Continued from another thread:
My nervousness aside, the kind of liberalism that one sees displayed in Orthodox circles usually pails in comparison to that seen outside. Still, I do agree that although New Skete has made some interesting strides in liturgical scholarship that some weird things have happened there.
I still think it's funny that some people refer to a "modernist" trend in Orthodoxy, when really, there is nothing in Orthodoxy that closely resembles a modernist trend in the Roman Catholic sense of the word.
I think one of the main reasons why more liberal movements aren't as widespread in Orthodoxy is the history of the societies in which various Churches found themselves. Because of how the industrialization of France occurred, the emergence of a leftist clerical movement (aka worker priests) was bound to happen. The political situation in Latin America had the same impact on the development of liberation theology. In US Catholicism the dominant role of working class immigrants meant that things like social justice would become a high priority. In short, what a society values so does its church value. Russia as the most developed Orthodox land at the turn of the 20th century was still an agrarian economy with minimal industrialization. Still, liberal movements did exist in figures such as Fr. Gapon
. Had the Russian Church not been forced into a time capsule in 1917, these movements really could have evolved into something larger (as it was the planned All-Russian Sobor' had things like switching to Russian as a liturgical language on the agenda).
I don't see this as bad liberalism. The society in which the Gospel first flourished was radically different that today's society. I don't see why it is wrong at least to discuss whether issues that exist today that didn't then (workers' rights, social justice etc.) also have some relevance to Christianity. As for the Paris School, I had in mind the broader Russian community in Paris. Especially Mother Maria Skobtsova. The living legacy of which is in some sense The Orthodox Peace Fellowship
. So the philosophical and theological underpinnings for liberalism do indeed exist in respected Orthodox circles.
Even in more pragmatic issues, a liberalizing tendency can be found. Simply look at how things changed from one edition of Ware's The Orthodox Church
to the next (especially ecumenism and birth control). Hence, it is both naive and unhealthfully smug to insist the Orthodoxy is somehow removed from the social and political climate of the societies in which it finds itself.
I also think that there are plenty of cases of "bad" liberalism that either banal or just plain goofy. To me it seems that the New Skete crowd falls in this category. There was also a GOA priest who tried to get an Orthodox Charismatic group going. IIRC, he was never condemned officially by the GOA. While the trickle of converts is slowly the process for the time being, I won't be too surprised when the more shocking Novus Ordo style liturgical aberrations start showing up.