Wow! It’s been way too long since I’ve done one of my “brilliant beards” posts.
Well, since I’ve been reading books by Anthony Bloom and Timothy Ware I’ve been reminded that our Orthodox brothers really know what they’re doing with the whole beard thing.
Brilliant Beards #9: Orthodox Priests, Monks, etc.
During my sabbatical one of the books that I really wanted to read was Anthony Bloom’s classic, “Beginning to Pray.” Bloom writes in a beautifully accessible and irenic tone yet with the wonderful simplicity, profundity, and mystery one expects when reading almost anything coming from an Eastern Orthodox author. Without a doubt, this book will be one that I will reread on a regular basis.
Plus, check out that beard!
OK, so obviously I’m not Orthodox. I’m a Baptist pastor who grew up Anabaptist (and still have some pretty strong Anabaptist leanings). But one pet peeve of mine is when people make unfair caricatures of other belief systems, be it other religions or just other denominations. So, if I want to better understand Pentecostal Christianity, for example, I’m not going to learn about it by reading a Catholic author’s take on it; I’ll find a well respected Pentecostal author and get his take. If I’m going to understand Catholicism I’ll read stuff by Catholics rather than someone with an obvious Protestant bias, etc.
With that serving as a basic explanation, a while ago I picked up The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware. For those looking for a relatively easy to read explanation of contemporary Orthodox beliefs, this is probably the best book to check out. I’ve only been reading through it slowly and occasionally, but I’ve found it fascinating, stimulating, intruiging, and challenging. I think it was he who I read somewhere was described as “the Orthodox C.S. Lewis.” From what I’ve read this seems like a fair statement.
So, while I’m in no ‘danger’ of converting to Orthodox Christianity, you gotta admit that these guys have brilliant beards!