"The Church changes only in order to remain the same."-- Fr. Alexander Schmemman
Here's my dilemma: If I write glowingly about Orthodoxy the heterodox get irritated, claiming I'm just a triumphalistic convert. If I write critically about Orthodoxy, as I have in my Liturgical Gripes series, the faithful fear I've become a "modernist/ecumenist/postmodern" (or the popular boogie man du jour) and am publicly shaming the Church, becoming too skeptical, insulting people personally, etc.
I have a hard time believing that this blog is enslaved to post/modernist skepticism or a result of blind adherence to the Church. (How could it be both anyway?) I'm not publicly criticizing dogmatic issues nor am I mindlessly parroting Church praxis and teaching.
I'm simply asking that we all think about the practical and pastoral issues of the contemporary Orthodox Christian life and become aware of the ramifications of our current practices as well as any future "improvements." I'm unsure as to why a public call to mindfulness and prayerful engagement is viewed with fear and hostility.
We should not content to swallow the ethnocentrism, wink at the Americanization of the liturgy, ignore the total lack of proper translations of the services, or giggle at the ugly war between the those who want to turn our parishes into monasteries vs. those who, as I call it, want to be "Episcopalians with fancier liturgies."
We can't hide the human shortcomings of contemporary Orthodox life from the world in the fear that they won't respond to Christ through His Church. We need to remember and believe that the sins of the Church's members do not invalidate the truth of the Church's witness, teaching, or way of life.
My Liturgical Gripes series is *not* a rallying cry or crusade to fix the Church, or change Holy Tradition. It is also not an exercise in bashing any person in particular or any one jurisdiction.
It is simply an attempt to ask the question: Are we fully aware of why we do what we do and are we really owning our faith, personally?
Taking this question seriously enough to discuss it in public makes us able to better live and understand our faith holistically and arms us to fight off the extreme temptations of a) a comatose and nominal faith that simply accepts the status quo versus b) a cancerous faith that strives for continual "improvement" at the altars of Individuality and Relevance.