SYNAXIS 5.1 on "Cultivating Friendship in a Fractured Age" is hot off the press.
If you live in Wichita, drop by the Ladder today between 4:30 and 7:00 pm to pick up your copy at our monthly Benedict Hour.
For non-local members, you will receive your copy in the next two weeks.
If you are not a member and are interested in a copy, please consider joining our growing community of friends.
I've copied below two of the three letters included in this new volume.
Christ is risen!
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
15th December, 2017
We spoke briefly at each of the two recent Touchstone conferences and particularly about theosis at the one in 2017. Synaxis, Vol. 3, No. 2, “Transfiguration 2016” has been most helpful by identifying key Church Fathers and by illustrating theosis with recent examples, especially from C. S. Lewis. Frederica Matthews-Green’s primer, Welcome to the Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity, which I bought from you, along with the booklet A Word from the Fathers by St. Athanasius (Nativity 2014) and the introductory volume Theosis: Deification in Christian Theology, Volume Two, edited by Vladimir Kharlamov (2011), have also been helpful. May it be claimed that a name like Vladimir Kharlamov adds high probability to the orthodoxy of Eastern Orthodoxy?
Reading in Synaxis, Vol. 1, No. 1, about the initial impetus for the founding and the continuing development of Eighth Day Institute and Eighth Day Books, favorably impresses me so as to enclose a contribution. I would encourage you not to be humble, but honored by the support, although, humbled before God for His providence.
Thank you for your most welcome and invited kick-start by directing my interest in this fascinating, but foreign and initially offensive, notion that, even so, has the ring of truth to it, not the least of which is not to underestimate so grossly the inheritance won for us by Jesus Christ.
I hope you and your loved ones are well, and I wish you merriment in Christ: the life in His truth with joy in His love, E. Nora Cavelli.
CAPPADOCIAN SOCIETY CORRESPONDENCE
22nd January, 2018
Dear brothers in Christ,
I seemed to have entirely missed—saying that I do not remember will likely index my age—your reflections on After Virtue along the lines suggested before the last meeting.
We were meant to have spent a portion of our time discussing how the book has affected us, how it fits our context, and other sundry observations. Did we miss doing so? In any case, may I humbly seek your indulgence by requesting you to email me a paragraph or two, or however many you’d like, on your reflections on After Virtue. I’d be grateful if you could, and please don’t pull any punches.
I look forward to reading together with you T. F. Torrance’s The Mediation of Christ. I would also like to begin to know, as your time allows, each of your ministries for the purposes of God’s kingdom.
Requesting your prayers for my family: my wife Joy, our son Vineet, and me.
23rd January, 2018
As far as I can remember we did not reach that point in our conversation last Thursday. In what follows I’ll try to pass on a few of my own (meandering) thoughts regarding After Virtue and its affect on my life.
I became acquainted with the MacIntyrean notions of tradition, virtue, communities of practice, narrative, and telos through the writings of James K. A. Smith in the first volume of his Cultural Liturgies trilogy, Desiring the Kingdom. I began understanding tradition (especially ecclesial tradition) as not only a good, but a necessary good. Andrew Louth’s Discerning the Mystery and Michael Polanyi’s Tacit Dimension were also instrumental. Apart from tradition, we cannot know anything. Being a Pentecostal (Assemblies of God) this was quite a discovery for me. Through Smith’s work I saw the import of MacIntyre’s philosophy for the church as a community of practice that embodies the narrative of the New Testament tradition.
After reading so much about MacIntyre, I was excited to actually read him for myself. I think on the whole it did not disappoint. Clearly, After Virtue was not written in the Hauerwasian register that I encountered in Smith’s work, but it was still very beneficial for me to get to the source. His discussion of telos, along with intrinsic vs. extrinsic goods, seems indispensable to me, especially for the church. In my pentecostal/evangelical circle it seems that all resources and time are given over to expanding “leadership abilities”, which seem to me to be on the level of an extrinsic good: a good needed at the “institutional” level to carry on the embodied practice of the Christian tradition, but not an intrinsic good (i.e., worship). My circle seems bent on perfecting leadership prowess and at times it verges on manipulation (although always with good intentions so far, thank God). I’ve found that this has really led to an impoverished and anemic theology of the church (or perhaps vice versa). The church is seen as a social phenomenon akin to a country club. It’s ontological status as the Body of Christ is completely forgotten. Therefore, the pragmatics of “leadership training” become the only game in town for our denominational leaders.
I do have reasons for hope, though, if not only for the grace of God.
I very much appreciate our reading group and have especially enjoyed your presence as a very welcome addition!
Praying God’s peace and blessing for you and your family,