Thursday, November 24, 2022

AoB to convene cross-jurisdictional marriage & family chat

There are two ways this working group can go. The first is a fluff piece that "reaffirms the martyric and indispensable centrality of married people in the Orthodox Church" followed by several pages of proof texting and maybe a patristic quote in bold text somewhere in there. The second is to actual tackle all the difficult issues facing parents and children in the modern world.

One is easy and will be farmed out to learned clergy for pull quotes and flowery words. The other is hard and overdue. We still don't have a uniform handle on mixed marriages (and some hierarchs are widening this gap), we are all over the place on bio-ethical issues related to artificial means for procreation, our children are under siege from social media and social contagion, and frankly our birth rates are pitiable.

Bishops love to talk about children; it's an easy thing to write about and parents love to hear that someone is worried about teaching them the faith. Sadly, many parents take that to mean that the Church is going to do that for them and not with them. Frankly, wrestling with building a culture of faithfulness in our youth is best tackled at a parish level. No one is reading the episcopal letters on family life and fewer still are looking at the glossy photo press releases that find themselves seasonally on jurisdictional websites.

We as a Church need to act a lot more than we are narrating. And narrating our problems is most of what we are doing today. Action is obviously harder than live tweeting the dissolution of the family, but it needs to happen. Though, if the current batch of parenting experts we as a country are listening to about child rearing are going to play a part in this activity, this effort is going to need all our prayers.

So, you can extrapolate from the above which route I think this effort will go. If I'm proven right, I'll eat a fluffernutter sandwich as soon as the press release of the fruits of the working group are published. 

NEW YORK (EA) – The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America concluded a hybrid meeting on November 22, 2022. The members lamented the repose of their brothers – Metropolitan Ilia (EP), Metropolitan Hilarion (ROCOR), Archbishop Paul (OCA), Metropolitan Herman (OCA), and Metropolitan Theodosios (OCA) – and acknowledged recent changes, including the retirements of Bishop Basil (AOCA) and Metropolitan Joseph (AOCA), the ordination of Bishop Constantine (EP) and appointment of Metropolitan Antonios (AOCA), and the elevation of Metropolitan Nicholas (ROCOR) and Archbishop Daniel (OCA).

The bishops then approved a new board member for OCMC and established new chairs for the Committee for Pastoral Practice (Bishop Sebastian) and Committee for Liturgy (Bishop Spyridon).

After approving the agenda for the January 28-31, 2022 meeting, the hierarchs discussed matters of common concern, approving a working group on marriage and family ministries. The working group will convene experts cross-jurisdictionally to explore opportunities for collaboration on ministries related to parenting, family, and marriage in the Orthodox Christian context.

1 comment:

  1. Well, one could argue that narrating *from the correct perspective* is where a person/parish/Church needs to start any action from. Right now the narration is not from *merely* the Gospel as such, but rather from an unconscious assumption of Christendom. Sine Christendom is no more, the complaint is just that - there are no waypoints and maps for action within post-Christendom (and no a vague memory of pre-Constantine ontology does not qualify). We know we are to follow the Gospel, but we don't know how as we have know forbearers showing us the path within an aggressively post-Christen culture - all our saints and praxis and even theologizing are from other circumstances.

    There are no "experts", only sociologists and academics who certain insights (using Baconian utilitarian methods) that could be useful if combined with equally useful Theology and Revelation, but rarely is. Add to this one of Rod Dreher's important insights, that bishops/priests/deacons will not and can not *lead* on these issues because everything they are/do is based on past adaptations to other cultures/circumstances, and we really are in a bit of a pickle. Our host will be eating that unappetizing sandwich