Friday, August 21. 2009
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Have you ever read an article and wanted to stop after every paragraph and Clap ? That's how I felt after reading the Hodges letter. I have been saddened as to how his wife was treated ever since attending the PS convention.
The Audit Report that was distributed (or tried to be distributed) is too complete and needed. Amazing, even Rob't Laham (Archdiocese Treasurer) hoever, referred to the report! Saying, there were somethings he did'nt agree with. At least he read it! It will be ignored by Englewood, of course. Even strangers to us comment, "What's to hide?" The tears of Mr Laham did'nt impress many. How dare this "World" question ANYTHING? Bp Antoun's diatribe made no sense and most pathetic. I heard it again last nite via preserved podcast.
A CULT. yes and for many years. Keep the Metropolitan pleased and all will be well. Sing, Many years again! I wonder if the words/term/belief (?) in Jesus Christ, who was rarely (ever) mentioned. Hang in their Mickey Hodges, many eyes (good n' bad) on Memphis parish, you can be certain! And for a long time to come.
#1 Anonymous Priest on 2009-08-21 18:47
Brave words, Mr. Hodges, by both you and your wife. Nothing disgusted me more from my own seat in that hall than the jeers directed at Sarah, except perhaps the lack of an even stronger, rousing defense of her. I pray that your public statements here do not jeopardize in any way the good work of Orthodox Christian Fellowship or your role there. May God's will be done as we live through this difficult time.
#2 Not All Who Wander Are Lost on 2009-08-21 20:26
Thank you Mickey.
I too see the same thing.
It does not matter what the Canons are . . . he is above them. Do not be a legalist!
It does not matter what the Constitution says . . . he is above it. We ar people of the Book!
It does not matter what Scripture clearly says . . . do not be a fundamentalist.
It does not matter what the local synod says . . . he is the Metropolitan. He alone belongs to the Holy Synod; The Highest Authority in the Church.
It does not matter what the Holy Synod decides . . . We cannot look to them to solve our problems.
To what authority will MP submit . . . I will die when I want.
"Did I not do . . . " x100 at the Convention is reminiscent of Isaiah 14:
 The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing.
 The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
`Since you were *laid low*, no hewer comes up against us.'
 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come,
it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations.
 All of them will speak and say to you:
`You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!'
 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.
 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
 You said in your heart, `I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' (JUST LIKE MP I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I)
 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.
 Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you:
`Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,
 who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities,
who did not let his prisoners go home?'
 All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;
 but you are cast out, away from your sepulchre, like a loathed untimely birth, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit, like a dead body trodden under foot.
 You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land,
you have slain your people.
"May the descendants of evildoers nevermore be named!
Like the fallen king of Babylon, He is full of himself.
#3 anonymous on 2009-08-21 20:26
What more can one say to such a well thought out and presented article.
#4 Don West on 2009-08-21 22:43
We can also cut off funds to Englewood until Metropolitan Philip is retired/deposed/reassigned (to another continent); independent audits are accomplished and, if required, miscreants are punished; and Bishop Mark takes all necessary actions to clean up the mess in his diocese....
#5 Carl on 2009-08-22 07:28
We are all Memphians now.
#6 Peter on 2009-08-22 08:33
Thank you for your reflection, Mickey. I am beginning to see how well the EOC group fits in with the MP group.
In 1973, as a young college student, I was recruited by Jack Sparks, Brooks and Debbie Alexander, and a few others who visited the college while on tour to promote their group, Christian World Liberation Front. Spiritual Counterfeits Project was not even in existence yet; in fact, Brooks Alexander was one of its founders, and another founder, David Fetcho, would later become a very good friend of mine in Berkeley. In 1975, after I left, Brooks Alexander, David Fetcho, and the Spiritual Counterfeits project split from Sparks and CWLF (read the WIkipedia article about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_Counterfeits_Project). As a young Jesus Freak on the streets of Berkeley, I know exactly what you mean about the cults that flourished during the Jesus Movement, and remember hearing Larry Norman on Telegraph Avenue. I was part of a CWLF outreach house just a block up from People's Park on Dwight Way, where they "paved paradise and put up a parking lot" in the famous song by Joni Mitchell. I remember going to a meeting at Jack Spark's house and hearing him and the others (I remember that Peter Gillquist and Richard Ballew were there, and probably the others, in the inner circle who would later make themselves bishops and apostles in the EOC). I remember Father Jack talking about how there were "bishops" in the early church, and commenting on how they were going to research the early church, its music and history. Out of meetings like that was born the"New Apostolic Order," which became the EOC. Just a bit of early history from the recesses of my memory. I had to return home a few months later, and lost touch until decades later, when I would end up becoming an Orthodox Christian as a result of hearing about the mass EOC chrismation into the Orthodox Church in 1987. It is a sad situation that I have since left the Orthodox Church in part because of priests who just can't be wrong. Even now, in so many of the comments on this site, this is a prevailing sentiment. The old fable "The Emperor's New Clothes" comes to mind again and again, and was never more appropriate than it is applied to what we are hearing and learning here on this site.
Yes, it happened a long time ago, and people change. But what bothers me is that when they joined the Antiochians, these men were already self-proclaimed, self-ordained bishops and apostles. They called themselves the "New Apostolic Order"! They made themselves apostles and bishops. And sadly, we are finding that to this day, the "club" mentality remains. Enter at your own risk. Stay well within their bounds, and all will be well. Do not displease them, or they will close ranks on you and push you out so fast you will be left reeling and wounded. There will be no reconciliation, no humble apologies (perhaps, if you are lucky, and you prompt them, they "might" admit they were wrong... but don't count on it). There will be silence, though. You can take that to the bank. There will be silence.
#7 Anonymous on 2009-08-22 08:47
Yes, the cult of +M.Philip must end.
Americans like me are an awkward and sinful lot, petty narcissists and self-willed toward others who rather deserve our love. I know because I've had 55 years to look in the mirror and reflect, and I still see myself there instead of Christ. I and others like me don't have any good to add to the tradition we've received through the AOCA. It is my salvation and I thank God for it.
Americans, however, with all our faults, can detect wayward tyrants like a bloodhound identifies smells. It started with King George III who was conflicted over the colonies. We judged his behavior and it was tyrannical. Your letter, Mickey, about +MP's behavior makes the point brilliantly that +MP's behavior is cultish. He's a conflicted man caught between two worlds. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. It's got to be tough.
But American converts ingested by the AOCA are not the problem that some have claimed, perhaps in attempts to deflect the negative attention from +MP. Most of the EOCís problems have been hammered out on the anvil of tradition by the arm of good pastors like Bp. Joseph, +Basil, and +Mark, who are still doing what they can to reconcile their unruly flocks with the truth of tradition. Those who really think American converts are the AOCA's problem should ask themselves if the Orthodox jurisdictions in America should ignore us or convert us? For God's glory +MP graciously converted us.
The actual problem in the AOCA is the clear and present record of tyrannical actions by +MP. No one I know wants to hurt him or his legacy. We just want the truth and the canons to win out so we can submit to Christ through loving obedience to our priests and bishops. Slavish obedience has no place in the Church in ancient times or now. +MP's demands for it are cultish and, unfortunately, he thereby turns himself into a problem.
If +MP would stop this behavior, open the books, and make decisions in the open as the canons require, Orthodoxy in America might flourish even more on the very foundations he has laid. We don't deserve perfect leaders. It is my prayer that we can build on +MPís fruitful work, give him the eternal praise he deserves, and move forward glorifying God for +MP's foresighted church-building. His gift to all the Orthodox here on American soil should not be squandered. It is Christ's gift to us through this great man. Glory be to God. Many years!
#8 MichaelPatrick on 2009-08-22 09:50
Those are spending the money should not be in charge of accounting for it or banking it. There need to be clear limits set on how much can be spent on what. There is no reason why there should not be elected laity involved in the accounting of money that is audited by an arms length auditor. When hierarchs receive a salary, they can use it for what they want. Their expense accounts and travel on Church affairs, however, should be carefully accounted for. There is no reason why their tickets for travel on Church related matters should not be purchased a non-clergy treasurer, with careful records of when, where and why submitted to an auditor. There is no reason why a full and open accounting of all travel and expense accounts, every cent that does not come from the hierarch's personal income, should not be available at all times to the paying membership of any jurisdiction; and it should all be audited by an arms-length auditor. Total "top-down" operating procedures are not satisfactory, not even acceptable in North America in the 21st century. Sucn accounting would not at all impede the spiritual authority of the hierarch. Indeed, it might enhance it.
I need to include an apology (I wrote the above comment) for the way this comment sounds. These are good men, and they have done a lot of wonderful work. There are a lot of very good and humble priests in the Orthodox Church. However, the comments I made still stand as written. People are complicated.
#10 Anonymous on 2009-08-22 17:34
There are many on the West Coast who remember the cult-like actions of the EOC when they entered the AOCNA. The silent treatment was given to old and new members. They still (many) act as they were "Bishops". (the real reason the GOA & OCA were frightened of them.) Yes, Met. Philip, as was stated, indeed wanted to stick it to the aforementioned.
With exception of Santa Barbara most of them run the parishes to their model of governance. Sad that "specified marraiges are carefully arranged". They will deny that but only have to look at the daughter of their once "leader" who walked away from the marraige to a clergyman's son of their "group".
Their "Chief Bishop" (at one time) never had a parish experience anywhere. Many who knew Bill Bright, deceased leader of Campus Crusade, from whence they came, spoke of their insatiable desires for leadership. Not forthcoming they left for greener pastures. Their parishes to be carefully examined before one makes a commitment that can later be regretted.
#11 nonymous on 2009-08-22 19:12
"No one I know wants to hurt him or his legacy. We just want the truth and the canons to win out so we can submit to Christ through loving obedience to our priests and bishops."
I want to thank Mickey for his article, and commend Michael for this comment. The problems in the Archdiocese must be rectified, but they must also be addressed with this attitude and these goals.
#12 Jason Barker on 2009-08-22 20:29
Good show Mickey. That's why I'm looking at ROCOR. They have their problems too but they're far more transparent about it.
#13 Kevin Klein on 2009-08-23 17:22
I agree with Michael's comments about the AEOC. I hope Mickey brought the EOC into his article - although the EOC really has nothing to do with the current situation and mentioning them might lead some readers to think, somehow, this is Mickey's point - simply to indicate that HE has been through the "cultish labyrinth" and knows what it looks like. I have spoken to several prominent ex-EOC leaders, who are as disappointed and disconcerted about all this as anyone. The EOC is not the problem, as Michael points out.
I also believe the time has come - in addition to the public condemnations - to ask for reconciliation, prayer and fasting within our archdiocese and for the church at large. Does anyone reading this think this is the work of men? This is the work of the evil one, who is distracting us, inquirers and catechumens from the all-important work of salvation. I am not saying that the issues being discussed on this site are not shameful and unseemly. They are and yes they need to change. But there are also major fissures and rifts that have occurred between groups within the AOANA and these must be reconciled through repentance, prayer and fasting.
My request of our Chief Hierarch and our Diocesan Bishops is that H.E. PHILIP set an example and begin this process by reconciling FIRST with his brother bishops, and then establishing a process where unreconciled factions of clefgy and laity within the archdiocese can come together - maybe through regional gatherings called by the diocesan bishops - for the purpose of reconciliation, repentence and prayer.
If we give up hope in the power of our All Mighty God to guide us and reconcile us, then leaving one archdiocese for another (Kevin Kirwin) is pointless.
#14 Kevin Allen on 2009-08-24 10:00
Kevin, I may be using the wrong abbreviation. By "AOCA" I mean simply the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (of North America). Thanks for bringing this to my attention so that I can clarify it for any others who may wonder.
#15 MichaelPatrick on 2009-08-24 17:01
Met.Phillip and Bishop Antoun need to retire.This ahs all gone too far for them to remain in power
#16 Stephen on 2009-08-25 04:56
Micky Hodges wrote a fantastic letter and yes, I wanted to
hoot and holler after every paragraph. Cannot the membershop of the Ants do as one lister suggested, and
start withholding all funds from Englewood? Philip absolutely
has turned that jurisdiction into a cult of himself, and needs
to be brought down, the sooner the better. He should have
been dethroned after the Joe Allen fiasco, but he made sure
money flows into Damascus' coffers. Which brings me back
to the withholding funds point "money talks and bs walks"!
#17 Pauline Costianes on 2009-08-26 15:07
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