A Little Sunday Fare (11/20/22)

Salvation, east and west

Whereas many Western treatments of salvation major in “not going to hell,” theosis gives tangible content and a goal that is more than avoidance.

But what is theosis? How should we think of it? …

Fr. Stephen Freeman

Context is crucial

Granted that not all Orthodox are saints, even so, to the extent that one enters into the Orthodox way of life, chastity becomes realistic, because it is the natural concomitant of everything else that one does.

I emphasize this point because one of the reasons that people have turned against chastity is that they believe it to be impossible. Countless stories in our literature and pop culture, from The Scarlet Letter to Animal House, have taught us to think that anyone who aspires to sexual purity must be a fool or a hypocrite, or both. Perhaps such a perception was inevitable once chastity was removed from the way of life in which it is naturally at home. But the right response is not to despise it, but to seek to recover that fuller way of life.

Healing Humanity: Confronting our Moral Crisis (Multiple Authors)

Healing or punishment?

[In] Dante’s poem the appropriateness of the torment is related primarily to the processes of healing, not to those of punishment. The souls are being taught to unbind the chains they have made for themselves, “solvendo il nodo”, loosening the knot of their sin by appropriate counter-measures.

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars

It didn’t start with Junior

[Jerry] Falwell often exercised what he considered his right as a preacher to tell stories that—to use Dean Acheson’s phrase—were truer than the truth. In 1980 he regularly claimed that The Old-Time Gospel Hour had 25 million viewers, and he made up an exchange with Jimmy Carter in which he asked the president why he had “practicing homosexuals” on the White House staff, and Carter replied that he had to represent the American people. When confronted by the fact that the exchange never occurred, Falwell said that the story was a “parable,” or “an allegory.” In other words, it ought to have happened, even if it did not.

Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals

I read it. I highlighted it. I forgot it. Then Readwise reminded me: The sleaze didn’t start with Jerry Junior.

What fundamentalists and “higher critics” share

Both the fundamentalist and the higher critic assume that it is possible to understand the biblical text without training, without moral transformation, without the confession and forgiveness that come about within the church. Unconsciously, both means of interpretation try to make everyone religious (that is, able to understand and appropriate scripture) without everyone’s being a member of the community for which the Bible is Scripture.

Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens

[S]ubordinating truth to politics is a game which tyrants and bullies always win.

Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge

The Orthodox "phronema" [roughly, mind-set] cannot be programmitized or reduced to shibboleths.

Fr. Jonathan Tobias

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