An Open Letter To A White Nationalist

For those unfamiliar with the current controversy revolving around Matthew Heimbach’s reception into the Orthodox Church, please read Fr. Ernesto Obregon’s article on the topic.

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Dear Mr. Heimbach and other members of the Traditionalist Youth Network that were received into the Church,

Congratulations on being received into the Church. It is my hope and prayer that this was out a genuine desire to be closer to Christ. I admit that upon my own initial pursuit of Orthodoxy, not all of my original reasons were sincere or out of love. Converting from one faith to another is never easy, even if they are both forms of Christianity. Through the support of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, my priests, and lots of prayer, I was able to examine myself and become more aware of my own sins. It’s a tough process to even begin to seek repentance, so you will be in my prayers

I know what it’s like to be young and radical. The world is full of injustices and it helps having a coherent ideology to make sense of it all, especially if it explains who your enemy is. My involvement in the protests in Turkey in 2013 taught me how intoxicating the thrill of activism can be. Regardless, these passions must be tamed and brought into accordance with the clear teaching of the Church. Simply put, the Orthodox Church regards Phyletism as heresy.

I spent my teenage years in Lancaster, Ohio. In 2013 it received the “honor” of being one of the least diverse cities in the United States, so needless to say I’ve had my share of white nationalists. One of my best friends growing up for a brief time started to dabble in Neo-Nazism and the KKK, but I did what I could to love him anyway. Another close friend of mine openly expressed neo-confederate views. We used to get into heated discussions about the role slavery played in the Civil War but they never seemed to go anywhere. Both of them have since grown out of this phase in their life, but I’m sure it took a lot to tame their passions. It is my hope and prayer that you go the direction of these two friends of mine and disavow white separatism.

Mr. Heimbach and others, we actually have a lot in common. We’re relatively young male ideologues who have converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. There is, however, one huge glaring difference though: I’m not white. Well, I’m half-white. My father is Caucasian and my mother is African-American. I’ve read your comments on miscegenation and other racial issues, but I hope that one day you will consider me as your brother-in-Christ or, as some white nationalists like to say, one of your “folk”. Matthew, I hope that we could be friends and leave all of this animus behind us. I look forward to it and maybe, with all of this behind us, we could grab a beer. Consider this an invitation.

In Christ,

Nathan Lewis Lawrence

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23 thoughts on “An Open Letter To A White Nationalist

  1. Good afternoon. Thank you for your latest blog entry, your ‘open letter’ to Mr. Heimbach. We would like to reply to the latest blog with a number of questions.

    Where was your sanctimonious attitude when the following occurred?

    ***Racially Charged Attack Against Whites Leaves Man Brain Dead(4/2014)
    http://tellmenow.com/…/racially-charged-attack-against…/

    We have been unable to find a blog entry from you in regards to this.

    Where was your sanctimonious attitude when the following occurred?

    ***Mohammed Whitaker arraigned on 18 felony charges in series of highway shootings(4/2014)

    http://www.kansascity.com/…/suspected-highway-shooter…

    We have been unable to find a blog entry from you in regards to this.

    Where was your sanctimonious attitude when the following occurred?:

    ***Teen accused of trying to beat elderly woman to death is arrested(4/2014)

    http://www.latimes.com/…/la-me-ln-boy-arrested-beating…

    We have been unable to find a blog entry from you in regards to this.

    Where was your sanctimonious attitude when the following occurred?:

    ***’They had robbed my family’: Widow’s anguish as three teens indicted for killing married father of two on son’s birthday after he willingly gave the muggers his wallet(4/2014)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/They-robbed-family-Widows…

    We have been unable to find a blog entry from you in regards to this.

    Where was your sanctimonious attitude when the following occurred?

    *** Teenagers arrested in elderly man’s beating, robbery(4/2014)

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/…/teenager-arrested-in…

    We have been unable to find a blog entry from you in regards to this.

    Where was your sanctimonious attitude when the following occurred?

    *** Police: 3 Teens Charged In Fatal Shooting Of Deliveryman On Staten Island(4/2014)

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/…/police-3-in-custody-in…/

    We have been unable to find a blog entry from you in regards to this.

    You’ll note that all of these stories are from April, alone, and there are many more like them. Unfortunately, you and the rest of your cohorts at the Progressive Orthodox Christian Facebook page haven’t commented on these or similar stories. The answer as to why is quite clear. A false narrative is continually trying to be painted by those, much like yourself, who cling to progressivism. In your attempts to combine progressivism and Orthodoxy, you are creating what Bishop Theophan the Recluse described as: “an evil faith and a false church”. It is understood that this attempt by you and others who profess an attempted merging of progressivism and Orthodoxy, is by design.

    What you and your progressive associates need to understand is that our ” position as fighters and confessors of the pure and undefiled truth of Christ places us under great obligation, more than at any time in the past”, as is rightfully pointed out by Abp. Averky. You’re attempted character assassination of Mr. Heimbach, in the name of progressivism, has only made our resolve that much stronger. Congratulations! Also, please don’t believe for one moment that this is limited to one parish in Bloomington, Indiana. Understand our growth is statewide, nationwide, and worldwide. You see this isn’t ultimately about Mr. Heimbach, but about the real face of progressivism. It is understood that progressivism promotes nothing but a culture of death of mind, death of body, and death of spirit. History proves this time and time again. The solution is Traditionalism. The more poisonous the infection of progressivism becomes, the stronger the pushback of Traditionalism will be.

    Fr. Seraphim Rose correctly stated that “In either case, in that of the Liberal “Christian” or the even more Liberal humanist, the inability to believe in eternal life is rooted in the same fact: they believe only in this world, they have neither experience nor knowledge of, nor faith in the other world, and most of all, they believe in a “god” who is not powerful enough to raise men from the dead.”

    He would go on to further state that “In the Liberal world-view, therefore–in its theology, its ethics, its politics, and in other areas we have not examined as well–truth has been weakened, softened, compromised; in all realms truth that was once absolute has become less certain, if not entirely “relative.”

    Traditionalists correctly understand that there are in fact absolutes, and that these can never be compromised. Again, what you and your fellow progressives are attempting, is something unnatural to Divine Law, in the name of relativism, and this is obviously unacceptable, now and in the future.

    We do hope you will take the time to share this with your progressive acquaintances.
    In Christ,
    The Traditionalist Orthodox Brotherhood

    • If there are so many of you, and if your position is so clearly true Orthodoxy, why won’t you sign your name? (Or was your entire “brotherhood” collectively typing this on the same keyboard?)

      • Very telling that you are most interested in the author, which has already been given, but yet you are quite obviously unable to refute the content itself.

        In Christ,
        TOB

      • You haven’t said who you are – you hide behind a the name of a group with no online presence that I can find.

        I don’t generally care to respond to race-baiting – it’s a waste of my time, because I find myself having to explain pretty basic concepts, and I’m pretty busy at the moment.

        A few brief points, though. If you don’t understand them, I’ll be glad to expand later.
        1) Power structures matter when discussing morality. They matter even more when discussing what’s notable. “Oppressed minority lashes out” is a very different story than “dominant person attacks weaker one.” It’s the difference between David’s glory for slaying Goliath and his punishment for murdering Uriah.

        2) Only poorly-educated people conflate progressivism and liberalism. They’re related, but not the same.

        3) I doubt you’ll find many liberal, progressive, or, like myself, leftist Orthodox Christians who give a rip about what Seraphim Rose said.

        4) Only poorly-educated people equate traditionalism with racism, racial nationalism, kinism, or whatever the hell you want to call it. Orthodox Christians have been engaged in racial mixing for a lot longer than your bizarre offshoot of nineteenth-century romantic nationalism has been around.

        I could go on, but, well, like I said, I’m pretty busy.

    • I’m very sorry to learn of the crimes you chronicle. First, you should know that most black crime is black-on-black. However, given the history of the treatment of African-Americans throughout the history of the United States and before, in terms of the middle passage, slavery (which made women into prostitutes and destroyed many slave families, besides the inherent inhumanity of it, followed by a century and more of Jim Crow and a society which still largely tolerates institutional racism), I am truly surprised that there is not more black-on-white crime. Black people in general have extended to us a level of grace that is largely undeserved. Having said that, in case you haven’t noticed, white people still run things. If white people feel that they are left out of that process, it is a matter of class, not race, and they would be well advised to make common cause with others of their socioeconomic status, regardless of ethnicity, to change things politically.

      Also, it may surprise you to learn that in general, Christians, including Orthodox Christians, are called to “return good for evil”, and to not retaliate in the face of such things. Dealing with such matters is assigned by God to the State, who, according to St. Paul “is a minister of God” “to reward good and punish evil”. It is not for you or anyone else to take such things into your own hands.

      • Fr. Blevins,

        Good evening. You are correct in your summation that there is an extremely high percentage of black on black crime. That, in and of itself is very telling. However, one has to acknowledge that the percentage of black on white crime has grown considerably. All one has to do is google ‘knockout game’, ‘polar bear hunting initiation’, and also ‘black mob violence’ understand the severity of this. Perhaps these are examples of what you term ‘levels of grace’? You would do yourself a great service by reading a book, White Girl Bleed A Lot by Colin Flaherty. Mr. Flaherty has done a tremendous job documenting this ever growing trend. You can access his Facebook page here:

        https://www.facebook.com/WGBleedAlot

        In Christ,
        TOB

  2. Crime always correlates with poverty and oppression. This is true throughout American history and holds true historically for Jews, the Irish, Italians and more recently, Russians. As the former groups did well and were increasingly integrated into American society, their involvement with crime, organized and otherwise, radically decreased. As Russians and African-Americans become more integrated into American society as a whole,their crime rates will also decrease. In any event, the things you mention have largely been overblown by the media. And yes, there is grace in black people dealing with white people. Had we, as a whole, been subjected to the same treatment by black people over all these centuries, I daresay our crime rate against the ruling black people would have been much, much higher.

    However, be that as it may, private persons taking vengeance into their own hands is not an appropriate Christian response, and we are called, as Christians, to be “ministers of reconciliation”. Christ has come to unite all in one Church, regardless of ethnic status, as St. Paul tells us.

    I also want to make a point about “Tradition” vs. “traditionalism”. The former, as the late J. Pelikan put it, is “the living faith of the dead” while the latter is “the dead faith of the living”. In particular, the Orthodox Christian Tradition cannot be understood as something static but PROGRESSIVE (the end point being the Kingdom of God, only ultimately reached after the Parousia). Unfortunately, however, although it is later in time, 19th Century Russia in many ways represents a degeneration in the Orthodox Tradition, having come under the baneful influence of various non-Orthodox ideologies, including those then emanating from the Roman Catholic Church and the Enlightenment.

    If you really want to understand the Orthodox Christian Tradition, I strongly suggest you look farther back, much farther back, to the First Millennium. If we were to reconstruct a Christian Empire or civilization, the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire would be the best model, not the post-Peter the Great 19th Century Russian Empire.

    • ‘In any event, the things you mention have largely been overblown by the media.”

      You can’t be serious. Within the msm, there was at best, minimal coverage.

      What is interesting is that you refer to anything non ‘progressive’ as static. You’re obviously a frequent contributor to the Progressive Orthodox Christianity Facebook page, where a number of the members are very openly, unrepentant homosexuals. Is that something you feel is ‘progressive’ as well.? You’ve quoted Saint Paul, so I’m certain you are aware of his thoughts, along with many of the Church Father’s, on this subject. Or do you feel that it is acting in an Orthodox manner to project the sin of homosexuality, onto our youth in particular, as something other than sinful behavior? Quite obviously, you feel Mr. Heimbach has sinned, and yet there is no admonition of the sin of homosexuality at the Progressive Orthodox Christianity Facebook page, except for possibly one member there. How do you openly criticize what you perceive as a sinful behavior on Mr. Heimbach’s part, but legitimize a sinful behavior that is obviously quite prominent at a Facebook page that you visit on a regular basis? Obviously this acceptance is not part of the Orthodox Christian Tradition you have cited.

      • I have said nothing about homosexuality, and it is not relevant to this discussion. However, anyone who wants to make the case that homosexuality is problematic is not going to do so credibly by tying it up with race-baiting or by responding to anyone with violence, even if in alleged self-defense. And such a response is certainly not Christian.

      • Good grief. This is like reading a bad undergraduate paper.

        Given the terms you’ve requested we all Google, I imagine that your definition of “mainstream media” – the shibboleth of the right wing, and my personal favorite kind of paranoid conspiracy thinking! – must exclude just about everything except white supremacist blogs.

        St. Paul says nothing about homosexuality – something someone who claims to be a “traditionalist” should be aware of. St. Paul may say some things about male-male sexual intercourse – exactly what is hotly debated by Biblical scholars – but he says nothing about “homosexuality,” which is a nineteenth-century invention.

        But wait! you say! Think of the children! The poor youth onto whom we “project the sin of homosexuality”! (Whatever you mean by that – are you accusing Fr. Greg of imagining that all youth are homosexual, or do you just not know what it means to project?)

        Whatever you think about homosexuality or same-sex intercourse, however, there’s little that’s more of an abomination to nature than using the life-giving Cross as a weapon.

    • My, my, I presume you went to seminary, but it seems all you’ve got to show for those years is the same ideological, race-denying gobbledygook any atheist Jew lecturer could drum up. Common sense, not to mention a few twin studies, would be wholly sufficient to demonstrate that Blacks have only themselves to blame for their sorry state in the world. They are so much BETTER off in the US, where they’ve enjoyed more admixtures of White blood and can learn from our example, than they are in the DRC or Liberia which had the least European development before the postcolonial era.

      I am Catholic, not Eastern Orthodox, but here’s hoping anti-White lackeys like you have their days in the ascent numbered in both our Churches.

  3. I’m amazed! And I always sign my full name! Why don’t we call a spade a spade and not a frigging shovel? “Traditionalist Orthodox Brotherhood?” You mean “Nazis,” as that pathetic fat weasel Matt Heimbach designates himself. Come on out, cowards, let’s see you face to face and you can explain your ideology to me while I perform some traditional wall-to-wall counseling. I am not a priest, but I will kick your ass for righteousness sake. I hate Nazis.

    • Vladimir, you are awesome! This is, by far, the best response I’ve read. While low-life’s like that may try to hide behind the shield of religion the only language they truly understand is the wall-to-wall counseling of which you speak. I honestly doubt he would ever take you up on that though. At least not alone and unarmed. Because people like that are just angry cowards who are disgruntled at their own lack of advancement in life. While they were not denied the opportunity to advance, those individuals fail to put in the necessary work because they feel that they are entitled to advancement based solely on the fact of their birth into a specific race. I’m happy to know that there are more people like you than douchebags like him. Well done.

  4. It is interesting to think of the language that TOB bandies about. The term “In Christ” for St. Paul, First Enthroned of the Apostles, means “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,” because in Christ the distinctions which humans construct to assert their own superiority, to exercise or to take power, to exclude others, break down. All must become one in Christ. It’s hard to fathom that, so hard that Christians had to develop the term “repentance” to describe the radical rejection of our fears, our hatred, our inhumanity, of all those things which TOB would praise as “virtues.”

    But that is the Kingdom, after all. I fear, TOB, that you will be very disappointed by the Kingdom of Heaven, in which those whom you consider unworthy of your racial purity and social exclusivism will go first. You may not even want to stick around. After all, you’d be spending eternity with black people, and even Jews! The exits are, of course, clearly marked.

    In Christ. You keep using those words, like you keep using the word “traditionalist” or “Orthodox.” They most certainly do not mean what you think they mean.

    In Christ,
    Jonathan L. Zecher

  5. Pingback: Response to Matt Parrott, Matthew Heimbach’s supporter, who responded to my Open Letter to Archbishop Demetrios | Orthodox in the District

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