Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Response to the American Gnostic (NOT!)

This past week I was in Chicago for our annual clergy conference for the Diocese of the Mid West. Our presenter was Fr Jonathan Tobias, pastor of St John the Baptist Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in East Pittsburgh, PA.

Fr Jonathan gave three talks on what he called American gnosticism. While I though the talks were interesting, I do have my points of disagreement with his presentation. My primarily disagree is that, like many Orthodox Christians in America, Father uses Evangelical Christianity as his touchstone for an Orthodox understanding of American Christianity. While an argument can be made for this position, I think our focus on Evangelical Christianity means that we are always responding to what is least substantial in American religious experience. My own view is that while we must be mindful of Evangelical Christianity, we would also do well to attend to the influence of Catholicism, and especially the effect of the Aritotlean-Thomistic natural law tradition in American political philosophy and culture.

But I digress.

You can find Fr Jonathan's talks,

Prospects, part 1: Ebb Tide
Prospects, part 2: Bad News before the Good
Pospects, part 3: the American Genius
Prospects, part 4: the American Gospel -- Orthodoxy at the End of the Sawdust Trail

on his most excellent blog "Second Terrace."

But, since it is Saturday, the day I try and post something fun, I have for your consideration the Bad Vicar Sketch from from episode 3 of the BBC series That Mitchell and Webb Look. (Warning, harsh language.)

I'll be back to regular postings on Monday.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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