Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lenten Disruptions, Version 2.0

It seems nearly every year during Lent, the media revive some long-discredited rumor to discourage Christians: the "tomb of Jesus," the Gospel of Judas, The Da Vinci Code, etc. For some reason, canonical Orthodox always seem to pick fights with each other about contraception during Lent. And it seems as though nearly every year since I started this blog, during Lent (or, more tellingly, around Holy Week) someone issues some allegation against me that I'm supposed to waste time and energy combating, rather than working out my own salvation.

Right on cue, I understand from someone privy that a new round of rumors about me has been posted on a number of vagante haunts. I gather these include a number of false allegations. Some of you may know better than I the details of who posted what where, and when; I doubt it would be spiritually beneficial for me to learn. But before I could end the discussion of this unfortunate topic, I gathered the chief allegation claims that I made a number of telephone calls, over the course of two years, to His Grace Bishop GABRIEL of ROCOR to pass on negative information about some vagante or other.

At the risk of dignifying the charge, let me simply respond: I have never been in touch with Vl. GABRIEL by telephone, telegram, mail, FAX, e-mail, personal audience, telegraph, hologram, or courier pigeon. I have never communicated with Bp. GABRIEL of ROCOR in any way, shape, fashion, or form at any time in my life. Indeed, I'm sure Bishop GABRIEL would be the first to say so.

Again, I don't know the specifics of who posted what when, or where. I do not wish to hear the specifics about this or other rumors; indeed, I did not wish to hear the substance of this falsehood. I do not intend to spend a moment reacting to such people. I do intend to forgive whomever was involved, pray for their well-being, for their enlightenment — and for their malice to end. And then, I hope to set about trying to have an effectual Lent.

I know others have also been hurt by a recent number of anti-WRO onslaughts. There's no point in getting angry or upset over their mean-spirited falsehoods or rushing to their blogs and boards to duke it out with them. (Ya think you're going to get an even playing field?) I can't imagine what Adversary-al Accuser would want us to do so and thus rob us of all the joys of Lent. But I — and I hope you, dear reader — won't fall for it. I would guess this is not the first falsehood these individuals (whoever they are) have posted, and that their history and behavior exposes them for what they are, anyway.

In reality, there is absolutely no profit in trying to talk with those with a Pseudodox axe-to-grind. As Ari Adams has noted about discussions with vagantes:
it gets old and soul-wearying...[Our assailants will] twist any answer given into whatever mockery they choose to advance their selves...

Personally - I get tired of the pretend friendships, people claiming: "I'm for traditional Western rite Orthodoxy", "I'm for Church Unity", etc. All the while they back-bite and slander those holy WRITE clergy actually labouring in the field, then have the gall to call it 'parochial differences' or claim our Western rite clergy are 'liars'. Frankly - I'm scandalised. I'm not interested in the kind of 'Orthodoxy' these critics (whether they consider themselves pro or anti Western rite) are selling - and I'm tired of them expecting us at every challenge (new blog, yahoo board, recent rumor, or forum posting) to come out and battle them for the 'heart and soul' of the Western rite and Orthodoxy....
So true, particularly since most of the "challenges" are not new, they are often simply means to spread falsehoods about canonical Orthodox clergy/laity/jurisdictions, and most of these people are outside Orthodoxy themselves. Ari rightly notes that Western Orthodox:
have enough battle in our own 'cells': fighting our own sin, a culture that is increasingly hostile, and the pain, misery and poverty of humanity around us. We don't need 'cocked up' wars with opponents who want to blab on and on about liturgical minutiae but don't seem to know a single thing about Christian friendship, overcoming doubt about God and the Church.
Please join me in not focusing on these things, not allowing such misbehavior to replace the new birth of Easter with a stillborn Lent. Let's get into church and pray. Most of all, let's not allow their actions to blind us to the real task at hand: repenting of our own sins, growing in Christ's image and likeness, and in so doing seeing thousands around us being saved.

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