Analyzing the Hartford Appeal – Part 1

On April 1, 1975 Worldview Magazine published “An Appeal for Theological Affirmation: The Hartford Statement”. The themes of this Appeal were first thought up on evening in January 1974 at the home of Peter Berger, an eminent and respected sociologist. There Richard John Neuhaus and Berger, with great fun, made up a list of major themes in mainline Protestantism that irritated them. The irritation came from what they saw as serious problems arising from the assumptions being made in so much Christian engagement with public life in the United States. They shared this list with a…

Medicine in the Machine

I was recently in the emergency room with the family of a parishioner who had had an unexpected medical emergency. After waiting a while for the results of the procedure a man abruptly appeared clad in the iconic medical digs. This was obviously the person we were anxiously looking to hear from. Before we received the eagerly anticipated news, I was given the once over. For, of course, I was clad in cassock and cross. Our eyes were not to meet again. What happened in the next two and half minutes is something to which I…

Holy Week and The New Media Epidemic

  Holy Week is upon us in the Orthodox Church. We have celebrated the confirmation of the universal resurrection in our Lord’s raising up of his friend Lazarus, four days in the tomb. We have also cried out with the children running before our Lord in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Last evening we returned to Church to contemplate the approach of the Bridegroom. The troparion still rings in my ears. Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant He shall find vigilant; but unworthy is he whom he…

The Challenges of Technology: A New Series

Critically reflecting and commenting upon the deleterious effects of television, computers, video games, smart phones, and all sorts of new smart gadgets is nothing new. Jeremiads are an incredibly popular genre. I myself am partial to them. I mean, who doesn’t love a good lament?!? Jeremiads especially come to mind having just read “There are Spying Eyes Everywhere – And Now They Share a Brain.” We apparently now have the computing skills to be able to fuse all sorts of information feeds and technologies so as to have an all seeing eye of surveillance trained on…

The Poor: The healer of our wounds

Let us hasten to cleanse the pollution of our sins, Through fasting, charity, and love for the poor, That we may enter the wedding feast of Christ the Bridegroom, Who offers us great mercy! Apostikha from Monday of Cheesefare Week The Lenten Spring has sprung for us Orthodox Christians. We now stand at the end of an intense week of services. Many of us spent our evenings this week hearing the penetrating voice of St. Andrew of Crete calling us to deepen our repentance. This Wednesday, with stomachs rumbling, we laid prostrate waiting for the entrance…

Waging War – A Call to Arms pt 4

We ended our last entry in this series with a string of questions regarding how Orthodox Christians should approach moral issues in the public sphere. How are we as Orthodox Christians are to conduct ourselves in public discourse, especially in disagreements and clashes over the meaning of our life together? Culture war at its heart is a conflict of meaning and how to order our lives together. There are grotesque and even cartoonish ways in which we can engage in disagreement. Slander, misrepresentation, and arguing from a place of bad faith pervade so many interactions. The…

Scripture and Discernment: The Royal Road of Discernment pt. 3

We have previously underlined the need for discernment and the necessity of serious scrutiny in discernment. I want to now examine St. Moses’s advice about testing what I am deeming “pious reasoning.” “Pious reasoning” is the trap of thinking that one can be simply guided by pious presumptions or seemingly pious logic while actually falling out of line with Scripture and the precedent of the Fathers. Further, one can deceive one’s self into thinking one is making pious decisions and yet have one’s heart full of pride and vanity.  St. Moses compares the life of discernment…

Culture War? A Call to Arms pt 3

We ended our last post in this series by pointing to “strategies of retreat.” But, I think it best we first address the infamous conflagration known as “culture wars.” For it is concern about “culture wars” that spurs other forms of retreat.  In some of the responses to this series, I was surprised to see this discussion labelled as “culture war.” Why was I surprised? Well, I have done little in the past two posts but assess how I think Orthodox Christians would hear and react to Robert George’s article. If I am being labeled as…