Voices from Russia

Monday, 15 December 2014

15 December 2014. A Point to Ponder

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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

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