Greece as Political Time Bomb

David P. Goldman posted this today on First Things’s blog First Thought.  He describes the economic situation in Greece and sketches out some of the social causes and possible outcomes.  In my heart I want what I read here to not be true–but I suspect my hopes are misplaced.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

On Feb. 12, I posted this item at my “Inner Workings” blog at Asia Times and on the Spengler blog at First Things:

Although Greece is an EC member, its finances and political system have the character of a banana republic. EC membership, though, enabled Greece to borrow far more money than any banana republic, such that the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is about triple that of Argentina just before the latter’s bankruptcy in 2000. And because Greece is an EC member, the size and adumbrations of a bankruptcy would be much, much larger than that of any Latin American country.

Earlier I had assumed that we were watching a negotiation: Brussels would shout “Never!,” the Greeks would throw tantrums, and eventually some compromise would be reached and the situation would be stabilized.

Closer examination of the political situation in Greece makes me less optimistic. Greece may be suffering from an inoperable cancer, in the form of a degree of corruption that make a resolution without bankruptcy very difficult to implement.

Here are some comments by a political observer in Athens who has written to me privately:

Corruption in Greece has been systematically cultivated by all governments and parties. Everyone has relatives living off the public sector in cushy, do-nothing jobs. They get paid through various funding sources that successive governments have created so even though the nominal wage is low the actual take home and all benefits are quite high. Another important dimension to the public participation in corruption is that the rich by and large do not pay any taxes. The only people who pay are those who can’t escape the clutches of the state: pensioners and civil servants i.e., sectors where the salaries can be accounted for. According to the President of the National Bank of Greece, 30% of the budget of the last administration was unaccounted for—yes, just disappeared into the coffers of their families and well-wishers, and I would guess the other 70% was never audited.

The common psychological traits of the corruption are what the ancients called alazoneia (brash presumption of knowledge by the ignorant) and anaischuntia (shamelessness). All public institutions have one purpose: Suck money from the EU (or via loans) and redistribute it through an inverted pyramid of chicanery with the the loaf going to the top, the crumbs to the bottom. Most people in their little niches of decay are “expert” at this. They “know” the ropes. As the country psychologically devolves there are no lines demarcating the “good from the “bad”, “responsibility” from irresponsibility”. No one ever goes to jail; no one gets punished.

The Europeans know the state of affairs in the country (which they contributed to for a variety of reasons). They know that no Greek government can implement reforms through a political process of consensus. The people are waiting for their doles; the students are waiting for their payback (cushy jobs somewhere), the unions, the coops are all poised to demand their due from the machines that serve them. Meanwhile the rich are sending money out of the country (Switzerland and Cyprus) in the billions out of fear that the government may have no recourse but to grab part of their accounts in the future.

Hence it seems to me that the only game in town is to put Greece under complete receivership with all orders coming from abroad for fiscal cutbacks and the like. Since the EU has no machinery for doing this and the Greek government could never have a consensus for such a program, these measures will be accomplished through fear. Greeks will be left dangling at the mercy of speculators and others, yet at the same time tacitly supported, so that with each assault the Greek government will be implementing (in a climate of panic and fear) some new unpopular measure to mollify the rating agencies and bondholders. The Greeks have not yet woken up to this new reality. They still think EU is Santa Claus or that someone will bail them out (maybe the Chinese!). The lollipops are being taken away and whatever sweets are left will probably go to prop up the banks.

There are two ways in which this scenario may fail: (1) the growing resentment of the German public especially and their unwillingness to bail out Greece. This raises the possibility that at some critical point the EU (due to populist outrage) may not be able to act decisively to stave off a run on the Greek banks. (2) Slide into anarchy in Greece itself. There is always the possibility that the combustible parts of the corrupt machinery start to ignite patches of fires here and there with hard-to-predict possibilities for touching off more general conflagrations.

For now the scenario is working. But nothing really has yet happened in the country. For the man on the street all of this talk about austerity is still just future legislation, measures in the pipeline, at worst manageable cutbacks that reflect the government’s rosy projections.

If all goes according to plan Greece will be ruled by the bankers from abroad with successive waves of crises leading to new cutback-measures and “reforms”. The road will be bumpy and the ride dangerous but manageable. But one should not discount the possibility that psychological despair and irrationality (fueled with desires to live the good life on a dole) may not spark suicidal actions along the way. Keep in mind that the youth have been completely alienated (corrupted and ‘consumerized’ by their parents) and their despair adds another factor of instability.

The country is sliding into psychological despair within a cocoon of unrequited desires that have been inflamed and legitimized over the years. Anger is rampant. Yesterday on the bus a student gave his ticket to a lady, telling her that she should use his ticket because he was getting off. Someone called out that this was shameful “thievery” to which the youngster responded: “I am stealing 50 cents but the government and the banks have stolen 50 billion!” Many nodded in approval.

Prime Minister Papandreou was on television last night, white as a ghost. He was telling the Greek press that he was thankful that the IMF was “offering” their technical expertise (technognosia) to Greece. Yes money is not coming, but how sweet of the IMF to be sending its experts to dictate terms over the next few weeks. It seems that someone in Europe gave him the unexpected news that the party is over. This reality has not yet even remotely begun to set in here. The media are giving the message that “the Europeans can’t afford to let Greece go under….that Europe stands to lose too much….that Merkel and those stuffy Northerners will have to come to Greece’s aid.”

When the reality does start seeping in—hold on to your hats….

One of the delusions is that there is a moral kernel in the country that we can turn to for consolation and renewal. There is no such thing. The corruption went too deep. The country is completely unprotected on the cultural and moral front. This too has not seeped in. And yet when people become desperate; when their world starts to crumble around them and all their delusions about themselves and their good life not only collapse, but do so without any legacy to fall back on and no dream to look forward to, then beware. We are in unchartered territory where Furies and Ate pilot the ship.

From: Greece as Political Time Bomb » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog (24 February 2010)

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  • Fr. David

    Fr. Gregory, “just between us”, I fear that this absence of civil morality is common to many Orthodox countries today. This sounds very similar to what I experienced in Romania when I lived there between 1993 and 2002. Many attribute Romania’s moral bankruptcy to Communism, but I suspect that it goes back at least as far as Ottoman/Phanariot oppression.

    Among Orthodox Christians, there is a kind of “Robin Hood” mentality: the state robs us, and we rob it. But it goes beyond the state. In a few Christian organizations in which I was involved, I saw Western donors being deceived about what was happening with their financial support, essentially when they put restrictions on its use which were not sympathetic to local values and local needs, but rather insisted on Western notions about what needed to be done.

    Orthodox Christian morality, in my little experience in an Orthodox country, is a morality of the individual toward other individuals, not a sort of civil morality.

    One of the hardest issues we converts have to face, I think, is the theory (its author’s name is on the tip of my tongue, but escapes me at the moment) that Orthodoxy produces one kind of culture (negative), Catholicism another (also negative), and Protestantism produces good morals, good economies, etc. There is a lot of evidence to support this idea… although of course the Orthodox have other explanations, namely, the centuries of oppression which shaped their civic cultures. But I think we need to go back to Byzantium and see if in fact it was free of corruption (I don’t think so)…

    So where does that leave us?

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  • Fr. David

    Fr. Gregory, “just between us”, I fear that this absence of civil morality is common to many Orthodox countries today. This sounds very similar to what I experienced in Romania when I lived there between 1993 and 2002. Many attribute Romania’s moral bankruptcy to Communism, but I suspect that it goes back at least as far as Ottoman/Phanariot oppression.

    Among Orthodox Christians, there is a kind of “Robin Hood” mentality: the state robs us, and we rob it. But it goes beyond the state. In a few Christian organizations in which I was involved, I saw Western donors being deceived about what was happening with their financial support, essentially when they put restrictions on its use which were not sympathetic to local values and local needs, but rather insisted on Western notions about what needed to be done.

    Orthodox Christian morality, in my little experience in an Orthodox country, is a morality of the individual toward other individuals, not a sort of civil morality.

    One of the hardest issues we converts have to face, I think, is the theory (its author’s name is on the tip of my tongue, but escapes me at the moment) that Orthodoxy produces one kind of culture (negative), Catholicism another (also negative), and Protestantism produces good morals, good economies, etc. There is a lot of evidence to support this idea… although of course the Orthodox have other explanations, namely, the centuries of oppression which shaped their civic cultures. But I think we need to go back to Byzantium and see if in fact it was free of corruption (I don’t think so)…

    So where does that leave us?

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  • anonymous

    If these problems lay only in Greece, perhaps I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Yet with the discovery that Britain’s finances are in worse shape than Greece’s, and the accusation that Italy masked their fiscal state more than Greece did, (not to mention the other problems in the EU and the slow crumbling of Eastern Europe’s financial health) I don’t see how any rescue can come. The EU is not only in terrible fiscal shape but is also divided against itself. Whether or not Greece fails, Britain and Spain have their own housing bubble collapses to deal with… and if Greece does fail, I fear that it will be only the beginning of a chain reaction of sovereign defaults.

    There’s also one really fantastically huge problem, which might actually lead to a temporary bailout of Greece in order to delay the unfortunately inevitable carnage. Who wrote the credit default swaps on Greece’s debt? Word has it that AIG, 77.9% owned by the US Government (citizens, that is), is on the hook for that. AIG had $1.6 TRILLION in derivatives exposure, most likely CDS’s that they can’t back up. Who knows how much of this lies in PIIGS? The damage is coming, and it will be monstrous.

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  • anonymous

    If these problems lay only in Greece, perhaps I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Yet with the discovery that Britain’s finances are in worse shape than Greece’s, and the accusation that Italy masked their fiscal state more than Greece did, (not to mention the other problems in the EU and the slow crumbling of Eastern Europe’s financial health) I don’t see how any rescue can come. The EU is not only in terrible fiscal shape but is also divided against itself. Whether or not Greece fails, Britain and Spain have their own housing bubble collapses to deal with… and if Greece does fail, I fear that it will be only the beginning of a chain reaction of sovereign defaults.

    There’s also one really fantastically huge problem, which might actually lead to a temporary bailout of Greece in order to delay the unfortunately inevitable carnage. Who wrote the credit default swaps on Greece’s debt? Word has it that AIG, 77.9% owned by the US Government (citizens, that is), is on the hook for that. AIG had $1.6 TRILLION in derivatives exposure, most likely CDS’s that they can’t back up. Who knows how much of this lies in PIIGS? The damage is coming, and it will be monstrous.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782293547 Andrew Troth

    Yes, the same thing is happening in Russia too. It’s like they didn’t learn anything from 70 years on the outs with the State. The corruption is mind-numbing.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782293547 Andrew Troth

    Yes, the same thing is happening in Russia too. It’s like they didn’t learn anything from 70 years on the outs with the State. The corruption is mind-numbing.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782293547 Andrew Troth

    BTW, just by way of response to something that bothers me in Fr. David’s post….

    If there is ample evidence to support the “Protestantism = good morals/economies” proposition, there is ample evidence to contradict it as well. Or is there a good explanation for why traditionally Protestant countries like Sweden have just so-so economies and thriving pornography industries? Or for why a strongly Protestant nation like the Netherlands has a city like Amsterdam, which is one of the cesspits of Europe? Maybe it’s because sin is sin everywhere, no matter which way you make the sign of the cross, or if you make it at all? Just a thought…..

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782293547 Andrew Troth

    BTW, just by way of response to something that bothers me in Fr. David’s post….

    If there is ample evidence to support the “Protestantism = good morals/economies” proposition, there is ample evidence to contradict it as well. Or is there a good explanation for why traditionally Protestant countries like Sweden have just so-so economies and thriving pornography industries? Or for why a strongly Protestant nation like the Netherlands has a city like Amsterdam, which is one of the cesspits of Europe? Maybe it’s because sin is sin everywhere, no matter which way you make the sign of the cross, or if you make it at all? Just a thought…..

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  • James the Brother

    Fr. David,

    Help me out here please. I am a new convert (June) being a life long protestant. I have seen much of this negative behavior in the mission church I have been a part of to the extent that the church has gone toxic and dysfunctional. That is a huge contrast to the behavior of the people at the church I left. They, and I know them well, live Christ-like lives (is that a touch of Theosis?) but have never heard the term. In the mission church it seems the folks know the rubrics but not the faith and not the life. It gives me pause as I love the Orthodox theology, liturgy, sacramentalism etc. but I see a huge disconnect. I ask myself, can I be an Orthodox Christian while retreating to positive influence by God loving Christ living Christians in a protestant church?

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  • James the Brother

    Fr. David,

    Help me out here please. I am a new convert (June) being a life long protestant. I have seen much of this negative behavior in the mission church I have been a part of to the extent that the church has gone toxic and dysfunctional. That is a huge contrast to the behavior of the people at the church I left. They, and I know them well, live Christ-like lives (is that a touch of Theosis?) but have never heard the term. In the mission church it seems the folks know the rubrics but not the faith and not the life. It gives me pause as I love the Orthodox theology, liturgy, sacramentalism etc. but I see a huge disconnect. I ask myself, can I be an Orthodox Christian while retreating to positive influence by God loving Christ living Christians in a protestant church?

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  • Chrys

    Following Andrew’s lead, I would argue that the countries with the most stable social / civic morality are those that are or were rooted in English common law. This system of jurisprudence seems to have fostered both respect for the law, protection of property (and with it the virtues required to acquire and then maintain the value of property) and generally equal treatment (at least in principle) of rich and poor, privileged and disadvantaged. Social responsibility and respect for the law suffers when it seems tailored to serve a particular class or faction. Most communist countries as well as countries that suffered under foreign domination for years saw a system that was largely based on a tacit lie; in oppressive situations, the unwritten rules contradict and subvert the official rules. Since this hypocrisy can not be acknowledged without severe cost, the lie – widely recognized – lives just under the surface of society, slowly eroding trust in, respect for or obligation to social institutions. While every system knows corruption (and every system suffers from sin), the system that enshrines it reaps the degradation of our proper social bonds.
    The one institution that is capable of maintaining integrity in the midst of such deception and corruption is the Church. In the West, the Church (successfully) provided the foundations on which society was rebuilt after the collapse of the Roman Empire. While this may have resulted in a social focus and activitist perspective in the western Church, society could not have recovered without its integrity. I suspect the Orthodox Church will be essential in a similar way in repairing the widespread corrosion that afflicts society in the former communist states. My initial thoughts, anyway.

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  • Chrys

    Following Andrew’s lead, I would argue that the countries with the most stable social / civic morality are those that are or were rooted in English common law. This system of jurisprudence seems to have fostered both respect for the law, protection of property (and with it the virtues required to acquire and then maintain the value of property) and generally equal treatment (at least in principle) of rich and poor, privileged and disadvantaged. Social responsibility and respect for the law suffers when it seems tailored to serve a particular class or faction. Most communist countries as well as countries that suffered under foreign domination for years saw a system that was largely based on a tacit lie; in oppressive situations, the unwritten rules contradict and subvert the official rules. Since this hypocrisy can not be acknowledged without severe cost, the lie – widely recognized – lives just under the surface of society, slowly eroding trust in, respect for or obligation to social institutions. While every system knows corruption (and every system suffers from sin), the system that enshrines it reaps the degradation of our proper social bonds.
    The one institution that is capable of maintaining integrity in the midst of such deception and corruption is the Church. In the West, the Church (successfully) provided the foundations on which society was rebuilt after the collapse of the Roman Empire. While this may have resulted in a social focus and activitist perspective in the western Church, society could not have recovered without its integrity. I suspect the Orthodox Church will be essential in a similar way in repairing the widespread corrosion that afflicts society in the former communist states. My initial thoughts, anyway.

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  • Fr. David

    Pardon my clumsy fumble on the controversial concept. It is Max Weber that I am referring to, and his work on Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism–I believe it is the seminal work in this area, but many have built on it.

    I am told that general moral decadence is the fruit of general affluence… I have that from my Romanian Spiritual Father… so I take it that part of an Orthodox worldview includes the idea that generalized prosperity, or rather widespread affluence, is not morally healthy, and therefore Orthodox societies do not emulate the West and its Romans chapter 1 type of decadence.

    Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, somewhere in his writings, brings up the question about what it is/was in Orthodox societies that made them so susceptible to communism… and Islam…

    When I was new on the road to conversion to Orthodoxy, I was put on trial by my evangelical church friends, and at a closed hearing, a Romanian Baptist intellectual was brought in as the expert witness. He laid out, in broad strokes, all the evils of Orthodox culture, invoking Weber’s thesis as explanation for the backward condition of countries like Romania. And the corruption…

    Chrys, I hope the Orthodox Church will be a catalyst in the sense you express… but I’m not sure.

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  • Fr. David

    Pardon my clumsy fumble on the controversial concept. It is Max Weber that I am referring to, and his work on Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism–I believe it is the seminal work in this area, but many have built on it.

    I am told that general moral decadence is the fruit of general affluence… I have that from my Romanian Spiritual Father… so I take it that part of an Orthodox worldview includes the idea that generalized prosperity, or rather widespread affluence, is not morally healthy, and therefore Orthodox societies do not emulate the West and its Romans chapter 1 type of decadence.

    Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, somewhere in his writings, brings up the question about what it is/was in Orthodox societies that made them so susceptible to communism… and Islam…

    When I was new on the road to conversion to Orthodoxy, I was put on trial by my evangelical church friends, and at a closed hearing, a Romanian Baptist intellectual was brought in as the expert witness. He laid out, in broad strokes, all the evils of Orthodox culture, invoking Weber’s thesis as explanation for the backward condition of countries like Romania. And the corruption…

    Chrys, I hope the Orthodox Church will be a catalyst in the sense you express… but I’m not sure.

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  • http://nothinghypothetical.wordpress.com/ David

    I would say that Protestant countries do one thing better than Catholics and Orthodox, they harness the passions as civic virtue. Protestants spend all their energies attempting to mitigate the practical problems created by sin. Mitigate the risk, the cost and then find a way to profit on the sin of others.

    Make no mistake, the world is soaking in evil even in the finest palaces James Dobson can build. I suppose I say this because I walked away from all that. The very basis of Capitalism is to hitch the prosperity of the community to the wagon of the passions.

    I might put it this way, protestant countries are better at sinning.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Life after Death =-.

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  • http://nothinghypothetical.wordpress.com David

    I would say that Protestant countries do one thing better than Catholics and Orthodox, they harness the passions as civic virtue. Protestants spend all their energies attempting to mitigate the practical problems created by sin. Mitigate the risk, the cost and then find a way to profit on the sin of others.

    Make no mistake, the world is soaking in evil even in the finest palaces James Dobson can build. I suppose I say this because I walked away from all that. The very basis of Capitalism is to hitch the prosperity of the community to the wagon of the passions.

    I might put it this way, protestant countries are better at sinning.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Life after Death =-.

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  • Chrys

    Father David, I have been wrestling with the ideas noted in both of your posts. I am in no position to comment about Weber, though I know that there are important critiques out there. I will leave that to Father Gregory. I am stuck on the notion of Protestant cultures are good while Catholic and Orthodox cultures are bad. This seems difficult to support on close examination. Consider Germany, which has a significant Catholic population – about which the current Pope might know something. Or Austria – which is predominantly Catholic. It would be difficult to characterize either (certainly not the latter) as Protestant cultures. Likewise, it depends on where you draw the line; German cultures – indeed all European cultures – were Catholic at one point. Cultural forces and values don’t “change” that fast. Moreover, France – a historically Catholic country (though it would be difficult to justify today) – is more or less on par with Germany when it comes to current GDP or GDP per capita. (Actually Japan is far more productive as a country, though I wouldn’t want their economic situation and Hong Kong leaves them both in the dust on a per capita basis.) England was and is Protestant, but that requires considerable qualification. First, the English reformation was initially politically not popularly driven. The Anglicanism that developed has always prided itself on being something of a hybrid (or at least a super big tent). Moreover, despite Protestant propoganda to the contrary (and it was propaganda), Catholicism is largely responsible for most of western culture’s defining institutions, as well as many if not most of modern science’s origins. (It serves both the Protestant and secular agenda’s to deny it, but history overwhelmingly demonstrates the decisive and essential influence of Catholicism in the formation of many fields.) The MOST I can infer is that Catholicism – with it’s external focus – developed institutions and operations that define western culture. (Protestantism, in its reaction, merely gave them a retail expression, if you will.) If Orthodoxy has ceded such concerns to the state (the two-headed eagle), it does seem to have maintained an enduring focus on interior formation, which most western expressions of the Christian faith in their more outward-focus seem to have lost.
    One could look instead to how the colonial powers treated their possessions. In this regard, the Dutch were very influential; they saw colonies more as franchises. Yet, here too, it depends where and when you draw the line. French, British, Spanish and Portuguese fortunes all shifted over time. Portuguese influence may seem to have disappeared, but Brazil is actually an up and coming economic power. Of course, so is (clearly) Jewish Israel (one of the most technologically innovative countries per capita), and Catholic Poland. . . and Hindu India . . . and communist China.
    No, the best indicator I can find is English common law – which provided consistent and reliable protection of property rights making it possible to build wealth. A stable society depends upon the endorsement and support of most of a given society for its law. (I believe Cicero made the point that the deterioration and multiplication of laws was evidence of a decaying society. That or the fact that an increasing portion of Roman society”outsourced” key economic activity – and tax revenues – to that part of the empire most vulnerable to attack.)
    All of this is to say that I take the arguments about “Protestant culture” to be primarily an apologetic effort that collapses on closer examination.
    The issues involved in Greece’s social problems are entirely consistent with the political consequence of their progressive economic policies. To put it bluntly, we are seeing the same problems being driven largely by the same dynamics in California. This should be a concern, since California’s GDP dwarfs Greece’s, yet the effects in California MAY be mitigated by the fact that companies and customers can look to nearby states when needed. Greece doesn’t have that outlet or support. Yet both states are being driven over a financial cliff by the relentless demands of the various public sector unions. Unions, focused as they are – and they must be – on the preservation of their benefits, have a nasty history of bankrupting their host organizations – whether steel, automobiles, schools, etc. (In the case of our schools, it is difficult to measure “profit.” One can, however, measure cost and relative educational quality. Unfortunately costs have sky-rocketed while the quality of the educational product appears to have deteriorated substantially on a comparative basis.) Regardless of the field, unions have been unwilling to accommodate market forces and, as a result, whether steel, auto, teacher or Soviet, unions seem to gradually diminish the economic viability of their various endeavors. (Not that they have not served a vital role. Often they arise as a last-ditch response to inept or self-serving management – which also shares in the blame for each venture’s demise. Economic implosion is almost always a collaborative affair.)
    In short, a lot of what we are seeing in Greece may well be on display California in the not too distant future if corrective efforts are not taken soon. As such, we might want to be very careful about drawing broad conclusions about Greece’s failings since we may find those words apply no less to us.

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  • Chrys

    Father David, I have been wrestling with the ideas noted in both of your posts. I am in no position to comment about Weber, though I know that there are important critiques out there. I will leave that to Father Gregory. I am stuck on the notion of Protestant cultures are good while Catholic and Orthodox cultures are bad. This seems difficult to support on close examination. Consider Germany, which has a significant Catholic population – about which the current Pope might know something. Or Austria – which is predominantly Catholic. It would be difficult to characterize either (certainly not the latter) as Protestant cultures. Likewise, it depends on where you draw the line; German cultures – indeed all European cultures – were Catholic at one point. Cultural forces and values don’t “change” that fast. Moreover, France – a historically Catholic country (though it would be difficult to justify today) – is more or less on par with Germany when it comes to current GDP or GDP per capita. (Actually Japan is far more productive as a country, though I wouldn’t want their economic situation and Hong Kong leaves them both in the dust on a per capita basis.) England was and is Protestant, but that requires considerable qualification. First, the English reformation was initially politically not popularly driven. The Anglicanism that developed has always prided itself on being something of a hybrid (or at least a super big tent). Moreover, despite Protestant propoganda to the contrary (and it was propaganda), Catholicism is largely responsible for most of western culture’s defining institutions, as well as many if not most of modern science’s origins. (It serves both the Protestant and secular agenda’s to deny it, but history overwhelmingly demonstrates the decisive and essential influence of Catholicism in the formation of many fields.) The MOST I can infer is that Catholicism – with it’s external focus – developed institutions and operations that define western culture. (Protestantism, in its reaction, merely gave them a retail expression, if you will.) If Orthodoxy has ceded such concerns to the state (the two-headed eagle), it does seem to have maintained an enduring focus on interior formation, which most western expressions of the Christian faith in their more outward-focus seem to have lost.
    One could look instead to how the colonial powers treated their possessions. In this regard, the Dutch were very influential; they saw colonies more as franchises. Yet, here too, it depends where and when you draw the line. French, British, Spanish and Portuguese fortunes all shifted over time. Portuguese influence may seem to have disappeared, but Brazil is actually an up and coming economic power. Of course, so is (clearly) Jewish Israel (one of the most technologically innovative countries per capita), and Catholic Poland. . . and Hindu India . . . and communist China.
    No, the best indicator I can find is English common law – which provided consistent and reliable protection of property rights making it possible to build wealth. A stable society depends upon the endorsement and support of most of a given society for its law. (I believe Cicero made the point that the deterioration and multiplication of laws was evidence of a decaying society. That or the fact that an increasing portion of Roman society”outsourced” key economic activity – and tax revenues – to that part of the empire most vulnerable to attack.)
    All of this is to say that I take the arguments about “Protestant culture” to be primarily an apologetic effort that collapses on closer examination.
    The issues involved in Greece’s social problems are entirely consistent with the political consequence of their progressive economic policies. To put it bluntly, we are seeing the same problems being driven largely by the same dynamics in California. This should be a concern, since California’s GDP dwarfs Greece’s, yet the effects in California MAY be mitigated by the fact that companies and customers can look to nearby states when needed. Greece doesn’t have that outlet or support. Yet both states are being driven over a financial cliff by the relentless demands of the various public sector unions. Unions, focused as they are – and they must be – on the preservation of their benefits, have a nasty history of bankrupting their host organizations – whether steel, automobiles, schools, etc. (In the case of our schools, it is difficult to measure “profit.” One can, however, measure cost and relative educational quality. Unfortunately costs have sky-rocketed while the quality of the educational product appears to have deteriorated substantially on a comparative basis.) Regardless of the field, unions have been unwilling to accommodate market forces and, as a result, whether steel, auto, teacher or Soviet, unions seem to gradually diminish the economic viability of their various endeavors. (Not that they have not served a vital role. Often they arise as a last-ditch response to inept or self-serving management – which also shares in the blame for each venture’s demise. Economic implosion is almost always a collaborative affair.)
    In short, a lot of what we are seeing in Greece may well be on display California in the not too distant future if corrective efforts are not taken soon. As such, we might want to be very careful about drawing broad conclusions about Greece’s failings since we may find those words apply no less to us.

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  • Fr. David

    I’m not arguing in favor of Weber’s thesis. Rather, I’m simply stating that I’ve been attacked by it.

    I’m not intellectually prepared to prove or disprove any theory, but I have lived in an Orthodox country for about 9 years, and so my perspective can hardly be objective.

    When I was struggling with conversion to Orthodoxy because of what I saw in an Orthodox country, I received some very good advice, I think. I was told that to understand Orthodoxy one must read Dostoevsky. And I think, for me, that played an important part in being able to make some sense of things that shouldn’t be, but are.

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  • Fr. David

    I’m not arguing in favor of Weber’s thesis. Rather, I’m simply stating that I’ve been attacked by it.

    I’m not intellectually prepared to prove or disprove any theory, but I have lived in an Orthodox country for about 9 years, and so my perspective can hardly be objective.

    When I was struggling with conversion to Orthodoxy because of what I saw in an Orthodox country, I received some very good advice, I think. I was told that to understand Orthodoxy one must read Dostoevsky. And I think, for me, that played an important part in being able to make some sense of things that shouldn’t be, but are.

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  • Chrys

    Father, your experience is helpful and appreciated. So you know, my comments reflect my own initial efforts to wrestle (out loud, as it were) with that argument which I, too, have heard, though in a far less hostile forum. As I noted, I am not in a position to argue with Weber, per se, so much as the more popular expression of it. I am also very interested in your thoughts and those of others who have considerable and direct experiences of other cultures, since these can offer important insight. At this point, however, I am cautious about inferring much about Greek culture from the initial post since I can readily imagine that anyone in the midst of an overwhelming crisis could well express a similar complaint. In fact, with a few changes in the particulars, it could – as I noted – have been written by someone in California, or working with AIG, or working at Fannie Mae. Moments of economic collapse are always characterized by the recognition of pervasive and destructive passions that were celebrated (in some sense) before the bubble burst. Interestingly, I expect that one would have heard a remarkably similar critique of such excesses from the pulpits of the indigenous faiths whatever they might be. For this and the many reasons noted above, I must conclude that the arguments that would try to locate the source of current economic strife at the feet of a particular religious culture are not persuasive. But here, again, I am just “thinking out loud.”

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  • Chrys

    Father, your experience is helpful and appreciated. So you know, my comments reflect my own initial efforts to wrestle (out loud, as it were) with that argument which I, too, have heard, though in a far less hostile forum. As I noted, I am not in a position to argue with Weber, per se, so much as the more popular expression of it. I am also very interested in your thoughts and those of others who have considerable and direct experiences of other cultures, since these can offer important insight. At this point, however, I am cautious about inferring much about Greek culture from the initial post since I can readily imagine that anyone in the midst of an overwhelming crisis could well express a similar complaint. In fact, with a few changes in the particulars, it could – as I noted – have been written by someone in California, or working with AIG, or working at Fannie Mae. Moments of economic collapse are always characterized by the recognition of pervasive and destructive passions that were celebrated (in some sense) before the bubble burst. Interestingly, I expect that one would have heard a remarkably similar critique of such excesses from the pulpits of the indigenous faiths whatever they might be. For this and the many reasons noted above, I must conclude that the arguments that would try to locate the source of current economic strife at the feet of a particular religious culture are not persuasive. But here, again, I am just “thinking out loud.”

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  • http://www.edwardsingreece.blogspot.com/ Fr. Gregory Edwards

    An an American living in Greece, I found this article interesting and well-written. For an equally interesting article from a different perspective, click here: http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2010/02/greece_our_debt.html

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  • http://www.edwardsingreece.blogspot.com Fr. Gregory Edwards

    An an American living in Greece, I found this article interesting and well-written. For an equally interesting article from a different perspective, click here: http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2010/02/greece_our_debt.html

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  • Fr. David

    Indeed you are are right, Chrys. What Weber and westerners in general (think Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations) cannot understand and appreciate about Orthodox culture is that it embodies another paradigm of morality altogether (from Byzantium to Kosovo). The tendencies toward weakness and failure are there, but they play out differently, under different rules, in a different spirit. That is where Dostoevsky is helpful, I think.

    Another major ingredient in the paradigm differences is Eastern vs. Western mentalities or tendencies, apart from the specifics of the local religion.

    Anyway, I speak from a little bit of experience and not enough study. I know just enough to be dangerous.

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  • Fr. David

    Indeed you are are right, Chrys. What Weber and westerners in general (think Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations) cannot understand and appreciate about Orthodox culture is that it embodies another paradigm of morality altogether (from Byzantium to Kosovo). The tendencies toward weakness and failure are there, but they play out differently, under different rules, in a different spirit. That is where Dostoevsky is helpful, I think.

    Another major ingredient in the paradigm differences is Eastern vs. Western mentalities or tendencies, apart from the specifics of the local religion.

    Anyway, I speak from a little bit of experience and not enough study. I know just enough to be dangerous.

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  • Fr. David

    Brother James, I just saw your post, up the page there. I totally sympathize, and have felt the way you sound many times. In fact, it took me three years from my initial Orthodox “eureka” moment until I was Chrismated, because I had to be convinced that Orthodoxy was not just a beautiful story, but that it was really being lived by someone, somewhere. I tried very hard, one of those years, to act like an Orthodox in an evangelical setting. It really didn’t work, so I decided to start going to Orthodox services on a regular basis, to see if I could find Orthodoxy being lived out. This was in Romania, in a city which was the seat of an Archdiocese with 3 hierarchs, a theological institute, a cathedral, black-robed clergy and monastics everywhere, Orthodox organizations and events happening left and right.

    As I was waiting one Sunday morning at a bus stop, a young man going by on a bicycle saw me and invited me to service at an Orthodox hospital chapel, at the local oncology hospital. Thank God for that experience. In the chapel, on a regular basis, were patients in pajamas, their relatives who had come from other places to help take care of them, as well as university students and professionals who were drawn to the intensity and beauty of that “moment” in life where people were truly praying, not just being religious.

    What I saw in Orthodox piety, when I found it, was something that surpassed anything I had ever experienced in Protestantism. I should say that, while I have had a number of Protestant “addresses” on my spiritual and theological pilgrimage, I was raised in an intensely pietistic movement, an offshoot of Wesleyan Methodism, centered on a quest for “sanctification” or “Christian perfection”. So, for me, there is no such thing as truth without piety.

    At one point in the earlier, undecided days of my pilgrimage toward Orthodoxy, I had a brief conversation with Fr. Thomas Hopko. His succinct advice to me was: “Pursue Orthodoxy”. Those two words could serve well as a motto for life, a life-long goal: pursue Orthodoxy. We have to seek and find Orthodoxy, both externally and internally. Not everything that claims to be Orthodox is truly Orthodox, but we are all sinners and morally and spiritually deficient.

    Keep as quiet and humble as possible, work hard on not judging, and pursue the Living Springs of Orthodoxy, which offer much more than any other faith.

    God WILL bless and guide you!

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  • Fr. David

    Brother James, I just saw your post, up the page there. I totally sympathize, and have felt the way you sound many times. In fact, it took me three years from my initial Orthodox “eureka” moment until I was Chrismated, because I had to be convinced that Orthodoxy was not just a beautiful story, but that it was really being lived by someone, somewhere. I tried very hard, one of those years, to act like an Orthodox in an evangelical setting. It really didn’t work, so I decided to start going to Orthodox services on a regular basis, to see if I could find Orthodoxy being lived out. This was in Romania, in a city which was the seat of an Archdiocese with 3 hierarchs, a theological institute, a cathedral, black-robed clergy and monastics everywhere, Orthodox organizations and events happening left and right.

    As I was waiting one Sunday morning at a bus stop, a young man going by on a bicycle saw me and invited me to service at an Orthodox hospital chapel, at the local oncology hospital. Thank God for that experience. In the chapel, on a regular basis, were patients in pajamas, their relatives who had come from other places to help take care of them, as well as university students and professionals who were drawn to the intensity and beauty of that “moment” in life where people were truly praying, not just being religious.

    What I saw in Orthodox piety, when I found it, was something that surpassed anything I had ever experienced in Protestantism. I should say that, while I have had a number of Protestant “addresses” on my spiritual and theological pilgrimage, I was raised in an intensely pietistic movement, an offshoot of Wesleyan Methodism, centered on a quest for “sanctification” or “Christian perfection”. So, for me, there is no such thing as truth without piety.

    At one point in the earlier, undecided days of my pilgrimage toward Orthodoxy, I had a brief conversation with Fr. Thomas Hopko. His succinct advice to me was: “Pursue Orthodoxy”. Those two words could serve well as a motto for life, a life-long goal: pursue Orthodoxy. We have to seek and find Orthodoxy, both externally and internally. Not everything that claims to be Orthodox is truly Orthodox, but we are all sinners and morally and spiritually deficient.

    Keep as quiet and humble as possible, work hard on not judging, and pursue the Living Springs of Orthodoxy, which offer much more than any other faith.

    God WILL bless and guide you!

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  • Chrys

    Fr. David, thank you for that beautiful response to James. Anyone who has imbibed from the wells of Protestantism will appreciate what you have said. I have been more fortunate than most: I went to the local parish convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy itself and figured that I would be little more than a second-class citizen since I was not Greek. I was shocked – and blessed – to discover a healthy, vibrant, welcoming and mission-oriented parish. Even so, I find it is essential to spend as much time as I can with the Saints – and with those who seek to live the faith fully and with integrity.

    That said, you put it exactly right when you spoke about truly praying rather than being religious (or merely seeking self-fulfillment via “spirituality”). This is vital to remember when encountering different aspects of any local parish – some of which can indeed be quite disappointing. (This is not to judge any particular element or group since each can go wrong in its own unique ways – which is pretty much true of me, too.) The shared vocabulary of protestantism sometimes made it easier to know what to expect from each other. As a largely “voluntary association” rather than a community per se, many protestant groups had a fairly high degree of consistency in regard to shared norms and values. (To be fair, part of the formation process in such circles is learning about, sharing and expectng a variety of outward emblems and expressions of “commitment.” These specific emblems and expressions are not as evident in the Orthodox parish (nor are they taught or expected), just as many far more important expressions of faith ARE there, though I still don’t reflexively check them.
    My first response when I encounter that shocking disconnect with the primary mission of the Church to which James refers is to recognize the same sinful tendencies in myself. (Again, to be honest, those of us who were protestant knew where and how to express our disobedience to God – and where and how not to when in the church. That didn’t mean we were more committed – just that the norms of behavior were more narrowly defined.) The second response is to recall an Irish ditty which I have often found to be true (and which applies to me as well):
    “To live above with the saints you love, that’s the purest glory. To live below with the saints you know . . . that’s another story.”

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  • Chrys

    Fr. David, thank you for that beautiful response to James. Anyone who has imbibed from the wells of Protestantism will appreciate what you have said. I have been more fortunate than most: I went to the local parish convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy itself and figured that I would be little more than a second-class citizen since I was not Greek. I was shocked – and blessed – to discover a healthy, vibrant, welcoming and mission-oriented parish. Even so, I find it is essential to spend as much time as I can with the Saints – and with those who seek to live the faith fully and with integrity.

    That said, you put it exactly right when you spoke about truly praying rather than being religious (or merely seeking self-fulfillment via “spirituality”). This is vital to remember when encountering different aspects of any local parish – some of which can indeed be quite disappointing. (This is not to judge any particular element or group since each can go wrong in its own unique ways – which is pretty much true of me, too.) The shared vocabulary of protestantism sometimes made it easier to know what to expect from each other. As a largely “voluntary association” rather than a community per se, many protestant groups had a fairly high degree of consistency in regard to shared norms and values. (To be fair, part of the formation process in such circles is learning about, sharing and expectng a variety of outward emblems and expressions of “commitment.” These specific emblems and expressions are not as evident in the Orthodox parish (nor are they taught or expected), just as many far more important expressions of faith ARE there, though I still don’t reflexively check them.
    My first response when I encounter that shocking disconnect with the primary mission of the Church to which James refers is to recognize the same sinful tendencies in myself. (Again, to be honest, those of us who were protestant knew where and how to express our disobedience to God – and where and how not to when in the church. That didn’t mean we were more committed – just that the norms of behavior were more narrowly defined.) The second response is to recall an Irish ditty which I have often found to be true (and which applies to me as well):
    “To live above with the saints you love, that’s the purest glory. To live below with the saints you know . . . that’s another story.”

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  • Michael Bauman

    To speak out? To be silent? Both should be based in prayer, but there is also a temperment, even a functional vocational issue I think. However, questions can always be asked in humility and if one is prepared to accept the truth in reply. The Scriptural examples of Zachariah and the Theotokos point up the difference. Zachariah asked in challenging unbelief while Mary asked from faith for greater clarity. Both received answers.

    The main post points out to me the necessity for abandoning the Byzantine principal of synergia between the state and the Church. It was always a problem, it is a disaster in these times.

    As Met. Jonah has pointed out, for better or worse, the OCA is the only ‘jurisdiction’ free of such ties. Equally important is to move quickly and forcefully to interdict corruption and malfeasence at every level of the Church. But those are the obvious thoughts of one who is on the margins and prefers it that way.

    Corruption is not just the corruption of money, but the corruptions of the flesh and of sound doctrine and polity within the Church. This latter is now and will continue to be for some time a matter of fierce debate, but we have to arrive at a common understanding of what being Orthodox is and how to express the faith in our communities NOW, not the way it was in the old country or in the Byzantine time.

    Or am I just blowing hot air?

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  • Michael Bauman

    To speak out? To be silent? Both should be based in prayer, but there is also a temperment, even a functional vocational issue I think. However, questions can always be asked in humility and if one is prepared to accept the truth in reply. The Scriptural examples of Zachariah and the Theotokos point up the difference. Zachariah asked in challenging unbelief while Mary asked from faith for greater clarity. Both received answers.

    The main post points out to me the necessity for abandoning the Byzantine principal of synergia between the state and the Church. It was always a problem, it is a disaster in these times.

    As Met. Jonah has pointed out, for better or worse, the OCA is the only ‘jurisdiction’ free of such ties. Equally important is to move quickly and forcefully to interdict corruption and malfeasence at every level of the Church. But those are the obvious thoughts of one who is on the margins and prefers it that way.

    Corruption is not just the corruption of money, but the corruptions of the flesh and of sound doctrine and polity within the Church. This latter is now and will continue to be for some time a matter of fierce debate, but we have to arrive at a common understanding of what being Orthodox is and how to express the faith in our communities NOW, not the way it was in the old country or in the Byzantine time.

    Or am I just blowing hot air?

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  • http://molonlabe70.blogspot.com/ sophocles

    Father David,

    I too wanted to thank you for your beautiful response to James.

    And to all,

    A different take on Greece’s current woes:

    http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/west-initiated-dissolution-of-greece.html
    .-= sophocles´s last blog .."Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day =-.

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  • http://molonlabe70.blogspot.com/ sophocles

    Father David,

    I too wanted to thank you for your beautiful response to James.

    And to all,

    A different take on Greece’s current woes:

    http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/west-initiated-dissolution-of-greece.html
    .-= sophocles´s last blog .."Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day =-.

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  • James the Brother

    Father David and Chrys,

    Thank both of you for taking the time to offer sincere and insightful thoughts as a reponse to what has been troubling me. I didn’t intend to take the discussion to my isolated and specific place, but the topic just hit me frontally in real time and real severity.

    I have had two Great Lent experiences, one on the periphery and one in the fray. As I stop and think objectively, I have dealt witht the same temptations and spiritual malaise in both. Perhaps, acknowledging that is worth the price of admission.

    Again, your willingness to take the time and offer of yourselves is magnanimous and much appreciated.

    I’m done and will let you get back to the macro-issue presented originally.

    God bless both of you and may He have mercy on us all as we stride toward Holy Pascha.

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  • James the Brother

    Father David and Chrys,

    Thank both of you for taking the time to offer sincere and insightful thoughts as a reponse to what has been troubling me. I didn’t intend to take the discussion to my isolated and specific place, but the topic just hit me frontally in real time and real severity.

    I have had two Great Lent experiences, one on the periphery and one in the fray. As I stop and think objectively, I have dealt witht the same temptations and spiritual malaise in both. Perhaps, acknowledging that is worth the price of admission.

    Again, your willingness to take the time and offer of yourselves is magnanimous and much appreciated.

    I’m done and will let you get back to the macro-issue presented originally.

    God bless both of you and may He have mercy on us all as we stride toward Holy Pascha.

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  • Chrys

    James, thank you for your very kind words. You have learned lessons that it took me years to learn. As you aptly put it, that is definitely “worth the price of admission!”

    Michael, I think I agree with your point – particularly the importance of being free from state affiliations in order to be able to freely and fully proclaim the Gospel. I agree that we need common understanding of the key mission of the Church among the leadership in the Church – both clergy and laity. At the same time, I do not demand purity among all members; as (I believe) St. Irenaeos said: Christ uses many bait to draw men into His net. Thus I am not too concerned with why people attend Church. Their motives – conscious and otherwise – will be as varied and tainted by the fall as they are in me. Where we start from is of little concern; what matters is where we end. To move toward the right end, clarity and commitment ARE essential among the various levels of leadership, since it is they who guide us. While this direction must be clear and firm, it must also be gentle and patient, since we convey our mission in both our focus and our demeanor. As noted in a previous post on this blog (see St. Isaac): zeal often destroys that very love that is at the heart of our faith. (Not that this was an issue in your post, but it is always a temptation for those of us who have maximalist tendencies, who came from protestant groups bent on creating the perfect community of faith.) While considerable freedom must be given for the unique vocation of each member, we must also nonetheless speak up when our leadership neglect or set aside the ultimate mission and goal. Thanks for making an important point.

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  • Chrys

    James, thank you for your very kind words. You have learned lessons that it took me years to learn. As you aptly put it, that is definitely “worth the price of admission!”

    Michael, I think I agree with your point – particularly the importance of being free from state affiliations in order to be able to freely and fully proclaim the Gospel. I agree that we need common understanding of the key mission of the Church among the leadership in the Church – both clergy and laity. At the same time, I do not demand purity among all members; as (I believe) St. Irenaeos said: Christ uses many bait to draw men into His net. Thus I am not too concerned with why people attend Church. Their motives – conscious and otherwise – will be as varied and tainted by the fall as they are in me. Where we start from is of little concern; what matters is where we end. To move toward the right end, clarity and commitment ARE essential among the various levels of leadership, since it is they who guide us. While this direction must be clear and firm, it must also be gentle and patient, since we convey our mission in both our focus and our demeanor. As noted in a previous post on this blog (see St. Isaac): zeal often destroys that very love that is at the heart of our faith. (Not that this was an issue in your post, but it is always a temptation for those of us who have maximalist tendencies, who came from protestant groups bent on creating the perfect community of faith.) While considerable freedom must be given for the unique vocation of each member, we must also nonetheless speak up when our leadership neglect or set aside the ultimate mission and goal. Thanks for making an important point.

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  • Chrys

    Sophocles: an interesting link. I do not know what to make of it, but I know that it is nearly impossible to diagnose the key causes of a crisis when you are in the midst of that crisis. Even now, we are only really beginning to get a sense of both what elements were involved in the housing and credit crises here, as well as the magnitude of those elements. My comments above not withstanding, I doubt anyone can fully unwind each of the elements of a perfect storm in the middle of that storm. I am sure that there may indeed be many elements of unhelpful external pressure imposed on Greece by others for self-serving reasons. At the same time, every bubble requires the willing collaboration of the “victim.” Ruthlessly honest self-scrutiny is as vital in an economic restoration as it is in the restoration of the addict or the sinner. In all these cases (economic bubble, addict, or sinner), external enticements can not harm me without my assent (James 1:13-14); moreover, it is always more productive to focus on what we can control than what we can not. In this case, blaming Germans, the EU or others with hostile agendas may be satisfying (or at least alleviating), but ultimately unhelpful. However true such blame may be, I can think of no problem – whether economic, addiction, corruption or sin – that even begins to be resolved until we begin to “own” our own failure.

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  • Chrys

    Sophocles: an interesting link. I do not know what to make of it, but I know that it is nearly impossible to diagnose the key causes of a crisis when you are in the midst of that crisis. Even now, we are only really beginning to get a sense of both what elements were involved in the housing and credit crises here, as well as the magnitude of those elements. My comments above not withstanding, I doubt anyone can fully unwind each of the elements of a perfect storm in the middle of that storm. I am sure that there may indeed be many elements of unhelpful external pressure imposed on Greece by others for self-serving reasons. At the same time, every bubble requires the willing collaboration of the “victim.” Ruthlessly honest self-scrutiny is as vital in an economic restoration as it is in the restoration of the addict or the sinner. In all these cases (economic bubble, addict, or sinner), external enticements can not harm me without my assent (James 1:13-14); moreover, it is always more productive to focus on what we can control than what we can not. In this case, blaming Germans, the EU or others with hostile agendas may be satisfying (or at least alleviating), but ultimately unhelpful. However true such blame may be, I can think of no problem – whether economic, addiction, corruption or sin – that even begins to be resolved until we begin to “own” our own failure.

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  • http://molonlabe70.blogspot.com/ sophocles

    Chrys,

    I am in agreement with you. I guess here differences in eschatological understandings of the meaning of history begin to play themselves out as to why someone may think such a perspective such as I have provided a worthy one to consider outside of hard empirical data of the sort that is easily verifiable. In other words, what power is involved at the global level and of what nature is that power and who gets to wield it and why? Does the Orthodox Faith answer such questions and if so, how? Of what is the order of the Fallen creation?

    Sorry, it’s late and to really unpack my statement will require too much work right now. I posted the link in the hopes that (un)conventional thinking be done in relation not only to the troubles of Greece, but by extension elsewhere as well.
    .-= sophocles´s last blog .."Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day =-.

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  • http://molonlabe70.blogspot.com/ sophocles

    Chrys,

    I am in agreement with you. I guess here differences in eschatological understandings of the meaning of history begin to play themselves out as to why someone may think such a perspective such as I have provided a worthy one to consider outside of hard empirical data of the sort that is easily verifiable. In other words, what power is involved at the global level and of what nature is that power and who gets to wield it and why? Does the Orthodox Faith answer such questions and if so, how? Of what is the order of the Fallen creation?

    Sorry, it’s late and to really unpack my statement will require too much work right now. I posted the link in the hopes that (un)conventional thinking be done in relation not only to the troubles of Greece, but by extension elsewhere as well.
    .-= sophocles´s last blog .."Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day =-.

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