This past week I received an unexpected phone call from a priest in the shadows. Although somewhat sympathetic to the goals of Orthodox Christians for Accountability, he called us all “fools” if we thought we could effect real change in the OCA. He began a litany of defeats:
• the dismissal of Gregg Nescott from the Special Commission for bogus reasons,
• the continuing hesitation to even suspend (let alone defrock) Fr. Kondratick despite incontrovertible evidence of his plundering of Church funds for years,
• the failure to release the report of the Special Commission despite the unanimous vote of the Metropolitan Council to do so,
• the new revelations of an additional missing million dollars in 2002.
And that, he pointed out, were just the events of the last week of Great Lent...
How does one begin to respond? Everything he said was true.
Only a fool would attempt to change the world with a message of love and peace.
So we can agree that Jesus was a fool, too.
Only fools would agree to follow such a man, and then continue his mission even when he had been killed.
So we can agree that the Apostles were fools, too.
Only fools would take seriously the message that a bunch of fools were preaching, and accept that message.
So we can agree that all of us are fools, indeed.
The above is hardly surprising.
God did not choose a philosopher to proclaim the Gospel, but a carpenter.And for His Apostles He chose fishermen and tax collectors.
Can we claim to be any better witnesses?
Of course not.
Even those among us who have been educated know that in relation to the Gospel our education is worthless.
We happily admit we are, indeed, fools. And so, we happily commit ourselves to trying to change the world, as did the Apostles.
Yet weren’t those Apostles cowardly and timid?
Aren’t we afraid?
Doesn’t Christ’s crucifixion give us ample reason to be frightened?
Yes. But His Resurrection gives us divine courage.
St. John Chrysostom wrote the above 1600 years ago when he faced wickedness in high places. No one remembers the Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops, Emperor or their advisors that disparaged him, worked against him, exiled him and ultimately arranged for his death. It is St. John’s words* that inspires us today, not their faded power.
Those in fading power today are still seeking to deny, to divert, to cover-up, to distract, to delay and subvert the truth in the hope that all this “foolishness” can be brought to an end. Re-read the opening paragraph to see their latest efforts. Like their predecessors, they have accomplished nothing more than demonstrating their own fear of the truth – and callow vindictiveness.
No matter. Our "foolishness" continues.
His Resurrection continues to give us divine courage.
Coming Tuesday: Latest Developments in the OCA
* “On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom”, compiled by Robert Van De Weyer, Ligouri/Triumph Publications, pg.52