Try as they might, they’ll NOT succeed… the sun WILL rise again (just as the Son did). It’ll be nasty, grotty, and squalid (and QUITE personal) in the immediate short term… we need only get through that…
One of my friends kindly sent on to me some schmidot’s criticism of me on the Orthodox Forum. Indeed, I thank them for it… but to tell you the truth, I withdrew from all the fora and chat-rooms some time ago. Frankly, all of them have their “slant”… and a nasty and domineering clique rules every one of them (despite efforts by moderators to the contrary). In the case of the Orthodox Forum, there’s a group of about 20 loudmouthed SVS/Syosset Renovationists who “control” the discussion. They all have (or had) usernames rather than actual names… “KAren Jermyn”, “Hank Leaf”, “Richard”… these are some of the loudest of the lot. Trust me, it seems as though the whole world’s against you when you’re in the midst of these chattering magpies. When you step aside, you realise that it’s only a small and unrepresentative coterie… loud… yes… insistent… yes… but with no “following”. To use an old Texas expression, “They’re all hat and no cattle”.
Their method is to try to shut one down and be belittling. In ADS’ day, the fave tactic was to smear someone as “mentally troubled”… this was an utter scream, as the SVS/Syosset crowd was full of 12-Stepper AA sorts and people with “interesting” proclivities (such as Pierre l’Huillier and Feodosy Lazor). Yet, that’s what happened, and, in a pre-internet age, it was effective enough. Either one went along with ADS’ crackbrained notions, or one was out. As a priest told one parishioner, “If I could call the cops on you, I would”. One didn’t see such nastiness before 1965… in either the OCA or the ROCOR. After that date, ADS became the effectual First Hierarch of the OCA… and he turned viciously on all those who even questioned his nostrums.
As for the ROCOR, the resignation of Anastassy Gribanovsky in 1964 (and his subsequent death in 1965), meant that a resolute leader was replaced by Philaret Voznesensky, a man who was a spiritual giant, but an administrative nebbish. The ROCOR needed a LEADER… it got a pastor, instead. This is no small matter… leadership is NOT the same as the cure of souls. This meant that administration fell into the hands of Archpriest Georgi Grabbe… who later became Bishop Gregory upon his wife’s death. It’s interesting… both the OCA and the ROOCR fell into the hands of émigré archpriests of aristo background from the Parisian milieu. The two hated one another with a purple passion. I think that it all started in some smoky Left Bank Parisian café in the ‘40s. No doubt, these two had a fight and never forgave one another.
One can see that this idiocy has been going on for over forty years, now. We’ve gotten so used to it that we think that it’s normal, when it’s actually very abnormal in the extreme. We have to come to grips with what the Church has become… it’s not pretty and it’s not “nice”. In the homelands, the Holy Synod would send “Love BT” to a monastery and put him under a gag order. Here, we allow him to run amuck… attacking all and sundry, sullying the Church’s reputation in the process. This does NOT happen in Russia… if a retired or active bishop did such… he wouldn’t last long, trust me. This is what we’ve become… it’s why the OCA and the ROCOR are putrefying corpses… the spirit is gone, only the form remains. Can these dry bones live? WE have to possess the will to choose otherwise… otherwise, it’ll only get worse.
Therefore, if there’s a nasty sort on the Orthodox Forum… that’s par for the course! I say, let such sorts fulminate… they CAN say the most hurtful and untrue things, but you have to steel yourself to ignore them. As Bob Czech wrote to me once, “If the harpoon didn’t sink in deep, they wouldn’t be hollering”. As for the Indiana List, the fact that it allows such disreputable trash as “Love BT” and Al Green to post does take away considerably from its “cred”.
One last thing… don’t bandy about “mental illness” as an explanation, yourself. Truly, nasty folks such as Tikhon Fitzgerald, Al Green, Alexander Lebedeff, and Bobby K aren’t nutters. Nope… they never were. They’re cruel… that’s all. Cruelty is much simpler than “mental illness”… psychiatric illness is a genuine cross, which we demean by calling all sorts of nasty people “mentally ill”. These sorts CHOSE cruelty… they CHOSE to attack and demean others. There’s no need to drag in “mental illness”. Indeed, such talk is an attempt to avoid the term “evil”. Evil people do walk amongst us… and we’d do well to acknowledge it. It’ll be the first step on the way to normality; that’s the first step on the path home to the Mother Church.
As for the naysayers… they have an agenda. Always ask, “Cui bono?” You’ll save yourself a great deal of grief.
Monday 20 June 2011