Sparing the Rod
According to Orthodox writer/lecturer Frederica Mathews-Green, "The Catholic blogosphere is inflamed" that Rod Dreher, columnist for the Dallas News and contributor to Beliefnet, "is seriously considering Orthodoxy."
Inflamed? Who, MOI???
While it's true I have followed this so-called story for awhile now, I've hesitated to say much, mostly because I was waiting to do justice to this whole "crunchy con" kick that he'd started. The original piece in the National Review referred to the phenomenon as "granola conservatism," and I can't imagine what possessed him to give that up for such a ridiculous title as "crunchy." From what I've been able to observe, the choice has managed to trivialize an otherwise significant cultural movement.
But, more about that later. Back to Rod and this whole Orthodox thing.
I have to confess that in the last fifteen years, I've flirted with the idea of converting to Orthodoxy at least twice. At one point -- and it was very brief, I might add -- I was even worshipping regularly at an Orthodox parish. And yet, beneath the emphasis on tradition and so on, the lack of a central teaching authority (what Catholics call the "magisterium") is cause for some confusion in belief.
I'll give you an example with contraception. The "official" Orthodox teaching, what you can find of it, does not approve it outright, but leaves the decision to the conscience of the individual couple. The trouble is, you won't find that position in any of the writings of the Eastern Fathers of the Church, from whom I'm always hearing Orthodox writers say their Faith continually draws its inspiration. They (or some more than others, for all the hell I know) appear to have made an exception, as does most of Protestantism. So, what's the diff?
We are led to believe that this sojourn of faith has been insprired in large part by what he calls "complete burnout over the Catholic sex-abuse scandal." (Join the club, Rod. Did you think this was the first time this ever happened?) None of the idiots responsible for the current mess are the reason yours truly is still a Catholic. Nor are they sufficient reason to be anything else. Now, if I was important enough for Rod to ever answer my e-mails over the years, I'd invite him to dinner next time he was in town and attempt to reason with him. Failing that, we'd have a great time talking about life being "crunchy."
But hey, that's just me.