Tag Archives: Greek Orthodoxy

So, the Orthodox Church In America is Having a Science Fiction Convention!: DoxaCon

And there will be cosplay too!

Now, if only other churches could get on the action. Hey, I should start a Kickstarter so I can attend? I mean, I wrote my thesis on Clement of Alexandria, so I do get to pass as Orthodox, am I right? #AMIRITE?

“DOXACON is an opportunity for Christian fans of the science-fiction & fantasy genre, to engage in positive exploration of themes held in common between Christianity, Fantasy and Science Fiction… especially in a time in which this genre is seeing a renaissance among popular culture. If you enjoy engaging in meaningful dialogue on subjects concerning Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Narnia, Star Trek, Star Wars or Dr. Who, to name just a few, then this is the conference is for you!”

For more information visit the DoxaCon events site; here is a list of sessions so far”

DoxaCon schedule

Thanks to Father OrthoDuck for the heads up!

Mere Trinitarianism: C.S. Lewis, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Evangelicalism

C S LEWIS IN THE EAGLE & CHILD - OXFORD

First off, I cannot take complete credit for this post. A few weeks ago there was a discussion about Clives Staples Lewis on the anniversary of his publishing Mere Christianity on Facebook. A commentor on a Facebook friend’s thread suggested that C.S. Lewis‘s Fourth Book in Mere Christianity is an engagement with Eastern Orthodoxy, without any Greek Fathers or Saints being named. I asked if there was any research done on the topic, and to his knowledge, there hadn’t. After reading Book Four again, I have to say I agree with this particular commentor, and not only that I would like to contend that the trend of Evangelicals who “convert” to Eastern Orthodoxy or Catholicism may be indirectly related to Evangelical Christians’ admiration for Lewis’ writings.  I have discussed this topic somewhat before, see “Why Eastern Orthodoxy Can’t Talk To Evangelicals (linked). I think the question of C.S. Lewis is especially pertinent in light of Jason Stellman’s departure from the Presbyterian Churches of America, who interacted withLewis’s work a few times on his blog.

Now, to flesh out instances that C.S. Lewis argues in favor of EO teachings with out naming them EO as such. From Book 4, “Making And Begetting,”: “Now the point in Christianity which gives us the greatest shock is the statement that by attaching ourselves to Christ, we can ‘become Sons of God.” Lewis goes on to explain, in one sense, all of members of humanity are sons and daughters of God because we have our being in God the Creator, but this life in God is Bios, that living creatures have, the kind that decays. The Spiritual life that God gives through the Son, Christ Jesus, is ZOE, eternal spiritual life, where the human person is invited to partake in the Greatness of the Triune God.

Lewis goes on to expand on this idea of participation in “The Three-Personal God”: “It is only the Christians who have any idea how human souls can be taken into the life of God, and yet remain themselves–in fact, be very much more themselves than they were before.” In the Bios or natural, we are bundles of self-centered fears, greeds, hopes, self-conceit, and jealousies (“Let’s Pretend”) but in Christ, (according to “Counting The Cost”) God “said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him,–for we can prevent Him, if we choose–He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom, and love as we cannot imagine [.]”

A couple of things. The Eastern Fathers would consistently make comments such as the latter quote; Athanasius and Clement of Alexandria would say in their work, “God became man so that man could become god” (see On The Incarnation for AoA, and Sermon to the Greeks for CoA). Another part of the Eastern Orthodox teaching of theosis is the divinization of creation, that is the process of the Nature becoming right since salvation has a cosmic element. One can potentially see this imagery in Lewis’ the Chronicles of Narnia (specifically, The Lion, The Witch And Wardrobe as well as Prince Caspian come to mind). Lastly, unlike Protestants who view marriage as just a contract, marriage is viewed as a sacrament in EO. After having finished the second book in Lewis’ Space Trilogy, Perelandra, something theologically did not sit right with me, since I was expecting to find more Anglican/Protestant theology. Perhaps that’s because Perelandra as a story could be taken as an EO interpretation of Genesis 1 interspersed with Arthurian legend (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight).

“For as the light reached its perfection and settled itself, as it were, like a lord upon his throne or like wine in a bowl, and filled the whole flowery cup of the mountain top, every cranny, with its purity, the holy thing, Paradise itself in its two Persons, Paradise walking hand in hand, its two bodies shining in the light like emeralds yet not themselves too bright to look at, came in sight in the cleft between two peaks, and stood a moment with its male right hand lifted in regal and pontifical benediction, and then walked down and stood on the far side of the water. And the gods kneeled and bowed their huge bodies before the small forms of that young King and Queen”

–C.S. Lewis, Perelandra

Are there any other examples of Eastern Orthodoxy in Lewis’ work?

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Frederica Mathewes-Greene On Reason and Emotion

One of the things that people get offended about when I talk about epistemology (ways of knowing) is how I DO NOT vilify experience or reason to the extent that they are irreconcilable. Of course, from my end, those that fear-monger talking about contextuality, embodiedness, and the particularity of experiences come from worldviews that have had a lot of privilege in the academy (at least in the past). There is so much that can be said of this in Christianity, especially in Protestant circles, with the cessationist versus continuationist debates. Orthodox thinkers Frederica Mathewes-Greene about sums up my belief in a very few sentences.

“there is in the West a misperception that a human has two aspects, reason and emotion, and if you are not being rational you are being emotional. A corollary, “You cannot experience God with your mind,” so direct experience of God is emotional, possibly (likely) an emotional projection. No, the experience of God is an experience with an objective “other,” like any other experience in life. Such experience is likely to cause both thoughts and emotions in reaction, but the immediate experience comes first. It is of course an uncontrollable experience, but the surprising thing about the Eastern Church, from a Western perspective, is that they have preserved and passed on, from generation to generation, wisdom about how to prepare yourself for your side of the encounter; how to teach yourself to “show up” and pay attention. This may not be the thing Orthodox would think of as most significant about their Church, but it is the thing that is most surprising and fascinating to many Western Christians. People who have a desire to dwell more consistently in the presence of the Lord will find much of interest here.”

For Frederica, as for many Christians who whole-heartedly affirm a personal God, Jesus came that God may commune with humanity once more as YHWH once did in the Garden of Eden with God’s priests, Adam and Eve. This is what I love about Matthews-Greene’ post; she does not say it explicit, but it is implied: one of the very positive uses of Tradition (within the Christian context of discipleship) is to PREPARE believers for their encounters with the Triune God. In this way, I think the Wesleyan Quadrilateral is very helpful. Christian Tradition intersects and aids Christian Reason and Christian Experience, and all filtered through the Christian Scriptures.

For more from Mathewes-Greene and Orthodox Christianity, please check out Ask An Orthodox Christian on Rachel Held Evans