Sunday, 11 November 2012

Future Monk? 2

We received an email comment on Future Monk? 1 from someone, let us call him James Cheetah. We have edited Mr Cheetah’s email for spelling, grammar and style.

Dear Orthodox Monk,

I was actually about to send you an email concerning some of your previous posts, however when I saw the latest post, and especially since you ask for ‘reader comments’, I thought I would send in a ‘reader comment’; perhaps I shall soon ask my previous questions in another email.

On my first reading I raised an eyebrow when ‘Simon’ signed himself of as “Future Monk”. I must confess I had assumed he was a Protestant up until that stage. On seeing your reply I was somewhat taken aback, and on his response was shocked. Perhaps culturally I am used to a somewhat less direct manner of expression.

I suppose I expected you to reply to his primary question about the various tonsures. I don't know anything particularly on the subject beyond some of your previous posts, but I do recall you questioning the advisability of a rasophore monk leaving the monastery and getting married. Obviously this was what Simon expected.

It is (if I may engage in the process of judging and hypocrisy) clear that Simon has some work to do before entering a monastery especially given his second email. If I may take the liberty of speculation it seems likely to me that he is a convert and that he has been attracted to Orthodoxy through the more academic, somewhat more liberal and critical, type of Orthodoxy, and that he is now encountering the relative conservatism that characterizes much of the Orthodox laity (he complains about this in his second email). Some of his definitions later on in his first email suggest this: e.g. “Orthodoxy is not a system; it is a teaching.” The ‘academic’ type does, at times, seem to betray this somewhat Protestant attitude towards Orthodox theology of actually looking for errors, and then trying to correct them. Simon’s first email certainly shows this attitude. I also (perhaps I am too ignorant) struggle to see the actual ‘problem’ that Simon has ‘spotted’, beyond the rasophore issue that you have blogged about before.

As for the second email, I think it speaks for itself. Perhaps he does not understand that it was the attitude not the content per se of the first email, which was your cause for concern (I assume [correct – Orthodox Monk])? The second email shows this very clearly. Perhaps he was somewhat stung that you did not reply to his actual question. I would certainly say that your recommendation that Simon might wish to show this correspondence to his spiritual father is a good idea, especially given his second email.

Wishing you and Simon the best,

In Christ,

James, hypocrite

P.S. Obviously I give you permission to discuss, edit etc. my email in your blog if you wish but could you also please keep me anonymous. Thank you.

Just a bit of clarification from Orthodox Monk. We actually didn’t want to discuss Mr Jaguar’s email on the blog. We thought that the attitude manifested in his first email was quite unmonastic and simply replied by email that we didn’t want to deal with the matter, etc. Our full reply is given in the last post. Moreover, we don’t know what it means to ‘have an attitude’. What we meant is that Mr Jaguar’s attitude (everyone has some attitude) was unmonastic. However, when Mr Jaguar insisted on replying to us we thought that the only thing to do was to discuss his email on the blog, despite our preference to leave the matter alone.

Mr Cheetah has raised some important issues which we will discuss in due course. (There’s a whole cat family for other commenters.)

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