Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don't speak about how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought.
-Epictetus' Enchiridion 46
Lent is right around the corner and my own thoughts are beginning to turn toward the disparity between what we preach and teach and confess and what we actually
do and how we live. For myself, as a priest and theologian, Epictetus' words have special import. Of all
Christians I am most tempted to be quick to speak a great deal about theorems - theological teachings
both concrete and abstract - among the unlearned. Theology is not a matter of words (though words mean something)
or of thought alone (lest we become Gnostic heretics), but a matter of the Kingdom of God coming among
us sinful men in power and might. It is not only a matter of the Faith being taught in purity and the
Sacraments being administered rightly, but also a matter of Christians hearing that Word of God and living holy
lives according to it; in the same way, the coming of the Kingdom is not a matter only of speaking the Word in every
corner of the earth, but also a matter of His people living holy lives now and in eternity.
When the Christian Faith becomes nothing but words, how can the Church become anything but a Gnostic fellowship where
thinking the right things in the right ways is the way of salvation? No, the One True Faith is more than
words and thoughts, and it ought to be communicated among the unlearned with all of one's being.