Sunday, July 4, 2010


"Love is not hard. It is either easy, or impossible." (Stendahl)

Is this a Kierkegaardian gambit of psychologically driven passion? Or the Truth? One of the problems with being "Western" is that we are often faced with false choices in our thinking. I call this the trap of "dialectics", but it is pretty clear that another form of terminology could be used. Eastern thought tends to map the whole in more than one dimension; "Progress" is thus precluded, but a more equitable approach to the whole person is used. The "nous", for instance, receives attention. The Noetic element is neither mind nor passion, but is capable of both, and with better results. The "East" can help us with that. It doesn't mean we have to stop being "Western". Simone Weil was right to think that interdisciplinary religious approaches would destroy both. However, if one is sufficiently dedicate to one's "own", then cross-training can help, and may, in fact, be the only thing which could.

Bp. Kallistos Ware: “So long as the ascetic prays with the mind in the head, he will still be working solely with the resources of the human intellect. On this level he will never attain to an immediate and personal encounter with God. By the use of his brain, he will at best know about God, but he will not know God.”

“The intellect/nous is in the heart but the heart is much greater than the nous. The heart includes volition, the will to choose to follow God’s commandments. It also includes the faculty of loving and desiring God. Thus, the three faculties of the heart are: 1) To know God with the nous, 2) To love God with the heart, 3) To choose freely to follow Him.”


  1. It is first to be remembered that there is nothing we can do (individually) to find Truth. We may be shown examples in all that He has created and does, but by our own volition it is an impossibility for us.
    I think you are striking (at least near too) the matter at hand and that is too love and follow God with all of our HEART, soul, strength, and mind. But the only way we can achieve this is by utterly giving ourselves up to Him and His ways, and to do this we must know who He is and follow Him above all else.
    We find this laid out in James when he speaks of not being double minded. We would lie to ourselves if we were to say that we weren't enslaved to something. The key is to be enslaved to Him, the only One who can truly set us free.

  2. I am glad you mentioned the James passage - you are of course right to bring it up - that is at the heart of Jesus' "Two Masters" message. Another interesting fact about all this is that (apparently) there are physical ways and means of passing down this Truth, both teachers and methods. Some are more Christian than others. The whole head/heart dilemma is a prime (maybe THE prime) problem with humanity.

  3. I actually had a few discussions with a good friend earlier this year about the trinity and how that relates to us. It interesting that God uses something that is so very seemingly hard for us to even comprehend. But in looking at it closer is shed some light. Lets see if I can break it down in this post.
    Spirit is not equal to Son or Father
    Son is not equal to Father or Spirit
    Father is not equal to Spirit or Son
    Father, Son, and Spirit are all one.
    (Couldn't find the not equal to sign on the keyboard)
    So, we look at this and say okay that is a lot for us to try to wrap our minds around. But than we bring in that God made man in His image.
    And man is made up of the physical, the spiritual, and the mental. See the connection? The problem comes to this though we have these three parts which are supposed to be in complete unity with each other just like the trinity is in complete unity, but we are not. We are called to be, but we live in a fallen world and with the ever constant problem of sin. My point with this ramble is this, the only way to solve the head/heart dilemma is to not only know and understand who our God is but to follow Him (this comes with the caveat that if after deep inspection you find that you have other gods who can make higher demands upon you than God, than fix that first). If we understand who our God is and our following him first, than there won't be a head/heart dilemma because they will be working in unison.

  4. There's an interesting debate theologically on this, involving Augustine's De Trinitate, which essentially follows this line of reasoning. I am not entirely sure of it myself. I need to learn more about this, but I will say that integrating man may be one way of "seeing God" more clearly. Things may work the other way, as well, although it may be a bit harder