Moving From the Head to the Heart

Orthodox Tradition has an important theme of moving from the head into the heart. This is one of the most challenging aspects of Orthodoxy, especially to the western mindset. Here is a great perspective, from a blog I enjoy reading, that really strikes close to the problem for me and offers a solution:

For a long time I had to figure it all out. I needed some kind of explanation on which I could hang my hat and say, “That’s exactly what I believe.” Unable to ground myself for every long on either side of the paradoxes that God presents to our limited understanding I jumped from one idea to the next. Either way I was ultimately unsatisfied.

Full blog post here.


~ by crossingthebosporus on June 24, 2012.

4 Responses to “Moving From the Head to the Heart”

  1. A difficult one, because if Ine goes too far with the heart alone, one can end up with a kind of happy clappy ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam’, type of faith, and too much intellect can produce a coldness which fails to reflect the joy we have in Christ. You raise an excellent issue here – and thanks for the link to the blog.

    • I think the key here is how one defines “heart.” For example, many reformed people would point to Jeremiah who says “the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things…”

      When the Orthodox speak of the heart, there is a huge theological and mystical foundation backing up such statements so that they effectively mean something entirely different. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on what they DO mean, and I may never be although I am attempting to explore it.

      But from my background as thoroughly western and academic, your point is well taken. I encountered both kinds of individuals you mention during my time at seminary; the happy-clappy hippies and the cold, distant faith of intellectual and rationalist Christianity. At various times in my life, I was in one group or the other! The hardest challenge for me right now is to move into the heart. Especially in the correct way.

      • Yes, it is difficult for those of us from the Western tradition to appreciate the fullness of the Eastern one. I wonder if, at some point on your excellent blog, it would be something to mention?

      • I would love to write out something like that, but I’m afraid that I might not be qualified enough to do justice to the Orthodox position. However, I did have the idea to address (at some point) the more basic idea of having a shared terminology with others while differing radically in what those words mean for us.

        As a litterateur, I think I could approach from that angle with a bit more expertise while hopefully pointing to better sources on Orthodoxy specifically.

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