Orthodox White Nationalism is in the news again. The only time I ever really had a crisis of faith was when I found out about this, back when Matthew Heimbach beat up a guy with a cross.
I wonder if this is not a convert problem. Hear me out for a minute. The multiple Orthodox jurisdictions throughout America are probably, definitely the single greatest factor here. We are, for all intents and purposes, a church that practices segregation, but we are also a church that, a number of years ago, began drawing in a whole lot of disaffected Protestants, a number of whom came from churches with a racist/segregationist history (I’m looking at you, Southern Baptists). We got very excited about our Orthodoxy and started spreading it, bringing in even more converts, without spending very much time letting ourselves get catechized. So we told a particular story of the faith, the kind of story described in the Religion Dispatches article. We also started doing a lot of evangelizing, growing too quickly, never fully understanding or fully appreciating the wide, diverse, and complicated history of the Orthodox Church.
Now, I am not trying to argue for guilt by association, but it is interesting that Heimbach not only came from one of the most racist parts of Indiana, but that he also came from a church that was made up predominately of converts, shepherded by a man who is part of a family that is pretty famous for being a powerful force behind the convert phenomenon. (Check this post.)
The Orthodox jurisdiction in the U.S. that has attracted the most converts is Antiochian. Somebody should do a study. I bet that’s where most of the hate is flocking. Lord, have mercy!
By the way, every time I get a new Twitter follower, an angel gets its wings. @DrDavidJDunn
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