Author Topic: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity  (Read 5789 times)

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Offline RobS

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Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« on: November 03, 2017, 12:26:31 PM »
Also, where do you find these mystical creatures who have divested themselves of ethnicity?
I mean parishes predominantely Greek, Russian, Serbian etc. I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not.

To be clear, I've met wonderful people in those parishes. But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 12:28:27 PM by RobS »
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2017, 12:35:32 PM »
Also, where do you find these mystical creatures who have divested themselves of ethnicity?
I mean parishes predominantely Greek, Russian, Serbian etc. I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not.

To be clear, I've met wonderful people in those parishes. But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin.
Are you including the grandkids of immigrants who arrived 80 years ago in your objection to "ethnic" people? If someone is a 3rd generation German-American, should they care whether they are in a church with ethnic German-Americans?

Or are you just talking about parishes where the service is not in English?
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Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2017, 12:47:38 PM »
Are you including the grandkids of immigrants who arrived 80 years ago in your objection to "ethnic" people? If someone is a 3rd generation German-American, should they care whether they are in a church with ethnic German-Americans?

Or are you just talking about parishes where the service is not in English?
Ethnophyletism sucks. And so does multiculturalism.

Orthodox in America need to get over the ethnic-nationalistic pride. It is totally against the Gospel. Christ wasn't crucified so you can preserve your heritage.

And yeah a lot of those grandkids place a priotiy of their ethnic/nationalism over faith in Christ.

But I've been bashing foreign ethnic clubs in America since the day I started posting here.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2017, 12:49:43 PM »
Those "foreign ethnic clubs" are the only reason many of us have access to an Orthodox church in our community.

And "But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin" sounds like ethnophyletism to me.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 12:50:53 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2017, 01:24:15 PM »
Those "foreign ethnic clubs" are the only reason many of us have access to an Orthodox church in our community.

And "But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin" sounds like ethnophyletism to me.

Hear hear. Let's be grateful, not irrational. The human mind is endlessly inventive at its own misery.
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Online rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 01:50:20 PM »
Are you including the grandkids of immigrants who arrived 80 years ago in your objection to "ethnic" people? If someone is a 3rd generation German-American, should they care whether they are in a church with ethnic German-Americans?

Or are you just talking about parishes where the service is not in English?
Ethnophyletism sucks. And so does multiculturalism.

Orthodox in America need to get over the ethnic-nationalistic pride. It is totally against the Gospel. Christ wasn't crucified so you can preserve your heritage.

And yeah a lot of those grandkids place a priotiy of their ethnic/nationalism over faith in Christ.

But I've been bashing foreign ethnic clubs in America since the day I started posting here.
It's not clear where you are drawing the line here.

There are some immigrants who create parishes with services in their own languages because that is what they know. If you didn't prefer them because you couldn't understand the service, then that would make sense.

Also, if you didn't like it because they always treated you as an outsider, then that would make sense too - they would be treating you as an outsider because you are not their "kin" or of their "culture", which sounds like the "foil" to your own viewpoints.

On the other hand, if you don't want to go because they call themselves Greek and make Greek style ikons and melodies, then you are creating your own doctrinal barrier. If you were an ethnic German living in the 1st century, understood Greek and St. Paul invited you to the church in Corinth and you said "No, they call themselves Greeks and have Greek artwork and melodies. I prefer my own kin", then how are you treating the apostles' Churches?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 01:51:34 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 01:55:21 PM »
I understand the reaction to Rob, altho I think he's mostly just saying things he's heard. The topic is a rather fascinating one at base tho. Namely, that we have a growing (if still minuscule) American conservative attraction to Orthodoxy, but there's of course still the longstanding American conservative abhorrence of foreign things.
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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 02:18:39 PM »
I understand the reaction to Rob, altho I think he's mostly just saying things he's heard. The topic is a rather fascinating one at base tho. Namely, that we have a growing (if still minuscule) American conservative attraction to Orthodoxy, but there's of course still the longstanding American conservative abhorrence of foreign things.

Oops I momentarily forgot RobS is nothing. So, yes, he's speaking from a bad personal experience, as I recall the story, not just repeating OC.net chatter. I apologize for the implication.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 04:33:16 PM »
Those "foreign ethnic clubs" are the only reason many of us have access to an Orthodox church in our community.
Sure but it still sucks. I've been there, I know the frustrations. It's why I moved across country.

Quote
And "But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin" sounds like ethnophyletism to me.
Why wouldn't I have preference to be among Americans like me? I live thoroughly as an American, this is where I live. You rather me prefer to appropriate a totally foreign culture to pretend? Gebre is one the fewest people that can pull that off well (and he's sincere).

I have no issues at all with say the Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia. They have their own customs and traditions that are uniquely Serbian. So do the Russians, Greeks, etc. That's wonderful. They've made the Church, for lack of a better phrase, "their own". But it's much easier when you have such a homogeneous culture unlike ours. As a sidenote, I've always wondered though if the Orthodox Church is essentially a cultural phenomenon, it certainly gives that impression to Americans that encounter an ethnic enclave.

My issue is the immigrant ethnic exclusivity you find in America. It made sense way back when all those that emigrated here but that was a very long time ago. We have different needs. And we no longer have the mass immigration from Orthodox countries to America. What I've seen in foreign ethnic parishes are these late generation folk who are trying their hardest to maintain their cultural identity in spite of being irrelevant in a generation or two. I can't tell you how many people go to services on Sunday because its part of their heritage. That's why I can't take any ministry efforts seriously from the Orthodox. The very existence of these ethnic clubs thwart ministry efforts. I wish the OCA would get its act together but they can't even agree on translations.

Ethnocentrism has divided the Church in America, a total distortion of the Gospel.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2017, 05:00:09 PM »
Those "foreign ethnic clubs" are the only reason many of us have access to an Orthodox church in our community.
Sure but it still sucks. I've been there, I know the frustrations. It's why I moved across country.

Quote
And "But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin" sounds like ethnophyletism to me.
Why wouldn't I have preference to be among Americans like me? I live thoroughly as an American, this is where I live. You rather me prefer to appropriate a totally foreign culture to pretend? Gebre is one the fewest people that can pull that off well (and he's sincere).

Many, many people regularly live, work, or worship with people of different cultures without feeling the need to appropriate them. I'm an Irish-Chinese guy going to a Carpatho-Rus' church. At no point have I ever felt the need to pretend to be Carpatho-Rus'. What do you mean by "American"? The "ethnic" parishes you pillory are largely made up of Americans in any meaningful sense of the term. If by "American" you mean Anglo-Saxon, come out and say it.

I for one am happy to be able to settle down at coffee hour with better food than some potato salad or some Methodist’s lamentable simulacrum of enchiladas.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 05:05:16 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2017, 05:02:28 PM »
One's culture and one's faith, though often related, shouldn't be seen as the same thing.
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2017, 05:08:21 PM »
Those "foreign ethnic clubs" are the only reason many of us have access to an Orthodox church in our community.
Sure but it still sucks. I've been there, I know the frustrations. It's why I moved across country.

Quote
And "But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin" sounds like ethnophyletism to me.
Why wouldn't I have preference to be among Americans like me? I live thoroughly as an American, this is where I live. You rather me prefer to appropriate a totally foreign culture to pretend? Gebre is one the fewest people that can pull that off well (and he's sincere).

I have no issues at all with say the Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia. They have their own customs and traditions that are uniquely Serbian. So do the Russians, Greeks, etc. That's wonderful. They've made the Church, for lack of a better phrase, "their own". But it's much easier when you have such a homogeneous culture unlike ours. As a sidenote, I've always wondered though if the Orthodox Church is essentially a cultural phenomenon, it certainly gives that impression to Americans that encounter an ethnic enclave.

My issue is the immigrant ethnic exclusivity you find in America. It made sense way back when all those that emigrated here but that was a very long time ago. We have different needs. And we no longer have the mass immigration from Orthodox countries to America. What I've seen in foreign ethnic parishes are these late generation folk who are trying their hardest to maintain their cultural identity in spite of being irrelevant in a generation or two. I can't tell you how many people go to services on Sunday because its part of their heritage. That's why I can't take any ministry efforts seriously from the Orthodox. The very existence of these ethnic clubs thwart ministry efforts. I wish the OCA would get its act together but they can't even agree on translations.

Ethnocentrism has divided the Church in America, a total distortion of the Gospel.

I understand why you'd have this sentiment, say, 50 years ago. But today, what you're saying isn't as true anymore. Almost half of the Orthodox in the United States are converts.

Furthermore, it's not as if other religions don't have ethnocentrism. Islam is almost by definition an ethnocentric religion, yet there are many ethnic groups that make it up. Ethnocentrism really isn't an excuse anymore.

If you're experiencing ethnocentrism where you're going, you're probably on the wrong side of the country.
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2017, 05:14:34 PM »
Are you including the grandkids of immigrants who arrived 80 years ago in your objection to "ethnic" people? If someone is a 3rd generation German-American, should they care whether they are in a church with ethnic German-Americans?

Or are you just talking about parishes where the service is not in English?
Ethnophyletism sucks. And so does multiculturalism.

Orthodox in America need to get over the ethnic-nationalistic pride. It is totally against the Gospel. Christ wasn't crucified so you can preserve your heritage.

And yeah a lot of those grandkids place a priotiy of their ethnic/nationalism over faith in Christ.

But I've been bashing foreign ethnic clubs in America since the day I started posting here.

Well, in defense of the people who you're criticizing, often times, the Church was the only identifier of their (Russians, Greeks, etc.) national identity during times of persecution. Being Greek and being Christian, being Russian and being Christian were the same thing. I imagine to these people, in part, the same phenomenon holds true.

Now, I agree, that in the current context it's more of a negative than a positive.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2017, 05:19:54 PM »
Those "foreign ethnic clubs" are the only reason many of us have access to an Orthodox church in our community.
Sure but it still sucks. I've been there, I know the frustrations. It's why I moved across country.

Quote
And "But I prefer to be in a parish with my own kin" sounds like ethnophyletism to me.
Why wouldn't I have preference to be among Americans like me? I live thoroughly as an American, this is where I live. You rather me prefer to appropriate a totally foreign culture to pretend? Gebre is one the fewest people that can pull that off well (and he's sincere).

I have no issues at all with say the Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia. They have their own customs and traditions that are uniquely Serbian. So do the Russians, Greeks, etc. That's wonderful. They've made the Church, for lack of a better phrase, "their own". But it's much easier when you have such a homogeneous culture unlike ours. As a sidenote, I've always wondered though if the Orthodox Church is essentially a cultural phenomenon, it certainly gives that impression to Americans that encounter an ethnic enclave.

My issue is the immigrant ethnic exclusivity you find in America. It made sense way back when all those that emigrated here but that was a very long time ago. We have different needs. And we no longer have the mass immigration from Orthodox countries to America. What I've seen in foreign ethnic parishes are these late generation folk who are trying their hardest to maintain their cultural identity in spite of being irrelevant in a generation or two. I can't tell you how many people go to services on Sunday because its part of their heritage. That's why I can't take any ministry efforts seriously from the Orthodox. The very existence of these ethnic clubs thwart ministry efforts. I wish the OCA would get its act together but they can't even agree on translations.

Ethnocentrism has divided the Church in America, a total distortion of the Gospel.

You also have to remember what they're reacting to, especially if they "look Muslim (or vaguely Latino, or just swarthy in general, really)" to the average white person. Nativism and racism are not just creatures of the recent political cycle. I wouldn't wish that kind of pressure on my worst enemy.
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Offline Gorazd

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2017, 05:42:13 PM »
At no point have I ever felt the need to pretend to be Carpatho-Rus'.

How does one even pretend that? Throw in some Hungarian words when speaking Ukrainian?

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2017, 07:05:23 PM »
Is this a tongue-in-cheek post? Does the principle, Go and sin no more really escape you?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2017, 07:11:36 PM »
Is this a tongue-in-cheek post? Does the principle, Go and sin no more really escape you?
There has been a very long history in the Church of some bishops placing extreme bans on people who repeatedly break church rules or sin in major ways. This was a reason why some like Constantine did not get baptised until they felt that they were near dying or else in old age.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 07:12:05 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2017, 09:41:53 PM »
Many, many people regularly live, work, or worship with people of different cultures without feeling the need to appropriate them.
This goes back to what I said about kinship. I feel connected to people who speak the same language I do, from similar social class, have the same faith, shared history, values, mores, traditions, interests etc. Multiculturalism not only destroys these social relationships but it also festers alienation from each other. What do I have in common with an immigrant Greek lawyer or a Russian peasant farmer? Look at all the problems this country has with minorities. It's only getting worse.

Quote
What do you mean by "American"?
You're invading my personal space with this question!

Quote
I for one am happy to be able to settle down at coffee hour with better food than some potato salad or some Methodist’s lamentable simulacrum of enchiladas.
The only good thing multiculturalism ever gave us are more food options.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline biro

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2017, 10:05:04 PM »
Many, many people regularly live, work, or worship with people of different cultures without feeling the need to appropriate them.
This goes back to what I said about kinship. I feel connected to people who speak the same language I do, from similar social class, have the same faith, shared history, values, mores, traditions, interests etc. Multiculturalism not only destroys these social relationships but it also festers alienation from each other. What do I have in common with an immigrant Greek lawyer or a Russian peasant farmer? Look at all the problems this country has with minorities. It's only getting worse.

Quote
What do you mean by "American"?
You're invading my personal space with this question!

Quote
I for one am happy to be able to settle down at coffee hour with better food than some potato salad or some Methodist’s lamentable simulacrum of enchiladas.
The only good thing multiculturalism ever gave us are more food options.

Huh?
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2017, 10:37:36 PM »
Many, many people regularly live, work, or worship with people of different cultures without feeling the need to appropriate them.
This goes back to what I said about kinship. I feel connected to people who speak the same language I do, from similar social class, have the same faith, shared history, values, mores, traditions, interests etc. Multiculturalism not only destroys these social relationships but it also festers alienation from each other. What do I have in common with an immigrant Greek lawyer or a Russian peasant farmer? Look at all the problems this country has with minorities. It's only getting worse.

Get over it. The Roman Empire in which Christianity was born was even more diverse that the US today and I don't see any Apostles or Church Fathers railing against that fact. How about try relating to people based on shared humanity and human concerns instead of obsessing over more ephemeral things? Or how about you prove you're not lying when you say that you have the same religion as the Greek or the Russian? Ever heard of the Golden Rule?

What do you mean by "American"?
You're invading my personal space with this question!

Oh goody, here comes the pants crapping over "PC run amok" strawmen. Go back to Breitbart.

Just because some people get a little ridiculous doesn't mean we need some white nationalist monoculture to cure it.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 10:39:09 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2017, 10:49:19 PM »
Calm down, everyone, or I will calm you down.

Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2017, 10:52:38 PM »
Get over it. The Roman Empire in which Christianity was born was even more diverse that the US today and I don't see any Apostles or Church Fathers railing against that fact. How about try relating to people based on shared humanity and human concerns instead of obsessing over more ephemeral things? Or how about you prove you're not lying when you say that you have the same religion as the Greek or the Russian? Ever heard of the Golden Rule?
All I'm saying is my preference is to be around people where I have a lot in common. If my only option was an ethnically dense GOA or ROCOR parish then I'll have to assimilate the best I can. I've tried before but felt overwhelming estranged. I wanted to be Orthodox but the ethnic club mentality was too difficult an obstacle to overcome. If folks don't have the problems I did, I'm happy for them. Glory to God.

In my own parish there's a table at coffee hour where Ukranians/Russians mingle. I have no problem with that. In fact it only proves me right about social groups. I wish society was better organized instead of trying to force people to co-exist with each other.

Oh goody, here comes the pants crapping over "PC run amok" strawmen. Go back to Breitbart.

Just because some people get a little ridiculous doesn't mean we need some white nationalist monoculture to cure it.
Relax, that was the most American response I could have given to Iconodule. It was intended as humor.
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Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2017, 12:51:46 AM »
Ok. I apologize for my harshness.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2017, 01:49:41 PM »
Is this a tongue-in-cheek post? Does the principle, Go and sin no more really escape you?
There has been a very long history in the Church of some bishops placing extreme bans on people who repeatedly break church rules or sin in major ways. This was a reason why some like Constantine did not get baptised until they felt that they were near dying or else in old age.

Conflation and misdirection. I think I can safely ignore your arguments here now.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2017, 02:57:17 PM »
Get over it. The Roman Empire in which Christianity was born was even more diverse that the US today and I don't see any Apostles or Church Fathers railing against that fact. How about try relating to people based on shared humanity and human concerns instead of obsessing over more ephemeral things? Or how about you prove you're not lying when you say that you have the same religion as the Greek or the Russian? Ever heard of the Golden Rule?
All I'm saying is my preference is to be around people where I have a lot in common. If my only option was an ethnically dense GOA or ROCOR parish then I'll have to assimilate the best I can. I've tried before but felt overwhelming estranged. I wanted to be Orthodox but the ethnic club mentality was too difficult an obstacle to overcome. If folks don't have the problems I did, I'm happy for them. Glory to God.

In my own parish there's a table at coffee hour where Ukranians/Russians mingle. I have no problem with that. In fact it only proves me right about social groups. I wish society was better organized instead of trying to force people to co-exist with each other.

Oh goody, here comes the pants crapping over "PC run amok" strawmen. Go back to Breitbart.

Just because some people get a little ridiculous doesn't mean we need some white nationalist monoculture to cure it.
Relax, that was the most American response I could have given to Iconodule. It was intended as humor.

I haven't read this thread thoroughly but this "All I'm saying is my preference is to be around people where I have a lot in common" is 100% perfectly understandable & very normal preference. that's why in orthodox churches, you tend to see a core majority of one ethnicity/race among the laity. Of course, they aren't trying be a exclusionist/ethnic club but they are simply trying to congregate with people they have a lot in common with & they essentially have that same preference as you described. it's a normal human preference.

It's just a statistical reality that most religious groups in america, are composed of a congregation that has a one-race majority, not all of course, but most according to pew http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/
Even the orthodox church in the US is 81% white according to pew.

So obviously it's very normal & natural to have this preference you have described. Is there no local orthodox church in your area that is comprised of a laity, where the majority of them share kinship with you Rob? If no, then that's very troubling to hear. Ideally, I would like such a entities to exist throughout america & be available to accommodate americans in every corner.....I say this because lack of such churches can potentially in effect act as a barrier to bulk of americans from embracing orthodoxy. It would be good to remove as many of such barriers as possible.

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2017, 03:01:48 PM »
Are we honestly still on the whole ethnic diversity shtick? Give it a rest. If there were more American converts, then the lack of diversity would go away. There. Now, if you're still whining about lack of diversity, go knock on all of your neighbors houses and get them to come to Liturgy.

See? Problem solved. Now quit having a fit.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2017, 03:06:48 PM »
The 'cross' you need to carry probably isn't what you think it is.

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2017, 03:17:54 PM »
If I could go to a parish where all the people looked and acted like me, I wouldn't go.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2017, 03:28:24 PM »
My parish is tiny, with an average of 25-30 people attending any given Sunday, and we still have at least six ethnicities among us. Supply and demand.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2017, 03:40:10 PM »
Are we honestly still on the whole ethnic diversity shtick? Give it a rest. If there were more American converts, then the lack of diversity would go away. There. Now, if you're still whining about lack of diversity, go knock on all of your neighbors houses and get them to come to Liturgy.

See? Problem solved. Now quit having a fit.

Well, I'm not whining about the lack of diversity. This isn't my concern. I'm examining the situation as it is. What Rob described is perfectly normal and shouldn't be dismissed. In fact, I find the dismissing his concerns to be troubling. How can we expect more americans to convert, when such churches that meets the very normal natural preferences that Rob described are not available ? From what I understand, orthodoxy has been in the US since at least the 1800s, yet has gained relatively few converts.Why is that? We orthodox need to examine this & take the concerns of converts seriously, not brush it aside. If we can do something to remove such a barrier, that can be removed, than why not?
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 03:45:15 PM by ZackShenouda439 »

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2017, 04:16:16 PM »
If someone is reluctant to convert to the Church merely because the ethnic tenor of the parish isn't to their liking, then they probably shouldn't convert in the first place.

So many people convert to Islam and Buddhism, and they are much more ethnic. It's completely ridiculous to make ethnicity a factor of conversion. Sure, there's a base reluctance when someone changes cultural or religious environments, but it's not an insurmountable barrier.

That is aside from the fact that, I've never encountered this "extremely ethnic Church" which is being claimed. I've gone to many parishes in my area, and this "highly ethnic" community of parishioners is almost non-existent. Maybe the rest of the country has a different state of affairs than where I go, but from what I see there is no gigantic ethnic clique and ghetto in our Churches.

If it's because I'm OCA, then someone who is becoming Orthodox merely has to go to the OCA jurisdiction, rather than a Greek, Russian etc. Church
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 04:24:04 PM by xOrthodox4Christx »
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2017, 04:17:29 PM »
If we can do something to remove such a barrier, that can be removed, than why not?

So get rid of the people.  Humans keep messing up the Church.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2017, 04:35:08 PM »
If someone is reluctant to convert to the Church merely because the ethnic tenor of the parish isn't to their liking, then they probably shouldn't convert in the first place.

 That's not my point at all. Of course, it's for converts to be committed. You are looking at this from the point of view of a individual convert & I'm looking at this from the point of view as someone who wants to if possible, accommodate a reasonable demand of potential converts. I've seen Rob's concerns being mentioned by others in the past & time and time again, it gets dismissed...with "get over it" etc...this is a real difficult issue for most people.

If there is a way to enable the committed to embrace orthodoxy more, than why not? Here, I can put it this way. Ideally, if there was a way remove such a difficult barrier than why not? This is a serious phenomena & what Rob described is a revealed preference among most american congregants.

"bout eight-in-ten American congregants still attend services at a place where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation"

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/08/many-u-s-congregations-are-still-racially-segregated-but-things-are-changing-2/

Is it possible to operate with this statistical understanding & understand this is a need? This is no small thing. it's not superficial at all.



« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 04:45:16 PM by ZackShenouda439 »

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2017, 04:42:47 PM »
If we can do something to remove such a barrier, that can be removed, than why not?

So get rid of the people.  Humans keep messing up the Church.

So get rid of most american congregates?

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/08/many-u-s-congregations-are-still-racially-segregated-but-things-are-changing-2/
 
Yea, lets bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this is not a real normal revealed preference

"Two-thirds of American churchgoers (67 percent) say their church has done enough to become racially diverse. "

"where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation" http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/08/many-u-s-congregations-are-still-racially-segregated-but-things-are-changing-2/

accommodating those who desire diversity is fine I guess, but lets just ignore the common need of the population & potential converts. They should be fine, right? We should ignore data & pretend to be above it all. Lets take no initiative to make things easier for people I guess.



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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2017, 05:10:24 PM »
If that's what you got from my response, that's quite a reflection of yourself.

Why do we go to Church?  If it's not for Christ, then it's a waste of time.  That applies to all who darken the doorway of a parish, whether they are recently converted or have been in the faith their whole lives.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2017, 05:31:52 PM »
If someone is reluctant to convert to the Church merely because the ethnic tenor of the parish isn't to their liking, then they probably shouldn't convert in the first place.

 That's not my point at all. Of course, it's for converts to be committed. You are looking at this from the point of view of a individual convert & I'm looking at this from the point of view as someone who wants to if possible, accommodate a reasonable demand of potential converts. I've seen Rob's concerns being mentioned by others in the past & time and time again, it gets dismissed...with "get over it" etc...this is a real difficult issue for most people.

If there is a way to enable the committed to embrace orthodoxy more, than why not? Here, I can put it this way. Ideally, if there was a way remove such a difficult barrier than why not? This is a serious phenomena & what Rob described is a revealed preference among most american congregants.

"bout eight-in-ten American congregants still attend services at a place where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation"

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/08/many-u-s-congregations-are-still-racially-segregated-but-things-are-changing-2/

Is it possible to operate with this statistical understanding & understand this is a need? This is no small thing. it's not superficial at all.

It is though. It's entirely superficial. That's aside from the fact, as I pointed out before, that I don't see any evidence of this highly ethnic Church. Maybe the Coptic Church is different, but I have been to several parishes and I have not seen even a trace of some major ethnic problem.
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2017, 05:36:48 PM »
If that's what you got from my response, that's quite a reflection of yourself.

Why do we go to Church?  If it's not for Christ, then it's a waste of time.  That applies to all who darken the doorway of a parish, whether they are recently converted or have been in the faith their whole lives.

I agree with this and of course that is the purpose of going to church, but that's not my point.I don't think I'm being clear enough, my apologies for the confusion. I can put it this way. If there is a way to make it easier for people to focus on christ in the church as opposed to being distracted with the idea that they are the "other" during the liturgy, than why not? If there is a way to enable people to embrace orthodoxy, & avoid having them being distracted with the idea that they are the only non-russian, non-greek, non-x during the service etc, than why not? The average person doesn't like being the other, do you understand what I'm saying?  I'm not saying to exclude anybody, I'm saying  there is people who go to church & get distracted by this. If there is anything we can do to remove this barrier & enable the committed to embrace orthodoxy more, as opposed to being potentially distracted with being the only non-x during the service, than why not?

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2017, 05:47:19 PM »
If someone is reluctant to convert to the Church merely because the ethnic tenor of the parish isn't to their liking, then they probably shouldn't convert in the first place.

 That's not my point at all. Of course, it's for converts to be committed. You are looking at this from the point of view of a individual convert & I'm looking at this from the point of view as someone who wants to if possible, accommodate a reasonable demand of potential converts. I've seen Rob's concerns being mentioned by others in the past & time and time again, it gets dismissed...with "get over it" etc...this is a real difficult issue for most people.

If there is a way to enable the committed to embrace orthodoxy more, than why not? Here, I can put it this way. Ideally, if there was a way remove such a difficult barrier than why not? This is a serious phenomena & what Rob described is a revealed preference among most american congregants.

"bout eight-in-ten American congregants still attend services at a place where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation"

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/08/many-u-s-congregations-are-still-racially-segregated-but-things-are-changing-2/

Is it possible to operate with this statistical understanding & understand this is a need? This is no small thing. it's not superficial at all.

It is though. It's entirely superficial. That's aside from the fact, as I pointed out before, that I don't see any evidence of this highly ethnic Church. Maybe the Coptic Church is different, but I have been to several parishes and I have not seen even a trace of some major ethnic problem.

Well I don't know about calling it a problem. I have not made a value judgment on this revealed preference for the common man. I do know that the Coptic church in the US at least, is no exception to this reality either "about eight-in-ten American congregants still attend services at a place where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation"

Is there data on the demographics of the laity OCA? If you are observing something that conflicts with the data, than I guess your parish & your experience may be exceptional. hence the 8/10 ≠ 10/10

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2017, 06:51:44 PM »
If that's what you got from my response, that's quite a reflection of yourself.

Why do we go to Church?  If it's not for Christ, then it's a waste of time.  That applies to all who darken the doorway of a parish, whether they are recently converted or have been in the faith their whole lives.

I agree with this and of course that is the purpose of going to church, but that's not my point.I don't think I'm being clear enough, my apologies for the confusion. I can put it this way. If there is a way to make it easier for people to focus on christ in the church as opposed to being distracted with the idea that they are the "other" during the liturgy, than why not? If there is a way to enable people to embrace orthodoxy, & avoid having them being distracted with the idea that they are the only non-russian, non-greek, non-x during the service etc, than why not? The average person doesn't like being the other, do you understand what I'm saying?  I'm not saying to exclude anybody, I'm saying  there is people who go to church & get distracted by this. If there is anything we can do to remove this barrier & enable the committed to embrace orthodoxy more, as opposed to being potentially distracted with being the only non-x during the service, than why not?

I understand being "other" all too well.  Unfortunately,  I am not the best person to ask about this.  I'm not very empathetic.  I've never felt the need to act/behave like x simply because I'm in x parish and I'm y.  That's not to say that x parish can be overwhelmingly x to the negative perception of y visitor.  Ultimately, people are people.  Some people walking to Christ are going to face the adversity of only having one option for Orthodoxy; others are blessed to have several communities to visit, compare, and join.

I apologize for the facetiousness of my earlier statement.  I do stand by it, though.  We are our own barriers.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 06:52:42 PM by hecma925 »
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2017, 07:03:14 PM »

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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2017, 11:11:33 PM »
ZackShenouda439,

Here are some studies by Alexei Krindatch that may interest you:

Usage of English Language, Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Culture in American Orthodox Christian Churches.

Five Interesting Facts about Orthodox Church Demography and Geography in the United States

They are pdfs, but are also linked at http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/research

I'm sorry, but I'm just finding it hilarious the OCA reports a percentage of sermons are not preached in native language, considering how many on this site hold them up as our Great White Hope.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 11:11:47 PM by Porter ODoran »
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2017, 06:59:30 AM »
ZackShenouda439,

Here are some studies by Alexei Krindatch that may interest you:

Usage of English Language, Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Culture in American Orthodox Christian Churches.

Five Interesting Facts about Orthodox Church Demography and Geography in the United States

They are pdfs, but are also linked at http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/research

I'm sorry, but I'm just finding it hilarious the OCA reports a percentage of sermons are not preached in native language, considering how many on this site hold them up as our Great White Hope.

Because every bishop should be the EP, right?
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Re: Orthodoxy in America and ethnicity
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2017, 10:21:51 AM »
ZackShenouda439,

Here are some studies by Alexei Krindatch that may interest you:

Usage of English Language, Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Culture in American Orthodox Christian Churches.

Five Interesting Facts about Orthodox Church Demography and Geography in the United States

They are pdfs, but are also linked at http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/research

I'm sorry, but I'm just finding it hilarious the OCA reports a percentage of sermons are not preached in native language, considering how many on this site hold them up as our Great White Hope.


 ;D ;D ;D


Can we maybe not use White ?   


Great American Hope?


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