Sunday, May 14, 2006

Lessons from a Frog

On a recent backpacking trip with friends (some old and some new) I came across this little frog, sitting on a rock in the middle of a creek. I snapped his picture and began to walk away when I thought I heard a tiny voice asking,

“Son of Adam, thine own legend suggests that a lowly frog such as I can be transformed into a beautiful prince by a single kiss. Why then dost thou turn away from the kiss of our Master, which can transform thee from what I see before me into the image of the True Prince, the beloved Son of our God Most High?”

I looked back, and the frog simply shrugged and jumped off his rock.

The woods can sometimes play tricks on your mind…


At 5/15/2006 12:23 AM , Blogger Ruth said...

Like this story...yes I'm a frog.

At 5/15/2006 4:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Michael.

How true!

This has me thinking of the difference between our kiss to Christ (ala Judas) and his transforming kiss to us.

My name is Leon. I recently was introduced to your blog and enjoy it immensely.

At 5/15/2006 12:35 PM , Blogger a Christian said...

Fr Michael,

I appreciated this blog because I can relate. I love the way that God uses creation to speak truth to us. To me this rings true of our Father in Heaven that I know.

-a protestant seeking orthodoxy =)

At 5/15/2006 2:07 PM , Anonymous Kevin said...

Father Michael,

This is not related to your frog anecdote...but have you heard of a book titled "Misquoting Jesus" (subtitle: 'The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible and Why') by Bart D. Ehrman? Dr. Ehrman is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College (BA), and Princeton Theological Seminary (Masters Div.; and Ph.D). His areas of specialization are: Early Christian History; Orthodoxy and Heresy; and Formation of the N.T, Canon. Obviously he has immaculate Evangelical credentials.

Anyway...a fascinating, controversial and highly provocative book (Misquoting Jesus), which, in short, states that due to the nature of copyists and copying of texts in the ancient world (esp. first 3 centuries), before the invention of movable type (Guttenberg in the 16th century) there were routinely mistakes and changes made to early New Testament and early Christian text documents when they were copies from the original (autograph). Some changes were unintentional, due to bad or unprofessional scribes [90-95% of the people of the ancient world were illiterate!]. Other changes were intentional: due to alterations of texts so they would conform to what they wanted readers to hear (most reading was communal or audible - few had personal copies of texts!)!

He points out there were hundreds of competing groups within Christendom vying for validity in the first centuries. Changes were apparently made to basic texts (inc. the N.T.) back and forth by all the groups, to support theological positions they wanted to advance. Both the heretics AND what he calls the "proto-orthodox (pre-Constantine) were guilty of this common practice. In fact, he shows evidence that Scribes assoc. with the "orthodox" tradition (as he calls us) "not infrequently changed their texts, sometimes in order to eliminate the possibility of their 'misuse' by Christians affirming heretical beliefs..." (p. 53).

This took place before the Canon of the N.T. was formed, or even thought of. This would have knocked me off my horse were I still a Protestant, grounded in a Bible inerrancy, literalist, "this-is-the-word-for-word-Word-Of-God" viewpoint. His evidence shows that we do not have original (autograph) texts of the N.T. that go back before 300 years A.D. And he shows that many of our newer editions and translations are not in congruity with even these oldest, extant texts! The Latin Vulgate text (Jerome) for example is a translation from Greek to Latin from a Greek edition by Erasmus. His edition was rushed out in less than five months using local and manuscripts that "were not of the best qualitry: they were after all produced some eleven hundred years after the originals!" (p. 80).

So what we have are texts that were heavily influenced by the subjectivity of the Scribes (intentional and not)and the process of copying in the ancient world!

What I take away from his book is: thank God we have the Orthodox Tradition! It is what has kept the apostolic link alive, despite the vagaries and intrigue that go along with the transmission of these key texts (N.T. included). The fact is: The Orthodox view won and became the "mainstream" viewpoint after the conversion of Constantine. What we read in these texts (along with mistakes!) is the "orthodox" viewpoint! So those who feel that Eastern Orthodoxy is some cult, or a historical relic...NOT! It is the source of what you read and think about the Christian Faith!


At 5/17/2006 1:28 AM , Blogger Petros said...



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