The Orthodox Leader

Accuracy in Reporting?

“Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.” -Deuteronomy 5:33

Perhaps I missed it, but which of the big players – the hierarchs comprising the Holy Synod, the OCA’s officers, the members of the Metropolitan Council – in the current difficulty has suggested that anyone is crazy (or less than sane)? I don’t recall seeing anyone in a significant role doing that. Or is this like the same folks’ talk about deposition, when it was the Metropolitan himself who first mentioned deposition, with OCATruth repeating it further?

A request for a mental health evaluation carries no implication of madness, certainly not in the year 2011, when we now regard a huge spectrum of behaviors not as disqualifying handicaps but rather as conditions to be managed with a large variety of treatments: mental, physical, and spiritual. [UPDATE 5:13pm EDT: Further, the minutes from the Santa Fe meeting make no mention of anything other than concerns about physical and spiritual health. So, how is it that this is transformed into these other claims?]

Honest leadership (and I emphasize honest) requires that people understand the positions of those who agree and disagree with them and then recount them accurately in discussion and argument. Doing otherwise is a violation of the ninth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” That’s even in the Bible, in Exodus 20:16. One common set of questions for self-examination prior to confession (from the Antiochian Archdiocese’s pocket prayer book) reads as follows, italics mine:

Have I told lies, or added to or subtracted from the truth? Have I made careless statements or spoken evil of anyone? Have I told any secrets entrusted to me, or betrayed anyone? Have I gossiped about anyone or harmed their reputation? Have I concealed the truth, assisted in carrying out a lie, or pretended to commit a sin of which I was not guilty? Have I tried to see the good in others rather than their shortcomings?

It’s impossible to lead without the willingness to give sufficient attention to what is being said. Sometimes it even means reviewing what exactly was said, to ensure that our memories are correct. Otherwise, we end up tilting at windmills, and, worse,  bearing false witness against our neighbor by attributing to him things he did not say.

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Written by Fr Basil Biberdorf

March 31st, 2011 at 4:55 pm

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