Concerns about the Great and Holy Council

The First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea

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.

I am a convert to the Orthodox Church. Unlike many converts, I did not see the deep and rich traditions of the Orthodox Church as providing me with resources to be more fundamentalistic than I was before (such as I hear creationists citing Basil as proof of a young earth). I was never a fundamentalist. What attracted me to Orthodoxy was the ambiguity of it all, which is another way of saying Mystery. Jaroslav Pelikan, another convert, described Orthodoxy as the church of the seven councils that we deem ecumenical. We have a lot of other canons, synods, traditions, and opinions, but they are not finally and firmly authoritative in the same way that those minimum of dogmas are.

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Why Do I Still Go to Church?

Woman in Church at St. George'sWhy do I still go to church? This is a question I ask myself pretty much every Sunday morning, at least. At one level I think this is the wrong question. I remember this one Evangelical woman I knew. Whenever she would talk to me about church, she spoke in terms of “getting fed” or getting her needs met. I try not to think that way. If God is the Good itself, then worshipping God is self-evidently good. The answer to the question, “Why go to church?” is the same as for “Why climb a mountain?” Because it’s there. Still, my question is more introspective. It is not why I should go to church. It is more practical, more human: Why do I keep going?

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