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Author Topic: can I correct my dad?  (Read 860 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: January 18, 2011, 08:36:49 PM »

my dad is about to be enrolled as a catechumen.  I am very happy for him.  it just offends me when he refers to anyone from Eastern Europe as "one of those damn' commies."  he also refers to middle eastern people as rag heads and sand n****rs.  (needless to say, he also occasionally refers to African Amerians as the "N-word".)

if there is one thing that The Church has taught me is that you don't need to be any specific race or ethnicity to be Orthodox.

I mean, there are some things an Orthodox Christian just doesn't say...

would it be OK if I had a talk with him about this, or does it fly in the face of the commandment where we are instructed to "honor our father and our mother."?
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 08:46:14 PM »

Why does he join their church, then?
I mean, most of us are "damn commies" and "sand niggers".
If he wants to stay with those of NW European descent, there are plenty of other churches around.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 08:53:34 PM by augustin717 » Logged
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2011, 08:51:53 PM »

Hmm... well... as my Father (a nominal Roman Catholic) remarked to me, one of the things that he liked about Eastern Orthodoxy is that it doesn't represent Jesus as stereotypical white person, but shows him and the various saints as they were (e.g. Jewish, black, etc.) Perhaps you could emphasise this?  On the other hand, my Dad is the kind of guy that waits till we go to a Chinese restaurant, and then tells rather bad jokes about chinese people (and he's not a quiet guy). Ugh. So I can sort of relate angel

I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your Father, so I don't want to speculate as to how he'd react to saying "Um, Dad... you shouldn't say that!". If you're not sure how it'd go, there are always passive ways to try to get the point across. You could remark how you are inspired by this or that Syrian or Egyptian saint, and expand a bit on why. Or it doesn't have to be a saint, it could be someone at the local parish or that has helped you in some other way. Or if you wanted to go a step further and be a bit less passive (but still not be confrontational), you could always get an icon (for him or yourself) of someone like St. Moses the Black, emphasising that diversity in the body of Christ is a natural and normal thing...

« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 08:53:15 PM by Asteriktos » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2011, 09:02:35 PM »

my dad is about to be enrolled as a catechumen.  I am very happy for him.  it just offends me when he refers to anyone from Eastern Europe as "one of those damn' commies."  he also refers to middle eastern people as rag heads and sand n****rs.  (needless to say, he also occasionally refers to African Amerians as the "N-word".)

if there is one thing that The Church has taught me is that you don't need to be any specific race or ethnicity to be Orthodox.

I mean, there are some things an Orthodox Christian just doesn't say...

would it be OK if I had a talk with him about this, or does it fly in the face of the commandment where we are instructed to "honor our father and our mother."?
Think about where he is to be enrolled as a catechumen. There's almost certainly someone there whom he would classify unkindly. (Yes, I know resort to understatements in way that annoys some of you. Feel free to put me in an "unkind classification" Smiley). Now, I'm hoping you know some of the parishioners by name. You might in general conversation how he gets along with Mr ****sky, or even Father ****. Conversation continues: I guess he's not a typical damned commie, is he?

Sometimes speaking to a person in his own language gets through to him. You will have to judge how effective this approach might be.

You can also say, "Dad, some of those people are my friends. I worship with them every Sunday. When I'm around, can you please hold off the name-calling?"
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 09:04:45 PM »

A subtle way to deal with this issue would be to talk about the various Saints. There are a ton of great Saints to discuss that are not white. Some people are so used to racist terms that they don't realize how offensive it is. Growing up I had to deal with this with my step father. He absolutely hated all minorities. Being half native american, I WAS one of those minorities and took it quite personally for a long time. It took quite awhile for me to realize that he thought I understood he only meant to insult the "bad" minorities and had no problem with the "good" minorities. Be a good example, but I wouldn't press the issue too much. If he attends an Orthodox church very long and behaves like that, some adult will talk to him about it. Don't try and save him the embarassment, it sounds like he needs it.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 09:07:49 PM »

my dad is about to be enrolled as a catechumen.  I am very happy for him.  it just offends me when he refers to anyone from Eastern Europe as "one of those damn' commies."  he also refers to middle eastern people as rag heads and sand n****rs.  (needless to say, he also occasionally refers to African Amerians as the "N-word".)

if there is one thing that The Church has taught me is that you don't need to be any specific race or ethnicity to be Orthodox.

I mean, there are some things an Orthodox Christian just doesn't say...

would it be OK if I had a talk with him about this, or does it fly in the face of the commandment where we are instructed to "honor our father and our mother."?
Think about where he is to be enrolled as a catechumen. There's almost certainly someone there whom he would classify unkindly. (Yes, I know resort to understatements in way that annoys some of you. Feel free to put me in an "unkind classification" Smiley). Now, I'm hoping you know some of the parishioners by name. You might in general conversation how he gets along with Mr ****sky, or even Father ****. Conversation continues: I guess he's not a typical damned commie, is he?

Sometimes speaking to a person in his own language gets through to him. You will have to judge how effective this approach might be.

You can also say, "Dad, some of those people are my friends. I worship with them every Sunday. When I'm around, can you please hold off the name-calling?"
yes, and I'll remind him that his mother's maiden name is Markowski!
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 09:12:02 PM »

You should correct him.

The foremost commandments are:

1. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart; all of your being...

2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

If you truly love your neighbor - then you should defend them from unjustified racism/racist terms.

I spend a lot of my time defending Palestine and critisizing Zionists and so-called 'Jews'...

But I don't call them by derogatory terms... The issue is not the perceived race of people - the issue is the fruits and deeds of those people.

Does your father realize that the Soviet Union no longer exists? Maybe next time he refers to those "damned commies" - you could ask, "Which commies?"

Then you could proceed to inform him in a nice way that those (predominately Orthodox Christian) people are not under Communism any longer.

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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 10:32:31 PM »

Why does he join their church, then?
I mean, most of us are "damn commies" and "sand niggers".
If he wants to stay with those of NW European descent, there are plenty of other churches around.
Like the OCA?

I'd rather have him go where he is more likely to be cured of this.
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2011, 10:39:11 PM »

my dad is about to be enrolled as a catechumen.  I am very happy for him.  it just offends me when he refers to anyone from Eastern Europe as "one of those damn' commies."  he also refers to middle eastern people as rag heads and sand n****rs.  (needless to say, he also occasionally refers to African Amerians as the "N-word".)

if there is one thing that The Church has taught me is that you don't need to be any specific race or ethnicity to be Orthodox.

I mean, there are some things an Orthodox Christian just doesn't say...

would it be OK if I had a talk with him about this, or does it fly in the face of the commandment where we are instructed to "honor our father and our mother."?
I would mention how you feel about it.

You might talk to him about some of those "commies," like St. John Maximovich and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  I'd leave the fact that Our Lord is relative to those sand ##### for a later discussion.
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2011, 11:36:14 PM »

Is he not seeing a regular spiritual father?  I agree with Quinalt about the subtlety in approaching the issue without actually directly rebuking.  At least in my culture, it's not fit to rebuke or even "kindly" correct your father.  You know your father best.  What's the best way to approach him?  If you can't, if you're worried, approach his spiritual father about it.  These should be confidential.
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2011, 11:38:52 PM »

Is he not seeing a regular spiritual father?  I agree with Quinalt about the subtlety in approaching the issue without actually directly rebuking.  At least in my culture, it's not fit to rebuke or even "kindly" correct your father.  You know your father best.  What's the best way to approach him?  If you can't, if you're worried, approach his spiritual father about it.  These should be confidential.

his future spiritual father is mine, so I think I'll brin this up in my next confession.
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2011, 11:54:52 PM »

I think talking to your spiritual father about this is probably the best way to go.  There is no better teacher and corrector than the Holy Spirit.  It's been my experience that when a son or daughter tries to correct a parent, the parent falls further into their sin to justify themselves in their child's eyes. 

Though you can always ask him why he feels the way he does and or states the things he does - trying to give him the benefit of the doubt that he may have some reason that he needs healing in.  Perhaps understanding why he does such things will help you to grow in compassion and show you how you can better pray for him. 

It's hard as a teen to be able to protect yourself from this abusive language, but perhaps maybe thinking about how you can set some boundaries for yourself.  HIS Father knows all and sees all, and bet you me, He's more on top of this than you or anyone else is.  He knows the right time and the right way to lovingly bring your father around.  You watch - it may not be when it seems like it should happen, but it will be at the perfect time.  What better place to help him to see the truth than in the most diverse church in the universe?

Pray for him, though.  Daily.
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