The “faith and work movement” in America is in danger of deepening the sacred-secular divide . . . by approaching and understanding church in some secularizing ways. If we want to find the sacred in the world – including in our workplaces – we must first find it in our churches. And when we do, our work can be revolutionized.
That is the burden of this short TED-style talk I recently presented at a meeting of faculty members teaching in the Oikonomia Network of seminaries. The talk draws from a still-popular book called For the Life of the World, based on a series of talks on the mission of the church by the late Alexander Schmemann of St. Vladimir’s Seminary (Eastern Orthodox) in New York.
Check out this Orthodox history Facebook site’s account of what happened when the Episcopalian and Eastern Orthodox Churches in America dialogued and neared union . . . until an orthodox saint named Raphael, who was the hinge of these talks, did an about-face . . .
Much older than our modern interest in “the historical Jesus” has been a near-universal Christian fascination with the land where Jesus walked. Unfortunately of late that fascination has often turned to squabbling among those who actually live in that land. What follows is a newsletter I wrote shortly after arriving at Christian History in 2002:
Christian History Corner: Divvying up the Most Sacred Place
Emotions have historically run high as Christians have staked their claims to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Chris Armstrong | posted 7/01/2002 12:00AM
The Holy Land—the region where Jesus walked and lived and died—exerts a strange power over the hearts of believers. Readers who have been to Jerusalem and visited its sites may thus feel at least a twinge of sympathy for a group of elderly monks living in that city, who recently made the news in a most unseemly way.
Last Monday, chairs, iron bars, and fists flew on the roof of one of the most revered sites in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. When the dust cleared, seven Ethiopian Orthodox monks and four Egyptian (Coptic) monks had been injured. The fight started when an Egyptian monk decided to move his chair into the shade—technically, argued the Ethiopians, encroaching on the latter’s jurisdiction. Continue reading
Further to my previous post on the new center for early church studies at Wheaton: In Spring, 2007, Wheaton College hosted a conference on how evangelicals are re-engaging with the wisdom of the early church. I attended the conference and wrote a feature article on it, published in Christianity Today in February 2008. The trends I describe here are certainly continuing, and the wise encouragements and warnings of the scholars who presented at that conference still apply. Let us rejoice in “treasures old” as well as new, and let us also display and use these treasures with discernment:
The Future Lies in the Past
Why evangelicals are connecting with the early church as they move into the 21st century.
Last spring, something was stirring under the white steeple of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
A motley group of young and clean-cut, goateed and pierced, white-haired and bespectacled filled the center’s Barrows Auditorium. They joined their voices to sing of “the saints who nobly fought of old” and “mystic communion with those whose rest is won.” A speaker walked an attentive crowd through prayers from the 5th-century Gelasian Sacramentary, recommending its forms as templates for worship in today’s Protestant churches. Another speaker highlighted the pastoral strengths of the medieval fourfold hermeneutic. Yet another gleefully passed on the news that Liberty University had observed the liturgical season of Lent. The t-word—that old Protestant nemesis, tradition—echoed through the halls.
Just what was going on in this veritable shrine to pragmatic evangelistic methods and no-nonsense, back-to-the-Bible Protestant conservatism? Had Catholics taken over? Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants, Patron Saints for Postmoderns, Resources for Radical Living
Tagged ancient-future, D H Williams, Dallas Willard, early church, Eastern Orthodoxy, ecclesiology, evangelicalism, exegesis, patristics, Protestantism, Richard Foster, Robert Webber, Roman Catholicism, Spirituality, the 1970s, Wheaton College