Prudence True

The Art of Wisdom

Through Ancient Words

A Path to Your Heart:


Who Am I?

(and, Who I'm Not)


4  November 2011

Dear Souls -

         Thank you for your patience. I'm not sure why you're here, but I'm guessing you're curious about the world through the eyes of an ordinary stumbling cradle Orthodox Christian. It's lonely writing here in cyberland, and I prefer my life in the real world mixed among other ordinary souls, Christian and not so. As you can tell by my nom de plume, I prefer invisibility and my second choice is anonymity . . . if I get the two together, I'm blessed with bliss. Sticking my neck out and writing about my faith makes me squirm; I couldn't do it without the assurance of wise spiritual parents promising to slap my hand when I get out of hand. And I eagerly await the moment when they both tell me I'm a big loser and should donate my laptop to charity. But so far, my laptop remains here on my lap.

          If you've spent any time around those born and raised as Orthodox Christians, then you're aware of the tradition of silence. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware believes this stems from the generations of persecution experienced by Orthodox Christians throughout the world. His theory works for me, but I also believe big loud Christianity is not consistent with an Orthodox heart of humility. He is a monk, I'm an ordinary soul living an ordinary life in the world. And he and I both must live our faith from the angle suited to our position in life: different paths, but headed in the same direction (I hope). He runs around town in a black robe with a large cross on his chest. I prefer shorts and flip flops.

          I'm not a techie, and I don't loiter around cyber-Orthodoxy... it's not the real world. Most of my friends are Christian or not so, but they all have hearts of gold. My large family is immersed in Orthodoxy, and includes lots of cousins, aunts and uncles: Orthodoxy runs through my roots going back as far as time. But my family blends in the world and does not live as an isolated fringe of society. I work as a nurse in a hospital, raise my children, surf, swim, and cook dinner every night. Christianity is not a badge I wear on my forehead, it's a seal on my heart.

          Starting a mission church is not my cup of tea. I don't fast like a monastic, and I only take confession if I've murdered someone, or I'm dragged to confession by the priest. I let my son wear flip flops to church on Sunday, and I argue with my best friend that long shorts are business casual attire. I prefer atheists to self-righteous Christians, and I feel nauseated when someone asks me if I've been saved.

          I know where God is, and I know where God is not. Sometimes I know for sure He is at Liturgy on Sunday, and sometimes all I know on Sunday is that I'm not out surfing. I'm writing this here, and you're seeing life through the eyes of my soul.

          This is all I know. . . the world through my ordinary eyes.

Through My Eyes


Who Is God?

(and, Who God Isn't)


5  November 2011

Dear Souls -

          My friends who lie somewhere on the atheist continuum have taught me more about God, than my friends who believe Jesus is their best friend. One dear, semi-atheist, friend says, "I'm not sure there is a God, but I'm not sure there isn't." She has a heart of gold, and the God I know wouldn't exclude her from anywhere. Another friend, a well known philosophy professor, tells me humans have a need for a belief in some greater power, and religion fills this need. He believes when we die, we turn to dust. He also has a heart of gold, and God, not I, knows whether or not this friend will turn to dust or soar far above us after his death.

           For myself, I'm a simple soul baptized soon after birth and raised on an unwavering Orthodox Christian path. It's always been clear, and I confess a lack of curiosity. God is, has been, and always will be. Maybe I lack the pondering gene. Maybe God has a knack for tapping you on the shoulder and letting you know He is there at your side. This tap has a way of extinguishing your curiosity, in a single heartbeat.

          I'm ignorant of much beyond the Orthodox Christian path, and I don't believe Jesus is my best friend. He is God, and I'm in no position to feel chummy with God. If God is not, then why does the subject of God linger on since the beginning of time? Are humans really this persistent about nothing? Or does God's tap on the heart of humans, at just the right moment, keep a faith in God alight. And if we reduce God to complex discussion, dissection, and analysis of the Word, then God is a series of words and not much more. God is not a library, nor a best friend. God is what He is, and is not what He is not.

          If you're Saint Paul and God leaps out in front of you as you travel down the road, then you're blessed with the knowledge of God in a perceptible way. But if God does not leap out in front of you on the highway, then you must find another path to God. I know one path, so I cannot recommend any other. The path I know traces itself back 2000 years, and is unwavering in its Tradition. God is, has been, and always will be . . . for me. And I'm not Saint Paul.


What Is Church?

(and, What Church Isn't)


6  November 2011

Dear Souls -

               It seems I've selected a theme, so I will continue along this path. Although you must remember, nothing written here has been reviewed by the editorial board of the American Journal of Theology. This is just me with a dangerous tool called a laptop (but it isn't on my lap right now, it's on a table). And the Church is about us ordinary souls, and not just priests, deacons, and monastics. So, I have something to say . . .

                In my mind I picture Christ as the head, and the Church as his body. Yes, I mean exactly this, and if I had the time I would fuss around with some photos and give you this exact image (but it's Sunday morning and I must get ready for church soon). Today Church means all sorts of things to all sorts of people, but for me there has only ever been one Church. The Church began some 2000 years ago and has divided into some 33,000 branches. Are all 33,000 branches the same? And, do they all provide the same body for Christ's head to sit upon?

                Church has a particular feel for me in my bones, and not all churches provide this experience. Some churches feel like classrooms, and some churches feel like Heaven. The difference is speaking to your heart. I believe you should feel church in your heart, but not in the same way you feel your heartbeat at a rock concert. (I love hearing my favorite musicians perform live, and most of them play soulful music in concert, but this is not the body of Christ I'm referring to here.)

                  I'm not saying the only church that feels like Heaven is the Orthodox Church. I've been to many Roman Catholic churches that provide the same feeling in my bone marrow (St. Peters Basilica in Rome, St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC are two well known heavenly Roman Catholic churches). Capturing this essence of Heaven is part of the church experience I believe is essential for the Body of Christ. Different churches provide diverse experiences of Christianity, but some churches provide a closer tie to the neck that holds up Christ's head. And if a Church continues along the path established by the Apostles, then this link holds Christ's head to His body. (Maybe we could call this: Anatomy of the Church.)

                  Church for me is not a social club. And church is not my job. Church is where I  give thanks to God for all the blessings in my life. I also give thanks to God when I'm out surfing, but it's not the same as at church. At church there is a specific process to thanksgiving, called the Eucharist. And this is the center piece of the Body of Christ for us ordinary souls. But, many of the 33,000 churches have wandered along other paths and feel this Eucharistic center piece is outdated. I don't think this is true, because the Head and Body of Christ sit outside time and space, so our earthly passage of time carries no weight in Heaven.


                                                        click here:  Heaven