One of the great things about a blog is that it’s a conversation, not a monologue. The Observer is a moderated blog, but we keep it fairly open to encourage this conversation and the learning that goes on here. Those of us associated with AOI are grateful for your readership and the constant feedback.
I have noticed, however, that in recent weeks some of the comments on this blog have veered off course. Nothing disastrous, but it’s time to recalibrate. Now and then, a course correction is in order.
What we set out to do on The Observer is discuss how the social witness of Orthodoxy can be an effective force in transforming the culture. The focus here is decidedly domestic (American) but we also bring in currents from other Orthodox cultures where they may be instructive.
A couple requests, in particular. First, I’d like to avoid further ruminations on the anti-Christ and other apocalyptic figures. Let us, with the Church, leave these theological excursions to others equipped to handle them with the proper caution. The Observer isn’t the place for that. And, no, I don’t think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.
Secondly, may we please forever cease these punctilious, Old Calendarist controversies about priestly beards, head coverings and such? We take, here, the cue from Metropolitan Philip who, in his podcast, voices frustration with bishops in “Turkish hats” and priests with long beards and ponytails. What, the Metropolitan asks, do these have to do with the evangelization of the culture? From my point of view, I don’t see why our bishops can’t go among their flocks in a suit and collar, and leave the monastic garb to those who actually live as ascetics. But if you’d still like to discuss these things, I recommend that you start a blog for such purposes.
As always, we want The Observer to be a place where Orthodoxy and all of the big social questions facing American culture can be discussed and debated in a spirit of reasonableness and Christian charity. We owe this to each other. Where this is not in evidence, or where the comments again veer off path, they will be deleted in the future. That is the editor’s prerogative as blog despota and will require no justification or explanation in such cases.
The Observer has had a great start. We are grateful for your readership and your comments, which help us all work through these problems together. I’ve learned a lot on this blog in a short time. Please keep it going.