Rejecting the Label of "Extremists"

Brothers and Sisters,

I'd like to respond to the mischaracterization of those who stand up for Orthodox faith and practice as "extremists" who are seeking to "divide the Church", et cetera.

Across the web lately, anyone who has stood up to say that they are opposed to the use of Protestant songs and materials (like Rick Warren books, et cetera) in the life of our Orthodox Church has been attacked on the web as being an "extremist" bent on "dividing the Church".  We are even compared to the "Muslim Brotherhood".  This sort of unfair criticism has been leveled at youth and adult laymen who post on message boards like this one, all the way up to priests and bishops like Fr. Peter Farrington and Sayedna Anba Suriel.

It is totally disingenuous and false and I would like to respond to it here directly.

If someone introduces an innovation incompatible with Orthodoxy into the Church and the introduction causes division, it is those who have introduced it who have caused the division, not those who object to it.

Further, such talk will not silence those who see mega-church Protestantism for what it is and are opposed to the Protestantization of our Church.




  • Here, here!
  • The quickest way to rid an ideology is to encompass the ideology with a word. Once you can group all people who oppose you as one group, all you need to do is sit back and watch the magic begin. We categorize because we are afraid. We categorize Naziism because we are afraid of it. We categorize things we are afraid of because we can find solace in separating ourselves from the things we fear by making camps. But perfect love casts out fear, and so the label of extremists shows that those who call us that are afraid, and since they are afraid, there lacks love. 

    Nothing new under the sun, brother. One of my church's priests stood up in front of a group of servants and referred to me as an extremist. At a meeting with the Bishop of my diocese, after this story was brought to his attention, he offered his apologies on the priest's behalf. I told him I would not accept them, but if the priest wants to speak about the need for unity, he needs to retract his statement in front of all those who heard him say it. Not for my sake (I had long stepped out of that church by then for it to make the slightest difference to me) but because for a priest to say this, he teaches his children how to hate and label "the other." A shame. 

    My friend (another "extremist") was speaking with a renowned theologian in our church, when one of our priests jumped in and decided it was worth noting that my friend and I were extremists. So this theologian, with a puzzled look on his face goes, "what do you mean? Do you mean they are conservative?" So the priest responded "No No, the rest of us are conservative too." So the theologian asked, "So they are Orthodox?" And the priest said, "no we are Orthodox too." So the theologian said is "What they are is correct, and you just don't want to take the time to listen to them, so you find an excuse not to listen to them by hiding behind a word that you can't even define." 

    Dude, the word has become common place. Everyone is so scared of Islamism that they thing in everything in terms of extreme. The way I see it, you cannot be "extreme" in the right. Only in the wrong. To say that 1+1=2 is "right." Not "extremely right." To say that Jesus is God and insist on it is not being "extreme." As long as what is said is correct, to be extreme in it isn'treally a big deal. It just means you happen to actually believe it. 

    Truck on dude! The called Christ a bunch of names because they were incapable of refuting him. 

  •    Acts 20:28       

     "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

            Since I was young, I have always thought of us as a flock as in Psalm 23 and that the flock stays together.

         You guys are not extremists but ones who seek togetherness by the richness of the teachings and dogma of our church fathers through the Holy Spirit.

      It was the various schisms that separate the flock. 

        Identity will always be a problem, especially for those in the diaspora being affected by protestant influences. Those that call us extremist are saying that from the position of protestant popularity (trying to make Jesus popular) e.g. as in Ray' case where a priest appealed to those around him to judge the one he disagreed with.  He sort popularity with that action.

       I pray the Holy Spirit keeps our church together.



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