"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Origen on Evil

As I have noted on here for five years now, the making of books about Origen shows no sign of letting up. This at once brilliant, controverted, and likely maltreated Alexandrian father, dead nearly 1800 years, continues to exert influence on the Church both East and West. A recent reprint of a book originally published in 2012 helps us understand Origen's theodicy: Mark S.M. Scott, Journey Back to God: Origen on the Problem of Evil (Oxford UP, 2015), 252pp.

About this book the publisher tells us

Journey Back to God explores Origen of Alexandria's creative, complex, and controversial treatment of the problem of evil. It argues that his layered cosmology functions as a theodicy that deciphers deeper meaning beneath cosmic disparity. Origen asks: why does God create a world where some suffer more than others? On the surface, the unfair arrangement of the world defies theological coherence. In order to defend divine justice against the charge of cosmic mismanagement, Origen develops a theological cosmology that explains the ontological status and origin of evil as well as its cosmic implications. Origen's theodicy hinges on the journey of the soul back to God. Its themes correlate with the soul's creation, fall and descent into materiality, gradual purification, and eventual divinization. The world, for Origen, functions as a school and hospital for the soul where it undergoes the necessary education and purgation. Origen carefully calibrates his cosmology and theology. He portrays God as a compassionate and judicious teacher, physician, and father who employs suffering for our amelioration.
Journey Back to God frames the systematic study of Origen's theodicy within a broader theory of theodicy as navigation, which signifies the dynamic process whereby we impute meaning to suffering. It unites the logical and spiritual facets of his theodicy, and situates it in its third-century historical, theological, and philosophical context, correcting the distortions that continue to plague Origen scholarship. Furthermore, the study clarifies his ambiguous position on universalism within the context of his eschatology. Finally, it assesses the cogency and contemporary relevance of Origen's theodicy, highlighting the problems and prospects of his bold, constructive, and optimistic vision.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

LOGOS: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies Fall 2015

I am delighted to be putting the finishing touches on the upcoming fall issue of Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, the oldest academic revue of its kind in North America whose editor I am. We have two interesting articles, several shorter essays, and a nice array of book reviews and notices.


The lead article is especially fascinating: it treats relations between Orthodox and Greek Catholic clergy in Soviet Ukraine, showing the messiness and complexity of those relations after the forced pseudo-sobor of 1946. Some UGCC clergy wanted to regard others who went over to Russian Orthodoxy as "Judases" while others had a much more sympathetic view and co-operated with them unofficially at the parish level. Entitled "After 'Reunion': Soviet Power and the 'Reunited' and 'Non-Reunited' Greek Catholic Clergy in Eastern Galicia (1950s-1960s)," the article is written by Kateryna Budz, a doctoral candidate in history at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Kyiv, Ukraine) and, until the end of this month, holder of a scholarship at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany. She draws on original archival research in a variety of repositories in Ukraine to see what official records among Soviet state agencies reveal as well as ecclesial bodies and their own archives. Some figures in this story are well known--e.g., Josyf Slipyj--but others have not received much scholarly attention until now. 

The second article by Timothy Wilkinson treats the phenomenon of Christians appropriating Jewish traditions as seen in the popularity of celebrating a "seder" supper in many Protestant traditions over the last two decades.Entitled "The Contemporary Protestant Seder: An Orthodox Critique," the article reviews the rise of seder suppers and what they say about a late-modern Christian understanding of church and Jewish history, Jewish-Christian relations ancient and modern, and contemporary Western liturgical theology, which is critiqued gently in light of such Orthodox figures at Alexander Schmemann.


In the Notes/Essays/Lectures section, we feature three pieces. The first is an up-to-the-moment report from Andriy Chirovsky on the recent patriarchal sobor and synod of bishops, both held in and for the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church in Ivano-Frankivsk this August. 

The second is a short excerpt from my lecture at OTSA at Fordham this past June in which I treat the questions of memory and "forgetting" in Orthodox-Catholic relations, focusing on the upcoming 70th anniversary in 2016 of the pseudo-sobor of Lviv which saw the Stalin-approved destruction of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church with the collusion of the Russian Orthodox Church.This is a

Finally, Augustine Casiday, author of the invaluable landmark work Reconstructing the Theology of Evagrius Ponticus: Beyond Heresy (whom I interviewed about this very book here) has a fascinating and learned essay treating the uses and abuses of Evagrius' famous definition of theology and a theologian from his treatise On Prayer. This maxim, which I have myself quoted regularly, and which seems to be a staple of contemporary Eastern spiritual and apologetical literature, is often used as little more than a thinly disguised sneer at intellectual work--as a cloak for anti-intellectual obscurantism in other words. Casiday's treatment of what Evagrius really meant is important and not to be missed. 

Book Reviews: 

Finally, in this section we have reviews by the Orthodox scholar Will Cohen of Maximos Vgenopoulos' important study (which I read in draft form before publication), Primacy in the Church from Vatican I to Vatican II: An Orthodox Perspective.

Daniel Galadza of the University of Vienna reviews the hefty scholarly collection Languages and Cultures of Eastern Christianity: Georgian, one of the latest installment in this invaluable series of books from Ashgate to which I have drawn attention on here before.

Michael Plekon reviews a new French-language publication of autobiographical "notes" from Sergius Bulgakov. 

And finally we have two review essays: the first by the Orthodox priest-historian D. Oliver Herbel (whom I interviewed here about his recent outstanding book) looks at two books both published recently and both treating the question of Orthodox identity: Orthodox Identities in Western Europe: Migration, Settlement and Innovation and Eastern Orthodox Encounters of Identity and Otherness: Values, Self-Reflection, Dialogue.

The second review essay is mine, reviewing two recent treatments of papal primacy and Orthodox-Catholic searches for unity: the first is from the Orthodox philosopher and Greek priest, John P. Mannoussakis, whom I interviewed here about the book, For the Unity of All: Contributions to the Theological Dialogue between East and West.

The second is by the Roman Catholic theologian Paul McPartlan,A Service of Love: Papal Primacy, the Eucharist, and Church Unity. Both are short but valuable contributions from scholars noted for their clarity of argument and their charity in engaging those they disagree with. 

All told then, given this cornucopia of riches, what keeps you from subscribing today

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance

It's hard to believe it was a full year ago since I was in Brookline for the annual meeting of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, where I was an invited panelist and respondent to Paul Gavrilyuk's excellent book, Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance. (I posted my response here.)

Now we are told that in December, a more affordable paperback version of the book is to be published so you really do have no excuse for not getting a copy!

This is a major study of the man widely regarded as the most influential Russian theologian of the 20th century. It raises acute issues not only about Florovsky but about many other matters--historiography, Russian culture, Orthodox identity and engagement with both Western and "Eurasian" culture, etc.

As the publisher told us about this book when it first appeared:
Georges Florovsky is the mastermind of a "return to the Church Fathers" in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. His theological vision--the neopatristic synthesis--became the main paradigm of Orthodox theology and the golden standard of Eastern Orthodox identity in the West. Focusing on Florovsky's European period (1920-1948), this study analyzes how Florovsky's evolving interpretation of Russian religious thought, particularly Vladimir Solovyov and Sergius Bulgakov, informed his approach to patristic sources. Paul Gavrilyuk offers a new reading of Florovsky's neopatristic theology, by closely considering its ontological, epistemological, and ecclesiological foundations.
It is common to contrast Florovsky's neopatristic theology with the "modernist" religious philosophies of Pavel Florensky, Sergius Bulgakov, and other representatives of the Russian Religious Renaissance. Gavrilyuk argues that the standard narrative of twentieth-century Orthodox theology, based on this polarization, must be reconsidered. The author demonstrates Florovsky's critical appropriation of the main themes of the Russian Religious Renaissance, including theological antinomies, the meaning of history, and the nature of personhood. The distinctive features of Florovsky's neopatristic theology--Christological focus, "ecclesial experience," personalism, and "Christian Hellenism"--are best understood against the background of the main problematic of the Renaissance. Specifically, it is shown that Bulgakov's sophiology provided a polemical subtext for Florovsky's theology of creation. It is argued that the use of the patristic norm in application to modern Russian theology represents Florovsky's theological signature.
Drawing on unpublished archival material and correspondence, this study sheds new light on such aspects of Florovsky's career as his family background, his participation in the Eurasian movement, his dissertation on Alexander Herzen, his lectures on Vladimir Solovyov, and his involvement in Bulgakov's Brotherhood of St Sophia.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Wisdom of the Desert in our Time

I was delighted recently to receive in the mail from St. Vladimir Seminary Press a new book that I said more than ten years ago needed to be written. In the early part of the last decade I was taking a graduate class on the Desert Fathers/Mothers, and trying to see connections between the "psychology" of such monastics as Evagrius and the world of the twenty-first century, especially in the aftermath of Freud. I was greatly attracted to the vision of "interiorized monasticism" that Paul Evdokimov touched upon in his lovely and lyrical (but not unproblematical) book The Sacrament of Love, but found that vision underdeveloped and not adequately "translated" and thus made accessible to non-scholars today.

Now, however, we happily have a very useful and edifying attempt to link the wisdom of desert monasticism to the world of our own day in a way that does not require all of us to flee to real deserts or try to climb atop a stylus somewhere. That book is  A Layman in the Desert: Monastic Wisdom for a Life in the World (SVS Press, 2015; 201pp.) by Daniel Opperwall, whom I asked for an interview. Here are his thoughts.

AD: Tell us about your background

DO: I was born and raised in suburban Detroit. I was baptized Presbyterian as a baby, but my family stopped going to church at all when I was about six. I got a really excellent education that left me interested in philosophy and literature. As most teenagers interested in that kind of thing, I decided to be an atheist for a time. In my early twenties, though, as I kept on reading, atheism became more and more absurd to me, and Jesus Christ became more and more compelling. But a lot of the Christianity I knew still seemed off. Then I encountered Orthodoxy, and everything connected. So, I converted.

AD: What led to the writing of this book, A Layman in the Desert: Monastic Wisdom for a Life in the World, in particular?

DO: There is a big trend in the Orthodox Church of people getting interested in patristic literature and monastic spirituality. But people often struggle when they are reading this stuff--they worry that maybe it's impossible to seek salvation without becoming a monk or a nun. It seemed to me that the problem comes when we fail to assess the core teachings being shared in this kind of literature so as to appropriately translate them into our real lives. How do I seek detachment while owning a car? How do I seek chastity if I am married and thus have sex? We cannot just try to do what ancient monks did--our lives don't permit that. So, we have to seek the same holiness as they did, but through our own lives as we really live them (not, that is, in spite of those lives). I decided to look at John Cassian's Conferences to see how that might be possible. Layman is what came out.

AD: Some might be puzzled by the seeming paradox in your sub-title: monastic wisdom for a life in the world. Don’t we all assume that monks are supposed to be world-fleeing and world-denying?

Well, for one thing, the notion that there is a great chasm between monastics and the rest of the world is far less true than we sometimes imagine, and it was, if anything, even less true in the ancient world. The ancient monks, even hermits, were constantly receiving news and visits--they were very engaged. So, one thing that became important in Layman was simply bringing forward what St John already says about worldly life--he knew a lot about it. 

But still, there is a difference here. The ancient hermits were trying to get away from the world as much as they could. Yet, they came to tremendous wisdom about God and human beings--wisdom that applies to everyone no matter what their situation. Layman is precisely about getting at that insight--that wisdom--and developing a theory of how to bring it back into our lives in the world. I hope that task seems a bit less paradoxical in light of the book, and I hope this is far from the last word we see on it.

AD: Your Athonite interlocutor, quoted in your preface, notes that a “monastery” is simply a place where people help one another unto salvation—just as a family does together. But why do you think that many people either fail to realize that, or otherwise assume that a family is a “lesser” calling?

I think it is a natural mistake to see monastics as special. There are far fewer of them then us, and nobody is born a monk or nun. We also tend to mistakenly equate Church-related things for the work of being Christian. So, since monastics spend far more time in church, we think of them as somehow more Christian. If we are only Christian in church, though, then there is no hope for anyone. And, honestly, the Church could do a much better job of disavowing people of these ideas. We have far too little material on married saints, for example--and what we have often involves couples living in celibacy so that they are basically just monastics again! The priest I met on Mt Athos knew far too much about real monastic life to fall into these traps, but for us lay people monks and nuns often remain mystical super-humans. We have to stop thinking like that.

AD: You note that Orthodox today do not want for practical books on fasting, praying the Jesus prayer at work, moral isues, or generally leading a life in the world; but that of those many books, few focus on what the “essential spiritual character and purpose” of a lay life is. Tell us how you understand that character and purpose.

The driving realization of Layman is that we, as lay people, have to be seeking our salvation through our lives in the world, not just in those moments of prayer or going to church. We have to be growing closer to Christ when mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, going to work, going to the bank. If we can't find ways to do that, then there really is no hope for us. Our purpose is nothing short of theosis in Christ--that is God's purpose for all people. But we are being asked to seek that in the world most of the time rather than through obviously religious things--that is the challenging character of our spirituality.

AD: You also note that we do not want for books, especially recent translations, of wisdom from desert fathers and mothers, but we do want for books translating that wisdom into an idiom for our own day. Why have we waited so long for a book such as yours? What has prevented others from undertaking such efforts as yours?

When it comes to the English-speaking Church, I think our writers and scholars have just had other priorities so far. I don't blame them for that. It was not long ago that we had virtually no books in English about Orthodox theology, church history, liturgics. We got some of those, so then we started working on translations of our classic writings, and that work has borne fruit only in the last few years. Now that we have our feet on the ground with those more essential things, we can start getting into the nuanced conversations about the shape of Orthodox life in the modern West.

AD: As you combed through the vast literature on desert wisdom, you came to focus in particular on John Cassian: The Conferences. Tell us, first, how you came to focus on him rather than other desert fathers and mothers.

The Conferences maintain a beautiful balance between accessibility and depth. A collection like the The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, for instance, would be hard to write about since it is all short snippets without many sustained themes or discussions. Conversely, the Philokalia is utterly vast, and often almost esoteric. The Conferences falls right in between so that there is enough to dig into for a book like this, but it remains approachable for those without lots of theological training. It also appealed to me because it bridges the East/West divide that we too often set up in thinking about Orthodox history. The Conferences is part of the full Orthodox heritage--east and west.

AD: Next, if you would, tell us a bit about the man and those Conferences.

St John is something of a mystery in a lot of ways. We can say just a few things with certainty. He spent a lot of time in several monasteries in Egypt, and travelled among the desert hermits there (whose teachings he records in the Conferences). At some point he went to Gaul (modern France) to set up several monasteries near Marseilles. That is around the time that he wrote the Conferences. We are not sure if he grew up speaking Latin or Greek, but he seems to have known both very well by the time he started writing (the Conferences are originally in Latin). St John can be a very beautiful, and remarkably honest writer. In the Conferences, he records accounts of what several desert hermits said to him and his friend Germanus as they went through the desert. He often records the questions that Germanus asks, and many of them can be challenging, critical, flippant, even slightly annoyed and funny. Sometimes St John will even express uncertainty about a teaching or situation--he does not try to make everything seem clear-cut. Because of all that, when reading the Conferences one really gets the feeling of sitting at the feet of the elders, talking back and forth with them. They feel like human beings, not impossible spiritual super-heroes. It's a beautiful way of recording all this ancient wisdom, and that is a big part of why the Conferences became some of the most influential texts in the development of Christian monasticism.

AD: Sum up what your hopes or goals for A Layman in the Desert: Monastic Wisdom for a Life in the World are, and who in particular should read it.

My main hope is to start a conversation that lets us put lay spirituality into better focus. I'm not trying to transform the spiritual lives of lay people, or give them a different role in the Church, or anything like that; I want us to better understand the role that we lay people already play--the spiritual lives we are already living--and therefore try to strengthen them. So, to that end, I think basically any serious Orthodox lay person, and probably a good number of Catholics, would benefit from giving it a read. Other Christians might get a lot of food for thought as well, though the monastic tradition might seem a little more unusual to many Protestants and others.

AD: Having finished A Layman in the Desert: Monastic Wisdom for a Life in the World, what are you at work on now? Other books in the works, or other research?

At the moment I have been thinking a lot about the Council of Chalcedon, in fact. I've just finished presenting at a conference on healing the Chalcedonian schism, and I will be teaching a course on the subject as well in January. So, that's a change of pace--back into heavy historical theology.

I haven't settled on a next book, but I am thinking very seriously about writing one on the Rule of St Benedict that would be in a similar vein to A Layman in the Desert. I'd like to explore how the Rule can be conceptually translated to help inform life in a family home rather than a monastery. My spiritual father is a Benedictine monk (yes there are Orthodox Benedictine monks!), and St Benedict drew a lot from St John Cassian, so it would be a natural next step.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Crimean War and Orthodox Churches

As I've noted on here many times before, military history has long fascinated me, including the oft-overlooked but deeply significant Crimean War. Orlando Figes book on that war was noted here. I have picked it up again several times over the last few years, and always find it a fascinating read. He does not ignore the role of the Orthodox Church, especially in Russia, which is refreshing to see even if it does not occupy central place in his narrative.

A new book will, however, look squarely at the role of the Orthodox Church in that 19th-century conflict: Jack Fairey, The Great Powers and Orthodox Christendom: The Crisis Over the Eastern Church in the Era of the Crimean War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 304pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
During the mid-19th century, the Orthodox Christians of the Middle East found themselves at the centre of a bitter struggle for control between five empires – Russia, Britain, France, Austria, and the Ottoman government itself. This book traces the history of the international crisis over Orthodox Christendom from its origins in the 1820s-1830s to its partial resolution in the 1860s. It explains how and why the temporal powers exercised by the Orthodox Church led to an escalating series of diplomatic confrontations that reached their acme in the 1850s with the outbreak of the Crimean War and a concerted campaign by the Great Powers to secularize and laicize the non-Muslim communities of the Ottoman Empire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clearing the Swamp Around Synodality

In his address of last Saturday, the bishop of Rome laid out a vision of synodality for the Latin Church that is striking and surprising.....only to those who haven't been paying attention. For those who have attended not only to Francis but also to (admittedly slow-moving) trajectories in Catholic ecclesiology for a half-century now, this vision is not really a surprise. Perhaps the only surprise is that it is this pope, rather than his immediate predecessor who wrote so much about ecclesial reforms, who is enacting a vision of synodality now.

I was on local Catholic radio this morning talking about the nature, structure, and history of synods in the Church of the West as of the East, and noting (as I have done on here recently, and will do so again in the coming days in my regular column for Catholic World Report) that those who want more details of the extensive history of synodality in the Latin Church through the first and much of the second millennium can find it in my book Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity.

In the book and elsewhere I have tried to stress, especially to Catholics worried about the dangers of synodality, that there is no one model all must follow. If we look to the East, we find a diversity of structures arranged according to need, context, and history. Moreover, it is very important to note that a properly functioning synodal structure can only come about where both synod and primate are functioning together. A strong primate (whether diocesan bishop, patriarch, pope, or catholicos) is needed for synods at every level. A synod does not exist at the expense of a primate, but only in concert with him, each acting as a check on the other. In this light, there is no reason to believe that a more robust synodality in the West would in itself weaken either the papacy or more generally the Catholic Church. Her problems are already significant and longstanding, and they have come not in the presence of robust synodality but in its absence; they have come in a time of papal centralization and maximalization.

To hear some Catholics describe it, you would think "synodality" is a synonym for "oligarchy" or, worse, little more than mob rule. To hear other, only slightly less deranged Catholics describe it, "synodality" is a synonym for that fatuous old bogeyman, "conciliarism," a word nobody should again be permitted to utter until and unless they have, at a minimum, read Francis Oakley's explosive book The Conciliarist Tradition: Constitutionalism in the Catholic Church 1300-1870. (I give you some of the unnerving details in my review here.)

The plain fact of the matter is that, for all the bluster about how much of a "revolutionary" this pope is, in his discussions of synodality, at least, he is deeply traditional. In looking to recover synodality he is looking to tradition for inspiration, following, I would suggest, Congar's "grande loi d'un réformisme catholique" which consists of "commencer par un retour aux principes du catholicisme. Il faudra d'abord interroger la tradition, se replonger en elle."
Again, for those paying attention (Congar's French original came out in 1950), this is not a surprise.

Secular Archives, Sacred Realities

If I had endless money and endless time, I would spend both in any number of archives--Vatican, Ottoman, Churchill, and many others--ferreting out some of the golden eggs of insight, scandal, or amusement they doubtless still withhold from us, or being amazed at the lacuna in their holdings. To anyone who has ever done archival research, the idea that they are simple, innocent, objective, comprehensive repositories--mere bank vaults for everything every written on a topic--is of course nonsense. What makes it into the archives is as important a question as what does not. Who determines the nature of the collection determines in significant part the history that gets written on the basis of those archives.

Published this summer is a book that looks fascinating because of the complex intersection of religious history in the hands of official atheists:

Sonja Luehrmann,  Religion in Secular Archives: Soviet Atheism and Historical Knowledge (Oxford UP, 2015), 256pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
What can atheists tell us about religious life? Russian archives contain a wealth of information on religiosity during the Soviet era, but most of it is written from the hostile perspective of officials and scholars charged with promoting atheism. Based on archival research in locations as diverse as the multi-religious Volga region, Moscow, and Texas, Sonja Luehrmann argues that we can learn a great deal about Soviet religiosity when we focus not just on what documents say but also on what they did. Especially during the post-war decades (1950s-1970s), the puzzle of religious persistence under socialism challenged atheists to develop new approaches to studying and theorizing religion while also trying to control it. Taking into account the logic of filing systems as well as the content of documents, the book shows how documentary action made religious believers firmly a part of Soviet society while simultaneously casting them as ideologically alien. When juxtaposed with oral, printed, and samizdat sources, the records of institutions such as the Council of Religious Affairs and the Communist Party take on a dialogical quality. In distanced and carefully circumscribed form, they preserve traces of encounters with religious believers. By contrast, collections compiled by western supporters during the Cold War sometimes lack this ideological friction, recruiting Soviet believers into a deceptively simple binary of religion versus communism. Through careful readings and comparisons of different documentary genres and depositories, this book opens up a difficult set of sources to students of religion and secularism.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Crucify Him!

The more I read about the so-called justice system in the United States (the influence of which is spreading around the world in unhelpful ways), the more the problems become evident--problems whose seriousness is only magnified incalculably when the death penalty is on the table. What are Christians of all traditions doing to challenge the state and reform its penal processes in a humane way? Friends who have been involved in prison chaplaincy tell me that the Christian presence in too many penitentiaries in this country is virtually non-existent, which is a great shame on the Church.

Too often it seems we lock people away and forget about them, entrusting them to the tender mercies of the nation-state. That Christians today are willing to give obeisance to an all-powerful state and its organs is a shocking form of borderline idolatry, as William Cavanaugh, Stanley Hauerwas, Alasdair MacIntyre and others have been arguing for thirty years. A book coming out in November challenges Christian anew in this regard: Mark Lewis Taylor, The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America (Fortress Press, 2015), 320pp.

About this updated version the publisher tells us:
The new edition of Mark Lewis Taylor's award-winning The Executed God is both a searing indictment of the structures of "Lockdown America" and a visionary statement of hope. It is also a call for action to Jesus followers to resist US imperial projects and power. Outlining a "theatrics of state terror," Taylor identifies and analyzes its instruments—mass incarceration, militarized police tactics, surveillance, torture, immigrant repression, and capital punishment—through which a racist and corporatized Lockdown America enforces in the US a global neoliberal economic and political imperialism. Against this, The Executed God proposes a "counter-theatrics to state terror," a declamation of the way of the cross for Jesus followers that unmasks the powers of US state domination and enacts an adversarial politics of resistance, artful dramatic actions, and the building of peoples' movements. These are all intrinsic to a Christian politics of remembrance of the Jesus executed by empire. Heralded in its first edition, this new edition is thoroughly revised, updated, and expanded, offering a demanding rethinking and recreating of what being a Christian is and of how Christianity should dream, hope, mobilize, and act to bring about what Taylor terms "a liberating material spirituality" to unseat the state that kills.
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