Continued from here.
I hope you have enjoyed my perspectives on some of what I have learned about Eastern Orthodox theology from Daniel B. Clendenin’s Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary Reader. I want to reiterate that all I have written in this blog series is based on my understanding of Eastern Orthodox theology based upon this book. I have no personal knowledge outside of reading this book. My goal was not to try to convince anyone of the “rightness” or “wrongness” of Eastern Orthodox theology. Rather, I was seeking to explore some perspectives on the Christian faith that, as a United Methodist, I had not previously considered.
I find it fascinating to learn about the perspectives of a segment of Christianity that went a completely different direction from the Roman Catholic Church and, by extension, Protestantism, over a thousand years ago. Eastern Orthodoxy comes from the same root and even shared the same stem for half of its existence, but it went its own direction. Even though I do not, personally, agree with all of the positions I have read about in the book thus far, I have learned a lot, which has helped me consider my own faith from a different perspective. I suspect some aspects of Orthodoxy are not “either/or” but, instead, “both/and.” Some of what I am learning about that aspect of Christianity may help me deepen my own faith without my having to convert to Orthodoxy to do so.
While I am only a quarter of the way through the book, my impression thus far is that Eastern Orthodoxy appears to agree with Catholicism and Protestantism in the most important elements – man was created good; man fell from God; Jesus restored man to God; and man can now be reconciled to God through Jesus. The rest is details. While I find some of those details interesting, what matters is the big picture. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to consider my faith from a different perspective, allowing that perspective to challenge some of my assumptions while never losing sight of the fact that it’s all about God.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace rapping and wearing a necklace that says, “Word.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]