I believe that the majority of Orthodox Christians in USA and Canada are not for unity. The unity cries come, in my opinion, mostly converts and convert heavy parishes.
Aserb, please consider that converts (I am one) left denominations to become part of what they were taught (propagandized?) to believe is the one true Church and we get into it and see more denominations (I am very sorry that the d-word offends; I use it "in-house" to tweak some noses - if it looks like *^%#, smells like *^%#, and feels like *^%#, it probably is *^%#, - as the saying goes; to many of us, quote/un-quote "jurisdictions" look and feel like, ahem, denominations)
(now, to outsiders, I NEVER use the d-word; I tow the party line and tell them all about the one true Church and the wonderful, unique situation we have in America with its rich history of immigration and how our churches were havens for those people as they adapted to American culture and it is a rich part of being an American to enjoy and preserve all of these traditions through the various jurisdictions of Orthodoxy).
And, you know what? I ACTUALLY BELIEVE BOTH dichotomies! I honestly think Orthodox jurisdictionalism looks, smells and feels like *^%# and at the same time, it is a wonderful exression of the American experience (the Church has held it together for not only Orthodox immigrants, but also for African Americans, Scottish Presbyterians, Irish and Italian Catholics, German Lutherans, etc. etc. etc. - and you know, I will give those groups their props for the moment and without any ultimate theological connotations or valuations, for the purposes of this discussion, give them the capital C on Church - they may not be the fullness of the Church, but many of them will be in Christ's Kingdom ahead of us).
Anyway, what Father has said above in this thread, the unity may be quite different from what we want or expect and maybe new approaches will need to be invented by the Holy Spirit for the New World because the cannons came out of the Old World before any of this was known or imagined.
Except, I think the Jewish early Church's experience with converts has a lot to say here as well or there would be no Greek Christians (therefore, no Serbs, Slavs or Russian Christians; Arabs would be treated like Samaritans) -- if the majority of Jewish lay people had their way back then. Dear Father, thank God (literally) that those early bishops - the blessed aposltes, were not risk-averse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (as you indicate modern bishops to be- maybe becuase our bishops serve under hierarchs who have unwittingly adopted the RC model without realizing it, becoming imperial and papal in their practice/demeanor, while giving the ruse of being Orthodox). Anyway, if they had been risk-averse, Christianity would have been just a Jewish sect, like Kaballah, or something. Thank God for the ENTIRELY NON-RISK AVERSE, ST. PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At the present, functional unity in publishing, missions, Christian education (OOPS, my protestant background showeth itself - I meant to say, catechesis). evanangelism (well, at least for those of us who think that something more than "come and see" -- which usually translated, means "sit on your hands and do nothing," is meant by the Great Commission -- but this may also be a distinctly protestant mentality, needing to be overcome until we will be truly converted and not think of anything so foolish, except through marriage), eliminating certain redundancies in operational budgets (such as buying in bulk, common accounting methods, common computer networks and software, etc.) and financial transparency, would go a long way toward what every layman should want (or do we like to have our parish donations wasted on these redundancies and competitive publications and ministries?).
If I get to see this much in my life time, I would forever shut up (please hold the applause) about organic unity.
Anyway, I mean no offense to you personally, aserb, but the experience for converts is a mixed bag and if the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 (oops, I did it again - sorry instinct - is it too protestant to refer to scripture?) means anything as the ORIGINAL cannon on how to receive outsiders, we converts have been chrismated and received and have a place at the table (talk about obedience to your bishops, THEY, through their parish priests, received us into full communion, not "stay in your place" communion, so I will take my "shot" at cradles now and tell you, "we're here, deal with it").
This also to you, Aristoklais, we may look like a bunch of church-hopping, congregationalist, western-hymn-singing wannabes, but we actually studied this stuff and believed it to be true (our cursed, Western analytical minds) and gave up a lot (you wouldn' even know) to convert to it. Yes, we struggle with our insticts (to jump ship) when there is a disconnect between what we affirm and what we see on the ground. We ARE hard-wired to jump ship to find a more perfect image that corresponds to the ideal (but, philosophically, aren't we being a bit Greek there? hey, help me out, I am looking for some props for converts -- geez! tough crowd; anyway). Anyway, although to cradles some converts may come off as disrespectful and insensitive, and no doubt there are real examples of converts causing more harm than good, but please don't ask us to be complacent while y'all solve everything in your good old time (which to us sounds a lot like pleasently accepting the status quo).
Somehow, this wonderful, tension-filled, f-d up, God-blessed situation will yield a beautiful fruit here in North America. Remember, that is exactly the situation of the first 3 centuries of the Church in the Roman Empire. It isn't an accident that we sit in here the midst of the current Imperial culture of the entire modern world that can extend its influence militarily, politically and economically! But, sometimes I fear we are too much like that conservative Jerusalem Church and we don't have any apostles to guide us, push us beyond our comfort level (as Father has pointed out, our bishops and hierarchs are too risk-averse to do much that is creative or surprising) to do anything to make use of this situation.
Met. Jonah is trying, but don't worry, in a few years he will be defeated (emotionally) or beaten into submission, ecclesiastcally). Ayway,we better get it together before the Chinese surpass us and we fade into historical irrelevance, or this will be a collossal opportunity lost - how about the NEXT imperial culture being atheistic/communist, or taoist, or budhist?
?? And DON"T any poster dare go getting all Calvinistic on me and posting replies that if it doesn't happen, it wasn't God's will, because He wants to work through the asians (or whoever), if that is indeed what happens. HE wants to work through US! Or we wouldn't be in this dramatic, opportunity-filled situation. Or do you really believe we are just so wonderful that HE wanted s to assimilate and bask in the prosperity of North America as a reward for all the suffering of our ancestors (and yes, I say our, because, just as cradle ancestors suffered in the Old World, so did the ancestors of us converts - they too suffered religiously and economically and politically, just like cradle ancestors)
NO!! WE bear SOME responibility in this situation; I rejected THAT Calvinistic heresy when I converted). Some synergy, effort, cooperation is involved, not just in an individual's salvation but in the Church's salvation!