Pietism or Activism? By Frederica Mathewes-Green Both extremes wrong It seems to me that there is something wrong with both the traditional extremes - the people who emphasize personal spiritual growth, and the people who emphasize engagement with the world and social activism. The labels are usually "pietist" and "activist." The same thing is wrong with both of them: the temptation to vanity.
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What is baptism? Baptism is a Christian mystery in which a catechumen (student) is united with Christ. In Orthodoxy, if someone asked what is going on in Baptism, the best answer would likely be, “Everything.” To get a sense of what this means, let’s look at what the priest says within the Baptism Liturgy:
The Letter to Diognetus was written by an unknown early Christian apologist during the time when the early Church was persecuted by the pagan Roman government. The author attacks pagan beliefs and practices as superstitious and immoral. He argues that biblical teaching is superior to pagan philosophy, because it is grounded in the divine revelation, not in human wisdom. Believers are good citizens because their moral values transcend the conventions of pagan society. Let's see what the writer of this letter believed made Chrisitans unique from the rest of society.
Spirituality by Frederica Mathewes-Green Life in Christ. I don't like the category "spirituality." It sounds so external. It sounds so *optional*. It isn't a concept I find in the first millennium, or anywhere in Eastern Christianity. As far as I can tell, what people today mean by "spirituality" is what St. Paul meant by "life in Christ."
In the last few years, there has been a resurgence in interest in Mary Magdalene fueled in part by the repopularisation of old myths and legends. Behind all the stories though, is a real woman who was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches consider her a saint and celebrate her feast day on July 22nd. Who she was Mary’s name probably means “Mary of Magdala,” after a town located on the Western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. What follows is the Gospel account of Mary:
Christ calls us to meet with Him, and to be united to Him with cleansed hearts. The Orthodox respond through obedient and reverent worship, which brings praise and honour to God. Let’s discover a little more about the beautiful, reverent worship of the Orthodox Church.
I was a little mystified. I had just entered the Orthodox Church for the first time, and then I heard this term Theotokos being applied to Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. It took me some time to sort out just what the Orthodox mean by Theotokos. Let’s unpack just what’s going on here. Perhaps we can get a little “de-mystified” together!
The Transfiguration is the time when Jesus led three disciples to the top of a mountain and He was revealed in His heavenly glory. This marked the event when His disciples truly knew Him for Who He Is. Let’s learn some more about what the Gospels say about the Transfiguration, and how this event informed our understanding of God. The event is described in Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, and Luke 9:28-36. The Transfiguration: Written in the Gospels “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
During the twentieth century many names were added to the Church’s roll of holy martyrs. Many of them bore witness to Christ during the Soviet Communist persecution in Russia. One who shines most brightly was a Protestant convert to the Orthodox faith, namely the Grand Duchess Elizabeth. Let’s learn some more about Grand Duchess Elizabeth the New Martyr, and how she lived her life.
Orthodox believe that our calling as Christians is to undertake a journey that leads to union with God, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, become partakers of the Divine nature. Sometimes this is referred to as “theosis” or “deification.” Let’s learn more about the path to union with God: the sacraments, prayer, and love. Union with God A study of 2 Peter 1:3-4 helps us to understand this: