Just days after a speaking on Orthodox unity in Houston, and a few days before he is to concelebrate with Metropolitan +Hilarion of ROCOR, our peripatetic Primate has yet another major speaking engagement. On Tuesday, December 6th, His Beatitude is going to give a major address to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank.
Obviously, His Beatitude is a major draw. Not just at religious events but at venues that are not religious. Indeed, I can’t think of another American Orthodox bishop who is as sought after as a speaker. This is not a dig at the other bishops but there is something innate about +Jonah, what in public-relations circles is called the “it” factor. Whatever “it” is, he’s definitely got “it.” And that’s good, not for him specifically, but for American Orthodoxy.
This engagement is important in many ways. Ordinarily, the AEI is more concerned with politics and economics. But I imagine that +Jonah’s talk is not going to be a rah-rah endorsement of supply-side economics, materialism, or some-such. In fact, from the title I’d guess that it’s going to veer awfully close to the ascetic struggle, something that is the antithesis of American feel-goodism. That’s good, America needs to come to grips with the American Way. Our intelligentsia needs to be made aware of the eternal verities.
On another level, we can’t help but wonder about the incongruity between +Jonah’s popularity, the cogency of his speeches and the inability of his critics to appreciate his ministry. Let us be honest, the “evaluation” that he had to undergo recently is looking more and more like an unnecessary unpleasantness. At the risk of the typical Monomakhos sarcasm, His Beatitude is clearly not a menace to himself or his fellows. He’s as normal as the day is long. I pray that his brothers on the Synod take note of his humility and find more productive ways to work with him in the future. Without a ministry such as his, Orthodoxy in America will flounder for another half a generation or so.
At any rate, we wish him well. I’m sure he’ll do fine. (Hopefully a transcript or a recording will follow.)
More information: The American Enterprise Institute
Introduction by Fr. Gregory Jenson of Koinonia
Live video streaming available on the American Enterprise Institute website.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Faith in a Consumerist Society
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m
Registration and Dinner
ERIC TEETSEL, AEI
FR. GREGORY JENSEN, American Orthodox Institute
METROPOLITAN JONAH, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Question & Answer