Very welcome responses to Fr. George's reflection. The fact that we can engage in this kind of exchange proves the point of the medium. A medium that I find, in many ways, to be quite conducive to an Orthodox "phronema."
I certainly agree with most of the comments contained in the three reflections responding to Fr. Washburn's reflection. They comprehensively refute, point by point, his spurious contentions regarding OCA News and the internet in general.
But by taking his 'medium is the message" diatribe seriously, they fail to address the underlying clericalism that is at the heart of Fr. Washburn's attempt to shoot the messenger and stifle the medium. I, at least, give him credit for consistency, i.e. his consistent efforts, in post after post, to defend those in authority and preserve their prerogatives regardless of the cost to truth and accountability. And the converse is obvious as well--everyone else can just shut up and get about their business of being contented sheep.
Fr. Washburn in not alone in feeling this way. I dare say most Orthodox Christians give an undue deference to those in authority (myself, prior to the scandals, included). The fruits of that mentality are clear, no matter how sanctioned by tradition--church hierarchies unresponsive to the fundamental demands of their faith. After some 1700 years of autocratic hierarchs and state affiliated governance, the Christian Faith finds itself bereft of support in the modern world and pilloried by the popular culture. This is due in no small part large to our failed governance that at its root is caused by clericalism. A clericalism that is self-absorbed, defensive and preoccupied with its rights and prerogatives. We need only refer to the Gospels to see how our Lord reacted to those disciples preoccupied with their status.
My comments are most definitely not an argument for "democracy, egalitarianism, Protestantism" or any of the other bogeymen in the "powers that be" lexicon. It is a call for more conciliarity and synergy within the Body of Christ with an uncompromising commitment to truth and service.
In pontificating on the perceived shortcomings of this site, its editor, and the unwashed masses under the guise of "the medium," Priest George has successfully shifted focus (at least for the short term) away from Bishop Philip and his cohort of cronies. No doubt he will be well rewarded.
In any event, back to the business at hand in Englewood & Troy... Where is Bishop Mark? Where is our faux Local Synod? Apparently missing-in-action. Given the silence and seeming paralysis of our diocesan Bishops, where is the Holy Synod and our Patriarch? Is the entire Antiochian Patriarchate bereft of competent and courageous leadership?
'The Medium is not the Message" by Chris Banescu is a great reflection of the accomplishments surveyed and studied and acted on and through OCANEWS.org. It makes friends from truth. OCANEWS.org has helped weed out the activities of vainglory and self promotion and personal gain through unjust means using the church as a front.
I would also add it has its therapeutic nature and value as well. The movement of applying the examined life from OCA to GOA to more areas could then be perceived as one moving toward conciliatory decision making etc. The collateral damage done by those who were the feudal lords abusing power will still take time for more interaction to filter through and find those best practices which breed inclusion. Those practices can best be found when there is greater diversity to the voices speaking out.
Mark wins my praise as being a manager instead of a manipulater in bringing together the number of people who have some voice. ...
I have avoided other internet sites where dialouge is absent.
Mark has made this a site with functionality and a sense of purpose. I believe Chris has done well to state the accomplishments which came in through this medium. The internet medium whose direction has a leader who could see through the falsehood which had abused the power and did his best to bring even the anonymous voices to sit at the table and speak to matters at hand.
I believe OCANEWS.org continues to inspire a living work in progress to come together for Orthodox Unity in a manner similar to many great people who wrote for like-minded purposes in the last century as Archbishop Anthony Bloom and Mother Alexandra (Princess Ileana of Romania). I hope this internet site will continue to inspire resilence and change whereby truth is the substance and not the veneer.
As a Mass Communications major in college, I studied McLuhan along with other communication theorists.
None of these critical analyses have ever helped me as a film/video maker create a compelling story.
It took a long time for me to realize that the main arrow in my creative quiver is emotion. Either using the tools of writing, photography, performance or editing to communicate a character's emotion; or the sum total of images and words to manipulate the viewer's feelings.
Like a good film, every new tool of the internet has a way of stirring our emotions. First AOL with its e-mail, chat rooms and instant messaging connected people separated by distance. Then You Tube touched the public by making videos instantly available. Facebook and Myspace further enhanced the meta-existence by allowing us to communicate our personality like a teenager with so many posters plastered in their room.
Blogging is like that too. The ability to express opinions about the Orthodox Church outside the coffee hour and Church councils is revolutionary in the earthly history of the Church. It is very exciting to many clergy and laity to have an open forum to express themselves. We FEEL empowered, we FEEL relief that other people feel like we do. This is what brings people to this site. It's very simple; the content is the message. To displace blame or credit to the medium is denial of the truth.
In my humble opinion as a layman and a sinner who sees Church life as an opportunity for salvation - we cannot forget Jesus' commandment to love one another. Let there be anonymity so an individual can be freer to express him or herself. But if he or she uses it as an opportunity to judge instead of guide, condemn rather than rebuke, websites such as OCAnews fail to be Christian. Every meeting in our Church begin and end with a prayer. It should be no different when we read or comment at OCAnews.
We are all reading this, at least in part, because we want a strong American Orthodox Church. Lapses in fiscal responsibilty make us unhappy. Bishops who seem to act like lords rather than shepherds make us feel angry. These emotions are valid and are created by virtue of the medium, not by the medium alone.
Because these postings might end up on a search engine, my "metapresence" is not complete and that I am vain. I choose to remain anonymous.
Lord Jesus Christ have Mercy on us. Have Mercy upon OCANews and those who read and contribute to it..
I concur with mickey, however I am somewhat concern while we have the freedom of the press and speah in this country, we must you common sense and courtsey i all comments that aremposted not to offend others, and make acculization without proof.
I do not liek the comments that are dirrected at any bishop in a negative way. What ever any of us think about any bishop they represent the Icon of Christ and next time anyone want to thrown criticism at them I would hpe they keep this in mind.
I find it offensive on any criticism of ay Bishop, o masatter if I agree or disagree with them.
You man-handled delegates who were handing out audit reports at the convention in Palm Springs. I saw it. Those delegates you roughed up are your brothers in Christ. You were PHYSICALLY hurting the Body of Christ with your violent actions.
Care to make anymore suggestions about how others should show respect?
What most people take exception to is when the standard of manners extended to bishops is not extended to other Christians as well. Bishops are no more or less in the Image and Likeness of God than any other human being. All people, regardless of rank in the Church, should be treated with the same compassion and respect.
This controversy got its fuel when four priests publicly disrespected their Bishop, and the Metropolitan (who claimed at that point unrestricted jurisdiction) allowed them to get off with an apology to him. Once it was realized that the Metropolitan would allow such shameful behavior amongst his supporters (let's not forget Walid), he really lost the moral traction to discipline his critics through reason. It has left him only raw power, which he used against Fr. Oliver as the only priest to publicly stand his ground against the Metropolitan's refusal to answer simple questions in a venue where clergy were invited to ask questions.
People now feel insulted by the Metropolitan. Clearly he does not trust the people he ministers to because he refuses to share basic financial information with them. They believe he despises the local Bishops based on how he treats them on a practical level.
Disrespect has been flowing both ways, Michael. It is all a terrible shame. I would like to see the Metropolitan lead by example. Or, do you think he has no obligation to behave well?
In the one comment I posted directly in response to Fr. George's reflection, I obliquely pointed out that some of the features of the medium of internet forums are, in fact, a good thing, by quoting the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of 1848 concerning the defense of religion by the people.
I must, however, agree that the immediacy of the medium is not conducive to certain virtues, most notably patience. Orthodoxy does not move at such speed as to fit the conceptions of those who have adapted to the 24-hour news cycle of cable TV and the internet. Keep the heat on those who at best cling to the appearance of wrong-doing and at worst are actually malfeasant, but be patient.
Where are they? Shaking in thier boots somewhere; and these are our "Lions" for Christ! With friends like these guys in thier fancy Byzantine hats and robes, who needs enemies?
They use "obedience" as a cover for cowardice.
Who cares about what Washburn writes and why does his blah get so much attention here? Who cares what this fellow thinks. Let's move on from Washburn. Publish something from someone with credibility & substance!
...and by the way I have asked Fr George a simple question to which he has refused to respond to. When asked if he will support a professional, external audit of the Archdiocese we get no answer. Instead we get a diatribe on internet discussion forums. Perhaps he is looking for a position as west coast chancellor?!?!