Sunday, February 27, 2011

Met. Jonah Reflect This I'm Not Biting

The homily Met. Jonah offered his flock and the greater Orthodox Church seemed thin veiled to me. The official talk speak seemed to be pushing the party line as it were. Are we really expected to believe that this was the best plan the Synod could come up with to find a way for Met. Jonah to find solace.   There was considerable shuffling of official responsibilities, overtures of public assurances  and the restating and affirming of the lines of authority. All this for simply managing the logistics of one vacation and respit.  This retreat and time of personal reflection comes as an imposition to the church at large as it has been mishandled to the point of a worldwide debocle and is a public relation nightmare. The Met. wished to blame internet sources for this confusion but it stems from his office and the Synod. It demonstrates a lapse in discernment and ability to manage responsibility. I believe that the initial Greek report was correct of which the OCA wasw not yet prepared to present or package for mass consumption. This would explain the lag from the OCA regarding the official public statement about what transpired.

If we are actually expected to accept there is nothing more to this then a desire for prayer and retreat why not simply clear his calender and dedicate himself privately. This is a lot of pomp and circumstance to manage andhas proven logistically extremely challenging just for the OCA to confirm nothing has changed. A sidenote to this leave of absensce Met. Jonah glossed over the termination of his chancellor.

For an institution that claimed itself competent and appointed in the most unique sense to lead the Church in America this akward circumstance doesn’t foster any confidence. When hierarchs are running off for down time and ‘retreat’ and are scrambling to assure their flock that there is no fire where the smoke billows is laughable. Unlike Met. Jonah, His All-Holiness has super fatigue resistance blessed by God to always be ready to attend to his flock and not entrust his flock to hired hands. I know that many will attack me for being unseemly by ‘judging’ or questioning the timing and the entire fiasco an obvious cover up as prayer has become the ‘sacred cow’ beyond any reproach. Of course I want hierarchs to pray and to meditate but I don’t expect them to disrupt the entire Church to do so. If this was planned I find that possibility (very remote) far more disconcerting then if there was a blow out and everyone is taking hiatus. Regardless I find the whole dilemma unfortunate, unnecessary, attention seeking and disorganized. I believe that they are in way above their heads. I can only suppose that Met. Jonah will return with some Damascus moment or prophetic word or his return will be completely unnoticed.

9 comments:

Jeremiah said...

Did you ever think that with the mass dissemination of information rapidly, things could have been misconstrued by those reading the information (i.e. people read into the statement what was not there, and jumped the gun?
Maybe they are covering things up. I don't know. But we should be as willing to hear the OCA Synod's side of the story as we are to hear speculation.
I think you are a driven, and inspirational person. I do not doubt your intention, personal piety or commitment to Christ. I must however ask you to consider your statements more carefully though. You say "I'm not biting." Do you really believe that? There should be no whitewashing over sin, but as I have said to you numerous times, there are far more humble ways to make a powerful statement, or blow the whistle.
My hope for Orthodoxy (and indeed all the Apostolic Churches) is to see a true praxis of love and unity. Not just theological and liturgical unity. I'm talking about the unity and bond of lovingkindness toward one another. When you or I, or anyone else for that matter, make cutting statements about the failings of others, it engenders more disunity. It polarizes people's opinions. That is not right. The Fathers stated that schism was worse than heresy. Let's unite in prayer for the sins of the Church. Blow the whistle if you must, but let it be a call to prayer, not a gloating. I think if you reread your posts on here, FB and elsewhere, you'll see what I'm saying.
Again, I am in no way making an accusation of your character. I am asking you to reconsider the manner in which you blow the whistle. I do not advocate being "mainstream". I do advocate the humility of the Prayer of St Ephraim (which we will be praying daily as of next week).
I think it was Fr Lazarus of St Anthony's Monastery in Egypt who said that when a monk prays, all mankind prays. In that same light, we are guilty of one another's sins as well (I think of the prayer right before receiving the Eucharist: "I believe, O Lord that Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God, Who didst come into the world to save sinners OF WHOM I AM CHIEF...)
Met Jonah's failure, is mine. Your failings are Met Jonah's, etc, etc, etc.
That being said, I'm always glad to read many of your reflections and posts.
On another note: I am getting used to my 5-Finger Shoes. Hopefully soon I will able to start training for a marathon, and hopefully run under the cause of Religious Freedom.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

Jeremiah thank you for taking the time to write me. I would like to say a few things in response to your comment. The first of which is that the titles of blogs are intended to be teasers and eye catching. This particular one indicates that I don't believe after watching and listening to Met. Jonah's sermon today that he told the truth in its totality as it doesn't seem to add up. I also don't think he had much choice on the matter. The PR was handled so poorly that it got out of hand. I would like to say that i have not attacked any one personally not their character or their personhood. I have been very critical about the manner in which they are executing their roles as the head of their prospective churches. They are Bishops for God sake they should be held to the highest standards. This was poorly handled across the board.

Jeremiah said...

Thanks for answering me back so quickly. I understand that the title of your post was meant to catch eyes, and not be a dig. I was commenting on an over-arching sense I get from posts on FB, this blog, other folks whose statements you have posted, etc. You are right that you have not attacked anyone's person or character. The manner in which your criticisms have been leveled at their actions is what I'm was getting at. I think we can blow the whistle, while at the same time inspiring others to humbly pray for fallen leaders, brothers, sisters, etc.
These leaders need to be held in to account at a high standard (I'm thinking of the high standard set by Paul in Timothy and Titus), no doubt. But we laity are held to a high standard by our Lord as well.
Would it not be better to inspire people to pray for those who have sinned than to insight more anger? St James tells us that man's anger does not achieve God's righteousness.
Whistles are meant to be blown, but they are meant to be blown responsibly. Honestly, (forgive me for saying so) I thing some of your whistle blowing fervor has been a bit irresponsible.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

No forgiveness necessary as i am not offended nor do i believe you intended to offend. Understand that your point while well taken has a limit. I am called to speak out I have been given a spirit of boldness while others a greater aptitude for meakness. If i as the lone watchdog trying to keep at least point out that not all is rainbows and sunshine. I do not call the monk to the podium nor should i expect less then a blunt call it as you see it approach from me. Visitors of this blog and my facebook know what they will get. I do not see anyone else out there making the stance as I do because each of us has our own calling. The Archons fight the good fight in the European Union Courts. The officials of the Ecumenical Patriarchate write journals, encyclicals and give academic lectures on the topics. I run marathons and speak about civil rights violations. These topics are serious and intense. I embrace who God has made me and I fill a gap. The civility that you seek in me if you reflect is what disgusts all of us about politicians who speak lovely plateatudes but fail to serve. I am direct and honest. Thanks for continuing to follow the dialogue. Seek out the meaning the context and the implication of what is being said and less so about the format or stylistic differences.

Jeremiah said...

I think you misunderstand the difference between the false civility of political spin, and Christian love. We can speak out against injustice, but in a respectful way, especially when you are speaking out against those in the Episcopacy.
Yes you are bold, but I struggle to see anything inspired by the Spirit of God in anything you say. Prophets called people to repentance and to serve the living God, even sometimes in harsh terms. But they called people to repentance.
You seem to come from a "loyalty to the Ecumenical Patriarch at all costs" stance. Anything else is met with vehemence, mockery and insults. How is this calling your Orthodox brothers and sisters to godliness?
To be honest, I hope voices like those of Metropolitans Kallistos and Hilarion Alfeyev prevail within the Church. They are direct, yet they call the Church to forgiveness, godliness, and a return to unity as One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I'm not saying they are perfect, but they have a more scriptural and patristic understanding than most seem to have within the Church.
These kinds of posts, along with your latest "The silent OCA", are examples of the kind of disunity we need to abandon. I think they engender the divisiveness that is a sin within our Holy Church. Christ told His Disciples to be one. We are far from one, and this stuff doesn't help.
I'm not advocating meekness, or a turning the other way. I am advocating grace and truth.
Out of curiosity, why have you never answered to the prayers I have referenced? Instead you answer to something I am not saying.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

Jeremiah, there are planned assassinations, actual murders, actual bombings at the Patriarchate, discrimination and property confiscations. There is the real threat of imprisonment of any speech deemed anti Turkish. The Church in Turkey is oppressed by the government which is run by the military. Conversion to Christianity is punishable by imprisionment. They indoctrinate Christians while forcibly closing our Theological School. In Turkey just last year they beheaded a catholic priest. Please I am not receptive to the etiquette lesson at this time. These are life and death issues not philosophical platitudes.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

As to the prayers you have referenced I know them and I consider my prayer life wholly personal and private. Within the closet of my heart. I notice some of your misunderstandings also but have refrained from pointing them out like the out of context and misapplied that the church fathers prefer heresy to schism. You misunderstand the implication.

Jeremiah said...

These platitudes you speak of are not directed at these egregious acts you speak of. I am talking about your irresponsible statements made about other jurisdictions. I have no trouble speaking against atrocities. Jurisdictional matters are another thing. I am talking about Orthodox bashing other Orthodox, not the human rights violations you mentioned. I was not talking about etiquette, I was talking about showing fellow Orthodox who have sinned grace. We seem to be talking in circles about two different things. To think I would be talking simple etiquette in the face of life and death issues is ridiculous. I was speaking to the defense of the Sovereignty of the EP at the expense of other Orthodox jurisdictions, not Islam.
As for prayers, I am not talking about, or criticizing your personal prayer life. As you well know, our Orthodox prayers are not just personal, but corporate as well. No one prays in a vacuum, or they do not pray. I was addressing the language of the prayers themselves, not your personal prayer life. The entire Orthodox world prays the prayer of St Ephraim for 40 days, in unison. How can we tolerate such disunity and enmity from one another in the light of that? It's inexcusable and it's sinful. We should repent.
I may misunderstand a great many things, and not communicate myself very well, but that prayer is pretty clear.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

Jeremiah, I knew very well of which prayer you were refering to prior to its reference in your last comment.