Discussing St Maximus the Confessor

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5 Responses to Discussing St Maximus the Confessor

  1. Such elite academic self promotion which has very little if any genuine pastoral relevance for the average faithful parishioner.


    • brian says:

      Fr. Evans,

      Your comment does not 1) take account of the venue. The audience for such a talk is differentiated from the average parishioner by self-selection. They are interested in Maximus the Confessor and the deeper metaphysical and theological implications of his thought. No one is forced to listen. This is not an exercise in homiletics for the faithful.

      2) Furthermore, your use of the rhetoric “self-promotion” is pejorative and seeks to denote something perhaps narcissistic or at least self-serving in such an enterprise. Again, that is quite injust. The mind naturally expands towards the fullness of truth. That is the nature of rational mind, its dynamism. It is indeed incumbent on those gifted with the requisite powers to search for God to the limits of their capacity. If someone like Jordan Daniel Wood exceeds the typical powers of the average parishioner, he should not be berated for having devoted his life energies and time to developing the wisdom of Christian gnosis.

      3) There is a kind of egalitarian bias in many folks who abjure these kind of difficult matters, as if revelation in its substance should be available to all. Though, indeed, the wisdom of the kingdom begins with and returns to childlike wonder, this does not equate to the assertion that the gospel must be comprehensible to the lowest common denominator. That is manifestly untrue. In this respect, something Flannery O’Connor said about art ought to be applied to revelation, which includes scripture, the tradition, and the cosmos, for surely creation is God’s art.

      “Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.” Flannery O’Connor

      In its deepest mysteries, the wisdom of God yields only to the ardent searcher.

      4) Finally, it is incorrect to assume that the Totus Christus is an aggregate of individuals. The gifts given to one are always “for the others.” Even if the many fail to appreciate what only the few wise can understand, the Whole is leavened with wisdom. I have found the kind of speculative wisdom articulated by Jordan very fruitful for my own thinking and imagination. The poet and the philosopher are not extrinsic to the center of revelation. They are not discardable extras that the majority of Christians should treat with indifference, or worse, contempt.

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  2. Robert F says:

    For some of us, it is healthy corrective to years of being taught toxic, infernalist Christianity as part of our religious training, and as such serves a very good pastoral function.

    Aside from that, it’s a better, more edifying and specific way to spend a couple of hours than watching ultra-violent, gladiatorial American football, as seems to be the custom, perhaps even religious rite, of a large number of American Christians each and every Sunday.


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