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  • Writer's pictureJ. Basil Dannebohm

'Be still and know' that a keyboard crusade won't 'save' the Church

By J. Basil Dannebohm

You don't become holy by fighting evil. Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you.

What makes a person saintly is love.

-- St. Porphyrios

Jeremy Basil Dannebohm
J. Basil Dannebohm

Why are so many podcasters and social media influencers presenting themselves as crusaders, fighting a holy war to save the Church from 'the enemy within?'

The answer is one that neither they, nor their fiercely devout followers want to hear: Because the devil is clever and cunning. Even Judas Iscariot thought he was "saving" the disciples by his betrayal of Christ.

Granted, society has arrived at the dangerous point: a disregard for the sanctity of human life, an assault on the traditional definition of gender and family dynamic, an increase in violence, persecution, ethnocentrism, divisiveness, confusion, greed, and despair.

Keyboard crusaders, extremist influencers, and their followers foolishly believe that their agenda is the exclusive cure to the world's latest woes. Moreover, they contest that the answers to society's problems cannot possibly be found within the Church because it is, according to them, "infiltrated." This conceited notion inevitably leads to a severely deranged sense of pride that, once inflamed, is nearly impossible to overcome. It's a cancer that festers and infects the soul. For as St. Ignatius Brianchaninov cautioned:

Ignatius Brianchaninov

"The time will come when a certain sickness will spread among men. When they see someone who does not suffer from this illness, they will rise against him, saying, ‘You are the sickest, because you are not like us.’

This individual will have to be very careful of thoughts of false humility which will be set before him by the demons and people who are the weapons of the demons."

Lest we forget that pride caused the most beautiful of all of the angels to fall from Heaven. This is precisely why, out of concern for the salvation of their souls, we must not indulge these keyboard crusaders who busy themselves more with the likes, shares, and follows of the online masses than tending to the well-being of their own soul.

In reality, the beauty of the Church is that since it's of God, it doesn't need us to "purify it." Was it not the Church that purified us through baptism? Then who are we to believe we are capable of, in essence, "baptizing" Her to our agenda, or "exorcizing" Her from that which doesn't suit it?

Indeed, the One who created the universe and all that is within it, is perfectly capable of protecting His Church. He doesn't need our help. This is why in wisdom; the Church refers to His Son as the Good Shepherd and the Divine Physician. Likewise, this is why we refer to the Theotokos by numerous titles of unwavering protection.

Archbishop Makarios of Australia offers some profound insight on the situation:

Archbishop Makarios of Australia

"The one who supposedly fights to save the Church has a demon within, and I tell you this responsibly. That is why you see, in their anxiety to cleanse the Church, they lead people outside [push people away from] the Church. Essentially, they do exactly what the devil does, even if they think that they are performing God-pleasing work. They become an instrument of the devil. The Church will not be saved by us; rather, we will be saved by the Church."

The 'Great I Am' doesn't need some deranged online movement. "The truth is like a lion; you don't have to defend it," says St. Augustine of Hippo. "Let it loose; it will defend itself."

Radical influencers and keyboard crusaders put forth a convincing facade of piety and knowledge. However, out of a fierce narcissistic hunger to feed their ego, they haven't been quiet or disconnected long enough to authentically experience the truth with their hearts. This is why they insist on waging war against that which is steadfast, good, and beautiful. Remember the words of St. Isaac of Syria:

"Someone who has actually tasted the truth is not contentious for truth. Someone who is considered by people to be zealous for truth has not yet learnt what truth is really like; once he has truly learnt it, he will cease from zealousness on its behalf."

The Word has no need for likes, follows, subscribes, or shares, much less online crusades. God's Truth is heard through the heart, not the ears. You'll hear Him in the silence of prayer, not through the noise of "influencers." Once you intimately and authentically experience His Truth, you'll have no need for radical influencers or keyboard crusaders. Then and only then does the Church becomes a place of peace.

Be still, therefore, and know.


"In the coming years, the devil will use every opportunity to pit the true Orthodox Christians against each other, sometimes with issues great and other times small. We must try with steadfastness to not get caught by the bait." -- The Righteous Seraphim Rose

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