2018 FALL ADULT EDUCATION CLASS
For the Life of the World
by Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
- Monday Evenings beginning October 22
- at 7:30PM in our Education Center
- Links to order provided below
Dear Parish Faithful,
"Christ has inaugurated a new life,
not a new religion."
- Fr. Alexander Schmemann
On Monday evening, October 22, we will begin our annual Fall Adult Education Class. And, as in the past, this class will be comprised of six sessions, thus ending on Monday, November 26. I am very much looking forward to this year's class because we will be reading a contemporary Orthodox classic, For the Life of the World, by the late Fr. Alexander Schmemann - of blessed memory we should add.
This year will be the fifty-fifth anniversary of its publication in America, so it is most appropriate to read this book together as a group and discuss the seemingly endless stream of insights that Fr. Schmemann imparts through his inimitable style. (This year is also the thirty-fifth anniversary of his death in 1983).
There is no doubt that this book has had an enormous impact on countless Orthodox — and for that matter, non-Orthodox — Christians since its initial publication. In fact, many members of the Orthodox Church today will point back to the impact this book had on them, thus leading them to the Church as a result. Although a "cradle Orthodox" myself, this book was a "life-changer" in my own spiritual development and was a key factor in my decision to enter St. Vladimir's seminary and study under Fr. Schmemann who was dean during my three years there. That in itself was an unforgettable experience.
The All-American Council in St. Louis just this past summer had as its central theme, "For the Life of the World." These are the words of Christ from the Gospel (JN. 6); but nevertheless this is a clear allusion to the title of Fr. Alexander's famous book that more than any of his others enables us to grasp his essential vision for the Orthodox Church in America: simultaneously sacramental, eucharistic and eschatological. And indeed, his son Serge addressed the entire body of assembled delegates and delivered a vey moving tribute to his father.
Further, Metropolitan Tikhon wrote a long extended essay of 60+ pages that was clearly linked to Fr. Schmemann's book, in that it was entitled "Of What Life Do Speak?" We will use this text as a kind of supplement to our main text.This very fine document is available on the OCA website, and can be downloaded there.
In addition, this booklet is now available in an attractively printed and bound form from St. Tikhon's Seminary Press. If you would like to have it in that form at a relatively inexpensive cost, here is the link to the website.
In For the Life of the World, Fr. Alexander opens us up to a renewed vision of the Sacraments of the Church - especially the Eucharist - revealing the depth of their purpose and meaning that had long been obscured by a kind of "theology of repetition." Although technically correct, such a theology was no longer inspiring. We will also read of his very trenchant critique of secularism, as he was really one of the first Orthodox thinkers to explore secularism in depth and point out its great shortcomings and inability to offer a meaningful worldview. And, surprisingly, we will also learn why Fr. Alexander said "No" to "religion."
There is a good chance that you, like me, have already read this book; and perhaps, like me, more than once. Now we will have the opportunity to read it once again, and this time within an informal group setting where we will be able to share a lively discussion. If you have never read For the Life of the World, here is a great opportunity to finally "treat" yourself to a great classic of Orthodox literature.
Please download the attached flier announcing and promoting this year's Fall Adult Education class and share it with anyone else that you may think would be interested.
- Fr. Steven
Links to order and download For the Life of the World: