September 23, 2015 · 8:53 am
Restrain yourself from affection toward many people, for fear lest your spirit be distracted, so that your interior peace may not be disturbed.
——Abba Evagrius of the Desert
On face value it would seem to be a very harsh thing to say that we should stray away from having many friends and connections. I think we have all heard of the things that people do to gain popularity and power. When someone is obsessed with winning the affection of many people, they have very little time for anything else. Countless hours are spent in front of the mirror and reading tips on how to be the “one.” The more we are focused on such image, the more spiritually restless we become. In this journey we find little interior peace.
Paul tells the Colossian Church to “set their minds on things above.” The Abba says to restrain from our need for popularity. Both of these sayings are directed toward our ability to achieve peace with God. There can be no peace when we are frantically busy trying to be noticed. The only true peace is inner peace – the peace that allows us to thrive in a hostile world. Being at peace with ourselves is the most vital part of our relationship with God. Without the selfless interior peace, we remain spiritually empty.
Solomon tells us in Proverbs that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. Think about it, the wisest man that ever lived called charm deceitful and beauty vain. Shouldn’t that say something to us in our image conscious world? Our real challenge is to remain focused on the things that are above and to take our eyes off of the crowd that we seek to gather and keep them on our spiritual journey. That focus will help us to achieve the interior peace that is so necessary to walk with God.
O Lord allow me this day to focus on the interior peace that only you can give. Suffer me the strength to resist the temptation of self aggrandizement and carry me to a place of peace. Amen
Filed under Christian Journey, Desert Fathers
Tagged as Ancient Greek philosophy, Anger, Athens, Attention, Authorized King James Version, Book of Proverbs, David, Desert Monks, God, Solomon, Twitter
March 23, 2014 · 7:22 pm
In the early stages of the development of Christian development it was ridiculed and refuted as too mysterious and not liable to be understood by the human mind. The Church father Clement and his followers had the challenge of presenting Christianity as a form of philosophy without ever compromising the essence of the Christian faith. These early defenders of the faith worked against a twofold danger. While they genuinely tried to resolve the pagan antagonisms they experienced because they were Christians, it was their own fellow believers who were also hostile for any sort of theological compromise. (sounds familiar )
One of these early church peers observed, it seemed that a chance of any peace between the Greeks and Christians was virtually impossible:
On the one hand, the completely negative attitude of many uneducated Christians towards Greek philosophy prevented Christianity from assuming a scientific and philosophical character, and thus limited greatly its chances of success; on the other hand, the pagan world did not refrain from attacking the new religion.
However, the Alexandrian fathers found a solution. It was contained in the mission of the Alexandrian school and its teachers to develop once and for all a coherent synthesis of Greek science and religion. The result was Christian philosophy, which, Clement realized, was the only hope of joining the pagan and Christian parties together under one rational and acceptable Christian religion. While those in the like of Tertullian renounced the remolding of Christian doctrine to fit philosophical ideals, the Alexandrian party became a pioneer in both its fresh theological endeavors and in its success to finally spread the Christian faith among the intellectual circles of imperial society. Clement of Alexandria, one of the most revered deans of the Catechetical School for his philosophical theology and intellectual acumen, was one of the foremost figures who succeeded in uniting the missions of religion and science.
Our 21st century challenge is to reignite the dynamic dialogue that existed at the time of Clement- a dialogue that brought all parties together to explore the great mysteries of life. Such a dialogue could transform the mission of the church and revitalize it as a bastion of thinking and enlightenment to the world. We must battle the same uneducated and fearful bias that existed in the time of Clement, for by doing so, we open up a great avenue of opportunity for the gospel.
Filed under Clement of Alexandria, Controversy, Phlosophy
Tagged as Alexandrian school, Ancient Greek philosophy, C. S. Lewis, Catechetical School of Alexandria, Christian, Christian theology, Christianity, Church Fathers, Clement, Clement of Alexandria, Greek Philosophy