Ochlophobic Questions

Owen White has opened the next chapter in his fascinating, engaging, and provocative web-logging career with a series of form Q&As with a number of other bloggers, writers, intellectuals, etc. who have influenced him over the years. You can find out more about the series here. Some of the people “profiled” so far include Pater Edmund Waldstein (Sancrucensis), Adam DeVille (professor and author of Eastern Catholic Books Blog), and John Medaille (a leading Distributist thinker). For reasons unbeknownst to me, I was asked to contribute to the project as well, though given all of the balls Owen has in the air at any given moment, it may be a bit before my answers show up on his blog.

As some of you already know, Owen and I first crossed paths (swords) many moons ago over his rightly infamous ├╝berfromm posts — the first comprehensive takedown of (American) Orthodoxy’s dominant pathologies that I had ever encountered. In fact, I can’t say that I have ever encountered a better one since. Whether people want to admit it or not, those posts, along with many subsequent reflections on being Orthodox in America and its attendant politics, changed the way many Orthodox bloggers approached their confessional haunt. Sure, there are far more pseudo-pious Orthodox blogs out there than not, but the fact there is even a contingent which are willing to take a hard look at the glories and miseries of the Eastern Church in the West is because of Owen White.

I can’t say that I agreed with him much at the time, though Owen’s observations have a way of rattling around in the heart and mind. Finally the noise gets irritating enough that you have to open yourself up to remove it and that is when you have to take a fresh look at what was driving you mad. I am sure if one drew up a list of every topic Owen and I have a shared interest in, no matter how remote, we’d wind up on opposite sides more often than not — and that’s a good thing. Even though we have never met in person, I have no qualms about calling him my friend; and should we find ourselves once again bloodying our knuckles over some matter political, theological, or ecclesial, we’ll both come out the better for it.