Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

The Debacle of Orthodox Radio


There are a lot of good and useful things out there in Orthodox media. But there are also some rather disturbing things, anyone with a little discernment would admit.

When you listen to Orthodox radio, and you hear an Episcopalian priest who’s being ordained use the word “resonate” 5-times in under 2-minutes: “Orthodoxy resonates”, “this resonates with me”, it tells you that the attitude of the convert and of the group he’s converting to is potentially delusional – as though Orthodoxy appears to fit into an existing “spirituality”, and as though the Faith has external criterion by which it can be judged. It is clear that the internal voice as criterion of truth, faith, and confession, is still at work in this man, and it’s a heterodox notion that has no place in Orthodoxy. People will say we’ve said, “There’s no place in Orthodoxy for you.” No, there’s no place in Orthodoxy for an Orthodoxy without conversion.

When you hear, in the same media, a Charismatic priest who’s being ordained say, “I’m glad to find that there’s a place for me as a born-again, spirit-filled Christian, in Orthodoxy.”, it tells you the exact same thing. One doesn’t want to be harsh by saying, “No, there is no such place.” There’s always a place for any individual willing to really convert, but there is no room for the delusion that “we’re ok, you’re ok, and we’re coming in for a slight tune-up”. Again, this notion of a para-spirituality which denies the Orthodox anthropology, eschatology, and soteriology, and the delusion that it is somehow acceptable, indicates that a real conversion is dubious.

There are good reasons why the Church has rules on new converts speaking in public about these things. The fact that they’re being ignored reflects precisely the kind of attitude that can entertain these delusions. Why the rush to ordain these people when clearly they’ve received inadequate catechesis, and why would they allow themselves to be ordained, when clearly they still have grave differences with the Faith we hold to be apostolic and retain attitudes that so many of us insist are doctrinally and spiritually incompatible?

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January 18, 2008 - Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Thank you. I think it is indeed unfair to judge the so-called purity of what led to one’s becoming Orthodox.

    I do not think your post lays aside, however, the importance of truly converting, the development of phromena.

    With that said, I think there are certain motives, inspirations, perceptions or modes of reception which are more prone to making the development of an Orthodox conversion more difficult.

    This is especially true when the authorities within an Orthodox jurisdiction show a flawed concern for the aquistion of phromena or even a disregard. When clearly heterodox statements are made by “converts” and they serve as representatives within a jurisdiction with the approval of authorities therein, well…

    Comment by publican123 | May 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. I am saying only that I don’t think it is wrongful to speak of Orthodoxy as a natural fulfillment of the sincere faith of Christians from an Anglican or Roman Catholic background, who felt, prior to becoming Orthodox, as if they didn’t so much leave their church as their church left them by morphing into an unrecognizable post-Christian religion. I have great sympathy for those who feel that way, though it is not my own experience.

    (My comments about the way some Anglicans were received by a chrismation described to them by clergy as a “formality” did not relate to any Antiochian clergy in the United States, but referred instead to the resolution of the “Pilgrimage to Orthodoxy” crisis in the mid 1990s in England. I knew and am still in contact with some of the participants in that movement, who are now, thank God, Orthodox Christians.)

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | May 31, 2008 | Reply

  3. Please feel free to explicate the above post.

    Be direct especially with any connections you are making with the original topic.

    In general I find your objection to people being denounced somewhat obscured by your own example which oddly clangs with the original topic’s reference to a charismatic priest.

    I think the topic deals with not only the manner of reception. The charismatic priest is a featured speaker on Orthodox radio, not a victim.

    If your reference is to inadequate catechesis, what’s to defend?

    Please forgive any misunderstanding on my part.

    Comment by publican123 | May 30, 2008 | Reply

  4. Christ is risen! I am not convinced it is necessary to denounce those who say the cup is half full, shouting, “No! The cup is half EMPTY! The cup is half EMPTY!”

    That said, I am all too painfully aware of Anglicans who were told more than that the cup was half full. They were told that their chrismation into Orthodoxy would be a legal formality, nothing more. They were cautioned not to expect any spiritual result from their Orthodox chrismation since they’d already been duly confirmed by the Holy Spirit as faithful of the Anglican tradition.

    Comment by hieromonachusaidanus | May 30, 2008 | Reply

  5. This is what happens when people are handed Clark Carlton instead of Fr. Michael Pomazansky when they make inquiries. The concern that one approach to instruction is more or less accessible is not the point: what “works” for you becomes the barometer. To be fair to Clark Carlton, even Fr. Pomazansky in the hands of some of these “converts” would have little impact. Their green light comes from above, authorities in the hierarchy and from their own unexamined or challenged individualism. If St. Paul’s admonitions have been somehow misplaced and misapplied by these representatives, what can one do? Pray for them as we pray for God to have mercy on each one of us sinners.

    Pride. This is a spoken of but in practice minimized source of sin in the Western Church which reduces lust to simply a sin of the flesh.

    With little to learn, with little need for correction, the cathechumens are not asked to leave but to stand before the Royal Doors.

    Even Japanese and Korean companies have a better appreciation for starting at the bottom. This sounds offensive to American and Euroepean ears where the educational system promotes the disastrous outlook of “shared authority” between students and teachers.

    I think you would be hard-pressed to find quotes of the Fathers, Saints or Elders or Martyrs referring to themselves as “spirit-filled Christians.”

    I do recall St. John Chrysostom saying that we cannot be saved without humility.

    Comment by publican123 | May 24, 2008 | Reply


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