Glory to God for All Things

Orthodoxy: Ancient Orthodoxy and the Postmodern World

When does the modern world begin – and what makes it modern? When I was a child in the 50’s, “modern” meant the world of home appliances and chrome-laden automobiles. The modern world beckoned us to a future with personal helicopters and visi-phones. Today the visi-phones are everywhere (and do things we never imagined). I’m still waiting for the helicopters. But I did not understand the true nature and origins of the modern world until much later in life.

The word “modern” was first used in its Latin form to designate the contemporary (of the day) school of philosophy in contrast with the “ancient” schools of philosophy – new thought versus old thought. It was called the Via Moderna – the “modern way.” The Via Antiqua assumed that the generations of the past represented a repository of wisdom. Thus, the thought of the fathers was considered of greater value than that of contemporaries. The Via Moderna, in overturning the Via Antiqua, considered the thought of the present, the New Philosophy, to be superior. It was a fateful and crucial turning point in human thought. For the Via Moderna, valuing the present over the past, found itself ever driven forward as the present becomes the past. Progress became its hallmark and a means of viewing the world and even truth itself.

The modern world has continued its “progress.” It is marked by change. Of course, the unrelenting march of technology can give the illusion that everything is changing and progressing – getting better. In fact, people have changed very little. The modern world has shown itself capable of great technical feats of mass extinction (of humans, animals and plants). Cruelty is not endemic to the ancient world.

Some of the most ardent presuppositions of modernity have proven themselves to be delusions. The realization of this fact has given rise to what is termed the “post-modern.” There are many elements of philosophy, art, architecture, literature, theology, etc., that are described as “post-modern.” All of them have in common a critique of the assumptions of modernity. Progress has been unmasked and shown to be less than an unmitigated blessing. Knowledge itself has been relativized. Things that we once thought we knew, are today seen to be deeply dependent on bias and perspective. Values such as good and beautiful have become very difficult to assert in any absolute sense. This is not necessarily the great onslaught of relativism that many conservatives allege. It is, to a large extent, simply the questioning of the absurd assumptions of the past 500 years.

Orthodoxy has a peculiar place within all of this. For unlike other forms of Christian thought, Orthodoxy belongs to the Via Antiqua. It was never modernized. Orthodox thought assumes that true knowledge of God will be consistent with what has been known within the life of the Church through the ages. Innovation is not a virtue.

This pre-modern perspective is inherently similar to many aspects of a post-modern perspective. It offers a critique of modernism for the very reason that modernism was itself a rejection of Orthodoxy. Thus many who complain about the constant “bashing of the West,” are simply hearing the sound of antiquity lapping on their shores. The West embraced modernism and became the West in so doing. Call it the West, call it modernity – it is the same rejection of tradition and communion as a means of knowing.

This perspective makes dialog between Orthodoxy and other forms of Christianity difficult (as well as with non-Christian forms of modernity). Orthodoxy is not another version of the modern world, religious or otherwise. Intellectually and spiritually, the encounter between Orthodoxy and the modern world is an encounter between two largely, if not entirely, different cultures. To make matters more complicated, most Orthodox in the modern world have drunk deeply at modernity’s wells (it tends to control the cultural water-supply). Modern Orthodox converts are as much in argument with themselves as they are with the culture around them. Even those born within Orthodoxy and cultures in which Orthodoxy is native are not immune to the modern world. All Orthodox in the modern world are either in a process of conversion or are losing ground to the encroachment of the surrounding world. Globalization is no stranger to theology.

The nature of Church, the nature of Scripture, the role of reason and the character of religious experience have such radically different groundings between Orthodoxy and modernity that the use of the same words can be misleading. What a modern Protestant (a redundant phrase) means by Scripture and what Orthodoxy means by Scripture are two very different things.

I will be taking time through a series of articles to visit areas where Orthodoxy’s Via Antiqua creates misunderstandings. The first topic I will look at will be the concept of history. Thanks for reading.

 

 

40 Responses to “Orthodoxy: Ancient Orthodoxy and the Postmodern World”

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  1. John Shores says:

    I love your writing style and cogent thought processes.

    I completely agree with you that, on the whole, humanity has not changed, we just have cooler stuff (some of which, incidentally tends to improve the behavior of humans. Technology allows us to understand others better. It allows us to feed a greater number of people and to provide better over-all health. These all contribute to people being less likely to go to war with one another. But take those away and we would behave just like Germanic tribes.)

    In your upcoming posts address some of the non-technological issues such as the highly patriarchal nature of Christian doctrine vs. a view that has embraces the feminine (e.g. why can a woman be CEO of a major corporation but not a priestess in the Christian church? Why is god a he and not a she? Why do women seem to have a subservient role in Christian culture?)?

  2. Fr. Freeman

    I appreciate this post and look forward to reading the subsequent posts. It speaks to some of the angst and disatisfaction that led me to Orthodoxy as well as the conflicting feelings I still have regarding some aspects of Orthodoxy, my past protestant life, and especially in relation to my family since I came to Orthodoxy solo. I have a foot in both worlds it seems and am seldom completely in either.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. How fine to see this big issue addressed from an Orthodox perspective! I look forward to the series.

  4. PJ says:

    Interesting stuff, Father.

  5. dinoship says:

    The obsession with the new is certainly a western trait, funny how the far East has the reverse obsession! (e.g: Chinese martial arts are always trying to find the most ANCIENT “source” whereas in the west they would say “the NEW technique” is best)
    Looking forward to this…

  6. PJ says:

    “Why do women seem to have a subservient role in Christian culture?)?”

    Can there be difference in equality? The Christian says yes. The modern man, maddened by the radical egalitarian propaganda of Jacobinism, says no.

  7. John Shores says:

    :::In your upcoming posts address::: – Sorry. I meant it to be a question.

  8. PJ says:

    Actually, it seems that quite a few Christians are under the Jacobin spell, too. Damn you, fiendish seed of Robespierre: Your tentacles grasp the very Bride of Christ!

  9. Devin says:

    Thanks for this. Really looking forward to this series. I was just thinking this morning about how we have this tendency to equate newer with better. We think we are wiser than those who have gone before us. While we may have more technological knowledge, are we really any wiser in terms of matters of the heart? Issues of relationship and conflict? On fundamentally human issues?

  10. David says:

    Thoughtful post. It’s an interest to me.

    Does the Holy Spirit’s continuing involvement in human activities (modernity), imply that the Father could reveal something previously hidden (either personally or universally)?

    If this possibility, of revelation, exists, then shouldn’t Christ’s disciples expect that the Father’s continuing expression of His will, is for our edification?
    Or, should we expect modernity to bring no added glory to the Father?

  11. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    Fr Stephen, you know that I am in substantive agreement with what you write on this topic, and yet … I honestly do not think matters can be drawn so clearly and sharply. I am increasingly skeptical (call it old age) about grand generalizations about modernity, post-modernity, pre-modernity and Orthodoxy’s relationship to all of them.

    There’s nobody but us moderns here, and I see no virtue in being pre-modern just to be pre-modern. The Church has always struggled with how to engage the cultures in which it finds itself, whether it be Semitic, Hellenistic, Latin, European, Greek, Arab, or American. I see no virtue in retreating to a a golden age Orthodox worldview that never existed. The very fact that Florovsky and others found it necessary to speak of a five hundred year “Latin captivity” of the Orthodox Church demonstrates that things are not so simple. Did the Orthodox who lived and preached the Orthodox Faith during this captivity know that they were captive to an alien captivity? (Do we?) Or were they simply doing what we all do and must do–striving to proclaim the good news of Christ within the language and thought forms of the cultures in which they lived and breathed?

    I have read more than my share of drivel, nonsense, and obscurantist theology by Orthodox believers all in the name of an allegedly superior pre-modern traditional Orthodoxy. Theologians that I respect and admire–Zizioulas, Ware, Alfeyev, Evdokimov, Louth, Schmemann, Meyendorff, Behr, Breck, Reardon–are regularly denounced as progressives. Why? Because they believe that they must creatively, but not of course uncritically, engage modernity and speak the truth of the gospel.

    And so I hope you will forgive me if I raise a “yes … but.” We are all looking for a place of security, a place of certainty that will shield us from the onslaught of critical reason. Those of us who are converts know the destructive power of the hermeneutics of suspicion. Orthodoxy is a good and strong place in which to take one’s stand. But there can be no retreat into a pre-modern traditionalism or patristic fundamentalism that pretends that modernity, with all of its weaknesses, failures and falsehoods, has not also brought us tremendous benefits and advances.

    Do we really want to re-argue the Scopes Monkey Trial, yet that is regularly done on Orthodox internet forums.

    There’s nobody but us moderns here.

    Forgive my impertinence and intrusion. I hope I haven’t thrown a monkey wrench into your discussion.

  12. dee says:

    John Shores,
    I replied earlier but the comment never appeared, I am wondering whether hitting 96 comments per subject (the previous one) is the maximum aloud as I remember this happening another time!
    One more try here:

    “if love between humans was this difficult, the human population would be 0″:
    please keep in mind we are not talking about any male-female attraction here, but the infinite love of Christ for all of Adam (including all those who refuse salvation) and the ascetic struggle involved for a person to make it his own…

    “If it takes every ounce of whatever mental and emotional capacity to find god, well, that doesn’t sound much like a “free gift” but rather something earned by the very few”:
    – It does NOT take every ounce at all if we approach it like a child, without analysing, but coming in humility and trust (which our true god -the ego- stops us from doing). It is in fact, the easiest, most natural thing in the universe to find God.
    But, he will never be known as an ‘object’ of my ego driven desire for knowledge; He will be known as a ‘person’ in a relational context requiring humility (He is my Creator after all, and not the other way around).
    So, I will never know the real God with a capital I and a small “g” (god), never; but, with small i and a capital G, and some acceptance of how and when He wants us to meet…

  13. fatherstephen says:

    Fr. Aidan,
    No monkey wrench, I hope. You know me well enough to know that I’m don’t advocate a retreat to previous century(ies)’ world-view. I think that is a false intellectual position – essentially unachievable outside of our own imaginations.

    But I don’t think that post-modern thought is without value. Criticality (shared by Zizioulas, et al) is an inherent part of post-modernism – just as it had its beginnings in modernism. It is at a certain point of criticality that I think Orthodox finds an intersection within the dialog of the present. As you note, that dialog cannot be honest without criticality.

    In characterizing the Via Antiqua as somewhat “post-modern” I mean to suggest that there is already a place at the discussion table for Orthodoxy. The critique of the “West” is far more a “post-Modern” position than it is Orthodox.

    There is, and must be, a dialog of Orthodoxy with the culture in which it finds itself. But modernity will be ill-served by the Faith if they faith just says, “Well, we’re all moderns here,” and offers no insightful awareness of what that means.

    How we handle a text – the eschatological nature of worship – the primacy of the heart – Tradition as the organic life of the Church – knowledge as participation – these all seem to be significant contributions and treasures of Orthodoxy in the contemporary world. Some of them have been suggested by “Western” writers, independent of Orthodoxy.

    If there’s a monkey wrench in your observations – it would be assuming what I’m getting ready to do in the series of articles (or even what I’m already suggesting) before I’ve written it.

    Methinks you’re sometimes a bit sensitive on the Modern West thing – and I understand that. Much love my brother!

  14. Gary says:

    Fr. Stephen, I’m greatly looking forward to this series. I’m most intrigued by these lines you wrote:

    “To make matters more complicated, most Orthodox in the modern world have drunk deeply at modernity’s wells (it tends to control the cultural water-supply). Modern Orthodox converts are as much in argument with themselves as they are with the culture around them. Even those born within Orthodoxy and cultures in which Orthodoxy is native are not immune to the modern world. All Orthodox in the modern world are either in a process of conversion or are losing ground to the encroachment of the surrounding world. Globalization is no stranger to theology.”

    Personally, I resonate deeply with the belief that we need to resist modern culture and it’s values, beliefs, patterns, and thought processes. Yet, for as much I think “I get it”, I really fear that even the Orthodox in America still don’t really get it. So, I’m anxious to read your posts on this matter in the coming days.

  15. Michael Patrick says:

    My deep ignorance on this topic gets briefly dispelled every time I read C.S. Lewis’ inaugural lecture at Cambridge, “De Descriptione Temporum”. His characterization of “Old Western men” is especially inspiring because I think I am one – and not only as an accident of birth.

    It can easily be found online by searching.

  16. Geri Farman says:

    John Shores: (e.g. why can a woman be CEO of a major corporation but not a priestess in the Christian church? Why is god a he and not a she? Why do women seem to have a subservient role in Christian culture?)?
    Good question! As a woman convert and now Shammassey (husband is a Deacon in the Antiochian church)I’ve answered this question a few times from my perspective. Essentially, it doesn’t bother me at all that the clergy is male. Why? Because life in the Orthodox church is not about power and influence in the way that it usually is in secular spheres. In my previous church (Episcopal), the annual meetings were all about changing canons, doctrines–lots of influence mongering. There is nothing I wish was different about any of those things. Our Orthodox annual meetings are “Family Life Conferences” characterized by Bible Bowls for the youth and workshops for the family–and great dances! Humility is the keystone in the Orthodox understanding of salvation. Would being a clergy person help me be more humble? Probably not. Odd twist–is it perhaps more of a demonstration of humility when men assume that challenging life of servanthood? At any rate, it seems totally irrelevant to who I am trying to become in Christ.

  17. Bruce says:

    I’m reading a fascinating book from Father Alexis Trader called “Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy”. I think his biblical analogy of ‘Egyptian Gold in a Christian Hand’ is quite relevant to this post and discussion. He quotes Blessed Augustine:

    “The Egyptians not only had idols and heavy burdens, which the people of Israel hated and fled from, but they also had vessels and ornaments of gold and silver, and garments, which the same people appropriated to themselves when departing from Egypt. They set these items apart for better use, not on their own authority, but by the command of God. In the same way all branches of pagen learning not only have false and superstitious fancies and heavy burdens of unnecessary toil, which every one of us ought to abhor and avoid, when Christ leads us to depart from the fellowship of the heathen, but also contain liberal instruction which is better adapted to the use of truth. Now this instruction is their gold and silver, which they did not create themselves, but dug out of the mines of God’s providence”

    Father Alexis also says “when Saint Gregory Palamas likened the identification of useful secular knowledge from Greek literature to the extraction of organic material from a serpent for pharmaceutical use, he was describing the painstaking process of filtering a non-Christian system of thought through a lattice of Christian doctrine, so that the harmful elements could be retained in order to provide healing in the context of the believer’s lives. He(i.e. St. Gregory Palamas) was also implicitly affirming a basic principle of faith:’Christian teaching illumines created reality and the events of history’.

    Father Alexis makes a strong case for what he describes as a ‘discerning openness’ to what the modern/post modern of pyschology offers us stating:
    “Employing the patristic approach of discerning openness with psychological concepts would allow them to be anchored within a narrative that stretches from creation to the consumation of all things and that can provide them with an ontological depth that is able to respond to existential problems for which psychology has no satisfactory answer.”

    As I think back to some of your earlier posts about the amazing possibility of experiencing the fullness of God’s sacredness and sanctity in all we encounter; it seems quite clear that our life in Christ today can overcome whatever impurities our culture imposes as/if we live out His commandments and gain ‘eyes to see’ and ‘ears to hear’ through His grace.

  18. fatherstephen says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for the suggestion. It made a good read (as does all of Lewis).

  19. drewster2000 says:

    Fr. Aidan,

    I think understand your concern. As far as I do, I agree with you. We quickly get too big for our britches when we stand up on a hill and tell our fellow travelers not only what’s up ahead but everything that’s about to happen to us.

    However, I don’t that to be the case here. One of Fr. Stephen’s callings seems to be to describe the landscape to us. The path is treacherous, twisting and dark. In many of the posts I’ve read, he is simply describing the ground under my feet and no further ahead than the next few yards ahead of me. And in this post he’s given me no cause to suspect that suddenly something has changed in his mission, purpose or delivery. I for one am thrilled to have a well-trusted source speak more about how to grapple with the increasingly postmodern world all around me.

    Fr. Stephen,

    I humbly suggest Ravi Zacharias as a source of additional insight on postmodernism. He has many good books like “Jesus Among Other Gods” and “Deliver Us From Evil”. Though he comes from a Protestant perspective, everything I’ve heard and read of his has the ring of truth. The value he brings is being on the front line in the struggle against postmodernism.

  20. PJ says:

    Ravi Zacharias is certainly a captivating speaker and an astute mind. A bit Protestant, but extremely compelling.

  21. PJ says:

    There is a very post-modern tendency to try to be pre-modern. This instinct is found among neo-pagans and tribalists of the “alternative right,” for instance. I don’t sense this sensibility in Fr. Stephen’s writings.

  22. drewster2000 says:

    Thanks for the endorsement, PJ.

  23. fatherstephen says:

    You all have very kind thoughts towards me. :) I will be honest…I studied under a famous “post-modern, post-Wittgensteinian, tribalist,” Stanley Hauerwas at Duke. At least, someone called him that once and he reveled in the label (he revels a lot). I learned to critique Hauerwas as well, but I learned a lot from him. Those same learnings have been valuable to me in my Orthodox journey – finding ways to think through much of the confusion that confronts us – cultural and theological. Finding ways to see things differently (this, at his best, is one of Hauerwas’ talents).
    Over time – I studied with him over 20 years ago now – I’ve seen that all that I learned from post-modernists of various stripes, I could have learned from the fathers (and have now) and more. But I think they helped me get past a number of road blocks. As I turn to this first article in the series, on history and the nature of history, I think it will be clear what I am trying to do. If I achieve something in this series, I hope it will be helping people to hear things better – both what Orthodoxy is saying in its Tradition – and what Modernity is saying – why there is often a disconnect, etc. I don’t think that throws fuel on the fire of argumentation. It should expand understanding (including of ourselves).
    Fr. Aidan (who is a dear friend who dates all the way back to my years with Hauerwas) mentioned Florovsky’s ideas of the “Western Captivity.” He was not a polemicist – if anything he tried to build bridges between the Modern West and Orthodoxy. But he wrote of the need for Orthodoxy to embrace the “religious tragedy” of the West. What did he mean by a “religious tragedy”? That will be part of the essay on history. Til then!

    John Shores, I agree about the community of commenters (including the kind lurkers). They seem to gently hold each other accountable and are making me daily glad that I provide a place for them to share. Keep reading.

  24. PJ says:

    Geri,

    I think you’re exactly right: Authentic Christianity rejects the scramble for authority. For the Christian, servanthood is exaltation. The most “powerful” one is the one who is below all else. Thus Christ says, “I am among you as he that serveth.”

  25. Byron Gaist says:

    Thank you Fr Stephen, for the enticing taster on this timely topic (any alliteration here is entirely unintentional!). I have had thoughts on writing about modernity and Orthodoxy, and I haven’t made or found the time to do so. I think there’s much more there to write on than a few blog posts could cover, wonderful as your concise posts tend to be: somebody Orthodox should write a deep study on Orthodoxy and its relation to the underlying philosophical foundations of modernity and the contemporary. I could imagine that book emerging from your own writings, Fr Stephen!

    As for people not changing, as a human being and a psychologist, I agree! Of course, we can individually work on improving our behaviour and encouraging ways of thinking which bring out the best in us, and as societies we are responsible for creating social conditions which are favourable to the development of positive aspects of our humanity. But it is astonishing to read texts from centuries, even millennia ago, and observe how people then got up to the very same mischief that they still do today (and displayed the same rare nobility of spirit).

  26. drewster2000 says:

    Byron,

    I agree with you that Fr. Stephen’s topic could fill the pages of a decent-sized book, and that it deserves better treatment. But he is a mission priest. I’ve found it true that missionaries seldom have time to plumb the depths of – let alone publish a book on – their work while being on the front lines. Fr. Stephen writes blog posts for people who would never read such a book – for whatever reason.

    I take it as a symptom of our age. One of the reasons some of us would never read the book is our decreasing ability to focus on one thing for any length of time. It’s more than just a waywardness on our part; it’s a true inability on the part of our society as a whole which may never be fixed in this world.

    Therefore, for those of us impoverished in this way, it’s short blog posts with real live conversation afterwards – or nothing at all. I’ll take what I can get – and leave the conversation greatly enriched by that offering. That’s more than one can ask for in this beautiful but broken world.

  27. fatherstephen says:

    Drewster,
    Thanks. Books, I’ve discovered, are a different work than blogs. My books (linked on the side-bar) grew out of blogging. My “talent” such as it is, runs to about 1500 words or less. Others in the blogosphere tell me that I should be aiming for 300-500 words – but I could say almost nothing with such brevity (let alone in 140 characters). There are books and writers whom I highly recommend – those with temperaments and training that exceed mine. I would buy anything Fr. John Behr writes and read it carefully. I feel much the same about Andrew Louth’s work. Both of them are doing, in their field, a work that is clearly aware of “post-modern” thought – but are doing so from the basis of the Tradition. There are others – but they both stand out for me.

  28. drewster2000 says:

    Thank you for the recommendations, sir. I’ll put these two authors on my list of people to follow. (grin)

  29. fatherstephen says:

    drewster,
    Louth’s book that I would recommend most in this regard is his Discerning the Mystery. For Behr, it would be his The Mystery of Christ. The first time I read Behr, I thought to myself, “He gets it!” He was one of the first Orthodox writers who seemed conscious of current work in the modern/post-modern debate. I’ve had private conversations with him, and he certainly does “get it.” He does not make reference to this in his work (it’s not necessary). But it is clearly there. The same for Louth. Louth, for me, working particularly with Mystical theologians of the Orthodox Church, gets there by looking at the “nature of theology,” in which he particularly explores the implications of the use of allegory.

  30. drewster2000 says:

    Fr. Stephen,

    I wouldn’t classify myself a theologian on the level of you, Dinoship or Philip Jude. Do you think these books would be a tough read?

  31. SteveL says:

    When I think of modernity, postmodernity, conversion, and Orthodoxy, I think there are basically three ways to approach it:

    One is directly via modernity, where you take the questions of modernity and apply them to Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, like any other modernist critique, you will probably end up with Schleiermacher.

    Another path is to focus on the pre-modern aspects of it. This could be done in a Western manner by choosing to be a Puritan or a Thomist, and pretending that modernity never happened. Intellectually you can live here, and be Orthodox, by reading nothing after 1400-1500 A.D, but there will be some conflict with the actual reality of living in modernity/postmodernity. I would suggest that it’s a form of nostalgia, such that one could choose for oneself, but hard to live out within a community. I can say, “I’m going to be a Puritan,” but I can’t say, “Let’s all live in a Puritan society.” I could say it, but no one would want to join me.

    So, by the process of elimination, methodologically we’re left with a postmodern understanding of Orthodoxy. The Enlightenment happened, evolution is true, but there are limits to Reason and the modernistic epistemologial approach.

  32. John Sennett says:

    Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge. Marcus Tullius Cicero

  33. Dana Ames says:

    drewster,

    Not long ago I read “The Mystery of Christ” with my book group (all “low-church” Protestants – it was interesting!). I found it somewhat difficult, but not because of the vocabulary or Fr John’s writing style. On those levels, it’s quite clear and engaging, and it’s not a very long book.

    The thing that was difficult was adjusting my thinking and point of view with regard to looking at the Old Testament and interpreting it, from an Enlightenment/very linear/”systematic” paradigm that has 2000 years of Christian thought behind it, to simply standing at the empty tomb and contemplating that and the Cross, and trying to see the meaning of the OT through *those* lenses, as those 1st century disciples had to. It was a tough thought experiment, but it did help me significantly. I need to read it again.

    Don’t be afraid of tackling it – some books have good value when first read, and even better value after they (and we) “age” a little bit.

    Dana

  34. dinoship says:

    Drewster2000,
    I just read your comment. I would certainly not class myself as anything other than a “cut and paster” (extremely experienced only in sin) and not a ‘theologian’ in any capacity.
    your kind heart sees kindly indeed!

  35. Michael Bauman says:

    SteveL

    There is another way, live in the Church in obedience to her teachings, in a life of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, worship and repentance: a life of communion with our God. Then and only then can one know that the “Enlightenment” was a spiritual rebellion, evolution is simply an anti-Christian fable founded upon a desire to replace God with man and that we are not whole until our mind is in our heart.

    The way you suggest is nothing less than a flight into the darkness of the nihlist mind of the world.

  36. drewster2000 says:

    Dana,

    Thanks for the recommendation. This kind of review is much appreciated.

    Dinoship,

    Here’s the thing. God gave you every gift you have, including your intellect and your love of contemplating such lofty things. So there’s nothing for you to be proud about and it’s OK for us to admit that you’re a theologian by design.

    Couple this with the fact that you probably post more comments than anyone else – and therefore I have a fair sampling of your thoughts on these matters – and that leaves me in a pretty good position to say: compared to me, you’re a theologian.

    If your ego is still inflated about this, just remind yourself that every gift is also a responsibility. I greatly admire your gift. No need to hide it, but no need to “own” it either.

    your friend in Christ, drewster

  37. Laura says:

    I hope this series of posts will develop into a book! Is there a tag or something I can use to easily refer this series of posts?

  38. fatherstephen says:

    Laura,
    Thanks. The tag would be postmodern – I don’t think I have it on any other posts

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