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Paperback At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy Book

ISBN: 1585420441

ISBN13: 9781585420445

At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Acclaimed author Frederica Mathewes-Green takes us through a typical Divine Liturgy in her little parish of Holy Cross in Baltimore, setting of her well-loved book 'Facing East.' Interspersed with...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A great way to communicate Orthodoxy

As an enquirer into Orthodoxy myself, I really enjoyed reading Mrs. Mathewes-Green's book. She finds a way to blend the ancient and mystical side of Orthodoxy with the contemporary and modern culture of our time and have it all make sense. There are so many little aspects to this book that make it so great to read. Green educates you about the finer points of the Liturgy and Orthodox worship, but she doesn't beat you over the head with it. She discusses her family's pilgramage into the Orthodox Church, but she does so within the confines of personal stories that deal with a specific topic.Some of the more memorable chapters in this book include the one where she discusses her experience at a Christian rock concert. The Orthodox Church believes that her worship is ancient, apostolic and should not be altered to suit the cultural climate of the times, yet at this event Green experienced a wilder and somewhat darker side to Christian worship that is very different that what Orthodoxy has to offer. I also liked the chapter where she describes her Christmas shopping venture with her daughter. Furthermore, I like the chapters discussing the Divine Liturgy ceremony of their particular parish, and the descriptions of all the different Church members. Since their parish is mostly a convert parish with few cradle Orthodox, it sounds like their worship is more lively and involves more participation than most Churhes that have mostly cradle Orthodox. This is a great book to give to someone who doesn't understand what the Orthodox Church is, and how they approach worship and devotion. Green makes the material accessible, understandable, but also makes it educational and informative.

Deeper into Faith, More of the "Savor" of the Church

This book, beautifully orchestrated, shows forth an understanding of the Church that has certainly deepened since the publication of Facing East. She seems to have more of the savor of Orthodoxy, the overarching sense of what She means to those devoted to Her in faith and love. As I was reading it, I felt as though I were being reminded, THIS is why you became Orthodox, remember? The description of the Liturgy as rich family feast, "voluptuous with beauty" was especially dear to me, reminding me of the necessity of Beauty in our lives.I actually found that the tone of the criticisms of other faiths in this book to be mitigated in comparison with those I have read in other books, without, at the same time, giving even a fraction of an inch. Those searching for a 'we are really all one' or 'why can't we just all get along' faith will more than likely be a little ruffled. However, if a non-Orthodox person is honestly looking for an empathetic understanding of Orthodoxy in life, that person will most certainly find that here.I feared that the book would tend toward, despite all efforts, a trivialization of the sacredness of the Church. However, it does not seem to, although, depending on the reader, I am sure that there is still the potential. Be careful of that, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.

A touching, exciting, educational, & very entertaining story

One of the back-cover blurbs for 'At the Corner of East and Now' describes Frederica Mathewes-Green as 'the Orthodox Erma Bombeck,' but I don't remember Erma Bombeck having anywhere near the spiritual insights, the writing style (both folksy and lyrical), or, frankly, the humor Presbytera Frederica displays in this book.For most Americans, even Christians, Orthodox Christianity is *terra incognita.* Mrs Mathewes-Green does an excellent job charting a path for us, leading us back and forth between the elements of the liturgy and the intersection of ancient Christianity and modern 'post-Christian' America. Along the way, we rediscover her parish family (many of whom we met in 'Facing East'), go into a women's prison with a group of post-abortion counselors, discover the perplexing world of 'Christian death metal,' and much more. It's an awful cliché to say, 'You'll laugh, you'll cry,' but there is a lot in this book that's very funny, and a lot that's profoundly moving (see, for example, the chapter titled 'My Father').I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Orthodox Christianity. While not a definitive survey of Orthodox theology and practice (as no doubt Mrs Mathewes-Green would be the first to tell you), it is a grand portrait of how one individual's, and one family's, life is embraced by Eastern Christianity.I especially liked some of the incidental touches, quick little portraits of her family's three teenaged children, who have been raised much of their lives in Orthodoxy: the high school-aged son on the bus, reading a biography of St Theophan the Recluse; the oldest child defending Orthodoxy online and at her Roman Catholic college; and the youngest thinking a stranger must be Orthodox because he has a bumper sticker reading The Doors (the joke, actually pretty funny, is explained in the book).More than that, though, I would also recommend this book -- if I weren't libertarian I might even try to force the book -- to people, especially Protestant Christians, who don't know, or maybe aren't interested in knowing, that there is another, very different and yet strangely familiar and comforting, way to worship Christ, just on the other side of the 'denominational' divide.This, of course, is where many readers may become very uncomfortable with this book. America's dominant religious paradigm, of course, is Protestant, and perhaps its most visible religious 'subculture' is Evangelical Protestants. Mrs Mathewes-Green pulls no punches in comparing Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy -- for example, when she contrasts an Orthodox hymn ('Of the Father before the morning star thou wast begotten from the belly without mother before all ages, even though Arius did believe thee to be created, not God, classing thee in ignorance and impudence with creatures...') with the nursery-rhyme music and lyrics of the Evangelical 'P & W' songs 'Mighty is our God!' and 'Celebrate Jesus!'She notes that a popular Evangelical hymn ends w

Excellent!

After reading "Facing East," Frederica M-G's first book on the Eastern Orthodox Church, I immediately borrowed my Orthodox friend's copy of this book, "At the Corner of East and Now." Both books are excellent, and both answered many of my questions about this ancient Christian church that has stayed amazingly close to its roots through centuries, while other branches of the church keep splitting further and further apart. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the Orthodox church. There is an appendix at the back of this book that should be required reading for any visitor, as it explains many bewildering customs and practices. I enjoyed reading this book, and I hope that you will, too!

Informative and fun to read

I loved this author's last book, Facing East, but found this book just as good. The last book was her own story, while this one is a series of topic-related stories (in the vein of Kathleen Norris). I loved as she talked about her experiences at a Christian rock concert, her views on all-male clergy, her descriptions and explanations of Christian Orthodoxy, etc. I'm not Orthodox, but could live vicariously through Frederica's fine story-telling. She's a terrific writer, and this is a terrific book.
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