Monday, January 31, 2005

Eastern churches
The online homeless
A while back Fr Alvin Kimel, the Perennial Rambler and I talked about the phenom of Catholics and others who end up ‘theologically homeless’ when their home churches go bad and they don’t quite belong anywhere else.

As diverse as the Web is, this happens on its message boards as well.

Existing boards change/go off and attempts to build new ‘homes’ are stillborn.

Anglo-Catholics are almost in this position as they are in the Anglican Communion — just a couple of barely flickering lamps out there and a couple of dead boards.

Anyway, in only about five years I’ve seen the same thing happen to people like some of us of this blog: people who aren’t theologically liberal and love the Eastern Orthodox services and spirituality but don’t like the schismatic ‘anti-’ spirit towards other Catholics (as the late RC blogger Gerard Bugge described it) of the convert-driven online Ortho-world.

The Byzantine Catholic online options suck too but for different reasons:

There was byzantines.net, which died many years ago from a ‘troll’ invasion made possible by outdated board technology and nobody maintaining it to keep out that sort of thing.

Then there was byzcath.org, which went mad-dog three years ago against the people I’m talking about for liberal reasons. (It hates traditionalists.) Ironically it’s easier to be a hostile ‘Orthodick’ there (probably because the owners want to be cool in an ecumenical way) than to be of the churchmanship I’m describing.

Then exiles from that started byzantines.org, which morphed into orthodoxchristianity.net and while so doing they redundantly went batshit in the other direction, basically re-creating what’s already out there in the cyber Ortho-world.

Slightly ahead in that trajectory is euphrosynoscafe.com, actually a kind of offshoot of the board last described, which in three years has gone from being yourcatholic.com to an unwitting parody of Ortho-convert neuroses including changing churches like Elizabeth Taylor used to change husbands.

CINeast, now a Yahoo! group, is moribund as is the group the Russian Catholics in New York tried to start — I think simply because the Web has made e-groups and e-mail lists obsolete. (Even your wife’s naff cousin who daily forwarded you every joke that’s been circulating in cyberspace for 10+ years now twigs that.)

If anybody is starting or knows of an alternative do please let us know! Personally I almost don’t give a toss now but some of our readers might benefit.

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