“Love, and Do What You Want”

In today’s Gospel passage, we hear the greatest definition of the Christian life ever given by anyone. One of Jewish lawyers asked our Lord: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And Jesus replied: "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” St. Augustine later summarized this answer even more starkly: “Love, and do what you want.”

Prophets, Priests, and Kings (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 1)

Introduction Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) has — quite correctly — stated that “the most important theological issue today is ‘what is man,’ how do we understand the human person. That is particularly important both in our own Orthodox theology and in our discussions with other Christians.” I would add that the question of anthropology is also the fundamental lens through which modernity as a whole must be viewed and understood. Indeed, this question is at…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 3)

Tradition, Fundamentalism, and Modernity In my two most recent posts, I responded in depth to an article from Public Orthodoxy about fundamentalism. The first response concerned the view taken by the article toward the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, and the second had to do with the relationship between Orthodoxy and the modern world. There is one section of the article that I have not yet discussed, and that is its conclusion. In this case…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 2)

The Church and Modernity Earlier this week, I began examining an article from Public Orthodoxy entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism.'” In this article, the author laments what is, in his opinion, “our long-standing captivity to a sad caricature of Orthodoxy.” In the first part of my analysis I discussed two of his four main allegations: that the Orthodox world has developed an idolatrous attitude towards the Holy Fathers, and that it has additionally come to an…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 1)

On the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition Recently Public Orthodoxy published an article entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism’.” The content is extremely characteristic not only of Public Orthodoxy in particular, but also of a growing trend in wider Orthodox circles, especially those of an academic character (Public Orthodoxy is published under the auspices of Fordham University, a Catholic institution). Seeing that the exemplified attitudes and beliefs are steadily gaining influence among Orthodox believers, I…

The Perfect Law of Liberty

Freedom and the Gospel Commandments I wrote several week ago about the salvific and life-giving nature of the Gospel commandments. I argued that those who would dispense with them out of a misguided sense of compassion for modern man are in fact dispensing with the very medicine by which modern man can and must be healed. So often we view the commandments as burdensome rather than as therapeutic, as obligations rather than…

Against Modern Legalism

For all of its godlessness, this modern age hungers more than any other for love, compassion, and mercy. It hungers too for God (though often without realizing it), perhaps all the more strongly since no other age has banished Him more thoroughly from all its affairs. Yet so many modern people think of the God of the Bible as a vengeful, wrathful, angry deity, a god of hellfire and brimstone, a god…

Ye Shall Be As Gods

I wrote several days ago that lawlessness is the defining characteristic of both Antichristianity and the modern world. The Antichrist is described by St. Paul as “that lawless one,” and without any doubt at the heart of the modern era is Revolution: the unprecedented systematic overthrow of all traditional political, moral, and spiritual authority. Yet it is clear that the “mystery of lawlessness” means far more than mere anarchy. Although raw and…

The Forgotten Beauty of Sacrifice

“Love is not sentimentality, but sacrifice.” -Archimandrite Vasileios The Language Barrier One of the greatest difficulties which modern Americans face when encountering Holy Orthodoxy is one of language. I do not refer, however, to the outward obstacle of the use of Church Slavonic, Greek, Arabic, or any other of the languages of Orthodox immigrants to this country. I refer rather to the colossal problem of the usage of the English language. For…

Pope Francis, Homosexuality, and the Love of God

A furor has erupted recently over a statement Pope Francis reportedly made about homosexuality during a private conversation with a victim of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Latin America: Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are. The reactions in society at large…