Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Guilty of Orthodoxy

God provides a safeguard and accountability mechanism within the Church when individual Christians simply follow Jesus and not the church leaders. They don't even have to form themselves into militias. God does that in directing them, and the weight of their obedience falls on, and crushes, false authority and ecclesial abuse.

Not recognizing this, some people would rather cling to their religious attitudes instead of to Christ, and then band together to accuse, judge or vilify church leaders, whether rightly or wrongly. We see this all through history. The mob, sometimes composed of clergy as well as lay busybodies, will haul a church leader on the rug and quickly dispose of him as so much garbage, and then he turns out to have been a saint. Nektarios of Aegina is an example of this. An extreme example taken from more remote times is Hypatia of Alexandria, who was murdered by a mob of mad monks, because they accused her of being a bad influence on the prefect, and causing a division between him and the Alexandrian pope.

But Orthodoxy is sweetness (not in the sentimental sense) and light (the light of Christ), love of the brethren (abject self-denial expressed not in flagellation but in hospitality), and a willingness to be at peace with everyone. Real saints are guilty of this kind of Orthodoxy, no matter what churches they belong to, and God knows who they are.

No comments: