But as with so many things in Eastern Christianity in the last quarter-century, we are now happily seeing a stream of books emerge each year to fill in some of the gaps. One such book has just been published. Written by the Orthodox priest-scholar Gregory Jensen, The Cure for Consumerism (154pp.) is the second volume in a new series devoted to Orthodox Christian social thought published by the Acton Institute. I asked him for an interview and here are his thoughts:
AD: Tell us about your background
Let’s see, my wife and I have been married for 30 years and I’ve been a priest for 18. These are probably the two most important things I can tell you about myself not just personally but also as a scholar. Everything I do flows out of my experiences as a husband and a priest.
AD: Tell us what led to the writing of this book in particular
AD: You begin your book with a story from the Desert Fathers to illustrate the connection between asceticism and economic life, a connection that seems to me often overlooked. Tell us a bit more about how you see that connection.
This is simply not true. While there is much work to do, even in my lifetime humanity as a whole has become dramatically, unbelievably, better off economically. What we want for ourselves we should also want for others. If it’s wrong for me to be middle class then it is wrong for the poor of Africa or Asia or of inner-city America.
AD: Though you grapple with modern economic issues, your book is shot through with a very healthy dose of the Fathers, and of considerable quotation of, and meditation upon, liturgical texts. This was all, it seems, in service of a larger theological vision of the human person and human community, yes?