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Self-Emptying

Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and being born in human likeness. —Philippians 2:6 Could this stanza of the great Philippian hymn be applied not only to Jesus but also to the entire Trinity? I believe so. The Three all live as an eternal and generous kenosis, the Greek word for self-emptying. If

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, (flourished c. 500), probably a Syrian monk who, known only by his pseudonym, wrote a series of Greek treatises and letters for the purpose of uniting Neoplatonic philosophy with Christian theology and mystical experience. These writings established a definite Neoplatonic trend in a large segment of medieval Christian doctrine and spirituality—especially in the Western Latin Church—that has determined facets of its religious and devotional character to the present time. Historical research has been unable to identify the author, who, having assumed the name of

A Trinitarian Revolution

I think we are in the beginnings of a Trinitarian Revolution. History has so long operated with a static and imperial image of God—as a Supreme Monarch and Critical Spectator living in splendid isolation from what he (and God is always and exclusively envisioned as male in this model) created. His love is perceived as unstable, whimsical, and preferential. Humans become the God we worship. So it is quite important that our God is good and

The Person (II)

Individuals can be classified or grouped. But the person is always unique. It breaks groups apart; it is itself a breach in the universe. To begin to discern the mystery of the person, we must push further the parallel between negative theology and negative anthropology. God is ‘greater than God’, beyond all affirmation, even beyond all negation. The Depth is revealed as the Lover who transcends his own transcendence and comes to seek for the

Personal Identity

As creatures we possess not only a created nature but personal identity. We think we know instantly what a person is. To judge from what philosophers and psychologists say, you would think that whatever is best in the individual determines what the person is. Whereas the theologian knows that the person is a mystery, intelligible only by the contemplation of the Trinity. The priestly prayer of Christ in St John’s Gospel puts it in a

To Be or Not To Be – A Moral Question?

By Father Stephen Freeman, February 3, 2015  As I continue this series on morality (or unmorality) the conversation continues to push me back to basics. There are deeply important reasons for unthinking the morality of the modern world and rethinking its place in our relationship with God. The most important reason is because it is incorrect to think of us as primarily moral beings. So what would constitute a moral being? A Moral Being A

“Who Am I”?

As humans we have struggled continually through time to answer the seemingly simple question; “Who am I?” Philosophers continue to wrestle with this question. Some popular psychology tells us that we are who people tell us we are. Others tell us that we are who we want to be. And of course pop-society advertising tells us that we are what we eat, drink, wear, drive, etc. So we go through life trying to define ourselves

I Love, Therefore I Am

Self-centeredness is in the end coldness, isolation. It is a desert. It’s no coincidence that in the Lord’s Prayer, the model of prayer that God has given us, and which teaches what we are to be, the word “us” comes five times, the word “our” three times, the word “we” once. But nowhere in the Lord’s Prayer do we find the words “me” or “mine” or “I”. In the beginning of the era of modern

Abraham at the End of the World

By Father Stephen Freeman, January 24, 2015  This is an exercise in the Orthodox reading of the Scriptures. My thoughts frequently return to this story and this line of thought. This article is greatly expanded from an earlier version. The habits of modern Christians run towards history: it is a lens through which we see the world. We see a world of cause and effect, and, because the past is older than the present, we look

Trinity: The Delight of Diversity

One of the most wonderful things I find in the classic naming of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is its affirmation that there is an intrinsic plurality to goodness. Goodness isn’t sameness. Goodness, to be goodness, needs contrast and tension, not perfect uniformity. If Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all God yet clearly different, and we embrace this differentiation, resisting the temptation to blend them into some kind of amorphous blob, then