Saturday, August 30, 2014

Objection of the Bulgarians and ROCOR to the ACOB proposal for canonical normalization.

Remember when the report reached Jerusalem that there were Christians in Antioch?  Of course you do.  The story is in Acts.  What happened?  Peter went there and put them in good order.   It was done speedily; within a few months at the most. 
The Church in America is out of order.  It has been out of order for a century.  But now the bishops in America have been instructed by the foreign patriarchs and other primates who were called together by the Patriarch of Constantinople, to come up with a plan to set our house in order, and to present that plan to a great council of all the Orthodox Churches in the near future.  Everything seemed to be going pretty well until ROCOR and the Bulgarian bishops decided they don't want to set the American Church in order yet.
ROCOR's objection to the plan seems to be:  Our Russian heritage is more important than the Gospel and we would rather stay inside our little ethnic box than assail the gates of Hell in America.   Fr. John Whiteford, a ROCOR priest in Texas has a perspective that is different and more nuanced than mine.  I agree with his points about the danger of a unified American Church being just one more eparchy of Constantinople, as my acquaintance Bishop Savas (Start watching at about 13:00) seems to want. (shudder!!!).  I also agree with Fr. John regarding the failure of the OCA to deal with its own problem of overlapping dioceses. (I am OCA, by the way.)  But, though I hate to admit it, because I love Fr. John and think he is one of the bright lights of the American Church, I do disagree with him about the importance of the other issues, such as differences in liturgical practice and the failure of some American bishops to deal with immorality and heresy.

Yes, the bishops should (Wow!  I am telling bishops what they should do!) deal with those problems of immorality and heresy but the failure of some of the bishops shouldn't stop us from having one American Orthodox Church.  When have all the bishops of the Orthodox Church ever been perfect, or even good?  (St John Chrysostom said something about the streets of Hell being lined with the skulls of Orthodox bishops.) Even Bishop Hosius of Cordova stumbled near the end of his life and embraced heresy (Lord Jesus, have mercy on him!)  Also, the history of the Church is full of liturgical differences. They aren't a big deal.  Is there a Gospel reading, an anaphora, and Communion consisting of bread and wine?  Good enough, I say.  But not only do I say, but the Didache, what has been called the bylaws of the first century Church in Jerusalem says so, too.
I've been working for the YMCA for the last three months.  It is the first job I've truly enjoyed since the mid 1990s but today I told my boss that I have accepted an offer at another firm.  It is for an automobile loan finance company.  It pays a tremendous amount of money, compared to what I make at the YMCA nevertheless, I am going to stay part time at the Y.  I have a plan.  Here it is:

1. Get my car fixed (the transmission broke back in June.)
2. Do my job for Westlake (the finance company) and the Y,
3. Save enough money to buy a van (best case scenario: Volkswagen Westfalia) and live in it on the YMCA parking lot. 
4. Use the Y for showers, etc. (as a part-time employee I get a free membership)
5. Continue to make money working for Westlake.
6. Save enough money to buy a some land for cash.
7. Park my Westphalia on the land, live on it, and never have to worry about rent or a mortgage payment for the rest of my life.

So, I received the job offer from Westlake yesterday.  I accepted it today and informed my boss at the YMCA today.  She cried (I am her best salesman) but was comforted when I told her I will still be working for her on weekends.  On the 14th of September I fly to LA for training with Westlake.

None of this is in the life plan I wrote when I was 15.

In other news, I have tomorrow off.  It is the first Sunday I've had off since I started at the YMCA.  I am going to try and walk and/or bus to St Herman church tomorrow. (The matushka is a member ofmy Y).  I can't go to communion, but it will be good to, at least, be present for the liturgy of the Word.  I miss church almost as much as I miss my wife and children.  I would cut off a limb (I am not joking) if I could be with them again. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where I Am, The State of Orthodoxy in America

I had to leave where I was staying for a few days.  Since I had no place else to go I moved in with Athanasia and the boys for a few days.  It has been difficult.  Tonight is the last night here.

My job at the YMCA is going great.  It is the first job in many years I've really enjoyed.  And they like me. The only problem is money.  After deductions for child support and taxes my paycheck is near empty.  If I was a socialist I'd just sign up for welfare and not work at all.  Welfare isn't taxed and she can only take 30% of a welfare check.  But I am not a socialist.

I have a couple of options.  I am being considered for a position as a loan officer for a finance company.  I've had three interviews with them.  It looks promising.    Also, I am being considered for a marketing communications job at the YMCA.    I know, I'll never make enough money to satisfy my ex-wife's desire for money but, I think, if I make enough money to get my car fixed I can sell it and buy a van to live in.  That way it won't matter if I have a job that pays a lot of money or not.  What I really want is to keep the job I have and live in peace for a while.

I just learned about the ROCOR and Bulgarian exarchate objections to the draft plan from the ACOB for achieving canonical normalcy in North America.  It is very discouraging.  It is as though they don't care about America at all.  I wish all the bishops who love this land would just leave their foreign jurisdictions and bring their diocese into the OCA.  Honestly, I don't give a shit about Greece, Bulgaria, Syria, or Russia.  I am a Christian and a Californian.