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Author Topic: Cultural Impressions of Orthodoxy  (Read 10886 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthstalker
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« on: April 03, 2009, 09:22:19 PM »

Outside of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and reading some Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, I don't really have any exposure to Orthodoxy.  I know Franky Schaeffer went over, something I thought very strange when I heard of it: bells and smells and icons and Ivans.  I've heard some whole Anglican parishes have joined, and from browsing this forum there seems to be a lot of cultural insularity within national churches.  What do these things look like from within Orthodoxy?

Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.  How does one overcome that? "Gee, this week it took me forty five seconds to run screaming from the building, an improvement over last week."  If I kept it up I am afraid they will put it in the liturgy....
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2009, 09:25:30 PM »

Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.

Such as?  Are you referring to a teaching, a tradition, or something else? 
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2009, 09:28:11 PM »

Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.

Such as?  Are you referring to a teaching, a tradition, or something else? 

I have no idea.  Movements. Half-caught phrases. Things we do not do in church and would never think of doing in church.  The only way to know is to go.
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2009, 09:35:27 PM »

Hi Truthstalker,

Well, I am in a way like you, just from the opposite end, so to say. I fear the moment when I don't see anything ethnic, anything "cultural" but instead everything homogenously "plastic" in an Orthodox parish...

I am a Ukrainian by birth, and a very adamant patriot of Ukraine (some might say, "nationalist"); and, as such, I love everything Ukrainian, including Orthodox liturgical prayers in Ukrainian, and the magnificent liturgical music by Vedel, Berezovsky, Bortnyansky (please-please-please do not believe and run away from anyone who, being utterly ignorant, will say that those composers were "Riussian" Grin)...

But I also love a lot of things "other-ethnic": for example, hearing people in my current Greek parish speak Greek and sing in Greek is music to my ears. I also love to listen to old English hymns sung in English, for example, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent" - the hymn that a very favorite Russian Orthodox theologian of mine, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, considered perhaps the most Orthodox of all pieces of liturgical music...

I love all things genuine, authentic, deep-rooted. I don't worry when I don't rationally, verbally-literally understand them; I feel, sense them, they fill me, I savor them.

When it's beautiful, it's... well... beautiful, and I want to stay. You decide...

Best wishes!
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2009, 09:37:31 PM »

The only way to know is to go.

Indeed!   Grin
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2009, 09:51:55 PM »

there seems to be a lot of cultural insularity within national churches.  What do these things look like from within Orthodoxy?


You can get a beautiful glimpse of Orthodoxy's spiritual unity in cultural diversity at this website:
http://www.orthodoxmysteries.com

...it has Orthodox icons and chants from over 70 cultures around the world!
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 09:57:35 PM »

I don't worry when I don't rationally, verbally-literally understand them; I feel, sense them, they fill me, I savor them.

When it's beautiful, it's... well... beautiful, and I want to stay.


Well said!  Smiley  I think the same thing every time I browse through the 70+ cultures/languages on the OrthodoxMysteries world-map.
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2009, 09:19:40 PM »

Dear Truthstalker,

I have been to all kinds of Orthodox Churches across the United States and my experience has been that churches west of the Mississippi are generally less ethnic and have more off-the-street converts than those on the east side of the mighty river. 

That having been said, it would be a good idea for you to do some homework before you charge into an Orthodox church. If you have not done so already, I heartily recommend reading Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way." These two books by the now Metropolitan Kallistos Ware are probably the best introduction to Orthodoxy for a westerner.

I would also recommend the writings of Fr. Peter E. Gillquist (1938-) who is an archpriest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and is chairman of the archdiocese's department of missions and evangelism. He is chairman of Conciliar Press (Ben Lomond, California), and is the author of numerous books, including "Love Is Now," "The Physical Side of Being Spiritual," and "Becoming Orthodox." Start with reading the Wikipedia entry on him and then decide if you want to go further. I recommend reading "Becoming Orthodox." I'll give you a hint: he used to be a leader in the Campus Crusade for Christ.

Whatever you do, do not go into this exploration looking for cookbook answers. You should open yourself to the Holy Spirit and accept that in this matter God's will is paramount.
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 09:49:09 PM »

Outside of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and reading some Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, I don't really have any exposure to Orthodoxy.  I know Franky Schaeffer went over, something I thought very strange when I heard of it: bells and smells and icons and Ivans.  I've heard some whole Anglican parishes have joined, and from browsing this forum there seems to be a lot of cultural insularity within national churches.  What do these things look like from within Orthodoxy?

Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.  How does one overcome that? "Gee, this week it took me forty five seconds to run screaming from the building, an improvement over last week."  If I kept it up I am afraid they will put it in the liturgy....

I could easily turn my response into a political one, but hopefully I can avoid that.

As a secular democracy, the United States has possessed a degree of separation between church and state. Whether this is advisable or not is beside the point. What this has resulted in, is the American religious experience is removed from the American cultural experience (although I guess some would argue the nation was founded on Christian values...) in essence one's religious belief system remains separate from one's culture.

This quite simply does not exist in the countries with a majority Orthodox population (or for that matter majority Islamic populations in the Middle East). In such countries, religion is a key part of national identity.

I know many people I talk to online, encouraging them to visit a local Orthodox Church have replied "But Church X seems too Greek" or "People at Parish Y seem more interested in being Russian than being Christian."

Although such accusation may or may not hold water...one has to realize certain things. For example, in my parish the cultural background is Ukrainian. Many are immigrants and even more are the sons and daughters of immigrants. They grew up speaking "kitchen Ukrainian" and melding both Ukrainian and Canadian cultural traditions. Their time in church may very well be the only time that week that they may honour being Ukrainian. In such cultures, with family taking such a large role, holding onto being Ukrainian is very important to honouring their parents and other ancestors. To them being Orthodox and being Ukrainian is one and the same (as incorrect as that may be).

Also, in the orthodox Church, we place a high degree of emphasis on mystery....in Protestantism and Catholicism even...there is a burning desire to know WHY, to have an explanation for everything. For us, it is enough to simply say "We don't know why."
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 09:54:45 PM »

Outside of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and reading some Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, I don't really have any exposure to Orthodoxy.  I know Franky Schaeffer went over, something I thought very strange when I heard of it: bells and smells and icons and Ivans.  I've heard some whole Anglican parishes have joined, and from browsing this forum there seems to be a lot of cultural insularity within national churches.  What do these things look like from within Orthodoxy?

Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.  How does one overcome that? "Gee, this week it took me forty five seconds to run screaming from the building, an improvement over last week."  If I kept it up I am afraid they will put it in the liturgy....

I could easily turn my response into a political one, but hopefully I can avoid that.

As a secular democracy, the United States has possessed a degree of separation between church and state. Whether this is advisable or not is beside the point. What this has resulted in, is the American religious experience is removed from the American cultural experience (although I guess some would argue the nation was founded on Christian values...) in essence one's religious belief system remains separate from one's culture.

This quite simply does not exist in the countries with a majority Orthodox population (or for that matter majority Islamic populations in the Middle East). In such countries, religion is a key part of national identity.

I know many people I talk to online, encouraging them to visit a local Orthodox Church have replied "But Church X seems too Greek" or "People at Parish Y seem more interested in being Russian than being Christian."

Although such accusation may or may not hold water...one has to realize certain things. For example, in my parish the cultural background is Ukrainian. Many are immigrants and even more are the sons and daughters of immigrants. They grew up speaking "kitchen Ukrainian" and melding both Ukrainian and Canadian cultural traditions. Their time in church may very well be the only time that week that they may honour being Ukrainian. In such cultures, with family taking such a large role, holding onto being Ukrainian is very important to honouring their parents and other ancestors. To them being Orthodox and being Ukrainian is one and the same (as incorrect as that may be).

Also, in the orthodox Church, we place a high degree of emphasis on mystery....in Protestantism and Catholicism even...there is a burning desire to know WHY, to have an explanation for everything. For us, it is enough to simply say "We don't know why."

I don't know about being seperate from culture: I find the Lutherans rather Teutonic (I was amongst them once), and the Evangelicals are very WASPy.  I recall a story of a Anglican parish who were thinking of going Wester Rite, but decided that was too ethnic.

And if you can't tell the difference between a Polish Catholic, a Spanish Catholic, a Mexican Catholic, an Irish Catholic and an Italian Catholic, I don't know what to do with you.
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2009, 11:09:13 PM »

Yesterday I visited the friendly neighborhood Greek Orthodox bookstore, which I had not been in before, and saw the elves from deep in the mists of time, or so I thought them, never having seen an Orthodox before.  Sam Gamgee I am, rustic, but the priest did not have an accent, nor pointy ears.

I have much to think about, and will try to be silent until I have something worth saying.
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2009, 09:21:55 AM »


This quite simply does not exist in the countries with a majority Orthodox population (or for that matter majority Islamic populations in the Middle East). In such countries, religion is a key part of national identity.

I know many people I talk to online, encouraging them to visit a local Orthodox Church have replied "But Church X seems too Greek" or "People at Parish Y seem more interested in being Russian than being Christian."

Although such accusation may or may not hold water...one has to realize certain things. For example, in my parish the cultural background is Ukrainian. Many are immigrants and even more are the sons and daughters of immigrants. They grew up speaking "kitchen Ukrainian" and melding both Ukrainian and Canadian cultural traditions. Their time in church may very well be the only time that week that they may honour being Ukrainian. In such cultures, with family taking such a large role, holding onto being Ukrainian is very important to honouring their parents and other ancestors. To them being Orthodox and being Ukrainian is one and the same (as incorrect as that may be).

I am not responding directly to Ukiemeister - but this post did make me think of something odd.

Often on the internet (and once in person for me) I see an American or Canadian who is not of Eastern European or Greek descent (in other words someone whose ethnic background is decidedly not from a country of Orthodox identity) talk about feeling out of place because of the strong ethnicity of an Orthodox parish being, essentially, told to "get over it."  Usually along with an explanation like Ukiemeister's "being ethnic is important." 

Yet on the flip side of that coin when the same person is converting to Orthodoxy and tries to embrace Orthodoxy in a way that is (and how can it not be) heavily influenced by the ethnic make-up of the parish in which they are converting we're accused of "false ethnicity" and being "inauthentic."

Don't get me wrong - I have no problems with people holding on to their ethnic identity.  I think it would have been really nice if my German grandfather hadn't insisted that only English be spoken in his house (we lost a lot of our family history) but it was the 1940s and being German in the U.S. wasn't particularly popular, so I do see his point.

However, when you are trying to learn about Orthodoxy and you realize that how you live your life outside of the Sunday celebration of the Liturgy is part of being Orthodox (an odd concept to many Protestants and some Catholics) and that those traditions are all of an ethnicity you don't share ... you're kind of left hanging.  Particularly since there aren't any "American Orthodox" traditions.  So converts try to adopt traditions - which are usually ethnic.  Which makes us, apparently, look like ridiculous posers to many Orthodox.

And yeah yeah yeah ... I know ... "Stop saying you're a convert and just be Orthodox."  Sounds good in theory.  But again when so much of being Orthodox is about so much more than just attending Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings that doesn't work well either.

Oh and if we dare to say, "I don't do ..." and fill in that blank with any ethnic Orthodox tradition common to your parish then you get the whole lecture about how being Orthodox means living it.

Converts - damned if we do and damned if we don't.
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2009, 09:48:03 AM »

I have had too very different extremes in my experience converting to orthodoxy.  In both cases, everyone was very nice to me and very polite.  I found that when I went to a Greek church, which I did for quite some time and received communion with them and my kids attended Sunday school and so on, but I never felt like I became a real part of their congregation.  I just seemed to get a lot of suggestions about where I should go that would be a better fit for me and my family - I eventually took the hint.  Now, in both the Armenian and Coptic churches I was welcomed with open arms, despite the much greater language barrier.  The first time I attended a Coptic liturgy, I was invited to someone's home for dinner, and very shortly thereafter I became an integral part of the congregation.

I don't mean to appear negative towards the Greek Orthodox as this was just one congregation and I cannot state whether or not this is indicative of all.  Furthermore, I have continued to maintain contact with the parish priest there, who I must say is a delight to talk to.
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2009, 11:14:12 AM »

when you are trying to learn about Orthodoxy and you realize that how you live your life outside of the Sunday celebration of the Liturgy is part of being Orthodox (an odd concept to many Protestants and some Catholics) and that those traditions are all of an ethnicity you don't share ... you're kind of left hanging.  Particularly since there aren't any "American Orthodox" traditions.  So converts try to adopt traditions - which are usually ethnic.  Which makes us, apparently, look like ridiculous posers to many Orthodox.

Unfortunately that's true... To Lesya and me, hardly anything is more ridiculous than an American guy with a long untrimmed beard and a huge cross hanging over his belly who dresses in something that looks like a combination of Russian peasant garb and Jewish shtettel fashion, calls his children Elpidiphorus or Anastasia, makes huge "metanias" in front of the people, and talks about "Holy Russia" based on what he learned from writings of some 19th century nutcase like Konstantin Leontiev. Smiley

As for the absence of American Orthodox traditions, though... Very many "mainstream" Americans are of English or Irish or Scottish ethnicity. Maybe they should recall the ethnic traditions of these ethnicities and remember that there were some great ORTHODOX saints who were English (venerable Bede?), Irish (St. Patrick?), and Scottish... It's just that Americans do not really value, cherish things ethnic, which is, I think, sad...

Converts - damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Actually, to me you guys aren't damned in any case.Smiley I am sorry if I sound like you are.
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2009, 11:38:27 AM »

As for the absence of American Orthodox traditions, though... Very many "mainstream" Americans are of English or Irish or Scottish ethnicity. Maybe they should recall the ethnic traditions of these ethnicities and remember that there were some great ORTHODOX saints who were English (venerable Bede?), Irish (St. Patrick?), and Scottish... It's just that Americans do not really value, cherish things ethnic, which is, I think, sad...

It could have something to do with the fact that so many of us are of a cultural mixture.  For instance my family background is:

Paternal:  German (Lutheran all the way back to the early 1600s as far as we know).
Maternal: French, Irish, Scottish, Native American = all by way of Canada

Which ethnicity should I choose?

Not to mention the fact that even if we choose something that an English/Scottish/Irish Orthodox saint did as a "tradition" it isn't going to be even close to similar to what the people in our parish are doing, which means they're still going to look at us as though we're crazy when we try to explain that we don't do X but we do Y instead because we're of nominally English/Scottish/Irish descent.

Oh and God forbid I should choose to do something that is "Western" or "Catholic" because then I'm "Latinizing."

I'll be honest - it's enough to make a person give up completely.  I don't completely agree, theologically speaking, with the Roman Catholic Church - but at least there I am not denigrated as being a "know-it-all" or "inauthentic" or "ridiculous" or any of the other slurs I've seen bandied about here in the past couple of months.
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2009, 11:45:07 AM »

^^That's a good point, about mixed ethnicity. Actually, I myself am of a somewhat mixed ethnicity - I have Ukrainian, Russian, Greek and German genes, but of course it's easier for me to identify myself with Ukrainians, simply because I grew up in Ukraine, and so did countless generations of my ancestors even though their ethnicity was not necessarily 100% Ukrainian. For North Americans, this issue is more complicated...

Again, Carole, I am not the one to call you or any other non-cradle Orthodox "know-it-all" or "poser" or anything. You guys are valuable for us, just like we "ethnics" should be for you...
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2009, 12:56:23 PM »

It could have something to do with the fact that so many of us are of a cultural mixture.  For instance my family background is:

Paternal:  German (Lutheran all the way back to the early 1600s as far as we know).
Maternal: French, Irish, Scottish, Native American = all by way of Canada

Which ethnicity should I choose?

Not to mention the fact that even if we choose something that an English/Scottish/Irish Orthodox saint did as a "tradition" it isn't going to be even close to similar to what the people in our parish are doing, which means they're still going to look at us as though we're crazy when we try to explain that we don't do X but we do Y instead because we're of nominally English/Scottish/Irish descent.

Oh and God forbid I should choose to do something that is "Western" or "Catholic" because then I'm "Latinizing."

I'll be honest - it's enough to make a person give up completely.  I don't completely agree, theologically speaking, with the Roman Catholic Church - but at least there I am not denigrated as being a "know-it-all" or "inauthentic" or "ridiculous" or any of the other slurs I've seen bandied about here in the past couple of months.


I'm in the same boat you are with regards to ethnicity.  I come from a Welsh/English/Swedish background, but my ancestors have been in the US for a few centuries.  So I feel no more connection with Wales than I do with Russia or Greece.  I consider myself to be completely American, whatever that means.

While I have been in parishes that were dominated by Slavic culture, I can't say I was ever made to feel left out.  In fact some of the people who were kindest to me were babushkas.  Grin

It is unfortunate that you feel as if you've been denigrated either on this board or in the larger Orthodox world, but I can assure you that not all "ethnic" Orthodox take such a negative view of American converts.
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2009, 01:48:08 PM »

I am, again, very sorry if I said something that offends or denigrates "non-ethnic" Orthodox. That was not my intention at all.

Personally, I would very much prefer to be in an "ethnic" parish (ideally Ukrainian - but a Greek parish, like the one I am with today, is good, too). I just love history, authentic ethnic traditions, foreign languages (not to mention my native Ukrainian language), and I am, let me try to put it mildly, not always thrilled by interacting with the environment where there are no traces of old, ancient tradition. This latter kind of environment discurages, oppresses me, I am simply not happy, not fulfilled in it.

However, objectively speaking, in the USA everything becomes less and less ethnic. In my present parish, the ethnic "current" is kept alive mostly by the older generation, while the young Greeks in my parish do not speak a word of Greek (and do not seem to be bothered by that); perhaps if the Greek language or whatever Greek disappears from our Divine Liturgies or our priest's sermons or after-service lunch discussions, these young ones won't be too upset... Probably, in some 20-30-40-50 years all Orthodox parishes in the USA will be just like Heterodox American Christian parishes - sort of... hm... plastic. Smiley People will be busy doing "activities," etc. I won't be too thrilled, but then by that time I'll be "very old or very dead."  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2009, 02:34:04 PM »

I'm lost at what you find lamentable, Pan Heorhij.  I'm in a similar situation in that I'm in the middle generation between being "ethnic" and Americanised.  The Polish that I spoke when I was younger was just simple conversations with my grandparents to the point that American English is my sole native language.  To pretend that I'm Polish simply because my grandparents are from Poland would be a complete falsehood - I was born in America, have always spoken English as my native language, have grown up with American culture etc. 

I don't see why this shift shouldn't be reflected in American Orthodox parishes.  Beautiful translations of the Scriptures exist.  On the GOA website you can find some very nice recordings of chanting in English.  Of course, I'm completely opposed to forcing English and Americanisation on a parish where it wouldn't make sense, but I also don't see why it should be feared.  It is possible to use English, be a native English speaker and not be "plastic".
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2009, 05:54:28 PM »

^^Well, I did not intend to make it sound lamentable, sorry. Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2009, 03:18:39 AM »

^^Well, I did not intend to make it sound lamentable, sorry. Smiley

No need to apologise as I'm not one to take offense at an honest discussion.  Although I am curious, do you see it possible for something to be both American and not "plastic"?  I know exactly what you mean by that "plastic" mentality, but I also know plenty of Americans (hopefully myself included) who could not be accurately described as "plastic".  To be honest your arguments against americanisation sound nearly identical to the arguments put forth against using vernacular Ukrainian as a liturgical language - after all having a language that is only vaguely understood by the people is much more otherworldly.   
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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2009, 09:29:06 AM »

It's a real shame that some people are never fully welcomed into an ethnic parish.  In my case, I didn't realize how accepted I was until I was voted into the board of deacons over an Egyptian who had been part of the congregation for many years.  Prior to that, at times, I did feel awkward but I gave people the benefit of the doubt, that because of the cultural barrier (and in some cases the language barrier) they did not necessarily know how to converse with me and vice versa.  I have found a similar situation in the other Coptic parishes I have visited as well.  I don't know if all Coptic parishes are this way or just Ontario ones, but it goes to show that not all Orthodox parishes will reject non-ethnic Orthodox.  Maybe it's just a matter of looking for a parish that suits you better.
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2009, 11:16:16 AM »

^^Well, I did not intend to make it sound lamentable, sorry. Smiley

No need to apologise as I'm not one to take offense at an honest discussion.  Although I am curious, do you see it possible for something to be both American and not "plastic"?  I know exactly what you mean by that "plastic" mentality, but I also know plenty of Americans (hopefully myself included) who could not be accurately described as "plastic".

Yes, you are right - I guess I generalized without warrant. It is possible to be American and not "plastic." It's just that my wife and myself often interact with younger Americans (quite a lot of our students) who seem to have no clue about their family history, and do not care to even find out. For example, we once talked to a young woman who suddenly said that her grandparents were from Lithuania. We said, oh, how interesting, that's not far from Ukraine... and she became very defensive, sort of almost insulted; she said, how am I supposed to know where all these old European countries are and what they are? I am American, period. I don't care about this old dumb stinking Europe. Smiley

To be honest your arguments against americanisation sound nearly identical to the arguments put forth against using vernacular Ukrainian as a liturgical language - after all having a language that is only vaguely understood by the people is much more otherworldly.   

And again you are probably right. The language of the younger generations of Ukrainian Americans or Greek Americans or Irish Americans or whoever IS, indeed, English...
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2009, 01:51:03 PM »

Everything is ethnic! Certainly you translate say the tropars from Church Slavonic into English and then sing them in Galician tones... it's still Ukrainian Ethnicity-wise.  You do that in Kievan or Obikhod it is still Russian...
That aside things that are lost that I consider to be part of an ethnic tradition at least in my experience would be; pysanky, the whole Pascha meal eaten at home by large numbers of family and having the baskets blessed.. those little traditions that add up to give an identity to any community. 
Those little traditions knit the community together and make them feel like a family.  In many areas where I see this happening I also see the parish community becoming more disconnected from each other.  The gathering together of the people to say make the Christmas Holy Supper or make pysanky vanishes.  Church becomes a place you go to on Sunday and people barely say hi in the parking lot to one another. 
The thing is while many people snicker and sneer at things they deem ethnic they forget that any small tradition is a tool of bringing the community together.  Remember I'm not talking language here.
What do you replace those community binding tools with?  Can you replace them?  What do you replace them with?  Joshua trees, bbq with hot dogs and hamburgers are as American as can be, so that's replacing one ethnic tradition with another.  Surely a sign of the life of the church too, if you have people coming together to share in any tradition that means life, once they vanish and the parish hall is silent and devoid of activity then can we ask ourselves is that the indicator of things to come.
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2009, 01:59:35 PM »

I agree. Those Ukrainian/slavic traditions are so beautiful, so precious, even if I'm not slavic myself. I'm so deeply grateful that I was introduced to these traditions at a young age; they've become an natural part of who I am. Come Easter, almost automatically I begin thinking about gathering together pascha bread, eggs, swiss cheese, sausage etc. I remember when I became Orthodox a Ukrainian baptist friend of mine said in stern alarm, " I hope you are not going to adopt this pagan Orthodox notion that Easter is somehow pascha bread and eggs!" I was deeply hurt by this remark, because I didn't see it that way at all...I think there's nothing wrong with converts appreciating and adopting these customs.
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2009, 02:09:40 PM »

I agree. Those Ukrainian/slavic traditions are so beautiful, so precious, even if I'm not slavic myself. I'm so deeply grateful that I was introduced to these traditions at a young age; they've become an natural part of who I am. Come Easter, almost automatically I begin thinking about gathering together pascha bread, eggs, swiss cheese, sausage etc. I remember when I became Orthodox a Ukrainian baptist friend of mine said in stern alarm, " I hope you are not going to adopt this pagan Orthodox notion that Easter is somehow pascha bread and eggs!" I was deeply hurt by this remark, because I didn't see it that way at all...I think there's nothing wrong with converts appreciating and adopting these customs.

Exactly.. it's about sharing in the tradition of the community.  If one joins a community and doesn't participate in the small traditions that bind the community together than one may in a sense alienate him or herself from the community. 
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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2009, 02:18:57 PM »

I agree. Those Ukrainian/slavic traditions are so beautiful, so precious, even if I'm not slavic myself. I'm so deeply grateful that I was introduced to these traditions at a young age; they've become an natural part of who I am. Come Easter, almost automatically I begin thinking about gathering together pascha bread, eggs, swiss cheese, sausage etc. I remember when I became Orthodox a Ukrainian baptist friend of mine said in stern alarm, " I hope you are not going to adopt this pagan Orthodox notion that Easter is somehow pascha bread and eggs!" I was deeply hurt by this remark, because I didn't see it that way at all...I think there's nothing wrong with converts appreciating and adopting these customs.


Growing up in Western PA, I was always surrounded by the Slavic customs but my family, being dour German Catholics, didn't really indulge in them (but I did get to do some things here and there thanks to Rusyn cousins).  It's one of the things I love most about attending a Slavic parish (aside from the actual Orthodox praxis that goes on, of course!).  It just feels right and, while I know that's not a real criteria for accepting and living the True Faith, it's definitely a comfort to be able to participate in "Pascha bread and eggs". Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2009, 02:30:58 PM »

Many American Orthodox are doing what America does best, borrowing from the best of the ethnic ideas and making them American. For example, there is nothing in Native American Culture  or even early English/French colonists about a Christmas tree yet Americans have a very popular trandition about Christmas Trees that came to us from Germany thru Victorian England. 

An American Orthodox tradition likewise is developing but is still in the merger level at present. For example, my largely convert Antiochian parish has the Slavic Paschal Baskets but does not do the Holy Supper.  It has the Greek Kolliva not the memorial bread that one finds in some Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian parishes.  On Meat Fare week it holds a community Bar-B-Que.  It seems to me that the American Orthodx Church is developing its own traditions as we have in all things by borrowing the best from those who have emigrated to America---not taking all but taking that which is meaningful to us.

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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2009, 10:42:26 PM »

Maybe a true American Orthodoxy would have lots of....plastic...and... sales....and...activities Grin
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2009, 12:27:01 AM »

^^Well, I did not intend to make it sound lamentable, sorry. Smiley

No need to apologise as I'm not one to take offense at an honest discussion.  Although I am curious, do you see it possible for something to be both American and not "plastic"?  I know exactly what you mean by that "plastic" mentality, but I also know plenty of Americans (hopefully myself included) who could not be accurately described as "plastic".

Yes, you are right - I guess I generalized without warrant. It is possible to be American and not "plastic." It's just that my wife and myself often interact with younger Americans (quite a lot of our students) who seem to have no clue about their family history, and do not care to even find out. For example, we once talked to a young woman who suddenly said that her grandparents were from Lithuania. We said, oh, how interesting, that's not far from Ukraine... and she became very defensive, sort of almost insulted; she said, how am I supposed to know where all these old European countries are and what they are? I am American, period. I don't care about this old dumb stinking Europe. Smiley

To be honest your arguments against americanisation sound nearly identical to the arguments put forth against using vernacular Ukrainian as a liturgical language - after all having a language that is only vaguely understood by the people is much more otherworldly.   

And again you are probably right. The language of the younger generations of Ukrainian Americans or Greek Americans or Irish Americans or whoever IS, indeed, English...

Well now Heorhij, I am a bit offended (not really, I don't easily get offended). If I understand you correctly, you tie people who have little to no connection to their ethnic/cultural background to the "plastic" element of American culture. What happens if you are like me, a Euromutt (of English, Irish, Scottish, German, French, Spanish, possibly some Scandinavian, and who knows what else) from many generations ago - I'm 8th generation Canadian and parts of my family go back to the 1600's in the USA? While I do happen to know some elements of my background simply because I am fascinated by such "stories", they are otherwise meaningless to me, especially when we occasionally stumble across e.g. some very old document that reveals to us that a particular line of our Irish ancestry turned our to be German. Plus, most of those available family stories are from our New World experiences - little if any of the Old World stories exist now, being lost in the mists of time and all. How can someone like me possibly connect to any other culture (other than "adopting" another culture by virtue of marriage, friendships, going to church - although some on this board would criticize that too) other than a Canadian/American one? Am I therefore doomed to plasticity? No hope for me at all??? I just can't win now can?  Wink

Sorry, but, being surrounded by various "ethnics" on a daily basis, the regular accusation that I have a terribly boring/shallow culture does get tiresome, even if it does ring true sometimes. Hey, Canadians were actually voted worldwide as being the second, most boring people on the planet - the Finns won the most boring contest - and as an aside to that, I knew a Iraqi Jew many years ago who came to appreciate living in boring ol' Canada after living on a Kibbutz in Israel for a year. The jews gave him a hard time because he looked Arab and the Arabs threw rocks at him because he was Jewish. And there is that Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times..."

Okay, so maybe Canadians are more boring than plastic, but since I am so heavily Canadian and American (not that I've ever met any of my American relatives), I guess I have to settle for being both...

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« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2009, 12:32:29 AM »

This is curious to me as when I wrote americanisation, I think I had a very different idea in mind than others.  I meant simply switching to English over the decades.  But that doesn't mean getting rid of the lamb roast, ouzo and the other customs that have become entrenched in a parish.  I agree that it would be very sad to loose those.  


Yes, you are right - I guess I generalized without warrant. It is possible to be American and not "plastic." It's just that my wife and myself often interact with younger Americans (quite a lot of our students) who seem to have no clue about their family history, and do not care to even find out. For example, we once talked to a young woman who suddenly said that her grandparents were from Lithuania. We said, oh, how interesting, that's not far from Ukraine... and she became very defensive, sort of almost insulted; she said, how am I supposed to know where all these old European countries are and what they are? I am American, period. I don't care about this old dumb stinking Europe. Smiley

I've seen the same thing except in reverse: I do quite a bit of English tutoring for recent immigrants from the former USSR.  Most of them are from smaller ethnic groups and were forcibly moved all over (from their ancestral homeland, to Central Asia to Russia).  A lot of the younger people just call themselves "Russians" despite not even looking anything like an ethnic Russian, being practicing Muslims etc.  I also met a few people in Central Asia who were half Korean, half Kazakh (and other similar mixes), only spoke Russian and just for the sake of simplicity called themselves Russian.  So I certainly sympathise with people who come from a varied or turbulent background and just want to assimilate somewhere.  

On the other hand, I really enjoy talking about Eastern Europe.  In 2007 I had the chance to visit my grandparents home village in Poland and meet a bunch of extended relatives.  These days it seems I speak more Russian than English between writing a thesis for which I'm using mostly Russian sources, most of my friends of russophone, my work deals primarily with people from the former USSR.  Maybe I'm just an oddity  Smiley    
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« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2009, 12:41:58 AM »

Oh, I just had to add - my Russian husband and all his Eastern European and Georgian buddies actually don't think I am boring or plastic in the least (I guess I should be flattered, eh? Or maybe they are just being nice)
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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2009, 01:10:25 AM »

Well...for some of us finding a suitable cultural expression of Orthodoxy in the American context is easier than others.  I for one, though a convert, am 100 percent unreconstructed Southron Orthodox...and if we ever again win our freedom the day may yet dawn when the Patriarch of Orthodixie meets with his brothers in Beatitude among the rest of Orthodox. Of course it will be a duck hissy free for all trying to determine if the Patriarchal throne should be located in Dallas, Atlanta, Birmingham or Memphis.
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« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2009, 01:15:48 AM »

heya - I've relatives in Memphis (part of my family came from there too). I do say y'all 'cause my grandma who spent every summer with her Southern cousins did...
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« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2009, 01:50:01 AM »

Outside of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and reading some Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, I don't really have any exposure to Orthodoxy. 
That's more than most! Congratulations!

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  I've heard some whole Anglican parishes have joined, and from browsing this forum there seems to be a lot of cultural insularity within national churches.  What do these things look like from within Orthodoxy?

There's a lot of ethnicity in many Orthodox churches, but you are bound to find WASPy and non-WASP converts as well.   


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Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.  How does one overcome that?

I totally get how you feel.  I am a convert myself. There are several strategies of dealing with this 1) ask an Orthodox friend to explain stuff to you before you go.  Don't know anyone?  Don't worry, neither did I.

 2) use our friend the Internet-- Check out Frederica Mathewes-Green article on 12 Things I wish I had known before going to an Orthodox Church or Deacon Michael's podcasts on Ancientfaith.com.  He has a 12 things as well.  (There is a section for inquirers' podcasts there.)  There is even a thread in this category (but it's not as good).

 3) Read a book written by a convert.  We got Timothy Ware (Anglican), Matthew Galletin, Peter Gillquist (both evangelical), Micheal Welton (Roman Catholic) or James Bernstein (Jewish)--these were all normal and very committed people who are smart and knowledgeable and ended up in the Orthodox Church.  Even if the church seems weird to you --they won't.

 4) read about Orthodox theology -  Everything in the service makes sense--if you understand why.   Relatively easy book--Orthodox Dogmatic Theology.  I didn't say it was a page turner, but the books above are.   

5) don't take it too seriously - relax, enjoy the bells and smells.  Stay for coffee hour.  Have fun with it.  And, by all means, don't miss the food.

6) visit again.  One of my friends didn't like it at first, but kept coming.  She is now totally into it.

Blessings to you on your journey!  Let me know if I can help.
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« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2009, 02:47:19 PM »

You want ethnic? My family were heavy irish republicans from the feniens to recent 'troubles.'
How heavy? They were excommunicated by the RC. My parent's divorce found me in a very anglican flavoured episcopalian parochial school with a loving orangeman vicar who taught me even more irish history. My option was to be lutheran through the other family branch.
I tell you, lutheran casseroles will probably become the next paleoanthropology dating tool if a way to cut them is ever discovered.
I found myself at a houseparty in San Francisco while in university. The 100 year old leader of the local Red Branch Knights ( think IRA american legion) was on one side telling me about my great grandfather and a uilleean piper on the other smoking my brirt PLAYER navy cut cigarettes.
This lace curtain matron came up and cleverly checked me out asking after a RC priest in my area. I didn't have a clue. finally the IRA man explained I wasn't RC. She took a step back crossing herself and asking if I was orange! No, he explained I was old green. old green? yes, hes a druid. Now she took even more steps back and crossed herself again. But he's from old republican stock. She came forward, pushed the uillean piper aside and began tellling me which lasses were sadly single and needing a husband.

Ethnicity is both a joy and a obstacle. You just need to smile and do end runs around the lace curtain matronms.
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« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2009, 02:59:02 PM »

Sorry, but, being surrounded by various "ethnics" on a daily basis, the regular accusation that I have a terribly boring/shallow culture does get tiresome, even if it does ring true sometimes.

Kmm, I am sorry. I feel that I really offended you and perhaps many others. I have to admit that I just do not know what the American culture is. It is my fault only. I never got it, never learned. I have lived all these ~19 years as a foreigner in the USA and I never really felt, experienced anything "American."  Embarrassed
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« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2009, 03:47:09 PM »

I think a lot of people would like to have the kind of deep cultural experience expressed by some on this thread, wherein church and family and social activities are intertwined and laden with meaning and tradition and custom.  Many of us are caught between several worlds, or between East and West, or cultures or traditions, and feel lost, rootless and drifting. It is no surprise to me that someone would adopt an identity, feeling alienated in his own culture, when he adopts a church. You see Muslim converts growing beards, changing their names and adopting Arabic dress.  So someone falls in love with black bread and borscht and calls his wife Natasha. Somewhat amusing, but also something you should have empathy for.  Someone joining a church joins its culture. A church can erect a barrier to joining inadvertantly by demanding that one be properly ethnic and fault the convert for leaping the barrier.
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« Reply #38 on: April 11, 2009, 03:57:02 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon, I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures. The problem is I'd look like a poseur if I adopted a lot of it. For instance, years ago I worked in an anthropology museum. Each year we had a pre-Christmas sale featuring a different part of the world, and one year it was India. My boss was Indian, and brought in a bunch of beautiful silk sari's for some of us to wear. I got to wear a different one each day for a week. I loved it - they look lovely and it does make a girl feel very lady-like. But I'd look ridiculous wearing one regularly, being a very WASPy sort and all (a WASPy colleague of mine does wear them on occasion to work, but her her Indian father-in-law keeps buying them for her, so she has a pretty good excuse).

That said, there are some things people are welcome to adopt where I live; Bollywood or African dance classes, etc. I have caucasian students who take Mandarin courses. And we all eat or cook various ethnic foods (better than "old" British). Dating/marrying people from other groups is quite commonplace. Where I live it's probably far easier than it is in many parts of North America. But you still can only get away with so much even here (again, it's the poseur factor - are you able to adopt another culture and look cool, or do you just look desperate, flaky, and throwing the baby out with the bathwater?).

I just wanted people to remember that some of us are American/Canadian through and through and cannot do anything about it (plus, there are good things about our cultures too - my husband may occasionally have some nostalgia for Russia, but he really does love many things about the Canadian culture over and above the Russian one). May we all take the best of our different world views (and then make them fit into Orthodoxy).



I do love Kav's Irish stories. I've heard ones like it from people before, and they sure can be doozies.
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« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2009, 03:58:10 PM »

I think a lot of people would like to have the kind of deep cultural experience expressed by some on this thread, wherein church and family and social activities are intertwined and laden with meaning and tradition and custom.  Many of us are caught between several worlds, or between East and West, or cultures or traditions, and feel lost, rootless and drifting. It is no surprise to me that someone would adopt an identity, feeling alienated in his own culture, when he adopts a church. You see Muslim converts growing beards, changing their names and adopting Arabic dress.  So someone falls in love with black bread and borscht and calls his wife Natasha. Somewhat amusing, but also something you should have empathy for.  Someone joining a church joins its culture. A church can erect a barrier to joining inadvertantly by demanding that one be properly ethnic and fault the convert for leaping the barrier.

I agree.
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« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2009, 04:43:59 PM »

The perfect expression of 'american culture' is a scene in the T/V movie THE LOST BATTALION

based on a true battle in WW1. A young american officer is negotiating with the german

commander, who explains his untenable position and certain destruction. The american sort of

smiles and explains he is facing a bunch of -----and lists every old, now PC incorrect word for

various ethnicities fighting together. That, is american culture.
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« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2009, 05:45:23 PM »

I would hate to think that American Orthodoxy would be watered down to the lowest common denominator.  What are churches that are mainly composed of converts doing to develop an American Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2009, 06:33:50 PM »

The perfect expression of 'american culture' is a scene in the T/V movie THE LOST BATTALION

based on a true battle in WW1. A young american officer is negotiating with the german

commander, who explains his untenable position and certain destruction. The american sort of

smiles and explains he is facing a bunch of -----and lists every old, now PC incorrect word for

various ethnicities fighting together. That, is american culture.

Sorry, I don't get it at all...
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« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2009, 06:35:16 PM »

Maybe a true American Orthodoxy would have lots of....plastic...and... sales....and...activities Grin

Yes, that's how I (maybe superficially and maybe wrongly) perceive the American culture, and that's exactly why I am repelled from it...
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« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2009, 06:44:23 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon,

But then maybe you could try to learn? Actually, my wife and I grew up in the Soviet Union, where there was this constant drumbeat that ethnicities should merge into one big, happy family of "Soviet People." In all honesty, I succubed to it a little, until I met my wife. I grew up in the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and my parents were classical "Soviet People" who completely lost their cultural and ethnic identity. They spoke Russian and did not care much about anything Ukrainian. Yet, my wife grew in a smaller city in the Northwest of Ukraine (Volyn'), and her parents were extremely patriotic (albeit clandestine) Ukrainians. When she and I met - accidentally, in Moscow of the 1980's, in the absolutely "Soviet" capital of the then-still-gasping-its-last-breath "Soviet Union" - I suddenly discovered a much deeper, spiritually speaking, current of culture, historical memories, affiliations, sympathies, allegiances...

I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures.

But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?
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« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2009, 07:05:12 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon,

But then maybe you could try to learn? Actually, my wife and I grew up in the Soviet Union, where there was this constant drumbeat that ethnicities should merge into one big, happy family of "Soviet People." In all honesty, I succubed to it a little, until I met my wife. I grew up in the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and my parents were classical "Soviet People" who completely lost their cultural and ethnic identity. They spoke Russian and did not care much about anything Ukrainian. Yet, my wife grew in a smaller city in the Northwest of Ukraine (Volyn'), and her parents were extremely patriotic (albeit clandestine) Ukrainians. When she and I met - accidentally, in Moscow of the 1980's, in the absolutely "Soviet" capital of the then-still-gasping-its-last-breath "Soviet Union" - I suddenly discovered a much deeper, spiritually speaking, current of culture, historical memories, affiliations, sympathies, allegiances...

I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures.

But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?


Something you need to keep in mind when talking to and/or about Americans and American culture is that unlike the Soviet Union where there was an attempt to force a melting-pot-like combining of ethnic traits and even in some cases the leaving behind of some ethnic traits in the United States such a melting-pot effect was both organic and voluntary.

No one tried to force people to give up their homes or surrender their nationality to a larger entity.  People came here willingly and blended in to the melting pot voluntarily. 

Does that mean that some people may have lost something?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  I don't know. 

What I do know is that I get tired of Americans (and Canadians) being called superficial or plastic or lacking in culture.  Most particularly by people who live here.  You don't get it?  Fine.  Say you don't understand it.  But perhaps you could be less judgmental and less superior when you do it.

And when an American or a Canadian tries to find a way to fit into an ethnic parish kindly refrain from calling us ridiculous, inauthentic or any such other nonsense. 

It's clearly impossible to please you, Heorhij.  Either we're too plastic or we're too ridiculous for you and your wife to bear.  And it's a big reason why some Americans (and perhaps Canadians) shy away from Orthodoxy.  We can't ever be ethnic enough to fit in and trying to makes us look ridiculous (your word, not mine).  It's pointless.
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« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2009, 07:22:08 PM »



But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?

Something you need to keep in mind when talking to and/or about Americans and American culture is that unlike the Soviet Union where there was an attempt to force a melting-pot-like combining of ethnic traits and even in some cases the leaving behind of some ethnic traits in the United States such a melting-pot effect was both organic and voluntary.

I don't know, Carole... In the USSR of the 1920-'s - 1930's, huge populations were exterminated, like the Don Cossacks - and that was also the case in the USA of the 1800's - 1950's (Cherokee, and perhaps other native tribes). Later, the mere memory of that was exterminated, so that in the USSR of the 1970-s and 80-s it was largely considered insane for a person to even talk about that...

No one tried to force people to give up their homes or surrender their nationality to a larger entity.  People came here willingly and blended in to the melting pot voluntarily. 

Yeah.

It's clearly impossible to please you, Heorhij.

Yeah.

But I don't insist on being pleased, it's you, rather...
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 07:22:45 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2009, 07:26:55 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon,

But then maybe you could try to learn? Actually, my wife and I grew up in the Soviet Union, where there was this constant drumbeat that ethnicities should merge into one big, happy family of "Soviet People." In all honesty, I succubed to it a little, until I met my wife. I grew up in the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and my parents were classical "Soviet People" who completely lost their cultural and ethnic identity. They spoke Russian and did not care much about anything Ukrainian. Yet, my wife grew in a smaller city in the Northwest of Ukraine (Volyn'), and her parents were extremely patriotic (albeit clandestine) Ukrainians. When she and I met - accidentally, in Moscow of the 1980's, in the absolutely "Soviet" capital of the then-still-gasping-its-last-breath "Soviet Union" - I suddenly discovered a much deeper, spiritually speaking, current of culture, historical memories, affiliations, sympathies, allegiances...

I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures.

But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?


Something you need to keep in mind when talking to and/or about Americans and American culture is that unlike the Soviet Union where there was an attempt to force a melting-pot-like combining of ethnic traits and even in some cases the leaving behind of some ethnic traits in the United States such a melting-pot effect was both organic and voluntary.

No one tried to force people to give up their homes or surrender their nationality to a larger entity.  People came here willingly and blended in to the melting pot voluntarily. 

Does that mean that some people may have lost something?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  I don't know. 

What I do know is that I get tired of Americans (and Canadians) being called superficial or plastic or lacking in culture.  Most particularly by people who live here.  You don't get it?  Fine.  Say you don't understand it.  But perhaps you could be less judgmental and less superior when you do it.

And when an American or a Canadian tries to find a way to fit into an ethnic parish kindly refrain from calling us ridiculous, inauthentic or any such other nonsense. 

It's clearly impossible to please you, Heorhij.  Either we're too plastic or we're too ridiculous for you and your wife to bear.  And it's a big reason why some Americans (and perhaps Canadians) shy away from Orthodoxy.  We can't ever be ethnic enough to fit in and trying to makes us look ridiculous (your word, not mine).  It's pointless.

Bit too strong, me thinks, but there is a point.

Part of our culture (American) is self-deprecation.  We love to tell ourselves that everyone else is plastic, or superficial or whatever.  Since I was a small child I have heard of the commercialization of Christmas, for example.  There are many Americas. One is the America that came here to worship freely, another is an America that came to get away from religion.  Some of us came to get away from other people, only to find that they find the same people here. I know of an Israeli who moved to the US, only his boss was of Arab extraction.  But we put aside these differences to form something new on the earth, and part of that is a willingness to live with diversity. to disagree, and also to be bigoted irrationally.  Unlike in the Soviet Union we become one willingly, and it is not a unity meant to sacrifice anyone's individuality.   But of course everyone else is free to disagree with me.
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« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2009, 07:33:19 PM »

Part of our culture (American) is self-deprecation.  We love to tell ourselves that everyone else is plastic, or superficial or whatever.  Since I was a small child I have heard of the commercialization of Christmas, for example.  There are many Americas. One is the America that came here to worship freely, another is an America that came to get away from religion.  Some of us came to get away from other people, only to find that they find the same people here. I know of an Israeli who moved to the US, only his boss was of Arab extraction.

Sorry, but how do you even know all this? There is a lot of absolutely propagandistic, ideologically-driven "history" that tells you all this - and why would a rational human being even care to believe it? Pilgrims did not come to "worship freely" - for Pete's sake, they came from the Netherlands where they could worship all they please; they actually went for a MISSION TRIP! Others came for the economic opportunity, like the Irish who fled starvation in the 1850-s...

But we put aside these differences to form something new on the earth, and part of that is a willingness to live with diversity. to disagree, and also to be bigoted irrationally.  Unlike in the Soviet Union we become one willingly, and it is not a unity meant to sacrifice anyone's individuality.   But of course everyone else is free to disagree with me.

Yeah...Yawn...
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« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2009, 07:37:49 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon,

But then maybe you could try to learn? Actually, my wife and I grew up in the Soviet Union, where there was this constant drumbeat that ethnicities should merge into one big, happy family of "Soviet People." In all honesty, I succubed to it a little, until I met my wife. I grew up in the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and my parents were classical "Soviet People" who completely lost their cultural and ethnic identity. They spoke Russian and did not care much about anything Ukrainian. Yet, my wife grew in a smaller city in the Northwest of Ukraine (Volyn'), and her parents were extremely patriotic (albeit clandestine) Ukrainians. When she and I met - accidentally, in Moscow of the 1980's, in the absolutely "Soviet" capital of the then-still-gasping-its-last-breath "Soviet Union" - I suddenly discovered a much deeper, spiritually speaking, current of culture, historical memories, affiliations, sympathies, allegiances...

I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures.

But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?



Try to learn what? As I've said, if I were to appropriate someone else's culture, I would be thought of as ridiculous, or again of attempting to appropriate the culture, something with which some people have serious issues (e.g. aboriginal peoples can get very upset, quite understandably, when white people attempt to appropriate their cultures by telling aboriginal stories or creating aboriginal-styled art - a big issue in the Pacific Northwest).

As for Canada, we have an official policy of a cultural mosaic rather than melting-pot. It has rather different results I think.

As for defining my culture, I would need time to sit down and think about it, but Canadians and American DO have a culture Heorhij. We all do (I can say that confidently being a former anthropology major). Whether or not you like such as culture it is another matter all together and such an opinion is your personal prerogative. The USSR had a culture too, although elements may have been quite odious to you. Regardless, the culture we do have here in modern Canada, at least in the cities, does allow  for many different cultures to live here together quite peaceably, which is not always the case in places where the culture is far more distinct, interesting, and homogeneous. So that is something I do like about my otherwise boring culture. Well, that and hockey.
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« Reply #50 on: April 11, 2009, 08:43:21 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon,

But then maybe you could try to learn? Actually, my wife and I grew up in the Soviet Union, where there was this constant drumbeat that ethnicities should merge into one big, happy family of "Soviet People." In all honesty, I succubed to it a little, until I met my wife. I grew up in the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and my parents were classical "Soviet People" who completely lost their cultural and ethnic identity. They spoke Russian and did not care much about anything Ukrainian. Yet, my wife grew in a smaller city in the Northwest of Ukraine (Volyn'), and her parents were extremely patriotic (albeit clandestine) Ukrainians. When she and I met - accidentally, in Moscow of the 1980's, in the absolutely "Soviet" capital of the then-still-gasping-its-last-breath "Soviet Union" - I suddenly discovered a much deeper, spiritually speaking, current of culture, historical memories, affiliations, sympathies, allegiances...

I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures.

But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?



Try to learn what? As I've said, if I were to appropriate someone else's culture, I would be thought of as ridiculous, or again of attempting to appropriate the culture, something with which some people have serious issues (e.g. aboriginal peoples can get very upset, quite understandably, when white people attempt to appropriate their cultures by telling aboriginal stories or creating aboriginal-styled art - a big issue in the Pacific Northwest).

As for Canada, we have an official policy of a cultural mosaic rather than melting-pot. It has rather different results I think.

As for defining my culture, I would need time to sit down and think about it, but Canadians and American DO have a culture Heorhij. We all do (I can say that confidently being a former anthropology major). Whether or not you like such as culture it is another matter all together and such an opinion is your personal prerogative. The USSR had a culture too, although elements may have been quite odious to you. Regardless, the culture we do have here in modern Canada, at least in the cities, does allow  for many different cultures to live here together quite peaceably, which is not always the case in places where the culture is far more distinct, interesting, and homogeneous. So that is something I do like about my otherwise boring culture. Well, that and hockey.

I don't obect against the obvious fact that you guys live quite "peaceably" in "modern" Canada, Kmm. But is what you guys really have over there (and here, in the US) a "culture" - I am not sure. After all, the basic definition of "culture" is the population of microorganisms reproducing in broth or agar... Smiley

To me, "culture," in a deep, spiritual sense is what I am, what distinguishes me as me, as a human being called Heorhij (or "George") Pinchuk, from very many sets of other human beings. Obviously, this "something" is not genes, because, after all, we all have the same set of genes with just a little bit of variations. It is also not exactly "history" - because history is so twisted because of wars, conquests, genocide, myths etc. It is, rather, something that I heard a mother sing, as a lullaby, to her child. Not exactly MY mother, because my mom was a "modern" woman who never sang me any lullaby; but my great-grandmother... and other women from her lineage... If this lullaby is "Itsy-Bitsy_spider" - then, I guess, you are English by your culture... unless I do not know some intricacies...
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« Reply #51 on: April 11, 2009, 08:46:46 PM »

Part of our culture (American) is self-deprecation.  We love to tell ourselves that everyone else is plastic, or superficial or whatever.  Since I was a small child I have heard of the commercialization of Christmas, for example.  There are many Americas. One is the America that came here to worship freely, another is an America that came to get away from religion.  Some of us came to get away from other people, only to find that they find the same people here. I know of an Israeli who moved to the US, only his boss was of Arab extraction.

Sorry, but how do you even know all this? There is a lot of absolutely propagandistic, ideologically-driven "history" that tells you all this - and why would a rational human being even care to believe it? Pilgrims did not come to "worship freely" - for Pete's sake, they came from the Netherlands where they could worship all they please; they actually went for a MISSION TRIP! Others came for the economic opportunity, like the Irish who fled starvation in the 1850-s...

But we put aside these differences to form something new on the earth, and part of that is a willingness to live with diversity. to disagree, and also to be bigoted irrationally.  Unlike in the Soviet Union we become one willingly, and it is not a unity meant to sacrifice anyone's individuality.   But of course everyone else is free to disagree with me.

Yeah...Yawn...

Yeah.....Yawn right back at ya! laugh

We make it up as we go along.  Nobody is telling us what it is officially.  We are left to figure it out on our own.  And "what is America?" is still a popular topic for a 4th of July editorial in the local paper.  This, I suppose, would be a big challenge in defining "American Orthodoxy."
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« Reply #52 on: April 11, 2009, 08:50:02 PM »

Dear Heorhij,

It's okay - I do understand. While the attitude might bug me at times, being surrounded all the time by various "ethnics" has also given me a significant level of sympathy for the immigrant or ethnic who really is flummoxed and dismayed (often rightly)  by elements of the North American culture. Plus, even though I cannot do much about the fact I personally do not have a culture other than the North American one to hang my hat upon,

But then maybe you could try to learn? Actually, my wife and I grew up in the Soviet Union, where there was this constant drumbeat that ethnicities should merge into one big, happy family of "Soviet People." In all honesty, I succubed to it a little, until I met my wife. I grew up in the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and my parents were classical "Soviet People" who completely lost their cultural and ethnic identity. They spoke Russian and did not care much about anything Ukrainian. Yet, my wife grew in a smaller city in the Northwest of Ukraine (Volyn'), and her parents were extremely patriotic (albeit clandestine) Ukrainians. When she and I met - accidentally, in Moscow of the 1980's, in the absolutely "Soviet" capital of the then-still-gasping-its-last-breath "Soviet Union" - I suddenly discovered a much deeper, spiritually speaking, current of culture, historical memories, affiliations, sympathies, allegiances...

I do love the opportunity to be able to experience other cultures.

But is "your" culture in fact, in actuality, real? What is it? Can you define it, or are you, rather, like me in that drumbeat of the Soviet ideology I mentioned above?



Try to learn what? As I've said, if I were to appropriate someone else's culture, I would be thought of as ridiculous, or again of attempting to appropriate the culture, something with which some people have serious issues (e.g. aboriginal peoples can get very upset, quite understandably, when white people attempt to appropriate their cultures by telling aboriginal stories or creating aboriginal-styled art - a big issue in the Pacific Northwest).

As for Canada, we have an official policy of a cultural mosaic rather than melting-pot. It has rather different results I think.

As for defining my culture, I would need time to sit down and think about it, but Canadians and American DO have a culture Heorhij. We all do (I can say that confidently being a former anthropology major). Whether or not you like such as culture it is another matter all together and such an opinion is your personal prerogative. The USSR had a culture too, although elements may have been quite odious to you. Regardless, the culture we do have here in modern Canada, at least in the cities, does allow  for many different cultures to live here together quite peaceably, which is not always the case in places where the culture is far more distinct, interesting, and homogeneous. So that is something I do like about my otherwise boring culture. Well, that and hockey.

Part of Russian Orthodox culture, as well as that of many other Orthodox cultures, is the history of living under conditions that made it extremely difficult, whether under the Ottomans, the Communists, Catholics or Arians. I think the sense of loss has been shared by many throughout history who have sought to recover an Orthodoxy that was suppressed and denied them as much as possible.  This is foreign to the American experience.
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« Reply #53 on: April 11, 2009, 09:08:16 PM »

"what is America?" is still a popular topic for a 4th of July editorial in the local paper.  This, I suppose, would be a big challenge in defining "American Orthodoxy."

Indeed! Especially in the light of a plain fact that all this "American Revolution" and the "Declaration of Independence" is the successful (?) result of the struggle of the Free Masons against the legitimate power of the sovereingn of their nation, the struggle that they (the Masons) conveniently disguised in the populist "I don't have to pay taxes to that tyrant" garments...
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« Reply #54 on: April 11, 2009, 09:22:10 PM »

Part of Russian Orthodox culture, as well as that of many other Orthodox cultures, is the history of living under conditions that made it extremely difficult, whether under the Ottomans, the Communists, Catholics or Arians. I think the sense of loss has been shared by many throughout history who have sought to recover an Orthodoxy that was suppressed and denied them as much as possible.  This is foreign to the American experience.

In my own experience, it's a bit more subtle than that. My living under the "Communists" was, actually, very easy and happy and blissful. And yet, it was always with a sprinkle of doubt: why all this tremendous culture of grief, like the poetry of Taras Shevchenko with his Isaiah/Jeremiah-style lamentations over the old Cossack liberties? I am afraid the very British, cold, disciplined, organized society of the early years after the "revolution" of the 1770-s just exterminated everything non-"patriotic" (actually, non-mythological) "American" from the minds of the generations after, much more successfully than the "Communists" did...
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« Reply #55 on: April 11, 2009, 10:16:24 PM »

Part of Russian Orthodox culture, as well as that of many other Orthodox cultures, is the history of living under conditions that made it extremely difficult, whether under the Ottomans, the Communists, Catholics or Arians. I think the sense of loss has been shared by many throughout history who have sought to recover an Orthodoxy that was suppressed and denied them as much as possible.  This is foreign to the American experience.

In my own experience, it's a bit more subtle than that. My living under the "Communists" was, actually, very easy and happy and blissful. And yet, it was always with a sprinkle of doubt: why all this tremendous culture of grief, like the poetry of Taras Shevchenko with his Isaiah/Jeremiah-style lamentations over the old Cossack liberties? I am afraid the very British, cold, disciplined, organized society of the early years after the "revolution" of the 1770-s just exterminated everything non-"patriotic" (actually, non-mythological) "American" from the minds of the generations after, much more successfully than the "Communists" did...

An interesting take on American history.  Most of us came over much later. Some much, much later. People are still arriving.  Some who objected to the revolution moved to Canada.  Some were isolated from the cities and hardly was there a "very British, cold, disciplined, organized society".  It was fragmented and scattered.  There was more than one America then, as there is now.  And I think Southerners would take strong objection to some of your statements, as well as many Northerners. "Don't tread on me" is a state motto and "Don't mess with Texas" could be.
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« Reply #56 on: April 11, 2009, 10:37:30 PM »

Quote
Something you need to keep in mind when talking to and/or about Americans and American culture is that unlike the Soviet Union where there was an attempt to force a melting-pot-like combining of ethnic traits and even in some cases the leaving behind of some ethnic traits in the United States such a melting-pot effect was both organic and voluntary.

No one tried to force people to give up their homes or surrender their nationality to a larger entity.  People came here willingly and blended in to the melting pot voluntarily. 


A small comment for now: How many emigrants to the USA found themselves having to change their "unwieldly" and "foreign" names, usually their surmanes, and often their Christian/given names, to something more Anglophone, to make it easier to "blend in" with established American society? The same is true for other English-speaking emigrant nations such as Britain and Australia.
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« Reply #57 on: April 12, 2009, 12:05:45 AM »

Quote
Something you need to keep in mind when talking to and/or about Americans and American culture is that unlike the Soviet Union where there was an attempt to force a melting-pot-like combining of ethnic traits and even in some cases the leaving behind of some ethnic traits in the United States such a melting-pot effect was both organic and voluntary.

No one tried to force people to give up their homes or surrender their nationality to a larger entity.  People came here willingly and blended in to the melting pot voluntarily. 


A small comment for now: How many emigrants to the USA found themselves having to change their "unwieldly" and "foreign" names, usually their surmanes, and often their Christian/given names, to something more Anglophone, to make it easier to "blend in" with established American society? The same is true for other English-speaking emigrant nations such as Britain and Australia.

A lot of the times that happened, though, was when they first entered the country and the official who processed them couldn't be bothered to write or pronounce their given name and - because the immigrant may not have spoken any English so they couldn't stick up for themselves - they got saddled with an 'Americanized' name.

That's not 100% of the cases of course, but quite a few.
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« Reply #58 on: April 12, 2009, 12:46:23 AM »

Okay Heorhij,

Let's take the basic non-scientific ideas of culture as supplied by wikipedia:

- excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities
- an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
- the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.


The first one: yep, by and large North American popular culture lacks in that. But based on, for instance, the Russian radio I am often subjected to at home, I'd say current popular Russian culture lacks it too (a lot of the pop music is REALLY bad, but perhaps because it's in imitation of western pop - I am a big fan of many culture's folk music - probably because it comes deep within the culture?).

The second two: I'm not sure how American or Canadian cultures don't fit that (although it's admittedly not all shared, but then no culture shares absolutely everything). The cold British society of which you speak was still a culture.

But you still haven't answered my question. What am I to learn? I've traveled a lot, married a Russian and became Russian Orthodox, have friends, colleagues and students from various cultures, and thoroughly enjoy experiencing elements of these various cultures. Of course I could always experience lots more; I am terribly ignorant on many levels. So I could learn more than way, of course. But what could I learn that would give me a culture beyond that of my apparently own non-culture culture? I will likely never be anything other than Canadian. Yes, if I were to move to Russia with my husband (which we've considered and dismissed, at least for now, because life would be way too tough for us there) I'd likely adopt more Russian culture. But would I ever be accepted as completely Russian? Not likely. And there is little point in becoming completely Russian here (again, everyone, including Russians, would think I was nuts).

Again, how is someone like me ever to attain your definition of culture? You have condemned me to essentially being a plastic nonentity.

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« Reply #59 on: April 12, 2009, 06:40:54 AM »

Rousseau was 100% garbage when he was alive, and people really need to let him die. The only difference here is that we, er, those who believe is babble have expanded the "Noble Savage" to include Eastern Europeans. Quaint, native costuming: Good! American: Bad!

Please. Calling such philosophy simplistic would give it and its practitioners far too much credit.


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« Reply #60 on: April 12, 2009, 06:52:10 AM »

A lot of the times that happened, though, was when they first entered the country and the official who processed them couldn't be bothered to write or pronounce their given name and - because the immigrant may not have spoken any English so they couldn't stick up for themselves - they got saddled with an 'Americanized' name.

That's not 100% of the cases of course, but quite a few.

I would say the "official" changes in name, in my experience, are a minority. I could list many, many instances of emigres, particularly of earlier waves of emigration, who quickly realised the "advantage" of anglicising their names. It is only in more recent generations (second or third, if you're lucky) that the original "ethnic" forms of names (given or surname) are revived and seen as "culturally acceptable". Trust me on this.
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« Reply #61 on: April 12, 2009, 08:55:31 AM »

Part of Russian Orthodox culture, as well as that of many other Orthodox cultures, is the history of living under conditions that made it extremely difficult, whether under the Ottomans, the Communists, Catholics or Arians. I think the sense of loss has been shared by many throughout history who have sought to recover an Orthodoxy that was suppressed and denied them as much as possible.  This is foreign to the American experience.

In my own experience, it's a bit more subtle than that. My living under the "Communists" was, actually, very easy and happy and blissful. And yet, it was always with a sprinkle of doubt: why all this tremendous culture of grief, like the poetry of Taras Shevchenko with his Isaiah/Jeremiah-style lamentations over the old Cossack liberties? I am afraid the very British, cold, disciplined, organized society of the early years after the "revolution" of the 1770-s just exterminated everything non-"patriotic" (actually, non-mythological) "American" from the minds of the generations after, much more successfully than the "Communists" did...

An interesting take on American history.  Most of us came over much later. Some much, much later. People are still arriving.  Some who objected to the revolution moved to Canada.  Some were isolated from the cities and hardly was there a "very British, cold, disciplined, organized society".  It was fragmented and scattered.  There was more than one America then, as there is now.  And I think Southerners would take strong objection to some of your statements, as well as many Northerners. "Don't tread on me" is a state motto and "Don't mess with Texas" could be.

Yes, I realize that; and yet, it all seems to me rather like attempts to form SOME sort of opposition to the absolute, ruthless unification - which nonetheless happened. And no, there aren't any Americas, there is only one, maybe under more than one type of purely outward "decoration" (Northeners, Southerners, Midwesterners, Texans). African Americans are a separate story perhaps.
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« Reply #62 on: April 12, 2009, 09:00:16 AM »

you still haven't answered my question. What am I to learn? I've traveled a lot, married a Russian and became Russian Orthodox, have friends, colleagues and students from various cultures, and thoroughly enjoy experiencing elements of these various cultures. Of course I could always experience lots more; I am terribly ignorant on many levels. So I could learn more than way, of course. But what could I learn that would give me a culture beyond that of my apparently own non-culture culture? I will likely never be anything other than Canadian. Yes, if I were to move to Russia with my husband (which we've considered and dismissed, at least for now, because life would be way too tough for us there) I'd likely adopt more Russian culture. But would I ever be accepted as completely Russian? Not likely. And there is little point in becoming completely Russian here (again, everyone, including Russians, would think I was nuts).

But that's the whole point: you are correct! You aren't to learn any culture. It won't happen. My daughter's children, if they are ever born, will learn no culture either. They will be Americans (nationals of the USA). They will "do activities." ... Sad

Again, how is someone like me ever to attain your definition of culture? You have condemned me to essentially being a plastic nonentity.

Oh no, sorry, I was not intending to condemn you (or my daughter for that matter). Please forgive me for sounding harsh, believe me, I am not trying to insult or hurt anyone, I just speak my mind with all those not very pleasant things that are on it.
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« Reply #63 on: April 12, 2009, 10:15:36 AM »

Yeah.

But I don't insist on being pleased, it's you, rather...


Newsflash, Heorhij,

I don't insist on being please.  And I am not the one who called anyone ridiculous.  You on the other hand openly admit to you and your wife finding American's ridiculous when we try to adopt the cultural traditions of the Orthodox parish that we're trying to enter into. 

At least we're trying to do something other than sit around on our oh-so-superior backsides and ridicule other people for their efforts.

You converted from a Protestant religion to Orthodoxy but you never had to worry about how to fit in to an tight ethnic community and how to express the 'at home' side of Orthodoxy because you have the advantage of being raised in a culture that is reflected in Orthodoxy.  The rest of us poor shlubs have to try to figure it out for ourselves all the while knowing that if we dare to try to adopt any tradition (even if we're only doing it because we think it is a beautiful expression of our new found faith) some judgmental person of the proper ethnicity is going to look down their nose at us and call us ridiculous.

"I just speak my mind with all those not very pleasant things that are on it."  - That's not an apology for hurting people.  That's an excuse. 

"Sorry I hurt you or offended you but I was just being honest."  - So what?  Honesty is not an excuse for being rude.   You can be honest without being hurtful and if you can't then maybe you should keep your mouth shut and your fingers still until you can.
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« Reply #64 on: April 12, 2009, 10:25:59 AM »

Sorry again, Carole, I'll follow your instructions and will not participate in conversations like this one ever again.
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« Reply #65 on: April 12, 2009, 12:41:07 PM »

I was ashore during my Icebreaker's southern patrol to Antarctica.
Shipmates and good friends Bruce Shimazu  ( japanese-american)
and JoJo White ( a brother from DE-troit )  and I had this running, and very personal dialog going about 'being american.' Both felt disenfranchised on many levels; not fully AMERICAN.

This guy with bad breath, the obligatory black t shirt and beret of the professional student-anarchist-maoist whatever stopped directly in front of us and hissed some profane filled angst against us 'imperial yankee american dogs'  and spit on Bruce before turning on his heel to run,
whereupon he immediately fell with a snapped ankle and broke his front teeth.

Bruce, being a medical corpsman rendered aid while JoJo got help, actually knowing fluent spanish. The paramilitary police arrived, unceremoniously grabbed the guy and threw him in a european made truck.

We decided returning to our ship was best. Bruce walked up first, popped the double salute to our stern mounted flag and the deck watch. He was crying.
Our Old Man was just walking down the ladder, looked at him and asked what was wrong?
Bruce cried and laughed.
' Skipper! I finally feel like I am 100% american, this guy spit on me.'
Skipper looks bewildered. 'but Shimi- you always were.'
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 12:43:46 PM by Kav » Logged
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« Reply #66 on: April 12, 2009, 12:52:36 PM »



But that's the whole point: you are correct! You aren't to learn any culture. It won't happen. My daughter's children, if they are ever born, will learn no culture either. They will be Americans (nationals of the USA). They will "do activities."

See? Americans no have zeee culture! Only zeee quaint, local, peasant garb is zeeee culture!

Please.


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« Reply #67 on: April 12, 2009, 01:34:07 PM »

It's difficult not to read this without a jingoistic, 'love it or leave it'we americans have done xyz

for the world and why are you here if it is such a cultural wasteland reaction.

One can only put on George Gershwin's American in Paris, become one with a warm overstuffed

chair as that first long, introductory horn solo fills the room as we dip into a white carboard box

with red lettering and pop a bamboo shoot and chestnut in our mouth.
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« Reply #68 on: April 12, 2009, 01:45:42 PM »

Sorry again, Carole, I'll follow your instructions and will not participate in conversations like this one ever again.

Is outrage!  Sometimes the best way to learn is from someone like you, born in Ukraine and lives in the USA.
I learned more things about American culture and politics from outsiders than I could have learned in the USA (mainly because the USA doesn't tell us both sides of any international affair event).  

One thing that dominates USA culture is corporations.  Anything homegrown or interesting is quickly commercialized and sold for a high profit and made by the sweat and blood of people in foreign lands.

Music--- people define themselves by music but the music they mostly listen to is chosen and written by record company executives who also sell the image.  In fact they usually have to push the image to sell what they call music.  Then people who buy it call it "their" music. It's not the music of the people, it's as processed, packaged and marketed as Velveeta Cheese.
Whatever happened to the days when people created their own music and told stories about life (relationships, politics, tall tales...)?  Sure it exists but even Nashville has stolen and packaged the bluegrass.  Nowadays folk music is relegated to the Folk Show on NPR.

A friend and I were talking about our punk days when we'd go to shows and play in bands.  We'd wear the clothes and such but we made it.  It was a cheap way to dress different (not outlandish by today's standards) and be a suburban kid in revolt against the life his guidance counselor wanted him to pick...

Now you can walk into Hot Topics (the store) and pay 50 bucks for a shirt we'd get at the Goodwill for 50 cents.  It's packaged now.  You don't have to play in a band or go to punk shows and have some connect in some subculture, no, it's mainstream now. Why?  Because the ideal became a corporation culture movement... packaged, process, marketed.. have the whole thing for 50 bucks without the talent of playing in a band or the stoic ideals of a society that told you that you were worthless kids not going anywhere but yet wanted you to decide your whole future and stick with it RIGHT NOW and go to college and do that... from a kid to an adult in sixty seconds and although being told you were a kid two seconds beforehand being told that you now had to choose your whole future and do it for the next 40 years.
American culture has come to the point of processed, packaged and marketed with the least experiences to truly understand what you are a part of or can be.  People all too often identity themselves by what the corporations tell them to identity themselves as.  People believe what the corporations tell them to believe.  I know people who think having the ability to choose between a yellow Chevy and a blue Chevy is freedom.  
When I was in my teens I used to say "Question the Answers"  Always make up your own mind through research and self discovery not through the packaged and processed corporations that want you to go do your job and buy their stuff... repeat as necessary even if that means a second... third... job.
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« Reply #69 on: April 12, 2009, 01:57:15 PM »

I would say the "official" changes in name, in my experience, are a minority. I could list many, many instances of emigres, particularly of earlier waves of emigration, who quickly realised the "advantage" of anglicising their names. It is only in more recent generations (second or third, if you're lucky) that the original "ethnic" forms of names (given or surname) are revived and seen as "culturally acceptable". Trust me on this.

My grandfather willingly and of his own accord changed his first name since his was pretty difficult for non-Poles to pronounce properly ( Zdzisław is a bit tough  Smiley ).  After awhile I think he just got tired of people not being to spell his name, never pronouncing it correctly, etc.   Our surname remained intact, minus the diacritics (which I've added back in when I starting going to University).  American culture has certainly become less xenophobic and more willing to accept "foreign" names - only once in my life have I been called a foreigner and my Slavic heritage ridiculed.  And that was by the parents of an ex-girlfriend - what a shock that relationship didn't work out.  

Heorhij:

I'm in no way offended by anything you have written.  I truly appreciate an outsider's thoughts and impressions of American culture, and I also love a lively debate.  I have a couple of British friends, and when we get together discussions similar to this always ensue (and they have brought up points about America that I had never considered before and I enjoyed their debates about whether it is possible to speak of a British identity or whether they are simply English, the inevitable Welsh jokes etc.).  

Over the past three years, I've been inside the US about as much as I've been abroad.  This September I'm leaving for two plus years for work.  Much like how you described your time in Moscow as refining your sense of being Ukrainian, a similar process happened for me.  It's hard to describe on an internet forum, but yes being American carries more meaning than liking McDonald's to me.  My love for American culture, literature, the English language and the chance to share that is a big reason why I decided to sign up to teach English abroad for two years rather than go directly to graduate school.  

One of the points of American culture that I really like is its fluidity, its ability to adapt, adopt from others and change.  I'd also point out that there was a time in Europe when the idea of any East Slavs having a culture was a bit laughable.  Any "cultured" Russians simply adopted French culture - even up until the 19th Century whole pages of Tolstoy were written in Russian and entire dialogues from the "Slavophile" Dostoevsky were in French.  And this is all especially ironic coming from you since one does not have to go that far outside of mainstream thought in Poland or Russia to find those who do not see Ukraine as being its own culture.  It might be worth remembering that when accusing Americans of not having a culture.        
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« Reply #70 on: April 12, 2009, 03:43:39 PM »

Tieing this into orthodoxy, we must remember God is creating still, not the past tense creator.

If you don't see any american culture--go out and MAKE SOME!

Maybe a Jack Palance remembrance festival. Anyone know ol' Curley's real name?
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« Reply #71 on: April 12, 2009, 04:23:46 PM »

Sorry again, Carole, I'll follow your instructions and will not participate in conversations like this one ever again.

Is outrage!  Sometimes the best way to learn is from someone like you, born in Ukraine and lives in the USA.
I learned more things about American culture and politics from outsiders than I could have learned in the USA (mainly because the USA doesn't tell us both sides of any international affair event).  

One thing that dominates USA culture is corporations.  Anything homegrown or interesting is quickly commercialized and sold for a high profit and made by the sweat and blood of people in foreign lands.

Music--- people define themselves by music but the music they mostly listen to is chosen and written by record company executives who also sell the image.  In fact they usually have to push the image to sell what they call music.  Then people who buy it call it "their" music. It's not the music of the people, it's as processed, packaged and marketed as Velveeta Cheese.
Whatever happened to the days when people created their own music and told stories about life (relationships, politics, tall tales...)?  Sure it exists but even Nashville has stolen and packaged the bluegrass.  Nowadays folk music is relegated to the Folk Show on NPR.

A friend and I were talking about our punk days when we'd go to shows and play in bands.  We'd wear the clothes and such but we made it.  It was a cheap way to dress different (not outlandish by today's standards) and be a suburban kid in revolt against the life his guidance counselor wanted him to pick...

Now you can walk into Hot Topics (the store) and pay 50 bucks for a shirt we'd get at the Goodwill for 50 cents.  It's packaged now.  You don't have to play in a band or go to punk shows and have some connect in some subculture, no, it's mainstream now. Why?  Because the ideal became a corporation culture movement... packaged, process, marketed.. have the whole thing for 50 bucks without the talent of playing in a band or the stoic ideals of a society that told you that you were worthless kids not going anywhere but yet wanted you to decide your whole future and stick with it RIGHT NOW and go to college and do that... from a kid to an adult in sixty seconds and although being told you were a kid two seconds beforehand being told that you now had to choose your whole future and do it for the next 40 years.
American culture has come to the point of processed, packaged and marketed with the least experiences to truly understand what you are a part of or can be.  People all too often identity themselves by what the corporations tell them to identity themselves as.  People believe what the corporations tell them to believe.  I know people who think having the ability to choose between a yellow Chevy and a blue Chevy is freedom.  
When I was in my teens I used to say "Question the Answers"  Always make up your own mind through research and self discovery not through the packaged and processed corporations that want you to go do your job and buy their stuff... repeat as necessary even if that means a second... third... job.


Are you suggesting that an American Orthodoxy would follow a corporate model???


Now that EEES outrage! laugh
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 04:25:51 PM by truthstalker » Logged
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« Reply #72 on: April 13, 2009, 12:50:45 PM »

At the recommendation of my fellow moderators it has been suggested that  I re-present the Purposeof the Convert Issues Forum:

Beloved in the Lord,

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

If the moderators find that the discusions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster,You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or arguement. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

In Christ,
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« Reply #73 on: April 29, 2009, 04:36:11 PM »

Dear Truthstalker,

I have been to all kinds of Orthodox Churches across the United States and my experience has been that churches west of the Mississippi are generally less ethnic and have more off-the-street converts than those on the east side of the mighty river. 

That having been said, it would be a good idea for you to do some homework before you charge into an Orthodox church. If you have not done so already, I heartily recommend reading Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way." These two books by the now Metropolitan Kallistos Ware are probably the best introduction to Orthodoxy for a westerner.

I would also recommend the writings of Fr. Peter E. Gillquist (1938-) who is an archpriest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and is chairman of the archdiocese's department of missions and evangelism. He is chairman of Conciliar Press (Ben Lomond, California), and is the author of numerous books, including "Love Is Now," "The Physical Side of Being Spiritual," and "Becoming Orthodox." Start with reading the Wikipedia entry on him and then decide if you want to go further. I recommend reading "Becoming Orthodox." I'll give you a hint: he used to be a leader in the Campus Crusade for Christ.

Whatever you do, do not go into this exploration looking for cookbook answers. You should open yourself to the Holy Spirit and accept that in this matter God's will is paramount.

well said
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« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2011, 02:56:37 AM »

Personaly , I think one should just be themselves , whichever parish they are at...whatever it is  . There are a couple of things that come to mind though. Its normal that in Orthodoxy you have a unity between Faith and Life or Church and State, which looking at it a lot more does seem to be normative . a Life of Faith lived within the context of ones culture. In America however thats where the disconnect lies...Its interesting that even though America is not based on this model like in other cultures that are Orthodox, yet Evangelicals in America take the American Experience and try to do that them selfs  They mix patriotism with faith  . Or American Catholics, Its like all they do is talk about the fifties before Vatican 2. It makes you think that American Catholicism was something out of Donna Reid. But this is all sentimentalism . I think when it comes down to it american version of Christianity is always renovating itself in order to become relevant to a culture that is deconstructionist to begin with . Anywho a Greek Priest told me once that "america has no culture"  so in that simple phrase it makes sense to me now, and well he was right after all.
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« Reply #75 on: January 04, 2012, 06:06:39 PM »

My parish is Greek and I am German Irish so yeah not a lot of connection to Greek culture. But although the parish is Greek and there are Greek festivals and such. The parishioners are from all over the spectrum. I am in a college town so there are lots of foreign students from Russia and Romania. We also have two Russian families and a Serbian and lots of WASP converts like me especially from RCism. Were a small mission (sadly without a Priest again) and i would say its about 50% Greek and 50% other.
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« Reply #76 on: January 05, 2012, 12:41:06 AM »

I would say an American Orthodoxy…that is to say an Orthodoxy with its own particular flavor is emerging….or perhaps I should say American Orthodoxies are emerging. America is big place and it has few old (for us) and distinctive regional cultures that are adapting in their own way.  The Orthodox culture of Native Americans from Alaska is going to have some significant differences than the Orthodoxy one sees growing in the mainly convert hodgepodge of the South, which is also different from the emigrant built Orthodox communities of the North and along the largely Greek east and largely Russian west coasts.

As one other poster indicated, that converts look at all the variety of ethnic customs and celebrate the buffet. For example, the slava is gaining popularity among various Orthodox people I know, even if our priest is not entirely sold because it a Serbian custom that was just appropriated outside its native context. We all enjoy barbecue brisket as well as a nice big bowl of hummus with pita bread. We tend to prefer Russian/slavic tones for our church music over the Byzantine tones as a rule, and like the Russians/Slavs we don't need no "stinkin'" pews (the pun is intended).

Fr. Roman Braga, once said, given the nature of America, it's not likely we will have lots of the very holy, wonder workers, great elders, etc. like back in the old countries…but given our needs and our nature as a nation what we will have and in time excel in is spiritual hospitality, and giving. For all our faults as a nation, we are a generous people, and that will continue to grow and find expression in Orthodoxy as it roots here.

But all that said, most of what has been said is little more than expressions of aestheticism…the decorative accessorization of  our own personal Orthodoxy…not a good mindset to get bogged down in, if you ask me.

What matters is that regardless of the ethnic, or newfangled convert hodgepodge of Orthodox custom adoption, we actually keep the faith. What matters is when nonOrthodox see us venerate the icons, light our candles, sing our hymns, and prostrate ourselves before the Holy Cross, and the Holy Gifts, they see in our midst the culture of faithfulness, of prayer, of humility, and reverent awe before our God. Through that they too will fall down, and whether they join us or not will confess, God dwells among them.

A few years ago at one of the feasts of the cross, one of the young people of our parish invited one of his Christian friends from his preconvert years to visit with us for a service.  He had visited once or twice before.  This time though he witnessed the whole parish prostrating before the elevated cross, wave, after wave of young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong, children and adults, people and priest, fall to their knees before the cross of Christ our God.  

In that moment he was completely overcome, and quite unexpectedly began sobbing, literally falling to his knees unable to stand. He could not even speak; he just wept, and had to be led out to compose himself, and catch his breath. Nothing like that had ever happened to him before. And when he could speak all he could say was that it was just so beautiful…he could not explain.

I like slavas, I think well made hummus is delicious, and Znamenny chant is "off the hook", English services are great, and KJV  sounding English is greater still, but all of that is window dressing next to a "Culture of Worship" that silences the heart, floods the eyes, and buckles the knees of those who through it are brought unexpectedly to beauty, to silence, to awe and wonder before our God.

It is that culture we must cultivate. It is the vitality of that culture among us which make all the rest matter or not.  
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« Reply #77 on: January 05, 2012, 01:21:17 AM »

I would say an American Orthodoxy…that is to say an Orthodoxy with its own particular flavor is emerging….or perhaps I should say American Orthodoxies are emerging. America is big place and it has few old (for us) and distinctive regional cultures that are adapting in their own way.  The Orthodox culture of Native Americans from Alaska is going to have some significant differences than the Orthodoxy one sees growing in the mainly convert hodgepodge of the South, which is also different from the emigrant built Orthodox communities of the North and along the largely Greek east and largely Russian west coasts.

As one other poster indicated, that converts look at all the variety of ethnic customs and celebrate the buffet. For example, the slava is gaining popularity among various Orthodox people I know, even if our priest is not entirely sold because it a Serbian custom that was just appropriated outside its native context. We all enjoy barbecue brisket as well as a nice big bowl of hummus with pita bread. We tend to prefer Russian/slavic tones for our church music over the Byzantine tones as a rule, and like the Russians/Slavs we don't need no "stinkin'" pews (the pun is intended).

Fr. Roman Braga, once said, given the nature of America, it's not likely we will have lots of the very holy, wonder workers, great elders, etc. like back in the old countries…but given our needs and our nature as a nation what we will have and in time excel in is spiritual hospitality, and giving. For all our faults as a nation, we are a generous people, and that will continue to grow and find expression in Orthodoxy as it roots here.

But all that said, most of what has been said is little more than expressions of aestheticism…the decorative accessorization of  our own personal Orthodoxy…not a good mindset to get bogged down in, if you ask me.

What matters is that regardless of the ethnic, or newfangled convert hodgepodge of Orthodox custom adoption, we actually keep the faith. What matters is when nonOrthodox see us venerate the icons, light our candles, sing our hymns, and prostrate ourselves before the Holy Cross, and the Holy Gifts, they see in our midst the culture of faithfulness, of prayer, of humility, and reverent awe before our God. Through that they too will fall down, and whether they join us or not will confess, God dwells among them.

A few years ago at one of the feasts of the cross, one of the young people of our parish invited one of his Christian friends from his preconvert years to visit with us for a service.  He had visited once or twice before.  This time though he witnessed the whole parish prostrating before the elevated cross, wave, after wave of young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong, children and adults, people and priest, fall to their knees before the cross of Christ our God.  

In that moment he was completely overcome, and quite unexpectedly began sobbing, literally falling to his knees unable to stand. He could not even speak; he just wept, and had to be led out to compose himself, and catch his breath. Nothing like that had ever happened to him before. And when he could speak all he could say was that it was just so beautiful…he could not explain.

I like slavas, I think well made hummus is delicious, and Znamenny chant is "off the hook", English services are great, and KJV  sounding English is greater still, but all of that is window dressing next to a "Culture of Worship" that silences the heart, floods the eyes, and buckles the knees of those who through it are brought unexpectedly to beauty, to silence, to awe and wonder before our God.

It is that culture we must cultivate. It is the vitality of that culture among us which make all the rest matter or not.  


Oh Seraphim!!! Glory be to God and His blessing upon you!
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« Reply #78 on: January 05, 2012, 01:24:13 AM »

Speaking of cultural insularity, one of my greatest fears about coming to an Orthodox service is seeing something I flat-out don't understand and cannot accept and running screaming from the building.

Such as?  Are you referring to a teaching, a tradition, or something else? 

I have no idea.  Movements. Half-caught phrases. Things we do not do in church and would never think of doing in church.  The only way to know is to go.

ha, indeed. Think of it like an adventure of sorts... Wink
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« Reply #79 on: February 07, 2013, 06:15:30 AM »

An American Orthodox tradition likewise is developing but is still in the merger level at present. For example, my largely convert Antiochian parish has the Slavic Paschal Baskets but does not do the Holy Supper.  It has the Greek Kolliva not the memorial bread that one finds in some Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian parishes.  On Meat Fare week it holds a community Bar-B-Que.  It seems to me that the American Orthodx Church is developing its own traditions as we have in all things by borrowing the best from those who have emigrated to America---not taking all but taking that which is meaningful to us.

Thomas
Dear Thomas,

Regarding mixing of forms in "American" Orthodoxy, it is worth pointing out that forms were long mixed in Orthodox countries themselves. The fact that there would be changes or overlap then is natural.

Kolyva appears to exist in Palestinian Orthodox memorials:

Quote
In the Greek Orthodox Church a special tray piled with cooked wheat and covered with sugar and silver candy is served after a memorial service.
http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=1731&ed=115&edid=115


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« Reply #80 on: July 28, 2013, 12:45:49 AM »

"Don't tread on me" is a state motto


Is this a hidden reference:
Quote
So the Lord God said to the serpent:
I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
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« Reply #81 on: July 28, 2013, 10:54:21 AM »

In exploring Orthodoxy, I have found that if you try and take culture out of the 'circum-church' activities you cannot.

Example, pascha traditions. Google it and it kindly tells you what Russians, Serbs, Ukrainians and Greeks do but there is no 'Americans do..' Section for any of those things that everyone does but no one explains.

Thus as an American convert, you end up picking one. If you are lucky you have a background that makes it a bit easier. Studied Russian in university, easy choice. Studied Greek as a seminary student in your Protestant days, there you go.

But there is a huge gap, and telling someone without these traditions to look to the early church saints works fine for Saints names, but really poorly for traditions. Can you tell me what ancient Scottish or Irish Christians did for Pascha?  Even at its most American, say putting cheeseburgers in your basket to be eaten after the blessings, the -basket- itself is still someone else's tradition.

I have wanted to start gathering info for a 'book of days' sort of thing. A 'here are the bare bones of a tradition' and ideas on how to make it our own here in America. A reference for both converts and folks of multiple backgrounds to sort of bread down 'why is there bread in a pascha basket and as an American what do I want to put in there for that element'

But I am too new in things to do it..but I am taking notes. 


Denise, who is nonetheless fortunate enough to be half Russian and thus have some of the traditions already settled for me.

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« Reply #82 on: July 28, 2013, 03:32:48 PM »

Do not try to resurrect traditions because most often you come up then with your own creations. You have more in common with the present Greek or Russian Orthodox faithul than with ancient Celtic Christians - you live in the same culture and times, and you can engage in a living fruitful relationship based on faith here and now. Maybe you feel differently, but I think it's because what's impossible to be confronted with often seems easy as we make it up in our own minds. Receive the traditions you meet here and now - Russian or Greek. When Rus was baptized (St. Vladimir, pray for us!), they did not seek to invent their own tradition. They received it as faithfully from Constantinople as they could and local customs emerged themselves in a slow process of growth. Let's not be quick. I am also a convert and my Church is only about 20 years younger than OCA. There's a lot of Russian, Ukrainian, Rusyn, Byelorussian traditions and it's hard to tell if there are any sepcifically Polish. I hear more sermons in Russian (of which I understand maybe 20-30%) than in Polish although as far as I know most of the parishioners understand Polish and speak it fluently. However we need patience and strong love to our countries and true traditions will appear or some existing will become our own.
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« Reply #83 on: July 28, 2013, 03:42:19 PM »

I am also a convert and my Church is only about 20 years younger than OCA.

1970 - 1924 = ?
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« Reply #84 on: July 28, 2013, 04:00:03 PM »

Autocephaly recognised in 1924 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and in 1948 by the Russian Orthodox Church.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Orthodox_Church
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« Reply #85 on: July 28, 2013, 04:13:19 PM »

For what it is worth, I was not saying that we should go backwards and borrow from the celts. I was saying that during this thread and others that some people basically say to do so, as in 'get your own culture, don't borrow ours'

And I was trying to point out how fruitless that would be in matters of cultural traditions of Orthodoxy to go back and figure out what the celts did or ate after Pascha would be odd at best and impossible at worst.

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« Reply #86 on: July 28, 2013, 05:09:36 PM »

For what it is worth, I was not saying that we should go backwards and borrow from the celts. I was saying that during this thread and others that some people basically say to do so, as in 'get your own culture, don't borrow ours'

And I was trying to point out how fruitless that would be in matters of cultural traditions of Orthodoxy to go back and figure out what the celts did or ate after Pascha would be odd at best and impossible at worst.


Got it.
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #87 on: July 28, 2013, 05:28:12 PM »

still someone else's tradition.
That's sort of what Americans do.
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« Reply #88 on: July 28, 2013, 05:41:09 PM »

Well in the case of Orthodox traditions there is no other option.

So I basically see people who say things along the 'get your own tradition' lines as really saying ' why convert? This can it ever be your religion or faith, it's ours, go back to your own'

It is truly a miracle and a testament to God's love of humanity that anyone converts at all anymore. Because in a lot of cases if definatly is not through the work of the existing church
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« Reply #89 on: July 28, 2013, 06:33:55 PM »

My Pascha basket has almost none of the traditional items in it.  I pack the foods I have been missing during Lent--very American items.  I am not any of the traditionally Orthodox ethnicities.  I love Russian history and culture (I did take a couple of semesters of Russian), but for me to try and be Russian would be a denial of who God made me to be.  Each Orthodox country is Orthodox in a different culture.  In America, we are expected to transform our culture into an Orthodox culture, and it will be unique in its own way.  One family for their first Pascha stopped at Little Caesar's and picked up a pizza for their Pascha basket.  I love that idea, since I have usually missed having pizza, and some fried chicken or some bbq would be great too!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 06:36:25 PM by katherine 2001 » Logged
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« Reply #90 on: July 28, 2013, 09:08:11 PM »

Autocephaly recognised in 1924 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and in 1948 by the Russian Orthodox Church.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Orthodox_Church

The Ecumenical Patriarchate's granting of autocephaly is the only one that counts.  Michal, you can insert can of worms picture now if you want.   Wink
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« Reply #91 on: July 28, 2013, 09:15:49 PM »

I am also a convert and my Church is only about 20 years younger than OCA.

1970 - 1924 = ?

He may be from Poland but he is using the new American "creative math" with Russian leanings
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« Reply #92 on: July 29, 2013, 05:01:35 AM »

Autocephaly recognised in 1924 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and in 1948 by the Russian Orthodox Church.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Orthodox_Church

The Ecumenical Patriarchate's granting of autocephaly is the only one that counts.  Michal, you can insert can of worms picture now if you want.   Wink
As far as I know EP is not an Orthodox pope with immediate jurisdiction over every local Church.
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