That last post was rather long; it was meant as a further exploration of the legitimacy of the word “socialization,” which an Orthodox Christian homeschooling Mom questioned here: Bourgeois Baby: “What about socialization?”
Ultimately, as Orthodox Christians we are in the process of discovering- unwrapping- the inexpressible gift of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- one God- that we are to be one with Him and one another as our Lord Jesus Christ (and the Holy Spirit) is one with the Father. (St.. John 17)
This gift of His uncreated Grace comes to us like the wind, in many ways, some of them unexpected (St. John 3); this Grace also comes to us through the Most Holy Theotokos in the form of the Incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who remains incarnate, seated at the right hand of the Father. And by the Holy Spirit Christ’s tangibility is continually made manifest through the sacraments of the Church- baptism, chrismation, the Eucharist, holy unction, confession and repentance, ordination, marriage, as well as the innumerable sacramentals of the Church- all the means by which the Lord lovingly touches us, spirit, soul, and body.
As St. Paul writes, we are one bread, one body, as we partake of His Body and Blood, (1 Cor. 3) just as the Shepherd of Hermas writes of one tower, the House of God. We learn to lay aside our preferences and say “Thy will be done,” to God’s will and our neighbors’ interests. We are given strength to forsake our ways, which only disable us for the purpose for which God made us: to show forth His likeness, to bring Him glory thereby, and to be one with Him and each other.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as Persons, do not manifest any individualistic independence- there is one Divine Mind and one Divine Will in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is one. And our sanctification and deification consists in participating in the Divine energies that our God has manifested in His creation – becoming one with Him not only in purpose, but in our very being, in ways beyond our conception. With Christ the Only-Begotten Son, we become adopted sons of God. We become persons- in the true sense of the word- in Him! We may be given varying gifts, but they are given for a common purpose, for loving service. (1 Cor. 12)
Socialization is a word for the process of becoming one with one another in our communities, primary or otherwise, in this life, in the Church, and forever. Our tendency toward willful independence is checked first and foremost in the family, and in the Church, in favor if loving interdependence.
In any case, while the word “deification” cannot be found in Holy Scripture, many scriptural passages, especially 2 Peter 1:4, show that this term, with longstanding usage in Orthodox theology, has scriptural roots.
And similarly, 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and 1 Peter 2:5 (the “living stones” analogy) provide a scriptural grounding for the word “socialization” (at least as it is used by respected Orthodox theologians like Dr. John Boojamra).
Language is a dynamic thing, and the meaning of a word can depend on its context. Perhaps “socialization,” as used in some secular contexts, is far from scriptural, as the aforementioned Orthodox homeschooling Mom warns. Time will tell if it will be accepted by the Church in a lasting way according to the definition that such as Dr. Boojamra gives it in his book “Foundations of Orthodox Christian Education,” which was the major basis for my own thesis. (Click on “About“)