No, I have not forgotten my promise to write a report on the CiRCE Conference we went to in Louisville two weeks ago. In fact, I have already made a beginning, but have yet to complete it. In the meantime, besides all of the summertime activities that have conspired against me, our air conditioner went out during church on Saturday, and this with a week before us of temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and rising.  We spent a hot and sleepless night at home, and then after lunch on Sunday, I came home to get some things before we headed over to my parents’ house to spend the night. There was a funeral this morning, and we only just returned home this afternoon. All that is to say, that I certainly plan on finishing up that post sometime this week!
In the meantime, I have a couple of things to share on a theme that is important to the raison d’être of this blog. In a 1999 critique of Met. Kallistos’s popular book, The Orthodox Way, a critique which by now should be familiar to most Orthodox on the more traditionalist side of things, Hieromonk Patapios of the Old Calendarist monastery of St Gregory Palamas in Etna, CA, writes:
Furthermore, when Bishop Kallistos cites the Talmud to the effect that the glory of God is man, and then goes on to quote the famous statement of St Irenaeus of Lyons that ‘the glory of God is a living man’, can he be sure that, despite their external similarity, the same intention lies behind both of these remarks (one clearly Christocentric and the other obviously not), or that they really mean the same thing? If he cannot be sure, then what is the relevance of the quotation from the Talmud? 
Now, the reason I took note of this statement when rereading Hieromonk Patapios’s article the other day is that much of what I do at Logismoi might well fall under the same critique. It’s true that I don’t typically compare the Fathers with non-Christian writings, but my recent posts drawing on Roman Catholic authors like James Taylor (here and here for instance) might be seen by some Orthodox as a species of the same thing. Indeed, I do not wholly deny the charge. It may well be that the statements I have taken from Roman Catholic or Protestant authors in order to compare them with comments by the Fathers or other Orthodox authors do not ‘mean the same thing’ as the latter. Actually, I am rather certain that the distinctive Orthodox doctrine of the uncreated energies of God could be found to pose a fundamental obstacle to attempts to reconcile many theological statements across the East-West divide. My aim in making such comparisons is not to insist that these authors are saying exactly the same thing or that ‘the same intention lies behind’ their remarks’, but, first of all, simply to point out connections that naturally occur to me (as I frequently say, ‘This reminded me of something else...’), and second, to pose the question of whether there mightn’t be something in common between them. I typically avoid making any real claim that there is, if only because I sometimes fear that it might just look that way because I want it to.
By an interesting coincidence, I was reminded of this recently not only by Hieromonk Patapios’s shrewd rhetorical questions, but also by some statements of one of these Roman Catholic authors themselves. In The Death of Christian Culture, John Senior writes:
The best of us are prone to sophistry when an obvious truth contradicts a strong desire. Recent ecumenical commissions from various churches have tried to create approaches to unity by reconstructing their articles of faith so as to make room for contradictory articles of faith held by others. 
Having quoted a troubling example (which I hope to share on Logismoi soon), Senior concludes, ‘The only rational way for Protestants and Catholics [and Orthodox, of course] to get along together is to practice the difficult virtue of tolerance—not to falsify their claims by ambiguities.’ 
I must admit that for various reasons I do in fact have ‘a strong desire’ to find points in whatever I read that can be reconciled with or that at least bear a modicum of similarity to Orthodox belief. But I do not want my irenicism in this respect to be mistaken for a facile kind of ecumenism. I believe, with Fr Georges Florovsky, that the Orthodox Church ‘is in very truth the Church, i.e. the true Church and the only true Church.’
I believe this for many reasons: by personal conviction and by the inner testimony of the Spirit which breathes in the sacraments of the Church and by all that I could learn from Scripture and from the universal tradition of the Church. I am therefore compelled to regard all other Christian churches as deficient, and in many cases I can identify these deficiencies accurately enough. Therefore, for me, Christian reunion is simply universal conversion to Orthodoxy. I have no confessional loyalty; my loyalty belongs solely to the Una Sancta.
I know well that my claim will be disavowed by many Christians. It will seem an arrogant and futile claim. I know well that many things I belive with full and uttermost conviction are disbelieved by others. Now, I do not see any reason whatsoever to doubt them or disbelieve them myself....This does not mean that everything in the past or present state of the Orthodox Church is to be equated with the truth of God. Many things are obviously changeable; indeed, many things need improvement. The true Church is not yet the perfect Church.
The Church of Christ has to grow and be built up in history. Yet the whole and the full truth has been already given and entrusted to the Church. Revision and re-statement are always possible, and sometimes imperative. The whole past history of the Ecumenical Councils is evidence of this fact. The holy Fathers of the Church were engaged in this task. Yet on the whole, the ‘deposit’ was faithfully kept and the testimony of faith was gained in accuracy and precision. Above all, the sacramental structure of the Body has been kept integral and intact. Here again, I know that this conviction of mine may be rejected as an illusion. For me, it is a matter of evidence. If this is obstinacy, it is the obstinacy of evidence. I can only see what I actually do see. I cannot help it. But in no way am I going to ‘un-church’ anyone. The judgment has been given to the Son. No one is entitled to anticipate his judgment. Yet the Church has her own authority in history. It is first the authority to teach and to faithfully keep the word of truth. There is a certain rule of faith and order that is to be regarded as normal. What is beyond is just abnormal. But the abnormal should be cured, and not simply condemned.... 
I have quoted Fr Georges at length because I want my position to be as clear as possible, and it is identical with his. I want all that I write here to be read in light of these convictions. I shall continue to make comparisons, to find the best that I can in non-Orthodox and even non-Christian culture. But I want this project to be as it was always intended to be—a carrying out of St Basil’s injunction to imitate the bee in carrying away pollen from various flowers, not an attempt to iron out differences across creeds and cultures.
 Of course, some of my most consistent reading material of the last year—John Senior and his student James Taylor—has argued persuasively that climate control is inimical to the ‘poetic mode of knowledge’. Indeed, it is a position I had come to, though without the aid of that expression, on my own some time ago. The trouble, however, is twofold. First, our modern buildings are built to be climate-controlled, so if the AC breaks, there is no way to naturally cool it and it becomes unfit for human habitation. (My own house would seem to be exempt from this, having been built before AC. But it was long ago sealed up and insulated by the landlords. Even the windows are painted shut.) Second, I do in fact currently have a pregnant wife to consider. I make up for these things myself by leaving the AC off in the car when I’m driving without her and simply rolling down the windows—which has to be done by hand in our car!
 Hieromonk Patapios, ‘Critical Comments on Bishop Kallistos’ The Orthodox Way’, Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XVI, 3 & 4 (1999), p. 35.
 John Senior, The Death of Christian Culture (Norfolk, VA: IHS, 2008), p. 16.
 Ibid., p. 17.
 Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky, ‘The True Church’, tr. Linda Morris, Ecumenism I: A Doctrinal Approach, Vol. 13 in The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky, ed. Richard S. Haugh (Vaduz: Büchervertriebsanstalt, 1989), pp. 134-5.