July 27, 2014

Freedom and the Church’s American Exile

Both on the AOI blog and my own my post, “Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment,” brought some very interesting and thought provoking comments. Your thoughts have helped me think a bit more deeply about the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the American Experiment. For this I thank you all. And even more importantly, your words were very much in mind as I read Michael Baxter recent review of American Babylon: Notes of A Christian in Exile, by the late Fr Richard John Neuhaus. As is no doubt clear from what I wrote, I do not see Orthodoxy and the American Experiment as necessarily in opposition to each other. Or maybe it might be more accurate to say, that the differences between Orthodoxy and America are certainly no wider or deeper than what one would expect between that between God and Caesar, between the City of God which is to come and the City of Man which is here and now. Be that as it may, however, my interest in political … [Read more...]

Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment

One of the things that interests me a great deal is the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the founding political philosophy of the American experiment. At the risk of appearing overly critical, or even dismissive, I think the failure of Orthodoxy in America is our not having engaged theologically and critically the American experiment on its own terms. Instead we have been willing to use America without necessarily seeing ourselves as obligated to contribute anything to her. In this the Church has allowed herself to become merely one interest group among others. The Orthodox Church has not engaged the American experiment as yeast in the dough. We have contented ourselves instead merely to fit within the broad, and decadent, framework of modern identity politics. This failure is more than simply a matter of our presenting ourselves as an ethnic, albeit religiously themed community. Even when the religious character of the Church is focal, it is often the … [Read more...]