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Angus Bower said "Rome would have to accommodate them, and Rome is not very good at accommodation". Sadly you're wrong Angus. For the last 50 years the Catholic Church has "accommodated" almost every Non Catholic group in existence while watering down the teachings and Dogmas of the Catholic Church which come from Our Lord and the Apostles through Sacred Tradition and the Holy scriptures and defined by dogmatic Councils and Popes guided by the Holy Ghost for Two Thousand years. You're correct that the differences are much more numerous than the Filioque ( ie the Pope, Thomism etc). The Roman Catholic Church shouldn't be conceding or "accommodating" anything or anyone as the former holds all of the truth which comes from the Apostles and is necessary for salvation. I truly hope and pray the Greek church reunites with the Bishop of Rome and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church but not at the expense of watering down truth and defined dogma which the Catholic Church alone possesses.

To my mind it is a great article.

Father bless,

I stumbled upon this through another Orthodox blog, and I think it's excellent. A book you might consider reading is "Against The Protestant Gnostics" by Philip J. Lee. He picks up where Bloom leaves off, addressing Protestant gnosticism from a Protestant point of view.

thanks much!

Consider it done, and thanks for pointing that out.

Thank for quoting my book unChristian. My only quibble is that you've added something extra at the end of the quote [starting with "To be blunt..."]. The way you've structured the quote in a call out box and italics looks you are quoting directly from the book. But the second half of the paragraph is not from us. Obviously, I would rather not be misquoted, and in the blog world, it is very possible that someone would lift the quote from your blog and attribute the whole thing to us. Would appreciate if you would correct that. Thanks, David Kinnaman

I rather doubt that there is any such thing as "smarter" in God's reality.

You and I belong to an infinity of sharing, so please don't keep your mouth shut.

There is nothing, nothing to forgive.

Forgive me father, I've been reading your blog for a very long time now and feeling a sort of kinship in certain literary tastes (and if I might be so bold when you occasionally share some of your disenchantments with politics and other topics, I feel akin as well).

When I was at the peak of my pride it was nice to come across the blog of someone much smarter than me. It forced me down off my horse a few times. I got rather worked up this morning excited that I might finally "have something to share with you." The truth is, I have no idea what to do (as if "doing" was really superior to "being" anyway).

We're leaven, leaven has to permeate the dough, multiply and belch alot. If it doesn't, it isn't very good leaven. :-)

Looking forward to learning more from you and maybe keeping my mouth a bit tighter shut.

David, thanks for your comment. Actually, my purpose was not to recommend practical things.

I know it is obtuse, but the discussion was a reflection upon the particularities of the American climate, which I ironically call "genius."

It is important to know that the American religion -- in which evangelicalism is prominent -- is profoundly gnostic.

Knowing this will force us to pay more attention to communicating dogma about Trinity, Incarnation, sacrament, repentance and theosis.

I am convinced that if we in the Orthodox world pursued theosis in prayer and fasting -- i.e., if we seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness -- then "all these things" (unity, viability, salience, survival) "will be added unto us."

It is not for me to make specific missional recommendations. I used to do that very thing, and always got bummed out afterward.


Father bless.

You are much smarter than I am. I mean that seriously. I was really glad to find your blog when I was first interested in Orthodoxy. Please excuse my convertitis, but I really think the Orthodox Church over thinks this. Making America Orthodox really only takes three steps and only one of them (maybe the least important) actually looks like evangelism in any meaningful sense.

1) hold on to cradles by any means necessary. considering how many people change churches in their lifetime, if all we did was hold on to those we have, we'd be the fastest growing church in the country. the number one way to hold on is to find a churchly thing for everything American. stop fasting on Thanksgiving! throw a party on the 4th of july, write special prayers or services for high school graduation parties, make it so people want their priest there blessing their soccer tournament, that sort of thing. take "the Church" to the event whenever possible to incarnate in the culture instead of forcing people to chose Church instead of culture. (this is not always possible and there's definitely some wisdom required here)

2) back off on being correct, and dig deep into the beattitudes. Virtue over veritas. The veritas is there, it's not going away, but in the clammer of a culture bent on spending billions arguing with itself over who the next president should be, argument means little. be kind, be gentle, be approachable. talk about therapy over philosophy. this includes making sure the internet presence (message boards, blogs, wiki pages) are not just about truth, but about love. we Americans are weak, undisciplined, proud, addicted persons (and me the worst of them). Our culture like none other in all of history tempts us to sinful, self-destructive living. it spends billions in advertising to get us to sin. the Church needs to be very gentle and understanding to this battle we all fight.

3) be available, this is the one that almost looks like evangelism. it comes in two parts. first, make sure that any possible self-sustaining mission that can be started is. my mother would love to come to Orthodox services (she's interested because I converted) but the churches are too far from her (the 3 closest are over an hour away). I'm sure that those 3 churches could easily help start a mission in the "gap" between them. just "being there" is often enough. the Church needs to seek out ubiquity. Met Jonah is right. every college needs an Orthodox mission. the second is translate everything in to ENGLISH, and I don't mean just stop having services in Greek or Russian, but stop speaking like the Book of Needs! Nothing was more troublesome than hearing or reading, "then say the 'Our Father' and then a Kontakion, then Glory... and now and ever." If it's OK to translate the liturgy then it's OK to translate the word Horologion! Never ever abbreviate or use "..."! Ever. Really. I mean it. After two years of determined study I'm only barely able to understand this stuff. This also means learning how to use a word processor for the Church bulletin and order of worship. And if you include music make sure the music you include is actually the stuff the choir is singing. Be explicit in documentation.

People make jokes that it isn't a real service if the Reader doesn't have three different books open. This isn't a joke, this is real and meaningful barrier to anyone entering the Church.

Getting the house in order and putting the house any where, any time and everywhere will make America Orthodox faster than anything else.

sorry if this post has a strange tone. I think part of the problem with Orthodox evangelism is actually how smart many in the Church leadership are. some times, simple is better. yes, I know I'm complaining about bad word processing skills and this post is a mess. Lord have mercy.

As I said, I'm just as bad. I'm not speaking as one who's done these things, but as one who's aware that he needs to do them.

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