Thursday, November 02, 2006


This powerful observation from an interview with the late Anthony Bloom, speaking from an Eastern Orthodox perspective (hat-tip to Johan Maurer):

"It seems to me that today the whole Christian world... has distanced itself terribly from the simplicity, integrity, and the joyful beauty of the Gospel. Christ and his group of disciples created a Church that was so deep and wide and complete that it could contain the universe. Over the centuries we've made the church into one human social group among many. We're now something less than the world we live in, and when we talk about that world coming to Christ, we are talking about everyone, as many as possible, becoming members of that limited social group. That's our sin, it seems to me.

"...[W] stand accused in this world. In its rejection of God and the church, the world says, "You Christians cannot give us anything we need. You don't offer us God, you offer us a worldview. And it's a moot point if God is not at its core. You give us instructions on how to live, but they're just as arbitrary as the ones other people give us." We ourselves must become Christian--Christians according to the example of Christ himself, and his disciples. Only then will the Church obtain, not power, that is the capacity to coerce, but authority, the capacity to say words that make the soul tremble and that open up the eternal depths within any soul.

"... We confess faith in Christ, but we've reduced everything to symbols. So, for example, I'm always struck by our Good Friday service: instead of the cross on which a living young man dies, we have a wonderful service that can move us but that actually stands between us and that rude and ghastly tragedy ... Of course that reworking does reach us, but we so easily begin to get a taste for that horror, even deeply experiencing it, being shaken and then regaining our calm; whereas the vision of a living person who is murdered is something quite different. That remains as a wound in the soul, you don't forget it; having seen it, you'll never again be the same as you were. And that is what dismays me. In some sense, the beauty and depth of our worship must break it open, and must lead every believer through that opening to the terrible and majestic secret of what is actually happening."

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