The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary 1. Freedom and Individualism

As mentioned in my last post I now want to identify and define the six principles that provide the basic operating principles that govern the contemporary social imaginary. I will look at them in terms of their Enlightenment antecedents, that is, I will review the basic ideas seeded by the tinkers of the enlightenment and then show how those ideas were expanded, changed and popularized. The most fundamental of all Enlightenment characteristics…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary – Introduction

The social imaginary is not a set of ideas; rather, it is what enables, through making sense of, the practices of a society.[1] As stated previously, I want to explore the nature, function, operation, and effects of the various elements of the North American social imaginary. It is important to state at the outset that an imaginary is not simply a set of rules imposed on some population. It is rather a…

External Threats to the Growth of the Church

Much of the work I have published recently has been focused on various aspects of Church Growth as seen from a perspective within the Church itself.  I have appealed to its theology, its tradition, its practices, and its God-given purpose to define the nature of Church and to ask what it might mean for a Church to succeed. I have asked what there is about the Church that could or should grow…

Who Can Effectively Introduce Christ to Others? Part II

The Spiritual Journey as Preparation for Witness The spiritual abilities, 1) transcending the self, 2) selfless love, and 3) complete freedom presented in the last post are the most effective way to make vibrant witness a reality in the lives of our parishioners.  Interestingly, these characteristics are the same goals set out by the Orthodox Church when it speaks of spiritual growth. Since this kind of training should be taking place in…

Who Can Effectively Introduce Christ To Others? Part I

As I have suggested Christ is perceptibly present in the life of a mature believer. So let’s take a look at why that is the case by talking about the basic conditions for an effective witness, in other words, by asking “what will it take for others to see Christ in us?” According to St. Theophan the Recluse (commenting on Zechariah 8:22) “Those who live always according to the Spirit of Christ…

What is the Nature of the Evangelistic Task? (Part 2)

The Informal Lay Witness of the Church For too long we have neglected this as an aspect of our lives in Christ and as a result few new believers are being brought into the Church. Sometimes we do manage to organize something formally evangelistic like an “open evening,” a lecture, or a concert to which we invite non-believers. But we rarely see anything like the parish-wide, spontaneous urge to witness that characterized…

What is the Nature of the Evangelistic Task? (Part I)

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me. Christ in every ear that hears me.[1] Until recently many Christians have made a sharp distinction between what they called home missions and foreign missions.[2] As they see it, home missions involves the evangelism and service done using one’s own language within the context of…