The Secular Man and the Christian Man

The Secular Man has been the great threat to the Christian faith over the past two or more centuries. Disguised as the person is only only doing the “normal thing,” he lives in a godless world, where others can be tempted to live as though there were no God. Earlier I quoted Berdyaev, “If God does not exist, then man does not exist.” I would add to that that the God Who…

The Things We Share

Modern culture frequently celebrates the freedom we each enjoy – in come cases going so far as to think of human beings as discreet individuals. Of course each of us lives in his/her own body – but even as such – we live in a common world. What I do and how I live affects others whether I want it to or not. In one manner or another, we live on the…

Freedom and the Self

This Sunday on the Orthodox Calendar commemorates St. Gregory Palamas – perhaps the most significant theologian and teacher of the late Byzantine period. He particularly is important when considering the nature of the Christian experience of God. Orthodoxy believes that it is truly possible to know God though He remains unknowable. The mystery of this true knowledge constitutes the heart of St. Gregory’s work. I offer this small reflection on the topic…

The Unreal Land

A few axiomatic thoughts… God is the “only truly existing God.” All existence is a gift from God who is our Creator. None of us has “self-existing” life. We exist because God sustains us in existence (“in Him we live and move and have our being”). Sin is the rejection of this gift of God – a movement away from true existence. +++ Much of our lives in the modern world engages primarily…

Personal Issues

From 2009 The title of this post is quite misleading – for in proper theological language – there are no “personal issues.” Our culture is quite fond of issues – both the politico-entertainment industry – and many individuals. It is a word and a phenomenon that has been baptized by the culture such that “being concerned with the issues” makes someone sound as if things matter to them in a significant way. The…

The End of Religion

Christianity…is in a profound sense the end of all religion. In the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus made this clear. “‘Sir,’ the woman said to him, ‘I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’ Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, believe me, the our cometh, when ye shall neither…

Even If I Descend into Hell…

Charles Williams, one of C.S. Lewis’ circle of friends, once wrote a book entitled, The Descent into Hell. In it he chronicles the slow inexorable damnation of a soul. Choices made or not made – a chronicle more of spiritual ennui than of willful rebellion – it is a very sobering read. There is an understanding of hell that goes far beyond the typical lake of fire and burning Gehenna. Those images,…

Mere Existence and the Age to Come

C.S. Lewis, in his marvelous little book, The Great Divorce, uses the imagery of “solidity” versus “ghostliness” to make a distinction between those who have entered paradise, and those who have not. He clearly did not mean to set forth a metaphysical model or to suggest “how things are.” But the imagery is very apt and suggestive when we take a look at what it means for something or someone to exist.…

Existence and Truth

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, as a young man who returned to the faith following a flirtation with Marxism, came to an understanding that the Christian faith is not to be understood as a moral structure, but as a matter of true existence. This distinction is deeply important in Orthodox understanding, and has been a hallmark of Orthodox teaching in the 20th and 21st century. Few matters of the faith draw out this distinction…

The Secular Man and the Christian Man

Many Orthodox writers have spoken about the nature of the secular world, the defining form of modernity. I take here an opportunity to make a small comparison between the secular man and the Christian. The secular man may believe that there is a God, but he also believes that the situation and outcome of the world are dependent upon the actions of human beings. The Christian man believes that there is a…