Theology

On Behalf of Thinking

by Crina Gschwandtner

Do we still think in our culture today? We are increasingly living in a world where reflection is reduced to superficial slogans and short soundbites, where communication is conducted in a homogeneous echo chamber of my own opinions rather than genuine discourse, where meaning has become the unthinking repetition of platitudes rather than deep engagement with the issues at stake.

This is true both outside the church and, regrettably, within it. Yet, in the current climate we cannot afford simply to parrot spiritual platitudes, to feed our children facile and simplistic versions of the faith, to remain theologically at the level of kindergarten conversation. If Orthodoxy is to be a vibrant tradition today, if its faith is to make sense to and in a postmodern culture, it has to grapple with the contemporary reality in all its complexity. Continue Reading…

Toward a Multicultural Symphonia: Orthodox Solidarity in an Age of Diversity

by Chris Durante

With all of the controversies concerning non-attendance at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church that took place in Crete this past June, I would like to propose that a re-conceptualization of the Byzantine religio-political ideal of symphonia might be able to speak to the issue of the Orthodox world’s internal cultural diversity and the tensions that arise amongst its autocephalous ecclesial communities. As an ethical ideal grounded in the pursuit of social harmony and concordance amongst distinct voices, symphonia can be re-conceptualized as implying a more robust and polyphonic understanding of its purview, whereby symphonia may serve as the foundation of an Orthodox Christian multiculturalism. Continue Reading…

Person, Nature, and Personhood Theology

by Doru Costache

For contemporary Orthodox theology, irrespective of the terms used throughout the centuries, ecclesial anthropology focuses on the mystery of personhood. This amounts to saying that Orthodox anthropology, with its markedly spiritual and/or ascetic dimension, is person-centered and not nature-centered. Building on the distinction without division between person and nature, this focus shows a certain preference in the representation of an otherwise complex reality. The sphere of personhood is likewise prominent in the Orthodox representation of the Holy Trinity and Christ. Personhood theology is therefore at the heart of contemporary Orthodox theology. In all three cases, traditional ideas and concepts are currently given personalist, existential, and phenomenological connotations. In so doing, personhood theology does more than to undertake a work of conceptual translation; it circumscribes the mysteries of the faith from viewpoints specific to the Orthodox experience in contemporary world. Given recent commotions about these developments, a question must be asked: cui bono? For what purpose? Continue Reading…