For the Life of the World

Alexander Schmemann was a Russian Orthodox theologian and scholar. I just got done reading his book For the Life of the World. A really good book, though I do not agree with all he said. The book pulls us out of an overly rational approach to Church and mission by using the liturgy/order of service in the Orthodox Church as a guide to how we should think about life. Very fascinating read and difficult. I will probably read it again soon to try and get a handle on all of what he is saying. In the meantime, I thought I would post some quotes to give you a taste of his thinking.

“Man must eat in order to live; he must take the world into his body and transform it into himself, into flesh and blood. He is indeed that which he eats, and the whole world is presented as one all-embracing banquet table for man. And this image of the banquet remains, throughout the whole Bible, the central image of life.” (p. 11)

“The first, the basic definition of man is that he is the priest. He stands in the center of the world and unifies it in his act of blessing God, of both receiving the world from God and offering it to God.” (p. 15)

“Christianity often appears, however, to preach that if men will try hard enough to live Christian lives, the crucifixion can somehow be reversed. This is because Christianity has forgotten itself, forgotten that always it must first of all stand at the cross.” (p. 23)

One thought on “For the Life of the World

  1. Peter, this seems way too complicated for me to get a handle on it. Kudos to you for wanting to firmly grasp it. It seems a little discouraging to me to think about all the different ways men have interpreted the Bible, and how we have to figure out which is correct…. I listened to a basement tape today on Evangelism. It was great…I’ll send it on for you to hear. But the same applies, as in there are so many different views… My view at present is to keep worshiping and living joyful, and never cease learning? Jennie


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