspector Rex and guitar based rock (from the 80s) streaming out of our CD player not suicidal Aegean music. You’ll also find numerous icons of the great martyrs and saints of the Church, crosses from holy places like Mount Athos and a sanctuary with an oil candle and incensor.

This is how my kind live – we do not live as Europeans, Brits or Asians, we live as Australians whose religion goes back 2000 years and is known as Orthodox Christianity – so get used to it, we’re not about to disappear anytime soon!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

May 13, 2009

Staying Invisible

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

There’s a Sci-Fi short story called “Lets Go To Golgotha” by Gary Kilworth which explores the idea that time travelling tourists were present at Christ’s death, got coached to do what the locals where doing and participated in His condemnation. The reader eventually discovers that the locals of Christ’s time had nothing to do with the event, and that the crucifixion only occurred because those who travelled back in time, participated in the spectacle.

The tale is quite haunting and I’ve often thought about its implications in regards to how much of a public figure Christ was in his own time. The thing that’s most intriguing, is that reading between the lines of scripture and what the traditional Church teaches, one can’t help but notice that Christ himself did not seek the limelight or even like it. The best supporting evidence we have of this is how He implemented numerous techniques that emphasised his own words and works but not Himself. One of these techniques was of course never writing anything down. In spite of this, His story has been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s often retold as though His presence brought Jerusalem to a stand still – on more than one occasion. I fear this is inconsistent with the nature of the God-Man, who we are told was quietly spoken and “did not even break the bent reed” (1 Ki 14:15; Isa 42:3; Mt 12:20).

Like many of the greatest figures in history, what he said and how he lived his life was so inspirational that people couldn’t help but place him on a pedestal for others to worship – our species has done this from the very beginning – idolising those who have something new to offer. I expect that He Himself was quite invisible outside of those who knew him. The message he left behind was so amazing however, that it changed the course of human history (and spread exponentially).

At the core of the oldest forms of Christianity, this humility is still acknowledged and followed. We who fall under the Orthodox Christian umbrella are taught to live our lives well, follow His example and not make a big deal out of our way of life. In the East, this approach is understood to be the best way of encouraging others to do the same. The original Christians, the Orthodox, still don’t proselytize as many of today’s Protestants do. Sincere Orthodox Christians offer up their lives as an example of the Faith – and in so doing, hope that people who choose to join the religion, do so because they like what they see in regards to the Orthodox lifestyle and worship.

Unfortunately our media driven world has led many people, even within Orthodox Christianity, to choose the opposite road to anonymity. The need to be the centre of attention is a very seductive thing – just like the rest of our Western lifestyles.

For better or for worse, I have tried to live my life the way I believe Christ did, though not always successfully. Rather than stand at the front and postulate, demanding that people look at me, I stand at the back and hope that what I have learnt and how I have lived is a helpful guide to others. My philosophy is therefore – “stay invisible”, for in so doing, you may in fact have a personal impact on those around you and you will in fact be following in Christ’s footsteps.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

Next Page »

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 1983-2024. All rights reserved.   Powered by WordPress