Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Christian Worldview

A world-view is simply that: the way we look at the world, the way we organize our lives. Very often, a worldview takes the form of a wheel: a hub at the center with different spokes shooting off, but rooted in that hub. The secular worldview, which is predominant in our American culture, puts ‘me’ at the center. Out of the hub called ‘me’ shoot out ‘my family’, ‘my work’, ‘my friends’, ‘my hobbies’, and often ‘my church’, among others. Each one of these spokes is actually a compartment, segregated from all the rest. I may work during the day but never spend any time with my colleagues outside of work. My family occupies the time between 5pm and 9am, my hobbies are shaved out of that time, and ‘church’ is a Sunday only event, an hour or two given to God more often than not ‘because it is the right thing to do’.

The Christian worldview has as its center God, the Most-Holy undivided Trinity. The Christian life, then, is focused primarily on the worship of God, giving thanks to Him for all our blessings, asking Him to meet our needs, and serving Him in the world. If this is true, the Christian worldview is less like a wheel with a hub and more like a spiral moving towards the center. Whereas our society has metamorphed us from ‘human beings’ into ‘human doings’, the Christian view is to re-become—as Father Schmemann taught—Homo Adorans: worshippers of God. Our family, our life, our work, our hobbies are all wrapped in together, forming a relatively inseparable mass which moves either towards God (when we offer ‘ourselves, each other, and all our life unto Christ our God’) or away from Him (when we choose our own way).

This life, while most difficult (especially today) is actually the only true life that there is, since it is how God created us. Any other way pits family, friends, hobbies, church, and every other ‘compartment’ against the other, vying for our time, money, and devotion. In the Orthodox Christian worldview all is offered together to God in Thanksgiving for His blessing, so that our whole life and existence can be taken up into His life for His purpose.

Do not be fooled: the pursuit of self, whether it be seeking money, possessions, career or even family at all costs, is a dead end. Only when we place God as the absolute center of our lives can we expect to find the True Life, who is Jesus Christ Himself. When we adopt this worldview, then our money, our possessions, our spouses and children—indeed our whole life—takes focus in its proper way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Father John,

Thank you so much for this post. I am an Orthodox Christian, but too often I lose my focus and my Christian worldview.

I am glad to see that you have posted again after an absence. I was delighted to recently discover your blog and noticed that you had not posted anything in a while. I was afraid that you had quit blogging.

I have received many blessings from reading your previous posts, too; they have really strenghtened my faith.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida