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Orthodoxy and Community

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  • Stephen Shields
    You wrote:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 2000
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      You wrote:

      <<One more quick thing...I mentioned in an earlier letter that I have been
      really thinking about Orthodoxy...some close friends have converted and I've
      had a lot of time and opportunity to scrutinize the Orthodox way (not to
      pimp Timothy Ware's title). I've actually found their approach (their blend
      of mysticism and holistic theology)to be the most immediately suggestive of
      a solution...I am not advocating mass conversion to Orthodoxy, or trying to
      cast dispersions on other denominations, I just like their principles and
      love their worship. Obviously though, aligning with a particular church
      needs to come after I can reconcile with God, lest I form yet another
      relationship with the institutions which represent God rather than the
      Author of Life personally. >>

      Many evangelicals have been switching to Orthodoxy and I believe at least
      part of the reason is the evangelical addiction to the left-brain and the
      loss of mystery. So many evangelical services just seem like business
      seminars or classroom sessions. Yet when you experience the richness of
      liturgy in Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Anglican, and Orthodox services, it
      can make you aware of a hunger you didn't know you had! But some in those
      traditions feel that all that is there (and *certainly* it depends on the
      specific local church in question) *is* liturgy with little left-brain
      content backing up a right-brain religious experience.

      Frankly, Matt, this seems to be a good thing to me that you are considering
      this! I see it as a movement away from the "rational vanity" you alluded
      to. I think it could put you in a place to experience God rather than just
      grinding away in ceaseless cogitation.

      I can also appreciate your wanting to keep the focus on God and not on
      institution. But I would encourage you to seek community as you seek God.
      That is one of the helpful insights from the postmodern writer Richard
      Rorty - that we discern truth best in community. And - actually - you are
      doing that on this listserv.

      Stephen Shields
      Cedar Ridge Community Church
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