Blessing Our Heritage
If you read books about Orthodox mission work, one consistent theme is that the target culture must be adopted and blessed, as well as challenged. Obviously, every human society will provide unique environments for sin, but every human society will also provide unique perspectives on the truth of God’s revelation. As converts, we sometimes forget that our own culture is a target of Orthodox missions. We forget about blessing our past and only remember to challenge it.
An article about Quaker celebrations of Christmas in the Virginian-Pilot reminded me about one theme that always seems self-evident to me: Simplicity as a feature of American Christianity. “‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,” runs the old American hymn, which Copland used as a theme in Appalachian Spring. Whether we are speaking of the extreme simplicity of Quakers and Shakers or only the unreflective quasi-iconoclasm of American Christianity (Protestant and Catholic), the overwhelming aesthetic impression is one of simplicity, when compared to Eastern Christianity.