Category Archives: Church and Modern Society

Theology and Pseudo-Theology in the Digital Age

by John A. Monaco | български | ქართული | Ελληνικά | Русский | Српски

There is little doubt that we are living in a “digital age,” an age characterized by a move to the virtual and the electronic. The COVID-19 pandemic simply accelerated this trajectory to the point of no return. From an ecclesial perspective, parishes are equipped to live-stream their liturgies, and the need for a functioning and updated website has never been greater. From an academic perspective, virtual learning has become mainstream, along with conferences and webinars that scholars can participate in from the comfort of their home. Amidst the flurry of these innovations, one shift has remained under the radar: the role of theological education in the Digital Age.

Since its genesis, Christianity has embraced the media necessary for effective communication. This is why, for example, St. Paul wrote letters to various church communities to convey his message as opposed to painting pictures on the walls of a cave. From writing letters to composing dense theological treatises, to radio and television, to our days of the Internet, Christian leaders have found it necessary to utilize the best forms of communication in order to spread the Good News. But the democratization of the Internet—the fact that anyone can publish a blog or upload a video—has had unfortunate consequences for theological education. While there have always been false teachers, never before have such teachers been able to reach millions of souls in seconds.

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Folklife and the Authenticity Politics of Orthodox Culture Creation

by Nic Hartmann | български  | ქართულიΕλληνικά  | Română | Русский | Српски

Easter celebration

Orthodox culture is alive and well. It is in the loaves of bread that are lovingly made by a Lebanese grandmother for her son’s birthday. It is in our Pascha baskets, our children’s hilarious mispronunciations of “Christ is Risen” in different languages, and in the community we have together. It is in our camping programs, our mission trips, and our Facebook conversations we have with our fellow parishioners or Orthodox moms. It is our folklife that keeps so much of it alive.

The Tucson-based Southwest Folklife Alliance, a regional folk arts nonprofit affiliated with the University of Arizona, identifies folklife and folklore as “the informal, familiar, common side of human experience not contained in the formal records of culture (often found in museums and universities). The study of folklore includes language, music, dance, games, myths, customs, handicrafts, architecture, food preparation, jokes and humor, and almost anything else that people say, make or do on their own, informally.” Folklife takes place within groups of two, schools, church congregations, cities and regions.

It was this field that ultimately led me, over a decade ago and during my graduate studies, to become an Orthodox Christian.

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Schmemann for Our Time: Christ, the Crisis of Our Age

by Fr. Alexis Vinogradov | български | ქართული | Ελληνικά | Русский | Српски

Each year since his death in 1983, Father Alexander Schmemann’s legacy is evoked through an established annual lecture in his name at St. Vladimir’s, the theological seminary in New York in which his ideas flourished, nourishing generations of clergy and faithful and, through numerous publications and lectures, reaching the broader world. A permanent academic chair or annual event implies that the individual named represents a benchmark of thought and achievement for the institution, a legacy which his spiritual heirs are committed to honor and promote. Here, I ponder how Fr. Alexander might formulate the Church’s response to the crisis of our time.

In a foundational idea of his work, perhaps best expressed in his famous lecture, Between Utopia and Escape, Fr. Alexander advocates for the middle path between two extremes—a sectarian isolation from the real world at one pole, and at the other pole, its counterpart of “progress” towards an ephemeral secular utopia. Yet his proposed middle path is not a compromise between the two extremes, but rather the victory of an ascension out of both dead-ends towards an eschatological vision of the tangible, real world, the home of the Incarnate Lord of history.

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Culture Wars Are Not Our Wars

by Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun | български | ქართული | Ελληνικά | Српски

Chess board

American society is polarized to an extent that one can hardly recall. It is as if we have entered a cold civil war. There is another name for this war: culture war, which is a literal translation of the German Kulturkampf. Culture wars are not proper wars, and they are not about culture. They are ideological clashes.

Ideologies are secular constructs. They emerged from the European Enlightenment as substitutes for what its inventors considered to be a delusional religious perception of the world. Ironically, these ideologies have affected not only secularized societies but also the Christian churches with which they are supposed to be incompatible. Hierarchs, priests, and theologians all too often indulge in these culture wars, throwing themselves into ideological battle.

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