Saturday, May 05, 2012

Steven Horst's Remarks

I referred to Steven Horst's remarks at one point and evidently forgot to post them. Here they are:
But I would note that some of the deeper concerns Sr. Martha expresses echo those that the Eastern Orthodox express about the effects of the Enlightenment on Western Christianity.  In a nutshell:  the Enlightenment understanding of the mind or soul acknowledges sensation, emotion, and reason.  But the older Christian spiritual tradition also holds that there is an additional faculty of the soul, whose function is apprehension of God and the true natures of created things.  (In Greek, it is often referred to as nous, which is unfortunately often translated as "intellect".  The exercise of the faculty is called noesis.)  In his Orthodox Psychotherapy, Vlachos opines that the soul is only in order when nous is awakened and orders the other faculties, and that nous is activated only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  It was thus darkened and atrophied as a result of the Fall.  The Holy Spirit descends in baptism and chrismation, but the work of dethroning the lower parts of the soul and cultivating noesis requires much prayer and vigilance.  As Vlachos expresses it (and I take it this would be a common Eastern Orthodox viewpoint), the Enlightenment canonized a view of the soul that is completely oblivious to the highest part of the soul, and hence cultivating a Rationalist view of the person dethrones God in one's own soul by ignoring the nous and acting as though we were simply an amalgamation of beast and computer.

I think this view goes hand in hand with the fact that monasticism is still at the heart of Eastern Orthodoxy, and often a monasticism much closer to that of the solitaries and skete-dwellers of the Desert, whose words form the heart of so much of the spiritual tradition in Christianity.  I cannot help but note that it was Bishop Athanasius who appealed to Anthony of the Desert for validation, and not the other way around.

[Actually I see that I posted this without a name under 'A Rare Courage' but it's worth repeating with a name attached.]


Anonymous sgl said...

i find comments by your readers to be quite useful, and perchance others would find my comments useful to. I had a few comments triggered by some of your old posts, as i slowly work my way thru the archive. however, few of your regular readers are likely to discover new comments added to 5 year old posts. so i debated whether to add them to a new comment so they would be seen by others besides you, or post under the old but link back to them in a new post such that those who regularly check new postings might be aware of it.

the comments in question concern the themes of limitations of linear thinking, paradox, and transformation, and therefore are applicable to many of your posts. i also debated waiting until a future post that was somewhat related.

i decided to post a link here back to the old postings which i added comments to (assuming they pass moderation). my apologies if i've intruded on how you wish to run your blog, or if you have a better system, or simply don't want to clutter current comments in such a way. feel free to delete or move anything that doesn't suit your purposes.

due to size limitations of comments, split into 6 related comments at the blog post:
IV The Human Experience of God at Turning Points: A Theological Expose of Spiritual Counterfeits


5:57 am, May 06, 2012  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

To sgl:

Thanks! I'm too much of a techno-dork to have done it!


10:08 pm, May 08, 2012  

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