I first heard the term ‘crazy convert’ in the USA, specifically from California, in the 1970s. Apparently it was a disease there even then. In 2006 in San Francisco a priest explained to me that there is an American saying that: ‘When God made America, he tipped it up on the east coast, so all the oddballs would run down to California’. That is an American saying about a minority, but it certainly prepared me for what happened later.
We live in the age of reaction to all that is woke. As a result, we in the Orthodox Church are often mistakenly contacted by young men who are anti-woke. Not just anti-woke, but usually from a Protestant fundamentalist background, extremely conservative (sometimes Fascistic and in love with guns), anti-vaxxer, often racist and followers of some guru, often through podcasts, if they are not themselves gurus. Some of them suffer from what has become known as ‘the Jerusalem Syndrome’, the convert syndrome which leads them into phariseeism and judgementalism. Only sectarianism and schisms attract them and they demand to be rebaptised, sometimes more than once.
This small minority are usually ‘incels’. This new word ‘incel’ means an ‘involuntary celibate’. This is not true, since, as they are usually anti-woman, it is not involuntary at all. They are also often homophobic, though they themselves can be repressed homosexuals or even pedophiles, which is why they are so misogynistic. Such young men may also suffer from the beard syndrome. It is all very well to have a long beard, but if you are not under monastic obedience, you are not a monk. Married men do not have long beards, it displeases their wives, if it is a happy marriage. And married men who love their wives should please their wives, just as their wives who love their husbands should please them.
In other words, the above are not theological converts, like the apostles, but are psychological, and even pathological, converts, who suffer from the temper tantrums of spoilt brats, demanding absolute obedience and showing intolerance and the censorious and punitive spirit of the narrow neophyte. On top of this, they lack any emotional intelligence and basic knowledge, especially of theology and history, but also of different languages and cultures (though all must obey them in everything). They are young and inexperienced, refuse to listen to advice (as they are always right, why should they?) and demonstrate all the arrogance of infallible and narcissistic popes who give no pastoral care.
In love with their vain selves, they love money and their own appearance. These are the crazy converts and they are being put into positions of ‘authority’, as never before, even though they have no authority at all and only discredit themselves and their string-pullers. The results are desperately sad – for them. The rest of the Church, the 99.9% sails serenely on, leaving them behind on their self-made desert islands.