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Question: Would You Like North America To Have It's Own Orthodox Church???
Yes - 58 (68.2%)
No - 19 (22.4%)
Other - 8 (9.4%)
Total Voters: 85

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Author Topic: Do You Want an American Orthodox Church  (Read 22814 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: May 10, 2007, 09:04:22 PM »

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Constantinople has more sense than to take on such a "Church" where even the Sign of Unity is used to divide.

That explains setting up altar against altar in Estonia.  Thanks for clearing it up for me!
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« Reply #91 on: May 10, 2007, 10:05:56 PM »

So what is 'American Culture'?
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« Reply #92 on: May 10, 2007, 10:41:55 PM »

Anti authoritarian, individualist and gnostic.
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« Reply #93 on: May 10, 2007, 11:42:16 PM »

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So what is 'American Culture'?

I believe I answered that in my prior post. I am not a self hating american. I love my country and my culture even though it is not perfect. All cultures and societies have positives and negatives. I appreciate the beauty of all cultures. Like I said in my prior post, if america doesn't have a unique culture, then neither does Mexico, Canada, or England (Lets throw Ireland in there while we are at it). The kingdom of God transcends all cultures, unfortunatley there are many in the church who don't realize that. I am an Orthodox Christian first and an American second. I love my brothers and sisters in the church throughout the world, and I am all for removing the ethnic hurdles that keep my native kinsmen out of the true church. I don't think greeks and slavs should be forced to be americans, likewise I don't think americans should be forced to be greeks and slavs. One culture isn't better than the other. They are both beautiful and unique. Out here in the midwest, a greek speaking parish, or a russian speaking parish would not flourish or evangelize our city. It would minister to a select group of immigrants and to real serious/ studius americans, but for the average joe midwesterner/ southerner, it wouldn't do a thing but create a barrier

Elder Cleopa of Romania said that we should have the heart of a mother for those who are lost. This is the attitude we must have for the hetrodox and the nonreligious. This is how the church must be in North America. These are the churches that are flourishing, and will be the future of Orthodoxy in America. It shouldn't upset anyone. We must all lay aside our cultural biases and think of ourselves as Orthodox Christians first. 
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« Reply #94 on: May 11, 2007, 12:38:11 AM »

There is no uniform American culture.  It doesnt bother one bit that orthodox people who start Eucharistic communities choose whatever language they want.  If one wants to build churches that use English in services, I think its great, go for it.  I worship in English, who knows I _might just show up if its in the yellow pages and im traveling.  Calling for English only for all churches in North America is for crusading colonialists whose influence just doesnt matter any more.  No disrespect.  I think anyone is free to form their own community, or as many communities as they want.  But enough fascism, it has no place in the church or in america.
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« Reply #95 on: May 11, 2007, 01:16:27 AM »

I believe I answered that in my prior post.

No, I don't believe you did; I was reading through the post waiting to see what these great standards of American culture, which you desire to integrate into the Church, actually are. Alas, you don't seem to have ever really reached that point. Yes, you mentioned linguistics, but that's all you really mentioned and you mentioned it in addition to culture. I personally don't know that I would actually like to see those who refuses to go to the Orthodox Church for linguistic reasons in the Church, but that's just me. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Churches use English and they tend to move towards the use of English long before the demand to do so is truly there, so this issue is effectively moot. But linguistics aside, what are these elements of 'American Culture' that you would like to see integrated into the Church?

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I am not a self hating american.

That's nice...

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I love my country and my culture even though it is not perfect.

I have mixed feelings about my country; after all my forefathers both fought to establish it and fought to dissolve it. As for my culture, I'm quite fond of it, but I'd qualify it as a western American culture; those in other regions really have little in common.

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All cultures and societies have positives and negatives. I appreciate the beauty of all cultures.

I can appreciate some, but others are simply vile; and I'm not afraid to make this known.

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Like I said in my prior post, if america doesn't have a unique culture, then neither does Mexico, Canada, or England (Lets throw Ireland in there while we are at it).

But what is this culture? That was my question, it was not whether or not it existed.

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The kingdom of God transcends all cultures, unfortunatley there are many in the church who don't realize that. I am an Orthodox Christian first and an American second. I love my brothers and sisters in the church throughout the world, and I am all for removing the ethnic hurdles that keep my native kinsmen out of the true church. I don't think greeks and slavs should be forced to be americans, likewise I don't think americans should be forced to be greeks and slavs.

Well, a fortunate aspect of our current political system and constitutional protections is that, in this country at least, no one can be forced to conform to another culture; though if this refusal extends to the linguistic realm one may find themselves economically disadvantaged.

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One culture isn't better than the other.

Here I strongly disagree: western cultures in general, for example, are infinitely better than any Islamic culture.

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They are both beautiful and unique. Out here in the midwest, a greek speaking parish, or a russian speaking parish would not flourish or evangelize our city. It would minister to a select group of immigrants and to real serious/ studius americans, but for the average joe midwesterner/ southerner, it wouldn't do a thing but create a barrier

Having been compelled to spend several months in the midwest over the past year I don't know whether this is a good or a bad thing. Your 'average joe midwesterner' is a boring lot, I don't know that they ever overcame their agrarian mindset, even though they have moved into cities and work in industry. I had to spend a few weeks in Springfield, IL and during that time, since I'll rarely go more than a week or two without Sushi, I came to crave the same; unfortunately none could be found closer than Champaign; the longer I stayed in the midwest the more difficult it became for me to associate with them on a cultural level.

Now, in the South I was a bit more comfortable, though the culture was clearly different than mine. I was quite comfortable in Appalachia, probably because my Great-Grandparents were born there. Other places in the South are a bit different, but other than the more religious elements of that culture, which are quite disturbing to me, I am quite happy in that culture. Southerners, in general, seem to have a better understanding of history and slightly more individualistic tendencies (significantly more so in Appalachia) than thier midwestern counterparts.

I hated New England, the three years I spent there, and most the people I met outside the Greek Community (no offence intended to those from New England on this board, I'm speaking in very general terms of cultures and societies). I can safely say that I have nothing in common with them culturally. They had no respect for the individual, valued security over liberty, and were generally most inhospitable. They were not Americans in the sense that I had been taught the term.

Because of these experiences I no longer insist on being culturally American, but rather culturally a westerner; I don't believe there is an 'American Culture' which spreads from the Pacific to the Atlantic, rather there are several regional cultures, which are quite different even though they may share a similar language. I share a common culture and understanding with those born and raised west of the continental divide. We are a more individualistic and libertarian (and generally less religious) people than are found in other reigons; we are a people united not by having ancestors who established roots together, but rather by having ancestors who all broke these roots at one point in history to move west, to live free in relatively unpopulated areas.

Those east of the continental divide are different peoples and of different cultures, some of which I love and appreciate, others I abhor. Of course, even on this side of the continental divide there are a few sub-cultures that are a bit different, such as that surrounding San Francisco and a pacific costal culture found up and down the coast within about 30 miles of the ocean (beyond that you're generally in the mountains and will find a more generic western culture, or a major city depending on where you are located).

Yet, even though I can recognize the existance of various reigonal cultures throughout these united States. I fail to see what elemens need integrated into the Orthodox Church. I assume you are not insisting that a Confederate Flag be placed on the iconostasis or that a priest dress in traditional western wear. So how exactly do you propose we incorporate 'American Culture' into the Orthodox Church? It it something as trivial as what food is eaten after liturgy? Because that's about all I can think of at the time being. If you want to add a midwestern flare, feel free to bring mashed potatoes and overcooked vegetables to your next parish luncheon.
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« Reply #96 on: May 11, 2007, 01:37:45 AM »

This is scary...but I mostly agree with GiC's last post.

No Bagpiper, we may agree on many things, but you need to try a lot harder with this culture you have still yet to define.  GiC did a much better job without even deliberately trying.

In addition to being so diverse with so many immigrants and such a constant influx still, America is young.  THAT is part of the difference between America and England per se.  England has been around for many more centuries. 
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« Reply #97 on: May 11, 2007, 02:23:16 AM »

One word that would describe our American culture is diversity.  This country isn't called the great melting pot for no reason.
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« Reply #98 on: May 11, 2007, 08:27:26 AM »

Most likely Orthodoxy will follow a similar track to ethnic European (i.e. non Hispanic) Roman Catholicism in this country.  The initial varieties of religious expression, differing pieties, and lack willingness to integrate with one another gave way to an English speaking church largely settled on one common type of Catholicism (i.e. Irish).  The things that at one time would have made a parish or its people distinctively Polish or Slovak or Italian, etc.; such as language, devotions and so on are for the most part disappearing.  There are pockets here and there where you can find evidence of this legacy, but they will slowly fade away.  That is through the ageing or death of the immigrant generations, the dying out of the older Catholic areas, the growth of the South and West.

Most likely what will emerge in North America is an English speaking church centered around one or two types of basic liturgical norms.  Many of the devotions, pieties and small traditions brought by the immigrant generations will likely die out.

I also believe that as Protestants and Catholics begin to take notice of and form responses to Orthodox apologetics aimed at them, they will form effective replies to our criticisms which will likely stem the flow of converts or direct potential converts to them instead.  That will change things as well.
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« Reply #99 on: May 11, 2007, 09:09:05 AM »

I see.
So the solution to this "unity" you guys seek is Eucharistic Apartheid....even in the same parish, on the same Sunday......
The very sign of our unity, the Eucharist, is to be used as a means of dividing a community into seperate enclaves.
It just gets better.... Roll Eyes

George,

You're getting bent out of shape over nothing.  In reality, it is a practical solution (and temporary) to a real problem.  Many immigrants who came to America came from communist backgrounds (Serbs, Bulgars, Russian, Albanian etc...).  It has been a positive step getting these people to Church in the first place.  Next, you have a certain "comfort level" they fell with the Liturgy given in their native tongue.

Now, the Church I spoke of, isn't seeking to divide the congregation, but speaking to a few practical realities.  The first is that their congregation is too large to accomodate everyone for one Liturgy.  Second, is that they are *accomodating* people temporarily as a means of "bringing them home" (so to speak).

I mean, would I like to snap my fingers and have instant unity where everyone agrees with everything?  Yes.  But is that practical? No, not at all.  These things take time and patience.  If bringing unity comes to North America, it will come by God's will and by his calendar, not ours.

At my sister's parish, I believed they started to introduce English Liturgy as a means of "gettting people ready" for what must come.  However, would it be better to go English (cold Turkey) and probably scare off 70% of the congregation?  Who benefits from that?
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« Reply #100 on: May 11, 2007, 08:41:04 PM »

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No, I don't believe you did; I was reading through the post waiting to see what these great standards of American culture, which you desire to integrate into the Church, actually are. Alas, you don't seem to have ever really reached that point. Yes, you mentioned linguistics, but that's all you really mentioned and you mentioned it in addition to culture. I personally don't know that I would actually like to see those who refuses to go to the Orthodox Church for linguistic reasons in the Church, but that's just me. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Churches use English and they tend to move towards the use of English long before the demand to do so is truly there, so this issue is effectively moot. But linguistics aside, what are these elements of 'American Culture' that you would like to see integrated into the Church?


Re read my post again. I said america is a predominatly western european -anglo saxon culture. This is particularly true throughout the "red states". You can bash on it all you want, but it is the reality of the situation. As I said in my prior post, any highly populated place has a diverse populus. This is true of almost any place throughout the whole world. I explained in detail about this in my prior post. The U.S is an English speaking country, it is the official language. This should be the language of the mission parashes. Greek or Russian is irrelivant to the avergae Joe here in the U.S. If there are ethnic Orthodox who need to have a parish which supports their language needs, then so be it. I don't think anyone would have a problem with it. I think SouthSerb is right. There are obviously some regional differences in the U.S but there are many cultural common denominators. Let new england develop their style, let the midwest develop their style, and California their style. This is my point. Like nacho said, the church should adopt the culture it is in and sanctify it. Orthodoxy isn't about making people greek or russian. It is about uniting people to Jesus.

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I have mixed feelings about my country; after all my forefathers both fought to establish it and fought to dissolve it. As for my culture, I'm quite fond of it, but I'd qualify it as a western American culture; those in other regions really have little in common.

I guess for you the grass is greener on the other side. I am proud of my american heritage. As different as various regions can be, there are sitll common denominators. If a person from Springfield MO, Boston MA, Los Angeles CA, and Dallas TX were all living in a community in Greece, Russia, or just about anywhere else, you can be assured they would all know each other and affiliate with each other.

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I can appreciate some, but others are simply vile; and I'm not afraid to make this known.

As Elder Cleopa says, you need to have the loving heart of a mother towards everyone. You must look for the good in all people. We are all "vile" to one degree or another, you must have love.

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But what is this culture? That was my question, it was not whether or not it existed.

Do you not believe that there is an american culture?? How do you define culture?? As I said earlier, I explained it in my prior post, and will refer you to it. Do you deny culture exists?


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Well, a fortunate aspect of our current political system and constitutional protections is that, in this country at least, no one can be forced to conform to another culture; though if this refusal extends to the linguistic realm one may find themselves economically disadvantaged.

You gotta love America

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Having been compelled to spend several months in the midwest over the past year I don't know whether this is a good or a bad thing. Your 'average joe midwesterner' is a boring lot, I don't know that they ever overcame their agrarian mindset, even though they have moved into cities and work in industry. I had to spend a few weeks in Springfield, IL and during that time, since I'll rarely go more than a week or two without Sushi, I came to crave the same; unfortunately none could be found closer than Champaign; the longer I stayed in the midwest the more difficult it became for me to associate with them on a cultural level.

Now, in the South I was a bit more comfortable, though the culture was clearly different than mine. I was quite comfortable in Appalachia, probably because my Great-Grandparents were born there. Other places in the South are a bit different, but other than the more religious elements of that culture, which are quite disturbing to me, I am quite happy in that culture. Southerners, in general, seem to have a better understanding of history and slightly more individualistic tendencies (significantly more so in Appalachia) than thier midwestern counterparts.

I hated New England, the three years I spent there, and most the people I met outside the Greek Community (no offence intended to those from New England on this board, I'm speaking in very general terms of cultures and societies). I can safely say that I have nothing in common with them culturally. They had no respect for the individual, valued security over liberty, and were generally most inhospitable. They were not Americans in the sense that I had been taught the term.

Because of these experiences I no longer insist on being culturally American, but rather culturally a westerner; I don't believe there is an 'American Culture' which spreads from the Pacific to the Atlantic, rather there are several regional cultures, which are quite different even though they may share a similar language. I share a common culture and understanding with those born and raised west of the continental divide. We are a more individualistic and libertarian (and generally less religious) people than are found in other reigons; we are a people united not by having ancestors who established roots together, but rather by having ancestors who all broke these roots at one point in history to move west, to live free in relatively unpopulated areas.

Those east of the continental divide are different peoples and of different cultures, some of which I love and appreciate, others I abhor. Of course, even on this side of the continental divide there are a few sub-cultures that are a bit different, such as that surrounding San Francisco and a pacific costal culture found up and down the coast within about 30 miles of the ocean (beyond that you're generally in the mountains and will find a more generic western culture, or a major city depending on where you are located).

Yet, even though I can recognize the existance of various reigonal cultures throughout these united States. I fail to see what elemens need integrated into the Orthodox Church. I assume you are not insisting that a Confederate Flag be placed on the iconostasis or that a priest dress in traditional western wear. So how exactly do you propose we incorporate 'American Culture' into the Orthodox Church? It it something as trivial as what food is eaten after liturgy? Because that's about all I can think of at the time being. If you want to add a midwestern flare, feel free to bring mashed potatoes and overcooked vegetables to your next parish luncheon.

I am sorry for your negative experiences of being an American. I would still encourage you to look at all with love. I sense a slight hostility in your tone towards America. If this is an emotional issue for you, then I don't know if you can be reasoned with. You might have to work it out on your own.

As far as most integrating american culture into the church, I propose we do it the same way all the other cultures have done. There are slight variations on vestments, feasts, ect... The slavic countries do it one way, the latins (romanians) do it another, the greeks another,.... the "T"raditions cannot change but the "t"raditions can change. America can organically incorperate their own traditions over time on a whole range of things while being equally Orthodox.  I would expect that we would use an ecclectic approach. The average churches, unless there is a need, should be in english. This is not unreasonable. If there is a predominantly hispanic community in a border state, then let the liturgy be in spanish.

I am all for North America having it's own autonimous church. The Mexicans should have their culture and customs and the canadians theirs. This is reasonable.

As for the average joe american, who can blame him for not wanting to go to a church that is in another language. This is natural for all humans. Thank God there are great Orthodox parashes and Mission parishes which clear the ethnic hurdles for the average joe. This is the future of Orthodoxy in the U.S.




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I think anyone is free to form their own community, or as many communities as they want.  But enough fascism, it has no place in the church or in america.

Come on now Elos. Don't stoop to using exagerations or charges like "fascisim". This is riddiculous.


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In addition to being so diverse with so many immigrants and such a constant influx still, America is young.  THAT is part of the difference between America and England per se.  England has been around for many more centuries. 

I still don't see your line of reasoning. Because the U.S is not 1000 years old, it doesn't qualify to have its own culture??? Explain the logic. When is it long enough to have its own culture?? 1000 years 2000 years?? Current day America obviously has it's own culture. Any Psychologist, Sociologist or Historian will tell you that. I guess Mexico and Candada are too young to have their own culture as well?? There is obviously no such thing as Mexican culture right??
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« Reply #101 on: May 11, 2007, 10:34:29 PM »

Re read my post again. I said america is a predominatly western european -anglo saxon culture.

So this is the orign of the cultures present; this doesn't mean there is a uniform culture throughout these united States. French, Scottish, and Irish cultures are all Celtic...does this mean that they should all be identified as one culture? Or to directly extend the argument you seem to be making, England and Australia are also 'predominately western european -anglo saxon cultures', so should they be regarded as the same culture of these united States?

My question, however, was more along the lines of what 'American cultural' elements (other than Language) need to be integrated into the Church? And, thus far, I really have not received a direct answer. Please give me specifics and how, other than in matters of language, is the Church failing you on a cultural level.

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This is particularly true throughout the "red states". You can bash on it all you want, but it is the reality of the situation.

Well, first of all, the red states and blue states are roughly equal in population, with the blue states having slightly more people I believe; so to say that something that a 'red state' culture defines American culture is absurd. But I won't belabour this point too much because I believe the distinction beween a 'red state' culture and a 'blue state' culture is inherenty flawed. This should be clear to anyone who realizes that the 'red state' Indiana has far more in common with the 'blue states' Michigan, Illinois, Wisconson, etc. than it does with other 'red states' such as Lousiana, Idaho, or South Carolina. Or that the 'blue state' Oregon has far more in common with the 'red state' Idaho than it does with fellow 'blue states' New York and New Jersey.

The cultural divides in this country are reigonal, not political. A california liberal is not a 'liberal' for the same reason that a New York liberal is a 'liberal'; and a Montana conservative is a 'conservative' for very different reasons than a Georgia 'conservative'. And each of these people are culturally closer to those of the opposite political persuasion in their own reigon than they are to those of the same political party in other reigons. From a cultural perspective, 'red state' 'blue state' is a false dichotomy.

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As I said in my prior post, any highly populated place has a diverse populus. This is true of almost any place throughout the whole world. I explained in detail about this in my prior post.

And a diverse populace leads to different cultures; the fact that they are citizens of the same country does not mean they have the same culture...unless you want to start arguing that the cultures of Quebec and British Columbia are one and the same. Perhaps they should also have to speak the same language...being in the same country and all.

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The U.S is an English speaking country, it is the official language.

Well, technically we don't have an 'official language', but that is another discussion for another day.

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This should be the language of the mission parashes.

Ok, I can see your argument here, I disagree with it but at least it makes sense to me. What I still don't understand is how you want to change the Church, other than in matters of linguistics, to become more 'american.'

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I guess for you the grass is greener on the other side. I am proud of my american heritage.

As am I, and that is why I have a profound respect for the founding ideals of this country, and for my ancestors who fought for these ideals...both in the Revolution and in the War Between the States. And this pride in my heritage is exactly the reason why I have mixed feelings for this country. My forefathers helped establish it, believing in the ideal of self-determination, and they also resisted the same when the union threatened that same right. Or would you have me be ashamed of my heritage and dismiss the sacrifice of my ancestors who fought for the rights of their states and self-determination.

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As different as various regions can be, there are sitll common denominators. If a person from Springfield MO, Boston MA, Los Angeles CA, and Dallas TX were all living in a community in Greece, Russia, or just about anywhere else, you can be assured they would all know each other and affiliate with each other.

And Greeks and Russians do the same here in these united States...but here you are decrying them for this; arn't we being a tad bit hypocritical? But with that said, I would argue that this is only for linguistic reasons, if there were a large number of midwesterners, new englanders, and westerners in another country, they would tend to gather with their like kind. As is the case with the Greeks who came to this country, in areas with a large Greek population you see communities form around Greeks from similar areas, Cypriots in one place, those from the North in another, Athenians in yet a third.

Of course, if you remove the linguistic element, I dont know that what you say above is true. If I was in Australia, for example, I think I would be far more likely to affiliate with someone from the area before I affiliated with a 'typical' Bostonian.

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As Elder Cleopa says, you need to have the loving heart of a mother towards everyone. You must look for the good in all people. We are all "vile" to one degree or another, you must have love.

And in some cases we're all better off if we keep to ourselves.

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Do you not believe that there is an american culture?? How do you define culture?? As I said earlier, I explained it in my prior post, and will refer you to it. Do you deny culture exists?

I do not deny that reigonal cultures exist, wherever there are people there is culture, I merely deny that a common, unified, American culture exists. As to how I would define culture, I believe that is a book unto itself, but in brief it is a common understanding of the world and one's interaction with it. This would extend from certain significant philosophies, such as individualism vs. collectivism, to far more accidental elements such as food and clothing.

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I am sorry for your negative experiences of being an American. I would still encourage you to look at all with love. I sense a slight hostility in your tone towards America. If this is an emotional issue for you, then I don't know if you can be reasoned with. You might have to work it out on your own.

Oh, it's not really an emotional issue; sure there are emotions attached with experiences, as is always the case, but my like or dislike of any reigon or peoples throughout these united States is not so intense as to preclude rational discussion; it's not like talking to me about the Mohammedans, where I just want to see their destruction, no if's and's or but's about it.

But quite frankly, I dont think I expressed any negative experiences of being an American, my experiences with my culture are quite good and positive. It is only in interacting with foreign cultures, such as that of the New Englanders, where I have had negative experiences. Of course, the common consensus amongst many us from other reigons at the seminary was that New England wasn't really part of the United States. The main point is that there are different cultures in different reigons, and when I go elsewhere I am aware that they are different than me, their worldview is different than mine, they grew up in a different cultural context. Now if I go to Idaho (where I did my undergraduate) or Colorado (where my grandfather lives) I dont experience this difference, but that is because they are westerners, they are culturally the same people; this is simply not true of Southerners (whose culture I love dearly) or of New Englanders (of whose culture I am not so fond), they are different peoples, with different customs and different cultures.

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As far as most integrating american culture into the church, I propose we do it the same way all the other cultures have done. There are slight variations on vestments, feasts, ect... The slavic countries do it one way, the latins (romanians) do it another, the greeks another,.... the "T"raditions cannot change but the "t"raditions can change.

So how do you suggest we change our vestments to be more 'American'? What feasts should we add? (Thanksgiving, perhaps, but as it falls in the middle of the fast of the Nativity, I doubt most people would like the technicalities of adding it as a fast, it would mean that we would eat fish, not turkey...most people (both ethnic and American) are probably happier with the status quo, where we just kinda ignore the fast (assuming we're fasting in the first place, which isn't a big issue in the more ethnic communities) on that particular day.) Are you suggesting we remove feasts? Because I think that's a really bad idea...I love feasts, the more the merrier. Wink

Basically I'm asking for specifics. Other than the language issue, what's wrong? What needs to change? And why?

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America can organically incorperate their own traditions over time on a whole range of things while being equally Orthodox.  I would expect that we would use an ecclectic approach. The average churches, unless there is a need, should be in english. This is not unreasonable. If there is a predominantly hispanic community in a border state, then let the liturgy be in spanish.

What traditions do we need to incorporate into the Church? You can't expect everyone to change to fit your ideal if you can't even tell us what this ideal is.

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I am all for North America having it's own autonimous church. The Mexicans should have their culture and customs and the canadians theirs. This is reasonable.

Is this what you want? A church government based on American culture and ethnicity? That's called phyletism, geography is the only factor that should be taken into account in matters of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

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As for the average joe american, who can blame him for not wanting to go to a church that is in another language. This is natural for all humans. Thank God there are great Orthodox parashes and Mission parishes which clear the ethnic hurdles for the average joe. This is the future of Orthodoxy in the U.S.

It's not natural for me, and I know many other people who would side with me on this one...so apparently it's not natural for all humans. It's really just a matter of personal preference. I personally hate going to liturgies in English, it just doesn't sound right. But again, this is just personal preference.
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« Reply #102 on: May 12, 2007, 01:01:29 AM »

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My question, however, was more along the lines of what 'American cultural' elements (other than Language) need to be integrated into the Church? And, thus far, I really have not received a direct answer. Please give me specifics and how, other than in matters of language, is the Church failing you on a cultural level.

First of all, the language is the first of the problems. As I have said over and over and over again, it is ok for a parish with special needs to celebrate in a different language; however, this is not evangelical. The average american does not know greek, serbian, russian, romanian, ect... We are an english speaking nation. These languages are utterly forgein to the majority. They don't work for the average joe american. You may like them, and not like english liturgies, but your preference is an exception to the majority.



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So how do you suggest we change our vestments to be more 'American'? What feasts should we add? (Thanksgiving, perhaps, but as it falls in the middle of the fast of the Nativity, I doubt most people would like the technicalities of adding it as a fast, it would mean that we would eat fish, not turkey...most people (both ethnic and American) are probably happier with the status quo, where we just kinda ignore the fast (assuming we're fasting in the first place, which isn't a big issue in the more ethnic communities) on that particular day.) Are you suggesting we remove feasts? Because I think that's a really bad idea...I love feasts, the more the merrier.

Basically I'm asking for specifics. Other than the language issue, what's wrong? What needs to change? And why?


You wrongly implied that I said the church has "failed me". My critique of the ethnic churches is that they are not evangelical. They have not done a great job at spreading the Holy Orthodox faith to the americans. Many of these parashes are more interested in sticking to themselves. They put hurdles for american visitors to jump over. Thank God for the OCA and particularly the Antiochians for their understanding of the american culture and doint what it takes to spread Holy Orthodoxy to america.

This is what I said about the vestments

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As far as most integrating american culture into the church, I propose we do it the same way all the other cultures have done. There are slight variations on vestments, feasts, ect... The slavic countries do it one way, the latins (romanians) do it another, the greeks another,.... the "T"raditions cannot change but the "t"raditions can change. America can organically incorperate their own traditions over time on a whole range of things while being equally Orthodox.  I would expect that we would use an ecclectic approach. The average churches, unless there is a need, should be in english. This is not unreasonable. If there is a predominantly hispanic community in a border state, then let the liturgy be in spanish.

I don't know or care how the vestments might vary to an american style. I was using that as an example. Other things we can develop is our style of iconography, and hymnography. As far as the feasts go, I have seen different cultures celebrate different feasts differently. That is the point I was making.


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What traditions do we need to incorporate into the Church? You can't expect everyone to change to fit your ideal if you can't even tell us what this ideal is.


I already addressed that in my prior post. The traditions will organically come. I am not a hymnographer or an iconographer, ect... so I wouldn't know, but I will support these things as they come. The american visitors must know they are welcome and not walking into a culture club when they visit. The first time I ever visited an Orthodox church, it was at a greek orthodox church. I came in and no one spoke to me, some even looked at me wierd. I didn't understand what was going on, it all looked pretty, but wierd to me, and at first I wrote it off a irrelivant. This has happened countless times to others. The exclusive attitude has to stop.

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And a diverse populace leads to different cultures; the fact that they are citizens of the same country does not mean they have the same culture...unless you want to start arguing that the cultures of Quebec and British Columbia are one and the same. Perhaps they should also have to speak the same language...being in the same country and all.

Again, I think I made myself clear in a prior post. If french is the language of the land, let the liturgy be in french, if it is english let it be in english, and if it is spanish let it be in spanish.

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Ok, I can see your argument here, I disagree with it but at least it makes sense to me. What I still don't understand is how you want to change the Church, other than in matters of linguistics, to become more 'american.'

The language is the first and primary change that needs to take place. Second it needs to be more evangelical. and third, american needs to incorporate it's own 't'raditions over time like I said in my prior post (hymnography, iconography, vestments, ect..). The natives of the land need to feel like they don't need to become greek or russian to become orthodox.

The churches that stay in ethnic gettos will continue to become irrelivant to american society.

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And Greeks and Russians do the same here in these united States...but here you are decrying them for this; arn't we being a tad bit hypocritical? But with that said, I would argue that this is only for linguistic reasons, if there were a large number of midwesterners, new englanders, and westerners in another country, they would tend to gather with their like kind. As is the case with the Greeks who came to this country, in areas with a large Greek population you see communities form around Greeks from similar areas, Cypriots in one place, those from the North in another, Athenians in yet a third.


I said the americans would affiliate with one another. I wasn't using it in a religious context. I was pointing out that there were common denominators in our culture. That in fact we do have a culture (which is obvious to psychologists, sociologists and historians) If people are using church as more of a culture club and being irrelivant to society then I have a problem. I think the ethnic churches have to reach out to americans. It is the obligation of the church, I don't care what country you are in.

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it's not like talking to me about the Mohammedans, where I just want to see their destruction, no if's and's or but's about it.

You should pray that God helps you forgive them. They are in error and have persecuted the church. I would like to see them return to Christ.

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[ do not deny that reigonal cultures exist, wherever there are people there is culture, I merely deny that a common, unified, American culture exists. As to how I would define culture, I believe that is a book unto itself, but in brief it is a common understanding of the world and one's interaction with it. This would extend from certain significant philosophies, such as individualism vs. collectivism, to far more accidental elements such as food and clothing.
/quote]

There are different layers to culture, but I think we can speak in generalities. America is historically and presently a western european anglo-saxon culture. One day it may be a latino country, especially if americans do not want to procreate, but for the time being this is the reality of our culture.

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Is this what you want? A church government based on American culture and ethnicity? That's called phyletism, geography is the only factor that should be taken into account in matters of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

I think north america should have it's own church yes absolutley. I know ethnic hieromonks who believe the same way. Most of the clergy I have met believe the same way. I agree with them. I don't think the ecclisiology of the church should make up any particular race, i could care less. I am for one bishop over one city or dioceses. I don't like the overlapping that is going on. It's not right. I am against the status quo. It is like something you would find in protestantism.

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It's not natural for me, and I know many other people who would side with me on this one...so apparently it's not natural for all humans. It's really just a matter of personal preference. I personally hate going to liturgies in English, it just doesn't sound right. But again, this is just personal preference

I said it's natural for all humans to like churches that speak their same language. Of course there are small exceptions, which you of course knew what I meant, but you are in a very small small minority. You don't represent the majority of americans. If you like the forgien language services then thats fine, I could care less. Whatever floats your boat. The typical american joe wants to hear the services in his own language.
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« Reply #103 on: May 12, 2007, 01:21:24 AM »

The average american ...... the average joe american. ....typical american joe....
Christianity is not for "average people" who want to live "average lives". It is a call to a life which is often contrary to the "average" life of those in the world. I'm finding it a little disheartening that your grand vision for Orthodox Christianity in North America is that it should be mediocre. Wink
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« Reply #104 on: May 12, 2007, 01:29:12 AM »

Ah, so as I suspected this who culture tirade is nothing more than a thinly veiled rant against the use of non-english languages. By culture you really didn't mean culture at all, you meant language (throwing in some unknown potential future customs yet to be developed, nothing like being specific). So, since the guise of academic discussion has been thrown off and the old language rant has reemerged, without further ado:

You may not particularly care what I want or prefer liturgically, but that's ok because I dont particularly care what you or your mythical 'average joe' wants. If you 'average joe' wants english speaking 'American culture' Church, the Episcopal Church is right down the road and he is more than welcome to it (not that I really wish such a person upon the Episcopal members of this board, so you're free to point him in the direction of the nearest Free Church); infact, if he's going to whine and complain about the language at Orthodox Churches not being in English, I would much prefer he attend his local Episcopal or Protestant Church where I'm sure he'll find something else to complain about, perhaps he can even participate in a schism at that Church separating the Eighteenth Baptist Free Church of Christ from the Seventeenth Baptist Free Church of Christ. Thankfully, the majority of Orthodox have not rushed headlong down the path your propose and still maintain the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church.

(Sorry Elisha, but it was inevitable that we would have to split and go our own ways at some point over the course of this discussion Wink)
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« Reply #105 on: May 12, 2007, 02:18:31 AM »

Ah, so as I suspected this who culture tirade is nothing more than a thinly veiled rant against the use of non-english languages. By culture you really didn't mean culture at all, you meant language (throwing in some unknown potential future customs yet to be developed, nothing like being specific). So, since the guise of academic discussion has been thrown off and the old language rant has reemerged, without further ado:
Is academic discussion going to save our souls?

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You may not particularly care what I want or prefer liturgically, but that's ok because I dont particularly care what you or your mythical 'average joe' wants.
In the end, it really doesn't matter what anyone wants.  The only thing that matters is that the Church obey its commission to make disciples of all nations, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of the people.

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If you 'average joe' wants english speaking 'American culture' Church, the Episcopal Church is right down the road and he is more than welcome to it (not that I really wish such a person upon the Episcopal members of this board, so you're free to point him in the direction of the nearest Free Church); infact, if he's going to whine and complain about the language at Orthodox Churches not being in English, I would much prefer he attend his local Episcopal or Protestant Church where I'm sure he'll find something else to complain about, perhaps he can even participate in a schism at that Church separating the Eighteenth Baptist Free Church of Christ from the Seventeenth Baptist Free Church of Christ. Thankfully, the majority of Orthodox have not rushed headlong down the path your propose and still maintain the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church.
What are the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church, and what does this require of us?  Does this mean that we should reestablish the Byzantine Empire and liturgize only in Greek and according to the typikon in use in Hagia Sophia?  I'm sure you'd love this.  Wink  (Of course, I say all the above with a halfway tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.)
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« Reply #106 on: May 12, 2007, 02:54:55 AM »

1) Autonomy.
Autonomy is not the "norm" in the Orthodox Church. It is not a "natural evolutionary stage" of a local Church, and should not be viewed as such. Autonomy, most often, comes about as a failure in Church unity, as a breakdown in relationships in the Church. It is hardly an ideal for the Body of Christ. Local Church synods cannot (and should not) model themselves on the Boston Tea Party. If we really want a Church which transcends nationalism, we can't just keep doing the same thing which the Churches we see as inordinately "nationalist" are doing; otherwise, we are contradicting ourselves.

2)Absorption of Culture vs. Imposition of Culture.
There is a natural absorption of culture which occurs in the Church as a direct result of her mission in the world, and which the Church has has regularized through her blessings. In the Orthodox Church, when an object is blessed with prayer, the sign of the Cross and with holy water, we understand that it is a sanctification of the object for it's proper use. Our homes are blessed at Theophany so that they may become what a Home is supposed to be, a safe and nurturing environment, and not a place where people are abused and traumatized. We bless automobiles to be transport for the People of God, and not as getaway cars for robberies and ram raids. We bless our food with prayer and the sign of the Cross before we eat it, so that it's proper use for our nourishment can be fulfilled, and not so that it can be used for gluttony. The Church is here to sanctify our culture as well. On Palm Sunday in the Greek Orthodox Church here in Australia, the custom has developed of tying a Palm leaf Cross to branches of Australian Native Plants such as Wattle and Euchalyptus leaves and blessing and distributing them. In Greece, the same thing happens with Olive leaves. At Theophany, the Orthodox Church here blesses Australian waters to their proper use. The Church blesses buildings (such as shops, hospitals, nursing homes) here in Australia to their proper use. These are not "Orthodox Christian" shops, nursing homes, etc. These are Australian industries which the Church is being invited to bless. The Church is sanctifying the objects of Australian culture gradually.
Now contrast this with the demand that the Church immediatley accept, without reservation, every aspect of a particular culture. Rather than the Church sanctifying the culture, the culture imposes itself on the Church in a relationship equivalent to rape.
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« Reply #107 on: May 12, 2007, 03:37:14 AM »

1) Autonomy.
Autonomy is not the "norm" in the Orthodox Church. It is not a "natural evolutionary stage" of a local Church, and should not be viewed as such. Autonomy, most often, comes about as a failure in Church unity, as a breakdown in relationships in the Church. It is hardly an ideal for the Body of Christ. Local Church synods cannot (and should not) model themselves on the Boston Tea Party. If we really want a Church which transcends nationalism, we can't just keep doing the same thing which the Churches we see as inordinately "nationalist" are doing; otherwise, we are contradicting ourselves.
Can you defend this thesis?  On the basis of what evidence from Tradition do you argue that autonomy is NOT the norm?  What does the word 'autonomy' mean to you?
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« Reply #108 on: May 12, 2007, 04:01:50 AM »

Is academic discussion going to save our souls?

Quite possibly, 'academic discussion' or 'objective discussion' allows us to address an issue without emotional baggage; it is the only way to seek viable and realistic courses of action. It's not enough to be right, you must also be reasonable, eloquent, and convincing.

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In the end, it really doesn't matter what anyone wants.  The only thing that matters is that the Church obey its commission to make disciples of all nations, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of the people.

The Gospel has been preached to the nations, it's predominately a gentile Church today if one hasn't noticed. But tired Clichés aside, what ultimately matters are the opinions of the Episcopacy and their interpretation of thier commission. And according to said Episcopacy, at least in several jurisdictions, our primary concern is the maintaining of and witnessing to ethnic communities, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of said communitiy.

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What are the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church, and what does this require of us?  Does this mean that we should reestablish the Byzantine Empire and liturgize only in Greek and according to the typikon in use in Hagia Sophia?  I'm sure you'd love this.  Wink  (Of course, I say all the above with a halfway tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.)

Oh, I dont believe it necessary to restablish the political traditions, though I must confess that the Church is quite handicapped, dare I say incomplete, without an Emperor; yet even taking that into consideration, we are probably better off without the reestablishment of a monarchy. But, of course, it does go without saying that we in the diaspora should liturgize only in Greek and only in accordance with the typikon of the Great Church of Christ. Wink
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« Reply #109 on: May 12, 2007, 05:38:00 AM »

The Gospel has been preached to the nations, it's predominately a gentile Church today if one hasn't noticed. But tired Clichés aside, what ultimately matters are the opinions of the Episcopacy and their interpretation of thier commission. And according to said Episcopacy, at least in several jurisdictions, our primary concern is the maintaining of and witnessing to ethnic communities, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of said communitiy.
Considering the sizes of some of our ethnic communities, I actually have no problem with making sure we continue to meet their spiritual needs, just so long as we encourage them to open up to their Orthodox brothers and sisters in other ethnic communities (as opposed to maintaining the closed ethnic fortress mentality that's dominated most of the last century) and as long as the needs of our English speaking people are met.  We cannot afford to neglect the needs of one community as we reach out to another.

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Oh, I dont believe it necessary to restablish the political traditions, though I must confess that the Church is quite handicapped, dare I say incomplete, without an Emperor;
You might say that, but I don't, unless that Emperor is Jesus Christ Himself.  Wink

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yet even taking that into consideration, we are probably better off without the reestablishment of a monarchy. But, of course, it does go without saying that we in the diaspora should liturgize only in Greek and only in accordance with the typikon of the Great Church of Christ. Wink
How does one say 'Greek' in Slavonic?  Huh
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« Reply #110 on: May 12, 2007, 12:31:56 PM »

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The Gospel has been preached to the nations, it's predominately a gentile Church today if one hasn't noticed. But tired Clichés aside, what ultimately matters are the opinions of the Episcopacy and their interpretation of thier commission. And according to said Episcopacy, at least in several jurisdictions, our primary concern is the maintaining of and witnessing to ethnic communities, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of said communitiy.

If the primary concern of the episcopacy in several jurisdictions is to maintain a witness to ethnic communities, I would have to say that they are not really doing a great job. Not only are they NOT attracting the majority of the English speaking native population they are surrounded by, they are losing their OWN ethnic members fast. I will even give you a few good examples of what I'm talking about. Here in Springfield Missouri, we have less that five Romanians in the only Orthodox Church in the area, but yet the Pentecostals seem to have attracted enough Romanians where they now have over 400 members in one of their local churches alone. When I lived in Sacramento, I saw the same thing happening, even with there being a Romanian Orthodox Church in the area. The Protestants for some reason had the better outreach in not only attracting different ethnic groups, but at the same time had a healthy growing population of native born Americans also. I have noticed this phenomenon in other ethnic jurisdictions also. I hate to say it, but I believe the charges that Protestants and Roman Catholics put forth against us have some merit. You can't remain an exclusive Orthodox ethnic club and expect to retain members. That's not what Christianity is about and it has obviously caused us problems in that we are even losing members in some parts of the Church. I believe there should be a healthy balance ultimately, and the ethnics down the road will have to face the reality that at some point they are going to have to become more 'open' and engage in some evangelism to keep the doors to the Church from closing.
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« Reply #111 on: May 12, 2007, 12:44:37 PM »


(Sorry Elisha, but it was inevitable that we would have to split and go our own ways at some point over the course of this discussion Wink)

Alas, I knew it would be inevitable.   Wink  I think you just haven't been to any GOOD english Liturgies before.  You to need to come back out west, you know, your home.  I know of at least a few parishes that have them.
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« Reply #112 on: May 12, 2007, 08:34:51 PM »

If the primary concern of the episcopacy in several jurisdictions is to maintain a witness to ethnic communities, I would have to say that they are not really doing a great job. Not only are they NOT attracting the majority of the English speaking native population they are surrounded by, they are losing their OWN ethnic members fast. I will even give you a few good examples of what I'm talking about. Here in Springfield Missouri, we have less that five Romanians in the only Orthodox Church in the area, but yet the Pentecostals seem to have attracted enough Romanians where they now have over 400 members in one of their local churches alone. When I lived in Sacramento, I saw the same thing happening, even with there being a Romanian Orthodox Church in the area. The Protestants for some reason had the better outreach in not only attracting different ethnic groups, but at the same time had a healthy growing population of native born Americans also. I have noticed this phenomenon in other ethnic jurisdictions also. I hate to say it, but I believe the charges that Protestants and Roman Catholics put forth against us have some merit. You can't remain an exclusive Orthodox ethnic club and expect to retain members. That's not what Christianity is about and it has obviously caused us problems in that we are even losing members in some parts of the Church. I believe there should be a healthy balance ultimately, and the ethnics down the road will have to face the reality that at some point they are going to have to become more 'open' and engage in some evangelism to keep the doors to the Church from closing.

Nacho,  I agree with you.
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« Reply #113 on: May 12, 2007, 09:57:33 PM »

I still think SouthSerb's idea of multiple altars in the same building to facilitate multiple languages is the most practical and innovative way to address these problems.  Members of the same family from different generations are both served that way, and you can be sure that there will be cross-communication, positive interaction and learning both ways.  English speakers can help the immigrants who are trying to integrate in their new home and immigrants can help converts understand orthodoxy in a living and personal way.  Both can help to educate each other and their children.  People who speak English will have the opportunity to learn other languages through liturgy and friendship, which is great.  Non-english speakers will have opportunity to learn and practice english in a relaxed atmosphere of love (hopefully).  Separate buildings, separate locations on the otherhand keeps the two groups of people separate, and often church life becomes a struggle to pay the bills and stay open.  Or worse, the younger generation loses interest and becomes protestant.  Combine resources and much of that pressure is relieved to some degree, and perhaps more money can be allocated for education and charity.

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« Reply #114 on: May 12, 2007, 11:52:56 PM »

I still think SouthSerb's idea of multiple altars in the same building to facilitate multiple languages is the most practical and innovative (See Peter's comment below) way to address these problems.  Members of the same family from different generations are both served that way, and you can be sure that there will be cross-communication, positive interaction and learning both ways.  English speakers can help the immigrants who are trying to integrate in their new home and immigrants can help converts understand orthodoxy in a living and personal way.  Both can help to educate each other and their children.  People who speak English will have the opportunity to learn other languages through liturgy and friendship, which is great.  Non-english speakers will have opportunity to learn and practice english in a relaxed atmosphere of love (hopefully).  Separate buildings, separate locations on the otherhand keeps the two groups of people separate, and often church life becomes a struggle to pay the bills and stay open.  Or worse, the younger generation loses interest and becomes protestant.  Combine resources and much of that pressure is relieved to some degree, and perhaps more money can be allocated for education and charity.

I have to agree with what Ozgeorge said in the following quote regarding multiple altars:
So the solution to this "unity" you guys seek is Eucharistic Apartheid....even in the same parish, on the same Sunday......
The very sign of our unity, the Eucharist, is to be used as a means of dividing a community into seperate enclaves.
It just gets better.... Roll Eyes

Why not have a Russian Liturgy which everyone attends one Sunday, a Greek liturgy which everyone attends the following Sunday, an Arabic Liturgy which everyone attends the following Sunday and an English Liturgy whuich everyone attends the following Sunday?

There is a reason why we can Canonically only celebrate one Liturgy on one Altar per day.

This is one canonical norm that we must all uphold: ONE Body of Christ manifested locally in the Eucharist, ONE Eucharistic altar.  I support much more a practice of which Bishop BENJAMIN (OCA-DOW) has spoken regarding a church in southern California that serves the Sunday Liturgy in Slavonic once a month (for the large Russian community there) while serving it in English all the other Sundays.  At least in this scenario the parish remains united around ONE common altar.


Quote
... practical and innovative ...
In many respects these terms actually strike pious Orthodox ears as bad words, and for good reason, IMO.
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« Reply #115 on: May 13, 2007, 05:02:28 AM »

Well, just having these different Orthodox overlapping jurisdictions that put their ethnicity first sounds very unOrthodox to me. Orthodoxy has always been about adopting the culture of the country it happens to be in and respecting the customs of the land. Wherever Orthodoxy has gone, its missionaries took great care and time to learn the language and culture first before presenting the gospel message. It's pointless to call a church Serbian or Greek when you are not in Serbia or Greece respectively. This is a BIG turn-off to the majority that would even think about visiting an Orthodox Church here. Until we drop the ethnic names and become more open, ethnic type parishes will continually decline in numbers unfortunately. This just doesn't work for the majority of Americans.   

this is quite possibly the best analysis on this thread.
I remember reading Tony Horowitz (author of Conferates in the Attic) book about Captain Cook's journeys last summer. He re-traces Cooks voyages. Every Christian group comes off looking pretty bad in the eyes of the indigenous people today everywhere he travelled, EXCEPT in Alaska. The native people hold St. Herman and St. Innocent and the Russian monks in extraordinary high esteem, especially how they protected them and preserved their culture over against the Russian fur traders.

And this isn't an isolated example. Evangelicals spent most of the last half of the 20th century trying to develop a culturally sensitive and respectul missiology. All they needed to do was study Orthodox missions historically.

Except in North America.

That love and respect of culture seems to be peculiarly lacking in this one instance. It is the singular missiological mis-step in 2000 years of history (okay, I'm not a church historian and I am sure some on-line wizkid can debate that point) but I am generalizing.

A couple of reasons:
Except for the Russians in Alaska - no Orthodox came to America for missiological purposes.

old world Orthodox rightly sent priests to America to serve its imigrants, but no evangelistic strategy accompanied them

By default Orthodox churches became reservations of cultural preservation in the new world

The outcome of second and third generation ethinic Orthocox: Orthodox off-spring who assimilated became secular; Orthodox offspring who maintained religious devotion greatly personalized their faith; the third group assimilated in terms of lifestyle, values, etc. but kept a veneer of Orthodoxy for nationalistic/family/ethnic/sentimental purposes

Oh that we could view North America as a mission field and love its people, culture and institutions ( it is a rather grand place where you can practice your faith freely and assimilate to the degree you want to and advance economically)rather than be IN REACTION to (check your preferred bogey man)
protestant culture
catholic culture
secular culture
the enlightenment
western culture
the big bad American empire
materialism
liberalism
conservativism
materialism
capitalism


PS before responding to this post, all non- North Americans, please note your biases

PPS There is much in American history to cringe and be ashamed of - chief being ethnic claensing of native Americans and slavery and american apartheid toward blacks. Also some of its empire-esque  escapades - not that some Orhtodox have anything against empires, they just don't like America doing the empiring -  But America has been the beacon of freedom  to the world since the first settlers stepped on the shores of Virginia 400 years ago
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« Reply #116 on: May 13, 2007, 12:40:06 PM »

Oh that we could view North America as a mission field and love its people, culture and institutions ( it is a rather grand place where you can practice your faith freely and assimilate to the degree you want to and advance economically)rather than be IN REACTION to (check your preferred bogey man)
protestant culture
catholic culture
secular culture
the enlightenment
western culture
...

The Orthodox Church being introduced into this Country is inherently a reaction against the Protestant Culture and, unfortunately, far too often it is also a reaction against the enlightenment. Perhaps something that we should keep in mind is that America doesn't need Orthodoxy, it needs America far more than America needs it. America was founded upon a secular enlightened ideology, deism was truly our founding religion; yes, there was and is a strong protestant influence, mostly amongst the lower and middle classes, but religion really only grew in settled communities and it is the unsettled pioneer and frontiersman who is the heart and soul of America (at least this is true in the most of the West, perhaps less so in the more established communities of the East).

Thus in many ways, we are doing a disservice to America by attempting to spread the Orthodox faith, especially in the sad state we currently find it. Today the Orthodox Church is recovering from both the impact of Communism and the T**kish occupation, we have yet to produce the kinds of theologians necessary to modernize the Curch, we are still held back by folk superstitions, unenlightened reactions against social egalitarianism, and a cloistered anti-ecumenist mentality. Until we overcome these things we have little to offer to any people save the psychologically unstable fringe of the American (or other Western) Cultures (myself included).

So until we can make several fundamental changes to the Church, I do not believe it possible to be anything other than a reaction against Protestant, (modern) Catholic, and Western Culture and the Enlightenment. So while I actually agree with the above quoted paragraph, I submit that the only real solution is to reform our Church before we attempt to introduce it into foreign Cultures and Societies.

Quote
PS before responding to this post, all non- North Americans, please note your biases

Well, then, in all fairness I'm an American so I'm clearly biased; perhaps we can hear more objective analyses from those not so intimately involved in the current situation.

Quote
PPS There is much in American history to cringe and be ashamed of - chief being ethnic claensing of native Americans and slavery and american apartheid toward blacks. Also some of its empire-esque  escapades - not that some Orhtodox have anything against empires, they just don't like America doing the empiring -  But America has been the beacon of freedom  to the world since the first settlers stepped on the shores of Virginia 400 years ago

Well, I'm not ashamed of these things, they were necessary for the growth and prosperity of our republic. Now I am glad that they are gone and hope they never again return, but I am not ashamed, I am not sorry, and I will not apologize for myself or my ancestors: their actions are justified by the current position of this Republic amongst the community of Nations.
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« Reply #117 on: May 13, 2007, 03:19:36 PM »

Well, I'm not ashamed of these things, they were necessary for the growth and prosperity of our republic. Now I am glad that they are gone and hope they never again return, but I am not ashamed, I am not sorry, and I will not apologize for myself or my ancestors: their actions are justified by the current position of this Republic amongst the community of Nations.
If the cycle of social ills that is perpetuated by western colonial political philosophy, driven by the phoney concept of "individual happiness" leads to mutual annhilation, then it would be a great shame.  I cannot justify the actions of my ancestors, who believed lies, by celebrating that USA is the most fat and happy nation.  If the position of this nation declines, and another nation becomes preeminant, will their founding fathers become your polidols?
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« Reply #118 on: May 13, 2007, 04:27:23 PM »

If the cycle of social ills that is perpetuated by western colonial political philosophy, driven by the phoney concept of "individual happiness" leads to mutual annhilation, then it would be a great shame.  I cannot justify the actions of my ancestors, who believed lies, by celebrating that USA is the most fat and happy nation.  If the position of this nation declines, and another nation becomes preeminant, will their founding fathers become your polidols?

My ancestors are responsible for building and expanding this Nation until it reached its current place in the world. If we decline in the future, it is the fault of this and subsequent generations, not of the previous generations, their actions have clearly lead to success.
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« Reply #119 on: May 13, 2007, 09:17:08 PM »

The Orthodox Church being introduced into this Country is inherently a reaction against the Protestant Culture and, unfortunately, far too often it is also a reaction against the enlightenment. Perhaps something that we should keep in mind is that America doesn't need Orthodoxy, it needs America far more than America needs it. America was founded upon a secular enlightened ideology, deism was truly our founding religion; yes, there was and is a strong protestant influence, mostly amongst the lower and middle classes, but religion really only grew in settled communities and it is the unsettled pioneer and frontiersman who is the heart and soul of America (at least this is true in the most of the West, perhaps less so in the more established communities of the East).

Thus in many ways, we are doing a disservice to America by attempting to spread the Orthodox faith, especially in the sad state we currently find it. Today the Orthodox Church is recovering from both the impact of Communism and the T**kish occupation, we have yet to produce the kinds of theologians necessary to modernize the Curch, we are still held back by folk superstitions, unenlightened reactions against social egalitarianism, and a cloistered anti-ecumenist mentality. Until we overcome these things we have little to offer to any people save the psychologically unstable fringe of the American (or other Western) Cultures (myself included).

Is EVERYTHING we see in the Church today merely a product of our interaction with the surrounding culture?  What role does the ministry of the Holy Spirit play in your conception of the Church?  Is there such thing as timeless, eternal Truth, or is doctrine defined purely in accordance with the whims of the current age?
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« Reply #120 on: May 13, 2007, 11:22:55 PM »

So while I actually agree with the above quoted paragraph,

Well, then, in all fairness I'm an American so I'm clearly biased; perhaps we can hear more objective analyses from those not so intimately involved in the current situation.


That is quite possibly a first GiC, agreeing with me on anything! Tongue

And you are quite possibly right. It is probably moreso the Americans that do all the American culture bashing on these boards. Our Brit, Aussie and Canadian friends are probably more tolerant of us than we are of oursleves and they have to deal with many of the same issues in their own cultures. America is just more  commercial and over-the-top.
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« Reply #121 on: May 13, 2007, 11:37:57 PM »

Is EVERYTHING we see in the Church today merely a product of our interaction with the surrounding culture?  What role does the ministry of the Holy Spirit play in your conception of the Church?  Is there such thing as timeless, eternal Truth, or is doctrine defined purely in accordance with the whims of the current age?

I think the work of the Holy Spirit is evident in that Orthodox Christians are at least raising these types of questions. A generation or so ago that might not have been the case. The work of the Spirit is also seen in what Fr. Chris has related and also Tamara and the Orthodox students movement.

The Truth of course is timeless, but it's application may not be fixed in stone, especially from one culture to another. I think, because of Communism and Islamic conquest of the Christian east alot of these issues were either back burnered or taken off the stove. Orthodoxy may be a messy affair at times, but I think that people saying that it is and that we would like to see it get better is positive and a movement of the Holy Spirit.

And, for us converts, the irony is that we were attracted to Orthodoxy because it doesnt change on a whim. It might take a couple centuries. So, we will likely never see the changes we long for. Our great-great-grandchildren might. And, in a twisted sort of way, that may be a blessing and perfectly in keeping with why we were drawn to Orthodoxy.

I also realize that what I have just written pretty much contradicts alot of what I have already posted on this thread. But sometimes you step back, look at your primary arguments and not only see the other side, but sort of feel the other side a bit yourself. (BTW, this is exactly why I find the higher critical method laughable; a liberal Bible scholar would surely view this post as a later redaction, inserted into the text to deal with a local issue that arose generations later. One author could never have written all the posts attributed to BA).  Undecided
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« Reply #122 on: May 14, 2007, 12:53:07 AM »

I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.

Neither Greeks, Serbians, Romanians (or any particular one ethnic group) invented Orthodoxy. In fact, if you were to ask each of these groups separately about certain matters in regards to the Church, they would probably have some minor disagreements. Americans are LUCKY because we have Greeks, Serbians, Romanians and all the other ethnic groups represented here. This is great because it allows us to get a full view of the Orthodox faith; however when each of these groups remain exclusivist to the dominant culture (which is English speaking), they do a grave disservice not only to each other, but also to native born Americans and more especially to Holy Orthodoxy itself.

I would add that the majority of Americans are from western European background. Although most of them would find other cultures interesting, unless they have prior connections to a particular ethnic group (they themselves are married to or are dating a particular person from said ethnic group), they probably are not interested in becoming Greek, Romanian, or Serbian...... Native born converts to Orthodoxy owe a debt of gratitude to previous generations of Orthodox from various countries that have come here because without them its quite possible that we wouldn't have Orthodoxy at all here. If a group of American Orthodox went to Romania and demanded that the services should be in English in a particular parish, Romanians would think it would be very rude. I can understand immigrants wanting to stay in touch with their culture (language, customs, food etc.), that's all well and good, but it's a completely different matter when talking about Holy Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #123 on: May 14, 2007, 01:36:18 AM »

So what is 'American Culture'?

The 'what' is not something that can be quantified in a short list or sentence. American culture is really a few 'cultures' inside a larger Anglo civilization. Interesting that even the Nazis considered 'the West' as their enemy, embodied in the USA and UK (including the Commonwealth of Nations.) And really, that is what American culture is - Albion unchained. It is what gives Westerners so much in common with Australians and Kiwis, Canadians so much grief over their similarities/dissimilarities with Yankees, and the discomfort almost everyone seems to feel about us Southerners (we're almost *medieval*.)

I suppose the short answer is that for American culture, beginning from any other ethnicity, would be 'you can't get here from there'. Without Anglo ideas of Freedom (which literally means 'the rule of friendship'), Common Law (with Magna Carta), Lowland Scots ideas of the rights of nations and the nobility of man (Arbroath Declaration, and more), and much more Western and particularly British or English - one couldn't have America. We did get here from 'there' (in fact, America preserves much of 17th - 18th c. Britain, things the 'Homeland' and the rest of the Commonwealth grew out of - it is called 'colonial conservatism'.) America's foundations begin within the first generations of the Anglican schism and have *everything* to do with that history, as well as with what was happening in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and among the West Slavs - though to a lesser degree than the importance of events in Great Britain and Ireland.

America *is* a place, it is a people with a core population who descend in every sense from the founders. America has a language, values, laws, customs, local history - everything required of a particular culture. It is *NOT* simply a political idea or 'corporation' that one can ascribe to. To love America is not to be bound to a specific ideological creed, but is very much love of a particular bit of the planet, and of a people with common history and relation to one another.

We do have an American tradition, and there are still many of us who are neither deracinated nor forgetful of it that we have lost any identity or connection. In fact, it is something we simply are and cannot escape by changing names, diet, of affecting other languages or accents (religion, however, is not simply part of culture - which in any case, there is no 'American religion'. If there is any American position on religion, it is 'have religion' and 'seek Truth'). We have American English as our heart language (in fact, most often our *only* language for good or ill.) Some might find it expedient to ignore that baggage (taking the 'counter-culture' option like the Hippies, and 'dropping out') - most of us can't, we have to engage it. We swim in it - so to speak, so better to clean the water out than try to find a new pond.

(Again, I'll point to David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" - which is problematic in some parts, but on the whole is a sound thesis that is also *obvious* to the unlearned in America, as its what they were raised in and with. Its a beginning point though, though I'm glad to discuss both the living tradition of being an American as well as further academic or popular works for those who are interested, or do not have the experience of the American tradition.)
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« Reply #124 on: May 14, 2007, 01:49:34 AM »

Nacho,

Once again I whole heartedly agree with you. You sir are wise beyond your years! My wife is Romanian, and I appreciate the Romanian culture; however, with all of the Romanians in town, we can't get more than 4 or 5 to show up to church on pascha;however, the romanian penticostals can keep 400+ and growing in their church. I just don't get it.

I think that the OCA and even moreso the Antiochians are what Orthodoxy will primarily look like in the United States. I believe this is what the Holy Spirit is doing. We need more of that evangelistic spirit!

What I like about my parish is that about 65% of the parish are converts from Assemblys of God,and the other half are a mix of Indians, Russians, Ukranians, Greeks, ect. It is truly diverse, but has an evangelical spirit.
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« Reply #125 on: May 14, 2007, 07:44:55 AM »

I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.
And who might they be, Nacho?
Perhaps you haven't heard any arguments from them because they don't exist except in your head. Wink
Unless, of course, you have the guts to name the posters you are referring to instead of making cowardly sweeping statements.
Objecting to the establishment of yet another nationalist Church does not automatically render one an "ethno-centrist"- in fact, it's the opposite.
You are the one who wants to establish a nationalist Church based on the nation's dominant culture, yet you label anyone who questions this as an "ethno-centrist"! It's incredible that you don't see the irony!

And so far, for all the talk about "culture", it all comes back down to linguistics.....
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« Reply #126 on: May 14, 2007, 11:41:00 AM »

Quote
Perhaps you haven't heard any arguments from them because they don't exist except in your head.
Unless, of course, you have the guts to name the posters you are referring to instead of making cowardly sweeping statements.

Come on now george, I thought you were above making personal attacks calling people "cowardly". This isn't the language that is used in effective dialog. Remember we are all Christians here.

Quote
Objecting to the establishment of yet another nationalist Church does not automatically render one an "ethno-centrist"- in fact, it's the opposite.
You are the one who wants to establish a nationalist Church based on the nation's dominant culture, yet you label anyone who questions this as an "ethno-centrist"! It's incredible that you don't see the irony!


I think that Nacho has laid out an effective argument about the ethno-centrist churches. As Nacho, myself and others have stated, it is those who use the church as a culture club and do not reach out and evangelize the culture that have the problem.

Quote
And so far, for all the talk about "culture", it all comes back down to linguistics.....

Again, you need to re read the posts. Yes Language is the big one, but America does have it's own unique culture. I beleive Aristibule summarized it great in his last post.
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« Reply #127 on: May 14, 2007, 01:16:36 PM »

I should do more than summarize. One thing I note is that most of the caricatures we get of American culture are actually describing the counter-culture which has been at war with American culture for quite a long time. Arguments about 'secularism', 'deism', 'individualism', 'capitalism' - all break down when compared with real American culture (and sure, there are some Americans that think that is America, but then again - they're deracinated, and I mean that not as an insult, but in the clinical sense. They're cut off from the roots, which explains their identity crisis and need to join another people.)

Like it or not, America is:

1. A religious nation, in fact - the most religious in the world. Over 189 million Americans claim to be Christian, the next two largest Christian populations (Brazil and Mexico) don't even approach that. Secularism, Atheism, Deism - these are actually all quite outside the norm for America. American religion is also by its nature more than a market, but is most often militant (especially here in the Backcountry.) In the Northeast, it may be a 'private matter', but in the South and West it is a matter of public theological apologetic, argument, and yes - proselytization. If you don't invite folks to your Church, they're going to try to get you to join theirs. That is the kind of environment we are in fact dealing with. Noting, that the 'ecumenicism' is not all that American, though some Americans hold to the idea - by far, the American population is anti-ecumenical, and of the firm belief that everyone else should be as they are: Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. Whether or not we offer Orthodoxy, they're going to push whatever they've got 'by any means necessary'. NOTE - America is not *PAGAN* but *CHRISTIAN*, and an inheritor of Christendom. That means everything belonging to the Church (especially the pre-Schism West) is the birth-right of every American (and, I don't mean that exclusively for Americans, but for every other Western country as well.)

2. American 'individualism' is nothing more than a media mythology. In the Northern parts of the country, the community is still the basis of life - an individual doesn't stand a chance vs. the neighborhood, the town, the 'public body'. In the South and West, the family (by which we mean all relatives, not just parents and siblings) is the basis of our society. Individualism simply means nothing where decisions have to take the opinions, advice, and vetoes of parents or other members into account. 'Individualism' in America is simply a youthful desire, not a reality of life.

3. Materialism - again, along with 'Nihilism', another item that does not describe the American culture, but the counter-culture. Americans may more often be pragmatic, but they aren't as a body all that materialistic. They do hold spiritual values, but what those values are can seem pure chaos. Refer back to 1, Americans are as a whole religious and complain vociferously about 'materialism', 'secularism', etc. Those aren't outside voices, but American complaints against a foreign body; which, oddly enough - many Americans consider to be European in origin - blame the French ... or the Soviets. Wink

Of course, there is much more to say... my point again is that we Orthodox (especially in America) shoot ourselves in the back again  everytime we confuse the victim with his disease. Kill the cancer, not the cancer patient.
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« Reply #128 on: May 14, 2007, 02:24:02 PM »

I think that Nacho has laid out an effective argument about the ethno-centrist churches. As Nacho, myself and others have stated, it is those who use the church as a culture club and do not reach out and evangelize the culture that have the problem.

I think it's unwise to point fingers at unnamed masses of the faithful - shouldn't this be approached as a series of comments by those feeling excluded and a general pastoral strategy at every parish?
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« Reply #129 on: May 14, 2007, 05:14:51 PM »

Come on now george, I thought you were above making personal attacks calling people "cowardly".
Interesting that you quoted everything from my post except the one point for it's existence:
I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.
And who might they be, Nacho?
It's not that difficult. Clearly Nacho is saying that there are posters on this thread who are "ethno-centrists". I'd like him to name who they are. Or perhaps you can do it for him?

Cowards.....
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« Reply #130 on: May 14, 2007, 07:00:46 PM »

Here, here to Aristabule's last two posts. Or, perhaps more in keeping with the American South, Amen and Amen, brother!

(I spent seven of the happiest years of my life in Greenville, SC)

I think the "foreign bodies" analogy is perhaps a better description of the "isms" (materialism, secularism) than the term counter cultural. They are like bacterias and viruses.

Once again, thank you. I am simply NOT going to sneer at my culture and all of its wonderful history. It's a great place. Otherwise, why the heck did all those Orthodox immigrants come here in the first place? Also, it IS pretty religious and Christian, even yet today.
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« Reply #131 on: May 14, 2007, 09:51:29 PM »

The 'what' is not something that can be quantified in a short list or sentence. American culture is really a few 'cultures' inside a larger Anglo civilization. Interesting that even the Nazis considered 'the West' as their enemy, embodied in the USA and UK (including the Commonwealth of Nations.) And really, that is what American culture is - Albion unchained. It is what gives Westerners so much in common with Australians and Kiwis, Canadians so much grief over their similarities/dissimilarities with Yankees, and the discomfort almost everyone seems to feel about us Southerners (we're almost *medieval*.)

Yet, 'the west' is not one uniform Culture, it involves both Germanic and Celtic influences as well as various local differences. English culture is not Scottish Culture is not Australian Culture is not American Culture.

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I suppose the short answer is that for American culture, beginning from any other ethnicity, would be 'you can't get here from there'. Without Anglo ideas of Freedom (which literally means 'the rule of friendship'), Common Law (with Magna Carta), Lowland Scots ideas of the rights of nations and the nobility of man (Arbroath Declaration, and more), and much more Western and particularly British or English - one couldn't have America.

And it should be noted that the Lowland Scots are neither Anglos nor Saxons, they represent a vital Celtic influence in the Americas.

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We did get here from 'there' (in fact, America preserves much of 17th - 18th c. Britain, things the 'Homeland' and the rest of the Commonwealth grew out of - it is called 'colonial conservatism'.) America's foundations begin within the first generations of the Anglican schism and have *everything* to do with that history, as well as with what was happening in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and among the West Slavs - though to a lesser degree than the importance of events in Great Britain and Ireland.

While English culture was dominate and heavily influential along the seaboard, it was far less influential on the frontier. There the Ulster-Scots, being forced out of the populated areas by the English, became the dominate culture, and their cultural influence became the basis of frontier, and later western, culture. As time went on indigenous phenomena related to the westward expansion also began to shape frontier culture directly and the more established eastern cultures indirectly. Of course, in all of this the cultural divide between North and South, in large part a result of agrarian versus industrial culture, cannot be ignored.

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America *is* a place, it is a people with a core population who descend in every sense from the founders. America has a language, values, laws, customs, local history - everything required of a particular culture. It is *NOT* simply a political idea or 'corporation' that one can ascribe to. To love America is not to be bound to a specific ideological creed, but is very much love of a particular bit of the planet, and of a people with common history and relation to one another.

I disagree, America is a diverse people and consists of diverse cultures, already at the time of our Declaration of Independence Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, etc. were culturally distinct. These several states were united only by a common ideology, a valuing of liberty above security and the right of self-determination. The immediate cause of the War Between the States was the fact that the South deemed these ideals to be no longer held in common. Of what use is this land without the ideals on which it was founded?

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We do have an American tradition, and there are still many of us who are neither deracinated nor forgetful of it that we have lost any identity or connection. In fact, it is something we simply are and cannot escape by changing names, diet, of affecting other languages or accents (religion, however, is not simply part of culture - which in any case, there is no 'American religion'. If there is any American position on religion, it is 'have religion' and 'seek Truth'). We have American English as our heart language (in fact, most often our *only* language for good or ill.) Some might find it expedient to ignore that baggage (taking the 'counter-culture' option like the Hippies, and 'dropping out') - most of us can't, we have to engage it. We swim in it - so to speak, so better to clean the water out than try to find a new pond.

We have traditions, we have cultures, we have identites...but we do not have a unified tradition, culture, identity, etc. There is no 'American Culture', though there are several American cultures. What I am insisting is that as a westerner, I am as culturally distinct from a New Englander as they are from an Englishman or an Australian. You seem to be attempting to diminish the significant of our regional cultures by attempting to force them into some monstrous generic mold labeled 'American Culture'.
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« Reply #132 on: May 14, 2007, 11:31:48 PM »

I should do more than summarize. One thing I note is that most of the caricatures we get of American culture are actually describing the counter-culture which has been at war with American culture for quite a long time. Arguments about 'secularism', 'deism', 'individualism', 'capitalism' - all break down when compared with real American culture (and sure, there are some Americans that think that is America, but then again - they're deracinated, and I mean that not as an insult, but in the clinical sense. They're cut off from the roots, which explains their identity crisis and need to join another people.)

Capitalism...Individualism...Deism...not central to 'American culture'? Perhaps in some regions...but by no means universally.

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Like it or not, America is:

Let's see.

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1. A religious nation, in fact - the most religious in the world. Over 189 million Americans claim to be Christian, the next two largest Christian populations (Brazil and Mexico) don't even approach that. Secularism, Atheism, Deism - these are actually all quite outside the norm for America.

A lot depends on both class and reigon. The Baylor study, 'American Peity in the 21st Century' found that only 16% of Americans making <35k/year believed in a distant (uncritical and uninvolved) diety, 37% of those making >100k/year had such a view of God. A similar divide is found amongst the educated and uneducated. Culture is largely a matter of class, this is no less true in America than it is in the Old World. Of course, region also has a significant impact; only 22% of Southerners believe in a distant God, whereas 30% of Westerners do, more than any other region. Even more telling is the difference in belief in an Authoritarian God, one both involved with and judgemental of human behaviour: in the South, 44% have this view of their God (the highest of any region), whereas in the West only 21% maintain this view (lowest of any region). It must also be kept in mind that this survey includes both the more pious hispanic and mormon populations, I am curious to know what the statistics would be for the West if these groups were excluded.

Time recently included data about Americans and religion in a demographics survey when the national population reached 300,000,000. Part of this is an interesting map about religious affiliation in America:

http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/denomination_nation/

Also click on the buttons for Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, and Roman Catholic which should reveal quite about about regional cultural influence of various religions. If you keep in mind that most the religious population of Utah and south eastern Idaho is LDS, and subtract much of the Roman Catholic population from the counties along the Southern border (which is mostly a result of the Hispanic community), you will find that indepentant of the Hispanic and Mormon communities (which are really subcultures of the west), we are not very religious out here in the West.

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American religion is also by its nature more than a market, but is most often militant (especially here in the Backcountry.) In the Northeast, it may be a 'private matter', but in the South and West it is a matter of public theological apologetic, argument, and yes - proselytization.

Perhaps in certain places of the South and Midwest, but certainly not in the West, most people here arn't religious, and most who are will generally leave you alone. Of course, for the vast majority of people this is true throughout the country, even of those who believe in an Authoritarian God (the most common in the South), according to the aforementioned poll, only 22% believe that 'To be a good person it is very important to convert others to your religious faith.' Amongst those who believe in a distant God (most common in the West), only 0.3% believe this. Normalized for the entire population, only 13% of Southerners hold this view, and 10% of Westerners, representing the two regional extremes (though one must remember that Mormons, a highly agressive evangelical sect, are rather influential in the Western statistic).

Also of note (related to the prevalence of Deism), only a 26% of Americans respnded that they believe that 'Jesus is the Son of God' (yet 27% are Biblical Literalists, go figure). These numbers very from the two extremes (the West is actually the least religious of all Regions, even when you include the Mormons and Hispanic community) of 23% and 22% in the West and 28% and 33% in the South, respectively.

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If you don't invite folks to your Church, they're going to try to get you to join theirs. That is the kind of environment we are in fact dealing with.

Maybe in the South and Midwest, but not in the West and Northeast.

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Noting, that the 'ecumenicism' is not all that American, though some Americans hold to the idea - by far, the American population is anti-ecumenical, and of the firm belief that everyone else should be as they are: Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. Whether or not we offer Orthodoxy, they're going to push whatever they've got 'by any means necessary'. NOTE - America is not *PAGAN* but *CHRISTIAN*, and an inheritor of Christendom. That means everything belonging to the Church (especially the pre-Schism West) is the birth-right of every American (and, I don't mean that exclusively for Americans, but for every other Western country as well.)

America is, generally, not ecumenical only because it's not religious. Most have no religion and don't care whether or not you do...America is secular.

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2. American 'individualism' is nothing more than a media mythology. In the Northern parts of the country, the community is still the basis of life - an individual doesn't stand a chance vs. the neighborhood, the town, the 'public body'. In the South and West, the family (by which we mean all relatives, not just parents and siblings) is the basis of our society. Individualism simply means nothing where decisions have to take the opinions, advice, and vetoes of parents or other members into account. 'Individualism' in America is simply a youthful desire, not a reality of life.

In the Northeast, South, and Midwest, this may be true...but that's part of the reason many in the West don't regard them as true Americans. Individualism is very much alive in the West, not only in the classical Western culture found in the mountains, but even in Western urban areas. They tend to be far less community oriented than most Eastern cities (San Francisco being a possible notable exception, but the city suffers from being too old and well established). The fact of the matter is that most people don't have well established roots in the West (and those who do are steeped in pioneer culture), and thus have relatively little tie to either community or family (it's not all that uncommon to move to another city so you dont have to deal with family more than a few times a year).

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3. Materialism - again, along with 'Nihilism', another item that does not describe the American culture, but the counter-culture. Americans may more often be pragmatic, but they aren't as a body all that materialistic. They do hold spiritual values, but what those values are can seem pure chaos. Refer back to 1, Americans are as a whole religious and complain vociferously about 'materialism', 'secularism', etc. Those aren't outside voices, but American complaints against a foreign body; which, oddly enough - many Americans consider to be European in origin - blame the French ... or the Soviets. Wink

Are you talking about the same American I am? World's largest consumer? World's largest consumer of oil and energy? World's number one producer of greenhouse gasses? (not that I think this is a problem, though that is a discussion for the political board, but it does demonstrate the consumer (read materialistic) nature of our society).

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Of course, there is much more to say... my point again is that we Orthodox (especially in America) shoot ourselves in the back again  everytime we confuse the victim with his disease. Kill the cancer, not the cancer patient.

I really don't know if you have a good grasp of what the demographics of America are...small Southern towns are the (extreme) exception, not the rule.
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« Reply #133 on: May 14, 2007, 11:43:32 PM »

Yet, 'the west' is not one uniform Culture

Exactly - which is why I used the term civilization - a 'super-culture'.

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And it should be noted that the Lowland Scots are neither Anglos nor Saxons, they represent a vital Celtic influence in the Americas.

BS - that's *my* folk you are talking about, and we are indeed Anglos (though not Saxons.) It was the Angles who lived in Bernicia, built up Edinburgh, gave rise to the Riding clans, the Northumbrian dialect that became the guid Scots tongue (our ain tongue), and is the basis of our Uplands Southern dialect. Whatever the diverse origins of our people back in Alba (Scandinavian, Angle, Pict, Briton, Flemish, Norman, Gael) - they gained a unified Anglo culture before they came over to America, the 'Scotus domesticus'. Wild Scots (Scotus silvanus) only really settled in Nova Scotia and Cape Fear to any great degree.

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While English culture was dominate and heavily influential along the seaboard, it was far less influential on the frontier.

Hardly - that's just the Rushdooney Revisionist school. It seeks to 'Calvinize' the South, and through subterfuge to make them into Crypto-Yankees - Puritans in Southern clothing. To begin with, most of 'Scotch-Irish' were in fact North British. The 'Celtic' vs. 'Saxon' divide is largely a product of 19th c. Irish immigrant clique maintenance. Like it or not, 'Celtic' really only applies to the Cape Fear / Peedee valley settlements (where my people are from), and the Welsh towns of Pennsylvania. Everyone else was *Anglo*-Celtic - they spoke, and do speak, English as their mother tongue (whether the Tidewater Southern English dialect, or the Scots derived Upland Southern English dialect.)

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These several states were united only by a common ideology, a valuing of liberty above security and the right of self-determination.

Actually, there was no common ideology. I'll point you to another of Fischer's works: "Liberty and Freedom, a Visual History of America's Founding Ideas." Regionally, we did (and still have) very different ideas and language with regard to what being 'free' means.

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You seem to be attempting to diminish the significant of our regional cultures by attempting to force them into some monstrous generic mold labeled 'American Culture'.

And, again - I say one thing, you accuse me of saying the opposite. What you are 'insisting' upon is saying the same thing I just said, but claiming it as your own idea. There is an American civilization which has American cultures (four main cultures, to be precise - that match pretty much with the four main American regions, dialects, etc.) No one proposed a 'monstrous generic mold', least of all myself.
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« Reply #134 on: May 15, 2007, 12:13:48 AM »

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It's not that difficult. Clearly Nacho is saying that there are posters on this thread who are "ethno-centrists". I'd like him to name who they are. Or perhaps you can do it for him?

Ozgeorge, clearly there are some here that seem rather 'ethno centric'. I find some of greekishchristians views quite absurd. All I have been saying is that there needs to be a certain balance in the Church on this issue. I'm not making any claims that we should do away with people's cultures. The problem is that people's 'cultures' are impeding on the services in Holy Orthodoxy, thus dividing people along ethnic lines and driving away potential converts; also the net effect of losing members in some parts of the church. Above I said we are LUCKY to have all these ethnic groups here in America because it gives us a better picture and view of the Orthodox faith. Where I disagree again is dividing the Church along ethnic lines with services done in a language that only the old timers & first generation type immigrants understand. Ask the younger Greek crowd why they don't attend Liturgy these days, most likely you'll get a response such as not understanding what's going on in the service and other confusion about why we even attend church, along with the beliefs of the faith. I think my views are a fair assessment and speak toward the REALITY of the current situation in some parts of the Church. 
« Last Edit: May 15, 2007, 12:28:09 AM by Nacho » Logged

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