“Let’s assume that we wish to investigate a natural phenomenon. As you very well know, in order to do so we need to employ the appropriate scientific methods … Everything must be explored through a method appropriate to the subject under investigation. If we, therefore, wish to explore and get to know God, it would be a gross error to do so through our senses or with telescopes, seeking Him out in outer space. That would be utterly naïve, don’t you think?”
“Yes, if you put it this way,” I replied. “Can we then conclude that for modern, rational human being, metaphysical philosophy like that of Plato and Aristotle or rational theology is the appropriate method?” As I raised the question I thought I knew what father Maximos’s answer would be.
“It would be equally foolish and naïve to seek God with our logic and intellect. But we have talked about this before, have we not?”
“… We can and must study God, and we can reach God and get to know him.”
“But how?” I persisted.
Father Maximos paused for a few seconds. “Christ himself revealed to us the method. He told us that not only are we capable of exploring God but we can also live with Him, become one with Him. And the organ by which we can achieve that is neither are senses nor logic but our hearts.”
… “This is the meaning, feather Maximos argued, of Christ’s beatitude, ‘Blessed be the pure in heart for they shall see God.’”
Then in the more serious tone I asked: “are we to assume that the philosophical quest for God, one of the central passions of the western mind from Plato to Immanuel Kant and the great philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has in reality been off its mark?”
Kiriakos C. Markides, The Mountain of Silence
Verites chretiennes devenues folles
It is indeed one of the grave errors of religious anti-secularism that it does not see that secularism is made up of verites chretiennes devenues folles, of Christian truths that “went mad,” and that in simply rejecting secularism, it in fact rejects with it certain fundamentally Christian aspirations and hopes.
Fr. Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World
Quite a bit of time has passed since Fr. Alexander wrote this. What are today’s "Christian truths gone mad"?
More than a year ago, this writer reviewed an excellent defense of opposite-sex only monogamy by a pastor in the Mennonite Church U.S.A., Darrin W. Synder Belousek, who offered a Biblical defense of opposite-sex only monogamy independent of the Biblical condemnations of homosexuality. Synder Belousek was concerned about the drift of his denomination toward the acceptance of same-sex marriage. Earlier the denomination’s largest conference, the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, had left the denomination, concerned about the increasing acceptance of homosexuality.
Late this spring, as was reported at the beginning of last month, the Mennonite Church U.S.A. formally accepted same-sex marriage, and signaled an utter rejection of Christian sexual morality in effectively apologizing for its previous Biblical standard, calling for repentance from it. Typical of the current homosexual/transgender apologetic, it effectively claims that the pain and humiliation Biblical morality causes is sufficient to establish that it is oppressive, setting aside God’s absolute authority, and Jesus’ call to accept the painful, narrow gate to life.
The Mennonites apparently want to be the left bookend of evangelicalism, whereas Christian Reformed and Presbyterian Church in America resolutions this summer are the right bookends. (All three might question the label "evangelical;" I don’t know any more.)
I wonder how Myron Augsberger, the Mennonite with whom I had most contact (and who I’m surprised to see is still living at age 92), received this news?
Dogs don’t understand pointing
I have tried to stress throughout the inevitableness of the error made about every transposition by one who approaches it from the lower medium only. The strength of such a critic lies in the words “merely” or “nothing but.” He sees all the facts but not the meaning. Quite truly, therefore, he claims to have seen all the facts. There is nothing else there; except the meaning. He is therefore, as regards the matter in hand, in the position of an animal. You will have noticed that most dogs cannot understand pointing. You point to a bit of food on the floor; the dog, instead of looking at the floor, sniffs at your finger. A finger is a finger to him, and that is all.
C.S. Lewis, Transposition, an essay from The Weight of Glory
“Constancy is the form of a whole human life.”
Stanley Hauerwas, via the To the Shire
If people have always said it, it is probably true; it is the distilled wisdom of the ages. If people have not always said it, but everybody is saying it now, it is probably a lie; it is the concentrated madness of the moment.
Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes
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