My parish priest recently announced that he was retiring, and my immediate thought was, “Oh crap!” I love my priest. We do not always see eye-to-eye, but I respect and appreciate him. I know I have not made his life very easy sometimes. Every so often, I will say something online which will send the trolls to the interwebs to try to figure out where I go to church, who my priest is, and how many ways they can report me. Like I said, my priest and I often do not see eye-to-eye, but he also understands that there is a difference between theological opinions he disagrees with and heresies that deserve excommunication. I know for a fact that there are some priests who would have withheld communion until I shouted the error of my ways from the rooftop. I have wondered what I would do when faced with that kind of a decision, and I honestly am grateful that I have never really had to think too hard about it. That may change. Continue reading “On Being a “Vulgar” Theologian in the Orthodox Church”
Soon the Orthodox Church will convoke a Great and Holy Council, the first such council in over a millennium. Though by no means ecumenical in any official sense (at least not yet), it is a historic meeting, for which I have felt a deep and abiding ambivalence.
The Orthodox Church is gearing up for the “Holy and Great Council” to meet this June. This is a big deal. We have not had a gathering like this in over a thousand years. And church leaders started planning for this particular meeting in the 1960s. That is over fifty years ago! The Orthodox Church is a bit like a confederacy. We are a bunch of different Orthodox Church-es, more or less divided along national boundaries, that agree that we are really just one church. The upside of this power structure is that it keeps us from doing anything too stupid all at once. The downside is that it can be hard for us to do anything at all. So on the one hand our polity makes us inevitably conservative, but on the other hand that conservatism can get confused with the spirit of Orthodoxy itself. Continue reading “When Was “The Tradition” Finished?”
A few years ago, my mom came down to help Stephanie get some things cleaned and organized around the house. I was not there to meet her when she arrived because I had to teach that night. When I did get home, Stephanie met me at the door. “Your mom has not stopped moving since she got here two hours ago!” Continue reading “Mothers Day 2016”
One vivid memory comes from my days as a Master’s student, when my professor walked into the room with such a look of serenity on his face. He told us that the president of the university had just replaced the chair of the religion department with someone whom I knew to be an unqualified hack. So why the serenity? He described it as confirmation. What reservations he had about leaving the university vanished with that move. A year later, he was at a new university out West, where he finished his career and recently retired. Continue reading “The Piety of Quitting”
I have been struggling with a question for some time now: Is Stanley Hauerwas’s ecclesiology sectarian? Or more precisely, Should I call Stanley Hauerwas’s ecclesiology sectarian?