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Top-heavy Teaching

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Written by Basil on 06/12/2004 9:19 PM. Filed under:


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Is Orthodox catechesis too brainy? Erica worries that it’s too top-heavy. I know I have some readers who refuse to read my posts on Orthodoxy for that very reason. “What do you do, just sit around and think this stuff up?”

I think Erica hits on a practical, pastoral problem for priests and catechists: How much theology is too much? At St. Athanasius, we used to use a catechism developed by a former priest at our mother church that was heavy on un-doing bad evangelical theology, because that was the background of many people coming into their parish (and ours). We kept getting told by other Orthodox priests that it was fine, but it was not at all necessary.

It seems to me that what is necessary is not to learn all of the Church’s teaching before being baptized or chrismated — that would be impossible — but to learn to submit to the Church’s teaching in everything. That can be daunting for many people who are used to coming to their own conclusions. Part of the point of the content of catechesis is to give catechumens a sense of just what they are assenting to when they are baptized and chrismated.

That said, I hope that there is a deeper pastoral process that happens with Erica, for the sake of her salvation. God knows we all need it. I think most adult converts to Orthodoxy who have experienced a catechumenate can agree with me. The hardest thing is not learning all the data of the Church’s teaching but putting on the catholic mindset of submission and humility.

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7 Responses to “Top-heavy Teaching”

  1. Gideon's Torch » The philosophy of catechesis Says:

    […] was asked when I presented this stance. I always found this process way too complicated. Basil recently posted regarding the “headiness” of catechism and how the real goa […]

  2. Mr. Hibbity Gibbity Says:

    Hey Basil. While I’m not sure I’m one of the people you were referring to (when you mentioned that some won’t read your posts, due to the “heady” wordage), I will say that I do fall into that category.

    With that said, I would also like to point out that I’ve really begun to enjoy your blog lately. It seems to have taken on a different tone. It’s refreshing and I enjoy reading your posts from time to time.

    Please don’t read anything negative in those comments. That’s not my intent. Just a compliment.

    Hope things are going well. Later.

  3. James Says:

    I think all Orthodox bloggers tend to speak a lot–way too much sometimes.

  4. Karl Thienes Says:

    “I think all Orthodox bloggers tend to speak a lot…”

    Well, since a blog is nothing but words, what were you expecting a blogger to do other than offer words? :)

  5. Xenia Says:

    Basil, No theology is too much. I would have loved a 24/7
    Catechism. Blessings, Xenia

  6. basil Says:

    Mr. HG: No, I wasn’t thinking of you specifically. Thank you for noticing a difference.
    James and Karl: Break it up. That’s your last warning.
    Xenia: Indeed. I felt the same way. My religious addiction has been very difficult to break. The shaking stops eventually. So they tell me.

  7. Karl Thienes Says:

    “James and Karl: Break it up. That’s your last warning.”

    Ah, come one! We were just gettin’ started! :)