Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dr. David C. Ford's Review of Toward a Eucharistic Vision of Church, Family, Marriage and Sex by Fr. Philip LeMasters

Especially in light of the vast confusion about gender issues in our contemporary society, I believe this very excellent book needs to be read by everyone - and especially by Orthodox pastors, to help guide them in their ministry to their flocks.  It presents the clearest understanding of marriage as being only ever possible between one man and one woman that I've ever seen. It also beautifully explains why marriage is the only proper, secure, mutually enriching setting for sexual intercourse, in which deeply meaningful spiritual as well as physical oneness can be experienced.
 Fr. Philip bases his presentation upon a profound understanding of the Orthodox sacramental worldview, in which every dimension of the material realm is inherently good, even after the Fall, because it's all been made by our All-Gracious LORD Who loves mankind.  He bases his very positive understanding of marriage, including marital relations, in this context.  So how much more profound and awesome is the Orthodox understanding that for Christians, every marriage is called to be a living image of Christ's love for His Body, the Church - with husbands and wives giving tender self-sacrificial love to each other in ways that reflect how Christ loves His Church and gives Himself for Her.
An extra bonus in this book is the best explanation I've ever seen for why our Church does not and cannot invite non-Orthodox Christians to partake in the Eucharist.  An exceptionally clear explanation of the Orthodox understanding of birth control within marriage is also given, including a very balanced and insightful assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman Catholic approach to this issue.

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