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Is there any more militant “anti-” than an “ex-“?

Blogging has been light for much of the last year or so. This has been because I’ve been, well, busy. Flesh of My Flesh was in Germany on an academic exchange from the middle of September 2010 to the middle of August 2011, and trying to maintain a two-person household and lifestyle as one person, while also being a full-time grad student, while also having some level of teaching responsibilities for the first time, while also still being responsible for musical duties at All Saints, while also planning a big to-do last fall, while dealing with some personal issues that required a good amount of attention (to perhaps be told someday in another blog post), while also making a couple of semi-lengthy trips to Germany myself, meant that every last second of my time was spoken for, and I had absolutely nobody around to share the load or to delegate to in any meaningful or consistent way. Granted, there were lots of people around for much-appreciated moral support, but by and large I was on my own.

Another reason why it’s been light, however, is because there have been things going on in the circle of blogdom of which I am some kind of marginal member that have prompted the thought, “Maybe I should respond to that,” and ultimately I’ve chosen not to. I don’t like blogging pissing contests; to my mind they don’t resolve anything, they engender bad will, and tend to create (to say nothing of harden) battle lines. I’m at the point where I feel like there are some things that need to be said, however, and while I want to be frank, I also don’t want to pick a fight, so I’m going to keep things reasonably specific but nonetheless as abstract as I can make it. If you know what I’m talking about, then you know what I’m talking about; if you don’t, a Google search on some of the issues I raise should be reasonably fruitful.

Converting to Orthodox Christianity is a tricky business, perhaps a bit moreso than Roman Catholicism. I’ve heard it said that getting married isn’t just saying yes to one woman, it’s saying no to all the others, and that seems applicable here. There’s a way in which it seems to me that converting to Roman Catholicism is saying yes to one communion while at the same time construing all the others as being more or less part of yours, so you’re not really deciding against them in the same way. Choosing Orthodoxy, however, involves some more serious overtones of rejection, I think; when I converted, I told myself that in Orthodoxy Christianity I found fulfillment of many of the ideals I had as an Anglican, and that had also led me to read some Roman Catholic apologetics, but there was nonetheless a line, I was choosing a side, and the only for me to un-choose it was to be for all practical purposes an atheist. From people I’ve talked to, that kind of “double-or-nothing” mindset is fairly common, and for my part, I don’t know what the alternative is that isn’t converting for what amount to warm and squishy reasons.

If that’s the case, however, and you find, for one reason or another, that you can’t stay in Orthodoxy, then I suppose it’s not all that surprising that some do effectively become atheists who are nonetheless left with a particularly dogmatic approach to their atheism. There have been some rather public (as far as this niche of the blogging world goes) departures from Orthodox Christianity recently where this has happened, despite an initial assertion that they were going to a different communion, what they really appear to have embraced is an atheism that allows them to maintain a dogma about the things that they’ve decided they really care about. The irony, inevitable though perhaps it is, is that these were some of the more militantly Orthodox bloggers in their day; calling out bishops, parishes, and whomever for not being Orthodox enough, reading all the Right Theologians and so on, and certainly putting on a show of fighting the good fight. The militancy remains; only the Orthodoxy is gone, and the vacuum seems to have filled itself rather violently with other things — secular metanarratives of Marxist-style class struggle and revolution (highly ironic, since in one case I’m thinking of the person, while Orthodox, famously claimed to despise metanarrative) being one significant example, and their new “orthodoxy” tends be tinged by an ongoing and rather world-weary intellectual dismissal of the Christianity they’ve found wanting.

You know, I can respect that somebody for whom Orthodoxy “doesn’t take” is left without a lot of intellectually honest options that actually retain some veneer of Christianity. It strikes me nonetheless that there’s something far deeper going on here, and what it really seems to boil down to is an issue with people rather than an issue with the faith. How in the world can people like that be allowed in by anything less than crawling over broken glass covered with cow excrement, the reasoning seems to go, when I have this other category that tells me we should treat them as undesirables, if not outright enemies? Why should it be acceptable that the people who are becoming Orthodox are people I don’t like? Surely that’s a flaw in the faith itself. But even that, I think, is to overthink it — what it really boils down to is that, whatever song and dance we like to put on about catholicity, we want to go to church with people like ourselves. When we don’t find people like ourselves in sufficient critical mass, then we assume that it’s not for us. If this happens after we’ve already made a spiritual commitment, then the road out seems to be paved with bitterness and sour grapes. Smash the icons, burn the books, it wasn’t what I hoped it would be, so it must be all bad and full of pathological wackos.

Let’s be honest — for all the jawing converts like to do about “ethnic enclave” parishes, converts often tend to function as their own ethnicity. And, since most converts are white (note I said “most”, not all), and it’s socially unacceptable to claim to be a “white” church in the same way that a Greek/Russian/Arab church can claim to be a Greek/Russian/Arab church, the unifying factor tends to be cultural class, subsequently and quietly reinforced by race. Ethnic parishes, from what I’ve seen, tend to be more “catholic” in terms of class, because the ethnicity is able to explicitly function as the glue. Yes, fine, the Christian faith is supposed to be the glue, but for converts and for cradles it’s more complicated than that. We converts are choosing something that is on some level countercultural, and we want to know we’re not crazy, so we want to see the people like ourselves who make it work without it being contrived, some kind of a put-on. I have a dear friend who has expressed being self-conscious in a lot of parishes just by virtue of the fact that he has red hair, immediately and unmistakably marking him as somebody who doesn’t come from a traditionally Orthodox heritage. For cradles, they come from a background where being Orthodox is simply the default option, and there is nothing to reinforce that in a North American cultural context except ethnicity. One way or the other, whether you most strongly identify with class or heritage, if you go to church and don’t see people you can identify as being like yourself in your preferred category, you’re not going to feel comfortable. I suspect that no matter how much we want to talk about “catholicity”, that’s just the reality of being human. We can be taught to like the idea of cultural or ethnic pluralism, but in the ordering of our own lives, that’s not going to be a practical reality most of us will choose to embrace. Catholicity, I suspect, is an ideal to be supported on a macro-level; on the local level, most people will choose homogeneity. If pressed, I think some people would even go so far as to say that catholicity is great, as long as it doesn’t include those people.

The stones the “ex-“es who are now “anti-“s choose to throw I must take with a boulder of salt. Surely we all know that just because a monk says it doesn’t make it necessarily a) so b) universally applicable even if true. Surely we all know that someone being proclaimed as a saint doesn’t necessarily make them perfect or not subject to various historical circumstances and forces, and I would hope that the easy categorization of “the friend of my enemy is my enemy” is something most people would see as deeply problematic from a Christian standpoint, any Christian standpoint, no matter how much critical theory and class struggle-infused rhetoric one tries to throw at it. The recent assertion by one such person that “a mature Christianity is a nominal Christianity” and that Orthodoxy constitutes “the Byzantine slammer” must be rejected with frankness, yes, but also seen as part of what, I think, is best considered a grieving process. A mature Christianity might well perhaps be a humble Christianity, but by the same token, a mature secularism must also be a humble secularism.

To wrap this up for the moment — I heard it said while I was converting that the trouble with thinking your way into a religion is that it’s then no difficult task to think your way right out when your premises change. It’s perhaps particularly easy to do when one finds that the reality on the ground is harder than the marketing materials may have suggested. For those of us who haven’t fallen prey to this, thank God, but I’ve seen enough people leave for such a variety of reasons, some surprising and some not, that you just never know what’s going to challenge you next.

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8 Responses to “Is there any more militant “anti-” than an “ex-“?”


  1. 1 Eric Jobe 6 October 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Wow, a very good, cutting analysis. There is a lot of “noise” out there that has the appearance of making sense but leaves me wondering what it is exactly that they want or are fight for or fighting against. They throw around a lot of -isms and terms like “reactionary,” which all come across to me as being rather reactionary. They have created a certain level of abstraction, a metanarrative, as you called it, that is rather bewildering. At the risk of sounding pedantic and “convertsky”, I find in the Patristic texts, especially the neptic Fathers, a certain apophatic ignorance of the sort of strife that you are writing about. The more they contemplate God as well as the “logoi of created things” as St. Maximus says, they gain a simplicity that rises above even ideas like catholicity that for us seem too tied to ethnicity (in my opinion, catholicity has very little if anything to do with ethnicity). I think of the Pauline injunctions against strife (eris), anger, jealousy, and the like that seem to boil up to the surface in these metanarratives that is so heavy, so catophatic, drawing one downward away from Christ. Now, this is not to ignore the plight of the poor or the danger of riches, but the opposition should be between mammon and God, not mammon and no mammon.

  2. 2 owen white 6 October 2011 at 2:37 pm

    The irony, inevitable though perhaps it is, is that these were some of the more militantly Orthodox bloggers in their day; calling out bishops, parishes, and whomever for not being Orthodox enough, reading all the Right Theologians and so on, and certainly putting on a show of fighting the good fight.

    The inference here is completely incorrect.

    Right Theologians?? Venny and I were, in different ways, sometimes critical and sometimes not of the big American guns (Schmemann, etc.) but both of us routinely praised the work of John Behr, who is in trad Orthodox circles not so kindly regarded, while at the same time we both routinely praised and were critical of more conservative elements within Orthodoxy. I attacked certain attacks on Orthodox fundamentalism from the +Philip camp, but I also defended Orthodox such as Schmemann and Behr and even Erickson from time to time from certain trad corners. There was no easy cut and dry litmus test, and I think it was pretty damn clear that both Venny and I had far less of a stringent “these are the clear good guys” reading test than the trads do, or the 70s era SVS crowd does, or the first generation of Byzantine Rite Evangelicals does and did. Also, for Venny and myself there was no singular good fight, there were multiple good fights. We were both critical in technique and rhetoric and broad in approach and matters of interest, including a breadth of interest in religious and Orthodox matters, and all of this in a manner that attracted a lot of readers, in part because there were so few other Orthodox venues where one could find such writing.

    Yes, I’ve changed my mind on metanarrative. I think it quite obvious that I have pretty much entirely rejected the premises of the intellectual project behind the ochlophobist. It was my great attempt to grasp and appropriate some sort of Third Way option towards life, society, religion, etc.. I changed my mind. The Third Wayism and ventures into, shall we say, attempted avant-garde conservatism were something of a rebellion for me. A rebellion against the way I was raised and against the wisdom of previous intellectual mentors in my life. I returned to the fold. People sometimes do that. The behavioralist comments I have read by Orthodox with regard to my departure from Orthodox faith (and I commend you for making yours public, sometimes I get sent comments made in email threads and on facebook from friends who want me to see the not-so-public meanderings, which tend to be outright ridiculous) are predictable, but interesting to me in light of the contrast to the posture of friends who have known me 15-20 years, who, unanimously, viewed my foray into Orthodoxy as predictable because of my long term interest in it but also a strange departure from my own intellectual and social and spiritual temperaments. I suppose both vantage points are partially right and partially wrong. I don’t know.

    As for the glow in the dark post, the text in question was so egregious I felt it merited comment – not because it was Orthodox, but because it was horrendous in implication. Sure I made a “glow in the dark crowd” potshot but heck, there are eastern rite Catholics who chase the same spirituality and there are plenty of other non-Orthodox spiritualities which are correspondent to such anti-humanity and just as bad. I have answered caveats such as you suggest for that text elsewhere.

    I’ve made a few brief comments having anything to do with Orthodoxy since I started the current blog, and I think anyone who reads the blog will note that attacking Orthodoxy is not particularly a keen point of interest for me at the moment. I’ve made a few brief comments attacking other religious postures as well.

    For goodness sake why not go after Venny for his “anti”ness next time you feel inclined to write a post like this? He can’t get enough of the post departure anti-Orthodox polemics. My posture is not nearly as sectarian focused as his – I am pretty much just glad to be done with fervent religion of any sort, though I am not keen on making a project out of attacking religion either.

    For the record, my wife is happy to associate with anything that is essentially Mainline in posture, whether Prot or one of the hands-off Catholic parishes – as she puts it “God I’m glad we’re done with all that religious bullshit.” I tend to think Mainline Prot and Mainlinish Catholic postures just as much bullshit as conservative ones, but whatever – I also know that my wife has no interest in getting heavily involved in any religious expression at this point, Mainline or otherwise. I am getting myself straight with the RCC for reasons which I had thought I had made clear in my last Och post – reasons that don’t have much to do with theological argumentation or the like, though one always has that in the mix if one wants it, but that is mostly for shits and giggles. Theological argumentation today is, in my opinion, a hobby, something akin to intellectual antiquing, and it’s not going to rise above hobbyism, even if one happens to be a paid academic theologian or a bishop. If you ever catch me arguing theology or canons or anything like that in the future – it’s purely for entertainment purposes – kind of like playing Trivial Pursuit; if one has the knowledge why not play? A harmless game of trivia, right? I don’t see myself attending church much from here on out, but hey, you never know, and if I have a gripe, it’s not with Orthodox fundy monks in any particular sense, it’s rather with the various and sundry but yet weirdly homogenous Christian projects which embrace commodity fetishism whilst all the while insisting that they don’t or insisting that they somehow baptize that fetishism, fideistically moralizing about it the whole way.

    I would also say that as there seems to be a number of people whose approach to their religion strikes me as akin to Stockholm Syndrome, accepting, loving, and venerating their abusers, there is another appropriation of modern religion which is more a sadomasochism. For whatever reason I felt compelled to remain in religious circles and to “deal” with religious matter inwardly and outwardly despite the fact that it was clear (to a lot of people even when not to me) that I really couldn’t stand religion or religious circles. But I kept at it, swinging fists and cursing at it the whole while. I am now glad to have left all that intense religious investedness behind. It seems to me that most people engaged in most American religion have a “healthy” approach (I hate that phrase but…) to it – one I never much had – an ability to take it with a “mountain of salt” as you might say. They get what they want to get from it – some sentiment, some fellowship, some interesting quirks here and there, some warmth and nostalgia, and leave the fever swamp aspects for those who go for that sort of thing. I couldn’t ever go the fundy or trad routes with my intellect intact. I couldn’t really ever embrace the sappy and, in my mind, obviously contrived pieties. I wasn’t much of one for the tokenisms and t-shirt religious expressions. I didn’t see the point in “liberal” religious expressions. And instead of either not go or go and not care about that, I chose to go and to share my cringes and disgust. At a certain point it seems one is better off just not going if the cringe and disgust are a requisite part of the package.

    Virtually every American convert to Orthodoxy thinks their way into Orthodoxy, to large degree anyway. Even if they walk into an Orthodox Church before ever picking up any literature on Orthodoxy, texts play a crucial role easily over 90% of the time. There is no way around that. Convert Orthodoxy is disproportionately high in its number of academics and people with graduate degrees. The context of convert Orthodoxy is through and through text heavy. It’s one of the things I liked about it – a collegium of readers. But when intelligent people start waxing on about the dangers of reading one’s way into Orthodoxy it is downright ludicrous. One could even more easily expound about the dangers of an aesthetic conversion, as that is even more manifestly stupid. One could also point out the dangers of coming in because of the influence of some of the more “micromanaging” expressions of spiritual guruism that one sees in certain Orthodox circles. No matter what means brought you in, even prayer, that very means can be a medium which takes you out. That is simply part and parcel with how humans operate.

    Yes, the Ochlophobist was the one who was surprised that Orthodoxy turned out not to be what he expected. That must be right. Sometime, years from now perhaps, I’ll write recollections of the conversations I had with a priest before I converted. He was a friend of mine and we used to commiserate together – me about the conservative Catholicism I learned at Loomes, and he about the craziness in the OCA and American Orthodoxy. It was he who told me that if I ever left the Twin Cities I’d have a very hard time remaining Orthodoxy. He was right. In hindsight almost all of my religious frustrations were laid on the table during those early conversations, and I have been thinking through variations on that theme since. I am now down with that melody and have moved on.

    Richard, you are quite keen on pointing out what is and what isn’t and who is and who isn’t humble. But what it comes down to is that you strongly disagree with critical theory in toto and you strongly disagree with Marxist class analysis. That’s fine. You dismiss these things, and for some reason do not care to involve much more than rote moralism in your dismissal. So be it. I think we’ll all agree I have a penchant for rote dismissals myself, and I tend to be moralistic myself. I doubt I’ll post anything having to do with Orthodoxy more than a few times a year (at best), and one will have to sift through an awful lot of Marxist and critical theory to get to those things, so perhaps it’d be a time saving practice to just give up reading my blog altogether. Whatever suits you.

  3. 3 Dana Ames 6 October 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Richard, I keep coming around hoping to find you’ve written something, because when you do it seems to make eminent sense to me.

    I went back and read “Package Deals”. Yup. My parish experience is very limited, but when I was “on my way in” to the Orthodox Church, over the course of about three years, I very specifically prayed that I would be allowed to see the whole spectrum: good, bad, ugly, fringe elements, wackos, scandals – all of it. I think God answered my prayer 🙂 I’m nearly 56, churched all my life – grew up RC and then spent 33 years as a (mainly low-church) Protestant – so I don’t think I had as many illusions as some have. Dispelling illusions is something that I see Orthodoxy is about, and sometimes that happens in very uncomfortable ways.

    One of the things that drew me to Orthodoxy was its very “messiness” and how that just doesn’t get people’s panties bunched, and how that’s not the same thing as “tolerating sin”. Hope that makes sense.

    Becoming a human being who loves like God loves while eschewing judgmentalism is very difficult, and I’m certainly not there. It is kind of nice to occasionally find someone who can express well what I’m thinking. Yes, I suppose that’s seeking homogeneity. C’est la vie…

    Hope you keep writing, as you are able. Best regards.

    Dana

  4. 4 Richard Barrett 6 October 2011 at 5:14 pm

    @Eric: The other thing I might suggest is that there seems to be an overarching objective of justifying outrage. (That phrase will be repeated shortly.)

    @Owen: I appreciate your comments, and thank you for your openness. With respect to critical theory, my problem with it is fundamentally an intellectual one, not a moral one. It seems to be primarily a way of intellectually justifying one’s outrage, a pursuit that I find at odds with what I understand Christianity to teach. When I have read Foucault, what I have found is a carefully constructed argument as to why the world and its institutions are irredeemably nasty pieces of work, so carefully constructed that there’s not really any way out of it if you buy into it. That line of thinking has led us into some truly bizarre places, and I can’t make sense of it relative to my other convictions. As far as Marxism goes, I think there are legitimate critiques of capitalism to be found within it, but I’m not at all prepared to embrace the class struggle as the metanarrative into which my life, and everything I choose to do or associate with, fits. If rejecting the metanarrative makes me part of the problem, well, that’s the trouble, isn’t it? No opt-out clauses. If you don’t acknowledge the problem, you’re part of it.

    And I never said that I’m not at all subject to the problem I bring up of thinking your way into a religion. When I mentioned “those of us who haven’t fallen pray to this”, the referent of “this” is “thinking your way out”, not “thinking your way in”. I’m aware of the problem, and I agree that there’s not an easy answer to it. Choosing to be in the tent implies that you continue to have a choice not to be in it, which is why I think some cradles I’ve talked to don’t even understand the whole idea of “converting,” to the point of not being able to come up with the word. The idea that somebody would choose to be Orthodox is incomprehensible to them, because that’s not really part of the cultural fabric as they understand it, any more than actively choosing *not* to be Orthodox. Postmodernity, insofar as postmodernity expresses an authority problem, and traditional Christianity do not get along in the slightest in this sense.

    I find the text-based nature of a lot of convert Orthodoxy to be intensely problematic one way or the other; it’s a way to not have to dismiss Sola Scriptura entirely. Still, the real problem is that Orthodoxy has no way to be “popular” in this country, as in something that is owned by “the people” in one form or another, because the very things that have been incorporated as “popular” in Orthodox cultures are things that we tend to reject in a religious context. So, yes, at this stage of the game it’s largely an intellectual, middle-class boutique religion in this country, at least as far as converts go (although not really here in Bloomington, where the converts tend to be working-class, oddly enough), and there’s not really a way around that right this second. However, to the extent that one believes Orthodoxy to be nonetheless true, that’s weak sauce as a dealbreaker, at least from where I sit. If a faith is not bigger than those who embrace it, then it is worthless. Rather, this problem seems more of an incentive to live it as the truth, rather than to live it as a set of accessories and a lifestyle flavor.

    I am struck by this:

    It seems to me that most people engaged in most American religion have a “healthy” approach (I hate that phrase but…) to it – one I never much had – an ability to take it with a “mountain of salt” as you might say. They get what they want to get from it – some sentiment, some fellowship, some interesting quirks here and there, some warmth and nostalgia, and leave the fever swamp aspects for those who go for that sort of thing. I couldn’t ever go the fundy or trad routes with my intellect intact. I couldn’t really ever embrace the sappy and, in my mind, obviously contrived pieties. I wasn’t much of one for the tokenisms and t-shirt religious expressions. I didn’t see the point in “liberal” religious expressions. And instead of either not go or go and not care about that, I chose to go and to share my cringes and disgust. At a certain point it seems one is better off just not going if the cringe and disgust are a requisite part of the package.

    Much of that I could say myself. My own parish is “messy”, we might say, where some of these things are concerned, and my youth spent in megachurch evangelical circles, where the overly-emotionalized music and hand-waving made me ill, plus my early adulthood spent in Left Coast Episcopal Church communities, where the powers that be in my diocese seemed to want to be Unitarians with bishops, a prayerbook, and better music, also made me want to run screaming from “t-shirt” religion. As a church musician, I feel particularly subject to what always seem to me as the pathological sentimentality of certain contingents — people who say, “I don’t care if it’s any good, I just want to hear what I know and what I like.” As much as I bristle against it, though, it’s an element of having to concretely go to church with other people that is unavoidable. Certain matters about a year ago — mostly related to a nearby situation that was external to our parish, but also having to do with some internal issues — prompted me to tell my priest, “If I could vote with my feet, I would.” I sometimes think that it’s a mercy that I can’t, at least not without it costing me dearly in terms of commute time, gas, and lost income. I am better off being less concerned that I have to go church with “those people” than I am being thankful that I’ve got a church that will let me go there.

    Bottom line, Owen, is that if you’re more at peace with yourself doing what you’re doing now, more power to you. I don’t have a dog in that particular fight. If calling for the deaths of people you don’t like based on your Marxist analysis of current events is how you are able to square your convictions in an intellectually consistent manner, well, I strongly disagree with you, but do what you gotta do. Speaking only for myself, it’d just be nice to not have you act like kicking your ex-co-religionists in the teeth whenever you happen to bring them up is in and of itself a moral imperative. If that’s just the state of things, well, then, there we are. Maybe I just didn’t take it seriously enough when the Ochlophobist claimed to be a misanthrope, and that’s my mistake, then, not yours.

    Anyway, thanks again.

  5. 5 Teague 6 October 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Richard,

    I can relate to a lot of things in this post. I appreciate that you counted the cost before becoming Orthodox: you understood the choice you were making & its implications. That was the case for me also when I became a Christian. And, like you, the only conversion that makes sense to me is a total one: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26, 27).

    One other connection was to 1 John 2:19–“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us….”

    If you care to read, awhile back, I posted something in a related vein: http://thewordwasgod.blogspot.com/2007/06/asking-hard-questions.html.

    Take care 🙂

  6. 6 G K Comney 7 October 2011 at 11:31 am

    Chrysustolm Homily I on I Timothy I: “Questioning is the subversion of faith.”

    You guys can try to talk around his anti-Semitism, but this quote
    proves the dark evil inside the man who wrote your liturgy.
    ————————————————————————————————
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine
    They said you all were Christian, buddy that was just a lie
    Called you all Christian, that was just a lie
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine
    They said you all were Christian, buddy that was just a lie
    Called you all Christian, that was just a lie
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine

    • 7 Richard Barrett 7 October 2011 at 11:52 am

      I’m not exactly certain what this is all about or what brought you here, but I’m approving the comment and leaving it up because, whatever it is, it speaks for itself.

  7. 8 Steve 9 October 2011 at 7:16 am

    Interesting post, though I’m not sure who you’re talking about. I know a few people who are not as active Orthodox as they were, but none of them bloggers, and they certainly don’t seem to be all bitter and twisted about it, as the people you seem to have in mind. I know of one blogger who seemed to fit the description, and then seemed to depart from Orthodoxy, only to return, with some of the abrasive bits knocked off, whereas what you are describing seems to be becoming more abrasive.


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