The Medium is Not the Message

Medium Not Message Internet Blogosphereby Chris Banescu
As a fellow Orthodox Christian and an attorney I find Fr. George’s reflection quite eloquent but unfortunately lacking in the depth and moral clarity that our faith and profession both require. Fr. George’s central thesis is that “the nature of the medium, in this case the internet and blogosphere, is itself the message we get here even more than the content that people purport to communicate and consider.” I don’t believe that’s true, especially with regards to OCANews.org. The medium is only a neutral tool to be used or misused as we see fit. The truth of the message and the reliability of the information this medium conveys and the good it has done, in addition to the wisdom, character, and integrity of the messengers, are much more important and relevant.

Fr. George begins his criticism of the web by saying that it is “democratic in the extreme, and fools who know little or nothing about what they are discussing or how to discuss things effectively with others get basically equal time and treatment with wise men and experts.” That is true, the web is indeed “democratic in the extreme” and exposes both the wisdom of some and the foolishness of others. Thanks be to God for that, for otherwise how could we have distinguished between those who stood for truth and righteousness and those who lied, obfuscated, and muddled the issues. Seeing all the arguments and reading all those comments provided a more accurate and complete picture of the truth and the various problems the Church faced and still faces. The reality presented on the OCANews site was indeed clearer and more comprehensive than a few sanitized magazine or newspaper stories from the “official” church channels or any brief television segments. It is only the Internet medium that could have facilitated such an important feat. [Read more…]

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Forgiveness Without Repentance?

by Chris Banescu

In the midst of the ongoing OCA moral crisis we hear calls, especially from some clergy and many of our hierarchs, to forgive all those in the OCA leadership and administration who have for years, either through malfeasance or incompetence enabled the abuses, fraud, misconduct, and pillaging of God’s house. We are constantly reminded that our duty as Christians is to quickly and unconditionally forgive those who have mistreated others, lied, appropriated Church funds for personal luxury, stole money intended for widows, orphans, and the poor, covered up their misdeeds, and conducted themselves in an ethically reprehensible manner without a hint of remorse, repentance, and accountability. Before the people have had a chance to understand and find out what exactly has happened, who was really responsible, how much was wasted and stolen, how long this went on, who was hurt, who benefited, who lied, and who covered up their crimes, we are being told to forgive unconditionally and move on, “for the good of the Church.”

Is this call for forgiveness without truth, without repentance, without personal accountability, and without real contrition truly the Christian approach as reflected in the Scriptures and the Orthodox Moral Tradition? Are we being fooled into accepting a watered down version of forgiveness that distorts the fullness of the teaching of Christ regarding those who trespass and neither admit their culpability nor repent of their crimes? [Read more…]

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The Parable of the Missing Samaritan

by Chris Banescu

A certain Orthodox parish was on her journey towards the Kingdom of Heaven, but on her way she fell among thieves, who chased away the good shepherd guarding her flock, stripped her of the fullness of life that she is called to represent and support, wounded her, scattered her sheep, and departed, leaving her half dead.

The sheep inside cried out pleading for help and mercy, yet their cries were ignored by the hirelings. Even when the sheep began to scatter the hireling shepherds did little to protect them, choosing instead to admonish the remaining sheep for continuing to cry out.

Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw her, he passed by on the other side. Again, another priest, a Dean, arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. Still hearing the sheep crying he quickened his step and went back to his own country denying ever having seen the wounds or heard the sheep’s cries of anguish.

Likewise a Bishop, hearing about her plight refused to even come down the road and neither helped nor comforted the sheep. He remained shuttered in his ivory tower denying she was wounded; choosing instead to admonish and demonize the sheep for crying too loud and disturbing his peace. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Deafening Silence on 2004 Elections

by Chris Banescu

A deafening silence on vital election matters seems to have engulfed most of the Orthodox Christian Churches in America. As one of the most monumental elections in our nation’s history approaches, with two candidates that hold sharply contrasting views on key moral issues, there are little if any official declarations or concrete guidance coming from any of the Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the United States.

While Orthodox Christians may disagree how best to approach a variety of social and cultural issues, there are many key moral principles on which the Holy Orthodox Church offers no compromise. The Church has spoken consistently, definitively, and strongly for over two millennia in defense of innocence and in unconditional support of the sanctity of life and marriage. Specifically the Orthodox Church does not condone any form of abortion, especially partial-birth abortion, does not permit euthanasia, does not allow or recognize homosexual “marriage” and does not support embryonic stem cells research or human cloning. [Read more…]

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