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Author Topic: Ethnicity and the Church  (Read 21387 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: June 01, 2007, 12:56:26 PM »

I understand very well what you mean, George.  There is the place that one has known that has a deep spot in one's heart/mind that is sometimes not where one has to live.  It's not something that can be turned on like a light switch or just forced on one.  I've lived in the East (coast of the US) for a bit over 30 years.  But it's not "home", not the place that is my root like Montana is.  Pennsylvania and Maryland are ok, but there's not the same deep feeling of "place" as it were. 

So why continue to torture yourself over there on the east coast? Personally it took about 5 months before I just had to come back west, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania are nice enough places and I'm sure I'll be back to visit at some point, but certainly not places to live. Montana is an infinitely greater place, more open spaces, better people, more freedom...I could live in Montana, but not Maryland.
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« Reply #136 on: June 01, 2007, 05:47:22 PM »

So why continue to torture yourself over there on the east coast? Personally it took about 5 months before I just had to come back west, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania are nice enough places and I'm sure I'll be back to visit at some point, but certainly not places to live. Montana is an infinitely greater place, more open spaces, better people, more freedom...I could live in Montana, but not Maryland.

What? You've left Maryland?  We never got a chance to meet in person.  Well, rats.  Wink  Where are you now, if one may ask?

In answer to your question, a lot of Montanans leave the state  when they become adults because there aren't always lots of jobs available. Some leave, like a cousin in law to go for education that isn't available there; he just graduated from Medical School in, I think it was, West Virginia because there are no such schools in Montana.  He's planning to go back since there's always a need for doctors and nurses.  We have some good universities, but they may not cover everything.   I left to get an education and eventually moved to Maryland for a job.  I  met and married a Marylander (who does like Montana, which is good) and had children here.

During the last election, my mother met Jon Tester running for the Senate.  In conversation he asked her if she had children and if any of them lived in Montana. She told him that all three had left for employment.  He agreed that things need to be done to have more jobs (such as tech since we *do* have computers in Montana  Grin ) come to the state. 

To be fair, there are people who couldn't live in Montana, who prefer cities or coastal areas or things like that.  To quote the old Irish proverb "If we all liked the same thing, there wouldn't be enough to go around.  Smiley

Ebor

P.S.  And just to remind you, there are only 6-7 EO churchs or missions in the entire state and the one that I know for sure is Greek (in Great Falls) hasn't had a priest in years unfortunately. So if you do decide to move there, think of where you want to settle.  Smiley
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« Reply #137 on: June 01, 2007, 06:03:56 PM »

Ebor, my former postdoctoral mentor (E.) was a Montanan who, after obtaining his Ph.D. from the U. of Montana, went to do his postdoctoral studies at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

He said that when he just arrived to Dallas and tried to buy a coke in a convenience store, the store owner asked him, "Daat?"

It took E. a good number of minutes to find out, eventually, that the owner was asking, "daat or rig'lar?"

E. said to himself, "wow, English... I thought that's the only language that I master, but now I guess I was wrong..." Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #138 on: June 01, 2007, 06:17:25 PM »

 Cheesy Grin  Cheesy

That's a good one, George.  And I can understand that as a roommate in college was from Dennison Texas after a few years in Florida so I know something of Texan pronunciation, though now that I think about it, "daat" sounds more Southern (my father is from Virginia. But in nearly 50 years in Montana he's managed to lose most of his southern pronunciations.)

Ebor
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« Reply #139 on: June 01, 2007, 07:41:21 PM »

What? You've left Maryland?  We never got a chance to meet in person.  Well, rats.  Wink  Where are you now, if one may ask?

It's too bad we never had a chance to meet up...but I wasn't there for long. I'm back in California, in a relatively small town in the far north of the state. It's a nice place, great people...though I wish we didn't have the political influence of the cities. (We're working on that www.jeffersonstate.com/ Wink )

Quote
In answer to your question, a lot of Montanans leave the state  when they become adults because there aren't always lots of jobs available. Some leave, like a cousin in law to go for education that isn't available there; he just graduated from Medical School in, I think it was, West Virginia because there are no such schools in Montana.  He's planning to go back since there's always a need for doctors and nurses.  We have some good universities, but they may not cover everything.   I left to get an education and eventually moved to Maryland for a job.  I  met and married a Marylander (who does like Montana, which is good) and had children here.

I can sympathize at least, that's one of the reasons I took the Job in Maryland, there simply arn't any jobs where I come from, yeah I could have went down to Sacramento, San Francisco, or L.A....but no thanks, I'm not too fond of any of those cities. Fortunately, I was able to get myself a job as a Materials Engineer and moved back...I design asphalt and they use that pretty much everywhere (even Montana...last I checked Wink)

Quote
During the last election, my mother met Jon Tester running for the Senate.  In conversation he asked her if she had children and if any of them lived in Montana. She told him that all three had left for employment.  He agreed that things need to be done to have more jobs (such as tech since we *do* have computers in Montana  Grin ) come to the state. 

I almost went to the University of Montana in Missoula, but decided against it because they didn't have a well developed physics department and I was thinking of majoring in physics at the time, so I went to the University of Idaho (In the end, the only class I took that I probably couldn't have had I went to Montana was a class in General Relativity, but I quite enjoyed my time in Idaho). But I love Missoula and area to the North.

Quote
To be fair, there are people who couldn't live in Montana, who prefer cities or coastal areas or things like that.  To quote the old Irish proverb "If we all liked the same thing, there wouldn't be enough to go around.  Smiley

Well, some folk just arn't right in the head. Wink I don't know that I'll ever have a chance to live in Montana (I do have some family there, but they live out in Lewiston...which isn't my favourite part of the state). I'm much more likely to end up in Wyoming or Colorado (I have more family that lives in Northern Colorado on the Western Slope or in Southern Wyoming)...but there's still the problem of getting a job, even as a Construction Materials Engineer the region I would like to move doesn't even have an interstate, so while there is construction it's not exactly booming.

Quote
P.S.  And just to remind you, there are only 6-7 EO churchs or missions in the entire state and the one that I know for sure is Greek (in Great Falls) hasn't had a priest in years unfortunately. So if you do decide to move there, think of where you want to settle.  Smiley

Sounds like a better situation than where I'm from. Of course, for better or for worse, religion isn't so significant part of my life at this point as to dictate where I move. If I wanted to go to church on a regular basis I would have no problem going to an Episcopal or even Latin Church on a regular basis, and traveling a few hundred miles on major feat days if I wished to commune.
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« Reply #140 on: June 07, 2007, 10:59:15 AM »

It's too bad we never had a chance to meet up...but I wasn't there for long. I'm back in California, in a relatively small town in the far north of the state. It's a nice place, great people...though I wish we didn't have the political influence of the cities. (We're working on that www.jeffersonstate.com/ Wink )

Thanks for the link.  Interesting.  Smiley

Quote
Fortunately, I was able to get myself a job as a Materials Engineer and moved back...I design asphalt and they use that pretty much everywhere (even Montana...last I checked Wink)

Oh yes, some of the roads use that new fangled stuff instead of just leaving it to gravel or dirt. Cheesy  We even have the electric light and the buffalo stampedes stop at the red lights now.  GO seminary to Materiels Engineer... the mind reels.  Wink

Quote
I almost went to the University of Montana in Missoula, but decided against it because they didn't have a well developed physics department and I was thinking of majoring in physics at the time, so I went to the University of Idaho (In the end, the only class I took that I probably couldn't have had I went to Montana was a class in General Relativity, but I quite enjoyed my time in Idaho). But I love Missoula and area to the North.

Huh.  Small world  Smiley  I agree that it's some pretty country in the Montana Rockies... but I like the high plains and the little mountain groups too.

Quote
Well, some folk just arn't right in the head. Wink I don't know that I'll ever have a chance to live in Montana (I do have some family there, but they live out in Lewiston...which isn't my favourite part of the state).

Errrmm, I think you still have some Idaho in mind.  Southeast of my home town is "LewistoWN" Montana and it has mountains around it and plains.  But we don't have to like the same thing.

Quote
Sounds like a better situation than where I'm from. Of course, for better or for worse, religion isn't so significant part of my life at this point as to dictate where I move.

Ah.  Well, Best of luck where ever you are.


Ebor
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« Reply #141 on: June 07, 2007, 11:44:30 AM »

It's too bad we never had a chance to meet up...but I wasn't there for long. I'm back in California, in a relatively small town in the far north of the state. It's a nice place, great people...though I wish we didn't have the political influence of the cities. (We're working on that www.jeffersonstate.com/ Wink )


And so what IS this small town exactly?
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« Reply #142 on: June 09, 2007, 10:23:34 PM »

You guys must be thinking of Northern VA up near DC.  That ain't Virginia!  We can get as rural as you can imagine here, and I can't believe I am saying this, it's a good place to raise kids.  As long as you are several hours away from the DC crowd.  As a transplant from the middle of nowhere N. CA, I thought I would never vouch for this state.  However, if we have trouble finding a parish I can't imagine you would have much better luck in those "wide open spaces".    I would love to move back out west, but dh isn't willing to trade gnats for scorpions-which he thinks are everywhere past the Mason Dixon.  I don't know how ya'll live in the middle without much access to a beach!!
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« Reply #143 on: August 02, 2007, 04:13:13 PM »

The following 8 posts (including this one) were split off from another thread and merged with this one.
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Elisha,

I see that if MP was OCA then his speech could have been better. However, MP is Antiochian and his speech was not bad..... Grin Grin
Maybe...but there are several OCA bishops that I don't have the highest opinion of either.

Is it possible that you do  not favour Arabic bishops Grin Wink?

I think cultural differences between Arabs and non-Arabs are a challenge for them which rubs us white people the wrong way.  I have never heard anything remotely negative about +BASIL Essey though (and I'm guessing he IS Arabic).
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« Reply #144 on: August 02, 2007, 04:22:04 PM »

 Undecided White people?Huh
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« Reply #145 on: August 02, 2007, 04:40:34 PM »

Elisha,

I do not have to make an argument with you anymore.  What did the Arabic Bishops do against you? Another point, you are referring to yourself as  "white" and others not, why? If you want to disagree with someone then it is ok. However, you do not disagree with someone just because he/she looks Arabic,White, Brown, etc...

Again, you need to be open minded and free from this prejudice feelings that is in you. Grin



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« Reply #146 on: August 02, 2007, 05:38:35 PM »

LOL - Arabs are 'White people' (by almost every definition of the idea of 'White'.) Lebanese especially, and culturally they have so much in common with European culture due to constant contact for centuries. Truth is - Arabs are often more culturally transparent to this Anglo-Celt (with good parts of Jewish and Native American), than are most Slavs or Greeks. Only Romanians seem more 'Western' (and, possibly Armenians and Georgians - but only in that they are mountain folk, and for Appalachian/Ozark culture, strangely aren't all that foreign.)

You want to see a White redneck? Take a trip back to Tulsa - there are some Naifehs, Rahals, Bayouths, Barketts and other locals who are so Oklahoman that if one didn't know their names were Arab, you couldn't tell them from the rest of the populace (Anglo or Native.) They talk Southern, cook Southern, fish and hunt Southern, drive Southern, vote Southern - and some of them are fairer than my Scottish Rite Freemason Yellow Dog Democrat White Southern grandfathers. Same goes for Rahals and Salibas down here in the Wiregrass (even more so, as most of them are Methodists now - there was no Orthodox churches for them to go to.) And yes, His Grace Bishop Basil is Arab - American born, Pennsylvania raised.

It is only the Arab language and culture that is foreign - and it isn't all that present in the Antiochian Archdiocese (you really have to go north, or to Canada, to find it all that 'Arab' - it sure isn't in most parts of the country.) I take my grandmother Lebanese food sometimes - she thinks it is German food! (I don't disabuse her of the notion.) The only other thing I'd say is foreign is the rite itself (Byzantine) and the church politics (very mafia-like, which should be familiar to anyone with Mediterranean connections.)

And - if we're going to get into the 'White' thing : there is no 'White' Orthodox church. Slavs weren't (and still aren't) considered 'White' by American society, nor are Romanians, Greeks, etc. Latins (Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, even French) themselves are 'in' or 'out' depend on whose doing the talking. Typically, you have to be German or Celt to be 'White' (and even then, Irish and Germans weren't 'White' a century and a half ago - remember the old American ditty "Dirty dirty Deutsche, aint worth much, but a d***ed sight better than the Irish"?) Us Western Orthodox (all happily with our bishops - Arab, Russian, Romanian, or what) aren't even all that 'White'.
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« Reply #147 on: August 02, 2007, 05:47:32 PM »

Aristibule,

Thanks for your informative and detailed reply.
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« Reply #148 on: August 02, 2007, 06:40:34 PM »


It is only the Arab language and culture that is foreign - and it isn't all that present in the Antiochian Archdiocese (you really have to go north, or to Canada, to find it all that 'Arab' - it sure isn't in most parts of the country.) I take my grandmother Lebanese food sometimes - she thinks it is German food! (I don't disabuse her of the notion.) The only other thing I'd say is foreign is the rite itself (Byzantine) and the church politics (very mafia-like, which should be familiar to anyone with Mediterranean connections.)



We have many Arab immigrants in California too which has infused a middle eastern Orthodox culture back into some of our parishes. The variety of immigrant parishes and parishes started by those who are new to Orthodoxy in our archdiocese has been very enriching. On the one hand, we have devout immigrants reintroducing many customs (ie:Antiochian Byzantine chanting, feast day food specialty items) that were lost over the years. And on the other side of the coin we have been injected with the enthusiasm for evangelism and service to the poor by those who are new to Orthodoxy. It is the best of both worlds and it is very exciting!

I was on the parish council of the church I grew up in and I don't think I would characterize the politics in that parish as mafia-like. The word 'mafia' tends to denote physical violence as a way of doing business. Most of the Arabs I have known are peace loving. But they can be clannish and some are parochial. Sometimes they have trouble having a greater vision for the church.  I think most Arabs view the large successful Greek parishes as a model to emulate but I don't think they realize  how quickly the faith would spread if they instead followed the small, neighborhood parish model like the one I belong to now.
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« Reply #149 on: August 02, 2007, 06:57:04 PM »

For my final reply I'll just post these responses:

I don't know if he's a minority per se, but I know he hasn't been put off by his Christian brethren.  I know for one that Metropolitan +MAXIMOS liked interacting with his fellow hierarchs (and is particularly close to +NICHOLAS of the Carpatho-Rus), but he was furious when Metro +PHILIP wanted to put yet another bishop in Pittsburgh (it was largely due to his protest that the Antiochian see was officially put in Oakland, then in WV).  From his perspective (which I heard firsthand), it was hypocritical of +PHILIP (who talks about unity nonstop, and has a tendency of being accusatory towards his brethren) to speak of a need for greater unity while trying to exacerbate the problem of overlapping diocese.

When some of the other bishops do things like this, it definitely sends the signal to bishops like mine that they're double-speaking (or power hungry).

The above and what I have heard from others are my evidence.  Since I am not under one of these Antiochian bishops, I'm not affected and this is a non-issue for me personally.  I'm only stating what others have said, from what I've heard from others and the behavior I have witnessed from the brief times I've seen +JOSEPH.

Truth is - Arabs are often more culturally transparent to this Anglo-Celt (with good parts of Jewish and Native American), than are most Slavs or Greeks.

...

It is only the Arab language and culture that is foreign - and it isn't all that present in the Antiochian Archdiocese (you really have to go north, or to Canada, to find it all that 'Arab' - it sure isn't in most parts of the country.)

Yes, this is the issue - it is TOO transparent for those that of White Anglo-European ancestry.  They are used to people speaking soft-toned, tactfully and eloquently.  And yes, I would argue that Slavs can be to abrasive as well...as I have witnessed by Slavic practices that have rubbed off on my own choir director and that have caused problems among those in my choir.

While the below was written about Orthodox in the South (as in those Southern states), I believe it applies to all those of Anlgo-European "WHITE" ancestry.  Aristibule, thank you for your elegant academic but completely meaningless diatribe to the point I've been trying to make.  I let these others make them for me since they are much better at it than me.

Quote from: Fr. Joseph Honeycutt
Arabs, Russians, and other cultures are accustomed to hubris and other blustering within daily discourse. In the South, we expect it of politicians. We discourage it in decent folks. Integrity, in the South, is expected of church leaders. Having found the True Faith we’re confused by contradictory words and actions which often emanate from the various jurisdictional hierarchs.

When I first became Orthodox in the Antiochian jurisdiction, someone suggested that I read a book entitled "The Arab Mind" to get a sense of my newly adopted church culture. The book claimed that, in Arabic, the root word for eloquence and exaggeration is the same. An Arab may exaggerate to show machismo. For instance, a man may shout across a street corner to another "I hate you." The other man replies, "I not only hate you, I’m going to kill you!" The man retorts "I’m going to kill you and your family!" Etc. These same men may later be found sharing a friendly meal together. Words fail me in describing how this same dialogue might have ended in the South. Put it this way, funeral processions still stall traffic in these parts.

Contrary to outsiders’ perceptions, Southerners do not put on airs. Though we may be hospitable, friendly, and civil, what you see is what you get. If we share openly with you, it means we trust you. Once you break that trust, it may be irreparable. All are welcomed here. Yet, we are easily offended. If offended, the offending party will be cut off till reparation. Our people-pleasing nature lends itself to over-sensitivity. It just comes with the territory. In the South, admiration comes easy, respect is earned over time.

Like all those outside Paradise, Southerners gossip. In a region where being idle is considered a virtue, idle talk ain’t far behind! I don’t mean the kind of vindictive gossip popularized by Soap Operas and other media. (Though we have that too.) Rather, Southerners carry on conversations in a way that others might view as gossiping. And, God help us, at times it is. Yet, often this is a manner of couching subjects within an engaging tale. It’s the way we talk around here.

Southerners are self-effacing. We can take criticism if it’s properly couched in civility and/or humour. For us, if direct confrontation is necessary, things have already gone too far! Sometimes our neighbors to the North skip all the niceties and cut right to the chase. (Northern aggression continues.) And, since all the Orthodox jurisdictions hail from a different culture with the "home offices" up North, this element of cultural war persists within church dynamics. Brutal honesty is not only unwelcome but most often rejected in the South.

Before attending my first gathering of Clergy and Church Wardens in the Russian Church, I was asked about the nature and agenda of the meeting. I said, "Well, they’ll probably argue and yell at each other for a few hours and then we’ll have lunch. After lunch, they’ll argue and yell some more then we’ll kiss each other goodbye and go home." I’m no prophet, but boy was I ever on the mark with that prediction! In such a setting you can recognize the Southerner -- he’s the one with his mouth shut. If asked, were he honest, he’d say "I think you all are crazy." But, "don’t ask, don’t tell" has always been policy where I’m from. Being slightly dishonest in the name of civility is considered a virtue.

You yell at a Southerner and it may have eternal consequences. When we speak, all that’s required of you is to listen politely until it’s your turn. We don’t take kindly yelling, interruption, jeering, or public ridicule. We may not break bread with you until there’s resolution. You don’t have to agree, mind you. But, you must behave in such a way that assures civil discussion and debate. It may be that we take things personally. But, we operate on the assumption that you do to. Therefore, quite selfishly, the Golden Rule applies no matter what your rank or station.

http://southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com/2004_05_01_archive.html
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« Reply #150 on: August 02, 2007, 07:04:57 PM »

I was on the parish council of the church I grew up in and I don't think I would characterize the politics in that parish as mafia-like. The word 'mafia' tends to denote physical violence as a way of doing business. Most of the Arabs I have known are peace loving. But they can be clannish and some are parochial. Sometimes they have trouble having a greater vision for the church.

Tamara,
According to Wiki, you're not on the mark here - violence it only part of it.  Your latter sentence above is closer to how the word is (maybe improperly) thrown around in common parlance.

"Some observers have seen "mafia" as a set of attributes deeply rooted in popular culture, as a "way of being", as illustrated in the definition by the Sicilian ethnographer, Giuseppe Pitrè, at the end of the 19th century: "Mafia is the consciousness of one's own worth, the exaggerated concept of individual force as the sole arbiter of every conflict, of every clash of interests or ideas."[3]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia
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« Reply #151 on: August 03, 2007, 12:35:43 AM »

Tamara,
According to Wiki, you're not on the mark here - violence it only part of it.  Your latter sentence above is closer to how the word is (maybe improperly) thrown around in common parlance.

"Some observers have seen "mafia" as a set of attributes deeply rooted in popular culture, as a "way of being", as illustrated in the definition by the Sicilian ethnographer, Giuseppe Pitrè, at the end of the 19th century: "Mafia is the consciousness of one's own worth, the exaggerated concept of individual force as the sole arbiter of every conflict, of every clash of interests or ideas."[3]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia

But in American culture when one hears the word, 'mafia,' the first associations that come into most American's minds are violence and criminals. Those other meanings listed in wikipedia are secondary and many of them are not associated with what Americans think about the mafia. I would not describe Arabs as mafioso-like. I take it as an insult to the many devout Arabs I have met to characterize them in that way. In my experience most of them are peace-loving with a few hot heads showing up every now and then (hotheads can be found in every culture. My usually well-mannered, ex-piskie husband is of English/Scottish descent and his temper levels surpass any Arab I have known. Keep in mind there is no Arab (Christian) mafia. There are however Russian, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Romanian mafias.
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« Reply #152 on: August 03, 2007, 01:30:08 AM »

Similar to the Spanish "pondonor" - point of honor- from which that whole machismo-thing comes?
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« Reply #153 on: August 03, 2007, 08:43:23 AM »

Which illustrates the point - make the anthropological observation that Arab culture (and church) shares in something one finds in every Mediterranean culture: mafia behavior, and get a mafia reaction. Wink My grandfather had an extensive library when he passed away - among those volumes was a sociological/anthropological study of Middle Eastern civilization (he worked for a part of the government for whom that mattered.) In that book, there was a description of some fundamentals of Arab civilization. Machismo was one of those, as was the importance of eloquence, of the ability to do physical violence (even if it is only ever threatened), the importance of appearance, the centrality of family and rule by a tribal patriarch, etc. All of these apply to mafia like societies. It includes ways of doing business that can lack openness, etc. For that matter, the Roman curia is mafia like (something that has been noted by Catholic commentators for half a century.) It really doesn't matter what a popular view might be (which can vary widely - if folk haven't noticed, the mafia are popular folk heroes - for reasons I don't understand.) For that matter - an educated Antiochian subdeacon I know, who spends time each year in Lebanon and Syria, is quite proud of the mafia connections in his culture. He pointed out that they get things done on both sides of the pond, and are involved with the church here in America. The point being, there are Lebanese who fully understand what some of us mean when we say that Antiochian (or Greek, or Roman Catholic) churches are run like mafia - ie, like Mediterranean families/clans/tribes. ... and yes, Virginia, there is violence at Antiochian parish council meetings. I've heard the stories (and for what its worth, I always side with the priest. Wink )

Elisha - Thanks for quoting Fr. Joseph Honeycutt. Since you missed the meaning, the meaning was that I think you're going a bit extreme on the 'WHITE' thing. It could be taken as racist - and that really has no place in Orthodoxy (the point being, again, there is no 'WHITE' Orthodox Church.) His article is right, of course, but you should note that Fr. Joseph Honeycutt is Byzantine rite in an Arab parish, with an Arab bishop. It isn't as if he is throwing stones - like myself, he is simply trying to create understanding. And, by the way - my response was not 'academic' - it is and was practical.

Aristibule, thank you for your elegant academic but completely meaningless diatribe to the point I've been trying to make.
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« Reply #154 on: August 03, 2007, 09:13:26 AM »

Aristibule, thank you for your elegant academic but completely meaningless diatribe to the point I've been trying to make.

Er....I'm confused. Is this an example of extreme self-effacing?
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« Reply #155 on: August 03, 2007, 09:24:13 AM »

I thought it was a verbal slap. Wink

Seriously though, I don't think Fr. Joseph's article applies to all Americans. It illustrates many of the same problems I've encountered while living in Northern states (though, not the exact same problems - just conflicts with the same elements of Southern culture.)

I did find something interesting:

http://www.carnivalarabia.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=5122 - an Arabic analysis of 'The Godfather'

and this from SicilianCulture.com:

Quote
Henner Hess, in Mafia & Mafiosi: Origin, Power and Myth. Trans. Ewald Osers.

New York: NYUP, 1998, cites the same sources as Schiavo, and expands on his definitions. For him the word also has connotations of "boldness, ambition, arrogance" (1, Sciascia 1964). And, "A mafioso is simply a courageous, brave fellow who won't stand any nonsense from anyone" (1, Pitré 1889). He says that some believe that the word derives from the Arabic, "either from mahias, meaning a bold man or a braggart, or from Ma afir, the name of the Saracen tribe that ruled Palermo. A third theory of Arab origin relates mafia to maha, a quarry or a cave in a rock. The mafie, the tuff caves in the Marsala region, served the persecuted Saracens as hiding places and later provided hide-outs for other fugitives" (2, Lestingi 1884). Hess states that Giuseppe Loschiavo (not to be confused with Giovanni Schiavo) writes that before Garibaldi's landing, "the rebellious Sicilians had hidden out in the mafie near Marsala and had therefore subsequently, during their successful advance on Palermo, been called mafiosi, the people from the mafie" (2, Loschiavo 1964).

ie, it is an Arabic idea of 'refuge' that is the origins of Mafia as an idea, but the whole system of Mafia is simply the traditional Arabic tribal way.
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« Reply #156 on: August 03, 2007, 09:43:23 AM »

Yes, I can see that. As most Greek-Americans I tend to look through Hellenized lens and concentrate on the Greek colonies in eastern Sicily, and ignore the Phoenician/Carthaginian influence in the rest of the island, and the Arab domination later throughout the area. So to the Arab influence in Spanish Andalusia. There seems to be a reasonable hypothesis here.
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« Reply #157 on: August 03, 2007, 10:15:55 AM »

Well, it isn't just a hypothesis. If you look at it from collective experiences of converts: we see behavior that we've only ever seen in 'mafia movies' (or recognize from relatives' experience with discredited organizations), we have ethnic Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Serbian, Arab) telling us that they are mafia or can get help of the mafia, and that the bishops are/can as well, and clergy in those jurisdictions who often joke about mafia-like environment or actions. That's all besides the academic study of mafias (self-defense organisations for minorities), or even worse - events being investigated by various governments for mafia-like activity. A fair number of us have friends, family, and former coreligionists who have told us that they would *never* become Orthodox because of what they've seen with the scandals with the OCA, Greeks, Antiochians, Russians, etc. (And, Elisha didn't quote that whole article - it does relate on a tangent as to how Orthodoxy could and should handle the South.) Having one or two folk protesting that there is 'nothing mafia' is meaningless then - we're thinking (though not always saying it): "go tell it to your cousin over at X parish, he's bragging about mafia."

Part of this is about what many of us don't think ethnic Orthodox ever realize: that we converts also have the importance of family, friendship, and except for those who take Orthodoxy as a cult - aren't going to just give up on all the relationships we've had. Part of that as well is the convert's hope - that he'll see his family and friends converted (even, god willing, his home church, diocese/district, or denomination!) As such, dysfunctional behavior, or even just behavior outside of the context of our culture, can often become a serious stumbling block. It's hard to talk your drowning parents out of the water when it looks like some of the people in the boat are ready to eat them ... they'll take their chances treading water, in that case (and many of us have been told just as much.)

Not that we don't have the same things in our own culture - the South had its mafia as well, just much reduced as action was taken against it by everything from the Federal government, to local churches, til most of them don't have that much influence as they used to (hint - it had something to do with white robes.)
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« Reply #158 on: August 03, 2007, 12:27:29 PM »

Elisha - Thanks for quoting Fr. Joseph Honeycutt. Since you missed the meaning, the meaning was that I think you're going a bit extreme on the 'WHITE' thing. It could be taken as racist - and that really has no place in Orthodoxy (the point being, again, there is no 'WHITE' Orthodox Church.) His article is right, of course, but you should note that Fr. Joseph Honeycutt is Byzantine rite in an Arab parish, with an Arab bishop. It isn't as if he is throwing stones - like myself, he is simply trying to create understanding. And, by the way - my response was not 'academic' - it is and was practical.

Aristibule, thank you for your elegant academic but completely meaningless diatribe to the point I've been trying to make.
No, I think you missed the meaning...or did not even read what I quoted...or did not even try to understand.  I am also well aware that Fr. Joseph is an Antiochian priest.

And I reiterate my point about your academic and meaningless diatribe.  It was not intended to be racist, had nothing to do with racism and you know it.  There's no point in me continuing this if you're not going to even pretend to understand.  Auf Wiedersehen.

(And, Elisha didn't quote that whole article - it does relate on a tangent as to how Orthodoxy could and should handle the South.)
Bandwidth my dear, bandwidth...
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« Reply #159 on: August 03, 2007, 12:30:47 PM »

Well, it isn't just a hypothesis. If you look at it from collective experiences of converts: we see behavior that we've only ever seen in 'mafia movies' (or recognize from relatives' experience with discredited organizations), we have ethnic Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Serbian, Arab) telling us that they are mafia or can get help of the mafia, and that the bishops are/can as well, and clergy in those jurisdictions who often joke about mafia-like environment or actions. That's all besides the academic study of mafias (self-defense organisations for minorities), or even worse - events being investigated by various governments for mafia-like activity. A fair number of us have friends, family, and former coreligionists who have told us that they would *never* become Orthodox because of what they've seen with the scandals with the OCA, Greeks, Antiochians, Russians, etc. (And, Elisha didn't quote that whole article - it does relate on a tangent as to how Orthodoxy could and should handle the South.) Having one or two folk protesting that there is 'nothing mafia' is meaningless then - we're thinking (though not always saying it): "go tell it to your cousin over at X parish, he's bragging about mafia."

Part of this is about what many of us don't think ethnic Orthodox ever realize: that we converts also have the importance of family, friendship, and except for those who take Orthodoxy as a cult - aren't going to just give up on all the relationships we've had. Part of that as well is the convert's hope - that he'll see his family and friends converted (even, god willing, his home church, diocese/district, or denomination!) As such, dysfunctional behavior, or even just behavior outside of the context of our culture, can often become a serious stumbling block. It's hard to talk your drowning parents out of the water when it looks like some of the people in the boat are ready to eat them ... they'll take their chances treading water, in that case (and many of us have been told just as much.)

Not that we don't have the same things in our own culture - the South had its mafia as well, just much reduced as action was taken against it by everything from the Federal government, to local churches, til most of them don't have that much influence as they used to (hint - it had something to do with white robes.)

You have made so many sweeping generalizations I don't know where to begin. But I disagree with many of the things you have written. The Antiochians and Greeks have never had any financial scandals (and there are no associations or rumors of associations of criminal gangs with either archdiocese). The OCA could possibly have ties to the Russian mafia (a non-Mediterarrean culture) but I have not heard any rumors in that regard. And lets be honest, we have all read about financial scandals being reported in the news among all churches (Catholic and Protestant alike) so this would be a very poor reason to choose not to become Orthodox.  While growing up I have never heard any Arab make claims about getting help from the mafia and I have lived in the culture longer than you have had experience with it. There can be clannish behavior but I have never witnessed any violence at parish council meetings, conferences, haflis, festivals etc. over the years. The only time I was nervous was when a group of muslim men showed up at our church festival but even then there were no scuffles, acts of drunkeness or violence. The only problems were parking issues.
Another point you have ignored is clannish behavior can be found in many ethnic groups, including Asians, African, Irish, Germans etc.  Criminal gangs and crime families can also be found in all cultures (Russian, Asian, Irish, Nazi, Aryan Nation, Skinheads).

So please stop with all of the sweeping generalizations. I could easily do the same thing when describing the WASP culture but I prefer to let each individual speak for themselves regardless of their background. We must stop making polarizing comments about the various cultures within Orthodoxy and learn to accept one another. Clannish behavior is the support network for many immigrant families who would be isolated in a strange culture when they first arrive. Most all ethnic groups who arrived here stayed together for the first two to three generations including the Germans, Irish, Italians, etc. But over time all groups eventually assimilate through marriage. When I wrote a paper in college on Lebanese and Syrian immigration to America it was noted in the reference material how quickly these two groups of people assimilated into the American mainstream. Perhaps this is the reason the evangelicals found a home within our archdiocese. We are very accepting of other people because we are not ethnocentric.


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« Reply #160 on: August 03, 2007, 12:52:22 PM »

No financial scandals among the Greeks? Most likely because for something to be scandalous, it must be made known.
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« Reply #161 on: August 03, 2007, 04:03:59 PM »

No financial scandals among the Greeks? Most likely because for something to be scandalous, it must be made known.

I have only read the Greek Archdiocese is over budget due to expanded ministry work but I never read of any stories about money being diverted from charity to pay for homes of clergy members or cash disappearing from accounts without receipts. I am sure the Greek OCL members would write articles if they heard of any financial misdoings in the archdiocese or it would show up in the National Herald. Someone at the highest level in the GOA constantly leaks information to the National Herald after synod meetings.

It is ironic that Aristibule makes claims about how mafioso Arab Christians are when the largest, most terrifying group of gangsters to come on the scene in the last twenty years are the Russians. Many of them are Russian Jews who immigrated from Russia to Israel. One of the most well-known is a man nick-named 'Tarzan.' The NYPD said the Russian Mafia make the Italian Mafia look genteel. The Italian Mafia might kill one informant but the Russian Mafia would kill the informant and his entire family.
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« Reply #162 on: August 03, 2007, 04:29:46 PM »

The NYPD said the Russian Mafia make the Italian Mafia look genteel. The Italian Mafia might kill one informant but the Russian Mafia would kill the informant and his entire family.

I'm no expert on the topic, but I believe it is a commonly accepted that the russian mafia has slipped down the ladder...behind the italian, albanian, triad and yakuza mafias?
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« Reply #163 on: August 03, 2007, 04:34:48 PM »

Surely you don't think all the GOAA budget overruns are from missionary work or even legal defense of those OCL miscreant inspired lawsuits. Greeks are just better at dirty laundry spin, except the whole Jerusalem Patriarchate debacle, continuing as it is.

You've more confidence in OCL and their ilk at the National Herald than I do, but even they know some bounds of propriety.

I'm well familiar with the whole Russian Mafya thing, both their Israeli connections and Florida presence- very little to do with Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #164 on: August 03, 2007, 05:37:52 PM »

Someone at the highest level in the GOA constantly leaks information to the National Herald after synod meetings.


It makes me wonder what Method is used to leak information to the National Herald. 

Perhaps more than one method is used to spread their alternate gospel (Evangelismos in the Greek, of course)

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« Reply #165 on: August 03, 2007, 06:11:01 PM »

Why do you seperate "Americans" as though they are a different ethnicity? Aren't Greek citizens of the USA "Americans"? Aren't Arab citizens of the USA "Americans"? Aren't Chinese citizens of the USA "Americans"?

What about African citizens of the USA? Are we Amercan?

The truth is no.

There is a seperation when it comes to us (it always has been). I guess that why you did not use Africans in your scenario.

I am an Ethiopian (Ethiopians are black people; African) and at the same time African Americans and their whole history is mine also. To educated Africans on the continent we all feel that all our history is one history. Unlike for example Irish history vs Greek history. WE are all simply Africans.

African people in America did not get their citizenship until about 50 years ago; although we have been there since before the begining of America.

We were brought to the land of Americas future by brute force by mobsters, killers and theives...Godless people... possing as christians.

Christians with no priests, no bishops, no liturgy, no church...'no nothing'. Just the rantings of the lost and sorriful like Luther and his type.

They are happily referred to as "colonists"; these were pirates, dead poeple. Roaming the world in rat infested disease ridden boats continent by continent with bulging eyes; looking for what they did not have at home; wealth, land, clean cloths and a descent meal.

The weirdos that were on these death ships must have been a sight to see. I do not think that these "people" were ever truely...really depicted in all their murderous splendor in any period film made to date by anybody anywhere.

I will try to make a point....

Ethnicity and the church was reallly a big aspect of Americas star spangled history of oppression, slavery, human slaughter and greed. This built the country.

Africans were NOT allowed to be "christian". According to these "people" 'they' are not in Gods plan of salvation. To these "people" Africans were animals. They lied to themsleves long enough until they believed this as truth. Even today you would be shocked at the silly things people believe about Africans (and themsleves as white people) which are the product of that period of utter stupidity.

Anyway America went forward on these dead ideas which have no place in God and all the while singing "God bless America"..yahda, yahda.....

For those who do not know an "American citizen" has ALL the rights and previledges as provided for in the bill of right and the constittution as it was established by the 'founding fathers'.

This goes WITHOUT any need for the 'civil rights' acts of 1957, and the 'voting rights acts' a few years later which is an 'act' of congress which must be 'acted' on periodically to re-establish it. GW Bush signed the most recent reinactment of the civil rights acts 2 years ago. I think W gave Africans in America another 25 years to live like Americans

These acts are for Africans living in America. The constitution and the bill of rights stand alone DOES NOT EVEN NOW PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF AFRICANS IN AMERICA. The constitution and the bill of rights are for white people. Even a person (white) who migrates to the USA and becomes an American after a few years has more TRUE constitutional protection than an African who has been here from day 1.

I am thankful that my parents were bolth educated people and were still well connected with their African heritage. I have a real idenity outisde of simply (African Ameircan) with a red, black, and green flag that flies over no country but the America of slavery and degradation. (African Americans) still do not have (and many never heard of the Church) of course they believe they have "the church" as. Many are truely faithful to Christ even.

Among the Africans in America (African Americans as people say) are Americas first and only Christian Martyrs.

These were people from along time ago 250 years ago to 75 years ago that lost their lives for saying the word Jesus and was caught. Their are those that were beaten to death for being caught praying to Christ. Even worse are those who had their eyes, either burned out, goawged out, or pierced through and later shot dead for being found reading a bible.....These are Americas first and only martyrs for Christ and to this day no one even recognise that they existed. To me they are Saints. May God bless their souls...Amen

The American citizens hated, hated, hated any act from Africans that gave or could possibly provide any enlightenment. Being caught reading would be blindness for certain; being caught reading the bible was certain death as well.

Ethinicty and the church I think for this thread did not mean what I am talking about. But I wanted to share what I felt. I always tell people that the true Holy Apostolic Church had no part in the worldwide campaigne for weath, dominance and power which we see the results of today. The descendants of these people continues with the Godlessness and greed causing to date two wars with each other...a fight that scaled the globe due the land holdings they had  amassed over the 400 + years (which is still today other peoples property being coveted)effectively causing by description only two world wars. Actually they were at war with each other and dragged in those who they dominated.

RC had its hands in the matter however (the European slave trade); even supported the European slave trade in Africa which was a global interprize which created the largest forced migration of human beings on earth ever. The Atlantic Ocean is the largest grave site on earth with Africans holding about 80% of the spots mostly from being thrown over board alive. These numbers are staggering. The conditions of this matter are perplexing.



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« Reply #166 on: August 03, 2007, 09:16:27 PM »

What about African citizens of the USA? Are we Amercan?

The truth is no.

There is a seperation when it comes to us (it always has been). I guess that why you did not use Africans in your scenario.

I am an Ethiopian (Ethiopians are black people; African) and at the same time African Americans and their whole history is mine also. To educated Africans on the continent we all feel that all our history is one history. Unlike for example Irish history vs Greek history. WE are all simply Africans.

I find this very interesting to hear come from someone who is a recent immigrant from Africa. In both school and at church I have many dealings with recent immigrants from Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Erietria(sp?), and Sudan) and one thing they all have in common is they make a clear distinction between themselves and those who are called "African-Americans." There is a feeling that is portrayed that they have more in common with Caucasians then with "Blacks."

African people in America did not get their citizenship until about 50 years ago; although we have been there since before the begining of America...

These acts are for Africans living in America. The constitution and the bill of rights stand alone DOES NOT EVEN NOW PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF AFRICANS IN AMERICA. The constitution and the bill of rights are for white people. Even a person (white) who migrates to the USA and becomes an American after a few years has more TRUE constitutional protection than an African who has been here from day 1.
A couple of historical points to bring up in regards to Constitutional Law that I don't feel are accurate in your post. First most of what you say are very valid points but you are concentrating on only one part of the African population that existed in the United States.

There are two parts of the U.S. Constitution that need to be examined to support your claim.
First from Article 1 Section 2
Quote
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
First you would find Africans in both the italicized and bold groups. The differences is that those Africans that fall in the italicized group may have been granted citizenship by their state of residence which brings me to the next section which should be examined. It is those Africans that fall in the bold group that I think your arguments apply to the most.
Article IV Section 2
Quote
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

So when this is put into context of historical circumstances we can see that not all Africans are the same in the eyes of the Constitution. Citizenship, by the right of the original framing of the Constitution, rest with the States so that in such those Africans that were of free stock and linage could be afforded citizenship if the state wished to grant it. This was later changed by the 14th Amendment that was ratified in 1898 (albeit some argue that it was passed in an unconstitutional way) which gives the right to determine citizenship to the Federal Government and bolstered both the 13th and 15th Amendments.

Perhaps the best case from Constitutional Law is the "The United States, Appellants v. The Libellants and Claimants of the schooner Amistad, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, together with her cargo, and the Africans mentioned and described in the several libels and claims, Appellees" that upheld that the "Africans" aboard were free men and not slaves and therefore had rights in a 7-1 decision.

And even the "Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford" decision gives us a case to see how the Constitution could afford citizenship to Africans. Mr. Scott lost his bid for freedom since he was deemed to be property and held no property of his own. While this is disgusting to us today that such a ruling could exist it was the right ruling of what the Constitution held until the 13th Amendment.

To generalize all Americans as being hateful and bigoted towards Africans since the inception of the Country is not fair to those who truly felt that all men are created equal. There were slave owners who treated their slaves with fairness and encouraged them to practice Christianity just as their were those who fit the bill you described.

I only say all of this is because we can not move forward with healing until we put all the hate and bigotry behind us. This goes for all people, Arab, Greek, African, Slavic, Irish, German, British,  or whatever you are. Once we are baptized into Christ we are of Christ and no longer anything else.
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« Reply #167 on: August 03, 2007, 09:34:44 PM »

It makes me wonder what Method is used to leak information to the National Herald.

Perhaps more than one method is used to spread their alternate gospel (Evangelismos in the Greek, of course)

 Wink

 Wink Wink Wink
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« Reply #168 on: August 04, 2007, 12:15:37 AM »

arimethea

Thanks for your reply.

Let me say this: If all Africans are not free to exist as natural Americans than 'we' are not citizens. That song goes..." with liberty and justice for all". That seems to negate special concerns or special rules for some. This song is clearly saying ALL or nothing.

Thats my point.

Regarding the caucasian wannabees that run in your circle. I have a few like them in my own family. My own grand mother for one had this attitude (God rest her soul). We (those like me) have a way of dealing with them. We know that white people really, really, like these kinds of blacks. This also exist among what you call "African Americans". For example the so-called Creole of New Orleans woud rather drop dead than be called an African American not to mention marrying one. This is pandemic across the black world.

Guess who started this mess?

The HIM Emporer Haili Sellassie (God rest his soul) was an Ethiopian like myself who spent great energy fighting white people who were trying to seperate him from his people in America #1 and in Africa. He accomplished what he wanted and built a bridge for African Americans to cross on and find their true identity as African people albeit from an Ethiopian vantage point. To him (and me) we are all Ethiopians. HIM even set aside land for African Americans to live on welcoming them with open arms. This is still going on now.

Who do you wnat to listen to the wannabees or us. It is still more of us then them.

I could fill volumes.

Cheik Ante Diop Phd an Kenyan Egyptologist wrote about the ravages of western influence on the 'uneducated of self'.

These peole you speak of are my people and I love them. They need help.

Some get help the hard way. Like the Ethiopian who was beaten and shot to death by a skin head in middle America about 12 years ago. This Ethiopian lived among almost all whites with joy and a sense of 'they like me'. He was an honorary white person. The skin head did not buy it. This dead soul killed that man because to him black is black.

You will always find these types (the wannabees). Please feel free to go along with them and treat them as such; They will bend over backward to try and be with you. Just remember these are really black people no different from African Americans.

As for this term "caucasian".

I can not see how people today could except this term invented by a proponent of the "master race" theory. The man who create the term was a bigot and a psuedo-scientist.

There is no such thing as a real "race" called caucasian. At lease not biologcally, or historically. Culture today dictates that a caucasian is white person thats it.



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« Reply #169 on: August 04, 2007, 12:47:01 AM »

Who do you wnat to listen to the wannabees or us. It is still more of us then them.

The whole problem is the us or them mentality. We as Christians can no longer look in those terms, we must use only the US, there can no longer be a them since everyone is our neighbor and our brother and sister.
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« Reply #170 on: August 04, 2007, 12:52:12 AM »

Are there going to be Africans in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Are there going to be whites in the Kingdom of Heaven?  No, for the Kingdom of Heaven will be populated only by followers of Christ, regardless of what race they may be in this life.  Cultural heritage is important, but let us not use it to divide disciples of Christ against each other.
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« Reply #171 on: August 04, 2007, 09:36:52 AM »

Elisha - I did indeed read you, and read you well: what it really comes down to is that you assume the OCA is more 'white' or a better fit for Americans. As a 'White' American, I do not find that to be true - at the most, I'd call the 'Americaness' of the OCA at best a parody - at the least, hostile. Fare thee well.

Tamara...

When I mentioned scandals, it wasn't specified as *financial scandals*. So, yes, there have been scandals in every jurisdiction. The fact of mafia behavior is not about money - it has to do with a way of conducting affairs that relies more often upon subjective judgement, associative thought, and especially relationships - rather than analytical thought (a major difference with Western culture and *every* Orthodox culture.) Neither did I 'ignore' clannish behavior amongst other populations - it just is not pertinent to the existence of mafia or mafia-like behavior in Orthodoxy. Especially because the existence of mafia and mafia-like behavior is *not* the norm in the churches most of us converts grew up in.

No irony either - I've mentioned the Russians as well. There is Russian mafia, Armenian mafia, Greek mafia, and yes - Lebanese mafia (especially heavy in Detroit.) Also, I made no 'sweeping generalizations' but rather some observations of specific claims by some Orthodox in America (including Lebanese.) I can understand that you might not be aware of it, but again - I've got Antiochian Orthodox who claim they and their family *are* Lebanese mafia? Whom should I believe? The anonymous internet personality who denies and attacks nearly every post I make? Or the Lebanese I've spent years with as Orthodox, and grew up around before that? You have an issue with it - go talk to the Lebanese Orthodox who are in the mafia.

Lastly: I MAKE NO POLARISING COMMENTS. I don't attack - I expose internally (not externally). Any comment I make is with the singular purpose of CORPORATE REPENTANCE, and with the hope it will instigate action - say, cleaning up (either way, it does seem to get action - I'm guessing a few would like to stone me right now.) If you haven't noticed - my posts are about MY Church - not about You, or any Other (individual or groups) - about ME and MINE inclusive (and, you are MY sister, get it? Every Liturgy you share table with me, as do all other imperfect Orthodox - including those who are mafia, behave like mafia, or act as a cult!) Your posts on the contrary seem to be mostly about ME, and trying to shift blame to what you perceive might be my group (Russians? LOL - I publically chewed out the last Greek that called me a Russian. WASP? Get real - I was taught from birth to think of them as my oppressors. I do see what that is though - a lashing out. The more I recognize it, because I used to do it myself - which is why I have been defending against anti-Arab sentiment on this thread, and don't particularly care either for the anti-American/anti-European sentiment that has cropped up again in the last few posts.)

And, again and again, if you haven't got it (what both parties are 'reacting' against): neither OCA nor Antioch, nor any jurisdiction (ROCOR even) is perfect, superior, or even doing half the job they should be as regards holy charity towards Western Christians and evangelism.

It does illustrate for outsiders that I send to read posts here, that cult behavior also exists in Orthodoxy - to define that (before you make the claim that I'm anti-Orthodox), a cult:
1) will be defended by its members as without problems
2) will never question its leaders
3) displays hostility to outsiders
4) practices clique maintenance in ostracizing members who question or draw attention
and many others (thought this thread isn't about cults)
However, it is concerning, and since I deal with a large number of inquirers (and we try to place them in the Church) - it is worrying that one could send someone to a parish during a personal crisis, where they might fall prey to local cult indoctrination. It isn't for nothing that Patriarch Aleksy II had to write against cults within the Church...

As I should add:

Your weaker brother, the incredible credulous convert...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 09:43:57 AM by Aristibule » Logged

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« Reply #172 on: August 04, 2007, 06:20:50 PM »

Arisituble,

First let me introduce myself so I will no longer be an anonymous poster. Maybe my full disclosure of who I am will encourage you to disclose who you are because as far as I am concerned you are an anonymous poster whose credibility is questionable for me.
My full name is Tamara Hanna (maiden) Northway.
I belong to St. Stephen's parish in Campbell, CA. I grew up at Orthodox Church of the Redeemer in Los Altos Hills, CA.(both Antiochian)
My father and mother grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA. My father had many friends in the Arab community in Pittsburgh and while he did mention a certain group of hillbillly Lebanese (maronite) ending up in jail quite often while he was a youth he never mentioned anything about an Arab mafia. The first church I attended was St. George in Washington DC. My godparents still belong to this parish. My godfather was one of Archbishop ANTHONY's (Bashir) original SOYO leaders. He was also on the board of trustees for the archdiocese during the 1980s. He knows many within the archdiocese (clergy and laity) and while he did mention problems we faced he never mentioned a mafia problem within our archdiocese or that any members of our archdiocese belonged to a mafia. He worked for the government in an agency that was responsible for our national security so he ought to know.
As a teen, I was active in SOYO and travelled to many of our parishes on the west coast for meetings and conferences. In all that time I never once encountered any Lebanese clergyman or laymen who admitted to being a member of any type of mafia. Most of the Lebanese Orthodox I have been acquainted with over the years have been successful professionals (lawyers, doctors, engineers, one very kind soft-spoken man is a professor at Stanford, etc.). None of them have been criminals. All have them have been dedicated, devout Orthodox Christians who are very hospitable to non-Arabs who visit the church.

While I will admit our archdiocese is far from perfect, I think our bishops and the board of trustees run a tight ship. I have never heard of any scandals except for the Ben Lomond affair. Keep in mind that no jurisdiction will ever be perfect even when all of the 'mafioso-Arabs,' as you describe them, are dead an gone. Humanity is imperfect and there will always be problems no matter what, even when all of the jurisdictions unify and become one church in America. Your belief that by identifying problems in our jurisdiction on a forum board will somehow change the way Arabs relate to one another and others is a little far-fetched. The only thing we have the ability to change is our own behavior. Which is why I don't even pretend that I have the power to change the hot-headed temperment of my husband, let alone change the behavior of an entire ethnic group. Look within yourself and try not pass judgement on others.

your realistic sister in Christ, Tamara

 
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 06:32:02 PM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #173 on: August 04, 2007, 06:50:35 PM »

I've yet to see how the last exchange here relates to the Church.

Let's keep this civil at the least, please. I don't believe in heavy moderation in this particular board and do not want to don my 'mod hat'.
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« Reply #174 on: August 04, 2007, 11:56:28 PM »

Tamara, it is Aristibule - and it is well known that it is indeed my name, and not a screen name - I've never been anonymous on the net. His Grace Bishop BASIL knows me by that name, as do many Antiochian clergy and laity. Antiochian parishes where they know me (or at least, some know me) include: St. Antony's Tulsa OK, St. Elijah's OKC OK, Holy Apostles Norman OK, St James Stillwater OK, St. George Cathedral Wichita KS, St. Michael's Dothan AL, St. George's Richmond Hills ONT. Not a few in the AWRV know me as well. I'm sure you could find folk to 'give you dirt' if that is what you are after. If you've paid attention - you'll know who I am, I've covered them before. In fact, many other posters here know - many know me in person. I'm not going to go through an autobiography, as that isn't the question. Some things I won't disclose - I do work in law enforcement, but I will not disclose where I work or what exactly I do for professional reasons.

Again and again, it isn't about 'Arab mafia' in churches either (though, as I've said, that does exist - ask around at St. Antony's in Tulsa, OK - where I believe Elisha has also been? Go to Detroit!) The original claim is that 'mafia like' behavior exists in many Orthodox jurisdictions, including the Antiochian. Your reaction, however, is based on a skewed perception of what mafia means - and your personal experience has *nothing* to do with the validity or invalidity of such a social process in that part of the Church. It is the same way that Southerners can participate in aspects of their culture, and have no clue about its origins, implications, etc. - because one doesn't 'learn it out of a book' (except a few of us that get to 'step outside' and see the 'Big Picture'.) Mafia behavior does not mean participating in criminal activity - get it? It does mean a way of doing things that is a minority self-defense mechanism, with many shared characteristics across Mediterranean cultures (una faza, una raza), and that it causes plenty of cross-cultural stress (which, I believe, is what Elisha was trying to say with Fr. Joseph Honeycutt's article - which is true, as I fit the bill with his description.) BTW - you said 'mafioso Arabs', I never did.

As for scandals - the affair surrounding the former Bishop of the Midwest was also a scandal. If you aren't aware of it, however, I see no reason to make you aware of it - only that there are scandals more than you know. (Scandals, of course, are anything that causes controversy, that is - any actions or words which are the occasion for others to sin - the Antiochian Archdiocese is no stranger to controversy, and I'm sure folk in other jurisdictions would be more than glad to talk about that. My point, however, was never specifically about the Antiochian Archdiocese, but about all of the jurisdictions.) And yes - every little bit helps, even on a forum - you have no idea the folk who might read a forum (yes, even bishops). And yes, one can change people - at the worst it is called 'social engineering' or 'applie anthropology' - and you've engaged in it as well, everytime you have written an argumentative post. As for looking in myself - I do, on every post, and every post *has* been about myself. None of it, however, is about passing judgment on others (though, I fear, you have judged me - hence the need for my responses to your misperceptions about everything I write about.)

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« Reply #175 on: August 05, 2007, 01:35:25 AM »

Elisha - I did indeed read you, and read you well: what it really comes down to is that you assume the OCA is more 'white' or a better fit for Americans. As a 'White' American, I do not find that to be true - at the most, I'd call the 'Americaness' of the OCA at best a parody - at the least, hostile. Fare thee well.
Nah, I don't assume anything....but maybe the OCA-DOW is the best for 'White' Amercians. Wink

...St. Antony's in Tulsa, OK - where I believe Elisha has also been?
Uhhhh.....nope.  Never been to Oklahoma...but I have corresponded on the internet with another skydiver who goes to that parish.  He spotted me on a skydiving message board (where I go by the same name - it's my middle name, so I'm not really hiding anything either) just because I

It does mean a way of doing things that is a minority self-defense mechanism, with many shared characteristics across Mediterranean cultures (una faza, una raza), and that it causes plenty of cross-cultural stress (which, I believe, is what Elisha was trying to say with Fr. Joseph Honeycutt's article - which is true, as I fit the bill with his description.) BTW - you said 'mafioso Arabs', I never did.
Yup - this is correct.

As for scandals - the affair surrounding the former Bishop of the Midwest was also a scandal. If you aren't aware of it, however, I see no reason to make you aware of it - only that there are scandals more than you know.
Yup - no reason.  But I would like to add that +PHILLIP handled this QUITE well.  I don't know if I've seen a better and more immediate response to an incident of this nature from any other American hierarch.
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« Reply #176 on: August 05, 2007, 01:50:46 AM »

Elisha,

Is Jesus White or Black?
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« Reply #177 on: August 05, 2007, 02:28:10 AM »

Elisha,

Is Jesus White or Black?

Objection:  relevance?

Here's my answer then:  +NIKITAS of the Diocese of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia would be the best fit for "White Americans".
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« Reply #178 on: August 05, 2007, 03:19:36 AM »

Elisha,

I got your message.... I am sad to hear this from you.....

You are still Protestant in your thoughts.  The Orthodox spirit is to love and accept every one:D.






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« Reply #179 on: August 05, 2007, 04:09:13 AM »

Elisha,

Is Jesus White or Black?
Answer:
Jesus was a Sabra Hebrew. If one doesn't know what He looked like one can refer to the old icons depicting Him and the Theotokos with very dark faces. My mother even has a Russian one (been in family since 1865) that doesn't have the Latinized style.

Don't worry, kelfar, anyone who feels ethnically challenged in this regard will be welcomed in the Greek Orthodox churches.
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