Sunday, July 25, 2010

Franky in T-Town

George Michalopulos has weighed in at the AOI on a Franky Schaffer screed which happened as of late in my old stomping grounds of Tulsa, OK; his article has also been published in the Tulsa World.

Why anyone would ask Frank Schaffer to speak *nowadays* for the Orthodox Church is beyond me, as he has departed from Orthodox faith in numerous ways. Conversations about this article on Facebook (I posted it to my profile) have 1) been quite intelligent, thankfully, and 2) tended either to blast Schaffer for "liberal" politics or to blast George for equating Orthodoxy with neo-conservatism. Both, I think, miss the point (or, better, the two points) entirely.

Regarding politics: I am (as is often the case in these debates, I find) in agreement both with the idea that the Church has a history of social progressivism in many areas, yet a strong--and I would say monolithic--tradition of consistently standing against homosexuality and abortion (amongst other things, but since those issues tend to be the main whipping boys in Schaffers' tirades, I'll limit myself to those).

All this means is that the Church does not fit neatly into one political party, which suits me fine. However, that means that the polarization via Huff-Po that Schaffer thinks he can just come along and put forward uncontested is just absurd. Likewise, a neo-con equivalence of GOP=Orthodoxy is ridiculous, yet this is not what I see George doing in the article. He was making a point that the issues Schaffer likes to harp on are not compatible with Orthodoxy, and as soon as Orthodoxy looks to accommodate such issues in a sort of "Orthodoxy must change or die" mentality, it will cease to be what it essentially is (not because of a political-issue-as-identity, but because of an expression of a reality that is incompatible with the image of Christ crucified) and, ironically, begin to whither and least, the parts that, locally, officially adopt and teach these lies.

Regarding evangelism: I am less bothered by Schaffer's tirade against Evangelical Protestants [=EvProts] than I am by his complete dishonoring of his father and mother. His tone is absolutely inexcusable and unnecessarily polemical to the point of outright untruth.

Having set that forth as the main objection, regarding evangelism--while there are differences between what "Gospel" means to EvProts and us, I don't see there really being a chance of *real* confusion of us w/EvProts *if* the distinctions of asceticism and theosis are kept at the forefront. If this is put forward--and deliberately so, merely as an example of holy, humble lives of prayer and service to the poor that the Spirit must lead and initiate--the "cold calls for Jesus" approach of many EvProts, or the used-car salesman feel of much of what passes for "evangelism" in the EvProt world will be easily seen for what they are, while genuine Orthodox invitations to come and see (which assumes that a provision of something *to* come and see is being made) will still be deliberate and sound, and not just a cop-out citing "relationship evangelism" while doing nothing.

We *are* called as Christians to let our light shine to the ends of the earth; that Franky seems to want to hunker down so as not to "offend" anyone doesn't negate this.


Rhology said...

that Franky seems to want to hunker down so as not to "offend" anyone doesn't negate this.

Could you please clarify your meaning here? It seems like you stated the obvious above, that Sch is all about ripping EvProts up and down, nearly every chance he gets, and that's quite offensive to someone! (You know, like me!)

So I'm not sure I'm following you.

Plus, I'd mention as I did on FB that, were Sch a member of my church and wrote in favor of homosexual perversity and murdering babies, he'd be extended the left foot of fellowship after an appropriate outpouring of pleas to repent. And yet EvProts are subjected to uppity criticism all the time from Orthodox (and Romanists) for being fractured and delighting in schism. If y'all don't police your own for saying that murdering babies is A-OK, what possible basis could you have for such criticism of EvProts?

David B said...

Ah. Sorry..."offend anyone" should read "offend anyone who might take umbrage at any sort of encounter with someone willing to live by strong, religious beliefs and speak on them when the situation arises."

It is, of course, ironic that he takes every chance he gets to be an offensive jerk.

And, as I said on FB, I wish the man were denied the chalice and denounced publicly and forcefully from the website of his diocese and in a letter from the bishop to be read from every pulpit in the diocese.

Anonymous said...

^Hear him! Hear him!