October 2, 2014

A Changeless Faith for a Changing World

center-american-progress

The Center for American Progress, co-sponsor of a Patriarchal talk in Washington, DC with Georgetown University released details of the visit. Note in particular:

Orthodox Christianity is a revolutionary faith and is dedicated to change. And even though the faith has never taken up the banner of progressivism per se, it has taken up many causes over the centuries that are progressive by definition. His All Holiness will address three of these causes at his lecture: nonviolence, philanthropy (specifically in the form of health care), and environmentalism.

Should be interesting. Full text follows. H/T: Charles Bourbon.

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A Lecture by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

November 3, 2009, 11:00am – 12:15pm
About This Event

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the ecumenical patriarch of Orthodox Christianity, will discuss the nature of progress at a lecture co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress and Georgetown University in Gaston Hall at Georgetown. In His All Holiness’s words, true progress is a “balance between preserving the essence of a certain way of life and changing things that are not essential.” Orthodox Christianity is a revolutionary faith and is dedicated to change. And even though the faith has never taken up the banner of progressivism per se, it has taken up many causes over the centuries that are progressive by definition. His All Holiness will address three of these causes at his lecture: nonviolence, philanthropy (specifically in the form of health care), and environmentalism.

Opening Remarks by:

James O’Donnell, Provost, Georgetown University
John D. Podesta, Founder and CEO, Center for American Progress

Featuring:

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

Doors will open at 10:00a.m. Please arrive early.

Government issued identification is required at the door.

No bags, briefcases or backpacks will be allowed inside the event.
RSVP

Click here to RSVP for this event
For more information, call 202-682-1611

Location

Georgetown University
37th and O Streets, NW
Healy Building
Washington, DC 20057

Map & Directions
Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to Foggy Bottom or Red Line to Dupont Circle

Comments

  1. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Chrys says:

    (Heavy sigh.) Given what we have seen elsewhere (Havana, etc.) I doubt HAH is going there to speak “truth to (the oppressive) power” espoused by this group. And the power they are demanding is already designed to be oppressive. (Curiously, the Left never seems to recognize that all demands for concentrated power are based on “good” intentions and noble purposes. After all, who would willing cede it for an overt power grab? Humanity, being what it is, will invariably use that power to extend its control and aggrandize itself — ever repeating the sin of the garden in the political sphere — and leading to the inexorable corruption described by both Genesis and Lord Acton’s axiom.)

    So my question is: is this a genuinely collaborative effort, are they just using each other, or is the EP being co-opted in his understandable efforts to gain powerful allies who will give him leverage in Constantinople? Regardless, when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Historically, very little good comes from the heavy politicization of Patriarchal authority. (The history of the papacy would show the same thing.) If this continues, the cost it incurs will take the much deeper witness of living saints and considerable time to repair. The Church is called to offer a very different and eschatological witness, exhibiting life in communion with God and providing a foothold for the kingdom that is to come – primarily by means of the loving suasion of the Spirit of God. Maybe its me (and it may well be), but I just don’t see that here.

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      Christopher says:

      So my question is: is this a genuinely collaborative effort, are they just using each other, or is the EP being co-opted in his understandable efforts to gain powerful allies who will give him leverage in Constantinople?

      This question arises again and again (and has for years). Paleocon would describe this as an “contrived either or”, and say we don’t know the reason because the EP has not revealed it. Paleocon’s generosity demands we listen, though I do believe there is much to be learned by looking at who HAH chooses to associate with and what sorts of society re-organizations (e.g. Copenhagen) he is willing to accept, actively promote, and argue for. In other words I don’t think we need to sit back and simply assume HAH has his ducks in a row here and has a thoughtful Christian reasons we should accept the demonstratively positive harm that Copenhagen and the alarmist position forces Christians and the rest of society into.

      Perhaps Fr. John’s thinking gives us a clue when he says:

      “…environmental caution in the context of a traditional, uncontroversial reading of plain old Judeo-Christian stewardship principles, one would think, would elicit a positive response….”

      &

      “…which refuse to meet a crisis head on and instead take refuge in outdated political posturing….”

      You see, it is an unquestioned FACT (and uncontroversial one at that) that the alarmist position is true, and that the alarmist solutions (massive re-organization of society through benevolent central planners, etc.) are a moral good – indeed a moral imperative.

      I really think that is the HAH (and his “handlers”) position and thinking. They simply have bought into the alarmist narrative hook, line and sinker.

      So much so that any questioning of alarmist position (rather on the level of the position itself, or the moral implications of the solutions for Christians and society, etc.) is as Fr. John puts it “intellectual squeamishness” or worse. We are unthinking political reactionaries, not Christians thinking and rejecting the position in a Christian way.

      HAH has simply ignored anyone who has not bought the alarmist narrative as he has…

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    Andrew says:

    Wow! The EP/GOA is going to go all in on every progressive political novelty we see in America today. This is Fashionable fundamentalism plane and simple. It also looks like since the EP is not going to the White House that he is going to try to butter up Obama even more in order to garner poltical favor.

    Is Halki or any great cause of the EP worth it if it means the subordination of the Gospel to cultural fads.

  3. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    John Panos says:

    Hey, I’m in favor of progressive change…in the administration of the Orthodox Church.

    Let’s cast off the yoke of neo-Byzantine/dhimmitude-thinking and actually govern our Church and our affairs like Christians in America, in accordance with the Canons and Tradition of the Church. That would be a revolution!

    All bishops who have held the episcopacy for more than 5 years should retire now. We’ll start with a relatively clean slate. HAH (His “A**-Holiness”) will have no place and neither will any bishop that purports the ahistorical idea that the EP has jurisdiction over the entire universe.

    The Archons may have been upset over Jonah’s statements about the EP, as immature and unkind, but they are really unaware of the multitude that feel precisely as Met. Jonah articulated it. They are out of touch as well.

    Personally, I think that this call for ‘change’ is always a call for ‘someone else’ to change, not the EP, the GOA or the spiritually-retarded call for ‘universal Hellenism.’ HAH is following in the footsteps, not of Christ, but of…Al Gore? Certainly, vying for the Nobel Peace Prize is shameful for a primate of the Church. Maybe he’ll get an Academy Award instead.

    Funny, it’s always someone else that has to ‘change’ for those speaking from the left. For Christians, it always starts with ‘me,’ with repentance.

    Change is in the air, alright, but not among our hierarchs. With them, it’s business as usual, and, as usual, they have no idea what is really going on.

  4. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top

    I would be hesitant to criticize HAH based on a press release for the same reason I was hesitant to criticize Archbishop LAZAR for a newspaper article. In both cases the words offered are not the words of either man but of a third party who in all likelihood has his or her own concerns.

    That said, I certainly can agree, in principle anyway, with HAH’s statement that we must strike a balance balance “between preserving the essence of a certain way of life and changing things that are not essential.” Yes, I can certainly affirm this in theory, but what does it mean in practice? The practical implications and working out of Tradition vs. traditions is I think one of the great challenges in life of the Church. It is also a challenge that I think we have largely failed to meet.

    In Christ,

    +FrG

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    Chrys says:

    I think Father raises a very important point – one that we should take to heart in light of the experience with +Lazar. That said, my concern (as expressed above) is not about any words or positions attributed to His All Holiness, but to the groups with whom he has chosen to associate on this trip. It is very, very lopsided. While I do not hold him responsible for how those groups chose to spin his participation, his presence is clearly intended to be supportive (at least to some degree) of their agenda. Meeting with them is not, in and of itself, an indictment any more than Jesus could be indicted for meeting with tax collectors and prostitutes; yet Jesus met with such people to call them to conversion. As my first comment notes, I seriously doubt that HAH will be calling these activist groups to task for the faults in their own efforts and thinking – for their materialist assumptions, quasi-pantheistic worldview, soul-killing socialist agenda or hubris-driven policies (which demand exorbitant power in order to make immaterial changes in the environment).

    Please note that this is NOT to claim that there is not a truly legitimate environment concern or a screaming need for better stewardship. I am convinced that there is a very strong argument to make along just those lines based on a deeply theological perspective and rooted faithful discipleship to Christ. I am, however, doubtful that this will be the content of those messages. Rather, I expect that he will instead focus mainly on those points of agreement with these groups. Is this politically expedient? Yes. Prophetic? No.

    Quite apart from any discussion about his specific position, however, the concern I raised above is solely about the nature of his schedule, and the focus and purpose such an agenda promotes. One can only imagine the outcry if he had met with, say, the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, the (now derided) Chamber of Commerce (with Rush Limbaugh in attendance to make it equivalent), etc. Whoever structured his schedule, selected only from the far left side of the menu. In my view, a less-partisan “environmental” witness warrants meetings with serious folks on both side of the aisle (and yes they exist). It is true that I may be jumping to conclusions, but HAH has made no apparent effort to provide evidence that could challenge that leap. As I said, sigh.

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    Wesley J. Smith says:

    Perhaps it’s a typo, that the release meant to say the Episcopalians.

  7. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George Michalopulos says:

    John,

    very well put. Chrys, also well put. If these are not the true sentiments of the EP, then he should refuse to make himself a prop for their positions. Or, in the interests of fairness, he should meet with groups that have differing opinions. Really, he should stop all this game-playing and just preach the Gospel. There is no more revolutionary message than that. The Gospel unadorned and without the bells and whistles.

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