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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A typical attitude...

I found this posting on the OCA's offical website:

The money quote: "While I have personally had little experience with these—I have only had a few parishioners in my 25 years of priesthood who had been involved in a 12 Step Program..."

The priest, who is an all-around fine man and competent Orthodox presbyter, then goes on to basically give an opinion about AA which was largely conjecture.  His conclusions aren't terribly unreasonable, but I think the Chuch needs to do a better job about explaining what 12-Steps are and what goes on within such groups rather than leaving it to guess-work.

The sad thing is that addictions ARE problems that Orthodox face:

In 25 years of ministry, the fact that this priest has dealt with so few addictions cases should tell us something: Orthodox Christians leave the Church rather than ask it for help.  Being Orthodox does not make one immune from this disease, though I do believe that Orthodoxy has the right treatment (namely, Christ).  Seriously lived and practiced, the Faith can prevent one from becoming an alcoholic or addict.

But the truth is that most Orthodox don't practice their faith all that seriously, and so many of them do succumb to addiction.  But, the sad follow-on to that is that when they do, many of them feel the Church is only for the 'healed'... or the people in the Church are too dishonest in confronting their own problems to help anyone else with theirs. 

We must never lose sight of the fact that underneath the pagentry of Orthodox worship is the power of God, which is attained through plunging the depths of filth and despair.  Under the brocaid vestments are hair shirts and sore muscles, both literally and figuratively speaking.  Sometimes, we can look 'too good to be true.' 

On the other hand, our parishes are often full of the sick who refuse to get better, and they can drive out those who might challenge them in their 'self-enabling.'  Thus the faithless drive out those seeking faith, since if the latter find it they will have no more excuse for their lack.

If the Church is going to fulfill the commission to those in need, those who are not addicts must be healed and understand how we can offer it to others.  The roots of addiction run through all mankind because all men are afflicted with the passions.

People of the Church would do well to begin to identify more fully with addicts, alcoholics and others imprisoned by sins.  We are too good at demonstrating how apart we are from the rest of humanity, all the while share all of humanity's problems.

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