Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Opportunity to Keep Things in Perspective

Well, I ran across this and had to post this, if only to keep things in perspective.

From CNN International:

7 injured as monks storm monastery

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) -- Two groups of monks clashed on Wednesday at a monastery facility in Mt. Athos, resulting in at least seven injuries, police said.

Fighting broke out between a group of rebel monks occupying facilities of the 1,000-year-old monastery of Esphigmenou, and a group of legally recognized monks on the outside.

From the BBC:

Greek monks clash over monastery

Violent clashes between two groups of Greek monks at a disputed monastery in Mount Athos left at least four monks in hospital, local police said.

Now, for all the difficulties in The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Communion, highlighted by decisions by congregations in Virginia that no longer wish to be Episcopal, things have not come to this. Please God we will be able to do better, to show the world better, than this.


Young fogey emeritus said...

Yes, what an embarrassment. The monks occupying Esphigmenou are fanatical fundydox rather like the Russian Old Believers historically.

But though it seems more mannerly and Anglican is 'suing conservative Christians out of their meeting houses' really better than punching and kicking them?

And as I blogged earlier this week the Episcopalians are not the first American episcopal church to break up parish by parish and end up in court over it.

Your point stands: Eastern Christians have seen this before. Not over the same issues but the same tactics and worse.

Marshall Scott said...

No, YF, sadly, not. I've occasionally bounced among the pages of the various pages of folks who trace their heritage to Russian Orthodoxy, and the ugly rhetoric among them has been bitter, to say the least. I was not aware if there had been earlier physical violence here, but I was aware of the treatment of Old Believers in the 18th Century.

I will not be shocked if in other parts of the Communion (as it stands, at least for a while) some fisticuffs happen, but I will certainly be saddened. I'd just as soon the legal wrangling could be avoided, too; but I've about despaired of the separation occurring.

Young fogey emeritus said...

Of course the legal stuff is preventable if there's good will on both sides but, fallen human nature being what it is...

Somebody's gonna hurt someone
Before the night is through
Somebody's gonna hurt someone
There's nothing we can do...

IMO the separation is inevitable and in a lesser-of-two-evils way even desirable. That said 'we disagree on the issues and that stops us being in one church but if we both claim to be Christian disciples at least we can act like it with each other'.

Marshall Scott said...

I think we can all "act like Christians" through all of this (albeit it will be better if at the table we can stop arguing whether all at the table are Christians. I have written a number of places recently of the negotiations that accomplished the separation of Christ Church, Overland Park, Kansas from the Diocese of Kansas. Again, at the end of the process the Bishop of Kansas and the Rector of Christ Church (Anglican) were saying gracious words about the process and about each other. Both saw real financial benefit in working that way rather than fighting in the courts.

You've read enough of my words here and elsewhere to know that I had some hope that the separation wasn't inevitable. I continue to pray daily - usually twice a day - that God will "turn the hearts of those commited to schism to pursue reconciliation." While I have my own opinions as to who has moved where, I recognize God's autonomy to act in those hearts God chooses to God's ends. I haven't dropped that clause from my prayers yet; but I'm beginning to wonder....

I think at this point we're looking at a larger realignment than we imagine. By that I mean that for a generation or so ecumenical relations among communions that are compatible on these issues (perhaps not in full agreement, but willing to work within any disagreements) - moderate/liberal Anglicans with moderate/liberal Lutherans, etc. We'll see.

Tripp Hudgins said...

It is a curious situation to say the least. The church has some great history of this, of course. We used to have pseudo-monastics running through city streets bludgeoning in the name of Jesus in the fourth century.

Humanity is fallen. We cannot forget this. In fact, we should proclaim it. We should explain it to the media. It is no excuse, but it is a reason that we cannot get along. If we were more humble, then perhaps it would not surprise us so.

Pardon the preaching, but I wonder sometimes if putting someone up on a pedestal is not actually prideful on the part of the pedestalputterupper.

Anyway, this is a good conversation, gentlemen. Peace and all good things to you...

Marshall Scott said...

Tripp, thanks for your kind words. And, yes, I do think we humans put some persons on pedestals for oru own honor of having put them there, and serving as followers/acolytes.

Young fogey emeritus said...

I realise one can be wrong about morals such as homosexuality but be Christian. But some at the table literally are not Christian in their beliefs - theologically, credally. But both sides can't live together in one church even if they're both Christian so does that matter? Still I hope each side can be decent to each other as both claim to be ethical and to follow Christ however they see him.

I agree that Overland Park is one of several examples, perhaps under-reported (I'm in the news business so I know strife is seen as 'sexier' as a news story), of how things should be.

I wrote a bit today about 're-alignment'.