Monday, October 24. 2011
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Weird reflection from Dreher. Not sure why his wife found it necessary to go shake her finger in the face of the Metropolitan. None of my business, I guess.
#1 N on 2011-10-24 08:09
So, the net effect from Mrs. Dreher's confrontation with Metropolitan Jonah was that he "received her words kindly", he made a futile symbolic gesture, and nothing has changed. Mission accomplished.
#2 John Congdon on 2011-10-24 08:56
Sadly, Mr. Dreher continues to believe in a conspiracy against +Jonah. The Synod has been more than patient with +MJ. Dreher should consider his own conspiratorial behavior before pointing the finger. A good therapist would call this projection.
He still fails to accept that he, together with Fester and MJís staff and a gaggle of parishioners in Dallas plotted against a Bishop who tried to remain neutral. A bishop who had neither said nor done anything to them or MJ.
Dreher continues to promote himself as a moralist, yet he refuses to take responsibility for the spiritual assignation of a member of the episcopate.
Sadly, Dreher has been played by team Jonah or chooses to distort the facts. The Miami deacon while re-instated by Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory was not permitted to serve anywhere. The deacon was reinstated while Metropolitan Jonah was Locum Tenens. As the Locum Tenens he could kept the situation as it was or even brought a spiritual court to depose the deacon. He chose, however, to reinstate him to active diaconal ministry at the cathedral.
This is only one example perhaps of MJís actions being incongruent with his words. Rod Dreher was also given the SMPAC report by Fester but calls the report cherry picking. Obviously, the SMPAC committee had greater concerns about the Metropolitanís handling of other cases of sexual misconduct. I sincerely doubt their objections were because he was too strict. The SMPAC committee wants to protect the church from litigation and most importantly care for the victims of misconduct.
Dreher wants a safe place for his children. So do I. Perhaps, he needs to consider why MJ released Fester before a spiritual court could be called. This reeks of cover-up.
For me Dreher has lost all credibility. He conspired to attack an innocent bishop and then points the finger because he was exposed. Let us not fool us not be fooled by his continued remarks that there is any repentance. IF anyone bothers to check with an attorney, I am certain he or she will tell you ALL CONTENT on a corporate computer IS the property of the corporation and a supervisor has every right to inspect the content of the computer. Further, for an employee to plot against a supervisor on a corporate computer is the height of stupidity.
Please Mr. Dreher stop trying to teach everyone else. Get your own house in order. Come clean. REPENT and Apologize. Your actions will then speak louder than all the ranting. You have ceased to be a credible moral authority because of your own duplicity and complicity.
But, then again, I sincerely believe you have been used and continue to be used. Used once shame on them. Used twice shame on you.
#3 Anonymous on 2011-10-24 10:50
So Mrs Dreher attempted to do what the Holy Synod has repeatedly tried to do.
So far no one has been successful in effecting change any change at all with MJ.
Too bad Dreher does not get it. We have an excellent Holy Synod. But then again with Fester as his filter why would he.
#4 anonymous on 2011-10-24 10:54
Rod Dreher's blog entry is a rather sad thing. His passion for righteousness of conduct is clear. But so too is his hunger for heroes. Unfortunately, "Put not your trust in princes," is all-purpose advice that applies as well to princes of the church.
This past Sunday, our parish celebrated the Liturgy of St. James, and I was struck by several references to preserving the Church from scandals or scandalous behavior by her ministers. In this very early liturgy, these references popped up not just in long lists of petitions, but in some key prayers. A reminder that there's nothing new under the sun, and that it is only and quite literally by the Grace of God that the Church endures ... not by the personal virtue of men.
Nevertheless we all carry on and try ... it's a pity that Mr. Dreher has decided to dismiss so many of our bishops as enemies and conspirators, because, if he were willing to look with fresh eyes and judge with an open heart, he might recognize among them spiritual wisdom and practical pastoral brilliance. Perfection? No. Agreement with a set of litmus test questions on "issues"? No. Consistency, courage, and clarity? Not enough. But humanity, compassion, and common sense (at least in flashes). And that's not nothing.
For a far more balanced and mature picture of the world of the OCA, I urge readers to click through the link in the announcement of Fr. John Jillions' acceptance of the Chancellorship and read Fr. John's initial application letter.
This passage in particular struck a chord:
"Yes, there are difficulties but the OCA's vision is life-giving, its bishops, priests and deacons continue to serve, the mysteries are being celebrated, people are being tended to, the people themselves continue to pray and to serve God and their neighbor in an inspiring variety of ways, spiritual life is maintained and many parishes are very much alive."
This is where the answer to our current unease lies -- in faithfulness and focus on our common life in Christ.
#5 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-10-24 11:45
If I read the passage correctly, I thought she waved her finger in the 'patriarchs' face. Was this a slip of the typist??? Or has the metropolitan taken a new title?
#6 Hal Pukita on 2011-10-24 12:01
Rod Dreher wrote:
"During all this, some of Jonahís enemies within the OCA made accusations that he was going soft on priests guilty of sexual misconduct, and violating the OCAís own policies in this regard. From my point of view, much of the evidence for these charges was cherry-picked and spun; it seemed pretty clear to me that people who hated Jonah for other reasons were trying to manufacture a case to get rid of him."
The Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee (SMPAC), prepared a report for the synod of bishops in February of this year. In it they warned that "...the OCA was courting pastoral, legal and professional troubles if the Metropolitanís actions - and inaction - were allowed to continue unchecked." Does Mr. Dreher truly believe that the entire SMPAC is composed of the metropolitan's "enemies," even though the metropolitan selected the people who serve on the committee?
Mr. Dreher should remember that the bishops in his former faith community also selected knowledgable men and women to handle sexual abuse cases, and then proceeded to ignore their sage advice. People who sincerely wanted to make a difference resigned, as the SMPAC has discussed doing. A well publicized example would be former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating.
Frankly, the only "conspiracy" I see is the one attempting to paint the metropolitan as some sort of saint.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
SNAP Orthodox Director
+ Jonah had introduced Dreher to many as the next head of all communications in the OCA. + Jonah confided so highly in Dreher that he turned to him for advice on what should be done in the OCA. The result: lies and distortion by OCATruth; creating a paranoia atmosphere that the "old guard" in the OCA was out to get + Jonah; telling + Jonah that he was the "head" bishop and could do what he wanted; etc. Gee, the similarities to RSK taking advice from his Las Vegas cronies is amazing. Folks, this is why it is so important "who wears the crown" and who advises them!
#8 anonymous on 2011-10-25 05:36
Once again it seems that an article appears that seems to say all the right things, yet really says nothing. Barrett's essay is very lovely, nice, and reminds us of our faith and our focus, yet it find it strangely lacking in its ability to offer solutions. Yes, we need to keep Christ and His Holy Church in the fore of our existence. Yes, but in our efforts to do this, how does it change our lives and our actions within a fallen world, and where not everyone agrees with specific applications. As once was said: "In America, intelligent people can disagree and still get along." Perhaps it could be said of the Holy Orthodox Faith, that 'intelligent people can agree, and still not get along'. There is a reason our Mother, the Church, chose to include four Gospels - because while each holds truth, each also approaches that truth from a different direction. Within the Church, the gatherings of the faithful, the real-life applications of Truth and Orthodoxy within a fallen world, the direction that we follow will be different. It would be a pleasure to hear the direction Barrett suggests we follow. How do we apply Church discipline and forgiveness? How do we choose to spend precious funds for a variety of good, but perhaps exclusive causes? Where do we establish missions and yes, when and where do we decide to close churches? Yes, let us always make Christ's mind our minds as well. Let us glory in His Resurrection, and make his life, love and resurrection the center of our lives and our faith ... but let us also explain the hows and whys of what we then choose to do.
#9 Sean O'Dea on 2011-10-25 06:50
Let me preface my comment with, I don't have a horse in this race. I am the grandson of an archpriest, pre OCA, grew up in OCA parishes, have many friends who are OCA priests, etc. but there is no OCA near where I live now.
I though Mr. Dreher's comments were spot on. I think the negative kick back here is people who can't separate the man from the message. As an interested outsider, it strikes me both sides are wrong to some degree. Who's most to blame doesn't matter. You've got a pretty screwed up church here.
But then, should we be surprised when you look at our society and specifically the political landscape, where Republicans and Democrats have their heels so dug in, that nobody is actually doing any leading. And the Honey Badger reference was perfect.
#10 Victor Borzkowski on 2011-10-25 07:05
Funny. Dreher has no problem blasting Catholic perp-enabling bishops over and over again ad nauseam -- even though we Catholics nowadays actually bust our bad apples, which is a heck of lot more than Dreher's and Jonah's OCA is apparently doing.
Yet Dreher glosses over Met. Jonah's alleged coverups as "cherry-picked" evidence. To quote Dreher himself: "Whitewash, rinse, repeat."
(Editor's note: There is enough dirty laundry everywhere for each to focus on their own pile.)
#11 Roison Dubh on 2011-10-25 09:58
Your words are beautiful.....
"Nevertheless we all carry on and try ... it's a pity that Mr. Dreher has decided to dismiss so many of our bishops as enemies and conspirators, because, if he were willing to look with fresh eyes and judge with an open heart, he might recognize among them spiritual wisdom and practical pastoral brilliance. Perfection? No. Agreement with a set of litmus test questions on "issues"? No. Consistency, courage, and clarity? Not enough. But humanity, compassion, and common sense (at least in flashes). And that's not nothing."
Do these words apply without qualification to Met. Jonah? Would you disavow the statements of Fr Hopko that the "Holy Spirit was not present in Pittsburgh when Jonah was elected?" and that he is "gravely troubled"? Would you say to Stokoe et. al that their efforts to remove Jonah were against the spirit of what you wrote? Or is there a double-standard. One set of rules for bishops on the OCA Synod and another for Jonah?
Knowing that you are a reasonable person, I would hope that your words applied to equally to Jonah and that you would step away from what Hopko and Stokoe said.
#12 Anonymous on 2011-10-25 11:26
Mr. Barrett is a choir director, not a theologian. Give him a break. Besides, maturity doesn't require a list of specifics, but guiding principals based on eternal truths. That's what David was elucidating. To criticize him because he chose one type of essay and you want another...well, write it.
#13 Rdr. John on 2011-10-25 12:26
While I would not be so bold and arrogant to claim I am a theologian (something too often done in our Church nowadays, I'm afraid), and while I have, in the past, been a choir director, I do have a theological education from St Vladimir's Seminary. In fact, I was there twice: in the early '80's, I was the first to earn the degree of Master of Arts in Liturgical Music, and, in 1998, I received the Master of Divinity degree. However, that is neither here nor there.
I thank you for correctly spotting the purpose of my Reflection. I'm wondering if Mr. O'Dea ever saw any of my previous Reflections and/or comments on this website. I doubt it, because, if he did, he would have noticed that I have given nuts-and-bolts feedback and suggestions on how to proceed with things, in descriptive detail. As you observed with this Reflection, however, my point was not to give details on how to proceed because, if we proceed with the wrong perspective, it will all be in vain. My only purpose in this Reflection was to try to get people to take a second look at their perspectives and the "one thing needful" before going to Seattle! In other words, if Christ and Him Crucified is the center of their outlook, God will work things through for the good! If it is not the center of their outlook, nothing constructive will be accomplished! Thanks again for your comments and clarification.
#14 David Barrett on 2011-10-25 15:33
In Pitt, + Jonah became the logical, untainted choice after his speech the night before his election. People thought this young, head of a monastery (what, 3 convert monks) was a good choice - SURPRISE! All + Jonah had to do was NOTHING and he would have been a hero. After + Theodosius & + Herman, all the OCA needed was stability. Now, everyone understands why the leader of any autocephalous church should not be a rookie, but a tried and true experienced hierarch. If one of these aren't available, how about a leader who is "well-balanced!"
#15 anonymous on 2011-10-25 15:39
Anonymous, you say Fr. Thomas Hopko said that the Holy Spirit wasn't present in Pittsburgh when Met. Jonah was elected. May I ask when and where he said that?
I saw Fr. Thomas right after Pittsburgh, and back then he was happier than a teenage girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.
(Editor's note: ROTFL at that image. Thanks for a evening chuckle. I am not aware where Fr. Tom is reputed to have made that statement either. )
#16 Cordelia on 2011-10-25 17:29
Fr Hopko made that comment to me in March of this year while we had lunch in PA. If you ask him, he will not deny that he said it and that he truly believes it. I hope this suffices. If not, as I said, ask him. He will confirm the veracity of my statement.
(Editor's note: I do not doubt you. I think everyone was curious as to whether he had said this in public, or in private, as it appears he did. Thanks for sharing it.)
#17 Anonymous on 2011-10-26 06:52
In response, the answer is no, I have not seen any of your previous posts and no, I have not seen the "nuts-and-bolts" suggestions you have made. My comments were made, not as a criticism of what you said (I entirely agree that Christ has to be our focus and our center), but rather in what was not said. Personally, too often I have seen the glory of Orthodoxy - Christ's Holy Church, in its ability to articulate heavenly theology and in its complete failure in being able to manifest that theology to a hungry and needy world. I, too, believe that we must keep our mind, our hearts, our eyes on Christ. I just wonder if, at times, we have lost the focus of presenting Christ to the world. That is where we are truly called to serve. But, I do not wish to quibble. Your article was well written, quite beautiful and inspiring. And for that I thank you.
#18 Sean O'Dea on 2011-10-26 07:07
I doubt if Fr. Tom ever made that statement. Unlike those in ROCOR, Fr. Tom would never say where or when the Holy Spirit acts. Certainly at an assembly of the Church, the Holy Spirit is called upon to act. Besides this, + Jonah was the student of Fr. Tom @ SVS. I would think he was very happy for "Puffer." I don't think Fr. Tom nor most others could have foreseen how + Jonah would have screwed things up so badly. I could see as a joke in passing one might say regarding + Jonah's election, "The Holy Spirit was busy that day!" We must believe the Holy Spirit was present and did act and this result is the "process" the Church must go through. We must consider that turmoil exists in the Church militant so that the laos will stay active and fight for what is right and what is wrong - even regarding it's leaders. Thus is life in this world! In fact, a Church without turmoil is a church which should be questioned.
#19 Anonymous on 2011-10-26 07:39
It should also be noted that his comments to me were not in confidence and he did not in anyway discourage me from sharing his belief about the Holy Spirit and Jonah with others.
#20 Anonymous on 2011-10-26 07:47
didn't Mr. Dreher know that Fr Joseph Fester was part of the old guard?
#21 SASHA RESHETAR on 2011-10-26 10:43
Thank you for your clarifications and your comments. They are very much appreciated.
#22 David Barrett on 2011-10-26 11:48
I follow Fr. Hopko's lectures and podcasts religiously. Maybe too religiously. But even he cannot go against the Savior who said, "The Spirit blows where He will." While Fr. Hopko and others intheir insight, maturity, wisdom and so forth may have a better idea than I what the evidence of the Spirit is, I doubt anyone can say that "He was not present." The point isn't, was He present. The faithful prayed He would be; and, according to the Savior's promise, He was. Was His leading followed? Has He been followed since? Those are quite different questions, and the Scriptures give is strong hints how to answer: Where is there love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control? If these are lacking, then we can safely assume that the Spirit is not being followed. But that does not mean He is not present.
#23 Rdr. John on 2011-10-26 12:23
There is one way that you can be assured that he indeed said that the "Holy Spirit was not present." Ask him. Here is his email address
#24 Anonymous on 2011-10-27 08:12
Having said that, anonymous, whoever and wherever you are, why are you postint anonymously?
I think you are OK in my book. Come out, come out, wherever you are!
#25 rdr james on 2011-10-27 22:07
You say "We must believe the Holy Spirit was present and did act and this result is the "process" the Church must go through."
Must we? The Spirit and the Word agree, and the Word says a bishop should be "not a novice", which the present Met. certainly is. A group of people ignored the Word and elected someone who does not meet the Church's own criteria. Sounds more like something a Protestant Congregational church would do. When do we put the OCA down and go back to a real Orthodox church?
(Editor's note: LOL. I doubt there is an Orthodox Church in the world which meets your criteria for being "real" enough. The canons also say no one is to be ordained before 30, no matter how worthy. Wanna take a bet on how many Orthodox bishops worldwide meet that criterion? Right. If the OCA bothers you, move on.)
#26 Anonymous on 2011-10-28 08:36
Yes, Mr. Barrett wrote one type of essay, and yes, I would like a different type of essay (as I think the following comments have noted) - but I did not disagree with anything he said and I definitely respect him for his thoughts. But in response to your suggestion, I'd be happy to ...
#27 Sean O'Dea on 2011-10-28 09:35
Interestingly enough, I forget exactly what bishop/saint this was, a certain city needed an Archbishop and had no outstanding candidates. So, the bishops prayed and said, "We will put our trust in the Holy Spirit and we pray, and whoever enters the church next should be our leader!" Lo and behold, a very humble, good layman entered the church and was immediately chosen - to his surprise. His leadership turned out to be correct and historic!
#28 anonymous on 2011-10-28 15:10
Mis-interpretation. The Scripture plainly refers to men who have not been Christian long, the "novice" of I Tim 3:6 KJV is otherwise translated "a new convert", "a neophyte", "a recent convert".
Met. Jonah is simply not a new or recent convert in the meaning of 1 Tim 3:6. And his election did not "ignore the Word".
It might be a good idea for one to be a bishop for some time before being a Primate or First Hierarch. But it is not required by Scripture. Neither do the Canons. In fact the Canons of Nicea I forbid transferring a bishop from one see to another, which if strictly followed would mean that bishops of sees already would NOT be candidates for Metropolitan. Yes, I know that that canon has but rarely been strictly enforced, but there it is. Bringing in a pseudo scriptural brick bat is unhelpful, as is lining up for or against a private comment Fr. Tom is said to have made. Plenty of people, even bishops, have publicly mocked the manner of Met. Jonah's election. Plenty have derided the upcoming Council before it has even begun. Well, as all of us should well know, the Holy Spirit is "everywhere present and filling all things" even in the AACs of the OCA.
We should better spend our time "acquiring" the Spirit Who is already and certainly present.
#29 Fr Yousuf Rassam on 2011-10-30 04:38
I found Dreher's reflection and his wife's journey rather humorous. Not because I disagree with the essence of their arguments, but the we vs. them mentality Dreher and the Metropolitan continue to carry like a briefcase or a laptop about the town.
Too bad Mr. Dreher and the Metropolitan can't get past our relative positions on the political bell spectrum to a WE, because in truth, we are a collective group of Orthodox.
My advice to the Metropolitan is to get away from Mr. Dreher and anyone who suggests the Metropolitan has enemies.
In decisionmaking and life, we will always have people that disagree; this does not equate to an enemy. In the Liturgy, when we pray for our enemies; it isn't the Democrats or the Republicans.
If, given, Mr. Dreher dropped this illogical notion, then he wouldn't consider some things cherry picked and others not. And perhaps Mrs. Dreher would have been most angry when Garlavs got fired for reporting inaction in a pedophilia matter; which is a far more serious charge than a gay deacon serving in the church.
Instead, we have a Metropolitan who has convinced himself there is a mafia out to destroy him and those are his enemies. He needs to retract such rubbish so I can stop rehashing it.
#30 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-11-06 13:05
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