The road to Getsemiel

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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Drusia » October 28th, 2011, 11:22 am

"I'm glad to hear that...So your marital customs are like these Rinkai elves, and your killing-me-for-being-with-you customs aren't, and you worship one of their gods...where is it you do come from? And does everyone worship this Anilis there?"

I listen to Eli's deflection. It's good, but...

"My religious customs are like those of my mother," I reply, "Who is... unique among elves - she's an exile. Instead of killing me at birth, as would fit with proper elven custom, she raised me. And, because all 'normal' elves hunt and kill half-elves, we don't like to talk much about where we live." Self imposed exile, but still.

"Eli was raised differently, and he was raised differently from Lillith," I continue. "Each of us has different customs and beliefs. It just so happens that Eli has had the pleasure of enjoying mine."

Anyway, I don't want Brother Timothy thinking that Eli and I are from the same place.

I pause, frowning. "And none of that has to do with marriage customs. Anilis blesses marriages too. However, I haven't yet met someone who I'd be inclined to make such a pledge to."

-- Desiree
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Jack Rothwell » October 28th, 2011, 11:37 am

Eli shuffled his feet self-consciously at Desiree's proclamation, but said nothing.

OOC Forever alone!/OOC
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Alberich » October 28th, 2011, 4:54 pm

Tim was duly horrified at the unnatural behavior of these elven parents - even worse than the atrocities told in the Book of Liberation. Well, then, he wasn't going to learn much about these half-elves, their hometowns, or their governance by asking questions - he'd be deflected more or less frankly. And he supposed that made sense. The elves had dealings with the Patriarchy; he answered to his own hierarchy as a matter of course; and if the information became diplomatic currency...maybe it was better not to know. Well, you didn't get along in a town like Umbartiel if you didn't learn to mind your own business. Stay around a while and you'd learn more than enough about everyone else's. He kept his opinions to himself and replied with, "I see."

The conversation seemed dead, so Tim had a little talk with Brad about Brad's priestly education - his real purpose was to let Brad talk and think about something other than his humiliating performance a few minutes before. After that, he fell silent again. If someone else started to talk, he'd join in; otherwise, he'd volunteer to do some driving.
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Graybeard » October 28th, 2011, 10:08 pm

[OOC: Sorry I've been a bit spotty lately; the World Series takes precedence over most everything else, including eating and sleeping. Rose will get back to Argus' question about Bree later, after the game ...]

Brad breathed a silent prayer of thanksgiving at Brother Tim's change of subject; certain aspects of this conversation had been getting ... uncomfortable. Talking about his service to Luminosita should be a safe enough thing. Shouldn't it?

"Rose and I have been servants of Luminosita for most of our lives," he said. "Rose actually started in the Orthodox church before joining the Reformed church, but I've been Reformed from the beginning. Our many-times-great-grandfather, you see, was the founder of the Reformed movement. Quite a few of his descendants are Reformed priests and nuns today." He smiled. "Bishop Nuria was, I guess I'd say, prolific. And no, he didn't just found the Reformed movement so he could have sex." He blushed a little, but that didn't stop him from squeezing Lillith's hand, although he might not have been aware of it.

-----------

Sister Rose gave the same silent prayer as her cousin, for the same reason.

I can't really blame him for asking all these questions, she thought. Most people in Veracia don't see many half elves, and they get -- spooked by the ones they do see. Remarkably, this observation didn't trigger the tug at her emotions, based on that one half elf that she'd considerably-more-than-seen, that it would have, only a few weeks earlier. Equally remarkably, she was unaware of this fact.

She took over the narrative from her cousin. "As Brad says, I was nominally Orthodox as a child," she said. "Many of us in the Reformed Church started out that way. I changed when I got to seminary, though. For one thing, I went back and read what Bishop Nuria had said in the Commentaries. For another ... well, forgive my bluntness, but it seemed like there might be more opportunities for a nun in the Reformed Church." She smiled gently. "And in case you were wondering, the 'opportunities' were all about service, not about celibacy. I didn't change so that I could have sex either." Although it did work out that way... And this time the tug was there, but it was still a lot weaker than it would have been if she'd had this same conversation a month earlier ...

... Before meeting present company.
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Alberich » October 28th, 2011, 10:42 pm

"I wouldn't dream of suggesting it," he assured her. That was true enough. Attacking her motives, or her illustrious ancestor's, would be worse than pointless.

A little voice wanted to remind him of his own ability to justify what he wanted - back in town, he'd started groping for excuses to share pleasures of the flesh with Desiree. This voice suggested that maybe Nuria and his family line were just as adept at this art as himself. But even if it were so, it would be rude and uselss to say it.

(Did theologies run in families? Part of him wanted to think over what Desiree had kept saying, about each of the half-elves being different - it fit what he'd beeing seeing, and maybe it had to do with how much the "elf" came out in them. Time to ponder that later.) He kept speaking to Rose and Brad.

"But I'm curious to know - with the commentaries and all - do you have a definitive authority for interpreting the Scriptures and getting your true doctrines? What I mean is, is there anyone alive who interprets the Scriptures and the Commentaries for you, or do you each do it for yourselves, or how is it?"
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Drusia » October 29th, 2011, 1:04 pm

Eli shuffled his feet self-consciously at Desiree's proclamation, but said nothing.
"I see."


I turn away, blushing. My hands find Eli's arm. Fortunately, Brother Tim seems willing to let it go. He moves off to speak with Brad about... something complicated to do with Luminosa. Never mind.

"Sorry about that," I say softly to Eli. "He just... something about him just bothers me. I want to yell at him for... no real reason. And then I said something stupid and had to cover it up and..." I shake my head. "I'm just glad that's overwith."

-- Desiree
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Graybeard » October 29th, 2011, 2:07 pm

"But I'm curious to know - with the commentaries and all - do you have a definitive authority for interpreting the Scriptures and getting your true doctrines? What I mean is, is there anyone alive who interprets the Scriptures and the Commentaries for you, or do you each do it for yourselves, or how is it?"

That, Sister Rose had to admit, was a bit of a sore spot ... and it had become sorer on this voyage.

"Well, theoretically at least, we still view the Patriarch as the final authority on doctrinal matters," she said. "For the last twenty years or so, we've been more or less allowed to go our own way, because Patriarch Jeramel doesn't consider a denomination that never gets bigger than three per cent of the Veracian Church to be worth his time." (She did not add, because he's too busy counting his damn money to take an interest in spiritual things anyway. She also didn't say that that "three per cent" figure was as large as the Orthodox Church allowed the Reformed Church to get; some things were better left unsaid.) "So what happens in practice is that if we hit a doctrinal uncertainty or disagreement, the more senior clergy just get together and work it out by looking at the Scriptures and the Commentaries. That's rarer than you might think. In theory, I'm supposed to be senior enough to get involved in those conferences. In practice, I've never been to one, and I'm not sure there's been one in my lifetime in the church."

She thought for a minute, and decided to take a chance. "Most of the other minor denominations work that way too, I think: defer to the Patriarch in principle, but since he basically ignores them, just work things out among themselves if necessary. I'm curious, though: do you happen to know anything about the way the Millenarians do it? Because we've seen evidence on this trip that their approach to doctrinal matters is a bit more structured than ours."

I hope I kept my face and voice straight while I was saying that last part, Rose thought, as she waited for Tim's reply.

[OOC: Thanks, Brother Timothy, for bringing this up.

The existence of the Reformed Church, not to mention all the other denominations, is not "canon" in the Poe-verse, in the sense that they are not known to exist in Errant Story itself. They could exist -- there's never been enough development of the Veracian Church there to rule them out -- and in the Real World, when a church nominally controls a vast area containing comparatively few people with limited transportation systems connecting them, as appears to be the case in Veracia, local "interpretations" of the church may well develop, ranging from minor perturbations of the core doctrine all the way to outright cults. (For some examples, read up on the "flagellant" cults of the Catholic Church, notably the "Penitentes" of the area where I live.) But we're really kind of winging it here.

Over the years of Errant Road, I have worked out some ideas for the things that differentiate the various Veracian denominations/sects, and I should probably codify that. It really hasn't mattered much up till now -- the only other Luminositan churchman we've ever had as a PC was a very odd bird for whom doctrinal matters were the least of his eccentricities -- but with an actual Veracian priest now among the players, we probably should give this a bit more organized thought than it's been given to date. A sidebar discussion in the OOC Forum on this topic might be very interesting. For the moment, I'm happy to use Tim's questions as an excuse to expose some of these ideas.]
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Alberich » October 29th, 2011, 3:17 pm

[OOC: I think it's more fun to bring it up in play. I have my own notions on the Orthodox position on various basic matters - and as you rightly point out, it's not as if the ER Veracian Church is "canon" anyway. The way I've envisioned Tim, he's not a deep theologian but should make a decent foil "to justify the ways of God to Man."]

"Can't help you on the Millenarians. I did get some schooling, but I'm not real strong on comparative theology." That was true enough. It didn't bother him overmuch. Priests had to be a practical ruling class as well as scholars and spiritual guides, and he was glad to leave the more esoteric questions to the College and the Church Advocates. Who themselves were quite insistent that such matters be left to them. It worked out beautifully. If he'd been assigned to a town with a divided church, he might've had to learn more, just to help keep the peace.

"So it sounds like your senior clergy, I guess you mean the senior ones in your sect, kind of stand in for the College of Cardinals - I mean, I don't think the Patriarchs ever issue their really big pronouncements without consulting the College, and I read they can spend years going over what a passage of scripture might mean. And to us Orthodox, that settles it, even more when the Patriarch ratifies it." He paused. "Maybe the Millenarians just have a tighter circle for their upper clergy, or they've got some stricter bishops." Imagine an entire sect under the rule of Cyrus! - now there was a chilling thought.

He knew she knew that the Orthodox also had large "conferences," or Councils, to settle the really large questions - it was just such a Council that had chosen the books in the scriptural Canon. But Tim was a little fuzzy on which Council decided what, and how many hundreds of years back the different ones happened, and it was all beside the point anyway.

For his own part, he was glad to hear that even though she'd chosen the Reformed sect on the basis of her own reading, they didn't have any foolish ideas about "Everyman His Own Theologian." At least they settled questions with senior, experienced Churchmen. The Orthodox, of course, had the most senior Churchmen, who were in the best position to get it right, but there was no need to point that out explicitly. He was even gladder to know that the Patriarch was in a position to settle a dispute that really needed settling. He had a more charitable view of why the Patriarch might not do it so often. The man had to rule a country, and keep it at peace, as well as serving as its chief priest. Correcting everyone's doctrines on an hourly basis - that would be, at the very least, distracting.

"But you know, I don't think it's quite fair to say it's just a matter of how big a denomination is. The way we learned it, anyway, is that we used to crush out any unorthodox sect, on the basis that its teachings were wrong. But now we don't just look whether they're teaching something unorthodox, but whether it's really dangerous to souls. I mean, if there was a sect that said you could fornicate your way to paradise, or we ought to go back to serving the elves, or something like that, I'd imagine we'd all get together and squash them out." Wasn't that what the Inquisition was for, to make sure the Unorthodox weren't straying too far?

"But if there's one group that thinks Hell is a burning fire, and another group that thinks it's just pain and loss from not being with Lord Luminosita," - please don't ask me which is which - "then what's that to us? We all agree that we don't want to go there, and don't let's lead the faithful there. So even if we don't agree, or know it's wrong, we can tolerate it. The main thing is the care of souls, after all."
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Drannin » October 29th, 2011, 3:50 pm

Argus hesitated. He didn't exactly want to get into a debate about the Veracian Church... with two Veracian Priests... while in Veracia... but he had to wonder about something.

"Just because I'm curious," he said slowly, "How does one define 'unorthodox' versus 'heretical?' I mean, how is one sect considered different but acceptable, while another is considered dangerous, and to be suppressed? Is there some sort of criteria?" He was being as polite as possible. It was never a good idea to question someone's faith, but given how things had... been... between himself and Rose of late, he was starting to wonder exactly what her views on her faith were, and how compatible they would be with his mindset.

She knows, right? I mean... Rose is educated and experienced. She knows that Luminosita is an admittedly impressive magical construct created by Veracia... doesn't she? Maybe it was time to start asking delicate questions... or wait until after Getsemiel?
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Re: The road to Getsemiel

Postby Alberich » October 29th, 2011, 4:03 pm

"Well," said Tim, "the main difference is, 'unorthodox' is more polite. I think there really is a a real difference, like I was saying, with the sects that are allowed to exist. Because they're not really dangerous to the souls of the faithful. But there certainly are people who will throw around that word 'heretic' for anything that isn't orthodox."
Last edited by Alberich on October 29th, 2011, 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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