These comments were submitted but not published yet at Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy so I will post them here.
Father Damick and others,
Christ is in our midst!
Now finally we are having a real dialog. Before I think we were both speaking at each other, or past each other, and not to each other.
First, some of my earlier comments regarding your book/audios were harsh. I do apologize for those. Your thought is deeply provocative and I have enjoyed it. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I guess what most concerns me about it is what I perceive as your lack of humility which I hope is an incorrect perception. Judging religions of which you have not lived is rather courageous. Unless of course you have studied them for decades and have much wisdom (including living in those cultures) regarding them. Neither of us are that old nor that wise. What I do know is that we are both sinners who desire to see the face of Christ and I thank God (as I am sure you do as well) for that grace.
Second, regarding my links I was only trying to show where an authentic dialog among Eastern Orthodox and Catholics have occurred and is occurring. Some great work has been done and is being done with the OLTV conferences, OLTV, etc.
Third, regarding anathemas I would encourage you not to do with Tradition (or traditions) what Protestant often do with Sacred Scripture and that is to privately interpret them. You have to understand the historical context of why things on both sides were said as they were, the culture which produced those statements, etc. You also have to understand what has changed since that time. Dealing with Sacred Tradition is not always simple nor easy.
Fourth, I would encourage docility to my Orthodox brothers/sisters in the following way. Do not pretend to tell the Catholic Church what it teaches or means. Honestly try to understand Her for what she really teaches and not what you project onto Her. I will promise to do the same regarding the Orthodox Church. We should provide fraternal correction to each other if we are missing some key points though. We should grow together in our understanding of what truly divides us. It is critical not to build paper tigers to rip others apart but to engage each others human faces who are made in the image of God.
Fifth, regarding our faith journeys I would hope that the Holy Spirit led us to where He would like us to reside. Father, were you ever personally Roman Catholic? I am familiar with the stories of folks like Rod Dreher, Michael Whelton, and others. The thought of Hieromonks Alexey Young, Gabriel Bunge and Blessed Popovich cut most deeply though. Ultimately this is a question about truth. Truth though is not an abstract concept but a Person, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I for desire to encounter Him each day as you do. So let us enter more deeply into His truth.
Sixth, I shall ask this question again. Are we personally digging with a pick and shovel so that our disunity is deepened or are we working to heal this divide and wounds? As (new or old) friends we should be able to ask the hard questions and work together to find common ground. Will it be easy? No, it's hard. It is easy to build paper tigers. We both should desire union with Christ and His body which is the Church. Christ calls us to this mission. Let us walk together on this journey.
The Road to Rome? Part II
The Road to Rome?