Voices from Russia

Monday, 15 December 2014

Tim Wise on “Nice”

01 Hypocrisy Meter

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Nice people change nothing. They never have and they never will. Those who are nice are so invested in their niceness, in their sense of propriety and civility, that they rarely raise their voices above a whisper, even in the face of sweltering oppression. Nice white people were the ones who didn’t own black folks during the period of enslavement, but also didn’t raise their voices against the ones who did. Nice white people are the ones who didn’t spit on sit-in demonstrators, but also had no problem spending money with businesses that had remained segregated all those years.

To be nice is to have an emotional stake in the prevention of one’s own pain. Nice people don’t like to look at the ugly. It’s upsetting, most of all because it puts us on the hook and calls forth our humanity to actually put an end to that pain. Precisely because most people are good, decent, and nice, they turn away from any evidence that the world, and their society, is less decent than the sum total of its citizenry. It’s too much to take in. This is the irony of niceness… unlike persons with antisocial personalities or severe sociopathy who quite enjoy pain and suffering and often seek to cause it, those who’re nice are so wrapped up in rainbows and lollipops as to make gazing upon the truth a bridge too far. …

In short, and though I know it won’t strike some folks as particularly, well, nice, we really must say it… fuck nice. The fact that there are many who would be more disturbed by my language here than by the death of black men at the hands of police, tells us all we need to know about the poison that is niceness, and about the dangerous souls who cling to that self-concept like a badge of honour. They have made clear by virtue of their silence what side they’re on; and that will not, cannot, be forgotten.

Tim Wise

The complete piece is here

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Editor:

The TRUTH will set you free. Niceness fetters you to UNTRUTH… which means that you’re not only unfree, but it also means that you’d inflict hurt and pain to conceal your true lack of compassion and empathy. The most scabrous sorts are the “good news” and “family values” crowd… they value “niceness” above all else. This means that they’d repress anyone or anything that goes against their notions. Do ponder that…

BMD

15 December 2014. A Point to Ponder

01 playing cards

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In bargaining, to say that a deal is off the table is actually part of the bargaining process.  For those already familiar with this point, please forgive that we must belabour this for a moment. This is true all over the world, but is a particularly known bargaining tactic in Eurasia and the Middle East.  It’s right to see that this tactic sees use in the Far West, even where the basis of the business culture tends to favour the proclivities and sensitivities of those in the Anglosphere.  Nevertheless, Slavs, Arabs, Turks, and Iranians do business differently.  Saying that a deal is off the table is neither rude, nor is it a deal breaker.  It’s also not limited to business, but also informs other spheres of life such as romance and friendships.  It’s an often-critical part of the deal-making process.  In a way that may seem counterintuitive to westerners, this actually builds trust.

Joaquín Flores

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Do you remember the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the father angrily says “No” to the suitor of his daughter, but who ends by buying the couple a house before their wedding? That’s what Sr Flores is talking about! It’s one reason the konvertsy always garble what’s told them. The Church is Levantine in its very soul… even amongst non-Hellenic elements. It grew up in the Middle East, NOT in Western Europe, so, its way of doing business is very Near Eastern.

A “no” often means… “We’ll talk, but in a year or two… but not now”. This angers the zapadniki, as they think either that they’re getting an outright refusal or that the Church is stringing them along. Actually, the Church is wise. Oikonomia is a two-way street… not only does the Church extend its protection, but the recipient has to prove that they’re willing to stand by everything else that the Church holds and that they’re serious characters. One sign of seriousness is persistence even after an initial refusal. If the supplicant shows that they’re serious and that they’re not going to go away, then, the Church begins to talk in earnest. Why decide and risk the Church’s rep for some jabronie who’s going to leave anyway? The Church shouldn’t waste its cred in such a fashion… so, it usually doesn’t. Of course, there are those who attack every instance of oikonomia extended by the Church. That’s always been there… but if you look closely at most cases of oikonomia, you’d see that the recipient is following an implicit script (although unwritten, it’s traditional, and more binding than a legal contract).

Take Mark Stokoe, for instance. He’s the favourite punching bag of the konvertsy brats. Bishop Job Osacky extended his oikonomia… the toddlers haven’t stopping screaming for years. Yet, I’d notice that Mark doesn’t go against the Church publicly. Yes, I know that he’s an SVS fanatic, but the SVS bloc is still within the Church, whether you like it or not. In my Father’s House there are MANY mansions… remember WHO said that. As long as that’s so, as long as their notions remain uncondemned synodically, he isn’t a heretic or schismatic. As far as his homosexuality is concerned, the Church has a nuanced approach, and those who don’t like that can go off to a “purer” place, if they so desire. Mark’s an asshat… I’d agree with that, but he isn’t dishonest about his proclivities… that goes far in my book. He isn’t a Feodosy Lazor or Nikolai Soraich (Soraich’s close pal Brittain copped a plea to kiddie porn charges, if you recall).

That’s why I believe that I’ll ultimately get justice in the Church. It’s what it is, it’s what it’s been for two millennia, and it’s set in its ways. Once you realise that, everything else is a cakewalk. I’ve been a loyal parishioner of the same parish for ten years… are they perfect? Hey, the real Orthodox way is to flip that question over, “Am I perfect?” HELL NO!! I don’t preach at people, I don’t disturb what’s going on, and I’ve discovered that being on the “outs” isn’t the death sentence that some make it out to be. Often, it gives one a clearer view of the situation. The Church DOES move. Eppur si muove! It’s just not going to extend itself if you don’t extend yourself to meet it halfway. That takes time.

Remember the old Greek father… NO! That “no” turned into a loving embrace… when you realise that, you understand WHY the Church has been around for two millennia… ponder that, it’s meaty…

BMD

The entire piece containing the quote is here, it’s on the South Stream, and on why Russia is rerouting it through Turkey

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Malankara Patriarch Calls Upon Government to Ensure Religious Freedom

00 Malankara Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose. 13.12.14

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Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose Paul, head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, underscored the need for the authorities to take steps to ensure constitutionally given religious freedoms to uphold communal amity and secularism in India. On Friday, he talked to the media here to announce the valedictory of the 50th anniversary observance of the death of his predecessor Catholicos Baselios Gheevarghese Kallaserri, the pontiff said that while incidents of forced reconversion attempts and burning of churches reported from north India upset him, he viewed them as isolated incidents. The Catholicos, who had courted controversy by praising then-Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his administrative acumen during the run-up to the last general elections, said that he still stood by his earlier stance on Mr Modi.

He said that the important thing was for the government to put things in order and rein in the extreme fringes who engaged in such activities. He thought that unless those in power take steps to ensure the confidence of all sections of society, they wouldn’t be able to put the developmental agenda into practise. Reacting to a question, the Catholicos said that corruption pervaded society and the political leadership had to take corrective measures, noting, “People are losing faith in their leaders and the nation witnesses a major crisis on account of the leadership vacuüm, not only in politics, but in all sections of society”.

He observed that there was a dire fall in adherence to values and that unbridled consumerism had led to a scramble to make money at any cost. He believed that the political leadership wasn’t insulated from this trend, so they had to address the issue and take steps to regain the confidence of the people. Referring to the schism in the Church, the Catholicos said that he hadn’t received any information from the Patriarch of Antioch (Mar Ignatius Afram al-Tani Karim) regarding any peace moves. Reacting to a question, he said that the Orthodox Church thought that the government was moving back from its avowed policy on the liquor issue.

13 December 2014

The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ensure-religious-freedom-catholicos/article6688817.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

Editor:

The Oriental and Eastern Orthodox form one sociological family. No, we’re not in communion, but we’re related, and far closer than we are with the papists. Russian Orthodox have always been friendly with Oriental Orthodox… much closer than the Greeks are. We wish them well… so should you…

BMD

Friday, 12 December 2014

Landmark Catholic Report Admits Celibacy Could Cause Child Abuse

01 child abuse

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A group of Australian archbishops admitted that obligatory celibacy could’ve contributed to child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, becoming the first-ever Catholic institution to acknowledge the potential link publicly. What used to be mostly voiced by the critics of the church has now been, albeit cautiously, formulated by its leaders. The report, released on Friday by the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council, which includes the Archbishops of Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, and Adelaide, conceded, “Obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances”. The council based its conclusion on two years of research. It held eight hearings, heard testimony from 50 witnesses, and examined 160,000 church documents. According to The Australian, the council’s chief executive, Francis Sullivan, said, “We’ve got to ask the question about whether celibacy was an added and an unbearable strain for some. It doesn’t mean that celibacy needs to be eradicated… let’s not turn the church on its head… but we’re saying you can’t have an honest and open discussion about the future without having an honest and open discussion about celibacy. We’re placing celibacy on the table”. The report says “psychosexual training” for priests could be enough to prevent child abuse in church.

The Australian study is in sharp contrast to American research in 2011, which found no connection between celibacy and child abuse. That report, commissioned by the American Catholic church and carried out by the New-York based John Jay College of Criminal Justice, stated, “The rise in abuse cases was influenced by social factors in society generally”. Critics then questioned if a study commissioned by the church and based on data provided by the church could actually be trusted. The Australian branch is being overwhelmingly self-critical in its report, which focused on what clerics did wrong to let abuse happen. Sullivan said it was important that the church “had the guts” to acknowledge it abused its power, including in dealing with sex scandals. The Australian report said, “Church leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution, rather than caring for the child”. Victims of child sexual abuse are sceptical that the report can actually change the church’s attitude to the issue, citing previous difficulties in trying to attain justice. Nicky Davis from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests told ABC*, “The redress in a lot of cases was absolutely disgraceful and very very devious, and done in such a way to exploit the vulnerability and the damage that survivors had already suffered”.

* Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Ex-Holy See ambassador faces first Vatican child sex abuse trial

UN committee on torture slams Vatican over child sex abuse

2% of Catholic priests are paedophiles: Pope

12 December 2014

RT

http://rt.com/news/213755-catholic-celibacy-child-abuse/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

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