We Do Not Live in a Vacuum

AdminArchbishop Paul's Reflections2 Comments

How do parents help their children make sense out of what is going on in today’s world? What do I mean? Children, when they are younger, ask innocent questions. When they ask, they expect to get a truthful answer from their parents, and they (children) want to do the right thing.

We have all been taught in the Orthodox Faith that the foundation of Truth is not to be found in an ideology, a thought, or a philosophy; but in a person:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-15)

So when we speak of the truth on any matter, we can’t separate “truth” form the Source of all Truth, Jesus Christ; who is the image of God the Father, and who sends the Spirit to lead us into all truth.  So it behooves us that in our journey to know the truth, we need to make every effort to do those things that keep us connected to Christ, the source of all truth. This is the lens through which we come to understand the world we live in. When we separate “truth” from the Truth, we run the risk of being deceived.

We live in a world that was affected by the “fall of Adam.” We have been shaped by experiences of living in a fallen world that have distorted our vision of the truth made known to us by Christ and His Holy Church. Having a distorted view of this world causes us to pick and choose those “facts” that will further confirm that distorted worldview. What happens is we develop multiple lenses by which we view the world. This can compromise the lens the Church seeks to impart to us through Jesus Christ. Mind you, the lens of one’s culture is not necessarily the issue here.

Examples of this have been given in my weekly notes through the last two years. But now, we are beginning to see this being played out in the tensions that have begun to arise over how the governing authorities and even churches have coped with this recent Covid 19 crisis. The longer the stay-at-home orders from the state continue, the more people seem to be questioning the process by which states and churches are making their decisions and the “facts” they are basing them on. As usual, people from certain ideological camps then take the “facts” they read about as a means to justify their presupposition. You have read about protests in several states in the Midwest over the stay-at-home orders of the Governor. There are now even “medical experts” that are questioning the process that the current restrictions are based on.

So what can be done to help our children walk through this challenging mine field of polarity, especially in addressing the Covid 19 issue? I will take a stab at this in next week’s note. I will give you a hint; it lies in the word “dispassion.”

Christ is risen! Forgive me a sinner,

The unworthy +Paul

2 Comments on “We Do Not Live in a Vacuum”

  1. Thank you, Your Grace. Just a quick comment: I find that our children (at least in my household, who are younger) are much less affected by the problem you are describing than the adults. I have decided to minimize or perhaps cease my use of social media in the midst of this crisis, largely due to all the ugliness displayed, even by my fellow Orthodox Christians. This is unfortunate in a time when it seems like a primary way that we could be connecting, so many are using it to tear down that it becomes unusable, and the kinder and subtler voices are marginalized. I would love to hear from guidance for the adults as well as the children.

  2. Adam
    Christ is risen! You are right in what you say about younger children and your approach there makes sense. My point was to help people get in touch with presuppositions that may have that could distort one’s understanding of the truth. So when kids get older and start asking some of these difficult questions, we need to be well connected to Christ, be aware of our own biases, and be dispassionate in how we respond to them. Social media can be used for good or to deceive (consciously or unconsciously). That fact clergy and other lay people from the Diocese are on it, motivated me to write this note. The blessing of the Lord be upon you.

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