…from Mountain of Silence:
“We lost the knowledge of God,” he [Fr. Maximos] went on to say, “at the moment when we transformed the Ecclesia from experience into theology, from a living reality into moralistic principles, good values, and high ideals. When that happened,” Father Maximos said humorously, “we became like tin cans with nothing inside.”
There was passion in Father Maximos’ words. I still recall an incident when he jokingly rebuked a group of young theologians who introduced themselves as “theologians.” “To call yourselves theologians,” he teased them, “means that you have become graced by the knowledge of God, like Saint John the Theologian or Saint Basil the Great. Have you? Can you truly call yourselves theologians because you just read some books and earned a degree in so-called ‘theology’? Don’t you think this is rather presumptuous on your part?” Father Maximos offered them a lesson that day on the difference between knowing God through theology courses and knowing God through the heart. He told them that a poor and humble peasant may become a saint as a result of arduous spiritual practices and ceaseless prayer, and therefore have knowledge of God, whereas a scholar who publishes volumes on theology but who is proud because of his worldly achievements may be completely ignorant of God.
When I first came across this type of thinking, I was literally knocked on my ass. All of my Christian life I had believed that the way to come to know God was to study, study, pray, and then study more. The cornerstone of my religion was the Bible and it of course needed to be properly understood and interpreted – which of course requires study, study, prayer, and more study. And then I think I read in one of Bp. Ware’s books that a theologian in the Eastern Tradition is not one who is necessarily highly studied, but rather the one who PRAYS.
Father Maximos also said: “There is only one form of education: to know and love God.”
Well folks it ain’t found in books and it ain’t found in the eye of the senses or the eye of reason.
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:35 AM [+]