Have you ever had one of those discussions when you were back in college that made you wonder what you were on when you remembered it the following day? No, I am not talking about drug abuse. Rather, college, at its best, used to encourage people to probe the borders not only of science, but also of thought. Much of that is gone nowadays. The emphasis now is on turning out people who can earn money. Now, there is nothing wrong with this. That is, unless the people who are turned out have been taught so narrowly that they are incapable of thinking any wider than their own limited discipline.
We make fun of philosophers nowadays, but we forget how many of the Early Church Fathers were trained in either philosophy or rhetoric, or both. We need more people who can look out beyond the borders of their discipline, their culture, in order to be able to better see how it all fits together. I admit that philosophers have earned a genuinely bad reputation. But, given some of the weak arguments that are put forward nowadays, and the lack of logic in many of them, I think I could make a good case for the need of the return of philosophy and of philosophically trained leaders, who can put together a consistent philosophy/theology.
There is a new generation of young Orthodox scholars rising up in the USA who can write both deeply and yet understandably and logically. Among them are people such as Father Andrew Stephen Damick. Hellenic College Holy Cross has the Orthodox Scholars Initiative. The Antiochians have the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.
It is my fond hope that, little by little, this new generation will give birth to scholars that will fill the gaps and prepare the Orthodox in America to take the next needed steps in the development of a united Orthodox Church in the USA.