When you review a book, you are supposed to summarize it, say what you liked about it, then offer some critical commentary. By those standards, this is about to be a terrible review. I have read Fr. Michael Plekon’s Hidden Holiness, and I am utterly, hopelessly in love! I wish I could stick to the formula and offer a level-headed response, but I am just too giddy.
Fr. Plekon is a priest and scholar, with an expertise the “Paris School” – a renaissance in Orthodox theology occurring in and among the emigres who were expelled from Russia after the triumph of the Bolsheviks. Plekon is especially interested in new criteria for saintliness for the modern world (see my summary of his presentation at the 2012 Sophia Institute Conference). For instance, he was a major advocate for the canonization of St. Maria (Skobtsova) of Paris, a woman who ministered the poor, saved Jewish children from the Nazis, and was herself a martyr of the concentration camps. But she was also a controversial figure. She lived in the world and was an outspoken critic of pious religiosity, who could regularly be seen sharing a drink and a cigarette with her poet friends in Paris’ bars. Continue reading Hidden Holiness
An icon takes something material and makes it transcendent by pointing away from itself. I think the economy should work like an icon. That means the meaning of market activities cannot be found in a market. This is something we forget a lot of times. Part of what it means to be in a market society is that we work ourselves to death and never bother to ask, “Why?” Maybe I am nuts or maybe I am naive, but I don’t think this is what life is supposed to be like.