Sunday, August 20, 2017

Does this honor the priesthood or trivialize it?


17 comments:

  1. Do priests generally bless recreational items like, say, chess boards or soccer balls? If so, I can't see why this is different. Maybe the association of dice/cards with gambling?

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  2. It's better than blessing missiles.

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  3. I am wondering why he is advertising his services. I would, I suppose, bless the dice, cards, and miniatures of my flock if asked, but this would take place as part of my normal pastoral ministry, and so would not have to assure them that I was a real priest and not into cosplay. This looks more like a case of "Have Stole, Will Travel (and bless)". The issue for me is not the trivialization of the priesthood, but the apparent sale of its services.

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    1. You haven't seen price lists for funerals, baptism or weddings at Orthodox churches yet, have you?

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  4. Is everyone clear he was at a gaming convention (Gen Con), thus the offer to bless dice, miniatures, etc.? Makes more sense within context, like blessing any sports-related equipment.

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    1. So this priest is at GenCon, presumably because his hobby is board games/RPG's/mini wargames. Let's assume that he is one of these priests who always wears clerical garb in public, but his problem is that the witness gets muddled because of the prevalence of cosplay at "nerd" conventions. In such circumstances, I think his sign isn't a bad idea. It is low-key and humorous, and it might actually start a conversation with a GenCon attendee who may be interested in the faith.

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  5. Unclear he was "selling" his services at all - though if he was Orthodox we'd call it trebie and excuse it away.

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  6. Quite right; by "selling" I simply meant offering his services, quite apart from any price. I have no doubt his heart was in the right place; I just wonder about offering services in general apart from a pastoral setting, for it seems to encourage a more casual view of priestly prayer than is healthy. Maybe "trivialization" is the best term after all. But some good could come out of it if real conversations are held and genuine interest sparked. Also: sorry for the deleted comment. My last reply had too many typos, and being unable to edit it after posting, I simply deleted it and redid it (hopefully) minus the typos.

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    1. While a higher on the dork factor, I see little difference here than Greek priests blessing tavernas on Mykonos prior to the start of the tourist season. Given he's likely an Episcopalian priest with a "lower" view of the sacramentality of priestly prayer than your typical Orthodox priest, he matches Orthodox and Catholics on the inculturation of religion into all aspects of that culture. If there were gaming conventions in Holy Russia, you can be sure there would have been a priest blessing dice and miniatures. I think it trivializes the priesthood, too, I just wonder if it is, or if my own reaction is due more to the innate Protestantism and iconoclasm of North American culture. I wonder if your typical Western (mainly Protestant) Christian might have much the same view of typical Orthodox blessings as found in the Great Book of Needs.

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    2. I do take your point, but presumably the Greek priests are asked to bless the tavernas by their owners, and do not volunteer to bless the tavernas of people for whom such blessing might have no meaning. But perhaps the Episcopalian priest was motivated mainly by an impulse to connect with the unchurched, and thought this a good opportunity?

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    3. I think you are correct about his "gamer mission". Again, I think we'd give him the benefit of the doubt in a different context. I'm not so sure St. Kosmas Aitolos was always asked to preach and teach when he visited nominally Orthodox villages where they all spoke Turkish. Not to compare this priest with an Orthodox Isapostle, of course, but I would imagine his priest sees himself evangelizing a corner of unchurched America he likely has an affinity for. Nerds need saving, too, after all, and if you are a priest of a church that blesses bicycles and animals and who knows what else, well...

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    4. "Nerds need saving too": I love it. May I steal the phrase?

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  7. I don't know, can't be much more humiliating than taking human flesh when one is almighty God.

    All kidding aside, it's a tricky thing to be "all things to all people." On the one hand, it could lead to a mindset that is ripe for scandal or sin. In this case, the priest in question is dressed with the dignity of his office, and performing a service proper to his office (I think anyway, all kinds of things are blessed for various reasons, and God did create all things). I would think it more degrading if he were dressed in some kind of gamer-centric costume unworthy of a priest, and using that as his hook to talk to people. I don't think this trivializes the priesthood. He's reaching out to a demographic that needs to hear the Good News, and if he's able to use this opportunity to bring people to Christ, then good for him. I do agree that a line has to be drawn somewhere, but I would put that line past this activity.

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  8. If he s Anglican, then the priesthood has not only been trivialized but blasphemed.

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  9. Don't these RPGs sometimes feature demonic characters? I wonder if he'd bless a miniature of one of those.

    The story below is about a priest blessing honey, that well-known gateway to gluttony.

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