Theological books often focus on the ascent of the human to the Divine. This collection of reflections contemplates the Divine descending, acting within, and enlightening our day-to-day lives. Father John Breck's courageous reflections touch upon a wide and eclectic range of current ethical, biblical, liturgical, and doctrinal matters, as the chapter titles suggest: "Ova for Sale," "Violence against Women," "Fighting Clergy Burnout," "Who Wrote the Books of the Bible?", "Do Icons Really Weep?", and "Nightmares."
An eminent Orthodox ethicist and pastor, Fr Breck ponders questions that arise in our culture and answers them in an engaging style that is fully accessible to the average layperson. Crisply and succinctly, and fully informed by the tradition of the Orthodox Church, Fr Breck addresses the hard, practical issues confronting contemporary Christians: What about abortion rights? Firearm legislation? What is the meaning of innocent suffering? Breck tenderly and compassionately discusses mental illnesses, aging, and the movement of the Holy Spirit in unexpected places at unanticipated times.
My aim has been to discuss critical moral, biblical, and general theological issues in a way that is relevant to the lives of Christian people today, while remaining faithful to the sacred tradition of the Orthodox Church . . . Some themes, such as abortion, the status of the embryo, and innocent suffering, I return to several times, attempting to explore them from a variety of perspectives. Because a few of these writings are controversial, they will inevitably elicit disagreement in certain quarters, maybe even passionate disagreement. But that is all to the good, if they succeed in provoking reflection that will provide better answers than I can offer to the challenges we as Orthodox Christians are currently facing, both within Christendom and within a hostile and increasingly anti-Christian world.
? Fr John Breck, from the Introduction
The Very Rev. John Breck was Professor of New Testament and Ethics at St Vladimir's Seminary from 1984 to 1996. He is presently Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Ethics at St Sergius Theological Institute, Paris, France, and with his wife, Lyn, directs the St Silouan Retreat Center near Charleston, SC.