While this blog has been dead for a period of time due to the birth of my daughter Elisabeth and school – I have managed to get on board with a new project. The Red Egg Review. Here is our introductory essay:
Here it is: another anglophone Orthodox publication – on the Internet, no less! You may think you know what you’re in for here. Orthodoxy as Austrian economics, continuing Anglicanism, or the Lost Cause. Beard-measuring contests. Beauty as kitsch. You might think that – but you’d be wrong.
What you’ll find, we hope, is something else: a living faith, secure enough in its traditions to be constantly engaged with the world around it. The Orthodox tradition, as we see it, is deep and rich, and by its nature resists our attempts to impose programs, whether aesthetic or ideological. This resistance doesn’t free us from the demands of understanding and obedience, but does require that we remain humble as we attempt to understand both our faith and our world. In the face of a world beyond our ability to ever comprehend, we can never claim completion.
If we can’t programmatize, then, if we can’t ever hope to entirely comprehend, what can we do to be nourished by the Church? How should we approach its theological heritage, its liturgical life, and its long history of human experience? Too often, in the face of their bewildering richness, we flee. Instead of the difficult work of understanding, we take refuge in nostalgic visions. Often, though, these visions turn out to be fantasies alien to the experience of the Church.
The Red Egg Review stands against anything that reduces the Orthodox Church to a belligerent in cultural battles. We oppose the use of the Church as a cultural or liturgical nature preserve. The Church has no glorious past to recover, no more innocent or holy time to which we might return, because the Church is, as Fr. Georges Florovsky once said, ‘the continual manifestation of the beginning and the end.’ The Church, like the Magdalene’s red egg, will inevitably destabilize the established social, political, economic, and intellectual systems of the moment through its eschatological presence and witness.
If the Orthodox Christian faith – still in its infancy in America – is to mature into adulthood, we as Orthodox Christians need to be attentive to what our faith requires us to be as citizens and as neighbors. We should look forward, as well as backward; outward, as well as inward. We should engage the world around us fully, listening patiently to what it has to tell us: to late-night television, to dance music, to those who disagree with us. We are a hospital, and hospitals do not fight wars.
It is our hope that The Red Egg Review will move forward the discussion about the relationship between the Church and the world. We seek to stimulate conversation in universities, seminaries, parishes, homes, and workplaces. We will discuss the art, ideas, and challenges of everyday American culture, the Fathers and Mothers of the Church, and modern Orthodox voices. Our perspective is and will continue to be rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, and in the tradition of His Church. Like our Fathers and Mothers, we remain open to the insights and experiences of other Christian traditions and of all human beings.
We invite you to join us, to read, to write, and to converse.
Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, 2013
You can find my particular contribution in the form of a book review of Aristotle Papanikolaou’s recent book, The Mystical as Political.
Please read and join in!