Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Rod Dreher, Find Yourself Another Church to Be Part Of"

With that nod to Phil Ochs, I commented on Daniel "Caelum Et Terra" Nichol's posting of an Orthodox Church in America "story [that] is pretty fascinating, not least for the role played by Rod Dreher, the 'crunchy con man' who as you may recall, left the Catholic Church for Orthodoxy a mere five years ago in disgust over the [media manufactured Catholic ephebophile priest] scandals" — Still Catholic.

The Other McCain, furthermore, not long ago reported "that former National Review/Dallas Morning Journal writer Rod Dreher has jeopardized his career with pseudonymous posts at a religious blog" — Ruh-Roh, Rod: Dreher’s Pseudonymous Postings Could Cause Him Big Trouble. Perhaps this explains why Big Questions Online, the John Templeton Foundation project Mr. Dreher was supposed to command, has done next to nothing since he took helm.

I won't pretend to understand (or have any interest in) this intra-Orthodox brouhaha, but I am interested to learn that Mr. Dreher is, as Mr. Nichols reports, "in cahoots with the wonderfully named Fr Fester, who is conspiring with a bishop deposed for, among other things, knowingly ordaining a convicted child molester" and that "Dreher -and/or pals– (anonymously) 'outed' an alleged homosexual in the other camp of the controversy."

This is the same convert from Evangelicalism who pretended to be a Catholic critic of his Church's hierarchy long after he had formally opted for schism. In another Church, Mr. Nichols says, "the tensions between the ethnics and converts (mostly zealous and contentious former evangelicals) have reached the boiling point." Mr. Dreher seems intent on adding fuel to such fires. (Of course, I naturally side with the ethnics; Orthodoxy is a Church, not an ecclesial community.) There is a pattern here: a crypto-schismatic posing as a loyal Catholic later raises Cain anonymously in his new Church, after having been providentially given the grace by his employer to avoid such needless controversies.

I wish Mr. Dreher's new Church God's grace, which I wish upon him as well. (If I found myself at the center of such a public scandal of my own making, I would be at a loss.) He was unable to do any real harm to Catholic Church in America, due to her size, but I could see him sowing some real trouble amongst our Orthodox friends, due to their much smaller numbers in America.

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Blogger elena maria vidal said...

Not surprised. Bound to happen when people go in search of perfection on earth. Sad.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Indeed. I had posted on this awhile back on my own blog, but deleted the post because I didn't want to reference the trainwreck that Dreher has gotten himself into. What a mess.

For myself, I never really understood why Dreher left the Catholic Church. His reasonings always seemed weak to me. Like he wanted to convert because of the narrative arc that the conversion would provide. But who knows? What seems to have happened is that he has gotten himself into deep trouble with his employer, while trying to influence the outcome of a dispute within his new ecclesiastical home. Tragic.

8:54 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I converted in 2002, the year of the moral panic over the media-manufactured scandal, which never crossed my mind during the conversion process. Those want "perfection on earth" should join a cult, not a religion.

Mark, I looked for the info on your blog, as had remembered reading it there. The story is tragic indeed, but he brought it on himself.

10:14 AM  
OpenID jmartin456 said...

Who knows why anyone does anything.

It is dangerous to speculate. Even more dangerous to condemn.

Dreher's move from RC to Orthodox was not so much about him as about other in his family who were at the breaking point.

I have always felt badly that he has been so public about this and thus put himself in a difficult position over a situation that was really not his issue. If it were not for those other considerations he would still be RC. I have no doubt.

I would say "lay off" because of that - but he has continued to be public and gotten himself into horrendous situations so of course he has brought it upon himself.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

I have a thousand more times respect for Dreher, who tries something, and then, when he finds things like chronic rapists who have made a business out of telling people they were chosen by God, decides to move on, than for those people that Plato described as having the "soul of a slave" who seek an owner to whose tune they wish to dance.

The truth, someone said, will set us free.

Sooner or later he may find people to his liking, warts and all, and in the meantime he's tipping a lot of phonies' apple-carts, a useful public service.

Incidentally, being in trouble with a church's higher-ranking clerics in no way excludes a person from that church; many of the more productive Catholic saints had their problems with clerical careerists.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

I never really understood why Dreher left the Catholic Church. His reasonings always seemed weak to me.

Dreher had "reasonings"?

1:54 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Having read him in his new home at The American Conservative, I'm afraid it's pretty obvious now poor Dreher is deliberately operating as a self-deprecating self-parody of his former selves, as if to make a go of it now and feed his family he has no choice but to deliberately become that fictional bumptious clown Ignatius Reilly he has so often compared himself to.

The problem with this sad decline is that now religion, all religion, any religion, seems to have become for him just one more cyclical, rapid fire talk show segment, tidbits slotted in willy-nilly by some ADHD'd producer between equivalently diced tidbits on every other ephemeral topic of the moment, the only criteria common to them all being how provocatively his treatment will push a passing reader's buttons.

Catholicism was a very good wine, but Orthodoxy seems to have proved to be an even more exotic and sublime one, and that is what we are seeing now, I'm afraid, a chatty bon vivant of religion, homosexuality, odd news items, and every other sort of confetti that might fall from the sky.

10:58 AM  

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