Thy word have I hid in a camouflage Bible cover so that Thy deer may not see me

I can almost hear the talk around the elk hunters morning campfire, “Where did I leave my Bible? I just set in on a log yesterday and now I cannot find it… ”

realtreebible.jpgAll thanks to the Bible with a realtree camo cover.

Here are some snippets from the Religion newsblog website:

The cover of this Bible is graced by leaves and tree bark. This enables the devout who also hunt to take their Bible into the woods with them while concealing it from their prey.

The article then gets to the root of things:

Such products are classically American and highlight cultural traits which are especially pronounced in the South.

The first is a love affair with all things cam, from pick-up trucks to baseball hats to shotguns.

“Men in the South love camo, it’s just another way to communicate that they are an outdoorsman,” said Lingner.

These products also highlight the U.S. evangelical love affair with hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.

I am going to have to disagree that this is a Southern thing, as here in Southeast Washington there are many men (at least the people I work with) who enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and etc.

And this is not just a ‘hunter thing’ Western Christianity seems to have found a way of attaching itself onto all sorts of areas of life. I am sure this is fueled by a sincere effort to have Christianity in all of one’s life… but is Christianity really suposed to impact life from the outside via t-shirts and other assorted products? Or does Christianity impact life from the inside of one’s heart and into all of one’s life?

If we are seeking Christ, living a life of repentance, I think it is the later.

Although the camo Bible cover is a bit humorous to me it is just another example of gimics being used. I too have been guilty of using gimics. I am ashamed to admit that when I used to work with youth, on one occassion I offered to pay kids $5 for each friend that they brought is a series we were doing, some kids took me up on it too….

It is just sad to me that Christians have resorted to gimics, gimics that come and go….

It is not just products either– one can also see Worship gimics, “creative” teaching/theology gimics, and other things as well.

Is this what Christianity is all about?

I realize that for some, perhaps they partake of different things in a pursuit of REAL Christianity. I know that in my own Christian journey I banked from Charismatic to Liturgical and back again. Trying to figure out what Christianity was all about, that there had to be more to following Christ than saying the sinner’s prayer and then hanging on until I died. It would be honest to say that at times I was ready to toss the whole thing in and just be a tree-hugging pagan.

It is at this point that it would be appropriate to share “the nutshell version” of how I came to the Orthodox Church.

I was raised in the Lutheran church, but I would describe my formation as pretty much evangelical with a charismatic influence. I had accepted Christ and was seeking to follow Him. My spiritual formation was in the Lutheran Church and in a youth ministry from Calvary Chapel of Long Beach.

I still remember when in the 80’s I asked a question about Christianity to a friend. I asked him, “Is there more to Christianity than this?” There just seemed to be something lacking… my question seemed to stem from the whole “I am a Christian, now what?” sort of thing.

Anyways… as years went on I came across the book, ‘Becoming Orthodox’ this is about Orthodox Christianity and the journey of some Campus Crusade for Christ people who were searching for the original Church. The ideas presented made sense to me and my evangelical mind. But that was like the seed of introduction. Over the years my exposure to Orthodox Christianity grew…

Probably 10 years ago a Priest moved to Walla Walla and started an Orthodox Mission. I remember one woman I knew who pretty much said that she knew it would only be a matter of time for me to become Orthodox once the Mission started.

I started attending Services every so often. I continued to learn more and become more exposed to Orthodoxy.

Eventually it came time for me to make a decision about the whole Orthodox ‘thing.’ In a nutshell what it came down to was: 1. Is the Orthodox Church the original Church? and 2. If it is, do I have a responsibility to be there. My answer was “yes” on both accounts.

In July of 2000 my wife and I, along with our two children (we now have 3 kids) were baptised.
(I told you that this is the nutshell version; Tthere is more to the story than this, I would be glad to correspond with anyone who would like to know more about my journey.)

Since coming into the Church I have learned so much more about the Faith and it’s practices, and have also learned how much I do NOT know. It is in The Church that the question asked in the 80’s, “I am a Christian, now what?” Has finally found an answer.

The Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the Christian Faith.
The Orthodox Church has the ‘spiritual medicines’ for the healing of our souls. And the Church has been doing this without gimics.

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7 Responses to “Thy word have I hid in a camouflage Bible cover so that Thy deer may not see me”

  1. Barbara-Marie Drezhlo Says:

    Dearest Papa Herman!

    Greetings from an old-time Orthodox plankowner!

    Actually, Orthodoxy is less a “religion” than it is a “way of life”. That is, it is not an intellectual construct such as Reformation Prtestantism is; rather, it is a living and organic being that we interact with. We do not call the Church the “Body of Christ” for nothing. Like a friendship, a relationship with the Body takes time to develop; it cannot be rushed. You have been in the Church some seven years. That means that your relatonship is past the “toddler” stage. Nonetheless, it is still “immature” (this is NOT meant in a prejorative sense, dear!).

    There are subtleties and richnesses in the Faith that become apparent only with the passing of time and experience. This does NOT come from reading books! I always advise people with less than ten years of Orthodoxy to learn from “living icons” rather than from reading. If you wish to know Orthodoxy, ask an elder or ask an experienced Orthodox Christian (at least ten years’ standing). My own life has been enriched by such “walking icons” as Captain Nicholas Alexander, Fr Alexander the former Cossack officer, Sofia Koulomzine (and her husband Nikita), my friends Vadim and Nazha in Russia, and (of course) my staritsa (a nun in Siberia, a spiritual daughter of the great Eldress Mother Varvara of Pyukhtitsa).

    Well, what does one do in Washington State? Congratulations! You have good instincts, for you have gone on otpust to Vashon Island. I hear that Fr Isaac is a dear man and a living saint. Deepen your relationship with the fathers there, support their work (both with your prayers and money), and go there as often as you can. It is good to walk on holy ground. You shall gain more from one otpust than you shall gain from a lifetime of reading.

    Vara

  2. symphonyguy Says:

    Always an interesting perspective from you, Papa. I agree with gimics, but each culture has ’em. Check out this site to see orthodox gimics (http://www.cafepress.com/orthodoxgifts) : t-shirts, coffee mugs, postcards, etc. And as one new to the Orthodox tradition, I just confess that I look at icons, prayer ropes, the priest’s cassocks, etc. as, dare I say, gimmicky. In other words, one person’s tool can also be another person’s gimic.

  3. Mimi Says:

    I’d never heard “the rest of the story’ as it were, thank you for sharing it.

  4. handmaidmaryleah Says:

    “The voice of the Lord Who shaketh the wilderness, yea, the Lord will shake the wilderness of Kaddis. The voice of the Lord gathereth the harts, and shall reveal the thickets of oak, and in His temple every man uttereth glory.”
    A verse of the Fourth Kathisma; Psalm 28 LXX

    There is a site with “cowboy bibles” too. Where I think there is a problem is when they add and change the text to suit their audience, which they do. Teen bibles are now in “teen speak” and the cowboy bible has cowboy poetry, as all cowboys must have a poetic streak (they don’t) and I should know I raised one and married one. BTW, not in that order. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.
    Mary-Leah

  5. Sophocles Says:

    Papa Herman,

    I really enjoyed this post and your abridged story.

    Speaking of specialty Bibles, do they have ones for: Canadian born, ethnically Greek blooded, American citizens who own restaurants and are even Orthodox?

    I’m looking for one of these……

  6. juliana Says:

    I actually found a “skate boarding” bible. It, however, does not speak skate lingo. It only has a couple of skaters on the cover and the text is NKJ. Though the kids did question if it was disrespectful to have a skater cover. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around, the parent questioning the kids, not them me. I actually do love my new bible I have to admit.

  7. Ras Scott Says:

    Interesting blog post. I wonder why people choose to use gimmicks to “sell” God. When I lived in Hawaii there was a group that translated the bible into pidgin english for the real old-timers that spoke really heavy pidgin. Their idea tanked when they realized that those same old-timers also didn’t know how to read.

    I also wonder this as I’m driving down the road. Many churches now have signs in the front with clever little sayings and puns to amuse and possibly lure the passersby. They are always disappointing for me because I would much rather see a bible verse. It would be much more powerful. No matter how clever you are, you are no match for the beauty and meaning of scripture.

    There’s no reason to use babylonian(societies) techniques to bring people to God. I’ve found that people are yearning for a realness, the true reality, and this has nothing to do with marketing. In fact, it can’t be bought or sold. I would even go as far as to say that it can’t be found in the bible either. It is found within you.

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