Voices from Russia

Thursday, 15 February 2018

15 February 2018. A Thought from Vladyki Lazar

“Everyone needs to carry their cross”… this reminds me of puffed-up clergy such as Trenham, Paffhausen, Damick, and Reardon… they turn more people away from Christ and His Church than they attract to it… those that they do attract are nutters we’re better off without.

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It isn’t that atheists in the West don’t believe in God; rather, many of them believe in Him, but hate Him. This is because they see the Western God as being “out to get them”. He’s preached as vain and vindictive, looking for an excuse to punish you, while claiming to love you.

Photios Kontoglou

Indeed, God is preached, not only in the West, but by some Orthodox clergy, as being the supreme child-abusing father who pretends to forgive, but actually punishes his own Son in the most hideous manner on behalf of mankind for his own satisfaction. However, punishment and forgiveness are mutually exclusive. You can have one or the other, but not both. Who actually would want to spend eternity in the house of an abusive father?

13 February 2018

Bishop Lazar Puhalo

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

President Barack Obama Doesn’t Speak for God: A Lesson on Good and Evil for Western Civil-Military Leaders

00 Muslim Woman Praying. Mufti Alban Krganov. Russian Muslim. 09.12

THIS is what Russian Muslims believe… it’s why they’re part of Holy Rus (but “Evangelicals” aren’t)…      

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Who in the world is Barack Obama to claim that “No God” would allow the Islamic State to exist and slaughter what it considers non-believers? His statement follows the same line of transgression committed by Bill Clinton and George W Bush in their baleful appeals to God and Christ, even as they approved and presided over operations leading to torture, rape, murder and the wounding of large swaths of humanity. This sinful vanity… the claim to know God’s Will, is precisely the sin that the Islamic State’s Caliph, the House of Saud, the Vatican, the Church of England, and all stripes of religious sects worshiping Prophets/Gods from Yahweh to Zoroaster make each and every day in the name of “good”. Let’s turn to the author of Life and FateV S Grossman, for a lesson on good and evil as the civil-military leaders of the 21st Century Western world appeal to their Gods to sanction suffering, censure, torture, murder, and the creation of gulags large and small.

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V S Grossman:

Few people ever attempt to define “good”. What is “good?” “Good” for whom? Is there a common good… the same for all people, all tribes, and all conditions of life? Or, is my good your evil? Is what’s good for my people evil for your people? Is good eternal and constant? Or, is yesterday’s good today’s vice, yesterday’s evil today’s good? When the Last Judgement approaches, not only philosophers and preachers, but everyone on earth… literate and illiterate… will ponder the nature of good and evil. Have people advanced over the millennia in their concept of good? Is this concept something that is common to all people… both Greeks and Jews… as the Apostle supposed? To all classes, nations, and States? Even to all animals, trees, and mosses… as Buddha and his disciples claimed? The same Buddha denied life to clothe it in goodness and love.

The Christian view, five centuries after Buddhism, restricted the living world to which the concept of good is applicable. Not to every living thing… only to human beings. The good of the first Christians, which embraced all mankind, in turn, gave way to a purely Christian good; the good of the Muslims was now distinct. Centuries passed and the good of Christianity split up into the distinct goods of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. The good of Orthodoxy gave birth to the distinct goods of the old and new beliefs. At the same time, there was the good of the poor and the good of the rich. Besides that, the goods of the whites, the blacks, and the yellow races… more and more goods came into being, corresponding to each sect, race, and class. They excluded everyone outside a particular magic circle. People began to realise how much blood they’d spilt in the name of a petty doubtful good, in the name of the struggle of this petty good against what it believed to be evil. Sometimes, the very concept of good became a scourge, a greater evil than evil itself. Good of this kind is a mere husk from which the sacred kernel has been lost. Who can reclaim the lost kernel?

However, what is good? People used to say that it’s a thought and a related action, which lead to the greater strength or triumph of humanity… or of a family, nation, State, class, or faith. People struggling for their particular good always attempt to dress it up as a universal good. They say, “My good coincides with the universal good; my good is essential not only to me but to everyone; in achieving my good, I serve the universal good”. Therefore, the good of a sect, class, nation, or State assumes a specious universality to justify its struggle against an apparent evil. Even Herod didn’t shed blood in the name of evil; he shed blood in the name of his particular good. A new force came into the world, a force that threatened to destroy him and his family, to destroy his friends and his favourites, his kingdom and his armies. However, evil hadn’t been born; it was Christianity. Mankind had never heard such words before… “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. … But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”.

What did this doctrine of peace and love bring to humanity? Byzantine iconoclasticism; the tortures of the Inquisition; the struggles against heresy in France, Italy, Flanders, and Germany; the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism; the intrigues of the monastic orders; the conflict between Nikon and Avvakum; the crushing yoke that lay for centuries over science and freedom; the Christians who wiped out the heathen population of Tasmania; the scoundrels who burnt whole Negro villages in Africa. This doctrine caused more suffering than all the crimes of the people who did evil for its own sake…

In great hearts, the cruelty of life gives birth to good; they then seek to carry this good back into life, hoping to make life itself accord with their inner image of good. However, life never changes to accord with an image of good; instead, the image of good sinks into the mire of life… losing its universality, splitting into fragments, and ephemeral needs exploit it. People are wrong to see life as a struggle between good and evil. Those who most wish for the good of humanity are unable to diminish evil by one jot. Great ideas are necessary to dig new channels, to remove stones, to bring down cliffs, and to fell forests; dreams of universal good are necessary for great waters to flow in harmony… yes, if the sea could think, then, every storm would make its waters dream of happiness. Each wave breaking against the cliff would believe it was dying for the good of the sea; it’d never occur to it that, like thousands of waves before and after, it was only brought into being by the wind. Many books have been written about the nature of good and evil and the struggle between them… there is a deep and undeniable sadness in all this… whenever we see the dawn of an eternal good that will never be overcome by evil… an evil that is itself eternal but will never succeed in overcoming good… whenever we see this dawn, the blood of old people and children is always shed. Not only mankind, but even God himself is powerless to lessen this evil. “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not”. What does a woman who has lost her children care about a philosopher’s definitions of good and evil? However, what if life itself is evil?

I’ve seen the unshakable strength of the idea of social good that was born in my country. I saw this struggle during the period of general collectivisation and again in 1937. I saw people annihilated in the name of an idea of good as fine and humane as the ideal of Christianity. I saw whole villages dying of hunger; I saw peasant children dying in the snows of Siberia; I saw trains bound for Siberia with hundreds and thousands of men and women from Moscow, Leningrad, and every city in Russia… men and women labelled as enemies of a great and bright idea of social good. This idea was something fine and noble… yet, it killed some without mercy, crippled the lives of others, and separated wives from husbands and children from fathers. Now, the horror of German Fascism has arisen. The air is full of the groans and cries of the condemned. The sky turned black; the smoke of the gas ovens extinguished the sun. Even these crimes, crimes never seen before in the Universe… even by Man on Earth… have been committed in the name of good. Once, when I lived in the Northern forests, I thought that one could find good neither in man, nor in the predatory world of animals and insects, but in the silent kingdom of the trees. Far from it! I saw the forest’s slow movement, the treacherous way it battled against grass and bushes for each inch of soil… first, billions of seeds fly through the air and begin to sprout, destroying the grass and bushes. Then, millions of victorious shoots wage war against one another. Only the survivors enter into an alliance of equals to form the seamless canopy of the young deciduous forest. Beneath this canopy, the spruces and beeches freeze to death in the twilight of penal servitude.

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00 THIS is Russia. 21.03.14

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In time, the deciduous trees become decrepit; then the heavyweight spruces burst through to the light beneath their canopy, executing the alders and the beeches. This is the life of the forest… a constant struggle of everything against everything. Only the blind conceive of the kingdom of trees and grass as the world of good… is it that life itself is evil? Good isn’t in the sermons of religious teachers and prophets, nor in the teachings of sociologists and popular leaders, nor in the ethical systems of philosophers… yet, ordinary people bear love in their hearts, are naturally full of love and pity for any living thing. At the end of the day’s work, they prefer the warmth of the hearth to a bonfire in the public square. Yes, as well as this terrible Good with a capital “G”, there is everyday human kindness. The kindness of an old woman carrying a piece of bread to a prisoner, the kindness of a soldier allowing a wounded enemy to drink from his water-flask, the kindness of youth towards age, the kindness of a peasant hiding an old Jew in his loft. The kindness of a prison guard who risks his own liberty to pass on letters written by a prisoner, not to his ideological comrades, but to his wife and mother. This is the private kindness of one individual towards another; a petty, thoughtless kindness; an unwitnessed kindness. We could call this senseless kindness, a kindness outside any system of social or religious good. However, if we think about it, we realise that this private, senseless, incidental kindness is in fact eternal. We extend it to everything living, even to a mouse, even to a bent branch that a man straightens as he walks by. Even at the most terrible times, through all the mad acts carried out in the name of Universal Good and the glory of States, times when people were tossed about like branches in the wind, filling ditches and gullies like stones in an avalanche… even then, this senseless pathetic kindness remained scattered throughout life like atoms of radium.

Some Germans arrived in a village to exact vengeance for the murder of two soldiers. They ordered the women out of their huts in the evening to dig a pit on the edge of the forest. There was one middle-aged woman who had several soldiers quartered in her hut. They had taken her husband to the police station together with twenty other peasants. She didn’t get to sleep until morning… the Germans found a basket of onions and a jar of honey in the cellar; they lit the stove, made themselves omelettes, and drank vodka. Then, the eldest played the harmonica while the rest of them sang and beat time with their feet. They didn’t even look at their landlady… she might just as well have been a cat. When it grew light, they began checking their guns; the eldest of them jerked the trigger by mistake and shot himself in the stomach. Everyone began shouting and running about. Somehow, the Germans managed to bandage the wounded man and lay him down on a bed. Then, they called them outside. They signed to the woman to look after the wounded man. The woman thought to herself how simple it would be to strangle him. There he was, muttering away, his eyes closed, weeping, sucking his lips… suddenly he opened his eyes and said in very clear Russian, “Water, Mother”. She replied, “Damn you. What I should do is strangle you”. However, instead she gave him some water. He grabbed her by the hand and signed to her to help him sit up… he couldn’t breathe because of the bleeding. She pulled him up and he clasped his arms round her neck. Suddenly, there was a volley of shots outside and the woman began to tremble. Afterwards, she told people what she had done. No one could understand; nor could she explain it herself. The fable about the pilgrim who warmed a snake in his bosom condemns this senseless kindness. Such “kindness” has mercy on a tarantula that bit a child. It’s a mad blind kindness. People enjoy looking in stories and fables for examples of the danger of this senseless kindness. However, one shouldn’t be afraid of it. One might just as well be afraid of a freshwater fish carried out by chance into the salty ocean. The harm from time to time occasioned a society, class, race, or State by this senseless kindness fades away in the light that emanates from those endowed with it.

This kindness, this stupid kindness, is what’s most truly human in a human being. It’s what sets man apart, the highest achievement of his soul. No, it says, life isn’t evil! This kindness is both senseless and wordless. It’s instinctive, blind. When Christianity clothed it in the teachings of the Church Fathers, it began to fade; its kernel became a husk. It remains potent only when it’s dumb and senseless, hidden in the living darkness of the human heart… before it becomes a tool or commodity in the hands of preachers, before they forge its crude ore into the gilt coins of holiness. It’s as simple as life itself. Even the teachings of Jesus deprived it of its strength. However, as I lost faith in good, I began to lose faith even in kindness. It seemed as beautiful and powerless as dew. What use was it if it wasn’t contagious? How can one make a power of it without losing it, without turning it into a husk as the Church did? Kindness is powerful only while it is powerless. If Man tries to give it power, it dims, fades away, loses itself, vanishes. Today, I can see the true power of evil. The heavens are empty. Man is alone on Earth. How can we put out the flame of evil? Can we do so with small drops of living dew, with human kindness? No, not even the waters of all the clouds and seas can extinguish that flame… let alone a handful of dew gathered drop by drop from the time of the Gospels to the iron present… yes, after despairing of finding good either in God or in Nature, I began to despair even of kindness. However, the more I saw of the darkness of Fascism, the more clearly I realised that human qualities persist even on the edge of the grave, even at the door of the gas chamber.

Hell strengthened my faith. My faith emerged from the flames of the crematoria, from the concrete of the gas chamber. I saw that it isn’t man who’s impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. You can never conquer it. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb blind love is man’s meaning. Human history isn’t the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. No, a great evil fights a battle; it struggles to crush this small kernel of human kindness. Nevertheless, if it hasn’t yet destroyed what is human in mankind even now, then, evil will never conquer.

29 September 2014

John Stanton

Pravda.ru

http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/29-09-2014/128628-president_barack_obama-0/

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00 Isaak Levitan. Eternal Peace. 1894

Eternal Peace

Isaak Levitan

1894

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Editor:

Vasili Semyonovich is a good argument against the “exclusive” definition of “Russian” found in some émigré circles (and amongst some Far Right nationalists in the Rodina). To them, “Russians” are only those who speak Russian natively, who are born of two purely-Russian parents, who profess the Orthodox faith (and none other), and who’re zealous in excluding all who don’t fit the preceding categories. That is, it’s racism of the most odious sort, a Great Russian analogue of demonic “Ukrainian Nationalism”. Vasili Semyonovich is Russian, profoundly so… as was Isaak Levitan (as one can see from his paintings).

I have no apologies for my stance. “Russian” embraces all those who embrace Holy Rus… even those who aren’t Orthodox! Interestingly enough, it excludes the zapadniki (for they kiss the ass of the West and deny their Russian heritage) and the Evangelical converts (for they deny real faith for a false 19th century simulacrum, a counterfeit fraudulent pseudo-Christianity with no ties to the Ancient Church… they, too, kiss the ass of the West, more profoundly than the zapadniki do). However, it INCLUDES Jews, Muslims, Lutherans (the REAL Evangelicals), native Russian Protestants, seculars… indeed, all those who love the Motherland and what it stands for.

Have a distrust of all those who peddle “exclusive” ideologies… it’s why I hate the ideologies behind “Ukrainian nationalism”, “Russian nationalism”, “Konvertsy Orthodoxy”, and “American Conservatism”… all are founded on rancorous and corrosive hate. They all would die without hate of the “other”. I say, “Holy Rus embraces everyone who loves Her with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul… that is, with all their being”. The Mother-Motherland has many children… She loves them all, and they all love Her. Holy Rus not only embraces the Rodina, it embraces all those abroad who’re part of Spiritual Rus, who follow the particular brand of Orthodoxy nurtured in Holy Russia. You can be American and be part of Holy Rus… this would only strengthen your love of both America and Holy Rus… you’d enrich America with the maturity and wisdom of Rus… you’d enrich Rus with the energy and optimism of America (for America has all the attributes of an immature society… some of them are good, whether you wish to believe that or not).

A word to Orthodox people… be wary of those who sold out to the West, such as Victor Potapov, John Jillions, Vassa Larina, and Lyonyo Kishkovsky… they’ve traded their souls for filthy lucre. They’re worse than semi-converted poseurs like Dreher, Paffhausen, Hatfield, Mattingly, Reardon, and Freddie M-G are… yes, they refused to get rid of their religious and intellectual baggage, but they didn’t have the inheritance in the first place, so, they took an all-too-American “cafeteria” approach to it, without realising that if you cut off part of a living organism, it bleeds to death. They’re not as bad as those who had the whole banana and who sold out.

In short, don’t attend to Anglo American moralising… they’re arrogant toddlers with WMDs… now, that’s a scary thought.

BMD

Monday, 1 October 2012

1 October 2012. Something to Help You Understand the Twisted World of the Konvertsy and Hyper-Religious

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Editor’s Foreword:

This is a bit longer than the usual, but this topic requires it, I think. Although the piece below deals with Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi/Hasidic) Judaism, I think that it fits the konvertsy subculture in Orthodoxy to a tee. After all, they came out of Christian milieus that are exactly analogous to Ultra-Orthodox. Read this first… it’s TRUTH.

BMD

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In the world that I come from, there are lines that you don’t cross, stories that you don’t tell, and agonies that you keep to yourself. I knew the nuts and bolts of this mindset. After all, I spent so much more of my life in that mind than I ever did in my own. Therefore, I already knew what was in the e-mail… a terrible sense of betrayal would fill every word and line. I read it three times. She said she hadn’t read the book, but she knew what it was about. The title was enough. How could I have done such a thing? I’d slandered yiden, yiden who were kind and good. Sexual abuse was something that only happened to people with issues… people with a lack of moral guidance, who had secular magazines in their homes. I’d encountered this perverted denial too often in the community… the need to blame the victims, to feel better by invalidating the agony of the most vulnerable. Such things never happened to pious Jews, she explained to me, never to those who followed our rabbis’ rules. One day, she said, I’d clearly see the evil that I’d done, and repent. I knew that I’d never speak with Rivky again.

I told my therapist that week, “Why this reaction? I should be relieved that it’s over, done with. No more pretensions”. He said, “Maybe, but still, it’s a loss”, I countered with, “It’s a loss I chose. Or, I’d never have written the book”. He repeated to me, “Still, it’s an enormous loss”. I asked him, “But why? I knew this would happen. It was so predictable”. He said, “You can predict a loss, but you can’t prepare for it”. For days after, I wept. I held the loss close to my heart: I wept for friends I’d known since kindergarten and relatives I’d never speak with again; the world that I was part of before I wrote of forbidden agonies and became a traitor.

Every year, there’s a small but steady exodus of young men and women from the ultra-Orthodox world. For most of us, leaving isn’t bravery or stupidity. It’s a form of survival, an escape. You leave because you can’t stay. You leave because if you don’t, you’ll die. Suddenly, there’s an enormous void. You’re utterly alone. From the moment your mind wakes up, and realisation strikes, it’s as if you were in a colour-blind world, where the inhabitants see only in shades of black and white. When you first say, “The sky… it’s blue!”, they look at you with pity, as though you were a child with a disorder. Immediately, they attempt to cure you, frantically trying to turn blue into black… but when you look up at the heavens, the sky is bright blue.

Now, there’s serious concern. They point to the other inhabitants, every person you’ve ever known, and ask them the colour of the sky. Black and white, they say. A dark gray, perhaps, but… good heavens! … not blue. You know that they must be right, that it can only be a delusion of your mind, and you don’t want to be delusional, so you pretend to be cured. The clouds are black, you agree. Of course, there’s no such thing as blue. It’s a bewildering experience, frightening to the core, because when you look up, blue’s still there, sometimes, it’s a bright yellow. Colours, colours, everywhere, betraying your mind. You don’t dare tell anyone of your terrible secret. You wonder constantly… “Why? Why can’t I see like the others?”

It’s impossible to pretend for long. Sometimes, it happens by accident; sometimes the colours are so vivid you’re certain they can see them, too. How can they not see? However, they look at you suspiciously, at a distance; there’s irritation in their eyes. Now, they tell you that you’re damaged, a person with a disease. They warn you that seeing colours that don’t exist is a dangerous game, that you might embed in others a desire for this insanity, or convince them that this lie is true. You’re now a menace in their world. They must fix you at all costs. They close in on you. They tell you that to be cured, you must go blind; it’s the only way the colours will stop. They tell you that it’s the only choice… a small sacrifice for a larger God. They tell you to submit, for you own good, because you aren’t normal; you aren’t, you aren’t. Your mind’s an unstable place; something has snapped. However, they can save you from yourself. Guardians of your eyes, the gateway to your soul, they’ll destroy the terrible colours until you’ll never see them again. The circle tightens. They look at you with mercy in their eyes and knives in their hands. It is at this point that you begin to run.

You stumble out, climbing over high, thick walls, jumping to the other side, falling hard onto the ground below. You find yourself on strange land. You begin to walk. The mind pushes you on. You don’t allow yourself to think or feel. You don’t dare turn around. You mustn’t look behind. You must only dream of what’s ahead, and know that somehow it is good. You’ve no idea how long it takes to reach that place… days, months, years? You keep walking. However, the people from your city don’t give up. They search for you. They can’t understand why you’d ever want to leave. They stand on the ledge of the wall, reaching out. They call your name knowing you can hear them. If you’re not yet too far away, they send out people to bring you back. They use persuasive words, and, sometimes, threats or force, but you’re too far from them now; they can’t reach you. Nevertheless, when they call, you still turn your head. You hear their plea, “Come back”. It scares them to see you this way, so alone. You look at them from afar… at their certainty, their security, their warm colour-blindness… and from the lonely place you stand, a lie never looked so good. You stumble away, faster, until you can’t hear them anymore. Nevertheless, it’s too late. You’re in agony, grieving.

They say there are five stages of mourning… shock, denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. For the young men and women leaving the ultra-Orthodox world behind, there’s an enormous loss. It is easy for those outside to think that now you’re free; your life is so much better than when you were among the colour-blind. However, it’s still an enormous loss. That loss carries everything we ever believed, and everyone who taught us to believe it… parents who loved us, teachers who educated us, siblings who played with us, cousins and classmates and former best friends. Our loss holds in it entire families. It holds our faith, innocence, and belief… and it’s devastating.

Eventually, you meet others like you, emerging like shadows from the dark… a former classmate, a second cousin, the quiet girl from summer camp. You’ve seen them before, walking the streets of your city, but you couldn’t tell back then that they were different from the others… that they pretended not to see colours, too. Time helps. Eventually, you see life ahead. Eventually, you understand that there’s no magical transformation, no black-and-white transition from yesterday to tomorrow, and that grieving the loss of an entire world is a long and torturous process. However, finally, alongside the trauma, there’s enormous relief. Now, standing far from the place you ran from, you begin to see clearly that the colours aren’t a delusion. They are, indeed, real… chaotic, vibrant beauty, a kaleidoscope of colours, colours by God, everywhere.

They say there are five stages of mourning: shock, denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. However, for us, there’s a sixth and a seventh wonder, the wonder of knowing that the world truly is a miracle of colours, and relief at no longer being colour-blind. When I was a young girl, my teachers always said that God works in mysterious ways… that, sometimes, He withholds in order to give, that every loss is really a hidden gain. It’s difficult for us to understand this, because only God, high above, can see the larger picture… that the dark path we’re struggling through leads to a better place. It’s true. Today, I can finally believe them.

From The Loss

Judy Brown (Eishes Chayil)

20 September 2012

The Jewish Daily Forward

http://forward.com/articles/163064/the-loss/?p=1

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Editor’s Afterword:

Most of the konvertsy came out of Christian milieus similar to those described above. Two of the most crank are so-called “Continuing Anglicans” and “Evangelicals”. The latter have an oddbod patchy doctrine, which one can boil down to “Me n’ Jayzuss”. Jayzuss is your “Personal Saviour”, and you become a “Christian” by “giving your heart to Jayzuss”. That’s not in the Scriptures, but what’s that amongst friends? In short, it’s a chaotic and incoherent mess… with each congregation going its own merry way. It’s the farthest thing from the Church that you can imagine. However, like Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, sectarianism gives CERTAINTY. It doesn’t give truth… it doesn’t give enlightenment… it doesn’t give wisdom… but it does give certainty, and that’s all that some people want. You can’t talk to such sorts, don’t even try; all that it’ll do is to frustrate you to no end and to hammer heresy even more firmly into the attitude of your interlocutor.

The Continuing Anglicans are odd birds, even odder than the Sectarians are (two very typical examples of this oddjob mindset are Patrick Henry Reardon and Freddie M-G). You find them as subscribers to such prelest-ridden websites as Stand Firm in the Faith, and as congregants in mostly-Lilliputian tin-tabernacle parishes. Here’s the odd part… Anglicanism, by its nature is comprehensive; it’s how Henry and Elizabeth founded it. Besides that, Anglicanism is profoundly Protestant… it’s quite similar to Scandinavian Lutheranism in doctrine and practise (with a dash of Jean Calvin here and there). In fact, the most-honest sector of Anglicanism is the Low Church, such as one finds in the C of I, “no bells and smells, no pomps or popery”.

However, not many of these are “Continuers”. They’re mostly “High Churchers”. We all know the stories circulating about them, don’t we? In fact, they’re the same stories circulating about some of the higher clergy in the OCA! These sorts run about hollering about Tradition… but they’re really Protestants under the skin… they’re just as wilful as any Evangelical deep-down. One of their particular hobby-horses is “sexual purity”, especially, homosexuality, which leads one to the conclusion that they’re ridden with it. I do know that those who “convert” to Orthodoxy defend those with chequered backgrounds such as Fathausen, Dmitri Royster, and Pierre l’Huillier with impassioned vigour (and there are stories that won’t die about ex-HOOMie clergy cult-leaders). In fact, there’s so much noise, that I (and many others) conclude that there must be an elevated level of “closeted homosexuals” amongst this group. Do remember who Fathausen’s mentor was… the infamous Gleb Podmoshensky. Podmoshensky was Fathausen’s formative mentor and we forget that at our peril. Remember, Fathausen was NEVER a member of the Valaam brotherhood; he merely lived there for a spell. Yet, to the konvertsy, Fathausen’s on the right-hand of God.

The reason that the piece I quoted is important is that, after the OCA implodes, some of the konvertsy are going to remain amongst us. Understand that they don’t have an Orthodox mindset… be kind. It’ll take at least seven years for a real Orthodox consciousness to grow, perhaps, longer. You see, under normal circumstances, converts come in to an already-established congregation with a pastor born-to-the-faith. This gives the convert two indispensible things, groundedness and stability. Unfortunately, many konvertsy are in “convert conventicles”. That is, the group isn’t mostly people of grounded and long faith… they’re cabals of recent arrivals, often led by convert pastors with little formal Orthodox formation. Mirabile dictu (meant ironically here), they’ve NEVER received the Good News… NEVER. Therefore, show patience with such people. They’ve much to learn (and unlearn).

Some of the above applies to former autocephalists as well, but they’re not in as sad a shape. People such as Mark Stokoe shall see what happened to their dream… be kind to them, too. How would you like it if your saw that your dream, which you worked for all your life, was just an illusion? You wouldn’t… so, extend such people a hand and show them some consideration. It’s the Christian thing to do.

Remember, both the konvertsy and autocephalists who’ll choose to remain with us are like the woman in the Forward piece. They’ll have given up everything… for the “pearl of great price”… we, for our part, should realise that. Be a good Christian and show them what Fellowship in Christ REALLY means, need I say more?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 1 October 2012

Albany NY

Sunday, 30 September 2012

30 September 2012. A Riposte to the Creationists and “Young Earthers”

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Yes… you can believe in an “old” earth… yes… you can believe in theory of evolution… and BE A CHRISTIAN! In fact, the “conflict” between Creation and Evolution is mostly fictive. In fact, what are in contention are Creationism and Evolutionism… two rather different beasts. Evolution’s a modest proposal, at base… organisms change and pass on these changes to their offspring, these mutations can be good or bad. Creation’s equally modest, God is the Unmoved Mover, indeed, but he didn’t deign to tell us the details of it all (nor did He give us a precise timeline for it all).

Creationism is an overly-detailed fairy-tale spread by the ignorant and uneducated terminally-religious, with excessive and unprovable detail. Evolutionism is an overly-detailed fairy tale found amongst the scientifically-ignorant and overly-credulous votaries of scientism. Neither one is overly scientific or theological… both are “mud-pie ideologies”… that is, no grounup can believe in either one. It interesting to note the basic similarities between the Creationist and the Evolutionist (the Evolutionist is more Spencerian than Darwinian, by the way). The Creationist believes that God will swoop in and destroy all those nasty immoral people by sending them all to hell. The Evolutionist believes that religion will die out because mankind will “evolve past that”. In other words, neither one is inclined to effect compromise because they believe that they’ll be the only ones standing at the end of the day. Neither one is scientific… and Evolutionism is less scientific than Creationism is! Evolutionism, stripped of its pseudo-scientific verbiage is an unsupported belief that things and organisms are getting continually better (through a rather nasty Hobbesian war of “all against all”). In fact, Evolutionism is MORE theological than scientific, to wit, it states a thesis, and goes from there, it doesn’t pose a hypothesis… it doesn’t experiment… it doesn’t observe… it doesn’t synthesise. In short, it uses NONE of the components of the Scientific Method.

As for what’s really there, I take a good-sense view… the rocks are 2.5 billion (or whatever) years old… but how they ultimately got there is a mystery, and true scientists don’t know either. They do have hypotheses, but all of them will tell you, “If there’s new evidence, that goes out the window”. Theology and science are companions… BOTH become perverted if the one or the other’s missing. As for the “Young Earthers”… God did make the monkeys first, and if he chose to use them to evolve people, why, that wouldn’t collapse my faith. After all, the beasts do have sentience… not human, of course… science teaches us that. Besides… let everything that breathes praise the Lord… theology teaches us that.

Give this a thought…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 30 September 2012

Albany NY

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