More things Antiochian...

As I've pondered what''s been happening in my Archdiocese I've noticed something.

On one side there are the official news items about the recent decision returning our diocesan Bishops to auxiliary status, but that process doesn't work in our 24 hour a day everything always on world of information. So in the absence of official information we the people provide our own content in various on line forums, each of us a pundit, each of us trying to fill the void with our own thoughts.

One of the great things about the www is that the stranglehold of an elite class of professionals called journalists has been broken. Because of this people who are actual experts in their fields and not simply experts at writing or reading copy have a say in a story and often provide valuable insights. But the problem is also that anyone with an axe to grind can broadcast their thoughts to the world even if they have nothing constructive to say at all. That's the price of freedom I guess.

I think the worst part is the anonymity of the www. It's not an actual anonymity of course because if I wanted to I could track the IP addresses of everyone who visits this site and any site can do the same and perhaps more. Rather its the perception of anonymity that allows people to speak to each on other online in a way that they would generally not do, at least I hope, in person. That makes problem solving and true consensus difficult because the score is kept not by how you reach insight and consensus through wisdom but on how many cuts your words can inflict on those who disagree with you.

On some of the blogs discussing the recent decision from the Holy Synod of Antioch that spirit was very much alive. There were a lot of people calling each other names, demanding that someone repent, calling for Priests to be deposed, and saying things about fellow Christians that were just plain nasty. I know the www can be rough sometimes but I was disappointed that things could sink that fast in forums discussing an issue in the life of the Church. I understand it, there's a part of me that can fall into the trap of thirsting for verbal combat and the power it can give me when I strike a verbal blow, but I know, as well, that if we're going to live together we have to be temperate with each other or risk adding the hurt of words to the process of coming to agreement.

So I hope if anything else happens in all of this we'll come to the realization we need to keep things Christian in all of this. Yes we can disagree. Yes we can make our points. Yes we can present our information. But everything should be done with a mind to the fact that the person across from us, whether they are in person or across the world typing into their computer is a person for whom Christ came to earth. I think we'll get to where we need to be faster if we do.

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