The Orthodox Way

The Orthodox Way

Author:

Paperback, Pages: 164

Genres: Religion, Theology, Christianity, Nonfiction

Language: English

Reads: 70

Downloads: 4155

Rating: Rated: 2305 timesRate It

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Book Summary

This book is a general account of the doctrine, worship and life of Orthodox Christians by the author of the now classic THE ORTHODOX CHURCH. It raises the basic issues of theology: God as hidden yet revealed; the problem of evil; the nature of salvation; the meaning of faith; prayer; death and what lies beyond. In so doing, it helps to fill the need for a modern Orthodox catechism. Yet this book is not a mere manual, a dry-as-dust repository of information. Throughout the book, Father Ware shows the meaning of Orthodox doctrine for the life of the individual Christian. Doctrinal issues are seen not as abstract propositions for thological debate but as affecting the whole of life.
A wealth of texts drawn from theologians and spiritual writers of all ages accompanies Father Wares presentation. They too reveal Orthodoxy not just as a system of beliefs, practices and customs but indeed as the Way.

Reader Reviews
  •    Doujind Lamorille
    2020
    ....The way of fastidiousness!
    That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word "orthodox", anything orthodox, I think of "fastidious", which runs against everything "grace" is about and being "gracious". The Orthodox Way is the only way, my way or the high way! No way Jose! And I am the poet and I didn't know it! Kallistos Ware makes me queasy, with a capital "Q" as he sounds pompous in every way and I love for all theology to meet me at my own level, speak to my heart like a child.
    Reply
  •    Kit Finnings
    2020
    Burn the Heretics

    Whenever my grandfather discusses Greece, he mentions his singular experience in the Greek Isles. Visiting an Orthodox Church with my grandmother, an Orthodox priest graciously administered a tour of the premises. The dialogue advanced swimmingly between the parties until the priest asked if my grandparents were Orthodox. When my grandfather admitted his Protestant roots, the priest kindly-yet-forcefully requested that my grandparents leave the church. To this day, my comprehension of the Orthodox tradition remains tainted by my grandparents’ experience.

    Given my assumptions, I appreciate Bishop Kallistos Ware’s The Orthodox Way, which functions as a primer on Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy and the Western Church: They’re Different!

    While Ware explores the basic tenets of Orthodoxy in this book, I will focus on the contrasts between Orthodoxy and Western Christianity.

    The first distinct difference surrounds the representation of God. Whereas Western Christianity remains wary of images, fearing the worship of idols, Orthodoxy distinctly focuses on symbolism.

    “Recognizing that God is incomparably greater than anything we can say or think about him, we find it necessary to refer to him not just through direct statements but through pictures and images. Our theology is to a large extent symbolic. Yet symbols alone are insufficient to convey the transcendence and the 'otherness' of God” (14).

    Recognizing the ethereal mystery of God, Orthodoxy questions the assumption that humanity can reason itself to an understanding of God. By utilizing symbols and images, the Orthodox understanding of God transcends language.

    Second, Orthodoxy considers sin in different terms. Where Western traditions focus on compunction through a juridical lens, Orthodoxy views sin through a therapeutic lens.

    “For the Orthodox tradition, then, Adam’s original sin affects the human race in its entirety, and it has consequences both on the physical and the moral level: it results not only in sickness and physical death, but in moral weakness and paralysis” (62).

    While Western traditions steer toward sin as guilt in need of just punishment, Orthodoxy tends to consider sin in medical terms—a disease in need of a cure.

    Lastly, Orthodoxy carries a high view of the Holy Spirit. Although Western traditions pay lip service to this third member of the Trinity, in practical terms, the Holy Spirit functions as a secondary member, a process proceeding from God the Father and God the Son. Not so, in Orthodoxy.

    “First, the Spirit is a person… Secondly, the Spirit, as the third member of the Holy Trinity, is coequal and coeternal with the other two; he is not merely a function dependent upon them or an intermediary that they employ” (91-92).

    Three Cheers for Ecumenism

    A way to lead life, The Orthodox Way considers the basic tenets of Orthodox tradition. While the core principles between Western and Orthodox tradition resemble each other, Orthodoxy varies to a slight degree. But, the overarching goals remain the same. Ware writes,

    “The spiritual Way is not only ecclesial and sacramental; it is also evangelical” (109).

    Such sentiments can be preached in sanctuaries across the Western world. Of course, my ecumenical leanings need not be reciprocated. As my grandparents’ illustration clearly implies, Orthodoxy remains wary of the West. However, I appreciate learning about the Orthodox tradition. In many ways, Ware’s explanation of Orthodoxy aligns closely with core Western theological principles surrounding the deity of Christ, the divine nature of the Trinity, and the necessity of prayer. Even though Eastern and Western traditions vary significantly in specific theological insights, the general positions offer much to be praised.

    The Orthodox Way shifts my understanding from broad stereotypes to in-depth specifics. If you possess a curiosity about the Orthodox Church, Kallistos Ware’s The Orthodox Way acts as a sterling introduction.

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