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It's not just Chuck Swindoll, Joel Osteen & Company who are failing to preach on the First & Last Things.

The oceanic majority of Catholic pulpits are silent as well. Forget trying to relate 'esoteric' doctrine to people- words like sin, abortion, contraception (big one given the bind Rome has put itself in over that one) or hell are almost never heard. I've been going to mass faithfully for over 30 years, I know of what I speak.

Unfortunately, in my somewhat limited experience (of a dozen parishes, perhaps a hundred liturgies,) many Orthodox pulpits have fallen silent, as well. The Greeks, in particular, seem to have fallen hard for Hallmark sermonizing. The OCA, Arabs & ROCOR are a different story, again in my very limited experience.. but maybe it's only a matter of time, even with them?

Great post, Father. I only wish people would dispense with using the words Conservative and liberal like they meant anything. Especially with the presumption that conservative equals good & liberal, bad.

Words like orthodox, faithful, apostate & heretical are much clearer. In the end it is all about truth, and the truth is radical, not conservative.

The Saga of Barrington you linked to was recalled to memory when I read Lossky's "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" today, pages 120-124. Person not being limited by nature, and growing in the image and likeness of God when transcending nature: "giving up its own special good, it expands infinitely, and is enriched by everything that belongs to it. The person becomes the perfect image of God by acquiring that likeness which is the perfection of the nature common to all men." (124)

Thank you for another insightful post. Within my own conservative Evangelical background, I was aware on how heavily Evangelicals (at least in my circles) lean on experience, speaking relatively infrequently of doctrine. Last year in a Sunday School class on Church history I was astonished to find that it was not conservative theology but liberal, taking its cue from Schleiermacher, that pioneered the substitution of experience for truth and doctrine. It is troubling to find that one's own tradition is unconsciously living on the poison it thought it had identified and rejected.

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