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Author Topic: The Most Segregated Hour  (Read 3915 times) Average Rating: 0
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Seamus ODonnell
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« on: June 23, 2008, 07:15:16 PM »

Greetings and Salutations,

In perusing past-posts, I chanced upon a curious topic: xenophobia.  More specifically, but not limited to, the question of racism.  Perchance, is Eleven O'Clock on Sunday morning the most segregated hour in Orthodox Christianity (specifically asked of Orthodox Christians in America)?  And for a nominal twist, how about the problem of ethnicity?  A few posts that piqued my curiosity had to do with ethnicity (spelling Turkey as T****y for example) and the question of the Black American sub-culture language.

Respectfully,
Seamus O'Donnell 

Edited for spelling  
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 07:22:24 PM by Seamus ODonnell » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2008, 07:27:56 PM »

I think that the ethnic jurisdictions can be deceptive, even in churches where the service is mostly or entirely done in another language.  What I have found really is that most Orthodox churches are much more international than their jurisdictional names would imply, and much more international than the average American church (I can't speak for other countries).  For example, I was had a lovely conversation with an elderly woman in French at a church where the liturgy was entirely in Slavonic, and she in turn was originally from Germany, not France but her husband was French and she didn't speak English so well. While it is true that certain ethnic groups clump together, I think this is more because people like what is familiar whenever possible, not out of any hatred or distrust of other ethnic groups (which is what the words racism or segregated imply). In general, it seems Greeks and Arabs will stick together, and then the East Europeans will stick together, when possible...But then you find all sorts of other cultures in each because most of the countries that these churches originated in have had a turbulent history in the past century, thus creating large diaspora communities, which then will later move elsewhere. So, you have French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese speaking Orthodox of Russian or Syrian or whatever descent in a church in America, but you wouldn't really know they have that other culture unless you took the time to get to know them.

On the other hand, it is true oftentimes that Orthodox hold grudges.  With Turkey, this is bitterness amongst the Greeks over the conquering of Byzantium in 1453 by the Turks, the subjugation of the Greek people to the Turks for hundreds of years (including murders, tortures, enslavements, suppression of their culture, etc).  Then just in this past century, the Turks murdered millions of Greeks (along with millions of other Christians such as Assyrians and Armenians) as an act of ethnic cleansing, and then kicked the rest of the ethnic Greeks out of Turkey, despite the fact that that had been their home long before the Turks had come along.  Today there are only a few thousand Greeks in Turkey, whereas just about 70 years ago or so it was several million. Orthodox people, in general, are very conscious of their history, for better or for worse.
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2008, 08:11:37 PM »

In perusing past-posts, I chanced upon a curious topic: xenophobia.  More specifically, but not limited to, the question of racism.

Explain what you see in the website below:

Group Picture

Perchance, is Eleven O'Clock on Sunday morning the most segregated hour in Orthodox Christianity (specifically asked of Orthodox Christians in America)?

I don't think so unless you're referring to the lack of African Americans in the Orthodox Church to which I really don't know nor do I have an answer.  The Coptic Orthodox would probably disagree with your blanket statement. 


And for a nominal twist, how about the problem of ethnicity?  A few posts that piqued my curiosity had to do with ethnicity (spelling Turkey as T****y for example) and the question of the Black American sub-culture language.

Yes, many people have succumbed to the temptation of hating Turks or Muslims or anyone else even though IMHO the current Turkish government has zero to do with the former Ottoman Empire.  I have whined about Greek American Elitism on this forum in reference to the 2nd marriage for a former Orthodox priest.  When I'm down and out, my faith refreshes me and I continue with my daily struggles.  Maybe all of us ought to focus on that rather than worrying about the perceived segregation in Orthodox Churches on Sunday Mornings at 11 AM.   Angry
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2008, 08:54:22 PM »

SolEX01,

 I am unsure as to why I've provoked your ire during the week or so that I've been posting here regularly. On another thread you implied that my line of reasoning was due to the fact that I may be suicidal.  Now, you've taken umbrage with yet another legitimate question and responded, yet once again, in a manner ill befitting of an adult.  If you wish to continue to openly display your nescience, I suppose that's your business.  Suffice it to say, I'm beginning to grow weary of your insolence.

Respectfully,
Seamus
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2008, 09:04:25 PM »

SolEX01,

 I am unsure as to why I've provoked your ire during the week or so that I've been posting here regularly. On another thread you implied that my line of reasoning was due to the fact that I may be suicidal.  Now, you've taken umbrage with yet another legitimate question and responded, yet once again, in a manner ill befitting of an adult.  If you wish to continue to openly display your nescience, I suppose that's your business.  Suffice it to say, I'm beginning to grow weary of your insolence.

Insolence as in the band or insolence as in contemptuousness or boldness?   Smiley

How was my response ill befitting of an adult?
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2008, 09:20:24 PM »

IMHO the current Turkish government has zero to do with the former Ottoman Empire. 

I don't want to side track the current conversation.  I just want to point out that there is a connection, only because lots of people don't understand it.  The current Turkish Republic has declared itself the heir of the Ottoman Empire, glorified some of its leaders, celebrates anniversaries of said empire and actively covers up its atrocities.  I often get people saying it makes no sense to be angry at the current Turkish government, just as it would make no sense being angry at the current German government for the atrocities committed by the Nazis.  The difference, though, is that the current German government doesn't celebrate Hitler as a hero, name buildings and streets after him, or try to cover up the Holocaust.

Then there is the issue of current discrimination and mistreatment of Christian minorities by the current Turkish government, which has been addressed elsewhere on this forum.

Sorry for the tangent.   Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2008, 09:28:59 PM »

I don't want to side track the current conversation.  I just want to point out that there is a connection, only because lots of people don't understand it.  The current Turkish Republic has declared itself the heir of the Ottoman Empire,

Forgive me for staying on brief tangent, for the benefit of those who may not be aware, the birthplace of founder of said Turkish republic is a Turkish museum located in the heart of Thessaloniki, Greece.   Smiley

Ataturk Museum
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2008, 09:31:56 PM »

As far as blacks and whites, the worship hour, for all but a miniscule number of purposefully muti-racial congregations in any given American city is the most segregated hour. Although there are some pretty segregated white suburbs!

I don't know how one overcomes it or changes it. My neighbors for about five years before they moved to Texas were a black family. They drove a decent distance every Sunday to attend an all black church. I attended with them a couple of times. For them it was a way to keep in touch with their culture, much the same way ethnic Orthodox parishes functioned in an earlier era.

One would think that we Orthodox would have a natural common ground with the African American community in that the Eastern Church is not so lily white as Western European Christianity is (through no fault of its own other than the fact that western Europe is historically caucasian). The influence of Northern Africa in the patristic era (Alexandria) and the darker skin of the people of Palestine and the Mediteranean basin would seem to me to make bridge building (at least historically) more natural.

But in the US there is also the phenomenon of Eastern European antipathy to blacks in the rust belt cities of the north and mid-west where blacks were a threat to the steel industry jobs of many of these immigrants.

Additionally, the liturgy is a bit of a cultural distance from the music, preaching and worship style of many black churches.

Still, I think it would be awesome if blacks re-claimed some of their history from the early Church through the Eastern Churches and we started seeing African-American Orthodox parishes (maybe there are some of which I am not aware).

P.S I hesitate to even post this because race is such a sensitive subject and anything one says can be so easily mis-constued or take out of context. If anyone takes offence at what I have written above, I ask your forgiveness in advance.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 09:36:47 PM by BrotherAidan » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2008, 10:08:19 PM »

My God Father is Chinese, my God Mother was Baptist, the Priest at the Cathedral is Black and I'm a Jew....

Try again
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2008, 10:21:30 PM »

My God Father is Chinese, my God Mother was Baptist, the Priest at the Cathedral is Black and I'm a Jew....

Try again
Dear sir, I wasn't 'trying' anything; simply asking a question that seems as relevant now as when Dr. King first posed it.  That's all.  But, I wasn't aware that Baptists were a different ethnicity. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2008, 10:27:32 PM »


How was my response ill befitting of an adult?
The way in which you replied was a bit sarcastic.  Asking me to 'explain' a racially integrated picture doesn't answer the question, sir.  Then redirecting my question by calling us to focus on what you deem to be an unimportant subject with the addition of a scowling emoticon?  Asking how Orthodox Christians address a troubling issue seems quite relevant to me.  But as I'm not a Christian, perhaps I'm mistaken. 
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2008, 10:55:00 PM »

My parish is predominately eastern european. I will admit, as bravely as I can, that sometimes it's very difficult for me to fit in. There are other converts of North American background there, so I am not alone, but well, they are much younger than myself or else they are HUGE slavophiles who seem more in love with
Russia than with christianity. Please, please don't get me wrong-they are wonderful, wonderful people, it's just that right now I'm at the stage where I'm craving "Mere Christianity" and I'm exhausted from trying to fit into yet another foreign culture. Sometimes I go to church, and I feel welcome and accepted, and the next time, well, everyone around me is chatting in Russian (which I do understand) and seem very cold and unfriendly no matter how hard I try to smile and pray to God to help me to endure this difficulty. It's a bit of a difficult time for me to be honest. I have spent almost half my life immersed in Slavic culture and yet something in me longs for "my own". Yet I do not know what "my own" actually is. I have attended a Serbian parish and while some people made an effort to be friendly, I felt so alienated by the language I did not understand and the extreme nationalism. I tried attending a Greek parish and while everyone was very friendly, I felt terrified by the unknown to me culture and knew I couldn't handle yet another cultural shock.

I'm sorry to ramble. This all sounds fearfully dark and pessimistic. I think I am merely going through a bit of an identity crisis and don't know who I am or where I belong.
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2008, 12:58:48 AM »

Rosehip,

Greetings!  I understand how you feel.  Allow me a couple of comments . . .


My parish is predominately eastern european. I will admit, as bravely as I can, that sometimes it's very difficult for me to fit in.
bias alert: I am half-eastern european (and proud of it), but  I have trouble fitting in too.

Quote
There are other converts of North American background there, so I am not alone, but well, they are much younger than myself or else they are HUGE slavophiles who seem more in love with
Russia than with christianity. Please, please don't get me wrong-they are wonderful, wonderful people, it's just that right now I'm at the stage where I'm craving "Mere Christianity" and I'm exhausted from trying to fit into yet another foreign culture.

Not to be picky, but North American background would be Indian (Native) American.  Are you or are you German, English or western European?  I understand how you feel, I really do, but remember that this is the life of an
immigrant--never fitting in where they live.  At least, you fit in completely with your culture six days a week.  They do only one day a week.  Therefore, people tend to guard this zealously.  It's their only chance to be "normal."

Quote
Sometimes I go to church, and I feel welcome and accepted, and the next time, well, everyone around me is chatting in Russian (which I do understand) and seem very cold and unfriendly no matter how hard I try to smile and pray to God to help me to endure this difficulty. It's a bit of a difficult time for me to be honest.

This had happened to me at a whiter-than-white church as well.  I think you would find this in other places as well.  You do have an advantage in your church that you are different.  Embrace that and have fun with it.

Quote
I have spent almost half my life immersed in Slavic culture and yet something in me longs for "my own". Yet I do not know what "my own" actually is.

Neither do I, but if you let that get you down you won't be happy in any place, as your reasoning implies. 

Quote
I have attended a Serbian parish and while some people made an effort to be friendly, I felt so alienated by the language I did not understand and the extreme nationalism. I tried attending a Greek parish and while everyone was very friendly, I felt terrified by the unknown to me culture and knew I couldn't handle yet another cultural shock.
Learning a new culture is not easy, but can be rewarding and help you understand others.

Quote
I'm sorry to ramble. This all sounds fearfully dark and pessimistic. I think I am merely going through a bit of an identity crisis and don't know who I am or where I belong.

Yet you do have much in common with the immigrant community.  They often feel this way. 
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2008, 08:40:29 PM »

Dear sir, I wasn't 'trying' anything; simply asking a question that seems as relevant now as when Dr. King first posed it.  That's all.  But, I wasn't aware that Baptists were a different ethnicity. Smiley

Clearly you are fishing around for something to complain about.   
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2008, 09:02:56 PM »

Clearly you are fishing around for something to complain about.   
Clearly?  How so?  I've noticed many posts where Turkey is spelled T****y.  I found that rather curious.  For some reason, my mind jumped to the many countries that are represented in Orthodoxy, ex. Greek, Serbian, Bulgaria... and I thought of Xenophobia towards Turkey.  It was an oversight on my part as I should have realized the animosity between Turkey and former Ottoman-ruled countries.  As I mentioned, I also noticed a few threads on racism.  I tried to tie them all together with the infamous quote from Dr. King.  This isn't a registering of a complaint (what's there to complain about?) but merely a curiosity.  Your personal experience is but one shining example of unity. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2008, 11:46:58 PM »

Clearly?  How so?  I've noticed many posts where Turkey is spelled T****y.  I found that rather curious.
For some reason, my mind jumped to the many countries that are represented in Orthodoxy, ex. Greek, Serbian, Bulgaria... and I thought of Xenophobia towards Turkey.

See, the Germans and the Jews reached an understanding after the Holocaust.  The Turks and their former subjects do not have that same level of understanding and Modern Turkey is 86 years old and on the edge of entering the EU.  What if there was a celebrity (from Greece who was aggressor in 1922 and Turkey who was the aggressor at all other times) who could reach out effectively to either Turks and/or the former Ottoman subjects in the Diaspora?  The article below provides one example of successful German-Jewish understanding.

Article about US Soap Star Eric Braeden Promoting German-Jewish Understanding

It was an oversight on my part as I should have realized the animosity between Turkey and former Ottoman-ruled countries.  As I mentioned, I also noticed a few threads on racism.  I tried to tie them all together with the infamous quote from Dr. King.  This isn't a registering of a complaint (what's there to complain about?) but merely a curiosity.  Your personal experience is but one shining example of unity. 

Or one's attempt to stir trouble (hint, not Marc1152).
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2008, 12:41:24 AM »

^^  "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."  The Buddha
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2008, 04:03:39 PM »

Clearly?  How so?  I've noticed many posts where Turkey is spelled T****y.  I found that rather curious. 
There are two kinds of people I hate: those who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Belgians.
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2008, 02:03:23 AM »

There are two kinds of people I hate: those who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Belgians.

HAHAHAHAHAHA  Cheesy thats some funny stuff Mr.Y
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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2008, 10:39:11 PM »

Plus, I really like his avatar. Nice choice!
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« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2008, 12:16:40 AM »

To address the OP's question, I never thought to question the African-Americans standing next to me in church at Pascha as to whether they were ethnic Greeks.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2008, 07:35:28 AM »

Is the OP an American positing this question and what proof is there even to its premise?
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« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2008, 09:25:34 AM »

There are two kinds of people I hate: those who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Belgians.

Exactly. There is one contemporary Ukrainian satirical poet, Les' Poderev"jans'ky, who writes hilarious parodies using the Shakespearean metre. In one of his poems, his hero says something like this,

"Of all the kinds of people, whom I love,
There are those Jews, and Belorussians, and the Poles,
And Russians - whom I definitely hate."  Tongue

(Original, quoting by heart:

"Я всіх людeй люблю, окрім жидів,
Поляків, москалів, та білорусів,
Которих я нeнавиджу.")
« Last Edit: June 27, 2008, 09:27:43 AM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2008, 11:37:09 AM »

HAHAHAHAHAHA  Cheesy thats some funny stuff Mr.Y
Well, like all my best stuff, it's actually from Monty Python. This is their sketch on prejudice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUyD5RXEeY8

And a much older John Cleese talking about the troupe's supposed racism:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iXvhcw07do&NR=1

(Note to the squeamish: it does have a bit of language, but that's par for the course with Python.)
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« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2008, 05:51:25 PM »

(Note to the squeamish: it does have a bit of language, but that's par for the course with Python.)

Spam spam spam spam spam spam bacon, eggs, ham and spam.....
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« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2008, 06:49:00 PM »

^ I think you should edit that for language.

"I don't like S**m!"
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« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2008, 06:58:54 PM »

Spam spam spam spam spam spam bacon, eggs, ham and spam.....
Stop spamming the forum!
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« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2008, 10:49:40 PM »

Is the OP an American positing this question and what proof is there even to its premise?
Perchance, are you ethnic Mbuti?   
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« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2008, 01:28:22 PM »

IMHO the current Turkish government has zero to do with the former Ottoman Empire. 

I don't want to side track the current conversation.  I just want to point out that there is a connection, only because lots of people don't understand it.  The current Turkish Republic has declared itself the heir of the Ottoman Empire, glorified some of its leaders, celebrates anniversaries of said empire and actively covers up its atrocities.  I often get people saying it makes no sense to be angry at the current Turkish government, just as it would make no sense being angry at the current German government for the atrocities committed by the Nazis.  The difference, though, is that the current German government doesn't celebrate Hitler as a hero, name buildings and streets after him, or try to cover up the Holocaust.

Then there is the issue of current discrimination and mistreatment of Christian minorities by the current Turkish government, which has been addressed elsewhere on this forum.

Sorry for the tangent.   Smiley
Not at all.

I was in Constantinople in 1989, when the EU said that the present Turkish government would not be considered for membership until an account of the Ottoman atrocities has ceased to be covered up.  The president was on TV for hours barking from Ankara on how it was all because of their religion.

For those who don't know: the Turkish Republic inherited the most complete archives of the Middle East, the Ottoman State Archives. It covers most of the the last 500 years of most of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.  Access is strictly controlled, and strickly political.  No Armenians need apply.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 01:30:28 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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