Oikonomia is a Greek word with multiple meanings, or rather, one meaning that has different aspects, and applies to various levels of human organization (individual, family, community, and society). Nemein means to manage or control and oikos is a house. The concept can have a purely individual connotation: "the rules which control a person's manner of living," or "making the most of one's resources." The management of a household is the most literal translation. In addition to applying to a person or a family, oikonomiaoi is also used to describe the stewardship of a community or a society. "The administration of the concerns and resources of any community or establishment with a view to orderly conduct and productiveness."
The ladies of HAWC asked me to talk about the concept of oikonomia from a religious standpoint, and the role of women in spiritual stewardship. I am no theologian, but I couldn't resist giving it a try. So, here I am. There are three aspects of the religious application of the concept that I want to discuss: (1) what Orthodox Christianity has to say about our oikonomia as individuals and families, by which I mean the stewardship of our souls; (2) God's oikonomia for us, meaning His stewardship of our souls, and (3) the role that cultural values play, in addition to religious beliefs, in realizing righteous oikonomia.