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Author Topic: How does one say... "Check your Protestant Baggage at the Door Please"?  (Read 2353 times) Average Rating: 0
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PhosZoe
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« on: December 03, 2003, 11:49:36 AM »

I am not sure how to handle this situation, there is a gentleman who attends my church who has some REAL protestant baggage.

He likes to corner me during the coffee hour and rave on and on about WHY he left the Presbyterian church because "they were oh so liberal and treated church like a country club... The minister was cheating on his wife with 2 different parishioners.. blah blah blah... Then he raves on about how Rush Limbaugh is the best thing since sliced bread.... and how the Orthodox church is the answer to conservative America....  He also doesn't like that the Orthodox church doesn't "at least have an organ for the choir".

What nearly pushed me over the edge was his story about his new wife and family. His wife is Russian (Mail order- No kidding he admitted to this) He informed me that it makes him angry that her two children "don't speak American" in the house.  And how he only wants "American" spoken at home because they know "American" and by golly they should speak it.  Angry

I do a lot of smiling, nodding and "uh huh-ing" I really want to say..

"Obviously you had a bad a experience with the Presbyterian church, please reconcile that before you "go shopping" for something else.  Secondly, the Orthodox church is not free of contraversy. You will find bad priests and greedy parishioners too. It happens unfortunatley. May I add that not everyone who is conservative likes or agrees with Rush Limbaugh, He's a PIG! Finally, you should have respect for your new wife and her sons and allow them to speak thier native language as well as English!" You have baggage! Check it please!

I have thought about saying something to the priest, but I don't want to be a "tattle tale" or make me seem petty. Everyone else in the parish just oozes with love for this man and thinks he's just WONDERFUL.

I don't. I was fine with him when he spouted about the presbyterian church but I can't handle xenophobia.

Should I say something.. nicer than my stream of conciousness rant above of course. or Let it go?

Sorry about the rant  :- It takes a great deal to push me to the anger stage, he did it.
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2003, 11:57:27 AM »

phose: blunt honesty is often best.  It may shock him into realizing where he's at.
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2003, 11:59:13 AM »

LOL, PhosZoe.

I enjoy hearing stories like this...not because of the aggrevation they cause, but it reminds me that I'm not alone in dealing with these funny people at church, at work, wherever. I can definitely relate to you in this situation, as something very similar recently happened to me, and I was in your shoes.

Anyway, I think sometimes the best way to go is just to keep quiet when this guy says stuff.  Talking to the priest might be a bit overboard.  If the guy causes you problems or makes you angry, I'd just stay away from him. If he comes over, be cordial, nod your head, and pay little to no attention to what he says.

If you feel up to it, you might want to try saying something witty to one of his remarks.  It takes some practice, but once you get good you can get the last laugh Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2003, 12:03:28 PM »

Slava Isusu Christu!

I think no matter how you deal with this situation, the fellow in question sounds very much like the stereotypical "boorish American" that our foreign neighbors like to rant about themselves!  

I believe we are called to first try to reconcile ourselves with our brother quietly and privately (as privately as you can with a guy like this!), and if that fails, ask for help from some other brethren, THEN go to the Church.  I'm sure there has to be someone else around who would find his xenophobic comments about his wife (which just does not compute with me..he knew what he was getting when he "ordered" her...*shudder*) distasteful.  

But first, if you really can't just ignore him, approach him and calmly and succinctly ask that he not treat his wife and her children like their merely guests in his home, and perhaps he should take a step and learn a little Russian.  I learned a little French when I started dating my ex girlfriend whose mother is Quebecois and it went a LONG way.  

A little thing like that could really help create a closer bond between him and his new family.  Plus I'm sure it will make him look great in the eyes of everyone else (which he seems to revel in, as all boorish people do).
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2003, 01:38:47 PM »

I wonder if this is "Protestant" baggage, or "Human" baggage.  It's very common for people to complain about things they don't like/left/disagree with (old mates, parents, jobs, churches etc etc).
Yes, he complained about the Presbyterians.  He could have been ex-RC complaining about them, or from another jurisdiction.   He sounds like the "Angry Convert"/running away from instead of running towards pattern.  I also wonder, if he got on the subject that he would complain about American women which is why he had to "order" (Cringe) a bride from Russia.

The demanding his wife and his "STEP-SONS" (because that's what they are, not some random visitors in his house) speak "American" is baldly insensitive.  He hasn't put himself in their place; could he have learnt fluent Russian on demand?   Angry

Ebor

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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2003, 01:57:03 PM »

Great idea, Vicki!
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2003, 03:00:13 PM »

Thanks for your responses everyone! It feels good to let off a little steam.

Great advice Vicki! I'm doing my best right now to befriend his wife and sons, he should count himself very lucky he married a great family.

Ebor- It's both protestant and human baggage. His incessant complaints about his former church caused me to title my post as such.

Br Max- I wish I was good at being blunt without being mean. I also tend to "lose words" when confronted with something that hits me upside the head. I'm not good at comments on the fly.

Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2003, 03:07:37 PM »

There is another side to this as well.

If the situation were reversed he would be in Russia struggling with another language and culture - and he would want to preserve the American side of him.

It's the same for his wife and his new stepsons! It is very important that they keep their sense of who they are - the language has to be used , the culture and customs have made them what they are. If they all use American during the week and when they are out of the house and with other people then they also need to relax at home.

It is quite a strain using a new language all the time
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2003, 03:38:07 PM »

To me that's desperately important - you only have to think of the American folks abroad [ and the Brits] they stick together like glue - and use their own language to keep in touch with home. Some never integrate properly becuase they refuseto learn the local language
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2003, 03:44:02 PM »

Send him to Mt. Athos so he can see how fast he gloms on to those that speak English, especially if it their native tongue.  A bit of monastic humilty might also rub off on him too .
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2003, 09:11:17 PM »

Sounds like this has been going on for awhile.

I'm getting older, and have less patience with boorishness. I used to listen and nod politely until I wanted to scream, but I've found polite but immediate honesty works better.

At the first mention of something you don't agree with, you should calmly disagree without fear. You're relationship will either weather the discourse and deepen to a degree where you can perhaps have a small amount of positive influence on this man, or at least teach him to pause and reflect before shooting off his mouth... OR he'll begin to avoid you.

It's so hard to practice this... I constantly have to check in with my overwhelming natural tendency to be a people pleaser.

I have a good friend who's a great teacher... I love to watch her talk to people. She can engage anyone... from schizophrenic street people to bishops, and her motto is always "teach people how they should treat you". I don't know many who work as hard at being Christian, and she never ducks an issue.
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2003, 10:45:48 PM »

When I saw the title of this thread I thought it was going to be about people who bring Protestant ideas and ways of thinking into the Orthodox Church with them when they convert.

I think what this guy has is personal baggage. He just happens to be a former Presbyterian, so his grievances lie in that direction.

I've heard former Roman Catholics complain about their old church in similar fashion.

My wife is Russian: a native of Volgograd. But I did not "order" her through the mail or meet her through some kind of Russian bride service (not that I think such things are wrong). I met her in Russia, where I lived for a short while.

We speak a mix of Russian and English in our house. Our baby daughter Anna is learning both languages. In fact, her first word - besides Mama and Daddy - was dai (pronounced like die), which means "gimme."

I don't really know what advice to give you about this man other than to recommend that you pray for him. If you don't like him, try to avoid him. You don't necessarily have to be his buddy. If he pesters you, then at some point you will have to come out and tell him what you think.
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2003, 11:05:53 PM »

Quote
We speak a mix of Russian and English in our house. Our baby daughter Anna is learning both languages. In fact, her first word - besides Mama and Daddy - was dai (pronounced like die), which means "gimme."

I've hijacked a bunch of threads today so one more won't hurt Smiley

Last week we found out that God has blessed us with a little girl to arrive mid April.  We plan to give her the name Anna.
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2003, 11:24:35 PM »

Quote
We speak a mix of Russian and English in our house. Our baby daughter Anna is learning both languages. In fact, her first word - besides Mama and Daddy - was dai (pronounced like die), which means "gimme."

I've hijacked a bunch of threads today so one more won't hurt Smiley

Last week we found out that God has blessed us with a little girl to arrive mid April.  We plan to give her the name Anna.

How awesome!

Praise God!

And what a fantastic choice of names!  Grin

The Grandmother of God, Anna.

Your wife will have to skip the Lenten fasting this year, you know.

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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2003, 11:37:10 PM »

Great news, Oblio!  Congrats!
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PhosZoe
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2003, 11:16:50 AM »

Quote
We speak a mix of Russian and English in our house. Our baby daughter Anna is learning both languages. In fact, her first word - besides Mama and Daddy - was dai (pronounced like die), which means "gimme."

I've hijacked a bunch of threads today so one more won't hurt Smiley

Last week we found out that God has blessed us with a little girl to arrive mid April.  We plan to give her the name Anna.


Hijack away that's great news!  Cheesy

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