An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person's gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people's hearts first--and then they will joyfully share their wealth.
Well, here's a dose of humble pie from a decade ago. Not so much because the quote is almost certainly spurious - despite it being found in a published book which lacked a proper citation (though I recall someone recently had said they found the source and that it is from St. John - but I didn't chase that rabbit hole for lack of motivation), rather it is humbling because it is a reminder of a decade ago when I was actively engaged in the socio-poltical culture war. In this case I was clearly fighting on the right side of the equation, but prior to that I was fully engaged on behalf of the left (thankfully the internet was too much in its infancy and so evidence is lacking).
My lack of motivation to see if someone did actually find the source proving St. John did say this arises from my retirement from the war and my status now as a conscientious objector. It really doesn't matter if the quote is spurious or not. Not at all. It's truth of falsehood is used as a weapon in a war that is dead wrong in its rationale to begin with. No less, today, the war goes on with seemingly even greater furor online as everyone works to fit the Fathers and even Jesus Himself into their desired mold of either right or left.
But thank you for this reminder, it will no doubt be an exhortation for me to be graceful towards those who continue the fight...yep...I've fought the war and played the game as well, so I get it. I was dead wrong....when fighting for either side....but I get it. I understand the motivation. Eventually though, we will all come to realize that the Kingdom is within. That's where we must, and indeed it is the ONLY place where a just and winnable war can be fought on its behalf. fdj