The real question is not "perish the thought Orthodox Priests are confused with heretical ministers" but "why on earth have 'Orthodox' priests for so long been ashamed of looking like what they say they are?!" It was a false interest in accomodation and a false desire to assimilate, which motivated innovations in clerical garb in recent times.
The question is, Accomodate whom? They don't need to acommodate you
; you're already so teeth-grittedly Orthodox that you need no accommodation. The accomodation is for the non-Orthodox (if indeed it is an accomodation to them-- it could just as well be an accomodation to the clerics).
The flip side of the desire to assimilate is you desire that they not assimilate. And in this case it means making sure that nobody ever mistakes an Eastern cleric for a Western one, because you already want to deny that there are
any Western clerics.
And why should anyone be complacent about the recent innovation of pews (they've been around for century in various break away western "communions", but are very recent in an Orthodox context of any sort), when they impact Orthopraxis, by transforming laymen into spectators, and interupt the very gestures of piety which are a part of their active participation in the Divine Liturgy (which is not simply the work of the celebrating clergy, but of the Church as a whole, laymen included)?
Because that's a rationalization! Mr. Reeves, I've been in a lot of different Orthodox churches in the area, and frankly the degree of participation is low compared to the average Episcopal church. Also, almost all of them have pews, except for St. Nicks OCA, St. John's ROCOR, and Holy Cross Antiochian in Linthicum. The last, of course, is a convert parish. Even the Malankara parish near me has pews.
Being a traditionalist means observing all the tradition-- especially the tradition we get directly from Jesus. It seems to me that if you have to keep appealing to later tradition to blunt the Words of Jesus or of the apostles, that you're doing something wrong.
It is your personal "wisdom" which continually attempts to create a contradiction between these supposedly superficial "later traditions" and the "tradition we get directly from Jesus."
And if it is you
personal wisdom which blythely ignores the contradictions between what you teach and what Jesus taught, where does that leave us?
Well, it leaves us right back where we were before. Each of us is also
a participant in tradition, by resolving the various strands and statements into something we think we can follow. You're claiming that tradition teaches what you teach; but that is itself an interpretation.
It doesn't help to claim inspiration, because it is, after all, a claim. Why shouldn't I prefer a (presumably inspired) Thomas Hopko? You are just one in a mess of competing interpreters, and it is only reasonable that I test what you claim is the spirit of Jesus (which I can't see) against the words of Jesus, which anyone can see. You invite me to put your personal claims of inspiration to the test, and thus far they seem to me to fail miserably.
You are not the Church. You are just one interpreter trying to stand, illegitimately, on the authority of others.
What you continually ignore, is that the sharp differentiation you make between Christ and His Church, is one of your own design.
Mr. Reeves, you are now arguing with a fantasy version of me.
My point is that, if there is no such sharp distinction, then the words of Jesus should flow easily down to the doctrines you espouse. Instead, what I'm finding (my analysis of course) is that your version of tradition doesn't make it all the way back to Jesus. It has faith in the canons, but it doesn't let the words of Jesus illuminate these canons. And thus it creates a Christianity in which some of what Jesus says is suppressed in favor of a legalistic and excessively self-assured faith in institutions.
(putting on my armored Canterbury cap)
The implication of the claims that you are making is that the True Church (tm) can be tested against the Gospels, and will not fail that test. What does not pass that test is not the True Church (tm). What you are claiming is that it can't
be put to that that test because tehre is nobody to so test it. That is just theological solipsism; everyone's own
church thus passes. Or as Ebor likes to put it, there is no heresy in the 1st person.
Anglicanism holds tradition to a higher standard than Orthodoxy, and if Orthodoxy is really true, than it should be able to withstand Anglicanism's test. What you teach does not meet that test. Radical traditionalists such as yourself always seem to stumble over the fundamental epistemological difference between the Church's anamnesis of Jesus and the church's explanation of Jesus. It is these explanations that are causing the trouble. If the explanations are good, then they don't need the kind of arguments you keep trying to use to defend them. Likewise, you shouldn't have to keep arguing to turn off reason in this.
To make the canons the utter arbiters of what Jesus means is to make the canons the end point of this path.
Translation - they get in the way of me doing my own thing.
If the best you can come up with is speculations about my motivations here-- lame speculations, at that-- then you don't have a counterargument.
If one must interpret the scriptures in light of the canons, it is far more important to interpret the canons in light of the scriptures.
It's not either or - they're all part of the same Holy Tradition.
If they are part of the same tradation, then they should form a whole. But that's not what I see. Instead, I see your tradition trailing off into the early church and making no connection to scripture.
In the same manner, the nitty-gritty of ecumenism in this wise is really about the superiority of ROAC. There is no humility in it whatsoever.
Yes, yes - and none of this changes the fact that in the Canons and doctrine of the Fathers (which inform our own reading of the Holy Scriptures, so that we do not assert a feigned, "new wisdom", which is really just the sin of being self-willed), and the Divine Scriptures themselves, teach us that there is only one Lord, faith, and baptism - hence the lack of humility lies with those who think they know better (while posing as being Orthodox) and pretend these ecclessial truths are falsehood.
posing as being Orthodox, so what does this say about you? You are trying to use the same tests that I'm using, but denying that they can be used on you. You are trying to review tradition as a whole, and say "this part is not consistent, so out it goes." But when I look to a different part and suggest that your own analysis suffers from the same contradictions, you balk. Your mode of interpretation is entirely egocentric, even as it pretends otherwise. How many "infallible" churches have you been a member of? How many of them have you judged and cast aside?