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…

Analyzing the Hartford Appeal – Part 2

Who does not love the rush of getting something new? I remember, with some shame, that this was in my youth the rush of Christmas. “What new gadget would I get? A video game? A computer? Oh, no….socks and underwear. The tragedy! My Christmas is over! So many friends of mine got cool expensive gadgets! And me? I got socks and a stupid old board game.” I needed that new video game or iPad or camera. The sense of loss was immense. While this is not my internal struggle with Christmas now, this still describes my…

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…