Transcripts

Glory to God

Glory to God

Making Known the Mystery

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In this podcast, Fr. Stephen contrasts the “literal” reading of Scripture with the practice of the Orthodox Church, in which we seek to discern the “mystery hidden from all the ages.”

The trouble with reading Scripture is that almost everybody thinks they can do it. This idea is rooted in the assumptions of Protestant thought: only if the meaning of Scripture is fairly obvious and more or less objective can it serve as a source of unmediated authority for the believer. If any particular skill or mastery is required, then the skillful masters will be the mediators of meaning for all the rest. The concept of any intervening authority is anathema…

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Glory to God

Whose Psyche Is It?

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Is the me in my head, the voice that rattles on, the same thing as my soul? What is my identity in Christ?

When we discuss our psychological state, what exactly are we talking about? Better yet, who are we talking about? What’s the identity of the guy in my head? Generally such questions are not asked but they can become important in certain dissociative disorders. If I for instance have two guys in my head, there is clearly an issue. But is what I identify as my self, that is, the sum of my life experiences, memories, decisions, opinions, feelings, habits,…

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Glory to God

Grace and the Psychology of God

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Does God have feelings? Can we influence how he feels? Fr. Stephen looks carefully at the theology of grace and the idea of the psychology of God.

We are human beings. We think; we feel—though I like to think that my dog thinks and feels. The semi-imaginary conversations we have as we take our long, daily walks are fairly entertaining for me, even though I have to supply his side of the dialogue.

But God is not a dog. But we supply his dialog as well and we impute to him thoughts and feelings like our own. For instance, we think God is angry. God is pleased. God is gentle. God is stern.…

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Glory to God

Finding the God Within

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St. Paul describes the mystery of the faith as: Christ within us, the hope of glory. Fr. Stephen looks at the meaning of God in us and the life of grace.

Popular New Age thought postulates that everyone has a god within. It’s a pleasant way of saying that we’re all special while making “god” to be rather banal. But there is a clear teaching of classical Christianity regarding Christ within us, and it is essential to our Orthodox way of life. We should not understand our relationship with God to be an external matter, as if we were one individual and God another. Our union with God,…

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Glory to God

Get Out of Your Mind

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Are "mental" and "spiritual" the same thing? Fr. Stephen looks at how modern misunderstandings of the spiritual life can distort our Orthodox practices.

I’m not certain at what point modern Christians began to believe that spiritual and mental were the same thing. I know that it’s a commonplace to interpret John 4:24, that says, “God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth,” to mean that outward actions and vocations are of no value, that only those things that take place in the mind are truly spiritual. The older English word “ghost” was often used…

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Glory to God

The Modern Vocation

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The frightful pressure felt by the young as they struggle to find their vocation is deeply enmeshed in the Modern Project. Fr. Stephen looks at those expectations as well as the true vocation of Christians.

I’ve been doing a series here, a podcast about different aspects of what is generally known as the Modern Project. It is the worldview of the modern era. And I’ve been looking especially at how we view ourselves and our task as human beings. I noted earlier that in the Modern Project, human beings are considered to be autonomous centers of consciousness, that is, independent centers of consciousness whose choices and decisions bring about their self-actualization,…

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Glory to God

With Envy and Justice for All

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Fr. Stephen looks at the nature of envy and its deep connections with ideas of justice.

We use many words and concepts in our daily lives without bothering to consider their true content. In my experience, few words are less examined than the word “justice.” It’s a word that is foundational in our modern world, with deep roots in the religious tradition. Most people would agree that the desire for justice is virtually innate in human beings. However, it has a dark side of which very few seem to be aware.

In the religious tradition,…

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Glory to God

The Modern Project

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With this podcast, Fr. Stephen begins a small series of reflections on the character of the modern world and the particular difficulties it presents to the Orthodox faith.

When I was doing a graduate degree in theology, it was not uncommon to hear discussions of what was called the “project of modernity.” It was an academic catch-phrase to describe the social-philosophical-political-religious efforts to construct the modern world. The Enlightenment, which took place in the 17th and 18th centuries describes a collection of efforts that changed how people saw the world, how they saw themselves, how they saw their faith, how…

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Glory to God

Justice Enough?

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The desire for justice is infinite - because such a desire is one of the passions. Fr. Stephen looks at the problems created by wrong thinking on the topic of justice.

The human desire for justice is insatiable, and that’s a problem. It’s a problem because an insatiable desire can never be satisfied, just by definition. There is no end for our desire for justice. It’s a problem because many Christians use justice as a lens for understanding the work of our salvation. The Fathers have a term for insatiable desires. They call them “passions.” What human beings experience as a desire for justice…

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Glory to God

Speaking to the Heart

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Fr. Stephen completes his series on the true and false self, with thoughts on how we can go about "speaking to the heart."

Today I want to complete this series where I’ve been looking at the true and the false self. My last podcast on the topic was about Evangelism and the Ego. And today, this podcast is about Speaking to the Heart. I can remember being told that “Talking to you is like talking to a fence post!” It wasn’t a pleasant thing to hear, but I can still hear the words. I don’t remember who said them, but I heard them some time…

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