I've been pondering…

for some time on the troubles that seem to be working themselves through the various Orthodox jurisdictions. It’s been a sometimes frustrating and sometimes hopeful sort of task.

Frustrating, of course, because it seems so meaningless. Our culture is in a deep moral crisis and millions wander through life without some kind of healthy guidance to make it through the day. So what is our agenda? Arguments over who gets the best places at the table, whose title is what, and who, in a certain way, gets to lord it all over the subordinates like the Gentiles.

Would to God that we were vying for who can have the deepest prayer life, or who can do the most to plant churches to strengthen the faithful and help the drifting. Imagine a contest among us as to who will love the most, or with whom the poor will find the greatest shelter!

Yet that is not to be for the moment. For now we have to pound our heads against the stubborn wall of pride until, it seems, we realize that the pain will go away only if we stop. For now the game must be played until the players, exhausted and battered, come to realize that its only a game, nothing more, that we’ve expended so much precious time and energy playing.

Gone is the triumphalism of Orthodoxy. Sex scandals are not only a Roman Catholic problem. We have them too. All the televangelists that we pointed fingers at with the big houses and unaccounted for money, well we have that in our way as well. The idolization of position and title has been dealt a fatal blow as well all stand exposed in our humanity like kids caught at the door of the store with a unpaid candy bar in their pocket.

Yet perhaps its at this place that we need to be. Perplexed, frustrated, humbled, unsure of ourselves, and even afraid. The closets have been opened and everything we’ve tried to hide under the bed is slowly leaking out. We look like the stars without makeup in the tabloid magazines. We are being weighed in the balances and found wanting.

Yet there is a voice that we can hear if they care to listen. Perhaps it is the voice of the God who loves us deeply whispering in our ears. “Your pedigrees, your temples, your titles, your connections, the great and holy gifts, all of these are good but none of them is anything without humility, grace, love, piety, and all the precious gifts that come with the Holy Spirit. Seek those first, seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will find its proper place.”

Some day, tired of hearing our own voices, we’ll be able to listen and perhaps that day is why we are here now.


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