Sunday, December 12, 2021

Something New


And something good to share on a Sunday.

A YouTube channel entitled “The Ten-Minute Bible Hour.”  I am not going to comment on the entire channel, as my focus is only on one specific channel: Learning About Other Churches; I have not watched anything from any other channel so nothing I write here applies to these. 

The host, Matt Whitman, a Protestant, visits Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, and other churches and speaks with the priests / pastors to get some understanding of the commonalities and differences in practices theology, etc.

I have watched a few of the videos, one with an Antiochan Orthodox priest and a series with a priest from a Coptic Orthodox Church.  While Whitman is not always the most polished host, he seems honest and sincere in his questions and the two priests have been very gracious in response and explanation.

Reflecting the host, the comments also appear to be gracious and respectful – no big inter-traditional fights or mudslinging.  Of the several I have read, many are of the “used to be Protestant, now going Orthodox” type. 

I can understand why, during this time when the abuse of propositional knowledge in the broader society and culture has come to its deserved death, to correspond with a search for participatory knowledge.  Action-reaction. 

To be clear, I am a fan of propositional knowledge.  But its zealots have overplayed their hand.

In any case, regarding the videos on the two different Orthodox traditions, I found very enlightening explanations of the customs and practices in the liturgy and good explanations regarding theology – not learned and scholarly, but good for a priest who deals with a congregation.  In other words, simple and loving language.

Anyway, Whitman is acting out broader / inter-tradition Christianity in a manner that will build the Church, not tear it down.  Something needed more than ever in the West.


  1. Since it has come up again, another quick note that in the Orthodox Church there isn’t a dialectical either/or when it comes to propositional and participatory knowledge. Fr Dumitru Staniloae in his book Orthodox Spirituality makes the point a few times over that a deepening of participatory knowledge brings also a deepening of propositional knowledge (e.g., in ch. 28, ‘Negative and Positive Theology’, and ch. 35, ‘Love, Knowledge and the Divine Light’).

    As with so much else in the Orthodox Church, this is a both/and situation: God is both knowable and unknowable; Jesus Christ is both God and man; the All-Holy Trinity is both 3 and 1; etc.

    1. Walt, I hope I am not presenting as either / or, 100% or 0%. And I do agree with the summary you offer from Fr. Dumitru.

      I do believe I am on safe ground - and has certainly been my experience - that the Orthodox liturgy is overwhelmingly participatory, and the Protestant service is overwhelmingly propositional.