Here’s the video of Metropolitan Jonah‘s talk last night at AEI.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Faith in a Consumerist Society

Here’s the video of Metropolitan Jonah‘s talk last night at the American Enterprise Institute‘s Values and Capitalism program.In Christ,+Fr Gregory

Thinking about America

Some recent posts here have been devoted to my own thoughts about the American Experiment in relationship to the tradition of the Orthodox Church. I thought the following two videos might be of some use.

The first is from Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA-4th District) talking on the floor of the US House of Representatives about America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. The second is country music singer Rodney Atkins’ song “It’s America.”

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Rep. Forbes, “Our Judeo-Christian Nation”:

Rodney Atkins, “It’s America”:

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Faith, Reason and Science

Yesterday’s back and forth between NeoChal and I on the morality of artificial contraception raises for me an interesting question. How did the Fathers of the Church regard what today we would see as the findings of empirical science? When, in other words, the Fathers appeal to the scientific understanding of their era, do the see this data as normative or only illustrative? In other words, is a moral positions being advanced based on the best possible science of the day or do the Fathers simply appeal to that science to elucidate an moral argument?

This is important not only for the question of the morality of artificial contraception, but also those areas of the Church’s dogmatic tradition that touch on matters explored today by the natural, social and human sciences. Think about what it might me for a central dogma of the Christian faith, the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity in the womb of the Mother of God.

In the ancient world, the best science of the day understood reproduction in a as analogous to agriculture. The male implanted a child in the female much as a farmer would sow seed in a field. The womb was merely the receptacle of the semen and the female was either fertile or not in much the same way that soil was capable of sustaining a crop. In this model of reproduction, the idea of the Virgin conceiving without a human father for the Christ Child isn’t much of a stress. But is the dogma isn’t dependent on the science, even if the science of the time offered humanity a way of entering more deeply into an appreciative understanding of the mystery.

Returning to the realm of moral theology, those who dismiss the patristic prohibitions against contraception, or the biblical texts cited in against homosexual activity because these positions are based in faulty science are (I think) following into much the same error as I sketched out above. We ought not to confuse, much less reduce, dogmatic or moral truths to our explanation of the truth.

Clearly this is much easier to say then to do in practice. We often don’t come to realize that we have conflated dogma and its explanation until science (or philosophy) undergirding our understanding of the truth is challenged. Thinking about this a bit more, it seems to me that we must always be on our guard that we do not put our faith in the fruits of our own reason. Reason is, or at least, should be at the service of faith. Does this mean that faith trumps reason? I don’t think so since faith needs reason even as reason needs faith.

Commenting on Wisdom 9.11 (“Wisdom knows all and understands all”) the late Pope John Paul II argues in Fides et Ratio that what “is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge (cognitio) of reason and the knowledge of faith.” The Pope continues by reminding his readers that the “world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process.” How is this possible? It is possible because “Faith intervenes not to abolish reason’s autonomy nor to reduce its scope for action, but solely to bring the human being to understand that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts.” For this reason, he conclude, “the world and the events of history cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them. Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence” (#16).

What this means is that when the Fathers appealed to the best science of their day they were not confining the Mystery of Faith to the merely empirical, they were not arguing that faith was dependent upon human reason, much less scientific research. What were they doing then? I would argue that they were illuming science, putting it at the service of faith and, in so doing, making clear the necessarily limited character of not only science but human reason itself.

Often when people, in innocence and without a self-seeking motive, dismiss patristic moral teaching because it is based on faulty science, they do so because they fail to reckon with the provision nature of empirical, and especially experimental science. Even the best scientific research is only provisional and this not simply because ALL human knowledge limited, but because scientific research is predicated on the willingness of the scientist to critically re-evaluate and even challenge today what was yesterday’s newly discovered truth. Ironically, even if we do so without malice, when we reject patristic moral (or dogmatic for that matter) teaching because it is based on faulty science we inadvertently wed ourselves to what itself will one day be judged as faulty or deficient science.

That said, however, I do not think we can go “backwards.” We can’t come to the Fathers as if the intervening centuries and changes in human knowledge and understanding of ourselves and the natural world has not happened. To do this is to dishonor the work of the Fathers and their willingness to struggle with the great issues and thoughts of their day. More than that though, when I “flee” to the Fathers as if the intervening centuries had not happened, I reduce faith to merely history and strip it of its personal quality. How? By imagining that I can divest myself of my own time and culture and imagining—fantasizing really—that I am a Christian not on my own time, but of another.

But I here to tell you, this is the path of delusion, of prelast. I either stand before Christ as a man of my time, faithful not only to what has gone before, but also of what is here and now, or I do not stand before Him at all.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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The Lessons of Uniatism

While it is not a popular position for an Orthodox Christian, much less a priest, when I reflect on the history of uniatism—of those communities who left the Orthodox Church and joined themselves to Catholic Church—I am struck less by the machinations of Rome and more the failing of Orthodox Christians. Much of what we call uniatism is the fruit of our failure to be reconciled to each other, to support and encourage each other. How different would events then, and now, have unfolded if the actors had seen each other as the precious, irreplaceable gifts from God that each of us is to the other?

What concerns me as well is that even among those Orthodox Christians who left and joined themselves to Rome the same divisions still exist among Eastern Catholics. Forgive me for speaking so plainly, but I cannot help wonder at times at the tribalism that seems so deeply rooted in Eastern Christianity. Whether we are Orthodox or Catholic, we seem to prefer to be with “our people” rather than “those people.” This preference for our own comes at the expense of the Gospel and is in stark contrast to the beauty and wisdom I have found in Eastern Christianity.
The documents of the Second Vatican Council figured prominently in my own journey to the Orthodox Church. Not, as some might imagine, in a negative way, but in positive way. Reading the Council Fathers, looking at the reforms that they struggled to articulate and implement, was struck by the the prominence of the Christian East. To take but two examples, Vatican II’s emphasizes the conciliar nature of the Church on the universal level and the celebration of the Eucharist in the vernacular on the parochial level. I could add to this the renewed emphasis on the Liturgy of the Hours (or the daily cycle of services) and the universal call to holiness as the foundation of the life of the Church. Granted these elements were not always embodied with equal success, but the attempt was made and I saw in the attempt a turn to the East that lead me naturally to the Byzantine Catholic Church and ultimately to the Orthodox Church.
The Church of Rome looked to renew herself by looking East to re-appropriate for her own life the importance of the local Church. I wonder if it isn’t necessary for the Orthodox Church to look West and re-appropriate for ourselves the importance of the universal Church? Part of this process would , I think, require from us a sober reflection on the failures of uniatism not simple in the pejorative sense of the term, but also at the failure of Orthodox Christians then (and also now) to be true to our own ecclesiological vision. It is this failure I would suggest that failure that made reasonable the departure of some of us to Rome.
Let me be clear, I do not think that re-union with Rome is the answer. Yes, there must be reconciliation between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and I hope for this in my lifetime.
But while reconciliation with the Church of Rome is essential, there is another, internal reconciliation that must happen as well. If it doesn’t then I am afraid we will see deeper divisions not only within the Church but from the Church as well. Even during the relative calm of recent years some 60% of those who join the Orthodox Church as adults leave us. Add to this the young people who leave as adults and the number of adults whose participation in the life of the Church is nominal at best, and the need for renewal and reconciliation on all levels of the Church becomes painful obvious.
In Christ,
+Fr Gregory

Byzantine Politics or Holiness? The Future of the Church in America

A classmate in graduate school once told me that (and I’m quoting), “You are the most cynical man I have ever met.” In response I told him “I am only cynical if I’m wrong; if I’m right you’re naive.” (His response to me was, “See!”)

Recent comments on one of my posts (see here) put me in mind of that exchange some 20 years ago.

In response to my query as to what he meant by “ Byzantine politics,” a reader (Peter) offers a number of observations that I am tempted to dismiss as cynical rather than face the possibility that they are true. He writes:

The EP never, and I mean NEVER picks a fight it cannot win. It has survived in a hostile land since 1453. It has plans within plans, and the EP’s statement made at Holy Cross was made for a very specific purpose – to assert the Phanar’s power over the Orthodox American flock. The OCA cannot afford to underestimate its strength as others have in the past (i.e. former Archbishop Spyridon, the OCL, GOAL, etc.) and have lost and are now simply voices in the wilderness.

Referring back to a speech given at Holy Cross School of Theology by a representative of the Ecumenical Throne, Peter argues that “The EP with that statement at Holy Cross just smoked out Metropolitan Jonas [sic], tested his resolve and now with Met. Jonas’ [sic] apology saw him cave in. The EP just won the battle and most people don’t realize it.” He offers then what is to my mind a frightening conclusion:

While everybody is arguing about this little war of word the EP has been working in Australia, Britain, Eastern Europe and elsewhere shoring up his power. Once this is done you will have a juggernaut that will be coming towards the OCA and will destroy it canonically. . . . Machinationsare now in place that could either canonically destroy the OCA or force it to join with the Greek Archdiocese.

My first thought in reading this was simply to dismiss the argument being made. To even have such thoughts is horrifying to me. But if I have learned anything as a priest it is to resist my own desire to minimize sin, my own or others, no matter how much I want to do so.

I have no idea whether or not Peter’s analysis is correct and I hope to God that it is wrong. At the same time I worry about the easy comfort that comes from dismissing information I don’t like or that makes me uncomfortable. If the above scenario is correct—and I have seen no evidence that it is—then there are those in the Church who are doing the Devil’s work for him.

While I think that a united American Orthodox Church is essential and (more importantly) God’s will for His Church, I also believe that unity can only come by way ofreconciliation.In the Old Testament the Jewish People were divided into the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel because they sinned against God. Division, whether from the Church or within the Church, is always and everywhere a consequence of human sinfulness. We can see the symptoms of our sinfulness not simply in heresies and schisms but in the acceptance of our parallel ecclesiastical lives across jurisdictions and within our dioceses and parishes.

The Orthodox Church is coming quickly to a moment of crisis. The scandals in the United State and in the “Old World” have highlighted our own spiritual anemia. Yes part of our weakness is the result of persecution by the Soviet government and Islam. But as events in America suggest that there is only so much blame we can shift those outside the Church.

Let me conclude with what I fear might be taken as a polemic comment. I’m not being polemical, but I do think we have overlooked something that my wife pointed out to me.

The saints of the American Orthodox Church, the saints that God has raised up in and for North America and the whole Church share two qualities. One they were, missionaries, evangelists and (with a few exceptions) monastics. And second they were under the omophorion of the Church of Russia. Unless this history is acknowledge and appreciated, there will be no real unity in America. God has shown His Church in America the way to unity and it is up to take that road not out of ethnic chauvinism but in gratitude to the work of God in America.

The real competition for leadership of the Church in America, and world wide, is not one that can, or should, be resolved through canonically arguments. Yes the canons have their place. But what is need is sanctity. The saints of North America have given us the path that God would have His Church here in America travel. We cannot be a monastic Church or an evangelistic Church; we must be both. And we can only be one if we are also the other.

Leadership in the Church must not to be based in sterile canonical arguments not but in the witness of holiness. For all that it might be canonically sound, our witness is not true if it is predicated on an attempt to usurp the role of other Churches. For us as Orthodox Christians in American this means, as Metropolitan Jonah has said, that we be shining examples of fidelity to the traditions of the Churches of the “Old World,” of the whole Church. We must be men and women known for love of the saints (both in the body and out of the body).

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Some Songs for Saturday

Some music to brighten your Saturday.  First up a flash mob pays their respect to some bad music and some very bad pants:

h/t: One of the funnest and most insightful bloggers frrom the Republic of Texas Rachel Lucas.

Next up, an amazing new performance group, Voca People:

h/t: Brian Hollar from a great economics blog, Thinking on the Margin.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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Freedom and the Church’s American Exile

Both on the AOI blog and my own, my post on Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment, brought some very interesting and thought provoking comments. Specifically, these comments have helped me think a bit more deeply about the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the American Experiment. For this I thank you all. These comments were very much in mind as I read Michael Baxter recent review of American Babylon: Notes of A Christian in Exile, by the late Fr Richard John Neuhaus.

As is no doubt clear from what I wrote, I do not see Orthodoxy and American as necessarily in opposition to each other. Or maybe it might be more accurate to say, that the differences between Orthodoxy and America is certainly no wider or deeper than what one would expect between that between God and Caesar, between the City of God which is to come and the City of Man which is here and now. My interest in political philosophy is motivated by my sense that—for better and worse—the City of Man conditions the pastoral situation of the Church until the Kingdom which is to come.

I have not yet had the opportunity to read Neuhaus’s last book. Having been a faithful reader ofFirst Thingsand a follower of the work on its parent organization,Institute for Religion in Public Life, I have good sense of the argument that he is likely to make and so I was interested to read Baxter’s review in theNational Catholic Reporter(a publication together with others which, as Baxter puts it, has “bore the brunt of [Neuhaus’s] sardonic, scathing, at times unfair attacks”). Together with the work of John Courtney Murray, Neuhaus (and again this probably does not come as much of a surprise) has always served as a touchstone for my own thinking about the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of Church and State in the American context. Far from being merely my own idiosyncratic view, I would argue that this inter-dependence of Church and State is part of the teaching of the Orthodox Church and enshrined in our liturgical tradition.

For example, in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, we join ourselves to Christ Who offers Himself as a sacrifice to God the Father on behalf of not only the “forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith” but also the Most Holy Theotokos, “Saint John the prophet, forerunner, and baptist; . . . the holy glorious and most honorable Apostles . . . ; and for all Your saints, through whose supplications,” we ask God to bless us.

And just as in the Liturgy we intercede on behalf of “all Orthodox bishops who rightly teach the word of Your truth, all presbyters, all deacons in the service of Christ, and every one in holy orders” and acknowledge our dependence of our faith on their holy prayers and service, we likewise stand before God and intercede on behalf of “all those in public service.” We ask God to “permit them, . . . to serve and govern in peace” so that “through the faithful conduct of their duties” in the civil realm, “we [the Church] may live peaceful and serene lives in all piety and holiness.”

Owning to her conciliar nature the different orders in the Church each have their own areas of authority and concomitant competency. Modeled as She is on the Most Holy Trinity, a difference of authority and competency are intrinsically personal reflecting not only the unique role of the different orders of the Church but also the personal vocation of each Christian. As such these differences cannot be opposed to each other; nor can one order advance at the expense of the other. It is rather the case that each progress only in and through and with the other orders of the Church. To borrow from Benjamin Franklin in a not wholly different context, “We all hang together or we all hang separately.”

In like fashion while the authority of Church and State are different, difference need not mean opposition even if (I would argue) the State is not a Christian state but (as in the case of America) a secular one. Back now to Baxter’s review.

Nuehaus’s A merican Babylon, writes Baxter, “ is about being Christian in the United States. The title is an allusion to the Babylonian exile after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.” While in exile “God, through the prophet, called upon the Israelites there to build houses and plant gardens, to make families and multiply.” I imagine that to an exiled people who understandable viewed their overlords, as well, overloads and their enemy, God commands “to ‘seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare’ (Jeremiah 29:4-8)” came as something of a surprise. God counsel captives not simply to forgiven, but to actively cooperation, support and even enrich their captors. According to Neuhaus both the “New Testament and patristic authors” understood this to mean two different, but related things.

First, “Christians, in whatever land they live, await their return from exile, not an exile from the earthly Jerusalem however, but from the heavenly Jerusalem.” As a result (and I must confess, Orthodox Christians have not always been faithful on this point), for those who follow Jesus Christ “ every nation is Babylon.” Second, just as every land is Babylon, it is our duty in every land “to go along with the customs and seek the welfare of the city.” We must not simply suffer America, we must enrich her as I said earlier.

But, as Neuhaus reminds us, “there is a limit to . . . going along.” Again in Baxter’s summary:

Like the Old Testament heroes, Christians are not to worship false gods or accommodate themselves to the ways of the city when it involves betraying their faith. Thus there is a tension or dialectic for Christians between their ultimate allegiance to God and their political allegiances, which are “ penultimate.”

Acknowledging and honoring this tension in theory and practice is important not only for Christians but also all men and women of good will. If we don’t then we are prone to two extremes that must be avoided if the State is to function properly. We must avoid “the twin dangers of direct governmental control of religion, as in a theocracy, and of privatizing religion, as in the militant secularism of many European governments since the French Revolution.” And again, Orthodox Christians have I think inadvertently helped set the stage for the latter by unwise embrace of (or in America, nostalgia for) the former.

Much of the tension we see in the American Orthodox Church reflects I think our heretofore unwillingness, or at least inability, to grapple with the interdependence of Church and the American Experiment in a way that avoids our nostalgia for a lost theocracy and our dread of oppression under a militantly secular (or Islamic) state on the other. Digging deeper I think part of the lesson we might draw from the Church’s new American context is that our just as our “ allegiance to America is [as Neuhaus argues] provisional, not eschatological, limited yet substantial and real,” so too our allegiance to the past cultural and social settings and forms of government in which the Church found herself.

No matter how much these other cultural and social settings or forms of government might be rooted in Holy Tradition, and indeed even served to structure public life (for example, around the liturgical tradition of the Church), they are not as such Christian. Yes, as I said in my earlier post, they have become carriers of the Eternal but they do so in a way that does not undo their character as limited and limiting. And how could they not remain finite since their ontological and historical contingency is part and parcel of their nature as human artifacts?

There are to be sure weaknesses in the American Experiment. Too easily does liberty become license; freedom of religion become indifference (and even hostility) to religion; and for more and more Americans, the pursuit of happiness become the mere search for pleasure and profit rather than the cultivation of the virtues essential for personal and civic excellence. Yes the media and secular forms of education have their role to play in all this. But first and foremost the cultural excesses that plague us reflect the failure of the Church to take seriously the our responsibilities. As Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, (1990) in their book Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, put the matter

All Christian ethics are social ethics because all our ethics presuppose a social, communal, political starting point—the church…. Through the teaching, support, sacrifice, worship and commitment of the church, utterly ordinary people are enabled to do some rather extraordinary, even heroic acts, not on the basis of their own gifts and abilities, but rather by having a community capable of sustaining Christian virtue. The church enables us to be better people than we could have been if left to our own devices (p. 81).

We have, I fear, contented ourselves to be anything but women and men of extraordinary and heroic virtue. And we have not simply settled for leaders (religious and political) who are themselves be no better than we, we have actively pursued this goal and punished them when they dared to see their service as requiring of them that they “be better people” than they would “have been if left” to themselves.

There is no question in my mind that in planting the Church here in America God has challenged us to akenosisand martyrdom as real, if less bloody, as any the Church faced under Caesar, Islam or Communism. What we now face is the terrible temptation of our own freedom. Who will I become if I can become anyone I want to be? Who do I want to be?

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment

One of the things that interests me a great deal is the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the founding political philosophy of the American experiment. At the risk of appearing overly critical, or even dismissive, I think the failure of Orthodoxy in America is our not having engaged theologically and critically the American experiment on its own terms. Instead we have been willing to use America without necessarily seeing ourselves as obligated to contribute anything to her.
In this the Church has allowed herself to become merely one interest group among others. The Orthodox Church has not engaged the American experiment as yeast in the dough. We have contented ourselves instead merely to fit within the broad, and decadent, framework of modern identify politics.
This failure is more than simply a matter of our presenting ourselves as an ethnic, albeit religiously themed community. Even when the religious character of the Church is focal, it is often the religion of mere morality.  Not without cause have some complained that some in the Orthodox Church seem to want to put the Church’s patrimony at the service of the political and social agenda of the Religious Right.
These criticism I think are rather beside the point however. 
The moral tradition of the Church is, in the main, no different then the classical moral teaching of Western Christianity. I suspect the attraction of some Orthodox Christians to the Religious Right reflects more a love of this shared tradition and a real concern for the moral health of American society than a grab for power as such.  Further I suspect that those Orthodox who criticize their brethren’s  involvement in conservative politics do so from a desire to see the Church support (if only passively) their own more left leaning politics. But whether from the moral, cultural or political, right or left these criticism are, to repeat myself, are different then my own concern.
The American experiment is I think best expressed by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address. Reflecting on the horror of the war tearing at the fabric of the country, President Lincoln looks back to the historical and philosophical founding of the Nation: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The challenge facing the United States in Lincoln’s time (and ours) was not war per se, but whether the American “nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
Reading over the years the work of the late Catholic theologian and political philosopher John Courtney Murray, I have come more and more to appreciate the wisdom of Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg. Unlike other countries that are united by land or blood, a shared culture or language, America and Americans are, or should be anyway, united by an idea, the fundamental equality of all human beings.
While it has not always done so well, or even at all, at its best what the American political experiment asks of us is not to surrender our language or culture. Rather as a nation of immigrants, we ask each other to put the riches of our respective cultural and ethnic heritages at the service of the common social good. Granted in our short history there are times when we have honored this idea more in words than deeds. But even when honored in the breech, if there is a unique American culture or mindset it is that enduring faith in the equality of all human beings and the centrality of committing ourselves to the common good of all.
Contrary to her critics harsh words our failure to be faithful to our own ideals is to be expected. It is to be expected not simply because we are sinners, but and again as Lincoln points out at Gettysburg, because the American experiment is always an unfinished work. Whether in times or war or peace, it remains for each generation to answer in the affirmative Lincoln’s challenge to his listeners on that not so long ago battlefield:
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
So what does this have to do with the Orthodox Church? Two things I think.
First, internally, if the Church is to be a real, indigent Orthodox Church and not simply a pale copy of the Church in Greece or Russia, we need to take seriously the challenge of America that in the neither the City of Man nor the City of God do we have to lay aside language or (to the degree it does not contradict the Gospel anyway) our culture. Let me go further. 
On Pentecost Sunday I reminded my own community that the work of salvation while it is directed at human beings certainly.  Salvation also, however, results in the deification of culture. Just as Greek culture was Christianized and became the carrier of Eternal truth without lossin of its own character as either Greek (or so ontologically and historically contingent) so too American culture can be Christianized, become itself a means of communicating what is Eternal in and through the contingent and limited structures of culture and language.
Part and parcel of the Christianization of American culture is I think demonstrating, and this speaks to my second point, that E pluribus unum is not simply a political motto. It is also at the heart of all human community. More than that, it is also at the heart of Church. 
The Holy Spirit gives all things: makes prophecies flow, perfects priests, taught the unlettered wisdom, revealed fishermen to be theologians, welds together the whole institution of the Church. Consubstantial and equal in majesty with the Father and the Son, our Advocate, glory to you.
The Church is a pneumatic community of unity and diversity not in opposition but harmony. So too while at it best it falls short of this, this is what America aspires to be. The Church offers America a glimpse not only of  her own biblical foundations but the Eucharist which is both a reminder of that towards which America aspires and the standard against which she must also evaluate her own actions, domestic and foreign.
The American Experiment is for me as an Orthodox Christian a real, if imperfect, icon of the Eucharist. Or to borrow from Hebrews, if the Eucharist is an image of the Kingdom which is to come then American Experiment, seen in light of the Eucharist image, is a shadow of the image. And it is as a shadow, as something which points beyond itself to the image, even as the image points beyond itself to the Reality which is to come (see Hebrews 10.1) that Orthodox Christians can and should not only engage but wholehearted love and support the American Experiment.
If we have as Orthodox Christians have been seduced by the identity politics that has come to so mark  contemporary American political discourse on both the left and the right, this doesn’t mean that we have to remain bound by our shared failure. Rather we can, if we only decide to do so, return not only to ourselves but return in a way that we can serve the common good of both the City of God and the City of Man.
In Christ,
+Fr Gregory

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Sunday Sermon?

Hmmm, tomorrow is Pentecost after all, I wonder, maybe I should preach a bit more like this? Yeah, maybe, well see.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

h/t: Fr Philip Powell, OP at Hanc Aquam!