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[orthodox-synod] Re: Methodist apology for slavery

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    Father, Bless! My question, then, is: what would be a morally full apology? The apology does seem a bit trite, but by the same token, does not the Synod ask
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 10, 1999
      Father, Bless!

      My question, then, is: what would be a "morally full" apology?

      The apology does seem a bit trite, but by the same token, does not the Synod
      for repentence of the Moscow Patriarcate?

      What would this entail?

      [I know the criteria is online somewhere, but I am e-mail_only at work]

      A serious question I have is: What makes one apology a true repentence, and
      another apology mere fluff and good public relations?

      Is the one apology empty because it is not followed by good works? [the
      repentence, then following are the fruits of the repentence]

      Is the one apology empty because it is a tactic to gain a sense of moral
      superiority? [i.e. - "Look at how enlightened we are now."]

      What would be a true repentence entail?

      What differenciates empty words from words that are full?

      Your thoughts, Father?


      ______________________________ Reply Separator
      Subject: [orthodox-synod] Methodist apology for slavery
      Author: "LJames6034@..." [SMTP:LJames6034@...] at S-P_EXHUB_AM
      Date: 06/09/1999 10:02 PM

      Here is something from the "metro" section of today's Columbus Dispatch.

      The Methodists are the largest denomination in Ohio. There are 270,000 of
      them in this state.

      The text of their apology for slavery is as follows:

      "We, Christ's people of the West Ohio Annual Conference of the United
      Methodist Church, ask forgiveness from the descendants of African slaves in
      this county. We acknoledge taht while not all of us are directly guilty of
      heinous deads, all beqr the burden of this infamous evil and responsiblity
      for its aftermath. Both we and our ancestors have sinned.
      We further apologize to all who have been, are being, exploited by the
      attitudes, actions and structures of power which remain from slavery.
      in every form is sinful, adn we ahve participated in it in ways both blatant

      and insidious. No words could be enough to express our remorse, but these
      words are one part of our repentance.
      We hear and acknowledge this apology. WE understand that the welfare of the

      oppressed and of the oppressor are bound together. To that end, we seek
      reconciliation, for ours is a common destiny."

      My comment, as always is: Such apologies are morally empty. None of those

      who have been enslaved is among us. If any former slave did live among us,

      we did not harm him/her in any way. None of us every owned a slave. We
      guilty of nothing with reference to slavery. We cannot apologize.

      Mon petit garcon noir (My "little boy," as he calls himself, in French)
      periodically--you''d have to ask him why---says: "Where's my apology for

      I have two responses: (1) "When pigs fly." or (2) "I'm sorry I ever
      enslaved you, Brad."

      When the English defeated the Dutch, in Delaware, in 1654, my great
      grandfather (times 13) Gerrit van Sweringen, wrote a letter home to
      Holland. In it, he says the British military governor oftentimes said "All
      we want is the king's right, here." But, my grandfather went on, "they
      deprived me of 60 or 70 Negro servants. I got away with only one houseboy."

      Was Gerrit guilty of anything? No. It was, at the time, both morally and

      legally "right"---whatever anyone now thinks to the contrary----to own

      The Bible says: "Slaves, obey your masters." Was St. Paul "wrong" to have

      said that?

      When preachers (from the Methodist church?) came to planations, before the
      Late Unpleasantness (1861-65), their invariable reference in preaching to
      slaves was that injunction: "Slaves obey your masters."

      The vacuous nature of the thinking at the Methodist conference are well
      illustrated by the words of their bishop, Judith Craig, who said she hopes
      the apology amounts to "more than words." Ms. Craig is also quoted as
      having said: "I don't think you can ever say holy acts on the part of
      people, in the best of intentions, are a total waste, because something will

      happen that won't be visible; some heart will be touched; some mind will

      It all reads like something out of a 19thg century novel.

      Why would she use the words "a total waste," unless, of course, she,
      herself, sees the apology as mere headline grabbing, a gesture without
      substance or real meaning?

      One of you, during that time when we Southerners were telling the rest of
      what the South saw/sees as the meaning of the War Between the States, told

      me something I had never heard before.

      President Jefferson Davis, an honorable and decent man, coming upon a
      homeless black boy on the street, took him home with him. He treated the
      child as his own child. The boy was with him, when the president was
      arrested by the Yankees.

      Day before yesterday, the pope apologized for what was done to Copernicus.
      He has also apologized for the Inquisition. He has apologized to the Jews
      for the way Jews were treated in both ancient and modern times.

      Both what the pope has done and what the Methodists have done is morally
      meaningless. Neither he nor they committed any acts against those to whom
      the apologies were given. Even those of us with ancestors who actually
      owned slaves cannot apologize There is no one left to whom an apology can
      be given.

      I'm sorry for all the ugliness in every corner of the world, but I cannot
      apologize for any of it.

      Father Andrew

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