Well, yes, I agree that one should not follow a Priest if they feel he is going against what the general teachings of the Church are. But we are not talking about THE FAITH here. We are talking about a Praxis which has evolved and been open to interpretation.
And as I have posted in the past, I HAVE spoken to other GOA Priests in this area and found them to basically be on the "same page" as what my Priest is advising.
I agree with you that matters such as fasting have been applied differently in different times to different people and their different situations. However, this does not make a rule. For instance, in my Church, there was a time when certain people in certain areas were allowed to eat sardines during fasts because it was cheaper than buying vegetables. That didn't change the fast for people who weren't affected by those specific circumstances, and the rule for our Church has always been the same: vegan, one meal after sunset/Vespers, to be altered by legitimate ecclesiastical authority as needed.
You are saying one of your priests told you that you are only required to fast strictly for the last twelve days of the fast, and the full forty days is only for monks, if I'm not mistaken. While that may be a legitimate exercise of economy for a certain group of people, it is not the rule, but an exception to the rule. If that's all you're saying, that's fine. But it seems, at least to some, that you are saying this is the official position of the GOA, and such an assertion requires, I think, more evidence: as far as I can tell, and what others here who are members of the GOA are saying is that the official position of GOA on fasting regulations is the Church's position. Economy is a different thing.
Personally, I wonder what is to be gained from taking apart Orthodoxy and compartmentalising it, which is what it seems you are doing/advocating when you say something like I agree that one should not follow a Priest if they feel he is going against what the general teachings of the Church are
. In a certain sense, I suppose I can see some value in that, but Orthodoxy is a package deal: the faith, the rites, the feasts and fasts, the spiritual life, etc., etc. I think it is safe to say there is a hierarchical ordering of those things, but that's not to say that you can take the essentials and pick and choose "non-essentials" as you see fit. It is all part of one system, and it should be viewed as such.