3. MichaelA wrote:
I read the “About” section of the blog. There is of course reference to the tragic death of his son, which is difficult for an outsider to read - may the Lord comfort Fr Kimel and his family.
But there are also some interesting comments on the various branches of christianity of which Fr Kimel has been a member:
“I have learned one thing since becoming Orthodox: Orthodoxy is theologically more diverse than most Orthodox want to admit. The boundaries established by the Ecumenical Councils are clear and well-defined, but when it comes to other theological issues and questions, Orthodox theologians often disagree, sometimes quite contentiously.”
NB, as Fr Kimel makes clear, he is part of Eastern Orthodoxy. The same comments may well however apply to Oriental Orthodoxy.
Although for reasons of space I have only picked out those parts that intrigued me, it would be better to read all of it. Fr Kimel does not come across as contentious, but rather sharing his observations as an insider:
“I quickly learned that when an Orthodox Christian prefaces his remarks with “The Fathers teach …” what you will probably end up hearing is not what the Fathers really did teach or what the Holy Orthodox Church authoritatively and irreformably teaches but rather one person’s very fallible, and occasionally ignorant, opinion, cloaked in the rhetoric of infallible dogma. “The Fathers teach” is the Orthodox equivalent to the evangelical pronouncement “The Bible teaches” and the Catholic pronouncement “The Church teaches.” These appeals to authority in order to preemptively close debate can be quite frustrating.”
I can identify with his frustration, in the sense of having been informed on a number of occasions by EO converts that EO church teaching is very clear on a particular point, and then being met with incomprehension when I asked cradle orthodox friends about that point!
“The Catholic Church has the Pope to resolve doctrinal controversies, though anyone acquainted with Catholic theology knows that Catholic theologians have no compunction about disagreeing with the Pope on just about anything and everything.”
Anyone with close friends who are RC can identify with the foregoing!
“But who authoritatively speaks for the [Eastern] Orthodox Church? Like any other Orthodox priest, I have my favorite Eastern theologians—Alexander Schmemann, John Zizioulas, John Meyendorff, Hilarion Alfeyev, Kallistos Ware, John Breck, John Behr, Paul Evdokimov—but I have been bluntly told by more than one Orthodox priest that they are unreliable, progressive, heterodox, modernist, ecumenical. Oh my.”
Oh well, interesting to see that things are not really much different in EO, RC or Anglican circles!
December 11, 6:27 pm | [comment link]