I've participated in a group blog for the past 3 years or so. When we first started blogging, we wanted to expose the false teaching of people we considered to be "patriocentrists"- people who believed that everything involved in family life should center around the father of the home. Children, especially daughters, could not have any interests of their own; they must make their father's interests their interests. Wives should center their daily agendas around the father's goals and needs and not the needs of the household. Daughters shouldn't go to college because they were needed at home to continue to assist their father in his agenda for them and for their home. For sons, college seems to be an okay option, but preferably he will join his father in the family entrepreneurial enterprise so that he will never have to assist another man outside the family in dominion-taking.
Patriocentrism isn't your average evangelical complementarianism. Its far, far to the right of that with an agenda that is ultimately legalistic, ungodly and dangerous. Our blog was our attempt to engage in the discussion and expose this false teaching and to figure out where we stood theologically.
Eventually, we got it all out of our system and stopped writing. I don't think where was a regular post on the blog for over a year until I opened it back up in July.
I started a series of posts highlighting the role that women Saints have played in the life of the Orthodox Church from the beginning. These women are routinely dismissed as non-normative or even rebellious jezebels because they did not marry, bear children, and keep sweet. Women as deaconesses or "equal-to-the-apostles?" May it never be! I understand that these saints ARE non-normative and that's why they are Saints. But the Church gives them to us as role-models and people we are to strive to emulate and become like, however that may work out in our own lives.
In order to do this, I had to confess my conversion to Orthodox Christianity. Not a big deal. I'm not ashamed of it, obviously. I actually received emails from people telling me they were interested in knowing more about the Church. Yay! I'm trying to help those people as best I can. Some people were very gracious in telling me that while they disagreed with the direction I took, they still respect the Church and consider me a sister in Christ.
But one person, who has loooooong hated us for reasons unknown, has got her panties in a wad over this whole thing. She actually started a whole blog where she can argue with herself about us. She regularly posts flat out factual LIES about us (i.e. my confessing Christian co-blogger is actually a secret Buddhist) ,as well as her conspiracy theories about how I've been Orthodox all along but I was trying to hide it. This is a person who refuses to accept the distinction between icons and statues. She is willfully ignorant about Orthodox Christianity- in this, I mean that she THINKS she knows what the Church teaches about a whole hosts of subjects and will not accept correction when documented evidence is provided to her which proves that she is incorrect.
Now, this woman is notorious in the whole blogosphere "patriarchy/patriocentricity" debate as being unstable and unteachable. She claims she was vilified on the blog a few years ago, but my co-bloggers and I can't find evidence of what she is talking about. This is where her grudge comes from. I wish I could help her in that or understand why she hates us so much.
(As an aside, I realize that I am getting a small taste of my own medicine here. We weren't always that kind on the blog either. I understand that and now I empathize with those people that we judged wrongly. It can be quite annoying, if not painful, to see your words twisted to mean something completely different than what you intended. And it never feels good to be unfairly judged. May God forgive me for those times I was guilty of that.)
This experience with her has been a particular refining tool for me because I sooooooo want to argue with her. I can't stand being lied about. I can't stand the blatant and intentional misrepresentation of the Church. But as I said in one of my posts- the Church has been around for 2,000 years and I don't need to defend it to someone who isn't going to hear me anyway. The information is out there and if people are foolish enough to take her word for it and not seek out the information for themselves, well, there isn't much I can do about that.
I believe God has called me to silence where this person is concerned. I want to love her. I want to be concerned for her welfare. At this point, I don't and am not. May God help me in this. Right now, I just want her to go away. Instead of torturing myself with clandestine visits to her blog, I banned myself. I even made it so that I can't physically see her blog even if I wanted to. And I feel tremendous peace about that.
I can relate to her in this: there was a time when I believed that I needed to proclaim "truth" at any cost. Even after being shown that I was wrong, I refused to accept it and I persisted in my error. Because TRUTH was more important than people or relationships or anything and it didn't matter who I steamrolled as long as the truth was out there.
Truth is important. I"m not saying we shouldn't proclaim truth at the risk of offending people. But deliberately offending people with what you think is the truth isn't the way to go about it. Hope that makes sense.
So, Lord, today in liturgy, let me pray along with my brothers and sisters for the who love me and those who hate me. And let me really mean it.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!