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“There is a propensity in our modern world to break things down – to analyze. We have gained a certain mastery over many things by analyzing the various components of their structure and manipulating what we find. It has become the default position for modern thought. This power of analysis, however, is weakened by its very success. Frequently the truth of something lies not in the summary of its parts but in the wonder of the whole…The fullness of the faith is not revealed in the analysis of various constituent elements, but in the slow (and sometimes sudden) apprehension of the whole.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“This basic methodology remains the standard in almost all areas of human endeavor. For all the good that its legitimate use has done, this reductionism has been popularized into the modern imaginary with some less than helpful results. First, we seem to have developed a kind of analysis fever, a rage to dissect anything and everything…The second, inevitable, result of reductionism, is its tendency to fragment. We have indeed succeeded in breaking many things down into their smallest parts, but are having difficulty with the synthesis, putting the pieces back together in a coherent form. This is particularly true of religious principles.” (Fr. Edward Rommen)

“…even when our lives are safe, our brains easily default to our primordial habit of scanning our experience for problems. The habits of analyzing, ruminating, worrying, planning, remembering, analyzing, evaluating, and problem fixation have become so second nature to us as a species that these types of thoughts often occur automatically.” (Robin Phillips)

“If, as the proverb goes, a tidy desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, I suggest that a tidy theology is a sign of a church that has lost its way among the clutter of the world—or at least is guilty of a serious reductionism, for truly abundant life resists analysis. Take for example, something as common as one’s love for one’s wife. If a husband tried to reduce his relationship with his spouse to [something like] The Seven Forms of Love, he would be guilty of reducing something rich to something immeasurably poorer. He would also probably spend a lot of time sleeping on the couch.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“St. Paul warns us not to let our minds be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). We tend to over think, over analyze, and over intellectualize things, sometimes to the point of absurdity cloaked in what passes for wisdom. It’s nothing more than the delusion that comes from human though turned inward on itself. In the Gospel we see that Christ gave thanks to God for all things and then gave freely of Himself in all circumstances. He pointed to the simplicity of the humility of a little child as the model of discipleship and the criteria for being called the “greatest in Heaven” (Matthew 18:4). God can never be known through analysis, only through communion. This comes from prayer, worship, being fully present, and purifying and uncluttering our thoughts so that they no longer act as a barrier.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


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