“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)

The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gut-Wrenching Decisions

The decision to limit our pledge was difficult and painful, one we have not heretofore resorted to in nearly 35 years of marriage. And for the record I, personally, have not asked people to limit their pledges. This is an individual decision that must be made with a great deal of thought and prayer.

I have pointed out in other writings on this site that it is painfully obvious that this hierarchy and this clergy only understands two things - the power of the purse and the power of the pen.

I understand my cousin's motivations well, and I love him as cousin, friend, brother. In the same year he was ill, I had my beloved uncle George, a dear friend in Houston, BOTH my parents, and even a faithful pet, pass on. Bill's recovery was the only bright spot in those dreadful months. The following year another beloved uncle and a cousin's son also passed away. And yet, I have come to a different conclusion.

My late uncle George Souvall is the illustrative case in point. Despite a terminal diagnosis, he, as a Leadership 100 member, an archon, and a lifelong member of his church in Phoenix, fought this "brave new world" of hierarchs uber alles tooth and nail, by limiting his pledged amounts and be expressing in his usual forthright manner his dismay at the injustice of the new order. So much so that the late Metropolitan Anthony was close to excommunicating him! As fate would have it, the Metropolitan also fell terminally ill and left this awful plan undone.

To use the old cliche, Nick Colessides' excommunication and dismissal from the board nearly a year ago, along with this parish council's willingness to let it pass, was the straw that broke the camel's back. Enough was FINALLY enough!

Continuing to pay, where the unreasonable and unworthy are de facto rewarded for egregious behaviors, attitudes and actions is not, in my view, nor was it in my late Uncle George's view, sound stewardship. It is simply the ongoing rewarding of bad, uncivil behavior and ongoing poor governance with little transparency. Those of us who have come to this conclusion feel the following:

  • Jesus himself set the example when he went on a rampage against the money-lenders in the temple.
  • The Lord would not want us paying stewardship monies for the defense of PEDOPHILES, and in the face of numerous injustices to our fellow parishioners throughout the country, including many clergy. (see http://www.concernedorthodox.org/)
  • When those entrusted with the care of His Church fail to stand up for what is right, in defense of those WRONGFULLY accused, against their own brothers and sisters, ACTION MUST BE TAKEN. The latest incident with Colessides, Sifantonakis and Kastanis is merely just that - the latest such incident. The dismissal of entire ELECTED parish councils in various locations throughout the country these past years, based on our wonderful "gift" of a new charter and UPRs, is UNACCEPTABLE and should be resisted unequivocally by ALL the laity. Acquiescence by the laity is NOT the answer - it is part of the PROBLEM!
  • I won't at this juncture place my monies elsewhere in restricted funds (they have gone to other worthy causes) because I have no confidence in this clergy or this parish council as an entity. I have no problem with the majority of these men as individuals, two of them are family members who I love and respect, but I don't believe as an entity they have the will or the fortitude to stand against the abuses we are witnessing almost continually.

No one doubts the Lord will ultimately judge us all, but how do we also explain that in the face of numerous blatant injustices we simply went along, said little, did nothing, allowing the injustice to continue unabated, and allowing our monies to be used to facilitate a plethora of misdeeds and even crimes? Enough!

- Barbara Colessides

PS - to the anonymous poster who wants his or her comments published and who accuses us of being "un-Christian", having no knowledge of the Bible (which by the way is ALWAYS capitalized when referred to), you've got my name now, not that I ever hid it! I'll put MY knowledge of theology, the Church, history and the Bible against yours ANY DAY YOU CHOOSE. Give me your name, friend, and I'll publish your comments. If you want to post as a moderator, give me a call and I'll tell you how set up your own blog. Good enough?


TOCB Moderator said...

Dear Barbara,
With regard to your post script comment, I have personally informed the two proistamenoi, the parish president (at a private meeting) and the parish council that we act as moderators of this blog.

This annonymous poster is more than welcome to come to me personally and discuss any matter concerning what has been written, if of course, he/she has the courage to give their name.

Yannis Armaou

Barbara Colessides said...

Enough said. There are some others, for certain pieces, but we are the main ones.