The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, is dedicated to St. John Climacus, the author of the ancient work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a classic work describing “steps” within the life of the struggling ascetic. There is an icon associated with this work, picturing […]
Author: Fr. Stephen FREEMAN
Few things are as difficult in the modern world as fasting. It is not simply the action of changing our eating habits that we find problematic – it’s the whole concept of fasting and what it truly entails. It comes from another world. We understand dieting – changing how we […]
As verbal beings, we live in a world of icons. We experience the world in an iconic fashion. A major difficulty for us is that we have lost the vocabulary of iconic reality. We have substituted the language of photography. The dissonance between reality and our photographic assumptions has led […]
For many, the “mythical radiance” has been lost. What has taken place is the privileging of the secular account of reality. It is felt that we must win on the ground defined by secular materialism. The result is a modernized faith, even if the “facts” embraced are antique.
We live in a culture of strong feelings. How we “feel” about something is generally taken to mean “what I believe.” This is not at all the case. Most people have a set of feelings or sentiments that largely serve the purpose of supporting the story they tell themselves about […]
The Feast of Christ’s Baptism is called “Theophany.” It means the “showing forth of God.” It is so named because, in the event of Christ’s Baptism, we see Christ, the Son of God, hear the voice of the Father (“Thou art my beloved Son…”), and see the Spirit in the form of a dove.
In Dostoevsky’s The Demons, the character, Kirillov, is insanely fascinated with freedom. He cannot bear the fact that he did not choose his own existence. Life is a “given.” In what must be seen as a parable of the radical thought of the 19th century, Kirillov determines to kill himself, […]
Human beings seem to be created with a longing for meaning. We not only experience the world, but want to make sense of it as well. That sense-making is a thread of continuity that joins every religious tradition in history.
A difficulty, of course, is that “God” has become the name assigned to a concept that is indeed an object of choice, one of many versions from which we select. The relation we have with such a “God” is not faith.
What we see in our present world is not the result of mistaken political decisions or failures of diplomacy. The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.
Secularists would argue that Christology has nothing to do with our cultural constructs: such is the ignorance of our own foundations. Secular modernity is built on the foundation of a distorted version of Christianity. We are children who deny our parents, imagining that we have created ourselves.
We do not create relationships, nor do we have them. We are relationships and we either perceive this and pay attention or we do not. In as much as we do not, we begin moving towards non-existence – death. It is possible to be very quiet and yet be profoundly aware and responsive to our existence as relationship.