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The Orthodox Way Paperback – Jun 27 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press; New edition edition (June 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913836583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913836583
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"I have never, in reviewing a book, felt such a powerful desire to have the wealth to present each reader with a copy." -- Ronald Walls, Fireacres Chronicle

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Format: Paperback
"The Orthodox Way," by Bishop Kallistos Ware is the second most frequently recommended book on Eastern Orthodoxy in the English language to date, and the top book specifically on Orthodox Christian spirituality. (The number one book on Orthodoxy is his classic work, "The Orthodox Church," published under his given name, Timothy Ware.
I first read an earlier edition of "The Orthodox Way" many years ago as an Evangelical Christian, shortly after I began looking into the Orthodox Church. At that time it communicated to me that something profoundly spiritual was going on in this church of "smells and bells," robes and formal liturgical worship. It introduced me to the mystery of God, and made me realize that it was important to spend less energy talking about and trying to understand God, and to spend more time getting to know him in prayer. This is where I first encountered the idea that theology in the strict sense of the word is "the contemplation of God himself."
It was this book that explained the importance of the Trinity, not only as part of the Nicene Creed, but that God has been Trinity since before the book of Genesis, and a proper understanding of him will drive how we commune with him. My first reading introduced me to new terms and concepts: apophatic approach (saying what God is not rather than what he is), apatheia (dispassion), passion (any disordered appetite or longing that takes possession of the soul), nous (spiritual intellect), nepsis (watchfulness, sobriety and wakefulness), theosis (deified, or "christified," or "made sharers of the divine nature" [2 Peter 1:4]), and the difference between the "essence" and "energies" of God.
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Format: Paperback
If anyone has read Ware's book, The Orthodox Church, then this book is a must read. For those who haven't read Ware's introductory work on Orthodoxy, this book will still be enlightening and rewarding.
Bishop Ware's main purpose in this book is to introduce the reader to the more salient and deeper teachings of the Orthdox Christian faith. Ware begins by arguing that God is an ineffable and incomprehensible mystery that cannot be understood by the human mind. This squares well with traditional Eastern teaching, but not so well with Western paradigms. The Orthodox believe that God's Essence and Uncreated Divine Energies are two distinct and separate concepts, whereas the West, following after Augustine, believe that God's essence and energy are one and the same. Therefore, the Orthodox believe that God in His essence is completely mysterious and unknowable by man, but God's energies may be perceived and understood. Also, the Orthodox employ a different method in order to understand and know God called the apophatic approach. This method states that one can know something about God by understanding what God is not. I think this is a valuable method and one that needs to be utilized more by Christians of a Western mindset.
Next Ware deals with the traditional Orthodox understanding of God as Trinity. Ware argues that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in essence but consist as three separate persons. Nothing really new or groundbreaking here, but Ware does an admirable job of defending the traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The area where many will disagree with him is on the issue of the procession of the Holy Spirit.
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Format: Paperback
A modern day classic of the highest quality. Bishop Ware covers the absolute basics or Christian philosophy such as God as Mystery, God as Trinity, God as Creator, God as Man, God as Spirit, and God as Prayer. He gives complete and full logical basis for each teaching, belief, and action of the Orthodox, and non-Orthodox Christian.
It reminds me of "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis in which he tells the story of how he went from a vehement opponent of religion in general, especially Christianity, to an Anglican Christian through philosophy. Not that Ware tells the story of his conversion, but that both of them use are utmost in their philosophy which flows so naturally and purely that it couldn't just be from humans.
One of the main reasons (aside from historical reasons) I converted to Christianity instead of Islam, Hinduism, Deism, etc, (the list goes on at the religions I considered, researched, etc. some more than others though) is because the first was so much more philosophical, contemplative, logical, and filled with love, while retaining the utter unattainable, unknowable, and unfathomable greatness of God. It was as if everthing just clicked together, the entire essense and meaning of the Gospels permeated and elimenated the 'contradictions' that are seen when they are viewed in a shallow, ultra legalistic and literal sense. I realized they were written to expound a meaning and essense of love, not to be a code of laws like the Qur'an is for Muslims, or the Constitution is for hicks; to be viewed in a legalistic, shallow way, taken at face value, and not having a meaning past the words on the page.
All I can do is to recommend this book, if it were within my abilities I would give a copy to every person I meet and bid them read it again and again and again
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