The Burden of Being Right

by Andrea Elizabeth

50% in to The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg and I realize that the first third of the book is just the introduction. I know it said Introduction at the beginning, but being read on a new Kindle Reader, I thought that since the Introduction didn’t stop, for some reason it was mis-titled and that this Project Gutenberg edition would have no breaks, even for chapters. When it finally ended, a first-person narrative of the Calvinist villain takes over. It is spooky and scathing. But not too far fetched, imo.

Which brings me to Monday’s Right to Life March in Washington DC. I received a forwarded email, whose original author I don’t know, titled, “if this doesn’t fill you with pride, I don’t know what will”. It then links the article from the Washington Post, Orthodox Believers Hit the Streets. The article pretty much lauds the OCA clergy, lead by Metropolitan Jonah, and wonders where the Greeks and Antiochians were.

The connection is this, and includes yesterday’s post on unconditional love, where I point out the rightness of Orthodoxy. Ortho means right or straight. When one thing is right, like free will (contra Calvin), in person anti-abortion statements, and Orthodoxy, things that are wrong inevitably get criticized. If one is concerned with rightness and truth, this is inevitable. The problem comes with the burden of being right. I’ll set aside for now the fact that those who are right need to concentrate on their own failings where they aren’t. Actually I wont because there’s one aspect of that that I’m getting at. With being right comes anger at the popularity of being wrong. Then when someone on the right side is publicly lauded, as in the above article, prideful triumphalism can set in. But we can’t negate the truth just to avoid the sin of triumphalism. Perhaps the problem is in the anger and feelings of rejection when something wrong is popular. Not that Calvinism is popular, but I think its insidious determinism is. When one feels isolated in their acquisition of rightness and truth, a certain pathology can set in. Some combat this with anti-triumphalism because they feel guilty for being one of the few enlightened ones. They, in their anti-elitism, start criticizing fellow truth adherents for their pride and triumphalism. I don’t think it’s the same sin as being wrong. There’s a story of a monk who was called all sorts of names, which he didn’t contradict, but when he was told to deny that Orthodoxy was true, he wouldn’t. As unattractively triumphant, prideful, obnoxious and judgmental as anti-abortionists, anti-Calvinists, and Orthodox people can be, they are on the right side, and so I wont condemn them/us. It’s lonely at the top, so cut us some slack.