The War Must End
If you look up the term ‘collateral damage’, you will find that this is a term that originated in the U.S. Military. It is a term that is used to refer to ‘damage’ that is unintended or accidental to the intended outcome. Often, ‘collateral damage’ is a term that aligns itself with the loss of civilian, more so, innocent life.
For all too long, and yes, without sufficient resolution, (regardless of what our Hierarchs think) the ‘crisis’ in the OCA has waged on. Yet, why do we refer to the events that our national church has gone through as a ‘crisis’? Clearly what has happened and what continues to happen is no ‘crisis’ at all but is spiritual warfare, the spadework of Satan at his worst. Sadly as well, this battle of spiritual warfare that continues to rage bares one tell-tale symbol of the ugliness that is war; namely ‘collateral damage’ beyond belief. For it is clear that many, if not the majority of us who form the ‘ranks of the clergy’, have been absent from our responsibilities. We have permitted the ‘unintended and accidental damage’ to go on without challenge or the courage to stand up and demand that action be swift, immediate and complete.
Sadly, many clergy have allowed grave damage to be done to the Living Body of Jesus Christ through their inaction, their reluctance to discuss and their resistance to enlighten their flocks as to the truth. Left in the wake of this negligence is grave damage to the souls of those we are called to nurture, develop and encourage. The damage that may be unrecoverable.
Through our words we have waxed every imaginable ‘spin’ about the crisis. But words, as it is said, ‘are cheap.’ Countless posts, individual church meetings, and the latest inept method to show progress, the ‘Town Meeting’ approach (so political) have done little to temper, let alone end, the spiritual war that each of us is a direct participant in.
Those of us who took a REAL stand have found that the mentality of our Hierarchs is such that if you seek truth, honesty and repentance you immediately become subjugated to suppression and constraints. Our community took a REAL stand several months ago when we opted to withhold our national and diocesan assessments until viable change came forth. Many of our clergy who read posts such as this rushed forward and applauded the actions of Three Saints Church. We were viewed as making the stand that everyone should make.
However, in reality, the ‘support’ that we received for our actions was frankly nothing more than words as so few other parishes dared to mirror our actions. We did however, and continue to this day, receive plenty of attention from the ‘powers to be’ even though we are ‘ad nauseam’ reminded that ‘it’s not about the money.’
Perhaps other parishes opted not to follow our lead because they, in some mystical way, knew what would happen to our parish in terms of the open and behind closed door sanctions that have come our way since the day we ‘just said no.’
Perhaps other parishes knew that we would be told that “your brother clergy do not want to serve with you” at the Holy Unction service held at our church during Great Lent.
Perhaps other parishes were fearful that at the same service, their Bishop would also decline the opportunity to speak a word to the faithful.
Could it be that other parishes who saw our parish stand up knew that the election of their council officers would not be accepted by their Bishop? And that every council meeting from the day they voted to withhold funding would be under the ‘supervision’ of their diocesan Dean and/or Chancellor? Is this some archaic way they are trying to control us as we are considered to be 'outside of the fold'?
Maybe other parishes and their leadership simply feared that they would be denied attending the AAC as we have?
Finally, maybe other parishes were clairvoyant to such a degree that the ‘backroom’ attempts to get them to break and ‘pay-up’ were so evident they feared isolation.
Clearly, it is the fear of retribution, the complacency and inaction among those who can make a difference and opt not to, that permits this spiritual war to wage on. It is a sad irony that those among our clergy who fear repercussion and who choose not to lead, or choose to be part of the problem rather than the solution are in point of fact among the greatest contributors to the ‘collateral damage’ that is in reality bringing our church down to its knees. If continued to be left unattended it most assuredly will result in her death.
For how do we avert such a tragedy if we have no answers for our faithful other than cliché’s like ‘the church is working towards change’?
If, in point of fact, we have so many of the core leadership still in place, people who were involved from the beginning?
How do we avert the end of the Orthodox Church in America if we cannot reach out and encourage those in need to come to the ‘true Apostolic faith’ when we cannot honestly answer questions about the appalling improprieties?
While that very same leadership continues to live in denial, thinking with a defiant mindset that they need not be accountable?
How can we look at each other, how can we look at ourselves and simply continue to perpetuate all of the sin, all of the failure?
Is it because we care more for ourselves than we care about bringing Christ to those in our midst?
Is it because we ‘talk the talk’ when we preach, but when it comes to standing up to those who we somehow believe are better than us because of their rank we choose not to ‘walk the walk’?
Or is it because apathy and inaction are far too easier than standing up and leading?
The call is simple. The war must end. The spiritual war that has festered without need must end and it should end before one more soul is considered ‘collateral damage’ by those who are called to know better.
Submitted in Christ’s unending love,
Proto-Deacon Anthony Kruge
Three Saints Church, Ansonia, CT