From Publishers Weekly
Frederica Mathewes-Green, whose books on Eastern Orthodoxy have popularized ancient Christian practice for a modern audience, beautifully underscores the importance of following the precedent of the earliest Christians in The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation. Too often, she argues, contemporary Christians bend to the “confusing winds” of change, subordinating Christian tradition to popular ideas. (So stubborn is she in her claim for the superiority of ancient wisdom that she offers an unusual disclaimer at the outset: “I hope not to say anything original. If I do, ignore it.”) Mathewes-Green thoughtfully reflects upon how 21st-century Christians can incorporate early spiritual practices, such as continuous prayer, spiritual direction, fasting and communal worship.
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Advocating a return to the universal spirituality that characterized early Christianity, Mathewes-Green urges readers to seek out their historic Christian roots. Arguing that contemporary Christianity is increasingly culture dependent, she attempts to rediscover a unifying faith that transcends all modern cultural messages. To truly live in Christ, current believers must travel the often-arduous mystical path of the ancient church. To achieve an illumined heart, one must pray, fast, and repent as vigorously as did the initial generations of Christians. Recommended for larger theology collections, this conservative blueprint attempts to respond to a set of timeless questions regarding spiritual enlightenment. Margaret Flanagan
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