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The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983 Paperback – Abridged, March 31, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; abridged edition edition (March 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881412007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881412000
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Includes some brilliant nuggets of theological reflection and wonderfully honest accounts of the struggles and victories of faith. -- Christian Century, March 14, 2001

It is a big book of some 350 pages and, after I had finished reading it, I wished for more. -- First Things

Powerful in the way Thomas Merton's journals are powerful: words written out of deep faith [in] the light of God. -- Commonweal, September 22, 2000

Schememann, more than any other Orthodox churchman, communicated to the Christian West the liturgical spirit of the Christian East. --Christian Century, April 25, 2001

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Customer Reviews

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They are a valuable look into the heart of a great man.
Wyote
I was just relating the impact of this book on me to a friend yesterday; made me go back this morning and do a quick review, years after reading this book.
Dan E. Nicholas
The Kingdom of God is more likely to be found in a walk in the park, a child's smile, a memory of Paris or crisp winter air than in a theology book.
Michael G. Huber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading another's letters or journals, while sometimes ethically questionable, is almost always entertaining and more often than not, it provides illustrations of how literature and theology ought to be done. Fr Schmemann is no exception. These journals span ten years and reflect his thoughts on church, politics, and culture. What makes them refreshing is that he can offer America an outsider's perspective on a range of topics. One can summarize the Journals in a few words: two No's and a Yes--no to secularism, no to "spirituality" and yes to the Kingdom of God.

I read this several years ago and since then, reflecting developments in European and American history since Fr Alexander wrote this book, I must modify most of my praise. That will come at the end of the review.

Fr Schmemann saw the problem in the 70s and 80s as the Church (mainly Orthodox but any denomination would be accurate) capitulating to the world's values. But the two No's cannot be understood apart from Schmemann's goal: helping the (local) Church understand it's role in the Kingdom of God and in participating in the Eucharist. The Eucharist reflects the light of the future Kingdom and reorients the Church's values. Take away the Kingdom (and the Eucharist) and one is left with left-over secularism and vague spiritualities. Secularism is misplacing the Kingdom of God. Spirituality is simply trying to do "religion" apart from the historical reality of the Kingdom and the concrete reality of the Eucharist. If one is tied to history and receives the Sacrament, then one cannot fall prey to "spirituality."

Conclusion:
The book is a gem. Some pages are beyond beautiful.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Father Alexander Schmemann is one of the greatest theologians and teachers America has ever known, and he was very open in these journals. They are a valuable look into the heart of a great man. His honest desciption of his vision of the ecclesiastical world, his own failings, and the realities of seminary life may be eye-opening to some, perhaps even discouraging. But his tenderness and sensitivity to the world saturate almost every page, and his rich wisdom and deep faith will challenge every reader. Here is the spiritual life of an authentically human Orthodox Christian.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Farmer on December 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Richard John Neuhaus has a beautifully touching review of the "Journals" and tribute to Father Schmemann (the dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary who died in 1983) in the January 2001 issue of "First Things" magazine. The seven-page article has extensive quotes from the book, including Schmemann's friendship with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Father Neuhaus (Roman Catholic), who became friends with Fr. Schmemann (Eastern Orthodox) in his last years, terms him a true "man in full." I'm looking forward to reading the book, to learn more about his impressions of America (he moved here in the 1950s from Paris, after growing up in Estonia), his efforts at ecumenism, as well as his great love for the Divine Liturgy. Schmemann writes: "All of life flows out of -- and is connected with -- the Liturgy!"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dan E. Nicholas on September 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
One of my favorite Orthodox books. Gave a copy to one or two of my kids, in fact.

Every have it "up to here" with the Church Lady? Sure you have. Especially when you find it/her/him in yourself, that churchyness, religiosity thing. You know, the bells and smells thing; where you find yourself loving the esthetics of the Eastern Church maybe more than God. And certainly more than people.

I loved this theme here in Schmemann, about his antipathy with religion. And, yes, it was probably more me than him but it is there throughout this book. This dear father loved the church, no doubt. He loved the Liturgy. He loved the historic worship and theology; and the thread through time among the Orthodox, the eastern path of Christendom. But he hated the bickering, the skulduggery and back stabbing. He hated the politics, the small person hypocritical ways we all get suckered into trying to deal with difficult people. The grudges. The pettiness. Maybe this is why Schmemann hid his journal--hid it so that it was found by his dear widow two decades after his death, if I recall correctly. Because he knew his own shortcomings but wanted to quietly bitch about church anyway. Loved this part.

I wonder what the good father would say today about dictionary dot com's "Religious... a general word, applying to whatever pertains to faith or worship". Yes, "whatever". Religi means to connect to, to rig. In his journals Schmemann lets us in on what just doesn't connect for him, as much as what does connect. He knew what it felt like that church life seems rigged against us at times.

A whole lot of reasons present themselves from day to day, prodding me to go back to this book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Bentley on December 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Never have I come across a man like Fr. Alexander Schmemann. His perception of America from an outsiders perspective is clear and his comments always go strait to the root of the matter. His views of the future of the Church and its current internal state can only be described as Prophetic. His honesty about the World, the Church and Himself is often troubling, yet he always leaves you much more hopeful than when you started. This book is Light, Freedom and Joy for whoever finds it.
God has truly blessed Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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