I found this on Facebook from Fr Guy Winfrey.
What is Orthodox Christianity?
Finding a starting place is difficult, but I think the best place is to say that Orthodoxy focuses on healing the soul of man. It is not about appeasing God–because God already loves us. In our prayers we say that God is the only lover of mankind. So the problem is that man is sick and needs healing. We need healing from all our passions; we need to heal from the wounds caused by our past sins; we need healing in our minds, because we don’t even know how to think correctly—our intellects are fallen. This means that the Orthodox life is a life of struggling with the proper medicine to become truly human. It’s very much like being in physical therapy. We have a therapist (a priest) to help us struggle to recover our strength. Sometimes we do better than other times.
This is a very important foundation to have because it changes the understanding of what justification and salvation is. In Orthodoxy these are not juridical positions. The Church is not a divine travel agent created to give you a ticket to heaven. The Church is a hospital to cure sin and its effects on our souls. Remember, God loves us. The problem is that we don’t love him as we should. None of our actions are done to appease an angry God—God doesn’t need therapy to get over being mad at us. We need healing which comes from Jesus Christ through his Church.
That’s a pretty good place to start understanding why Orthodox Christianity is so very different from the forms of Christianity that may be more familiar in the US.
That may be true, but I hardly see it as the preserve of Orthodoxy. It comes down to three analogies of man’s relationship with God, someone at the end of his financial tether owing a lot of money to the bank (Christ himself uses this analogy in a parable), someone being judged in a court of law for something he has done wrong and facing justice, and finally a sick person requiring the attention of doctors and nurses for a cure or palliative treatment for an incurable illness.
The “medical” analogy can be found in all churches and Christian writings. The emphasis has differed from period to period in history. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism tended to favour the banking and juridical analogies of salvation, especially from St Augustine to St Anselm to Calvin and exponents of the “work ethic”. I suppose that any system that preaches man as being at a disadvantage in relation to God has a means of political control over populations.
As I have discovered when reading “Orthodox Blow-Out Department” and other comments on similar themes, there seems to be Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy, just as there is a gentle version of Catholicism and Anglicanism alongside Jansenist and Puritan harshness. There will always be a difference between the political and contemplative / religious aspects of Christianity as between Sufism and Wahhabism in Islam. The more mystical tendencies will move beyond the notion of salvation and saving to deification and θέōσις.
Divinisation and participation in God figure in the non-Calvinist currents of Anglican theology and spirituality, particularly in the works of Lancelot Andrewes and John Wesley among others. I recommend you the book Participation in God: A Forgotten Strand in Anglican Tradition by A. M. Allchin. Allchin found the heart of this tradition in the Caroline Divines and the beginnings of the Oxford Movement as well as Methodism.
These are important aspects to rediscover in our own traditions, be they Roman Catholic, Anglican, Non-conformist or Orthodox. Above all in ourselves…