“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, December 6, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (find out what it means...)

From the recent nominee rejection letters:
We thank you for your interest in wanting to serve the Lord on the Parish Council. The Uniform Parish Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America states that in order to be eligible as a candidate for the Parish Council, a parishioner must respect (emphasis added) all ecclesiastical authority and all governing bodies of our Church; be obedient in matters of the Faith, practice and ecclesiastical order; contribute to the progress of the Church's sacred mission; and be an effective witness and example of the Orthodox Faith and Traditions to all people.

His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah has made it clear to us that anyone who writes or comments on the blog is not eligible to be on the Parish Council. Your writing on the blog, which is an anti Church, Archdiocese, Metropolis and Clergy venue, has disqualified you as a candidate.
Respect ... MUST respect? This mistaken notion is the essence of the problem. Where respect is due, there is no need to demand it. Where it is merited, it is given naturally.

Respect cannot be demanded; respect is earned. It does not really matter that the demand for respect is in the "legal" language of the recent UPRs (part and parcel of that "gift", along with the "gift" of the new charter "granted" to us by the Patriarch a few years ago). The clergy, higher and lower, will not get the respect it demands no matter what language is used in their rules and regulations, unless it earns it. The clergy, lower and higher, needs to examine the significant differences between deference, coercion, submission and respect. (Hint: these terms are NOT interchangeable.)

Respect is, by definition, mutual. If the clergy wants true respect from its flock, then it must respect the laity as well. The clergy must stop viewing its flock as simply the source of its unquestioning funding. The clergy must engage its flock, work with its parishioners - ALL of them, and stop resorting to threats and unfair ostracism when it finds differences of opinion.

A recent blog article asked when we might expect the "Inquisition" to begin based on our clergy's and hierarchy's Dark Ages mentality. The answer is, it is already in evidence.

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