NEW PODCAST!

Part of the reason for some of the low activity level here at Every Thought Captive has been the gearing up for the launching of a podcast! The podcast will be dedicated to the same themes as the blog…but more dynamic and interactive! Yes, we will continue with the production of new content – in depth analysis that bringing Orthodox thought and tradition to bear on current social and cultural issues. I also plan to go back and revisit certain threads and expanding those forays. We also plan to have on guests for interviews and discussions.…

Orthodox Social Thought in Pre-Petrine Russia

One cannot overstress the social aspect of Russian religious ethics…. [O]ne must keep in mind that through all the centuries of medieval and Muscovite Russia her religion was predominantly social…. An enforced individualism enters the Russian Church life only since the reform or revolution of Peter I. ~ G. P. Fedotov On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Low estimates count roughly 10,000 killed, nearly 4,000 of those civilians. The reality is likely much higher, and the fighting continues. Fleeing for their lives, 5.8 million have become refugees. I have views about this tragic bloodshed between…

Scrutinize Every Provocation: Digital Minimalism and Nepsis Continued

Last year, I began a series on nepsis and the practice of so-called “Digital minimalism” for Orthodox Christians. Though this series had an auspicious beginning, I was rapidly taken off-track from completing it at that time for a multitude of reasons. With Lent coming to a close, I will continue that series now. We are approaching the very same Bridegroom Matins services and hymnography I referenced in my last piece. Let us keep those reminders of our spiritual life with us after Pascha! How easy it is to get through the Great Fast, through Holy Week,…

The Mathetian Option (Part One)

The God of the Scriptures is a very specific sort of deity. He is the architect who created and fashioned all things in a logical and orderly sequence. While he does not permanently expel chaos from the cosmos, he makes clear that disorder is not good but a distortion of goodness and a movement towards non-being. God then places man in the midst of his creation and asks him to share in his work of establishing order by tending and keeping the garden.  Together with Zoe, Adam is tasked with subduing chaos and filling the void…

How the West Really Lost God: The Family Factor

We Orthodox face many contemporary challenges in the modern West. We have for decades now been fully aware of the challenge of secularism thanks to the works of Fr. Alexander Schmemann and Fr. Seraphim Rose. Typical for intellectuals the loss of God was analyzed from an intellectual framework. They approached the challenges by articulating intellectual genealogies and engaging in philosophical debate. The challenge of secularism has also been the occasion for the recent resurgence in discussing enchantment in many recently released Ancient Faith podcasts, as evidenced by the popularity of The Lord of the Spirits and…

Orthodox Social Thought and Monastic Enterprise

Inasmuch as the present rests on the shoulders of the past, we can generally claim that our contemporary economic life is built upon the foundations set by the ascetic monastic labor of medieval Europe. ~ Fr. Sergei Bulgakov In the early twentieth-century, Adolf von Harnack observed in his historical study that “in Western monasticism we have to recognise a factor of the first importance in Church and civilisation.” The sociologist Max Weber, Harnack’s contemporary, also acknowledged this, for the West, in his major work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. By contrast, both figures…

Reason and Natural Theology – Analyzing the Hartford Appeal – Part 4

Blessed feast of Theophany! The winter light of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord warms our souls, inflames our hearts, and enlivens our minds. For it is truly in the light given by the Light that we are able to behold the truth of not only our lives but the entire universe!  The Fathers of the Church did not shy away from the claim of the Gospel that the meaning of all things is found in the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ. They proclaimed, led, and defended the teachings of our Lord to a…

Analyzing the Hartford Appeal – Part 3

It was not too long ago that the “New Atheists” ruled the discourse of religion in the public sphere. The agitations of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris rocked the bookshelves and journals for some time. This was the popularization and revalorization of certain criticisms of the Christian faith that have been with us for some time. Put simply, the God of Christians cannot be good or even believable according to our current understanding of science and morality. Religion must submit to the strictures of the empirical and the parameters of the scientific…

Orthodox Social Thought in Christian Rome, Part 2

[W]ithin three centuries of Christianity’s appearance in the world, Christians took over the seat of power and set out on a long journey to effect change in society, creating a Christian civilization in the process. ~ Fr. John McGuckin In the powerful ending of Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, after sacrificing so much of his own wealth and risking his own life to save the lives of some 1,200 Jews in Nazi Germany, says, weeping, “I could have got more out.” He looks around at the possessions he could have sold: “This car … why did I…

An Orthodox Defense of Patriarchy

“Patriarchy” is not a monolith. There is the patriarchy of fallen nature, whereby fallen men rule for the sake of ruling, and the patriarchy of Christianity, whereby men rule lovingly for the sake of peace. Christian patriarchy is feared or hated because of the abuses of natural patriarchy, and it’s admittedly difficult to distinguish the two because men sometimes use faith to legitimate their selfish desires. They are distinct, nonetheless, and in what follows, I’m going to expound on and defend this particular form. The Marital Polity The marital union could be described as the smallest…