Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Vacation Reading

Having returned from vacation, here's what I'm reading:

The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
I'm midway through and may have some comments once I'm finished.

Here's what I read:

Two Paths: Papal Monarchy -- Collegial Traditions, by Michael Whelton

From Light and Life:
A brilliantly written book that explains compassionately, simply and factually the historic, theological and liturgical differences between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. Includes Peter and the Papacy, Collegial Tradition, Filioque and Schism, Donation of Constantine; Infallibility; the New Mass of Vatican II versus the Orthodox Liturgy and much more.
This was an interesting introduction to the historical ecclesiologies of East and West and the role these divergences played in the Great Schism.

Dancing Alone, by Frank Schaeffer

From Light and Life:
Chronicles the spiritual journey of Frank Schaeffer to Orthodox Christianity, a pilgrimage which began in 1976. Converting to Orthodoxy is, undoubtedly, an act of inner spiritual strength and courage for any proselyte. It was an especially courageous decision for Frank Schaeffer, who is the son of the world renowned and respected Protestant author and preacher, Francis Schaeffer. This book can be used as a missionary tool to reach out to brethren who thirst for the eternal truths of the Orthodox faith.
Frank Schaeffer provides in this book an interesting perspective on the historical/philosophical development of Protestantism and the contemporary consequences.

For the Life of the World, by Alexander Schmemann

From St. Vladimir's Press:
In For the Life of the World Alexander Schmemann suggests an approach to the world and life within it, which stems from the liturgical experience of the Orthodox Church. He understands issues such as secularism and Christian culture from the perspective of the unbroken experience of the Church, as revealed and communicated in her worship, in her liturgy - the sacrament of the world, the sacrament of the Kingdom.
This was a particularly interesting book. The penetrating insight into the secularism permeating Christendom resonated with my own experiences and observations, reminding me of David Bentley Hart's article mentioned here. An interesting treatment of the Western symbol vs. reality dialectic is found in this book.

Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells, by Matthew Gallatin

From Light and Life:
Philosophy professor Gallatin, who found the fullness of faith in Orthodoxy, expresses many of the struggles that a Protestant will encounter in coming face-to-face with Orthodoxy: such things as Protestant relativism, rationalism versus the Orthodox sacramental path to God, and the unity of Scripture and Tradition. He also discusses praying with icons, praying formal prayers, and many other Orthodox traditions. An outstanding book that will help Orthodox readers more deeply appreciate their faith and will give readers a more thorough understanding of the Church.
This is a great introductory book; especially for Protestants who are accustomed to the
winsome style of contemporary Christian literature.

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