Friday, January 28, 2011

An open response to a troubled blogger

There is a blogger whose blog styles itself Orthodox, but which is full of the most venomous rants you will find anywhere, complete with hierarchs being called names and ridiculed because of their weight. A few months ago, this blogger began alluding to things on my blog in a negative way. Since this blogger had previously identified me on several occasions as one of the few converts to Orthodoxy that met with his approval, I e-mailed him privately to explain the issue, thinking I might get somewhere based on those earlier opinions. At first we had a relatively pleasant exchange in which I was assured that I would never be criticized by name, because he knew it was hard enough on clergy and their families. However, when I explained my position on welfare, I discovered that I had stepped on a personal landmine for this person, and received a very angry letter in which it was asserted that my view was not Christian. I have certainly commented on political issues and expressed my opinion, but I have never suggested that if you disagree with my politics, you are not a Christian. However, in this persons view, if you disagree with him, you disagree with all that is holy and good in the world. When I responded back with specific facts that showed that this person had their facts wrong (because I worked with welfare programs for 13 years, and thus have some familiarity with the actual laws and programs involved), I did not get any further private replies. However, this blogger became obsessed with my blog, and began a steady stream of attacks on me personally, for such crimes as my not thinking that Sarah Palin was an evil person, and not agreeing that communism is really not all that bad, or that a good Christian must needs be a socialist. I think I sent probably two more e-messages privately to him, in response to things he was saying publicly about me. At a certain point, I decided to google his name... at least the name he uses on his blog, because I wanted to talk with his priest about it (which is what the Gospels say is to be done in such cases). The name the blogger uses is actually a woman's name, and he identifies himself as a woman. I discovered that this blogger that I had assumed was a "she" had been born a "he". I e-mailed this person one more time, referring to him by his given name, and asked him what parish he belonged to. I received no reply. I tend to doubt that he actually does belong to a parish at present, but if someone who is familiar with this happens to know otherwise, please let me know... because I would still like to speak to his priest, if he indeed has one.

Most recently, he has posted something on his blog that suggests that I have been harassing him with private e-mail. This is not true, and he knows that it is not true. I give him my permission to post every e-mail I have sent him, so long as they are posted in full, and without editing. His latest post says he just wants to be left alone. I have no objection to obliging him. I would just ask for the same courtesy. A good start for him would be to stop attacking me in about every third post on his blog. If you know who I am talking about, and search this blog for his names (either of them), you will not find them.

I did discuss this blogger by name on a forum in which someone else brought up his name, along with mine, and wondered why it was that I had once been one of the few good converts to Orthodoxy, and was now public enemy number 1. And I simply referred to him by his given name, using masculine pronouns (because I do not believe it is possible to change your sex, no matter how much surgery you have or how much estrogen you may take), and said that I did not think any Orthodox Christian should be promoting his blog for the aforementioned reasons. His blog may be entertaining, but it is entertaining for reasons that do not promote the salvation of anyone. I have never met this person, I wish him well. I don't know the whole story behind his changing his sexual identity, beyond what he previously posted about it on the web. But if he has not already been reconciled to the Church, there is no one alive who is beyond the possibility of such, and I hope he seeks it. If he has been reconciled to the Church formally, I would encourage him to read the Scriptures and the desert fathers, focus on his own salvation, stop viciously attacking bishops... or anyone else for that matter, and focus on those things that lift up his readers rather than only serve as a source of temptation.