Learning from the Christian East

February 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

Met. Kallistos Ware

I’ve had a tough time explaining why I wanted to go back to Chicago for the first two days of vacation in February.  My daughter is there of course, but I had seen her just two weeks ago while at the Covenant pastors’ conference.  My real reason for going was a dinner and lecture I had been invited to that just happened to end up falling on our vacation.  My wife very graciously indulged me in what I consider a unique privilege.

You see, Dr. Brad Nassif, a professor and friend of ours teaches Biblical Studies at North Park University.  He is the editor of a new anthology coming out this fall on a famous spiritual work called The Philokalia.   The book has an introductory chapter by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Great Britain, one of the most important and widely known Eastern Orthodox theologians and writers. Brad invited Met. Ware to come to North Park to deliver two lectures.  The book is also dedicated to him. Dr. Nassif is Eastern Orthodox himself.  His courses on the Christian East make North Park unique by having more serious offerings on the Eastern church and early church fathers than is the case in other American Christian Universities.

I was invited to the dinner reception for Metropolitan Ware and attended the opening lecture. I was able to speak for a few minutes with him.  He is in his 70’s and a man of great dignity, grace, and humor.  He knows the evangelical world and like Dr. Nassif has a deep appreciation for what Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism can learn from one another.  (Those who know me are aware of my great interest in this arena as well.)  Both of his lectures are available for listening on Ancient Faith Radio here.  His talk on The Jesus Prayer (Word and Silence…) you will find deeply practical and challenging for our noisy, distracted world!  The other lecture on Orthodox – Evangelical dialog was also given at Wheaton College near Chicago which has recently opened an important Center for Early Christian Studies.  The Wheaton lecture can be seen on video as well here. I hope you will take time to listen to these wonderful and unique presentations that include the Q and A sessions that followed.

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