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  • Fr. Richard Rene

The Challenge of Engaging the World While Becoming Detached

Christian theology resolves one of the central issues of Hellenistic philosophy, which is the tension between attachment and commitment. In this tradition, there are three major passions: fear, grief, and anger.

They are all rooted in a desire for, and attachment to external objects. The anticipation of losing the things to which we are attached triggers fear. The present threat of losing those objects triggers anger. The recollection of having lost the object triggers grief.

The solution to these passions is detachment. However, we must remain committed to the world even as we are detached from it. How to be committed to something without becoming attached to it is the essence of the spiritual struggle. And the key to winning that struggle is Jesus Christ, in whom the absolutely detached God commits absolutely to human life, even to death itself.


Fr. Richard Rene is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America. He lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia, with his wife Jaime and three children. He works as a prison chaplain at a maximum security institution, and serves at Holy Apostle Mission Station. He is the author of three YA fantasy novels and a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

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