Appreciative approach to Orthodox Social Theology

5th International Conference of Orthodox Psychoterapists Psychoterapy & Pastorale: Revelations of the Existence- Copyright © 2012

FORMAT | Presented paper              

LANGUAGE | English

HOW TO CITE| SANDU, Antonio, Necula, M. R., Damian, S. I., Caras, A. (2012). Appreciative approach to Orthodox Social Theology. Prezentat la 5th International Conference of Orthodox Psychoterapists Psychoterapy & Pastorale: Revelations of the Existence, 27-30 Septembrie 2012, Grecia.

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The orthodoxy stresses upon principles, such as humbleness and need. As a consequence, a theology of success in orthodoxy, although it can be thought as honouring the holy spirit, is more difficult to conceive from the dogmatical point of view, as long as success, especially the social one is usually correlated with arrogance and considered to be a sin. The relation between theology and the appreciative models is explored in the specialty literature from the perspective of theology models of vocation, specific to protestantism and neprotestantism, trends from America. The relation between success and redemption highlighted by Weber, makes, in fact, all neoprotestant theologies be, at the same time, theologies of success. Success is regarded as a sign of the Divine Grace and, as a consequence, is to be desired for a protestant or neoprotestant believer. The orthodox theology of redemption is, in essence, a theology of success, as the highest success that the human being can access is that to be part to the mystery of godliness. The success is not a wordly one, but one directed towards eternity. We consider of having a special significance for the contemporary theological discourse the approaching of taking care and serving the person next to you from the perspective of „happiness theology”, or more precisely of interpreting Happiness as an affirmative attitude. The Christic message replaces the interdiction of the type „not to” and the image of a „jealous and forbidding God”, which reverberates from the Decalogue with that of a people loving God, who guarantees the obtaining of „the supreme success” of the Christian, the everlasting happiness, made possible by Godly taking responsibility for all human sins. Happiness is guaranteed with the condition of a soul cleanliness. The theology of Happiness does not exclude anybody from his/her part of happiness if the person does not exclude himself/herself. The orthodox theology is positive in essence, but the positivity is based on „the success of redemption”, which is more „an emptying of passions”. The present paper approaches a correlation between the appeciative theology and the orthodox theology with application in the space of chronic cases medical care.
From the perspective of appreciative medicine, symptomatology, especially in the case of chronic diseases, does not represent anything else than a challenge of the subject for redefining the personal state of perfect health. Instead of the attention oriented towards pain as a state of suffering, this is centered towards the state of vigour and the continuous decrease of symptomatology as being defining for the individual success of the therapy. The patient identifies himself/herself with the illness and this is why he/she becomes one with the disease. Freeing the patient’s own therapeutic potential through a correct appreciation. The term of appreciation within the appreciative methods is a synonym of valuing, positive acceptance. The appreciative therapeutical process is based on a methodology deriving from the appreciative enquiry. From the othodox perspective, suffering can be valued as an antechamber of redemption. The article will analyse the way in which the orthodox patients(diabetics) relate to the disease and suffering as a way of opening towards redemption, by taking over the model of the Redeemer.


Orthodox theology, chronic disease, diabetes, appreciative medicine.