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Author Topic: What's that, are you Jewish?  (Read 5870 times) Average Rating: 0
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Paleo
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« on: November 04, 2004, 11:21:13 AM »

This is the most common response when I tell someone that I am an Orthodox Christian.  It usually comes about in a casual introduction or quick conversation.

Where do you go to Church?
   
   We go to St. Justin the Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville?!  Wow, why there?  [2 hr. one way drive]

   Well, it's the closest Orthodox Church.

Orthodox?  What's that, are you Jewish?

  Um, well, uh no we're Christian.  It's kinda like Catholic [Roman], but not really.   Uh...

O.K.  So where do you work.  Blah, blah


I'm sure many of you have gone through the same sort of thing.  Does anyone have any advice to help me present the Orthodox faith in these situations?  

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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2004, 11:48:44 AM »

Just tell them you worship Mary, have lots of idols, and are a cannibal.

That'll give them the picture.

R
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2004, 12:06:05 PM »

Mostly the reaction I get when I mention Orthodoxy is "oh, are you Greek?" "I hear they have the lovliest art in thier churches"
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2004, 12:13:34 PM »

Mostly the reaction I get when I mention Orthodoxy is "oh, are you Greek?" "I hear they have the lovliest art in thier churches"

Yep, sounds about right.
If you're Slavic - or in a Slavic jurisdiction, you're 'Greek'; if you're Greek, you think you're a "Roman"...confuses everyone. Cheesy (And if you're just Orthodox...well, we start all over again!)
 
Wonder why I don't have this problem as often as others appear to here?

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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2004, 12:14:13 PM »

[I'm sure many of you have gone through the same sort of thing.  Does anyone have any advice to help me present the Orthodox faith in these situations? ]

Tell them the truth that you are an Orthodox Catholic.  That will immediately signify you are Christian and eliminate the jewish question.

Any questions after that (if there are any) will give you the opportunity present your faith to him.  Tell him you are a member of that Catholic Church that has preserved the teaching of the first seven ecumenical councils when the church was still basically united.  That your church has not added to the doctrines of the faith or changed the doctrines of the faith (as the papal Catholic Church has), nor has it subtracted to the doctrines of the faith as the Protestants have.

Orthodoc

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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2004, 12:25:08 PM »

Tell him you are a member of that Catholic Church that has preserved the teaching of the first seven ecumenical councils when the church was still basically united.  That your church has not added to the doctrines of the faith or changed the doctrines of the faith (as the papal Catholic Church has), nor has it subtracted to the doctrines of the faith as the Protestants have.

In other words, let him/her discover the truth about "unchanging" Orthodoxy on their own.
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2004, 12:40:21 PM »

[In other words, let him/her discover the truth about "unchanging" Orthodoxy on their own.]

Knowing you, I'm sure there is a dig there somewhere which I'll ignore.

However, if your reply sparks further interest they will either ask  more questions or info on book sources that you can recommend.

Orthodoc

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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2004, 12:54:29 PM »

Or start carrying literature with you to give people. Better yet start traveling in pairs with literature to give people. Go door to door on Saturday morning with literature to give people. On bicycle.
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2004, 01:03:38 PM »

Or start carrying literature with you to give people. Better yet start traveling in pairs with literature to give people. Go door to door on Saturday morning with literature to give people. On bicycle.

Hehe...
I do carry and use literature -brochures from Dismas's orthotracts website, which I've customized for my jurisdiction and parish. But I hadn't thought about the bicycle-thing  Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2004, 01:18:23 PM »

C'mon guys.  I was just asking for a few pointers on giving a brief answer to the "What church do you go to" question posited  by people that have no idea what Orthodoxy is.  

Save the anti-evangelism posts for another thread.  I'm not looking to convert anyone with a brief answer.  I just want to be able to give a polite, reasonable reply.

What serious, brief answer would you/ do you give to a protestant inquiring about your Church attendance?
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2004, 01:24:42 PM »

A little bit of explanation is almost always going to be required, because it seems the majority of non-Orthodox have never even heard of Orthodoxy.  It seems Orthodox Christian is the most concise term.  "I'm an Orthodox Christian, I go to so and so Orthodox Church"
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2004, 01:32:20 PM »

Hey, Paleo,

First off, I thought your imitation of the conversation was "spot on."   Grin

Glad to hear you're talking with others about the faith.

Secondly...my experience has been that folks don't like long doctrinal definitions of your church right off the bat.  Long being more than two sentences.  I just ask them, "you ever hear of Greek or Russian Orthodox?"  Lots of folks say yes to that, so then I say, "well, that's us, and we're actually the oldest type of Christianity out there."  And they go, "Huh!" and the conversation is usually either ended there or continued, since they feel safe and confident (and interested) enough to ask other questions.

I'd just stick with a couple of "stock responses" for inquirers.  If they want to keep it going, they will.
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2004, 01:33:41 PM »

Or start carrying literature with you to give people. Better yet start traveling in pairs with literature to give people. Go door to door on Saturday morning with literature to give people. On bicycle.

...while wearing white button down shirts w/ black or grey slacks and black ties.
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2004, 01:38:16 PM »

When people find out I'm Russian they ask "Oh? Russian Orthodox? Is that like Greek Orthodox?"
I say, "yeah, pretty much, but the services are in old Russian."  
Around here I'm lucky because people aren't that oblivious.    Back in Upstate NY I would say "Ya know, that religion with the onion domes & priests with long beards & all in black."  If the look was still blank, I would say "Kinda like that Catholics were way back in the day before they went Protestant."  Then they go "Ahhhh."

My grandfather, who's a priest in Boston once went to visit a parishoner in the hospital.  The receptionist looked at him and said "What are you?"
Dyed replied "I'm a Russian Orthodox priest here to visit Mr. Petrov."
The receptionist called up to the ICU and said "Please inform Mr. Petrov that his rabbi is here to see him."
Dyed looked at her and said "I'm not a rabbi, I'm a priest in a Christian church."
Her reply: "Well, all of ya look the same to me."
(Note, Dyed was wearing his cassock with a big gold cross).
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2004, 01:44:29 PM »

Hey, Paleo,

First off, I thought your imitation of the conversation was "spot on."   Grin

Glad to hear you're talking with others about the faith.

Secondly...my experience has been that folks don't like long doctrinal definitions of your church right off the bat.  Long being more than two sentences.  I just ask them, "you ever hear of Greek or Russian Orthodox?"  Lots of folks say yes to that, so then I say, "well, that's us, and we're actually the oldest type of Christianity out there."  And they go, "Huh!" and the conversation is usually either ended there or continued, since they feel safe and confident (and interested) enough to ask other questions.

I'd just stick with a couple of "stock responses" for inquirers.  If they want to keep it going, they will.


Exactly, and what I usually do.  Except if I say Greek or Russian, someone asks "Which one?" and then I have to explain.  Trying to say doctrinal things right off the bat presents an image of shoving your religion down their throat most of the time (sometimes, if you are REALLY tactful about it you can do it though).
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2004, 01:51:55 PM »

I'd just stick with a couple of "stock responses" for inquirers.  If they want to keep it going, they will.

That's pretty much what I'm looking for - a couple of stock responses.  The one you gave seems pretty good.

This is just for those passing conversations that don't allow for much time to get into a deep discussion.
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2004, 06:04:47 PM »

A little bit of explanation is almost always going to be required, because it seems the majority of non-Orthodox have never even heard of Orthodoxy.  It seems Orthodox Christian is the most concise term.  "I'm an Orthodox Christian, I go to so and so Orthodox Church"

 It was harder to explain to people when I was Byzantine Catholic of the Russian tradition  ("Russian Catholic???  What's THAT???") Wink  !
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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2004, 07:23:56 PM »

Quote
Just tell them you worship Mary, have lots of idols, and are a cannibal.

That'll give them the picture.

 :rofl:  :smiley1:
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« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2004, 07:33:55 PM »

Quote
Mostly the reaction I get when I mention Orthodoxy is "oh, are you Greek?"

Quote
Except if I say Greek or Russian, someone asks "Which one?" and then I have to explain.

I've had a lot of the same experiences that you all have been describing here, especially with coworkers. I mentioned that I was going to a Bible study one night and a coworker asked me where I went to church and I replied, " I go to an Orthodox Church" and she said, "Ohhhhh, so is it Russian or Greek?". Since I attend a church of the OCA my response was, "Neither one actually", which only brought a questioning look and she couldn't comprehend the idea of an Orthodox Church that was neither Greek nor Russian.

I then had the opportunity to explain a little bit more about the OCA and it's history as well as to let her know that the people at my church are very friendly and welcoming and all the liturgies are in English. She did seem interested an maybe one day she may pop in to have a look at my church or perhaps talk with me some more about it.

In Christ,
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« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2004, 09:47:27 AM »

Or start carrying literature with you to give people. Better yet start traveling in pairs with literature to give people. Go door to door on Saturday morning with literature to give people. On bicycle.

Don't forget your secret underwear!! Shocked Grin

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« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2004, 04:08:35 PM »

I just tell people that I am "Russian Orthodox" but that we worship in English (OCA). If they press for more info, I saw that Moscow is our mother Church, but that Moscow wants us to become a American Church now, so we worship in English and try to evangelize Americans. I usually mention to that we are in communion with Greek Orthodox and believe exactly the same things.
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« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2004, 04:58:36 PM »

I just say 'Eastern Orthodox" ... I've never had someone question whether that was Jewish or not.  Sometimes in the past when I have said simply "Orthodox", that gets the Jewish question in response ... but only sometimes.
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« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2004, 08:57:05 PM »

Yeah, I've had friends ask what religion I ascribe to (usually after a question about having my wedding ring on the "wrong" hand, heheh) and after I tell them I'm Orthodox, they say something along the lines of:

"Oh, so you have like, one of those Rabbis who can't touch any woman but his wife"

Or something like that =)  It's not a complaint.  I find it entertaining.  In terms of proselytization, I usually stick to the "come and see" strategy.  That's what got me, after all!
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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2004, 12:10:55 AM »

I find "Orthodox Christian" the best response.  I personally dislike the "Eastern" part of "Eastern Orthodox", "Orthodox Catholic" will almost certainly be misunderstood, and, as you said, just saying "Orthodox" generally makes people think you're jewish.
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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2004, 01:14:27 AM »

Yeah, but if you say Orthodox Christian, a lot of people tend to think you're just a strict protestant.  At least that's what I've noticed.
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« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2004, 01:28:02 AM »

You could just say "Christian" and wait for them to ask which kind.  Sometimes that leads to really fun conversations where the person says initially, "I'm so glad I have met a fellow follower of Christ" and which ends up getting kind of fun when they realize you pray to Mary and have icons Wink

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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2004, 02:23:23 AM »

Yeah, but if you say Orthodox Christian, a lot of people tend to think you're just a strict protestant.  At least that's what I've noticed.
I hadn't thought of that.  It might be a regional thing perhaps; there aren't too many strict Protestants around where I live lol.
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« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2004, 01:13:32 PM »

in my experience most of the time the folks who self-ID as "Christian" are fundygelicals ... *not* always, but much of the time, in my experience.  "Orthodox Christian" can be misleading I guess as well, as has been pointed out.  I have some misgivings as well about "Eastern Orthodox", but because I follow the Byzantine/Eastern rite as an Orthodox I seem to be able to manage those misgivings.
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2004, 06:19:25 PM »


My grandfather, who's a priest in Boston once went to visit a parishoner in the hospital.  The receptionist looked at him and said "What are you?"
Dyed replied "I'm a Russian Orthodox priest here to visit Mr. Petrov."
The receptionist called up to the ICU and said "Please inform Mr. Petrov that his rabbi is here to see him."
Dyed looked at her and said "I'm not a rabbi, I'm a priest in a Christian church."
Her reply: "Well, all of ya look the same to me."
(Note, Dyed was wearing his cassock with a big gold cross).


 Roll Eyes  Some are blessed with a lack of self-awareness, wheras others are blessed with a lack of awareness, period.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2004, 07:13:49 PM »

I too have had similar experiences. One time I went to Golders Green in London, accompanied by a Jewish friend. (It it famous for its Jewish community). Everywhere I seemed to get a greater share of smiles and acknowledgements than was usual in London, even from the supervising Rabbi in the bagel shop. On getting back to the car I commented on this to my friend, and got the response, you look like one, are built like one, are conservatively dressed with a good beard, and for heavens sake you even park the car like one!

I didn't dare ask for clarification...........
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« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2004, 07:50:05 PM »

Cheesy!

A normal conversation for me:

Person: Aren't you Jewish? Why are you wearing a cross?

Marjorie: I am ethnically and culturally a Jew, but I am not religiously Jewish.

Person: And you became Christian?

Marjorie: Yes.

Person: So you're a messianic Jew?

Marjorie: No, most messianic Jews are not even ethnically Jewish. They have certain beliefs about the nature of the relation of the Church to Israel and so on. I do not agree with them; I am going to become Orthodox.

Person: You're becoming Jewish again?

Marjorie: No, Orthodox Christian.

Person: Like, Russian Orthodox?

Marjorie: Yes, that is one Orthodox Church.

Person: Oh, they're a lot like the Catholics.

(I like when people tell me this, as if they are informing me of the religion I have chosen...)

Marjorie: In some things, yes, but Orthodoxy views itself as distinct from both Protestantism and Catholicism.

And so on...

Marjorie
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« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2004, 08:31:30 PM »

But my dear, what should you expect? I guess many will recognise the experiences you outline.

(Now, where did I put that bagel?)
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« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2004, 08:32:39 PM »

(Now, where did I put that bagel?)

I ate it, most likely! Smiley

Marjorie
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« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2004, 08:38:24 PM »

Marjorie,

Well, at least you're being trained in the gentle art of cultivating patience! I have never known anyone who has has to go through the kind of explanations that you've had to give. Oops: guess I have to qualify that, as gphadraig seems to find it not so outlandish.

I didn't know that messianic Jews were not ethnically Jewish. That's very interesting.

Thanks for posting.

Bob
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« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2004, 08:47:18 PM »

I didn't know that messianic Jews were not ethnically Jewish.  That's very interesting.

Most congregations are predominantly gentile and are (usually) led by an ethnically Jewish rabbi.

My mom attends one. :-";"xx
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« Reply #35 on: December 30, 2004, 09:00:45 PM »

I have to stop myself from talking about messianic Judaism, if only because growing up, they were NOT thought of very kindly, to say the least, by the Jewish community... so I've inherited a lot of prejudices in that area.

Pedro, you pray for my mom and I'll pray for yours. Cheesy

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« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2004, 10:06:33 PM »

Pedro, you pray for my mom and I'll pray for yours. Cheesy

Sounds like a plan.   Afro
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« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2004, 07:12:04 PM »



Most congregations are predominantly gentile and are (usually) led by an ethnically Jewish rabbi.

My mom attends one. :-

Hmm.  I had no idea.  Different, that's for sure. (From my ignorant perspective, anyway.) 
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« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2004, 07:56:14 PM »

Answering the question, what religion/what church? is sometimes as has been described the beginning of a process of non-communication as has been described above.

Responses after some detailed and exact information have all too often elicted a blank look and the rejoinder, "But are you Christians?", or, "We're Christians ourselves".

Old folk might seem to click and suddenly say, "Oh, like Archbishop Makarios". But that knowledge hadn't furthered their understanding but simply lead to an association with bearded men wearing stove pipe hats.
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