James Jordan on Liturgy Traps from Trinity House Institute on Vimeo.
Over on his blog Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy, Father Andrew Stephen Damick has just had the graciousness to share this odious video with those of us who browse the Orthodox Christian blogosphere in search of enlightenment and useful discourse, and its content calls to my mind a phrase popular in the more liberal and libertine portions of the heterodox blogosphere: "trigger warning." This video is very upsetting to me, and it pushes all the right buttons. Like Father Andrew on his post, I shall not indulge in any commentary on the deceitful content of this video. Watch it with whatever knowledge you have. It should speak for itself to you. How it speaks to me, however, is an especially painful matter. I have heard all of the nonsense that James Jordan has to say in this video, and I have been directly and intentionally hurt by it.
If it survived the fire, I have somewhere in my possession a letter of some eight or nine pages and thirty-some-odd references to Scripture, written to me personally last year and sent in the form of a photocopy (leaving one to wonder where all else the letter circulated and who contributed to its authorship, as almost certainly my being sent a photocopy of it was an accident), professing to tell me everything that was wrong with the Orthodox Church, noting that I was unsaved (which, in the parlance of the letter, its explicit signatory, and the belief system it flowed from, meant that I was bound for Hell should I not get saved--once and then for always of course), and all serving as an explanation for why I should be treated with contempt and misery brought upon one who was enslaved to a system of religious authority that has no basis in Scripture whatsoever. I think that's my new favorite phrase in my online commentary: no basis in Scripture whatsoever. That letter, which I foolishly thought, since it was so vile and so plainly revealed the cruelty of its authors, could be the very thing that liberated one poor soul from that cruelty, is something I am unable to recall without, as the left-wing religious blogosphere likes to say, being "triggered."
Last year, as I was enduring all of the deceitful criticism of my faith by believers who professed the Bible as their sole authority (and who knew nothing factual or true about Orthodoxy), the daily readings from Scripture in the Orthodox lectionary were also a torment to me, because quite literally every passage I read was a refutation of an accusation that had been leveled against me. The Orthodox Church, while it does not profess "Scripture alone," is a profoundly and fundamentally Biblical Church. Our hymns quote extensively from Scripture (a good deal more than one will find in a great many sola Scriptura churches), and every rubric in our worship as well as every dogma has a firm basis in Scripture. As I said, however, I am not writing this in order to defend Orthodoxy in this matter in any detail, and indeed apologetics or polemics for Orthodoxy are not the purpose of Lasseter's Lost Reef: but in actual society, when the charges were leveled against me, and I and another ought to have had the opportunity to present a defense (because more than just some academic argument with nitwits on the Internet was at stake), I was not permitted.
It's funny. I commented this evening on the blog of an acquaintance of mine who was concerned that she ought not complain about some bad things that had gone down in her life recently. I told her that complaint was my bread and butter and that she ought feel no shame in allowing herself just a moment to let it be known what had vexed her. I do it all the time.
Allow me to conclude with a preview. Whenever I do get around to my next quote-unquote substantial post, there will be Midnight Oil in it and a bit of looking back over the years. For now, though, I am a man forbidden to present a defense, an advocate whose client has been locked away, whose trial has been held in secret by false authority under hidden and evil rules of procedure. There is no reason or righteousness to the charge. There is only punishment.