Written Statement of Joshua Godbold
to the Dallas Town Hall
Where are the men?
[A] hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. John 10:12-13 (NKJV)
In the unfolding scandal that has been brewing in the OCA for the past 15 years or so, our Synod of Bishops has been either complicit or passive. When Dcn. Eric Wheeler alleged financial improprieties to each member of the Synod, the collective reaction was “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” When (then) Archbishop Herman and Metropolitan Theodosius retaliated against Dcn. Eric for exposing the scandal, the Synod could not muster the moral courage necessary to confront the deacon’s episcopal persecutors. When Robert Kondratick was publicly and credibly accused of robbing widows and orphans (among many others), the public pronouncements and actions of more than one bishop indicated they were more concerned with protecting the wolf rather than succoring the sheep.
Why the dearth of the manly virtues amongst our bishops? We are supposed to have good shepherds, but instead we have hirelings. Where is the bishop who will stand up for the victimized orphan and widow? Why is there such a deficit in moral discernment that Robert Kondratick held the Synod in thrall for so long? Where is the man who will stand up to protect his flock from the rampages of the wolf? Our bishops were not put to the test of martyrdom, rather they were put to the test of being scorned by some of their fellows, and the results are dismaying.
Whatever the path forward out of this morass, let us, the priests, deacons, monks, nuns, and laity, resolve that we will not accept more moral adolescents as our leaders. Let us, instead, look for men who have consistently and powerfully shown by their deeds that they are willing to stand up for the fatherless and the widow and lay down their lives to protect the oppressed. It is unpopular in our feminized society to extol manly virtues, but those virtues are precisely what we need in our future bishops. We have had enough of the alternative.
Subdeacon Joshua (Van) Godbold
Rock Hill, SC