Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ecclesiastical Gnosis

I've been reading the Catechism of the AJC, and I've learned a lot with just the first couple pages. The hierarchy and doctrinal statements of the AJC have kind of puzzled me in a Gnostic setting, as Gnosticism is not so much about statements but about experience. The emphasis of the curriculum on studying Christian theology also puzzled me.

However, experience without a reference point is meaningless. The Doctrines, as spelled out by the AJC, are there to guide the experiences of the initiates and parishioners. Think of them as signposts. You can go on a journey, but without knowing where you are, having a point of reference, you're not just wandering: you're lost.

Christian Theology has been dealing with these problems for centuries, and so those doctrines and statements also form a valuable signpost from which to proceed. It's kind of like "Ok, I know my friend is over here, but I want to go THIS way..."


Anonymous said...

The Catechism is meant to be a document that lays out the *Framework* within which the AJC works; it is the recipe for what we do. It is not intended to be dogmatic, nor is it meant to outline our *spirituality*, which is the real signpost that we use towards experiential Gnosis. This is more properly laid out as a guide within the Statement of Principles and is guided by the Sacred Flame 'resonating' with the Pneuma Hagion..

Do you follow? A Buddhist or Hindhu could have a common spirituality with us, but their praxis would be entirely different. As Christian Gnostics, the revelation which is given to us as a Church is that which is of the Christos with the ongoing guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit.


Rev Ken+

+Sar Shimun said...

I find the AJC's emphasis on theology in the formation rather refreshing, given the lack of emphasis it was given in my own formation for the priesthood.

Theology is useful in that it presents a system of enquiry and teaches you how to use that system; you can also say "Here's how orthodox Christians talk about the trinity, the church, or the soul" and know what you're talking about.

Your signpost analogy is quite apt.

+ Mar Iohannes, Ep.Gn. said...

As Fr. Justin put it

""Here's how orthodox Christians talk about the trinity, the church, or the soul" and know what you're talking about.

And not just that but "Seeing all this- here is how we are different, and why"

The purpose of examing orthodox viewpoints in formation is not so much to understand what they teach, but to better understand why we dont teach it, and what we do actually teach.