(Dateline OC.net Palace) During the course of a routine OC.net Pentarchy (Admins & Global Mods) game of Yahtzee!(TM), the union representative for the local Fruit Vendors 788 (sitting in the vacant 3rd Admin seat) accidentally hit Fr. Chris in the head with a roll of the dice. Before losing consciousness in what his doctors have called a "freakicus accidenticus of the brain," he casually mentioned that he hadn't announced the winner of the February 2010 Post-of-the-Month contest yet, but the ceremonial scroll was prepared. Rising from their seats, the Global Moderators proceeded to locate the scroll in Fr. Chris' wing of the Palace/Brewpub/Bowling Alley, while Fr. Anastasios tended to his fallen comrade.
As they were proceeding to the balcony to make the formal announcement, the Global Moderators convinced the union representative to cancel any rotten fruit demonstrations this month by reminding him of his potential liability for criminal prosecution and civil action for his nearly-deadly dice wielding. Confident that their safety, and wardrobe, was secure, they then went out of the balcony doors to the sound of the whimpering crowd - tired of waiting in the awful 60 degree Southern weather. They then proceeded to announce:
We are pleased to announce the winner of the February 2010 Post of the Month contest, who had 3 wonderful posts nominated: Fr. Giryus!
Not every Christian is called to marriage nor is every Christian called to monasticism. Monastics have no business telling people any differently and/or convincing them otherwise. People have free will not to accept marriage or to accept monasticism and I surely don't need a marketing pitch from a monastic whether it comes to marriage, monasticism or buying stock in Toyota.
Maybe I'm mistaken, but if monastics are equal to lay people and you ban monastics from giving advice or voicing their opinions, does it necessarily follow that lay people should also refrain from giving advice or voicing their opinions?
If you censor one and not the other, than you are acknowledging that they are not equal, that monastics are more powerful in some way. To some, this may be their impression. However, the problem is with the perceiver rather than the perceived. If you punish the monastic just because someone does not properly understand his role in the Church, where is the justice in that?
The responsibility lies with the laity to not overly-glamorize monasticism. It is the job of the advice-seeker to find the right person to get advice from and not treat all monks like 'spiritual vending machines.' The real problem is that those getting advice from monks don't see the monks as people.
The issue here is the education of the laity, which is poorly handled in many ways. Censoring monks or banning pilgrims does not take care of the real problem, becuase it does not cure the false perception and, in fact, cements it (i.e. "Monks are very powerful, so don't talk to them.")
Blaming the monks as a group is part of the 'victim mentality' that has taken hold of our culture. It creates a dichotomy of victim and perpetrator, absolving the former of his responsibility. This is evil. We must all bear our true responsibility for exercising free-will and weighing advice before taking it. Like in the medical profession, if I forgo a second opinion and follow a doctor's advice without checking it out, I bear part of the responsibility for the outcome.
As a priest, I know that people can over-value or under-value my advice based on their misguided notions of the priesthood. However, I do not refrain from doing what I think is right just because someone might misconstrue my advice as coming directlt from God. I do warn people about this juvenile idealism, but I don't stop everything I am doing because someone might act in a foolish manner. Neither should monks.
It would be helpful if monks offered disclaimers, and I know those who do. However, most laypeople offer no disclaimers to their opinions (until after they are called on them). So, I think that monks should have the same freedom if they are considered full equals to the laity.
For the record, I think it is darn foolish to be asking a monk about buying stock, but who is the bigger fool: the fool or the fool who follows him?
I'm sorry if some people find this offensive, but I think it very funny that here, in a place where advice is routinely offered blindly and received much the same, that we should talk about telling some people not to give advice while we ourselves feel free to offer all manner of advice to those we don't know.
And as the crowds chanted AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!
, the Global Moderators returned to Fr. Chris' side, waiting until the Police Car, National Guard truck, and Stretch Limousine Ambulance took him to the Hospital wing of the Palace/Brewpub/Bowling Alley, located 100 yards away.