Fr. Vasile Tudora is the Parish Priest at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist in Euless, Texas under the omophorion of Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver. Originally born in Bucharest, Romania he pursued first Medical Studies at the "Carol Davila" University of Medicine in Bucharest. Later he responded the call to priesthood and also pursued theological studies at the "Sfanta Mucenita Filoteea" Theological Institute. Due to his dual background, Fr. Vasile has a special interest in Christian Bioethics and writes articles on contemporary faith issues on his blog and various other blogs and newspapers in English and Romanian. He is married to Presvytera Mirela Tudora, and they cherish every minute of the time they spend with their 5 children: Maria, Luca, Matei, Tatiana and Elena. Beside the Church and the family, Fr. Vasile also longs for the great outdoors and experiments with digital photography.
Recently, I went to a talent show at my kids’ school. It was enjoyable to watch an entirely random blend of performances unfolding in front of a room full of parents eager to applaud at the slightest hint of aptitude showing on the stage. I know this because I was one of them. There really was true talent to applaud and, even when talent was not really present, there was a lot of courage to be praised.
There was one thing, however, that set me back: the poor choice of songs by a number of children, averaging roughly ten years of age. Why, for instance, would a little girl sing with excitement that she’s getting married tomorrow? Or sigh with desire for a lost relationship with an abusive type of a boyfriend? What happened with the age-appropriate subjects? Are there no more things in God’s creation that can entertain a middleschooler without instantly jumping over childhood?
This is probably one of the many signs of the times we live in, where children don’t want to be children anymore and, when they become adults, they want to go back to childhood by engaging in all kinds of immature activities. We seem to have replaced the order that God has put in all creation with a great confusion that leads to no good.
The reshuffling of life seasons is not the only confusion that is perpetuated by our contemporary way of life. Another one with profound ramifications is gender confusion. Today women dress and act more and more like men while men become day after day more effeminate. Just look around to see how many women cut their hair short now and how many men have replaced the beard with a clean shaved face. Women wearing pants in church was something unheard of a few decades ago; men wearing tight-fitting pink shirts was just as outrageous. But nowadays it is just fashionable and very normal.
You may ask yourself by now if I really am that old fashioned that I can’t understand that we don’t live in the 1800’s anymore? Of course not, I do also live in the contemporary world, but this frightening disorder, brought by apparently simple things like fashion, can greatly impact our lives. If men are not men while women are not women anymore and children cease to be children while adults become like kids, then all bets are off.
The number one victim of this confusion is the family. We see how the God-given definition of family is changed today by the political agenda, how younger and younger girls drop off school because of a teenage pregnancy, how divorce becomes the norm and celibacy with a libertarian lifestyle is looked upon as a viable way of living. These are all consequences of this confusion.
But God has not created the world in this way, He did not plant disorder. He made a child different than an adult and a woman different than a man. Strip them all naked of modern fashion, culture, prejudice, political correctness, and you will see the true face of the world that is still there, buried, just as it was created by God.
Adam and Eve in paradise wore no clothing because they were pure and immaculate. They were vested with the royal garment of grace and no confusion dawned upon them. They Knew God and God knew them just as they were made. But through sin they lost this original purity and started wearing garments of skin that could be fashionably interchanged to hide what’s really underneath, that create a false identity, an identity that is hiding further away from God, in a garden of confusion and deception. The secular tendencies of our contemporary living are exactly such garments, hiding the true God-given nature and purpose of the world and replacing it with a self-made unguided hodgepodge.
God’s intent for order is very clear in the book of Ecclesiastes: “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; […] a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecc 5:1-5). He has created all things with a purpose in mind, and when we forget or change this purpose, we miss the very goal of our existence, which is to be with God. We can rebel against this fact, we can try to cover it, but this will only bring pain in our lives because we act against ourselves, against who we really are.
All our problems arise when we fight against the faultless order of God and try to replace it with a man-made flawed proposition. We think that we can outsmart God, but in doing that we only trade perfection for limitation, eternity for a lifetime, communion for isolation, and love for indifference.
But we don’t have to reinvent anything: God has already created everything perfect. We only have to shake off these garments of skin and wear again the cloth of grace by aligning our will with His will and rediscovering our personal identity by paradoxically uniting ourselves with Him. “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)