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Author Topic: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy  (Read 9649 times) Average Rating: 0
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dzheremi
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« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2012, 03:03:25 PM »

At my parish we have about 80% English to 20% Coptic and Arabic. It seems like most people are happy about this. I know I am. It is much more than I could have hoped for, being the only native English-speaker in the parish, and some of our people don't really speak English. But then the Copts like to reach out to English-speakers so much that sometimes they even have liturgy in English in Egypt! Smiley

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« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2012, 03:04:01 PM »

Well which is it, do you dislike them or do you think they're winning?  Huh

I dislike them, AND I think they are Whining (he meant whining). lol
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« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2012, 03:08:26 PM »

Well which is it, do you dislike them or do you think they're winning?  Huh

I dislike them, AND I think they are Whining (he meant whining). lol

Oh thanks, i saw that but did not want to respond, embarrassing.

thanks for bringing it up though Sad
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« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2012, 03:10:32 PM »

and yea i think they are "whining" and i dislike the whining, no them really, although some of them. no just kidding.
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« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2012, 03:28:53 PM »

Ok, since you put it that way, yes you may.
just remember 10% go to the Greek and Russian of the top.
oh and of cours the franchise fee, is upfront.

No need, we'll just take it for free.  According to Copyright Laws, anything before 1923 is public domain.  So the writings of the Fathers and the Liturgies themselves are public domain Wink
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« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2012, 03:33:44 PM »

and yea i think they are "whining" and i dislike the whining, no them really, although some of them. no just kidding.

I see more posts from you in this thread than anyone else. Maybe you are the one whining...
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« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2012, 04:02:00 PM »

Ok, since you put it that way, yes you may.
just remember 10% go to the Greek and Russian of the top.
oh and of cours the franchise fee, is upfront.

No need, we'll just take it for free.  According to Copyright Laws, anything before 1923 is public domain.  So the writings of the Fathers and the Liturgies themselves are public domain Wink

Thats another thing we americans do, is assume everything is abt us. if im not mistaken the bible was not written in the usa. So US copyright law does not apply.
But do you see what i men, we usa see things only from our POV. that pisses people off. there is a humungus world out there and usa is only a part of it.
i how yo see what im saying.
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« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2012, 04:04:49 PM »

and yea i think they are "whining" and i dislike the whining, no them really, although some of them. no just kidding.

I see more posts from you in this thread than anyone else. Maybe you are the one whining...

No im not whining.

whining is:
why i gota go to church at 8am and they gota go 10am.
why do i have to learn anotheres customs when mine is the best.
why do i have to listen to it in you r language when i speek english.

thats what whining (anyway u spell it) is my firend!
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« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2012, 04:26:43 PM »

Thats another thing we americans do, is assume everything is abt us. if im not mistaken the bible was not written in the usa. So US copyright law does not apply.
But do you see what i men, we usa see things only from our POV. that pisses people off. there is a humungus world out there and usa is only a part of it.
i how yo see what im saying.


I'm not American, FYI.  I don't even live in America Wink
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« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2012, 04:54:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

OK i admit i did not read the entire article, read less then 1/2 and got turned off by it. I got the impression that the whole thing was going to be complaining on why we should stop diff languages in church, the usual new converts thinking they know better then the church and wanting to change the church. seems like most of the threads here are of that nature.



I feel the same way.  I've always been turned off by the idea that if we just do everything in English catering to Americans than the Church will grow bigger than the Catholics and we'll bring back the Golden Age.  It is a bunch of malarkey yo!!  Further it stinks of that uniquely American idea of "American individualism" which is a euphemism for the feeling most Americans tend to have that Americanism is the best way to live, the only way to live, and that all other cultures and lifestyles are useless in comparison to the great America.  It is selfish, and further I think very naive.  From my experience in Orthodox parishes with English liturgies, it has seemed to have ZERO impact in keeping youth and bringing in converts compared to other Orthodox parishes which are less Anglicized.  My own two-cents as a native English speaker in an ethnic parish where English is perhaps the third language at best, is that language is not a barrier, effort and involvement is!  Either you put the effort in  bringing the Church into your life, or you don't, but just changing the language around doesn't inherently make folks get more involved. If anything, I fear it has the opposite effect, by changing the Church around to cater to the needs of a few folks, it doesn't change the folks.  The Church changes us, we don't change the Church.  If we are not letting the Church push is to grow, mature, and evolve, then we never will.  Language is not inherently a barrier to this.  Further, in having to navigate two cultural worlds, through several languages, you have to increase your effort all the more by the challenge.  In this way, I feel ethnic parishes actually have MORE to offer Americans culturally speaking to involve them in the Church, not less.  English I feel can actually hurt us in this regard, because so many folks think that if we just change the language, we can stand back and watch the Church grow.  That will never happen, the Church will only grow by our efforts combined in synergy with God's Grace.  If we match God's efforts, we can overcome ANY barrier, linguistic, cultural, or otherwise.

For my part, in the Ethiopian Church our liturgy has been in Ge'ez for a thousand years at least, a language with no Ethiopians themselves speak, so our Tradition has ALWAYS been for folks to learn to sing and understand the Liturgy in its original language, whatever Ethiopian language or dialect they happen to speak. Perhaps this is a uniquely African experience where so many folks are fluent in five or six languages just to catch a local bus, so folks are culturally more flexible and willing to learn.  However, from my experience, learning Ge'ez has  only enhanced the Liturgy, not detracted.  Having the Liturgy in a different language to me always seemed to enhance the mystifying and bewildering aspects, drawing me deeper inside in reflective prayer to contemplate and experience the Holy Spirit Himself through the Service, and not to get too caught up in the intellectual absorption.  After all, we are Orthodox, not Scholastic like the Latins Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 04:56:25 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2012, 05:13:32 PM »

After all, we are Orthodox, not Scholastic like the Latins Smiley

And yet...

Having the Liturgy in a different language to me always seemed to enhance the mystifying and bewildering aspects, drawing me deeper inside in reflective prayer to contemplate and experience the Holy Spirit Himself through the Service, and not to get too caught up in the intellectual absorption.

Same line by Traditional Catholics who want Latin only Mass


As the article says, having to learn another language on top of having to learn the faith is intellectualizing it.  It is hard enough to learn and fully understand the teachings, and we have to also absorb another culture and language to do that?  St. Paul disagrees with that notion, and so does Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 05:14:55 PM by choy » Logged
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« Reply #56 on: September 21, 2012, 05:37:19 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

After all, we are Orthodox, not Scholastic like the Latins Smiley

And yet...

Having the Liturgy in a different language to me always seemed to enhance the mystifying and bewildering aspects, drawing me deeper inside in reflective prayer to contemplate and experience the Holy Spirit Himself through the Service, and not to get too caught up in the intellectual absorption.

Same line by Traditional Catholics who want Latin only Mass


As the article says, having to learn another language on top of having to learn the faith is intellectualizing it.  It is hard enough to learn and fully understand the teachings, and we have to also absorb another culture and language to do that?  St. Paul disagrees with that notion, and so does Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

I would disagree because language itself is not an intellectual matter, it is cultural, spiritual, and communicative. It transcends the intellect and gives us a vehicle to better express our thoughts and feelings.  In regards to prayer, learning a new language and tone to sing prayers gives this same experience.  At the least, I can say that has been my own and many others in the Ethiopian experience of the Ge'ez Liturgy.  To be sure, we have Amharic in the Liturgy for the petitions and spoken prayers, however, again, Amharic is not the language of all Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.  I can only speak from our own jurisdiction's experience, however again, our model has been to preserve a single Liturgical language as a lingua franca to help navigate the complex linguistic world of Africa's Horn where there are over 200 regional languages and dialects spoken in Ethiopia alone!  Essentially, the Catholics were right on this in that inevitably in regards to language you have to pick one and stick it out to have a Universal Church. What would the Ethiopians do if from parish to parish some had the Liturgy in Tigranya, some in Amharic, some in Oromoya let alone a hundred other dialects? What would Paul have exactly to say about that in the context of 1 Corinthians 14:23-28?

 

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #57 on: September 21, 2012, 05:49:13 PM »

I don't know why we're arguing about this. The United States is unique because it doesn't have an official language, yet its de facto national language is also the (current) world language, and will be so for the foreseeable future. So native-born English speakers like me have had it easy for all of our lives, and when we're confronted with people who are here and yet not speaking English natively, we may be offended, like such-and-such people just don't want to be "American" (Being American = speaking English, preferably without an accent). I think that's a ridiculous way of looking at things. If the point is to stop nationalism and its ugly stepchild phyletism in the Church (a worthy goal), then is it better to make an "American Orthodox Church" that is by default English, or to recognize that this model will not work for America, because we are a naturally multilingual society, being composed of a million different groups already? That is our natural state, not this imposed English upon everybody, which is the result of the kind of identity politics that, so the argument goes, are causing the problem for the Church in the first place. So if the point is for everyone to pray in a language he understands and is comfortable with, wouldn't the Egyptian-American pray in Arabic, and the Russian-American (if he still knows his language) in Russian, and the Greek-American in Greek, and the Maori-American in Maori, etc.? I mean, where I live if we were to follow the "this is what the people speak" model, we would have the liturgy about half in English, about half in Spanish, and about 5% in Navajo (and fractions of fractions of a percent in other Native languages). Is this feasible, with our Egyptian-born priests who have already taken on the job of learning another language for the liturgy, and for their daily lives in adapting to this country? I think what the people go through as immigrants to a new culture is greatly under-appreciated in the rush to demand that everything be "our" way, because after all "they" are in "our" country now. I thought there was no "us" and "them" in Christianity? I thought that was the whole problem with this issue?

So, yeah, I don't get it. I thank God that we have such wonderful priests as we have, who do 80% of the liturgy in English, and give me the sacraments in English, and teach me and guide me in English. Really, I think it's wonderful and I wish everyone had that experience. I'm just saying that in turn, when it comes time for me to do my responses in Arabic or Coptic (which is only a little bit of the time, and are generally repetitions of things we've already said in English, and are available in translations at all times, so there's no excuse of "I don't know what's going on", unless you're illiterate), I do them as best as I can, just like the priests and the deacons and literally everyone who isn't me at my church does them in English the majority of the time.

I think this kind of give and take is necessary if you're going to deal with the reality that Egyptians don't magically become monolingual Euro-Americans every time a white person comes to visit. And, besides, there is also the ugly stereotype underlying all this that Americans can't or don't want to learn about other cultures, that they don't know other languages, that they're not adaptable, etc. That's all garbage. I grew up speaking two languages and while not everyone is so lucky, many people I've talked to have said that they wish they had been. Well, here's one way to practice, but some people want to say that's wrong. Really...is it as wrong as forcing the liturgy to be in English among Amharic-speaking people, or Armenian-speaking people, or Inupiaq-speaking people, etc.? We either appreciate our diversity in all situations and "bear with one another in love", or we complain and complain and further subdivide because those people over there speak funny talk and eat icky food and my precious American sensibilities just can't handle it. For me, I am thankful for what I have and do not see it as a hindrance, but a blessing.

Of course, outside the liturgy there might be other problems, but the same would be true even of 100% Euro-American parishes (in that not everyone who speaks English in this country has the same culture to begin with). God will deal with that, too, in the coming generations which will switch over to English or another local language at some point.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 05:50:13 PM by dzheremi » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: September 21, 2012, 05:55:28 PM »

At the present time, the usage of Greek in my parish is rapidly diminishing. The majority of the service is now in Greek, and singing with the choir now I know that the hymns that are still sung in Greek are generally done alternatively in English, on a regular basis (usually one Sunday Greek, English the next, but the priest's end to his prayer is the executor in this matter). I am 15 years old and I am a native English speaker. However, I enjoy the tradition that is Greek liturgy and hymn. I do know of an instance in which a person left our parish to pursue an Orthodox church that did the Liturgy completely in English, and I do hear some complaints (among my Sunday School teachers, oddly enough, in many cases) about the usage of Greek. But I also know that a Greek liturgy has been intriguing to a lot of people that I know, and it draws them through mysticism into the truth of the Orthodox Church, and leads them to Christ. Maybe I'm wrong completely, or it isn't like that for most.  Huh I believe in choice, and it wouldn't matter to me either way. I mean, Greek could become illegal, and I'd still be an Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #59 on: September 21, 2012, 05:55:59 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I don't know why we're arguing about this. The United States is unique because it doesn't have an official language, yet its de facto national language is also the (current) world language, and will be so for the foreseeable future. So native-born English speakers like me have had it easy for all of our lives, and when we're confronted with people who are here and yet not speaking English natively, we may be offended, like such-and-such people just don't want to be "American" (Being American = speaking English, preferably without an accent). I think that's a ridiculous way of looking at things. If the point is to stop nationalism and its ugly stepchild phyletism in the Church (a worthy goal), then is it better to make an "American Orthodox Church" that is by default English, or to recognize that this model will not work for America, because we are a naturally multilingual society, being composed of a million different groups already? That is our natural state, not this imposed English upon everybody, which is the result of the kind of identity politics that, so the argument goes, are causing the problem for the Church in the first place. So if the point is for everyone to pray in a language he understands and is comfortable with, wouldn't the Egyptian-American pray in Arabic, and the Russian-American (if he still knows his language) in Russian, and the Greek-American in Greek, and the Maori-American in Maori, etc.? I mean, where I live if we were to follow the "this is what the people speak" model, we would have the liturgy about half in English, about half in Spanish, and about 5% in Navajo (and fractions of fractions of a percent in other Native languages). Is this feasible, with our Egyptian-born priests who have already taken on the job of learning another language for the liturgy, and for their daily lives in adapting to this country? I think what the people go through as immigrants to a new culture is greatly under-appreciated in the rush to demand that everything be "our" way, because after all "they" are in "our" country now. I thought there was no "us" and "them" in Christianity? I thought that was the whole problem with this issue?

So, yeah, I don't get it. I thank God that we have such wonderful priests as we have, who do 80% of the liturgy in English, and give me the sacraments in English, and teach me and guide me in English. Really, I think it's wonderful and I wish everyone had that experience. I'm just saying that in turn, when it comes time for me to do my responses in Arabic or Coptic (which is only a little bit of the time, and are generally repetitions of things we've already said in English, and are available in translations at all times, so there's no excuse of "I don't know what's going on", unless you're illiterate), I do them as best as I can, just like the priests and the deacons and literally everyone who isn't me at my church does them in English the majority of the time.

I think this kind of give and take is necessary if you're going to deal with the reality that Egyptians don't magically become monolingual Euro-Americans every time a white person comes to visit. And, besides, there is also the ugly stereotype underlying all this that Americans can't or don't want to learn about other cultures, that they don't know other languages, that they're not adaptable, etc. That's all garbage. I grew up speaking two languages and while not everyone is so lucky, many people I've talked to have said that they wish they had been. Well, here's one way to practice, but some people want to say that's wrong. Really...is it as wrong as forcing the liturgy to be in English among Amharic-speaking people, or Armenian-speaking people, or Inupiaq-speaking people, etc.? We either appreciate our diversity in all situations and "bear with one another in love", or we complain and complain and further subdivide because those people over there speak funny talk and eat icky food and my precious American sensibilities just can't handle it. For me, I am thankful for what I have and do not see it as a hindrance, but a blessing.

Of course, outside the liturgy there might be other problems, but the same would be true even of 100% Euro-American parishes (in that not everyone who speaks English in this country has the same culture to begin with). God will deal with that, too, in the coming generations which will switch over to English or another local language at some point.

Post of the Month runner up Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #60 on: September 21, 2012, 06:48:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

After all, we are Orthodox, not Scholastic like the Latins Smiley

And yet...

Having the Liturgy in a different language to me always seemed to enhance the mystifying and bewildering aspects, drawing me deeper inside in reflective prayer to contemplate and experience the Holy Spirit Himself through the Service, and not to get too caught up in the intellectual absorption.

Same line by Traditional Catholics who want Latin only Mass


As the article says, having to learn another language on top of having to learn the faith is intellectualizing it.  It is hard enough to learn and fully understand the teachings, and we have to also absorb another culture and language to do that?  St. Paul disagrees with that notion, and so does Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

I would disagree because language itself is not an intellectual matter, it is cultural, spiritual, and communicative. It transcends the intellect and gives us a vehicle to better express our thoughts and feelings.  In regards to prayer, learning a new language and tone to sing prayers gives this same experience.  At the least, I can say that has been my own and many others in the Ethiopian experience of the Ge'ez Liturgy.  To be sure, we have Amharic in the Liturgy for the petitions and spoken prayers, however, again, Amharic is not the language of all Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.  I can only speak from our own jurisdiction's experience, however again, our model has been to preserve a single Liturgical language as a lingua franca to help navigate the complex linguistic world of Africa's Horn where there are over 200 regional languages and dialects spoken in Ethiopia alone!  Essentially, the Catholics were right on this in that inevitably in regards to language you have to pick one and stick it out to have a Universal Church. What would the Ethiopians do if from parish to parish some had the Liturgy in Tigranya, some in Amharic, some in Oromoya let alone a hundred other dialects? What would Paul have exactly to say about that in the context of 1 Corinthians 14:23-28?

 

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Sorry, but Church history disagrees with you.  Your own Liturgical language didn't originate from the Apostles (or was used by them).  How did that happen unless someone along the way decided to use another language.  God never intended the Christian faith to be in one language, Pentecost is a testament to this.
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« Reply #61 on: September 21, 2012, 06:56:47 PM »

Post of the Month runner up Wink

+1
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« Reply #62 on: September 21, 2012, 06:57:27 PM »

I don't know why we're arguing about this. The United States is unique because it doesn't have an official language, yet its de facto national language is also the (current) world language, and will be so for the foreseeable future. So native-born English speakers like me have had it easy for all of our lives, and when we're confronted with people who are here and yet not speaking English natively, we may be offended, like such-and-such people just don't want to be "American" (Being American = speaking English, preferably without an accent). I think that's a ridiculous way of looking at things. If the point is to stop nationalism and its ugly stepchild phyletism in the Church (a worthy goal), then is it better to make an "American Orthodox Church" that is by default English, or to recognize that this model will not work for America, because we are a naturally multilingual society, being composed of a million different groups already? That is our natural state, not this imposed English upon everybody, which is the result of the kind of identity politics that, so the argument goes, are causing the problem for the Church in the first place. So if the point is for everyone to pray in a language he understands and is comfortable with, wouldn't the Egyptian-American pray in Arabic, and the Russian-American (if he still knows his language) in Russian, and the Greek-American in Greek, and the Maori-American in Maori, etc.? I mean, where I live if we were to follow the "this is what the people speak" model, we would have the liturgy about half in English, about half in Spanish, and about 5% in Navajo (and fractions of fractions of a percent in other Native languages). Is this feasible, with our Egyptian-born priests who have already taken on the job of learning another language for the liturgy, and for their daily lives in adapting to this country? I think what the people go through as immigrants to a new culture is greatly under-appreciated in the rush to demand that everything be "our" way, because after all "they" are in "our" country now. I thought there was no "us" and "them" in Christianity? I thought that was the whole problem with this issue?

So, yeah, I don't get it. I thank God that we have such wonderful priests as we have, who do 80% of the liturgy in English, and give me the sacraments in English, and teach me and guide me in English. Really, I think it's wonderful and I wish everyone had that experience. I'm just saying that in turn, when it comes time for me to do my responses in Arabic or Coptic (which is only a little bit of the time, and are generally repetitions of things we've already said in English, and are available in translations at all times, so there's no excuse of "I don't know what's going on", unless you're illiterate), I do them as best as I can, just like the priests and the deacons and literally everyone who isn't me at my church does them in English the majority of the time.

I think this kind of give and take is necessary if you're going to deal with the reality that Egyptians don't magically become monolingual Euro-Americans every time a white person comes to visit. And, besides, there is also the ugly stereotype underlying all this that Americans can't or don't want to learn about other cultures, that they don't know other languages, that they're not adaptable, etc. That's all garbage. I grew up speaking two languages and while not everyone is so lucky, many people I've talked to have said that they wish they had been. Well, here's one way to practice, but some people want to say that's wrong. Really...is it as wrong as forcing the liturgy to be in English among Amharic-speaking people, or Armenian-speaking people, or Inupiaq-speaking people, etc.? We either appreciate our diversity in all situations and "bear with one another in love", or we complain and complain and further subdivide because those people over there speak funny talk and eat icky food and my precious American sensibilities just can't handle it. For me, I am thankful for what I have and do not see it as a hindrance, but a blessing.

Of course, outside the liturgy there might be other problems, but the same would be true even of 100% Euro-American parishes (in that not everyone who speaks English in this country has the same culture to begin with). God will deal with that, too, in the coming generations which will switch over to English or another local language at some point.

Being an immigrant myself, I would say it is hard enough for me to assimilate into the culture of my everyday life, then I have to assimilate to another foreign culture for Church?  Talk about identity crisis.  It is stressful.

As the article said, we are not trying to get rid of ethnic parishes.  Heck, even Roman Catholics have them.  On a regular schedule the Mass is said in the Greater Vancouver Area in no less than a dozen languages.  English, French, Korean, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Slovak, Czech, just to name a few I can recall off the top of my head.  In fact, my countrymen make up about 40-50% of all Roman Catholics in the Lower Mainland, yet there isn't one regularly scheduled Filipino or Tagalog Mass.  But that is okay, English is the second official language of the Philippines, we were all taught English in school and we use English to some degree in our daily lives.  There is a place for ethnic parishes and foreign languages in our Church.  But the fact is, if we want our Churches to grow then we need to make it open to the common culture of the land.  Orthodoxy is not a simple faith especially if one grows up in a Western Christian faith which is the prime source of converts.  It is hard enough to smash your Christian paradigm formed by the West, and then the expectation is for the convert to learn a new language and assimilate in a foreign culture?
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« Reply #63 on: September 21, 2012, 07:41:16 PM »

the classic argument i've heard is:  if the language is a language you understand you at least have the OPPORTUNITY to immerse yourself in the services & pay attention.  If they are not, then there's no way you can participate in the service, no matter how fervent you are, because there will always be a barrier. 

Thoughts? 
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« Reply #64 on: September 21, 2012, 08:16:06 PM »

Being an immigrant myself, I would say it is hard enough for me to assimilate into the culture of my everyday life, then I have to assimilate to another foreign culture for Church?  Talk about identity crisis.  It is stressful.

Then you could be most sympathetic to the position of most of our priests. Smiley Coming from wherever they come from, having to learn English for their daily lives, and also having to in essence re-learn their liturgies in a new (second, third, etc.) language. It's tough, isn't it? They have to deal with the same thing.

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But the fact is, if we want our Churches to grow then we need to make it open to the common culture of the land.
 

Which one?

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Orthodoxy is not a simple faith especially if one grows up in a Western Christian faith which is the prime source of converts.  It is hard enough to smash your Christian paradigm formed by the West, and then the expectation is for the convert to learn a new language and assimilate in a foreign culture?

Again, it's not like I don't understand this. I'm the only non-Arabphone in my parish. I just think this particular issue is overblown, and the way that it is often talked about being "solved" involves so many bad assumptions, I'd much rather let the natural course of community and church evolution allow us to be flexible with regard to the actual makeup of the parish and how to best serve everyone. Imposing English on a bunch of immigrants who already struggle with it for the sake of a tiny minority of natives makes much less sense to me than how we already do it (remember, we already do 80% English). Could it be better? Probably at some parishes, yes. I have heard from Coptic friends in Europe that they have priests who can't handle the local language (French) at their church. That's not good, but at the same time I get the idea from talking to them that the priests are trying and this time it is the Europeans who have the ugly attitude of "this person who is foreign to my culture is not learning FAST ENOUGH for me". Such people generally don't have any real solutions to make things better, just more and more demands. Again, give and take is the key. In addition to English sermons and everything else in the liturgy, Father makes sure any theological point that is discussed over the Agape meal is talked about in English (or summarized, if he doesn't have the vocabulary for it in English), and when he or any of the other people at church want to know such-and-such a word in English, they ask me. It works out well, so far. They don't impose anything on me and I don't impose myself on them. The Church is not the Jeremy show, just like it's not the Ioannis show or the Mina show or the Vladimir show. It's all of us, and we don't all speak one language or have one culture, so we all have to do what we can.
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« Reply #65 on: September 21, 2012, 08:26:14 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Sorry, but Church history disagrees with you.  Your own Liturgical language didn't originate from the Apostles (or was used by them).  How did that happen unless someone along the way decided to use another language.  God never intended the Christian faith to be in one language, Pentecost is a testament to this.

Maybe your jurisdiction's history disagrees, but in our own Ethiopian jurisdiction of Orthodox our history is precisely why we have a liturgical language in the first place. It is in part because the musical notation for our tones of prayer and hymn are written specifically for Ge'ez and do not readily translate to other languages (hence why neither English or Amharic are appropriate), and in part to solve the lingua franca situation.  So should Ethiopia just have TWO HUNDRED different versions of the Divine Liturgy, or should we just have TWO HUNDRED individual regional jurisdictions of the Tewahedo Church for each language group?  Lord have His Mercy! The Ethiopian Church doesn't have a preference for Ge'ez out of any kind of particular theology, rather sheer logistics, something the Apostles were quite familiar with.


 I just think this particular issue is overblown, and the way that it is often talked about being "solved" involves so many bad assumptions, I'd much rather let the natural course of community and church evolution allow us to be flexible with regard to the actual makeup of the parish and how to best serve everyone. Imposing English on a bunch of immigrants who already struggle with it for the sake of a tiny minority of natives makes much less sense to me than how we already do it (remember, we already do 80% English). Could it be better? Probably at some parishes, yes. I have heard from Coptic friends in Europe that they have priests who can't handle the local language (French) at their church.  Such people generally don't have any real solutions to make things better, just more and more demands. Again, give and take is the key. The Church is not the Jeremy show, just like it's not the Ioannis show or the Mina show or the Vladimir show. It's all of us, and we don't all speak one language or have one culture, so we all have to do what we can.

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« Reply #66 on: September 22, 2012, 01:47:32 AM »

Then you could be most sympathetic to the position of most of our priests. Smiley Coming from wherever they come from, having to learn English for their daily lives, and also having to in essence re-learn their liturgies in a new (second, third, etc.) language. It's tough, isn't it? They have to deal with the same thing.

Canadian immigrants are required to take the IELTS and get a good score.  So there is no reason for any of us here, priests, IT guys, accountants, etc. not to know English.  Our Chaldean Catholic priest here is from Iraq and Syria, speaks good English.  He is even biritual.

Which one?

The Canadian one Wink

Seriously, America is a melting pot.  You think you have varied culture there?  Come to Canada and see what real diversity is about.  And I am not saying this in a good way, its ethnic ghettoes here and there.  At least in America you get to hyphen "-American" to your ethnicity.  In Canada you are of the same ethnicity and you live in a part of town dominated by that ethnicity and you basically stay within that circle.  There is more commonality in the US, even though other cultures are now shifting the culture.  But that is natural, that is part of the evolution of society.

Again, it's not like I don't understand this. I'm the only non-Arabphone in my parish. I just think this particular issue is overblown, and the way that it is often talked about being "solved" involves so many bad assumptions, I'd much rather let the natural course of community and church evolution allow us to be flexible with regard to the actual makeup of the parish and how to best serve everyone. Imposing English on a bunch of immigrants who already struggle with it for the sake of a tiny minority of natives makes much less sense to me than how we already do it (remember, we already do 80% English). Could it be better? Probably at some parishes, yes. I have heard from Coptic friends in Europe that they have priests who can't handle the local language (French) at their church. That's not good, but at the same time I get the idea from talking to them that the priests are trying and this time it is the Europeans who have the ugly attitude of "this person who is foreign to my culture is not learning FAST ENOUGH for me". Such people generally don't have any real solutions to make things better, just more and more demands. Again, give and take is the key. In addition to English sermons and everything else in the liturgy, Father makes sure any theological point that is discussed over the Agape meal is talked about in English (or summarized, if he doesn't have the vocabulary for it in English), and when he or any of the other people at church want to know such-and-such a word in English, they ask me. It works out well, so far. They don't impose anything on me and I don't impose myself on them. The Church is not the Jeremy show, just like it's not the Ioannis show or the Mina show or the Vladimir show. It's all of us, and we don't all speak one language or have one culture, so we all have to do what we can.

Well, we come from different circumstances.  But from where I see, the parishes that are less ethnic are the most successful ones.  It may not be true in every parish but at least here where I am, that is the case.  And also for me and my family and our situation, we do want a parish that we can really belong to an not have that ethnic barrier.
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« Reply #67 on: September 22, 2012, 02:27:11 AM »

Good for you. I hope you find what you seek.

Canada has been good for the Coptic Orthodox Church, as well, and the Church has been good for Canada. You guys have Fr. Pishoy Salama and others of that perspective (e.g., setting up active missionary parishes), and many, many different types of Canadians are coming to Orthodoxy through such efforts. Glory be to God.
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« Reply #68 on: September 22, 2012, 03:23:44 PM »

The Orthodox (Chalcedonian) Church uses about 30 different Liturgical languages in Kenya only.
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« Reply #69 on: September 22, 2012, 03:44:42 PM »

As do the Coptic Orthodox: The Nicene Creed in Luo language at a Coptic Orthodox Church in rural Kenya
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« Reply #70 on: September 22, 2012, 05:16:01 PM »

I guess you can tell i fed up with new converts trying to change a 2000+ yr old faith. questioning everything, and winning oh my, the winning, just stop.
outa here before i

THIS!

Exactly.  It is not their culture that brought them to Orthodoxy, but the Orthodox culture that beckoned them to come. 
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« Reply #71 on: September 22, 2012, 05:24:09 PM »

Exactly.  It is not their culture that brought them to Orthodoxy, but the Orthodox culture that beckoned them to come. 

Yes, please.  I want the Orthodox culture, not Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, etc.  Lest you forget you got your Orthodoxy from Jewish people.
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« Reply #72 on: September 22, 2012, 05:27:54 PM »

Wait, what? Orthodox Jews bequeathed Orthodox Christianity? Um...no?  Huh
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« Reply #73 on: September 22, 2012, 05:36:25 PM »

Wait, what? Orthodox Jews bequeathed Orthodox Christianity? Um...no?  Huh

I don't mean the modern day Orthodox Jews.  I meant those Orthodox Jews from the First Century like Paul and Barnabas.
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« Reply #74 on: September 22, 2012, 05:39:43 PM »

Good for you. I hope you find what you seek.

Canada has been good for the Coptic Orthodox Church, as well, and the Church has been good for Canada. You guys have Fr. Pishoy Salama and others of that perspective (e.g., setting up active missionary parishes), and many, many different types of Canadians are coming to Orthodoxy through such efforts. [/b]Glory be to God.

Or remaining Protestant but attending since it's all the same anyway...

Fr. Pishoy isn't the pioneer of English in the Coptic Liturgy... that happened long before he was a priest... he's just following in the steps of Fr. Antony Messieh in introducing Protestantism to the Coptic Church to appeal to Evangelicals...
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« Reply #75 on: September 22, 2012, 06:03:55 PM »

Oh boy, I knew this was coming...couldn't find another YT example of a multiethnic parish, though (so maybe the OP has a point after all). Look, regardless of what you or I think about Fr. Pishoy or Fr. Anthony, they are ordained priests of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Me, I'm just some guy. I just got here. I'm not going to tell people who have dedicated their lives to service of the Church that they're Protestant and bad and all that. Both have virtually nothing to do with my experience in the COC (nobody's going to tell me that Fr. Philemon or Fr. Mansour who serve us here in Albuquerque are somehow Protestant), and yet even if they are at fault for all of these things as people on the internet accuse them of being, what does it then say that they have the multi-ethnic, convert-friendly parishes? If they are not Orthodox (and again, I'm not saying they are or aren't...that's not my call), then surely some Orthodox must step up and bring the people to the true faith. Complaining that others who are bringing people in are Protestant doesn't do anything to witness to people who might otherwise go along with them, not knowing any better. And again, I feel like this should be emphasized: They're the ones doing the work. If others should be doing it because others are Orthodox, then it'd be nice to see it being done, instead of tearing down what a few priests are doing because it doesn't meet our standards. (I've heard similar complaints about the missionary churches in Africa, but oddly enough usually not from people who have been there.)

Just last week I brought up the idea of having Spanish-language information available to the wider non-Orthodox community, as we are in a heavily Hispanic state. Crickets. Essentially "Yeah, that'd be nice, but kind of useless since we can't do the liturgy in that language". And how can I even argue with that? It's true. So we have a lot further to go, and a few controversial priests can't stop us, can they?
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« Reply #76 on: September 22, 2012, 07:58:01 PM »

Dear Choy , I am with you on this, language is oh so very fundamental in spreading the Gospel of the Lord. the Church is not a museum of whatever country's or ethnic culture, the Church is the Bride of the Living Christ, with a Living Tradition and that Orthodox Tradition is about following the Apostolic Tradition of preaching the Gospel in the spoken language of the people not in the ancient historical language of their ancestors just to feed their patriotic zeal and /or their old country nostalgia.

In Ethiopia we do not read the Gospel in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic because those who evangelized Ethiopia also learned the common language of the people and translated everything into that common spoken language so today we read the Gospel in Geez , Amharic, tigrigna and Oromuffa, it is quite a shame I tell you that we can not read it with all the spoken languages of Ethiopia, so I feel there is much much work to be done in that regards to give access to all people in the country the chance to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with their first language. the same here in America English must be used sooner than later, this does not take away from the need to preserve all the Christianized cultural heritages and traditions of the old countries , we can even have parishes with different schedules to cater to the English speaking crowd that includes the first second third generations of the immigrants, as well as to the first generation and all others who prefer the language of the old country or the ancient liturgical languages.

There is a reason why the gift of language was given at Pentecost to the Apostles and we see the immediate result of that with the baptism of the 3000, so first and foremost if what we want is the preservation of linguistic and cultural heritages then we might go to the various types of museums and preservation centers, but we should never treat the Church of Christ as a museum, her Bridegroom Lives, and He has given her a Mission to reach All Men! and she must by His grace fulfill it. this remains the priority until He returns!

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« Reply #77 on: September 22, 2012, 08:12:36 PM »

@ dzheremi's last question. no they can not and should not! and yes there is a lot to do, long way to go.... but every step forward counts so great idea about the Spanish language btw.  Smiley
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« Reply #78 on: September 22, 2012, 08:18:21 PM »

Hiwot, just out of curiosity, what is done in areas of Ethiopia with lesser-known languages where the people are mostly Orthodox, like among the Dorze? Is it just read in the national language, and hopefully people will know it, or...? (I have heard one amazing song for celebrating Mesqel in their native language, with their traditional polyphonic way of singing, but I can't imagine the whole liturgy in that way...what an experience that would be!)

This is an issue that we all have to deal with. I hope my posts in this thread have not been taken to be anti-nativization or whatever you'd call it, because that's certainly not my position. I think the USA is rather unique and so some of what Cyril and Methodius did would not work so well here, as we aren't dealing with dialect continua in most places (cf. the Slavic situation in Europe), but with many different interacting and in some sense competing communities, so something that works for English monolinguals probably won't work for others. Simply imposing English on everybody obscures the linguistic and cultural diversity of our communities, which I would think could be just as alienating to potential converts as the current situation of having multiple languages (with English as the majority language, I'd hope, as it is still the majority language of the country) might be.
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« Reply #79 on: September 22, 2012, 08:35:37 PM »

dzheremi, it is read in Amharic, the common language of communication in the country, however this does not mean that folks in those areas speak it well they don't, so after readings there are people who translate what is read in the language and sermons are done in their own language, where the person giving the sermon knows it, otherwise even sermons are done via translators so this still is a very sad reality.

I know historical , economic and  cultural factors are at play in this, but the church has now every opportunity to correct these failures and serve the flock of Christ, before it is forced to leave the fold in search of proper spiritual nourishment , that comes by hearing the Word of God, which leads to understanding and believing with unshakable Faith.

there are some good starts in this area(  building of churches in the remote parts of the country,clergy training in their own language, translation of liturgical texts, hymns preparation,etc..) , and they are showing wonderful fruits, I hope and pray this continues and grows.
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« Reply #80 on: September 22, 2012, 08:50:20 PM »

Amen! May it continue and grow.

If I had the money and time, I would enroll in Navajo classes, as we have the most Navajo people of any major city in this country right here in Albuquerque, so it is not uncommon to hear it spoken, and there are TV programs in that language and all that. And of course, some have their own churches, but they are Protestants or maybe Catholics (I can't tell, since I don't speak the language, and unfortunately you can't tell a Catholic from a Protestant based on the music of the liturgy anymore). But it would be wonderful...and there are hints of possbilities yet to be fulfilled, even in these heterodox churches. I would just collapse in happiness (and shock) if I were to ever hear the prayer in that video in a local Orthodox Church...
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« Reply #81 on: September 22, 2012, 08:56:24 PM »

Exactly.  It is not their culture that brought them to Orthodoxy, but the Orthodox culture that beckoned them to come. 

Yes, please.  I want the Orthodox culture, not Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, etc.  Lest you forget you got your Orthodoxy from Jewish people.

I am not sure that I can disagree with you on this one.
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« Reply #82 on: September 22, 2012, 09:04:39 PM »

Amen! May it continue and grow.

If I had the money and time, I would enroll in Navajo classes, as we have the most Navajo people of any major city in this country right here in Albuquerque, so it is not uncommon to hear it spoken, and there are TV programs in that language and all that. And of course, some have their own churches, but they are Protestants or maybe Catholics (I can't tell, since I don't speak the language, and unfortunately you can't tell a Catholic from a Protestant based on the music of the liturgy anymore). But it would be wonderful...and there are hints of possbilities yet to be fulfilled, even in these heterodox churches. I would just collapse in happiness (and shock) if I were to ever hear the prayer in that video in a local Orthodox Church...

Indeed!!!
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« Reply #83 on: September 22, 2012, 10:16:34 PM »

So we have a lot further to go, and a few controversial priests can't stop us, can they?

I believe they can create a serious stumbling block. There is serious backlash in surrounding areas. This sets back what needs to be done, because English service, and service for converts, becomes associated in people's minds with a Protestant style of "worship" and preaching. This is why it bothers me when they are held up as examples. It plays right into HabteSelassie's argument that we're dreaming that if we just used English great numbers would come in and the West would be won. Look, here are people winning big numbers... by dumbing down Orthodoxy until it's not, clearly this is the wrong directions.

It's not about numbers. It's about doing our duty, not having grand phantasies about what would happen if we did.

If people want to hold up an example of a Coptic priest doing it right, the one in that area is Fr. Athanasius Iskander, who was very much a pioneer of the usage of English... not that the Liturgy hadn't been prayed in English before, but he was a large part of shaping the translation we have, and did great work in creating an English parish. And it isn't a megachurch ,and doesn't want to be.

The Church was a typical closed community. He sat them down and told them that if they weren't open to outsiders, they would lose their kids. They would end up getting married to people from where they lived, and they would bring them to the Church, and if they were driven away as outsiders, their own kids would go with them. He said that for the future of their children in the Church, they had to sacrifice having the Liturgy they way it was comfortable to them.

One of the parents in the Church went to him and told him that when he prayed 50/50 English/Arabic, as soon as he switched to Arabic, their kids eyes glazed over. They were afraid their kids would be lost to the Church. Since then the Liturgy has been English. There's a very small amount of Arabic, a little big of Coptic, and of course some Greek.

Not shockingly, not everyone likes that. But being faithful to Christ, His Gospel, and the great commission is not about being popular.

This doesn't mean he neglects the needs of Arabic speakers. He has tried to get a second priest to hold a parallel Arabic Liturgy, but he hasn't been given one. So he does the best he can, and has an Arabic Liturgy on a Saturday once or twice a month. No one goes to them though. The people who complain so loudly about wanting Arabic still seem to go to the English one on Sunday, or not go often at all, and don't tend to show up to the Arabic Liturgy being held to meet their "needs". So it gets cancelled because no one comes. Then people complain, and they run it for a bit again, until they just can't since you're not allowed to have a Liturgy without people. The weekday Liturgies used to be in Arabic. But the people going are pretty much exclusively English speaking, so it has shifted to mostly English.

Has this resulted in droves of North Americans coming into the Church? Of course not. Our culture doesn't want religion. But those who are seeking do find a home where they can live, and the kids are about to bring friends and others, and have a place to introduce people. A future has been assured for the parish, and for those seeking Orthodoxy, a barrier is removed, it's made that much more accessible.

This is what it's about. It's not about converting the West. It's about doing our duty to offer the Gospel to all, and then it's up to God if those who respond is a billion, or one. What we'll be judged on is doing our duty, and offering, not on the fruit, which depends wholly on God.

One man, not a priest, not a monk, a layman, a child on a journey with a businessman, offered Orthodoxy to those who massacred those with him in Ethiopia. When he was allowed to return to Alexandria, he told St. Athanasius about the need to send a shepherd for those who believed. St. Athanasius ordained him a bishop, and sent back St. Frumentius as the first bishop of Ethiopia.

One child offered Orthodoxy, and converted a nation. Now there are millions of Orthodox are in North America, and we don't offer. We just keep to ourselves, create pockets of the old cultures, and then wonder why people here who find Orthodoxy can't become Greek, or Egyptian, or Russian, or whatever, for the sake of Orthodoxy. We don't only not offer, we place barriers in the way of those seeking Christ. We're more concerned with preserving cultures than obeyign the great commission.
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« Reply #84 on: September 22, 2012, 10:29:42 PM »

I don't really find anything to disagree with in your post, Jonathan. My own parish is not nearly big enough to have these kinds of issues (to be divided into pro-Arabic/anti-Arabic factions), so I don't think it's right to comment too much on them or how others handle them. My point is to say that those who are received at Fr. Pishoy's church or Fr. Anthony's or some other place that a lot of people don't like (and at least as far as concerns Fr. Anthony, I can see why; I haven't heard too many sermons by Fr. Pishoy, so I don't know where the charges of Protestantism are coming from) are still entering canonical Orthodox churches, despite the questionable approach to evangelism on the part of any particular priest.
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« Reply #85 on: September 22, 2012, 10:32:15 PM »

Hiwot, dnt know if you read the entire thread. but
The problem is not that it should not be in english. It is, and it should be!
The underlying thread within this thread is the reasoning why it should be in english.
its like giving alms:
if i give someone $$ to help him and its between me and him---then it is pleasing to God, no?
But if i give $$ to someone to show off that im a good person to others---then that is not pleasing to God, no?

The underlying motivation for the request that the liturgy to be in english is because of self importance and dislike for people and there cultures. Someone outright said "I hate nationalists...that's one of the reasons I can't stand so many Orthodox Christians."
another, when informed that in my parish they do 2 liturgy's one in Greek and one in english. Actually complained that they do it in his parish also but he hates having to be the ones who have to get up early to go to the early liturgy. Funny actually, how lazy can u be!
so that's just 2 examples in this thread that show the underlying reasoning from some here. there is also the self righteousness of some to demand things as if they have some special right cause they are American. anyway read or reread the thread and you will  pick up on it.
And that is relay why i have been giving them a hard time with this. I fully support the liturgy in all languages!
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« Reply #86 on: September 22, 2012, 10:34:25 PM »

I don't really find anything to disagree with in your post, Jonathan. My own parish is not nearly big enough to have these kinds of issues (to be divided into pro-Arabic/anti-Arabic factions), so I don't think it's right to comment too much on them or how others handle them. My point is to say that those who are received at Fr. Pishoy's church or Fr. Anthony's or some other place that a lot of people don't like (and at least as far as concerns Fr. Anthony, I can see why; I haven't heard too many sermons by Fr. Pishoy, so I don't know where the charges of Protestantism are coming from) are still entering canonical Orthodox churches, despite the questionable theology of any particular priest.

But it isn't a numbers game... They're baptised, they're chrismated, but if they aren't formed in the Orthodoxy faith, what is the point? The Sacraments aren't magic that we just need to convince people to get, they need to be grafted into authentic orthodoxy. It isn't a good thing to have people in Orthodoxy on paper, but in a parish that is hard to distinguish from an evangelical community, and at the same time place additional barriers to people who want to come in in nearby parishes because of people there pushing back against the picture of "converts" and "convert churches" seen from the watered down version.

It's better to not do something than to stray in doing it. It's better to do a small thing well than a big thing poorly.
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« Reply #87 on: September 22, 2012, 10:37:34 PM »

Hiwot, dnt know if you read the entire thread. but
The problem is not that it should not be in english. It is, and it should be!
The underlying thread within this thread is the reasoning why it should be in english.
its like giving alms:
if i give someone $$ to help him and its between me and him---then it is pleasing to God, no?
But if i give $$ to someone to show off that im a good person to others---then that is not pleasing to God, no?

The underlying motivation for the request that the liturgy to be in english is because of self importance and dislike for people and there cultures. Someone outright said "I hate nationalists...that's one of the reasons I can't stand so many Orthodox Christians."
another, when informed that in my parish they do 2 liturgy's one in Greek and one in english. Actually complained that they do it in his parish also but he hates having to be the ones who have to get up early to go to the early liturgy. Funny actually, how lazy can u be!
so that's just 2 examples in this thread that show the underlying reasoning from some here. there is also the self righteousness of some to demand things as if they have some special right cause they are American. anyway read or reread the thread and you will  pick up on it.
And that is relay why i have been giving them a hard time with this. I fully support the liturgy in all languages!


There's a big difference between saying I don't like sticking the English Liturgy very early in the morning because I don't wanna get up early... and in saying I don't like sticking the English Liturgy very early in the morning because it makes it a little bit more inaccessible to people who, if exposed to Orthodoxy, might in time come to Orthodoxy. One is laziness, one is a desire to obey the Gospel.
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« Reply #88 on: September 22, 2012, 10:40:04 PM »

I guess you can tell i fed up with new converts trying to change a 2000+ yr old faith. questioning everything, and winning oh my, the winning, just stop.
outa here before i

THIS!

Winning?  Who are we, Charlie Sheen clones?
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« Reply #89 on: September 22, 2012, 10:41:23 PM »

The Orthodox (Chalcedonian) Church uses about 30 different Liturgical languages in Kenya only.

Michal, thank you for bringing some sanity and for not being a Charlie Sheen clone. 
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