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Author Topic: Are converts "protestantizing" the Church?  (Read 23246 times) Average Rating: 0
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idontlikenames
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« on: February 03, 2005, 05:30:29 PM »

Hey...I just wanted to bring up two separate, yet related, issues.....

Does anyone ever feel that there is too much clickiness in Orthodox parishes? Like at my parish (this is why I am actually in the process of switching parishes), as soon as the after-liturgy coffee starts, it begins: the converts immediately go to the "convert tables" and the cradle-born (in this case, Lebanese) immediately go to the "cradle-born tables". It's like there's a spirit of elitism/chauvinism on the part of both parties. In fact, ever since I've converted (yes...so in some respects I'm a hypocrite), I have yet to talk to hardly any of the Lebanese people because as soon as I sit down, all the "fellow" converts flock to me...not giving me a chance to talk to anyone else.

Also.......does anyone ever feel that many of the converted Protestants never quite leave their Protestantism "at the door"? Like...a lot of the "white-isms" (like....first question: "What do you do for a living"?) which repulsed me from the Protestant Chuch land right here in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Or....the surprisingly Zionist mindsets of people in the Orthodox church.

i even find that a lot of the "mariphobia" which is rampant in Protestantism is visibly apparent in converts to the Orthodox faith....like people who refuse to believe that St. Mary did not sin.

When I became Orthodox, I completely renounced everything which was Protestant in me.

What does everyone else think?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2005, 01:28:48 AM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2005, 05:48:56 PM »

Quote
Does anyone ever feel that there is too much clickiness in Orthodox parishes? Like at my parish (this is why I am actually in the process of switching parishes), as soon as the after-liturgy coffee starts, it begins: the converts immediately go to the "convert tables" and the cradle-born (in this case, Lebanese) immediately go to the "cradle-born tables". It's like there's a spirit of elitism/chauvinism on the part of both parties. In fact, ever since I've converted (yes...so in some respects I'm a hypocrite), I have yet to talk to hardly any of the Lebanese people because as soon as I sit down, all the "fellow" converts flock to me...not giving me a chance to talk to anyone else.

I was going to an antiochian parish for awhile and never noticed anything like this.

Quote
Also.......does anyone ever feel that many of the converted Protestants never quite leave their Protestantism "at the door"? Like...a lot of the "white-isms" (like....first question: "What do you do for a living"?) which repulsed me from the Protestant Chuch land right here in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Or....the surprisingly Zionist mindsets of people in the Orthodox church.

I don't see what the big deal is if people ask you what kind of work you do or other personal type questions. I get asked that all the time when I meet new people wether it's at church or meeting friends of friends. You have never asked anyone similiar type questions, seems pretty human to me. Also, you seemed fixated on the zionism hysteria, what's the big deal if some Orthodox think the jews deserve a small block of land?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2005, 01:29:22 AM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2005, 05:52:09 PM »

Okay....maybe I gave some bad examples.....but the Ethiopian post made me do some thinking....

Do you think that maybe too many converts (of course, this would include myself) could make the Church go in the wrong direction?
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2005, 05:55:53 PM »

idontlikenames,

I agree. Smiley

In some of these parishes I feel like I'm visiting "All Saints of Middle Class America" from the Onion Dome.
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2005, 06:03:43 PM »


I don't see what the big deal is if people ask you what kind of work you do or other personal type questions. I get asked that all the time when I meet new people wether it's at church or meeting friends of friends. You have never asked anyone similiar type questions, seems pretty human to me.  


I think that's easy to say if you have a fancy or "successful" job.  but too often, the attitude behind such a question is, "Let's see what this peon does for a living.....if it's not something deemed 'successful', then I'm better than him."  Too many people think they are better than everybody else simply because of their status....EVEN IN THE CHURCH!!!!  It would be like if my first question to them was, "What is your IQ?"
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2005, 06:21:20 PM »

For me it's a couple of things. On a personal level it's sometimes difficult for me to relate to a Protestant convert who seems content to hold onto a lot of previous baggage. Protestantism always seemed hokey and contrived to me. Kind of a natural expression of Christianity mixing with American values. This baggage seems to linger if they've been brought into Orthodoxy through the writings of the ex EOC's or the more "modernist" theologians of our day. I think this can be attributed to the fact that in these writings, the primary focus is doctrine and historical and biblical arguments. There is no concept of Orthodox piety introduced to them through these writings. They don't seem to take much interest in the lives of the saints, relics, or just plain down to earth Orthodoxy. The basics of forming an Orthodox mind and heart.  Why no interest? I think it has to do again with their introduction to Orthodoxy. Many of these people were formerly appalled by the notion of venerating saints and relics, piety, asceticism, etc. Now, after reading the works of a modernist theologian who pays no real attention to these "details" of Orthodoxy, or who downplays their imporance as merely being a "cult of saints" which developed sometime after the acceptance of Orthodoxy by the State, these people can sort of overlook these things which they formerly disagreed with. 

Troubling also is when this mindset starts to overtake the services. I've seen long time Protestant converts try to do readings in a "non traditional way", kind of like a Catholic priest saying the Mass, ..or like a parent reading to their little kid. I suppose he thought it was more natural to do it this way, and who needs all this ceremony anyway? Fortuntely someone asked him to read it like an Orthodox Christian. The guy read again like  Protestant and the book was taken from him.
You also see this Protestant "we want equality" with the clergy mindset. Meaning, let me make prostrations in the Church when the priest does, and let me say his "amens", and let me call him Fr. Billy because "he's just a sinner like me!".  This isn't an Orthodox concept of laity/clergy roles.

Just some ramblings.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2005, 06:23:32 PM by Bogoliubtsy » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2005, 07:40:42 PM »

IDLN,
It seems to me (who am no expert) that if your parish encourages, teaches the ascetic foundations of Orthodoxy i.e. fasting, regular communion, alms  giving, minding your own business etc.. then you will gradually lose your Protestant mindset.  It takes time and not everyone in the parish has to be doing it, but it should be at least taught and the priest should be an ascetic priest.  Otherwise you have, as a ROCOR bishop, once said - an Orthodoxy that is simply 'Protestantism with incense'.

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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2005, 07:52:53 PM »

I have just started going to church. I have been to the Greek Church here, and a few of the many Catholic ones. The CAtholic ones seem to be very "Ethnic" one is almost all Italians, another is the same way but with Anglos or Hispanics (or Latinos?). The Greek one is almost all Greek except for the people that the Greek people have married. I have not noticed anything "non Orthodox" about them (the converted people) they are all very nice even though I am not Greek (hehe) I mean, they're Americans...I notice them saying very American things. I do not think it is very Protestant though. There is only an old, old Lebanese couple there and I have only spoken to them a few times so the Arabs are not rushing together there and the Greeks...wel they are the majority there so they're going to be together no matter what I guess. As a convert I would say to try to go out and connect with the Lebanese folks at your church and "work the room' if you will. Break the cliques. You'll make new friends and bring the parish closer together.
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2005, 11:10:53 PM »

Does anyone ever feel that there is too much clickiness in Orthodox parishes? Like at my parish (this is why I am actually in the process of switching parishes)

First of all brother I would just say don’t switch Churches just to escape clicks. You will probably find them everywhere you go and end up totally frustrated. The grass doesn’t get greener until people water it like they are supposed to. You can escape cliquishness simply by refusing to belong to any.

Another thing, don’t be so hard on cradle-born Orthodox for simply clinging to their cultural traditions. If there is one thing I notice from converts is for them to many times demand that ethnics stop being ethnic and drop things that have sustained them forever. I mean why should an elderly grandmother from Lebanon be expected to start reading the Psalms and the Liturgy in English?

[This part was edited and seems awkward so I am re-writing it minus “American Political” references so my point is preserved]

There are some who try to put a political spin on Orthodoxy’s conservative stand on traditionalism and try to derive from it some kind of political conservatism. Just ignore that. It is just the wishful delusions of some converts who ludicrously believe that Orthodoxy has anything to do with the right wing ideology that they brought with them from Protestantism.

Orthodoxy is socially and culturally conservative. She is conservative because she is traditional and sticks with the "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)." She is conservative because she does not remove the ancient landmark which the fathers have set (Prov 22:28). She is socially, culturally, and spiritually conservative not politically conservative. She is conservative because she is traditional and sticks with the "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)." She is conservative because she does not remove the ancient landmark which the fathers have set (Prov 22:28). So long as you hold to that conservatism you can swing as far to the left on anything else and still be an Orthodox. [All of my examples of right wing politics were edited out].
 
Just keep in mind when the Church opposes liberalism it is social liberalism best exemplified by moral relativism. It is not liberalism like the civil rights movement (of which the ideological ancestors of modern political conservatives shamefully opposed while it was happening).

It is perfectly fine to be on the political right and still be an Orthodox but it is dishonest to pretend that to be one you must be the other.

Things that I have noticed with former Protestants are:

1.   The old "Church hoping" of the Protestant days becomes the jurisdiction hoping of Orthodoxy. I was embarrassed when I went to one Antiochan Church last December that had an entirely convert congregation. The Priest told us how the congregation is now half of its former size. Apparently some of the convert Priest wanted to have things their way like Burger King. The Arab Bishop said no so they told him to “hop in the lake” and then split off. They opened up another “holier than thou” Orthodox Church right down the street. Tell me how that is different from a Protestant minister having a scriptural interpretation difference with the head pastor and then deciding to break and start up his own Church down the street with its own interpretation. I have NEVER seen or heard of something like that happening except where converts are many in number.

2.   Everything is always of a polemical nature. Many times discussions are held within the context of what Protestants or Catholics believe and Orthodox do not. The basics of Orthodox spirituality are not as hot a topic as debating about how the Protestants are wrong about "real presence in the Eucharist."

3.   Dumping Sola Scriptura just to endorse sola father’s patristic texts. People start engaging in their own private interpretations of writings of the fathers and use it in polemics just like Protestants do with the Bible.

4.   Going out of their way to be anti-Catholic and distinguish nearly everything we do from Catholics. In reality this is just an extension of the anti-Catholic mindset present in Puritan derived American Protestantism.

5.   As for Zionism I concur. Many folks cant let it go. Just know that H.H. Pope Shenouda has denounced Zionism numerous times and most of the Orthodox bishops actually in Jerusalem have as well. BTW, Fr. Peter Gillquist from your juristiction has written a good pamphlet about Zionism.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2005, 02:58:10 AM by Aklie Semaet » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2005, 11:53:35 PM »

Just a few comments on this discussion:

I agree with Aklie Semaet in regards to "church hopping."  Many of the saints tell us that this mentality presents a grave danger to our spirituality.  God is very good at putting us where we need to be at a given moment in time.  It is much better to evaluate the situation and look for opportunities to deepen our faith by learning to love all people--even those annoying ones who divide themselves into cliques within our parish.  I have visited with many parishes over the years, and have seen the same manifestations at each, just in different flavors.  The only way to overcome it is by changing ourselves.  IDLN, I would recommend you stay where you are and become a catalyst for unity.  Make your own circle and draw them all in.  I have seen this work.

As far as these converts are concerned, we mustn't be so judgemental.  In truth, all of us are "converts" because none of us is born with a perfect faith.  As St Theophan the Recluse points out, each of us reaches a decisive moment in our lives, even those raised Orthodox, when we make the conscious decision to follow Christ.  And each of us carries baggage into our relationship with Christ.  For converts, it may be some Protestant misunderstandings.  For the so-called cradle Orthodox, it may be a need to place ethnic traditions and affiliations above Orthodoxy.  But we have so much to learn from one another.  The convert oftentimes brings an energetic zeal to the Church, sadly missing in many old ethnic parishes like my own.  I've seen this zeal inspire the cradle Orthodox to be more active, read the Bible more, and reach out to evangelize others.  But the converts also learn much from the cradle Orthodox, inspired by Old World traditions rooted in hundreds, even thousands of years of Orthodoxy.  Your example of veneration of Mary, the Saints and their relics is a good example: cradle Orthodox take this for granted, accepting the validity of this piety without question. 

Orthodoxy is not about extremes.  There is a balance that exists.  The only admirable extreme in Orthodoxy is the sort of maximalism revealed in the saints and witnesses to the faith who suffer all things out of love for both God and their fellowman.

As for the comments on Orthodoxy and politics, I feel it is hightime we dismiss this false dialectic between conservativism and liberalism, rigorism and license.  Orthodoxy is none of these things.  It is about traditionalism, a living Tradition, which is the life of the Spirit flowing through the Church and revealing Her to be the Body of Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.  And I feel we need to stop taking our queues from the non-Orthodox.  Separated for so long by such a theological and liturgical gulf, they have become very different from us in many ways.  If we believe we follow the unadulterated faith of the Apostles, Martyrs, Fathers and Saints, then we should be influencing them, not vice versa.  But of course, I never view this as a justification for polemics.  Love and humility--everything hinges on this summit of the virtues.

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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2005, 12:08:15 AM »

Amen!  I have learned much from the two adult cradle Orthodox at our little mission.  Both of them are good, strong Orthodox people, even if they are cradle.  One is of Greek descent and the other is of Ukrainian descent.  Our third cradle Orthodox was the only one in her family born cradle Orthodox.  She's 8.  We even learn from her too. 
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2005, 12:35:36 AM »

As for the comments on Orthodoxy and politics, I feel it is hightime we dismiss this false dialectic between conservativism and liberalism, rigorism and license. Orthodoxy is none of these things. It is about traditionalism, a living Tradition, which is the life of the Spirit flowing through the Church and revealing Her to be the Body of Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. And I feel we need to stop taking our queues from the non-Orthodox.

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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2005, 02:34:11 AM »

What do you do about cradle Orthodox who act like converts?

There was a guy at my parish who was born into an Armenian Orthodox family, but at some point joined a oneness pentacostal church.  He went back to the Armenian church I think because he wanted to get back in touch with his roots.  His beliefs, however, were still very pentacostal.   Among other things, he thought the belief in the Holy Trinity was stupid. He said Christ is God the Father in the flesh, who is the same as the god of Islam and modern day Judaism.  I had trouble understanding this, but it is what he believed.  He also used to make fun of fasting and tradition and would say incredibly insulting things about the Holy Mother of God (whom he did not consider holy.)

The problem with zionism in certain Protestant denominations is that it can be extreme in a way which I think would make most Jews uncomfortable.  This guy, for instance believed that the only way to receive God's blessing was to support the utter destruction and extermination of the Palestinians.  He actually believed that the killing of Palestinians was pleasing to God--even ones who were peaceful.

Needless to say, this guy was not too popular.  He eventually left, I think over the issue of fasting before Communion. 

Whew!  It feels good to get this off my chest.  May God forgive me for being judgemental, but sometimes it helps to vent.
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2005, 02:51:15 AM »

Pop Quiz

There have been literally dozens and dozens of schisms and divisions in Orthodoxy in the 20th century. Name 3 that had crazy converts behind them? You have 1 minute. Smiley

Answer: So what groups who split off* had those zany, super-correct converts at the helm? Either ROAC? Nope. Any of the mulitiple ROCiEs? Not as far as I know. Any of the many GOC's? Nope. Any of the Matthewite groups? Not as far as I know. TOC? Nope. And we might go on, but does anyone see a pattern here? I'm not saying that converts are angels, mind you. Certainly, generally speaking, we tend to be a little off regarding the proper praxis and mindset for the first decade or two. Nonetheless, this thread seems very unreflective of reality--despite some poster's proclamations about needing "balance" and so forth.

EDIT -- PS. I don't mean to criticize the original question, or the first responses, which I thought were insightful. It was only after while that things started to go downhill...

EDIT2 -- PSS. * Just to clarify, when I say "split off" I don't mean to imply that these groups were in the wrong. It would just have taken too much time to word it differently considering how confusing the situations are.
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2005, 03:01:04 AM »

Needless to say, this guy was not too popular. He eventually left, I think over the issue of fasting before Communion.

It always cracks me up how people can't seem to just wait until lunchtime one day a wee. 

Aklie,
I'm pretty sure many of us know which group you are talking about in your bullet point #1.  Yes they made a mistake, but it was made, and now everyone needs to move on.  I think they'll be find though - even if their journey was ill advised.

Paradosis,
You quote balance as if it is a perjorative.  I hope you're being sarcastic.  Of course reality isn't the ideal, but that's why balance is preached - because it is the narrow path that is preached.  It's just that many times this path is SO narrow that it is hard to keep your balance (no pun intended) and stay on it!
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2005, 03:02:42 AM »

I put balance in quotes because the person who mentioned it was the most unbalanced poster on this thread. He also spoke of too much polemics, when he was the most polemical on the thread! Smiley Balance on the royal road is a good thing... I just didn't see much balance in the discussion after the first responses.
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2005, 03:26:29 AM »

What do you do about cradle Orthodox who act like converts?

The same thing you would with convert Orthodox that act like converts. Tell them to chill out and direct them to the Priest for guidance.

Paradosis,

While all schisms are sinful and bad there is a profound difference between a split that happens over historical political reasons (Like ROCOR being separate from the MP, how could it have been otherwise the Stalinists were trying to destroy the Church in Russia) and the Church I described for instance. The division in Indian Orthodoxy cannot be reduced to someone telling his Bishop that his beard is not long enough and to go jump in the lake. The problems in the Antiochan Church definitely have to do with zealous converts.

Of course converts cannot be blamed for every problem in the western Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2005, 02:39:19 PM »

The Zionism discussion that was a part of this thread has been moved (to the best of my ability) to the Free-For-All Forum under the title "Christian Zionism."  If you want to keep that discussion going, continue it there.  Keep the discussion about convert influence going (it's an interesting one), but the Zionism thing is out of place for this forum.

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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2005, 02:50:47 PM »

I would like to add this part back in  (with edits) because it addresses the next up post:

What do you mean by "act like converts"  that makes no sense.  You can tell just by how a person looks and or acts that they are not cradle born?  Is there an invisible "not greek" stamp on my forehead or something? Ok, maybe..lol! Yes you will get some who wonder whay you are there, you will get snobs and cliques and such...but gee...thats what humans do...*shock*  But i have to say the older parish members havent been at all snobbish to me.  Maybe i am just lucky, but i prefer to think that would be the norm.

Like i said elsewhere, Scripture and Tradition....it is a package deal.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2005, 03:33:00 PM »

Thanks, aurelia! I was actually hoping you'd do that!

Now...as for the actual topic at hand:

Does anyone ever feel that there is too much clickiness in Orthodox parishes?

Well, yeah, but welcome to the human race, sadly. :- It just comes from the fact that birds of a feather really DO flock together. It's more comfortable and natural (the conversation, that is), so it just tends to happen that way. When it leads to never talking to anyone ELSE, it's a bad thing, imo.

i even find that a lot of the "mariphobia" which is rampant in Protestantism is visibly apparent in converts to the Orthodox faith....like people who refuse to believe that St. Mary did not sin.

Yeah, I had some issues with this myself, as recent as this past summer (there's a thread somewhere that I started all about this). I think this is something priests who catechise converts need to be made more aware of. A lot of Protestants (myself formerly included) were brought up on verses like Romans 3:23, "For ALL have sinned," etc. It grates on them a lot to think that--for no good reason, in their minds--Mary is somehow the exception to what God intended as a hard-and-fast rule. Perhaps it'd help if it were also mentioned that although Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed unto men once to die--assuming this means ALL men--Enoch and Elijah were, for reasons God only knows, exempted from this rule. So Mary didn't sin, fine. She was still corrupt by nature and was going to die because of her inheritance of ancestral sin, just like the rest of us. Because of that, she too fell short of God's glory and was in need of a Savior, which she bore.

So...perhaps a more tailor-made catechism is in order...

First of all brother I would just say don’t switch Churches just to escape clicks. You will probably find them everywhere you go and end up totally frustrated. The grass doesn’t get greener until people water it like they are supposed to. You can escape cliquishness simply by refusing to belong to any.

Niiiiiiiiice. Afro Good stuff.

Things that I have noticed with former Protestants are:

1.   The old "Church hoping" of the Protestant days becomes the jurisdiction hoping of Orthodoxy.

AMEN. Oh, this just makes me sick! I really think we need one, unified Orthodox jurisdiction in America...yes, for the canonical reasons, but perhaps even MORE so for the practicality of NOT being able to just switch bishops if you don't like so-and-so's method of reception, acceptance of calendar, method of chanting, choice of music, style of temple, or anything else. We as Orthodox converts just need to learn to take our medicine and deal with what we just DON'T like instead of running away.

2.   Everything is always of a polemical nature. Many times discussions are held within the context of what Protestants or Catholics believe and Orthodox do not. The basics of Orthodox spirituality are not as hot a topic as debating about how the Protestants are wrong about "real presence in the Eucharist."

Yep. How easy it is to get fixated on "how right we are now" and "how blind they still are."

3.   Dumping Sola Scriptura just to endorse sola father’s patristic texts. People start engaging in their own private interpretations of writings of the fathers and use it in polemics just like Protestants do with the Bible.

Man, I wish somebody had warned me about that big loophole when I converted! How much easier (and healthier, really!) would it be to just trust the bishop whose job it is to guide you in the new faith and just live it?! That's Orthodoxy. There's a reason the bishops and priests will be judged more severely than the laity...we're not supposed to preoccupy ourselves too terribly much with all of the controversial stuff!

4.   Going out of their way to be anti-Catholic and distinguish nearly everything we do from Catholics. In reality this is just an extension of the anti-Catholic mindset present in Puritan derived American Protestantism.

Agreed. We are obviously closer to the Catholics in practice and worship than dang near anybody in the Protestant world. Splitting hairs and yelling about them is silly.

Thanks for that great post, Aklie.
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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2005, 04:01:33 PM »

I'm fairly new to this message board, I've been reading it through for a couple of weeks and have yet to post, but I thought I'd weigh in on this issue.

While it is certainly true that converts do bring baggage with them into the Orthodox Church, it is by no means the only way such baggage enters into the Church, nor is it the predominate way. Converts are often attracted to Orthodoxy because it offers them a cultural experience outside the American norm and are often willing to conform to the cultural norms of the Church they joined, but their American mindset is rarely abandoned. What causes greater problems (i.e. protestantization) is the general cultural influence of the West in general, and the United States in particular. This effects both convert and ethnic orthodox alike, perhaps having a greater impact on the ethnic Orthodox on account of their failure to realize and guard against this tendency -- the problem is not converts or 'cradle' Orthodox, the problem is Americans, regardless of how many generations ago their ancestors came to this country, and from which country they came.

America has a mindset of 'rugged individualism' which came from large open spaces and the era of 'Manifest Destiny;' a mindset which has become an integral part of American religion: Jewish, Moslem, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. This mindset tells us that we can all be our own lords, our own theologians, our own Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, Popes, Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, et cetera. It is the mindset that has created reformed Judaism, liberal Islam (not that these two are bad things, or at least they're than what they started with (for the very reason that they're watered down)), but it also created thousands of Protestant denominations from the small handful that came out of the Reformation, it is the mindset that gave rise to the modern individualistic Catholic Church in the United States, which is a thorn of anti-traditionalism, disobedience, and at times schism, in the side of the Papacy, and this is the mindset that leads to the forming of numerous schismatic orthodox churches, over minor and irrelevant squabbles about politics and pietistic issues of insignificant popular custom.

If one goes to the old world they see, with few exceptions (e.g. the 'True' orthodox Church of Greece (one of the more westernized of the Orthodox Countries, with strong modern democratic influences)), Orthodox Christianity as a natural element of their culture, the concept of breaking from the Church and forming their own sect is completely foreign and incomprehensible -- inconsonant with their traditional Orthodox views. To these faithful Orthodoxy is more than a religion, mindset, or worldview: it is a way of life. The Church cannot exist apart from their cultural experience; however, the Church is the defining element of their Culture. The problem in this country is that to maintain the orthodoxy of the Church, we need a solid cultural connection, not just a philosophical or theological one; unfortunately, this connection is tending to be replaced by the American pseudo-culture of individualism.

I say this as an American of many generations, and as a convert to the Orthodox Church, aware not only of the baggage I brought to the Church, but also of the even more damaging influence of American ‘culture’ and destruction of traditional Orthodox Cultures.
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« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2005, 04:59:08 PM »

Some very nice points in there, greekischristian  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2005, 03:08:49 PM »

I've been looking over this and I am wondering, is there some kind of prejudice against converts?  I am nto trying to get off topic or be disrespectful if I am comming off as that but, I have just noticed that a lot of Orthodox refer to converts to Orthodoxy as, well, just that, a convert.  Now, I am not a convert, but if, by God's grace, I become one, am I always going to be thought of as "a convert" and never a "true" Orthodox Christian?  Sorry if this question is neive.  God Bless.
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« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2005, 04:51:41 PM »

There is a story of a brother (monk) who went on a pilgrimage, and he, came to a community.  It happened that he found love (=coffee hour after church) and sat at table to eat with the brethren. But some said: "Who brought this stranger here?" And they said to him: "Get out of here." The brother rose and went.  But others were sorry, and went and called him.  And afterwards someone asked him, saying: "What did you think in your heart when you went out and came back again?" The brother said to them: "I resolved in my heart to be like a dog which, when it is chased, goes away, and when it is called, comes." - The Paradise of the Desert Fathers

There you have it, the greatest Christian virtue... I wish I could be treated despitefully like a convert, but alas I’m not oneGǪ

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« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2005, 06:18:46 PM »

Though about a third of my family is Orthodox, and I'm of slavic ancestry, I'm a convert myself. Of course I have no issues with converts, and neither should any Orthodox Christian! My problem comes with those converts who are unwilling to change some essential things, or who wish to "reform" the Church and bring it in line with their baggage.
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« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2005, 08:13:28 PM »

One of the biggest carry-over issues that I see is the obsession with eschatology, particularly the kind that completely forgets the rest of the world in perspective and centers on the west as if everything in the Apocalypse was written with us in mind.
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« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2005, 09:42:40 PM »

One of the biggest carry-over issues that I see is the obsession with eschatology, particularly the kind that completely forgets the rest of the world in perspective and centers on the west as if everything in the Apocalypse was written with us in mind.

We should indeed be obsessed with eschatology, but in an Orthodox manner.  Protestants tend to view eschatology in terms of "endings" only.  In our faith, the first things become the last things.  Eschatology is as much about the present as it is about the end.  We step into the "end times"--the final Parousia--every Divine Liturgy.  We are taught by the Fathers to keep constant vigil, like the wise virgins in the parable: "Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night."  We are called to redeem the time by transforming every moment into the kairos, the opportune moment.  This can only be done by keeping a constant remembrance of Christ in our mind and heart.  In other words, we lift our sous up to Him, constantly standing before His throne as if this moment were the last.

As with most Protestant baggage, it is not so much a total error, but rather an over-emphasis on one aspect.  By reorientating formerProtestants toward right eschatology, we can win them over to an Orthodox mindset.

In Christ,
--o amartolos
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« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2005, 10:16:55 PM »

For the record, I meant no disrespect to converts when I wrote of a cradle Orthodox "acting like a convert."  In fact, I am a sort of convert myself.  Since my dad is not Armenian, I was raised in the Sunday School of his Presbyterian church.  However, whenever I was with my mom's parents, I got plenty of exposure to the Armenian church and grew to really love it.-As a young adult, I was chrisimated.

Actually, the point of my earlier post--and I think someone else touched on this also--is that it is not exclusively the fault of converts if we find our churches becoming more Protestant, etc.  The fact is that here in the United States, we are surrounded by a culture that is shaped by Protestantism and, to an extent, Catholicism.  I find that with respect to my own church it is cradle Orthodox who introduce, or who want to introduce, innovations which they have seen over at their friend's Protestant or Catholic church.

Armenian churches here in the United States have organs.  The one at my church is so loud, you often can't hear the choir.  This was not introduced by converts--the Armenian Church actually has very few converts.  This was introduced by cradle Orthodox, who wanted our liturgy to sound more like the services at the Catholic and Protestant churches.

Sometimes I think the people at my church have a sort of inferiority complex.  Like the Catholics and Protestant are "big time" and we are a "small time" church that has to keep up.  I  often hear people born and raised in our church commenting on how entertaining the services are at the local Evangelical church and how nice and short the masses are at the Catholic church down the street.  I don't think it ever occurs to them that we are doing things the right way and it is not necessarily better to have a short, entertaining service, just because our friends' churches are doing things that way.

I also now and then hear people born and raised in my church talking about the rapture, or commenting on how it is wrong to venerate the Cross, or the Mother of God, etc.ÂÂ  Again, these are not converts.ÂÂ  These are cradle Orthodox who have been visiting a local Protestant Bible study.

I also see people in my church genuflecting, Catholic style.ÂÂ  Again, not converts, just people who have spent more time at a Catholic Church because it is closer to their home or their services are shorter.
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« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2005, 08:41:40 AM »

"Again, not converts, just people who have spent more time at a Catholic Church because it is closer to their home or their services are shorter. "

Interesting!  I myself have to travel almost 1/2 hour..and i know of one family that drives 1 1/2 hours not only on Sunday, but thee tiomes a week so their kid can go to Greek School!  We get lots of people that sort of wander in between the start of the liturgy and the time of Communion (and as Fr says, if you dont make it in by then what is the point?).  I can see in on respect occasionaly going to a chiurch that is closer, i mean if you have to drive three hours on sunday that is a haul especially with kids, but i hate to say it --it also just seems lazy to complain about the service length, then why are you going anywhere at all? 

As for entertainment value... Huh  I've been to a couple of Evangelical Baptist churches, one i got invited to for easter last year when i was stilllooking for a spititual home, and quite  frankly itfreaked me out to see the Pastor playing the drums up on the stage next to the pulpit.  I was actually freaked out by the whole service, and left as fast as I could without being rude to the family that invited us.  I am plenty "entertained" byt the Orthodox service, i love the choir, they are excellent, I love to see the icons, and just waliking into Church givesme a great feeling of peace, and that is entertainment enough for me.
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« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2005, 03:08:18 PM »

Why is it that at least once per quarter we have a convert bash?

At my Serbian Orthodox Church the majority of parishoners who have the "Orthodox" mindset are the converts. Most of the cradle folks are immigrants who grew up under communism. Who sings in the choir (and mostly in Slavonic and Serbian)? Who cleans up? Who defends the priest when some of the parishoners attack him? Who takes the time to go to study classes? Who spends more time reading about the faith? Who do you see at confession every week? In our parish it's usually the converts.

Who shows up at Easter and Christmas and that's it? Who asks to rent the church for parties during Lent? Who goes jurisdiction hopping when the Bishop tells a group of people they can't overrule the priest? In our parish it has been the cradlers.

I could go on, but I don't need to. There is at least as much "protestantizing" from cradlers as from converts. The converts I know have usually lived protestantism, made a decision to get out of it and tread gently where they don't know the Orthodox way. I love to hear the cradlers come in with quotes from TV preachers in order to argue with our priest, who they treat with disdain.

We have a lot of fantastic cradlers at our church . . . and a lot who have caused mega trouble. I just get sick of hearing what the "converts" are doing to "our" church. It's Christ's Church.

Tune in next quarter for "Are converts too ultra-traditionalist?"

EDIT:  As for zionism, I'm not sure what you mean.  Do you mean the right of the State of Israel to exist?  I have noticed that our Serbian church is a lot more friendly to Jewish issues.  I think that's because the Serbs, Jews and Romany were all put in the same concentration camps by the same groups of people.  I've never heard any of these issues discussed by converts.
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« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2005, 03:09:16 PM »

Though about a third of my family is Orthodox, and I'm of slavic ancestry, I'm a convert myself. Of course I have no issues with converts, and neither should any Orthodox Christian! My problem comes with those converts who are unwilling to change some essential things, or who wish to "reform" the Church and bring it in line with their baggage.

Yes, this is the key. It is not really a matter of converts per se, as much as it is a matter of vainglory. People should not be seeking to transform the Church to make it more palatable to themselves in light of their baggage and what they are used to. Instead they should allow the Church to transform them. I would argue that a thoroughly "protestantized" Church would no longer be Orthodox.

greekischristian - Fantastic post, and welcome to the boards. I agree with your ananlysis 100%. The Western/American "individualism" that you described so eloquently has no place in the Body of Christ. The idea of a Christian saying, "Its just me and my Jesus, God is no respecter of persons, so the bishop and everyone else can go hang themselves while I work out my own salvation" is thoroughly alien and antithetical to authentic Othodox Christianity.
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« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2005, 05:11:46 PM »

Why is it that at least once per quarter we have a convert bash?

I don't know, but I appreciate the post cizinec. As to your question:

Quote
EDIT: As for zionism, I'm not sure what you mean.

Don' worry 'bout it...and, actually, now that I come back to it, I see you've already posted on that thread, and that it's (finally!) been closed.
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« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2005, 05:16:58 PM »

OK so now it's obvious that anyone, cradle or convert, can be doing this "protestantising" of churches, so there's no need for anyone to rag on either type. Both are full members of the same church. If they are attempting for some reason to transform the church instead of having the church transform them, as others have said, we have to ask why. Vainglory has been mentioned. I don't understand, don't priests teach against this type of stuff? Don't they speak up and educate their parishoners? If one is a true and obedient member of the Church, this should be natural, and every member should know and understand the church's teachings.

A/K
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« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2005, 05:19:25 PM »

OK so now it's obvious that anyone, cradle or convert, can be doing this "protestantising" of churches, so there's no need for anyone to rag on either type.  Both are full members of the same church.  If they are attempting for some reason to transform the church instead of having the church transform them, as others have said, we have to ask why.  Vainglory has been mentioned.  I don't understand, don't priests teach against this type of stuff?  Don't they speak up and educate their parishoners?  If one is a true and obedient member of the Church, this should be natural, and every member should know and understand the church's teachings.

A/K

AK eh? AK47 klaklaklaklakalak
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« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2005, 05:21:23 PM »

My dear esteemed administrator,

Please lay off the alcohol for the remainder of the day.

Sincerely yours,
Anastasia/Kim (A/K) Tongue
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« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2005, 05:22:47 PM »

I even changed my avatar for you.

AK

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« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2005, 05:23:27 PM »

Who says it's alcohol?  Grin
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« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2005, 05:23:45 PM »

I've officially hijacked this thread.

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« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2005, 05:24:23 PM »

With my AK47 nonetheless.

Call in the Army I must be a terrorist.
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« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2005, 05:27:56 PM »

The terrorist's code name?

CodeMaster.

(See?  You ain't so shlick...)

Bryan/Peter (B/P...you know...like the gas station...hee hee!  Tongue)
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« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2005, 05:28:44 PM »

r0bb0c0p:

R/C

RC Cola or Roman Catholic
your pick
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« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2005, 05:34:19 PM »

At least you don't have a Pro-Abortion politician coming to your local GOA church this week like I do to give a talk on politics and Greeks.
 (and he isn't even greek!)



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« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2005, 06:02:51 PM »

On the main topic of this thread there are "prostentantized" ethnic and convert jurisdictions, look at the GOA and Antiochians in America.  There are also both converts and cradles in traditional jurisdictions, and in synods that are dubious in their standing.  So in the end the point is that convert vs. cradle just isn't a big issue. 
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« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2005, 06:09:22 PM »

On the main topic of this thread there are "prostentantized" ethnic and convert jurisdictions, look at the GOA and Antiochians in America.

I'd appreciate it if you'd qualify this, so it won't just sound like a blind attack.

Would you be referring to the AOAA's lack of monasticism, the use of pews and organs,  the rogue GOAA parish councils that want to veto the priest/bishop, and/or the push to call heterodox sacraments "valid" as is?

If so, yeah, I can see how those would be issues that would cause concern...but I wouldn't call them thoroughly protestantized...there are some amazingly traditional parishes within these jurisdictions.
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« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2005, 06:33:01 PM »

Yes, Pedro this is what I am to refering to within the GOA and AOAA :
Quote
Would you be referring to the AOAA's lack of monasticism, the use of pews and organs, the rogue GOAA parish councils that want to veto the priest/bishop, and/or the push to call heterodox sacraments "valid" as is?

The point being that both converts and cradles do that and to single out either group is not true.

I think the best role model for bridging the gap between converts and cradles is Fr. Seraphim Rose.  He deeply loved the Russian culture and Orthodox heritage, but he also wasn't afraid to push for English serives and English language Orthodox literature. 
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« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2005, 01:27:28 PM »

Here are my thoughts....

Do converts seek to "Protestantize" the Orthodox church on purpose... no. I'm going to be crass here but I think the parallel works. I think it boils down to: You can take the person out of the trailer park but you can take the trailer park out of the person. (I have known many wonderful people from trailer parks and I know not everyone who comes from a trailer park is not trash) As someone of slavic descent who grew up around the church but wasn't baptized until I was adult. I have a difficult time relating to and I am often annoyed by ex protestants but I think they are harmless overall. Orthodoxy has a learning curve that is foreign to the standard white American thought process.   People are going to stumble and make mistakes... let them and lovingly dust them off when they fall.

It has been my observation that converts add a "certain something" that the ethnic crowd lacks. The big one being education. If it weren't for converts many of the books about Orthodoxy wouldn't be written. (*ahem* Timothy Ware)  Although I spent my childhood, teens and 20s around the Orthodox church with my father I didn't actually begin to learn about it until I started attending a Byzantine Catholic church with my then boyfriend (now husband) The liturgy was familiar but in ENGLISH so I could actually understand what was being said. Ethnic Orthodox spend a lot of time doing "Monkey see Monkey do" They probably couldn't tell you what or who was on the iconostasis. Converts (especially those who come from  Billy Graham McChurches) are wonderful worker bees. They are great at forming committees, finding funding and all around taking care of business. Want something done yesterday? Ask a convert. Converts are great at Proselytizng and talking about thier faith in general. I have found that ethnics tend to be guarded about thier faith and find talking about it, equals "selling it". The older ethinic crowd may have come from a communist country where they could be arrested and humiliated for talking about Christianity.

I have observed bizarre convert behavior such as: Holding a Gospel music sing-along during coffee hour, inviting a "praise band" to play at the church festival, overhearing two converts talk about "how they should send those damn Arabs back to where they came from" (In an Antichion church no less ) Jelllo salad molds next to a platter of hummus and pita. All of these things and more are just a few of things that I witnessed while attending a convert parish. These things used to cause me roll my eyes and grit my teeth, but I learned it was wasted energy and needed to get over myself. I have my own ex wiccan/agnostic baggage.

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« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2005, 02:44:55 PM »

PhosZoe,

I agree in part and disagree in (a very small) part.

Most of the converts I have known have been extremely cautious regarding the things you describe (the sing-alongs, etc.).  Most of the people who grew up in the chruches I have attended complain that they can't import American-Protestant-Latin practices *because* the converts fight for something more traditional.

However, you have your experiences, which I will not devalue, and I have mine.

Overall, I think your view is extremely healthy, although I would encourage you to politely correct converts when they wish to hold non-Orthodox sing-alongs.  Tell them you think the sing-along is a great idea and have them come for vespers to actually "sing along."  All of our liturgies are sing-alongs, for crying out loud.  Invite them into the choir to learn the liturgies and hymns.  Point them in the right direction and they are likely to throw a lot of energy into, say, learning the tones and helping out with canting.  You may even find them learning a bit of Arabic!  That would certainly help with their view of Arab-Christian culture.

Concerning the Jello salads, DON'T EAT IT.  Jello salads are dangerous substances.  My mom makes that stuff.
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« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2005, 03:14:16 PM »

A couple of thoughts on the "sing along" part:
I think this relates more to the state of "What todo?" about Orthodoxy in America as a whole.  As we can see through history, the Byzantine tradition started everything, where the other cultures were "baptized" and organic pious and Orthodox practices/traditions developed in those countries.  In America, the country as a whole is so young, the Orthodox Church here is a melting pot of different immigrant groups and their cultures and increasing amounts of converts w/ their unique (mainly Protestant w/ some Catholic) histories.  Some say that we need to develop our own American Chant, wanting it to happen tomorrow, while others say that things shouldn't change at all or very cautiously at the most.  I'd say that most of us of the activist type (internet armchair theologians, active converts and cradles that evangelize, clergy, etc.) agree that some uniformity and unity needs to happen, but also agree that it should happen slowly, on "Orthodox" time and that patience itself is a challenge.  A lot of this non-liturgical singing, like after service sing alongs and such are a desire to preserve existing Amercian culture or maybe to "baptize" it.  I've heard a couple of priests at another parish in town, a former CSB parish, say at one of their bookstores during their Friday evening "Cafe" that Bluegrass music IS Orthodox music.  I just laugh it off and think that's a stretch, but recognize there is wisdom in what he said (even though I personally find Bluegrass rather sappy and boring although some is cute). 
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« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2005, 03:24:05 PM »


I have observed bizarre convert behavior such as: Holding a Gospel music sing-along during coffee hour, inviting a "praise band" to play at the church festival, overhearing two converts talk about "how they should send those damn Arabs back to where they came from" (In an Antichion church no less ) Jelllo salad molds next to a platter of hummus and pita. All of these things and more are just a few of things that I witnessed while attending a convert parish. These things used to cause me roll my eyes and grit my teeth, but I learned it was wasted energy and needed to get over myself. I have my own ex wiccan/agnostic baggage.


PhosZoe,

I appreciate what you are saying, but I have to agree with cizinic's suggestion to you regarding this matter. You may have your own personal baggage, but you are not seeking to transform the Church with it (Unlike the others you have described). Although you may have been a former wiccan/agnostic, you are not encouraging wiccan ceremonies during coffee hour, inviting Metallica to perform during the Church festival, or encouraging the priest to paint his fingernails black. ; )

Jello salad and casual racism aside (Send those "damn Arabs" back where they came from... Maybe they mean their bishop or father of confession?...Lord have mercy!) I can't believe that the priest would okay the other stuff you mentioned.
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« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2005, 03:48:53 PM »

A lot of this non-liturgical singing, like after service sing alongs and such are a desire to preserve existing Amercian culture or maybe to "baptize" it.

I agree; I don't really see any direct threat to the faith, so long as they don't want to incorporate it into the liturgy (and no convert I've ever known, myself included, would DREAM of doing this).  Now, in terms of a praise band (which is a different matter than just a private sing-a-long), it also greatly matters WHICH songs they'd want to sing--I can't see an Orthodox Christian feeling too at home singing Saved!  Saved!  Saved!  or I'll Fly Away or whatever, but there is some validity to wanting to incorporate your faith into your life/culture.  I agree with the idea that more direct exposure to the existing Orthodox tradition might help...it'll be interesting to see where the American Orthodox musical tradition goes...

I've heard a couple of priests at another parish in town, a former CSB parish, say at one of their bookstores during their Friday evening "Cafe" that Bluegrass music IS Orthodox music.

Yeah, that and blues:

Lawd, have mercy...Lawd, have mercy on me....
Lawd, have mercy...Lawd, have mercy on me....
Well, if I done somebody wrooooong...have mercy, if you please.... Grin

I just laugh it off and think that's a stretch, but recognize there is wisdom in what he said (even though I personally find Bluegrass rather sappy and boring although some is cute).

Boy, shutcho mouf!  Wink  I love bluegrass; I think it's REAL country, as opposed to all the hallmark-card-sounding shlock on the radio...talk about sappy and cute....
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« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2005, 04:45:35 PM »

I like Blue Grass, the Blues, and a lot of old Quartet Gospel (the Alabama Blind Boys, the Soul Stirrers, etc.) and some of it seems to be okay theologically, but I think we'd have to be real careful about "praise bands" and "sing a longs", etc. Some of the content might be based on heretical concepts, like the "rapture" or "catching the holy ghost". To my mind, this would constitute "protestantizing" the Church, since these musical traditions are rooted in Protestant religious traditions. This is different than secular or even pagan customs being baptized into the Church centuries ago.

I also LOVE Reggae music, but I wouldn't advocate a phony "Christafari" pseudo-Rasta type band playing at a Church function either. Country type Gospel isn't all there is to American culture. The folks mentioned previously may relate to Blue Grass and the like, but other American converts may relate to something else. Can we "baptize" Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Pop, and so on, and have Orthodox equivalents of Stryper, DC Talk, Kirk Franklin, and Carmen? How about Disco?

I mean, if we open that door, where do we draw the line? Can we have a "skateboarding ministry" and Orthodox Christian rock concerts, like on King of the Hill? Sorry boys, but I'm more Hank than Bobby on this one, I'll tell ya whut! Wink
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« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2005, 06:08:04 PM »

Quote
It has been my observation that converts add a "certain something" that the ethnic crowd lacks. The big one being education. If it weren't for converts many of the books about Orthodoxy wouldn't be written. (*ahem* Timothy Ware)  Although I spent my childhood, teens and 20s around the Orthodox church with my father I didn't actually begin to learn about it until I started attending a Byzantine Catholic church with my then boyfriend (now husband) The liturgy was familiar but in ENGLISH so I could actually understand what was being said. Ethnic Orthodox spend a lot of time doing "Monkey see Monkey do" They probably couldn't tell you what or who was on the iconostasis. Converts (especially those who come from  Billy Graham McChurches) are wonderful worker bees. They are great at forming committees, finding funding and all around taking care of business. Want something done yesterday? Ask a convert. Converts are great at Proselytizng and talking about thier faith in general. I have found that ethnics tend to be guarded about thier faith and find talking about it, equals "selling it". The older ethinic crowd may have come from a communist country where they could be arrested and humiliated for talking about Christianity.

This is funny because what you are saying has alot of truth to it. I think most of the people that contribute to this board are converts if I'm not mistaken. Alot of the great books and outreach programs are also the hard work and dedication of converts that have a zeal for Orthodoxy. I've also wondered why so many people that are born into Orthodoxy seem quite luke warm when it comes to the Church. I had experience at a greek church when I was in highschool because my girlfriend at that time was greek and I used to go to liturgy with her family even though at the time I was protestant. All the years I dated her I never once heard her family talk about thier faith. They didn't have any icons in thier home or anything where you could tell if they were Orthodox.I even remember her and some of her greek friends made comments like they only beleive in half of what their church beleives and other odd comments. I'm sure there were some dedicated people there but I got the impression that many went more as a social or culteral thing rather than the idea of really going to worship God. I'm currently going to a serbian church which I really like and there are some good people that take thier faith seriously but there are also many that I'm not sure about . Alot of people walk in half way into the liturgy which I really find annoying and I've tried to talk to different people about theology or anything else that pertains to Orthodoxy and no one seems interested or they don't know a lick of what I'm talking about. When I was going to an Antiochian church that had alot of converts I was amazed that just about everyone I talked to had great knowledge about Orthodoxy which I found really impressive. They also had bible/church history studies at Father's house on the weekdays and alot of people would show up. They were also into doing alot of outreach and had a great prison ministry program. I don't want to bash those born into Orthodoxy because I have met many great people but from my limited experience in Orthodoxy this is what I have observed so far.


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« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2005, 06:22:20 PM »

Aren't there a couple of priests who do some 60s style folky "Orthodox" stuff? I wouldn't see anything wrong with having them sing at a church party. We've had these turbo-folk groups at our Serbian church. If you don't know what that is, it's not any more "Orthodox" than punk.

Which brings me to another point. Antonius, metallica is no more traditional American than Ceca is traditional Serbian. They are pop (rock-pop, hard-rock pop, it's all pop). Bluegrass is older (although, in its modern form, not much older) than rock and pop. It's also associated with traditional American culture.

Bluegrass and hillbilly as traditional American culture, hmmmmm.

Moonshine
No shoes
Rural
Hard working
Not that educated
Bluegrass

Now for my wife's Eastern Slovak ancestors

Slivovice
No shoes
Rural
Hard working
Not that educated

No wonder we get along!

P.S. I grew up singing in a family "Gospel Quartet." That's all my parents would let us listen to as kids. Well, my dad snuck in bluegrass, country and folk when my mom wasn't around. When my parents got married, my mom made my dad throw out his Peter Paul and Mary. That was devil music! My son came home after a visit and told me, "Rock & Roll is devil music, daddy." EEEEeeeeeee.
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« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2005, 06:42:39 PM »

After reading the whole thread as a nearing one year old convert, with a year before that as an intensely serious catechumen, I appreciated the candor and also alot of the wisdom and graciousness shown on this board.

I was offended by post #5 (virtually the whole thing) by Bogo-something-or-other; and in # 45, comparing protestant converts to trailer park trash was just wrong.

Having said that, I think converting to Orthodoxy is a generational endeavor, both for individual people and societies. I know it will take me a lifetime. I am just thankful to be on the way.

I also would suggest that at some point we all have a convert in our ancestry. So unless one can trace his/her spiritual roots to first century Palestine, I would humbly encourage some who have spoken to "back off"!

I am quite thankful for my priest spending hours talking with me. I think he knew, at my chrismation, that I was genuinely renoucing heterodox heresies and fully embracing Orthodoxy.

My advice to cradles: if a convert is really flubbing up or floundering, gently pull him/her aside for some loving correction or insight. If you are uncomfortable doing that, ask your priest to. Just don't go around 'disssing them. And if the converts are not sufficiently converted on issues such as Mary, icons, praying to saints or venerating relics, perhaps the catechumen classes need beefing up.

My advice to converts: ask alot of questions; read some basic stuff. Remember, the ethnic stuff you may not like is the glue that kept these folks together as they assimilated to Your ethnicity in W.A.S.P. America. Quit being so Anglo-centric yourself and try something most Americans find terribly difficult - Learn from another culture! And most of all...Be Humble.

Finally, I wish to say that I am thankful for the wonderfully warm reception my wife and I have received in our little Russian orthodox church. They have been great to us.

I offer my apologies to any I may offend with my comments.
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« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2005, 06:55:48 PM »

Yeah, that and blues:

Lawd, have mercy...Lawd, have mercy on me....
Lawd, have mercy...Lawd, have mercy on me....
Well, if I done somebody wrooooong...have mercy, if you please.... Grin



Boy, shutcho mouf! Wink I love bluegrass; I think it's REAL country, as opposed to all the hallmark-card-sounding shlock on the radio...talk about sappy and cute....

Dude, I'll be 30 in May - I'm no boy (even though I look like one).

Anyways, I can listen to SOME Blues, Bluegrass and others OCASSIONALLY, but otherwise it's not my cup of tea. Some Gospel done REALLY well, moreso. The non-Orthodox singing I'm thinking of is more in social gatherings - but not our festival. Strictly the ethnic stuff or the choir singing selections in the church for the festival.
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« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2005, 07:11:55 PM »

Brother Aidan, it takes EVERYBODY more than a lifetime.  We are all converting, imho.  Some people may have started the trip standing on the bottom rung of the ladder while others started life without being able to see it. 

Some of the cradlers have had some really bad experiences when their churches have been "overrun" by converts who then self-legitimize things that shouldn't pass muster.  I just try to point out that we converts are kind of important.  I think you did a great, succinct job of doing that.  I tend to be more verbose.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2005, 07:23:46 PM »

Brother Aiden, I agree with you. We can all help each other. Also, as he said, Russian and Greek food weren't Orthodox at one time either, since the first Church was not in either of those areas. Missionaries started those churches. As with all of the local culture that could be incorporated into Orthodoxy, their foods were. If the Greek, Russian, and Arab foods could be incorporated, so can the Jello salads, BBQ ribs, cheeseburgers, etc. (as long as it is not a fasting period). All those ethnic things that you do in your church (food, dancing, music--whatever) at one time were not Orthodox, unless they came about at a later time within the church--as not everything a culture produces or does, even after the majority of the culture becomes Orthodox, will be able to be incorporated. All of our lives are to be in line with Orthodoxy, which is why it is important to incorporate as much of the local culture as can be incorporated.

However, I totally agree about respecting other cultures and learning from them. I've always loved to learn about other cultures and to respect their customs. However, both sides need to return the favor. In other words, if someone brings Jello salad or something like that, respect their culture.

I don't like the praise bands and gospel music sing-alongs. Contemporary Orthodox music is fine (invite Peter Jon or one of the other artists).
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« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2005, 07:33:25 PM »

Contemporary Orthodox music is fine (invite Peter Jon or one of the other artists). 

That's going a bit far.  His music would be like contemporary Christian folk music with an Orthodox slant.  The only "Contemporary" Orthodox Music would be modern renditions of past chant, reworked to sound better, better translations, from Arabic to western notation, etc. - stuff by living Orthodox composers lay and clergy.  I guess you could call the Fr. John Finley harmonized "Byzantine" music Contemporary if you want.  I'd prefer that music just not be used though.
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« Reply #58 on: February 10, 2005, 09:01:15 PM »

  Learning to relax and let things happen in "Orthodox time" has been the hardest part for me, as a new convert. 
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« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2005, 10:03:14 PM »

Excellent Discussion!

In my experience in various parishes, the problem with "some" converts is that they tend to behave solely based upon the priests, books or websites they have frequented.  I have met people who have acted as if they memorized every listing in the Orthodox Christian Information Center. Others have acted like they are living the book "Becoming Orthodox."   The reason that Antiochians keep coming up in these and similiar posts is because, IMHO, the Antiochian Bishops don't indoctrinate their converts priests (which are now up to 80% of all Antiochian priests) properly.  Many Antiochian priests have no idea of a proper Praxis or Liturgical skills whatsoever. They learned it by a book or by another convert priest.  The OCA does (or at least used to) insist on all priests having  been "indoctrinated" in one of their seminaries. The Antiochians don't have a seminary. They have St. Stephen's which is a correspondence program.   One cannot learn proper praxis from a correspondence program.

Basil
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« Reply #60 on: February 10, 2005, 10:17:24 PM »


Which brings me to another point. Antonius, metallica is no more traditional American than Ceca is traditional Serbian. They are pop (rock-pop, hard-rock pop, it's all pop). Bluegrass is older (although, in its modern form, not much older) than rock and pop. It's also associated with traditional American culture.


Of course you're right cizinec, that Metallica isn't traditional music of any kind. I've never even listened to any Metallica. I only brought them up to illustrate a point. If we are going to deem Blue Grass music as something worthy of "baptism" into some kind of new American Orthodox culture, then we would certainly have to make allowances for other kinds of American music. Blue Grass is by no means the definitive American music, or the only one "associated with traditional American culture". In fact, it is only associated with the "traditional American culture" of a very specific ethnic group and region. If an Anglo-Southern parish could have blue grass stuff, than I'd see no reason why a Cajun parish couldn't have a Zydeco band, an African-American parish couldn't have a Dorsey-style Gospel choir, or a Caribbean-American parish couldn't have a Reggae band.  And maybe if the "St. John Coltrane" people actually became Orthodox for real, they could keep playing their "sacred jazz"? (http://elvispelvis.com/jazzchurch.htm).  "American Orthodoxy" would definitely have to reflect more than the dominant Anglo culture.

And then I'm sure someone else (but not me) could make some kind of argument for Protestant-style Christian pop, rock, hip hop, and so forth...

Basil - Wow! Excellent point! I did not know that.
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« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2005, 10:50:50 PM »

Basil,
Good point, but I need to defend them somewhat this time Wink.  I would say that over the past few years (~5) they (the Antiochians) have been much more open learning proper Praxis, culture, etc.  Yes, they still don't have a seminary (or Monasteries, another deficiency and another topic), but AFAIK they have been sending many of their clergy-to-be to seminaries - usually St. Tikhons or Vlad's (and probably Holy Cross and St. Herman's as well). 
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« Reply #62 on: February 11, 2005, 09:46:33 AM »

I like Old bluegrass, my grandpa listened to it.  It's the Celt in me.  And yes i like bagpipes  Wink  I dislike "conntemporarychristian rock/pop"  though I will admit that the other sunday Fr was talking about hiding a light under a bushel and my brain added "no no, dont hide your light under a bushel" since that was my favorite sunday school song when i was a kid along next to Jesus loves me.  Peter Paul and Mary is the devils music? Oh my (says the kid of semi-hippy types)

The whole liturgy is sung, why would you like a sing along after church, lol!  And where my family is from jello salad is for family reunions and funerals...ok, and sunday supper, and any other event...and my grandma made a mean orange fluff with twinkies...

Oh! as far as things like icons and music, our church has a few programs a year about things like that.  I missed the iconography one, but i'll go to any i have time for. I think that for cross cultural purposes a program on comparison of Orthodox chanting and Gregorian chanting (which i adore) would be very intresting!

and i like the idea of taking things in "orthodox time"...been a couple thousand years already, whats a few more?
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« Reply #63 on: February 11, 2005, 12:46:06 PM »

Actually correspondance-type programs can be much more effective. The learner is actually in a real life environment (rather than a secluded campus) and engaged in real life ministry.

Unlike the seminary setting which is like graduate school with a prayer before the lecture and a chapel service during the day (if you want to attend). I know, I graduated from an evangelical seminary  and have a master of divinity degree. Although I am not a priest or deacon, just and Orthodox layman.

The St. Stephen's program includes periodic in-residence weeks. And it also has, I believe a residency option for those able to live on-site while they complete the program.

The St. Stephens course comes from an older model of theological education and preparing for ministry. Before the widespread development of the the university system (and the even later development of post-university seminaries) clergy learned as "apprentices" - no Donald Trump jokes allowed in follow-up posts!

This would have been true for Orthodox priests as well as protestant clergy. A young would-be pastor comes under the wing of an experience priest or minister and learns his theology and practice from the more experienced pastor. Many times, for both Orthodox and Protestant, that apprentice was the priest or minister's son!

Admittedly, in some of the remote villages, the practice got passed along but not much theology did, because the older priest wasn't deeply trained theologically either.

And this is not to say there were not theological academies in the large cities or sees.
Just that alot of pastoral training was done, apprentice - style.

It probably produces more effective priests and ministers than sending book-trained academics into the churches. Again, I know. I got my butt kicked my first couple years as a Presbyterian minister. Too much idealism and not enough  practical learning of how to apply these wonderful things I had learned to the often messy, un-idealistic world of parish life.
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« Reply #64 on: February 11, 2005, 01:40:10 PM »

BroAiden,
I would agree with you for the practika aspect only - not the academic aspect.  But even moreso, this is deficient as someone else has said with, for example, all of the convert clergy in the AOA - like the blind leading the blilnd.  I noticed that one of our readers, a recent seminary grad, didn't know the rubrics while doing a reader's Vespers (Fr was out of town).  As a choir member, I sorta knew, so it was like the vision impaired leading the blind. 
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« Reply #65 on: February 11, 2005, 04:29:56 PM »

So wait...was it a seminary grad who didn't know the rubrics?
Seminary or apprenticship/correspondance - if you are going to be convert clergy, you are going to struggle a while.

A cradle will know the chants and tones; if he ws an altar server he will know his way around there as well.

Converts will stumble around, whether out of St. Vlads or St. Stephens! The two courses in liturgics eveen at the seminary aren't going to help that much, especially if they were taken first or second year. You got to do it every week, alongside an experienced priest. It would help if they all could be deacons for a year with a cradle priest, but how would they support themselves and who would pastor thier flocks if they brought a congregation with them.

I am sure it took the slavs a couple centuries to get it right! The fortunately didn't have a bunch of Greeks breathing down thier necks evaluating their mistakes. and when the greeks made their mistakes, they didn't have a bunch of Palestinian Jewish Christians breathing down their necks.

If we want Orthodoxy to grow there will and must be converts. And if we want to obey the Great commission we MUST evangelize - former RC's, evangelicals, mainline protestants and yes, even rank pagans -especially the rank pagans.

And there will be a learning curve.
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« Reply #66 on: February 11, 2005, 04:37:50 PM »

RC Sproul said that there is nothing more obnoxious that an Arminian who become a Calvinist. Is that true for Orthodoxy as well?

Maybe the "frozen chosen" get uncomfortable around people who embrace Orthodoxy not just for it's Tradition (emphasis on capital "T" ) but its spirituality. That is why I am looking toard the "East"

IMHO
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« Reply #67 on: February 11, 2005, 04:39:47 PM »

One more thing.

My priest (and I would bet many Orthodox priests) wishes one aspect of Evangelical Protestanism could be imported into the Orthodox Church - the evangelical/protestant practice of STEWARDSHIP.

Faith pledges and tithes are the way to go!

Not church dues, established in the 1950's, along with a billion perogie and bake sales and raffles.

Do the stewardship the protestant way to support the priest and ministry of the church and STILL have these others for the fellowship and camaraderie they foster. Only give that money as surplus income to missions, evangelism, helping the poor, etc.

sorry, dear friends, I have to hold fast to my roots on this one! On stewarship, this is one part of the trash you can't take out of the trailer! (to "get" this last comment, see post #45)
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« Reply #68 on: February 11, 2005, 04:47:37 PM »

When I converted, as I posted earlier, I renounced my heterodox heresies and embraced the whole Faith, including Arminianism and Calvinism, neither of which are taught in Orthodoxy.

Since I am the only "outed" Presbyterian at this point I would assume "frozen chosen" applies to me.

I don't know what you mean WP?

I am Orthodox because of its liturgy and worship, its doctrine, its Tradition AND its spirituality. The prayer books I acquired in my journey to Orthodoxy changed my life.
After two years I am even trying, in  my personal prayers, some fledgling chanting and singing (although i would never inflict this on my fellow parishioners; my priest keeps trying to get me to read and i keep resisting, for this very reason)



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« Reply #69 on: February 11, 2005, 04:54:45 PM »

One more thing.

My priest (and I would bet many Orthodox priests) wishes one aspect of Evangelical Protestanism could be imported into the Orthodox Church - the evangelical/protestant practice of STEWARDSHIP.

Faith pledges and tithes are the way to go!



So what happens in an evangelical/Protestant church when someone doesn't pay their 10% off the top?  What, in your opinion, should happen in an Orthodox Church if this became the order there?

Also, could you please elaborate about "faith pledges"?  I've seen people stand up and declare they are going to give X-amount of money for a particular project or "ministry" or whatever in a local Protestant church, and then I guess they were obligated to give that amount.  Is this what you mean?  What happens to them if they don't follow through?
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« Reply #70 on: February 11, 2005, 05:21:28 PM »

a faith pledge is where each family makes their financial pledge to the church for the year and they promise to give that amount based on their current situation.

it is a faith pledge, not a contract. so if dad gets injured at work and goes on disability and the family can't give as much, they are free to change their pledge. The church in turn, having made a budget based on those pledges, exercises its faith that God will somehow fill the gap.

The 10% off the top isn't dues. That is between the giver and God. No one gets in trouble with the church board if its not 10% and no one knows what you're making anyway.

It's just that it's pretty standard teaching in evangelical churches to tithe. Or at least gradually increase your giving (again in faith, because if I make this much and give that much but start giving more, how do I pay my bills? There is faith in stretching oneself, giving-wise) until you tithe.

If everyone at my little parish tithed, or even gave 5%, at least my priest woudn't have to work a part time job!

Maybe we could put in an elevator so the older folks could get into the sanctuary more easily. Maybe we could buy the vacant church next door for much needed sunday school classroom space and for omuch needed parking.
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« Reply #71 on: February 12, 2005, 11:19:55 AM »


Okay, thanks for explaining.  Some of my family are still in evangelical Protestant churches, and even they didn't know what a faith pledge was.
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« Reply #72 on: February 12, 2005, 11:43:41 AM »

Bro. A:
I was being general in my comment-I obviously did not know your background. I am in no way saying anything of the sort about you.]
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« Reply #73 on: February 12, 2005, 01:11:17 PM »

My priest has made similar comments re: tithing among Orthodox...seriously, do you know what we could DO if we'd all just give a measly ten percent??
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« Reply #74 on: February 12, 2005, 01:26:53 PM »

My priest has made similar comments re: tithing among Orthodox...seriously, do you know what we could DO if we'd all just give a measly ten percent??

And the amazing thing is most of us can more than easily "find" this 10% and more. Two years ago we went through a thorough analysis of our use of disposable income. Without exaggeration my wife and I (mostly from my misuse, BTW) found 10% and more.
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« Reply #75 on: February 12, 2005, 04:30:53 PM »

Maybe those christian jews back in the 1st century could have said the same thing about those pesky gentiles with the whole circumsision controversy in the church along with accepting other jewish cultural norms. It could have been "are the gentiles paganizing the christian church?...  Wink .....or maybe "are the gentiles really up to our high standards to be part of us?"  Wink Forget about the Great Commision because those people that don't know a lick about the ins and outs of Orthodoxy are going to ruin a good thing going for us.
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« Reply #76 on: February 12, 2005, 05:02:44 PM »

Orthodoxy should not be so weak as it is ruined or destoyed.

The church is the pillar and foundation of truth.

Woe to them that are at ease in Zion! (Amos 6:1).
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« Reply #77 on: February 14, 2005, 10:32:48 AM »

I was made aware this weekend of problems that are being discussed here.  They were at a local Orthodox church, jurisdiction to remain unnamed. 

The priest, a fine man, is a protestant convert not educated in an Orthodox seminary.  There are prayers done in very Protestant ways (outside the Liturgy) and some events are really borderline.

I understand the arguments for letting a priest come through without going to formal seminary, but I don't buy them.  How can a convert become more Orthodox if the priest is in the same boat?

If we have a lack of seminaries then we need to 1) cooperate with other jurisdictions that have nearby seminaries 2) develop better plans to educate convert priests on the praxis and Tradition (there is no "little 't'") of the jurisdiction in which they'll serve and 3) build a lot more seminaries and monasteries.

Concerning funding, all Serbian Orthodox churches in the U.S. are going to a stewardship model.  We've already seen the benefits.  Yes, people make a pledge at the beginning of the year and the church makes a budget based on that.  This isn't just Protestant.  Civic organizations have been doing that for many years.  It's the only model that makes any sense. 

What we've found is that people give when they traditionally have in the past, like for slavas, baptisms, and other services, and they are giving what they promised on top.  People seem to feel better than having to give $100 for membership dues.  They feel like they are giving what they choose and that it isn't a club membership anymore.
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« Reply #78 on: February 14, 2005, 11:26:23 AM »

How do you know if the prayer is protestant or Orthodox?
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« Reply #79 on: February 14, 2005, 12:36:38 PM »

Orthodoxy is not just an education-it is a state of mind, and heart unless we presume that education inherently and seminary intrinsically has some value to create an Orthodox person and that familiarity with the dogmas and Traditions of the church makes one Orthodox.

As a Pastor I have noticed that Orthodox people, faithful to the church and having grown up in it did not even know about the Philokalia the so called Bible of Orthodoxy. Whose fault is that-the priest who went to Seminary? I can hardly see how you would desire tradition at the cost of spirituality...then we would have nothing then just a certain fearful looking for Divine wrath and indignation.

Only those starving and dehydrated for God are going to see the kingdom of heaven. God help us if we have to start classifying prayers as protestant or Orthodox. I thought no one was protesting the Eastern only the Western church.

I mean do not get me wrong if going to seminary did it I would be happy. But I don't think so-not in any Christian group.

As far as little "t" traditions there are beliefs (as many are aware) that fall under personal conviction, yes? no?

Zeal is knowledge on fire-maybe God in his Sovereignty has brought forth people who actually love the Message of the Orthodox church to provoke the lukewarm, tepid and torpid to jealousy.

God promises Zion, "Your people will offer themselves willingly in the day of Your power, in the beauty of holiness and in holy array out of the womb of the morning; to You [will spring forth] Your young men, who are as the dew." (Psalm 110:3AMP).

That which is born of the Spirit, out of the womb of the morning, will be Spirit. The church is supposed to be on intimate terms with the Lord to have spiritual children. He that has God for his Father must have the church for his mother. " Jesus said, "Feed my sheep, not teach my dogs new tricks or try experiments on my pet rats!" (Lewis). Where the food is and where the once who prepare it and feed the sheep they are those who love Christ.

It should be a blessing to have new blood, not just blue blood-as we are prone to say around here, "We would rather control wildfire than have to raise the dead!"
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« Reply #80 on: February 14, 2005, 12:45:29 PM »


PhosZoe,

I appreciate what you are saying, but I have to agree with cizinic's suggestion to you regarding this matter. You may have your own personal baggage, but you are not seeking to transform the Church with it (Unlike the others you have described). Although you may have been a former wiccan/agnostic, you are not encouraging wiccan ceremonies during coffee hour, inviting Metallica to perform during the Church festival, or encouraging the priest to paint his fingernails black. ; )

Jello salad and casual racism aside (Send those "damn Arabs" back where they came from... Maybe they mean their bishop or father of confession?...Lord have mercy!) I can't believe that the priest would okay the other stuff you mentioned.

I live in central Indiana, the gateway to the Bible belt. I'm careful about mentioning my dabblings in wicca as it would cause some to completely freak out and assume I'm the incarnate of evil. Most people have a poor idea about Wicca and the people involved in it. That's a post for another time.

The priest at my former parish was a former Evangelical Preacher (of what stripe I don't remember) who seemed to be ok with the Old Timey Gospel music being performed during coffee hour. Me, My husband and the rest of the ethnics would find a table as far away as possible while politely refusing to sing along. They were always songs like "How Great Thou Art" "Peace in the Valley" which were also common pop songs at some point or another. if you're American, you are familiar with those songs. They are very tied to white american culture, just like ceca is tied to Serbian culture. Plus, I don't think they are totally in opposition with Orthodoxy. (Maybe I'm wrong)

As for the "Praise Band" If I had not moved from the town I was living, you better believe I would have found a way to get on the festival committee to make some noise against bringing the praise band to the festival. I think in my priests mind having a praise band was better than having a heavy metal band.

Casual Racism- Once upon a time, when I was bolder and angrier I would have confronted the racist idiiot with a blistering remark. My sins are countless and I don't feel the need to point out others sins. If I actually would have been "in" the conversation and not just overheard it I might have reacted differently, probably pointing out that the Anthichian church was built by and for Arab people.
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« Reply #81 on: February 14, 2005, 12:51:27 PM »

PhosZoe:

Whatvever happened to be engaged to the method and married to the Message.

Jesus taught us that wisdom is justified by all her children while he sat with the non-Orthodox-he would have mercy not sacrifice stiil.

Thus I guess no one listening to a Praise band at a Festival when they see that it is sponsored by an Orthodox church would have any curiosity at all and maybe visit...ludicrous.

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« Reply #82 on: February 14, 2005, 12:56:51 PM »

How do you know if the prayer is protestant or Orthodox?

The greatest difference I have noticed (besides the obvious - i.e. making the sign of the Cross or not making it) is the manner in which the prayer is said by the priest or pastor, and the response of the others involved.

I have noticed that in the Orthodox model, the priest asks for the Lord's blessing on a specific matter, and everyone prays along silently in agreement, and then together everyone says Our Father. This may or may not involve prayer books or commonly known prayers. In the Protestant model (at least how I have observed it, most often in Charismatic circles) the pastor or someone else leads the prayer, and the others signify their agreement by saying "Yes!" or "Amen!" every now and again, or sometimes even moaning a positive affirmation like "Mmmmm". This last bit is hard to explain without sounding derisive, but try to imagine that you have said something I agree with, and to signify that I agree I nod and say, "Mmm, yes, good point." Something like that.

Also, everyone holding hands is not uncommon. Also, they seem to use the words "we just" or "You just" a lot, as in "Heavenly Father, we just come before You tonight and ask that You just..." or "And we ask that You just give us Your wisdom...".

Its hard to explain, but there is a different "feel" to it. Again, this is my personal experience and observation, not an attack or critique, so make of it what you will.

NOTE: Modified to avoid double-posting.

PhosZoe,

I understand what you are saying.  No need to give anyone ammo with which to "bash" you another time by bringing up your former background.  Still, they have no more right to judge you for being a former Wiccan than the "cradles" have to judge them for being former Evangelicals, Charismatics, or whatever else.

I also agree 100% with your assessment of the "Praise Band" thing and the casual racism.

WP - You said: "Thus I guess no one listening to a Praise band at a Festival when they see that it is sponsored by an Orthodox church would have any curiosity at all and maybe visit...ludicrous."

I have re-read this a couple of times and it still seems garbled to me.  Would you mind clarifying?  Are you suggesting that she was wrong not to join in singing along with the "Praise Band"?  Thanks.
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« Reply #83 on: February 14, 2005, 01:07:19 PM »

  I've heard what you're talking about- I grew up protestant.  But I don't think I would call it protestant style.  I never prayed like that.  It was mostly the same protestants that would listen to "Christian" rock.  And I think it is the result of treating Jesus like a vending machine- spend enough time talking to him and he'll give you what you want.
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« Reply #84 on: February 14, 2005, 01:11:52 PM »

I agree Landon. Like I said, I was just reporting my experience with a very specific group of Protestants. Cizinec called it Protestant style. I might have called it Charismatic style or Evangelical style. It is possible that he meant something altogether different from what I described. Again, just stating my own experience.

Nacho - Just re-read your post and a thought occured to me. I see your point, but I'm not sure if your analogy between the Orthodox and the Judaizers is entirely valid. Cultural traditions are one thing (i.e. Jello salad or whatever), but religious traditions, things that have grown out of flawed theology, are something else ("Praise Bands", etc.).  I don't think it is a matter of anyone thinking that the converts are going to "ruin a good thing for us".  Its just that as Americans, SOME converts want everything to be done in "microwave time" instead of letting themselves marinate and be transformed in the Orthodox stewpot.  Yes, the so called "cradles" would be wrong to adopt a "We're too good for them" attitude, but I think that the "converts" would be wrong if they couldn't turn a critical eye on themselves and say I need to transform myself to be more at home in the Church, NOT I need to transform the Church so I can feel more at home.

I believe that the Orthodox would be wrong to adopt what I would call chameleon tatics in an attempt to patronize & "massage" some converts. Give 'em an Protestant outward appearance (everywhere outside of the Liturgy) and lure them in under the guise of some new "American Orthodoxy" - for the Westerers who want to leave their old professions but keep one foot in the West. As I and others have said, those of us born in the West have to be ready to transform ourselves in accordance with the Church, not the other way around. I'm not just blowing smoke here. For those who haven't guessed, I'm not an ethnic Copt, but I'm certainly Coptic Orthodox.
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« Reply #85 on: February 14, 2005, 01:43:28 PM »

I would have no problem with anyone singing in a Praise Band IMHO. But it seems that Zoe was adamant in protesting (forgive the pun) the Praise Band. Maybe I am reading it wrong.

I am just saying that the opportunity to win someone to truth employing a Praise Band, or having a Brass ensemble, outside of the church walls and liturgy resulting in interset in the church should not be excluded-the truth has to be out there-somehow. Comparing styles of music as Protestant or Orthodox leaves me incredulous. Style? STYLE?
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« Reply #86 on: February 14, 2005, 01:51:57 PM »


I think its more than a matter of STYLE.  I actually have a problem with your line of thinking when followed to its logical conclusion.  It doesn't matter what we bait the hook with, so long as we pique their interest.  That seems to lead down a dangerous path.
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« Reply #87 on: February 14, 2005, 02:13:07 PM »

IMHO, It is possible, that the worship of a church at least for those who love to worship, the interest of a church that takes interest in others would cause some to "peek" much more than fear of compromise pushing them away. I for one am looking for the spirituality that is listed in theory in the OC. If I do not find it then hypocrisy Orthodox or not is just the same and that piques me off. You are the Moderator so I hope healthy dialogue is still OK. To be honest I appreciate you even talking to me.
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« Reply #88 on: February 14, 2005, 02:35:08 PM »

In all honesty, I am not trying to be sarcastic, so please don't take this the wrong way, but is English your first language? I have been struggling with these last couple of posts. It is kind of difficult to make sense out of them. I think I get the gist of what you are saying, but I cannot be 100% sure.

I think you are saying that it is better to engage in whatever tactics will cause outsiders to "peek" in at the Church than to be cautious about adopting the traditions of others which may be rooted in flawed heterodox theology. Therefore, we should not bring the world to the Church, but bring the Church to the world. We should have an Orthodox Christafari to reach the Reggae crowd, Orthodox Stryper to reach the metalheads, Orthodox DC talk for the Hip Hoppers, Orthodox "Shake the World For Jesus" and Orthodox "Left Behind" novels, just w/o the rapture, etc., and anyone who does not embrace such is a hypocrite? If this is your position, respectfully, I disagree.

I think the issue of "Praise Bands" and such speaks directly to the idea of how one "worships", which I would contend means more than "style". Orthodox worship is exemplified in the Liturgy, and I feel that our worship outside of the Liturgy should be a relfection of that. In other words, the Liturgy should be ongoing in our lives. As converts, I feel we need to be so transformed by the Church that the way we worship should be transformed as well. The idea that we turn our liturgical worship off like a switch as soon as we leave the Church doors, and go back to the way we used to do things in our "daily walk" suggests that the transformation was incomplete, and that is problematic for me.
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« Reply #89 on: February 14, 2005, 02:38:11 PM »

WP,

My interest was piqued by the style of music I heard when I went to an Orthodox church. I played in brass/praise bands for a few years and grew up singing in different charismatic and evangelical groups. I think we should be ourselves and follow Christ. That will attract enough. If they aren't attracted by Orthodoxy and Christ . . .

To everybody,

Concerning the "Protestant prayer" remark I made, it was an event where the priest played a guitar and the people held hands and sang the prayer with the priest while swaying to and fro. That could have as easily been in a Latin church. If that's what my Orthodox church would have had when I visited, I wouldn't have gone back.

Concerning praxis, different Orthodox traditions have integrated the daily life of the believer with the Faith. By picking and choosing what one will and will not follow can and probably will affect one's ability to live according to the Faith. It's Orthodoxy in the worst American style: smorgasbord. Take a little of this and a little of that, toss in a priest and a patriarch and, voila! Orthodox!

Orthodoxy has never worked that way! When the Ukrainians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Slovaks, Russians, Romanians, you name it, receieved Orthodoxy they *did* add some of their own flavors. The praxis VERY SLOWLY migrated from the one given to the one practiced by that community. That's how it will happen in America. But you can't just pick and choose what practices you are and aren't going to follow by classifying them as "small 't'" and "big 'T'" traditions. That's the Protestant mindset! The individual believer knows best! If I accepted this small 't' nonsense, would we then have to go through tradition after tradition classifying them?

If you go to an Antiochian church, you are required to follow their praxis. If you or the priests aren't, YOU are missing out!

This all doesn't mean that I think we should be nasty and closed churches. This doesn't mean that I think converts should be forced to change their nationality. But *I* chose to go to a Serbian church when there is an Antiochian, Greek and OCA church here. *I* chose it. So now that I am there I live my faith the way the Church has developed in that setting so as not to lose everything the fullness of the Tradition has to offer. The fullness of the WHOLE tradition. As a convert, I don't get to classify the uncomfortable or "fureign thangs" as "small 't'" and ignore them. Cradlers do the SAME THING.

This isn't the Golden Corral salad bar, guys.
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« Reply #90 on: February 14, 2005, 02:51:29 PM »

Cizinec,

I agree 100%. Thank you for expressing this so eloquently. I was trying to say something similar, but I was far more clumsy. Thanks for this post.

WP - I followed the link in your profile (under the category "website"):

http://www.voiceoffire.com/

Is this the model that "American Orthodoxy" should emulate? Is this a "Generous Orthodox" church?
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« Reply #91 on: February 14, 2005, 03:39:02 PM »

In all honesty, I am not trying to be sarcastic, so please don't take this the wrong way, but is English your first language? I have been struggling with these last couple of posts. It is kind of difficult to make sense out of them. I think I get the gist of what you are saying, but I cannot be 100% sure.


I was playing with your use of the word pique-it means in a bad mood or feeling of resentment, especially when brought on by an insult, hurt pride, or loss of face.

I guess I am now.

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« Reply #92 on: February 14, 2005, 03:48:46 PM »

Ant:

Generous Orthodoxy is just Christianity that recognizes it knows in part and prophesies in part. While you and I may never argue basic doctrine (you will more than likely hear my applause) we may debate worship, prayer and such because I really want to exercise myself unto godliness.

I only regret that I have not been clear enough for you in these posts and my sense of humor cannot be seen. I am a freindly person and forward and well, as you see can be highly misunderstood. Maybe you will actually understand me after a while.
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« Reply #93 on: February 14, 2005, 03:54:09 PM »

Re; protestant vs. orthodox prayers: Most Orthodox prayers by priests that I have heard mix some written, recited prayers (Our Father, the Trisagion, Heavenly King) with extemporaneous prayer. Protestants pray almost exclusively extemporaneously.

Like a good extemporaneous speaker, good extemporaneous prayer-sayers are also rare. I've heard the populous "we just" type prayers and the just blandly okay ones. But i also have heard a few Presbyterian pastors (since that was my background before becomingOrthodox) that you might have thought were reciting from a prayer book or some long lost prayers of St. Basil. Their prayers were THAT rich and deep. Such rare prayers created a hunger in my soul, that when I got my first Orthodox prayer books, I was so overjoyed. Now, my prayers could be said in a deeply reverent and beautifuly scriptural and adoring way (and not my repetitive, shallow extemp. prayers).

Any way, at least some protestant prayers might leave even a cradle fooled, thinking 'what prayer book did he get that from"? I think the prayers that were saved and placed in our prayer books were ther treasures of the few, who in any era love God so much and are so in touch with Him that they can pray like that. So either their written prayers were saved, or their extemp. prayers were written down by those with good memories (much more possible in oral societies less dependent on the written word that our own)

Think what some of these great -pyaying protestant pastors might be like if they had the fulness of Orthodoxy!

Also, not every aspect of western piety is antithetical to Orthodoxy. There was much in my reformed Presbyterian
background and its simple Scotish piety that prepared me for Orthodoxy. Because it isn't the fulness of the Faith, it wasn't enough, but it had me pointed in the right direction.

There is the other phenomenon (oppostite of trying to protestantize Orthodoxy) we must be careful of if we are converts. That would be becoming "hyper-dox" and bashing our former backgrounds at every opportunity. I don't think that pleases our Lord either.
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« Reply #94 on: February 14, 2005, 04:05:11 PM »

WP,

"Piqued interest" used to be caused by someone making a slightly irritating or some such remark in order to get people curious about something.  That term has commonly been used as "arousing interest."


Aidan,

I agree that we should guard against becoming "hyperdox," but this thread is discussing the opposite problem:  becoming "microdox."  That is , keeping as many of the old beliefs and practices as possible to remain comfortable and still squeak by as Orthodox.

Well, that's my opinion.
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« Reply #95 on: February 14, 2005, 04:16:21 PM »

Antonius,

Thanks for the compliment, but I think I'm a little verbose. An eloquent writer would have expressed the same sentiment in a haiku, or some such thing.

I still don't think I said what I meant. I think the problem is with cradlers too. It's the same problem.

That said, it has been brought to my attention that some problems have been caused by poorly prepared clergy in heavily "converted" parishes. Some here may be expressing something in a way to which I am not opposed although, originally, I opposed it. I simply didn't understand the situation properly.
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« Reply #96 on: February 14, 2005, 04:17:55 PM »

Ciz
I am with you on that; the protestant vs. orthodox prayer issue brought being hyper to mind, lest we be dismissive of our total past if we are converts

I go back to one of my earlier posts regarding the micro-dox. It such an AMERICAN problem as much as it is protestant. Just like the obnoxious americans that the Europeans can't stand as tourists (and often, neither can the Canadians) - americans who think our crass, commercial, efficiency-driven and fast-food-time life style is the ONLY valid one and are condescending toward anything and everything else! Too proud or pre-occupied to learn from a different culture.

Well putting ethnicity aside, whether Greek, Russian, Syrian or another old-country ethnicity, Orthodoxy is of a different culture! It IS EASTERN. It is different from western Christianity. We need to learn its fulness as converts and part of that is to be culturally "converted"





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« Reply #97 on: February 14, 2005, 04:25:07 PM »

  So is there really any such thing as "protestanization?"  After all, the only thing protestants have in common is that they aren't Catholic.  And western thought varies as well.
  Personaly, I think this whole thread is like something you would fined on a protestant board.
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« Reply #98 on: February 14, 2005, 04:35:40 PM »

Ant:

I was playing with your use of the word pique-it means in a bad mood or feeling of resentment, especially when brought on by an insult, hurt pride, or loss of face.

I guess I am now.


Generous Orthodoxy is just Christianity that recognizes it knows in part and prophesies in part. While you and I may never argue basic doctrine (you will more than likely hear my applause) we may debate worship, prayer and such because I really want to exercise myself unto godliness.

I only regret that I have not been clear enough for you in these posts and my sense of humor cannot be seen. I am a freindly person and forward and well, as you see can be highly misunderstood. Maybe you will actually understand me after a while.

Okay WP. No hard feelings or anything, just trying to understand. I understood how you were using the term "pique" as in a feeling of resentment, etc. I was using definition 2 under the same entry in Websters, to arouse <silence, the piqued our curiousity>. The sentence structure kind of threw me is all. No big deal though.

You said: "Generous Orthodoxy is just Christianity that recognizes it knows in part and prophesies in part."

So in this sense the church you provided the link to is an Orthodox church?

I cannot agree with this. I don't believe that the Orthodox Church knows "in part" or prophecies "in part" and someone else has another "part" somewhere else which Orthodoxy is lacking. Forgive me if I offend with this statement, but as an Orthodox Christian I believe that the Orthodox Church is the Christian Church, not a denomination thereof. I don't believe in the branch theory, etc. I consider the Orthodox Church to be "Catholic" in the sense of the word - as proclaiming and practicing "the Whole Faith." Like it says in the Creed: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and that is the Orthodox Church.

BroAiden - I agree with most of your post about prayer, and I wish I could hear some of those beautiful prayers. I have felt that way myself when hearing some old African American spirituals, thinking to myself, this is almost Orthodox. I wish the guy singing this (or the guy who wrote it) could be made aware of Orthodoxy.  I still think that the prayers punctuated every 10 seconds or so with the "Yes, Father!" and "Mmmm" should be left at the door.

I agree that to be "hyperdox" would be bad, but to be "microdox" (to borrow Cizinec's term) in my opinion would be worse.

Put it this way: Many of my relatives who are still Protestant are quite puritanical in that they refuse to drink any alcohol, listen to any secular music, dance, etc. It is better that they err on this side than to err on the other side (i.e. to be drunks, listen to anything and everything, no matter how base, and dance the bump 'n grind). This, to me, is the difference between "hyperdox" and "microdox". If you are not sure if something from your former faith is all right, better to err on the side of Traditional Orthodoxy until you know for sure. Hope that was clear.

As for the "contemporary" Orthodox music, I really haven't listened to it, so I can't say anything about it yet.  In the mean time, I know I won't be rocking any Delirous?, Kirk Franklin, or Get Your Praize On type stuff.

Cizinec - I see what you are saying about the poorly prepared clergy in heavily "converted" parishes.  I generally don't like "cradle" vs. "convert" issues.  I don't like division in the body of Christ.  Without going into details I, like PhosZoe, have a foot in both worlds.  It really seems to be a problem of arrogance as BroAiden said.  "Cradles" being arrogant can lead to their being judgemental.  "Converts" being arrogant can lead to their thinking they have something Orthodoxy was "lacking", and that Orthodoxy needs to be modified to suite their sensibilities (i.e. guitar sing-a-longs, Praise & Worship services, etc.).  To me, both are spiritual poison.


So is there really any such thing as "protestanization?" After all, the only thing protestants have in common is that they aren't Catholic. And western thought varies as well.

I would say yes, if the definition of the term is - Practices creeping into the Church from any of the various Protestant denominations, or attempts to change the Church to suit the sensibilities of former Protestants.

In Christ,

Nick
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« Reply #99 on: February 14, 2005, 04:51:39 PM »

Ant:

I filled in the blank in my profile-just because I filled in the blank...our church is Pentecostal, I am studying Eastern Orthodoxy-if you think it is confusing I will remove it. :bomb:

I have many questions and well...I will just be darn annoying at times.

We only see through a glass darkly, perfection has not come so we live in a time Paul makes clear that this is an infantile time--one time we will discuss cessationalism versus the perpetuity of the gifts. We do not know truth to its perfect point-only in eternity could we know truth. But I will say we have the truth in Orthodoxy as far as its revelation in the scriptures, tradition and the church.

As far as who the church and where the Spirit is...whew...




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« Reply #100 on: February 14, 2005, 05:02:01 PM »

PhosZoe:

Whatvever happened to be engaged to the method and married to the Message.

Jesus taught us that wisdom is justified by all her children while he sat with the non-Orthodox-he would have mercy not sacrifice stiil.

Thus I guess no one listening to a Praise band at a Festival when they see that it is sponsored by an Orthodox church would have any curiosity at all and maybe visit...ludicrous.



Praise bands are Protestant with Protestant message. I don't think it was the place of an Orthodox Church to perpetuate thier message. End of Story.

 Second, I think you're reading too hard into my post Perhaps when I said "make some noise" troubled you. "Make some noise" This means that I would tell the people on the festival committee that I do not want a praise band at the festival. It does not mean that I would protest or cause a scene. More than likely I would have been outvoted.  In all honesty, I have better things to lose sleep over.

Here is what I said originally...
As for the "Praise Band" If I had not moved from the town I was living, you better believe I would have found a way to get on the festival committee to make some noise against bringing the praise band to the festival. I think in my priests mind having a praise band was better than having a heavy metal band.
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« Reply #101 on: February 14, 2005, 05:04:48 PM »

Ant:

I filled in the blank in my profile-our church is Pentecostal, I am studying Eastern Orthodoxy-if you think it is confusing I will remove it.

I have many questions and well...I will just be darn annoying at times.

We only see through a glass darkly, perfection has not come so we live in a time Paul makes clear that is a infantile time-that is the context--one time we will discuss cessationalism. We do not know truth to its perfect point-only in eternity could we know truth.


WP, don't remove it on my account by any means! I'm just curious as to how you describe yourself as Orthodox but provide a link to this church. Wouldn't you be confused if I called myself Orthodox but provided a link to a Roman Catholic Church or a synagogue?

I understand your point (I think) that there is no "perfect church" on earth, but I do believe that the Orthodox Church possesses the fullness of the faith and is the Body of Christ, not one of many denominations. Otherwise, I wouldn't be Orthodox.

Am I to understand that you think the Orthodox Church is guilty of cessationalism because there are not regular displays of "sign gifts" and so forth, as there might be in the church you linked to?

EDIT: I see you edited your post, and accordingly, I edited some questions out of mine that you answered in your new edit.  Whew!
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« Reply #102 on: February 14, 2005, 05:08:02 PM »

I am a Bishop in my group-it probably does not mean much here-that why I posted it, I Pastor the church.

I will remove it.
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« Reply #103 on: February 17, 2005, 08:44:30 PM »

Hi Everyone,

I tried to read all the posts but only got about 3 pages. Whew. So please forgive me for not reading all the posts but I think I get the gist of the thread. I converted three years ago by the grace of God. It is a long story.

The protestant beast is difficult to kill if one is not obediant and cannot "sell all and follow Jesus". I struggle with this beast. I noted someone compare the reformation to burgerking. After 33 years of "independant american christianity" I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to call myself a "Christian" I had to be orthodox or I might as well call my self agnostic. God had to kill off my "burgerkingjesus" by humility. When one converts one must sell all his prior delusions and become obediant and submit to those over you in the Church. Plain and simple but a hard painful thing to do after 33 years. I run alot of stuff by my priest in regards to how we live the Christian life. I no longer trust my own vain imaginations and in confession bring all thoughts before the Lord. So first off all converts must sell all previous delusions and trust the teachings of the Church. As converts we must compare things not only with the bible and the fathers but our spiritual fathers to know if we are "changing things" to our own "man made traditions" created in our own minds. Burgerkingism. Next as converts we need to love. If people are from Lebenon and they are sitting some place go give them a hug, shake a hand, have some coffee, talk. Love conquers all so let love break the barriers of ethnic cultural differances. This is a major pet peeve of mine and I will not allow myself to judge someone just because they come from somewhere else. Take it as an opporunity to learn.

The majority of my parish are converts. The priest is a convert. We are very traditional and over our dead bodies would an organ be brought in to drowned out our chior.  If others want this I have not problem with it. We do not have pews but if others want pews no problem. I think we need to beware of grumbling yet keep the traditions pure. Is that not what Orthodoxy is all about? Keeping steadfast in those things delivered to us not making things up and changing thing to fit our comfort zone. One of the things that drew me to Orthodoxy was the steadfastness of the Faith. Unwavering, unchanging, ecumenical and united. A rock.

As for you cradle orthodox out there. Gota luv us babies. Go easy on us we are just infants. Teach us and guide us. You will be amazed that some are humble enough to submit to your guidance even if stern. I thank God my priest was totally honest with me and said," You have a misrepresented Jesus". Thank God for a wake up slap!

Thanks for letting me rant.

In Christ,

Orthodoxy
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« Reply #104 on: February 17, 2005, 08:54:33 PM »

We know Christ saves His Body, the Church. We know the Holy Spirit leads and guides His Body, the Church. Thus we know the Holy Spirit for sure is in His Body, the Church.

Is the Holy Spirit outside the Holy Orthodox Church?

Yes.  The Holy Spirit leads and guides people to Jesus Christ on the Earth.

The Holy Spirit leads and guides people to the Holy Orthodox Church. One brick at a time.

Orthodoxy

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« Reply #105 on: February 17, 2005, 11:09:15 PM »

And be careful how one slaps.  Dont break a chair over our heads!  We got plenty of that in our protestant days! Grin

No problems with pointing out wrongs.  Its the reason I'm still tenative to speak on some things.  I'ts bee na year in the full faith for me nearly, and I'm still learning.  I still try to gaurd my tounge in conversation because though I read much. there is so much more to read.  Though I know alot of the basics, I dont know alot of the subtleties.  There are alot in this faith, and it takes a life time for anyone.  The reason we read so much and ask so much is bacause we are basically trying to play varying degrees o' catchup!

Patience is key to master/ learner.  And a master is an eternal student.  Forgive our blunders and give priase when it is due....AND PUT THAT FREAKIN CHAIR AWAY! Roll Eyes

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« Reply #106 on: February 18, 2005, 10:27:19 AM »


I was offended by post #5 (virtually the whole thing) by Bogo-something-or-other; and in # 45, comparing protestant converts to trailer park trash was just wrong
I offer my apologies to any I may offend with my comments.

Please Re read what I posted originally. I did not compare converts to trailer park dwellers. I was drawing a parallel which is not a direct comparison. Let me rephrase.... You can take someone out of their surroundings but you can't take that experience OUT of the person. Certain behaviors and ways of thinking are difficult for converts to adjust to. Just as it is difficult from someone to move out of living in a trailer to a big mansion. The person still has the experience from living in a trailer and may still behave like a person who lives in a trailer. Make sense?

"I'm going to be crass here but I think the parallel works I think it boils down to: You can take the person out of the trailer park but you can take the trailer park out of the person. (I have known many wonderful people from trailer parks and I know not everyone who comes from a trailer park is not trash)As someone of slavic descent who grew up around the church but wasn't baptized until I was adult. I have a difficult time relating to and I am often annoyed by ex protestants but I think they are harmless overall. Orthodoxy has a learning curve that is foreign to the standard white American thought process. People are going to stumble and make mistakes... let them and lovingly dust them off when they fall. "
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« Reply #107 on: February 18, 2005, 11:31:19 AM »

thanks for the clarification Phos!
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« Reply #108 on: February 20, 2005, 03:22:12 PM »

As a new member of this online group and someone who is close to converting to Orthodoxy, but has not done so yet, I've found this thread very interesting and provocative. I would be coming into Orthodoxy as a pretty inactive Protestant who has twice almost converted to Catholicism. If I ultimately choose Orthodoxy over Rome (a strong probability, but not yet a done deal), it will be because I have read up on the areas of dispute, in sources on both sides, and I found the Orthodox view more authentic, more rooted in the facts of history, and closer to the truths of the Gospel. The stuff I admire about Catholicism, mainly her strong mystical tradition combined with a rigorous intellectual tradition, I also find in Orthodoxy. You never see both in Protestantism.
Someone was concerned about carrying Protestant baggage into Orthodoxy. To some extent, I agree that is something to discourage - it leads to phenomena like new converts trying to hijack Orthodoxy and impose all sorts of innovations and modernisms on practices that have nurtured the people of the Church for many centuries. For this reason I am looking for a church that is not dominated by converts. Some would be nice, but I am not interested in a Lutheran iteration of Orthodox Christianity, or the view that getting involved in right wing politics is somehow a manifestation of Christian zeal. American Evangelicals are fond of portraying America as a "Christian country". What nonsense. America is a big old steaming cesspool of corruption. If America were a Christian country, the top rated TV shows, movies, musical acts, and books would all have been flops in the market place. A Christian country simply does not watch "Will and Grace" or "Desperate Housewives", let alone make them megahits. Same with "The Davinci Code", "The Celestine Prophecy", "Vera Drake" (not that Vera was a hit, but she is Oscar-nominated), "Million Dollar Baby", the latest CDs by Usher, 50 Cent, Dixie Chicks, or No Doubt. The Evangelicals have their heads in the sand about the country they live in. All that being said, I do not feel at all like every vestige of Protestantism has to be shorn off me before I could be a good Orthodox Christian. I am drawn to Orthodoxy because of its ancient traditions that go back to the foundation of the Church, and because of the Sacraments, especially a fully authentic Baptism and the Eucharist. Protestantism lacks these. But Protestantism historically has taught that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. That is not a belief that anyone has to leave at the Temple door. Indeed it is a belief that one must carry into the Temple.
I was a little surprised to to see the "anti-Zionist" sentiments expressed here and there. Not troubled, because I love a good rumble, in its proper place. But I am a hardline Zionist, I know that Christ will someday rule His Kingdom and His People, Israel, from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates, and I will be more than happy to help explode the Myth of Palestine with anyone who wants to discuss it, in its proper forum. There never has been any such thing as a Palestinian people, a Palestinian language, a Palestinian culture, or a Palestinian state. And God willing, there never will be. People who are interested in this topic should read "Since Time Immemorial", by Joan Peters, a scholar and former state department official from the Carter Administration. But this thread is not the proper place to discuss such issues, maybe a new thread on Zionism would be productive and enjoyable.
As to my own probable conversion to Orthodoxy, I like to read about other peoples' experiences, and benefit from reading about their mis steps. I thing clique-froming behavior is pretty human, it happens in all groups, even The Holy Church. Because the Holy Church is full of human beings, and people like the familiar, even if sometimes they shouldn't cling to it is much as they do. People entering Orthodoxy from outside should be humble, and realize there is a lot more about it that they don't know than that they do know. As far as making friends among established parishioners, well, my advice (which I have successfully used in non Church settings and plan to use when I start attending a church regularly), is to try to volunteer - clean the bathrooms, do coffee cleanup, trim the shrubs, drop off donations at the food bank. Make yourself useful, and realize you are the newcomer, it is up to you to prove wrong the people who think, based on much prior experience with new converts, that you will be full of righteous zeal for 2 months and then you will disappear from their view, like a bad sitcom.
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« Reply #109 on: February 20, 2005, 05:59:03 PM »

IMO,

If the influx number is greater then the existing number it may lead to changes.

Some people will carry some ideas over and if concentrated in a Church can influence changes.

Take it from me, a perfect example is the Roman Rite Catholic Church, but then again it started in the upper levels & trickled down, hmm... nah, it can't happen to the Orthodox, can it ?

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« Reply #110 on: February 21, 2005, 07:57:41 AM »

As a new member of this online group and someone who is close to converting to Orthodoxy, but has not done so yet, I've found this thread very interesting and provocative.

Good to hear it.  Welcome.

Quote
...phenomena like new converts trying to hijack Orthodoxy and impose all sorts of innovations and modernisms on practices that have nurtured the people of the Church for many centuries. For this reason I am looking for a church that is not dominated by converts.

You may actually find that it's the converts who, in reality, want more traditional ways practiced in their parishes; I've seen it happen where the "cradles" wanted to loosen things up to fit in more with "American Christianity" (Protestantism), and it was the converts who sided with (thank God!) the priest and said, "Uh-uh," much to the cradles' disgust.

Quote
I am drawn to Orthodoxy because of its ancient traditions that go back to the foundation of the Church, and because of the Sacraments, especially a fully authentic Baptism and the Eucharist.

Regarding "a fully authentic Baptism": You may already be aware of this, but the majority of Orthodox parishes here in the States will receive you by chrismation only if you've been baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (and a proper understanding of what that formula means). 

Quote
I will be more than happy to help explode the Myth of Palestine with  anyone who wants to discuss it, in its proper forum.

Well, you're right in saying that this isn't the place for that; if you'd like to peruse some of the threads on Zionism you may do so in the Free-For-All subforum, though you may not be able to post in them as most of them get locked by the administrators et al relatively quickly.

Glad you're here.

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« Reply #111 on: February 21, 2005, 09:31:07 AM »

You may actually find that it's the converts who, in reality, want more traditional ways practiced in their parishes; I've seen it happen where the "cradles" wanted to loosen things up to fit in more with "American Christianity" (Protestantism), and it was the converts who sided with (thank God!) the priest and said, "Uh-uh," much to the cradles' disgust.

Regarding "a fully authentic Baptism": You may already be aware of this, but the majority of Orthodox parishes here in the States will receive you by chrismation only if you've been baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (and a proper understanding of what that formula means).


My Priest mentioned something to the effect of the first bit, and also on the second...I know he very carefully read my baptismal certificate! *I'm good to go, lol!*
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« Reply #112 on: February 21, 2005, 02:22:15 PM »



Good to hear it. Welcome.



You may actually find that it's the converts who, in reality, want more traditional ways practiced in their parishes; I've seen it happen where the "cradles" wanted to loosen things up to fit in more with "American Christianity" (Protestantism), and it was the converts who sided with (thank God!) the priest and said, "Uh-uh," much to the cradles' disgust.



Regarding "a fully authentic Baptism": You may already be aware of this, but the majority of Orthodox parishes here in the States will receive you by chrismation only if you've been baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (and a proper understanding of what that formula means).


Glad to hear that many converts are in fact interested in maintaining and supporting the Traditions into which they are entering. I have nothing against the gradual evolution of an "American Orthodox" sensibility, as long as it doesn't include the Gatlin Brothers (only kidding!) (no I'm not!). But I think the first duty of newcomers is to sit down and shut up, until they learn enough to comment intelligently. This applies to liturgical practices, not necessarily to the food served at Church picnics, which could well be open to new things along with the traditional delicacies.
Regarding Baptism, I was never baptized. When I was little, we went to the Baptist church, which does not baptize until about age 12. By the time I was approaching that age, we were going to the Lutheran Church, which does Infant sprinkle baptism. I gather a baptism in the baptist church, which includes full immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, would probably have sufficed for the Orthodox Church. But since I did not get that it is a moot point. At any rate I look forward to a real baptism, although with a little trepidation. It is literally one's second birth, and I don't think it should be a whole lot more comfortable or dignified or pain free (for the baptizee) than the first birth was. Would love to hear about other converts' baptism experiences.

Edit - fixed quote. John
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« Reply #113 on: February 21, 2005, 02:32:31 PM »

I gather a baptism in the baptist church, which includes full immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, would probably have sufficed for the Orthodox Church. But since I did not get that it is a moot point. At any rate I look forward to a real baptism, although with a little trepidation. It is literally one's second birth, and I don't think it should be a whole lot more comfortable or dignified or pain free (for the baptizee) than the first birth was. Would love to hear about other converts' baptism experiences.

For most Orthodox Churches, it would indeed suffice (I received SoBap baptism at age 9).  Glad to hear, though, that you will receive the blessed sacrament direct from the hand of an Orthodox priest, Lord (and you) willing.
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« Reply #114 on: February 21, 2005, 05:00:09 PM »

I recomend reading the book I confess one baptism for an Orthodox (i.e not ecumenist) perspective on baptism.
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« Reply #115 on: February 22, 2005, 12:55:07 AM »

Well, I'm glad you put "an" instead of "the," since both methods of reception have been practiced simultaneously by Orthodox in different regions throughout the world for centuries, and both have support from Ecumenical Councils as valid traditions within the Church.

As long as the grace given at reception is seen to be exclusive to the Church--that is, the indwelling and seal of the Holy Spirit that is common to the Church alone--both methods are safe, imo, from heretical ecumenism.
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« Reply #116 on: February 22, 2005, 10:13:53 AM »

Orthodoxy & Orthodoxical - Welcome to the boards!  I enjoyed both of your posts, and found them most encouraging.  If all potential "converts" were blessed with such humility, and a zeal for authentic Orthodox Christianity, there would be no need for the concerns addressed by this thread.
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« Reply #117 on: February 23, 2005, 11:39:17 PM »

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‘More Orthodox’ than the Orthodox

by John Dart

It’s commonly observed that converts to a faith are the most ardent defenders of it. That seems to be the case with American converts to Orthodoxy. The large number of converts attending Orthodox seminaries prompted Alexey D. Krindatch, a sociologist of religion, to wonder whether an “Americanization” of Eastern Orthodoxy might lie ahead. His conclusion: “Probably not.”

Responses from students at three seminaries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) - the two largest Orthodox bodies in the U.S. - confirmed, he said, “the widespread notion that Protestant and Catholic converts tend to be ‘more Orthodox’ than persons who were born and raised” as Orthodox.

The converts expressed more conservative attitudes than Orthodox-born seminarians did on, for instance, accepting the authority of bishops and discouraging ecumenical worship and religiously mixed marriages. Krindatch reported his findings at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Asked why the tradition-bound, liturgically intricate Orthodox churches are attracting converts, Krindatch suggested in an interview that many of the former evangelical Protestants studying for the Orthodox priesthood see a “discrepancy” between their strong personal faith “and the fact that their churches have no historical roots in original Christianity, no apostolic succession and no liturgical atmosphere.”

In the case of former Catholics and Episcopalians, however, converts are attempting to “return to their churches” religious experiences of 20 to 30 years ago, when their churches were more “traditional.”

While both Orthodox-born seminarians and the converts were relatively similar in religious upbringing, education and family income level, the former evangelicals “come from much wealthier families” that were very active churchgoers. The ex-evangelicals were more likely to have a higher level of secular education as well as businessmen fathers, and they “were more definite in their plans to be ordained and serve as priests” than were their classmates.

Krindatch surveyed seminarians at Holy Cross (Greek Orthodox) Seminary in the Boston suburb of Brookline, where 25 percent of the students are converts, and at two OCA seminaries, St. Vladimir’s in Crestwood, New York, and St. Tikhon’s in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. The majority of the students at the latter two are converts, he said.

Krindatch recently was named director for campus ministry and church growth at the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, which is part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Krindatch, a faculty member at the Institute of Geography in Moscow, had been doing his research as a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California.

The institute in Berkeley previously has dealt mainly with theological and historical issues, said Krindatch, but it “hopes to concentrate its future studies more on the contemporary situation and social changes within various American Orthodox churches.”

Change has been slow by Western standards. In his survey, Krindatch found that 57 to 64 percent of convert seminarians agree that while most Orthodox Christians “are socially integrated into American society, the Orthodox churches as institutions are still perceived by the vast majority of Americans as ‘immigrant communities’,” compared to 46 percent of Orthodox-born who say that. At the same time, the proportion of the most pessimistic seminarians - those who say “the Orthodox churches still are and will remain ‘strangers’ to American society” - is higher among “cradle Orthodox” than among convert seminarians.

Cradle Orthodox students are also more pessimistic than the converts that the ethnically oriented Orthodox churches eventually will gain autonomy from mother churches abroad, or that a unified American Eastern Orthodox Church will emerge in decades to come.

Ex-Protestant seminarians may hope for ecumenical progress within Orthodoxy, but they tend to reject joint ecumenical prayers or services with non-Orthodox. Also, a significant proportion of both ex-Catholic (34 percent) and ex-Protestant (36 percent of ex-mainliners and 52 percent of ex-evangelicals) seminarians say that Orthodox priests should try hard to discourage mixed marriages. Seminarians raised in Orthodox churches are somewhat more lenient on the issue, though not as accommodating as current priests in Orthodox parishes.

A separate survey of priests in Greek and OCA parishes found that two-thirds take a more liberal position on mixed marriages, but stay within church guidelines. In other words, priests would conduct such weddings when they are held in the Orthodox Church, and would encourage the non-Orthodox partner to join the church. “Only a minority of all seminarians (31 percent of OCA seminarians, 48 percent of Greek Orthodox seminarians) share the same view,” Krindatch said.

Krindatch acknowledged that the seminarians’ conservative stances, even if reflective of a generational trend, may evolve during “actual work in the parishes.”
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« Reply #118 on: February 27, 2005, 12:30:17 AM »

Orthodoxical,

Welcome.

I read your posts and you sound like a man after my own heart. You will make a good orthodox christian if you choose that path. Your suggestions on being humble, quiet, with a learning heart, volunteering your time to the parish, doing work around the community to show your serious about your faith and loving everyone no matter how grumpy they are to you is right on the money. Love truely conquers all. God will pour His grace upon you in humility.

God bless you in your walk towards the Orthodox faith. You will not regret the choice if you choose Orthodoxy.

In Christ,

Orthodoxy
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« Reply #119 on: February 27, 2005, 01:04:17 PM »


Glad to hear that many converts are in fact interested in maintaining and supporting the Traditions into which they are entering. I have nothing against the gradual evolution of an "American Orthodox" sensibility, as long as it doesn't include the Gatlin Brothers (only kidding!) (no I'm not!). But I think the first duty of newcomers is to sit down and shut up, until they learn enough to comment intelligently. This applies to liturgical practices, not necessarily to the food served at Church picnics, which could well be open to new things along with the traditional delicacies.

Edit - fixed quote. John

To which I humbly submit 100% Although from my orientation know that I have no intention to 'latinize'.

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« Reply #120 on: February 27, 2005, 01:33:24 PM »

Well, I have read thru this entire thread and all of it was very interesting! I am probably guilty of "idle talk" in my reply, so forgive me but I wanted to offer a few thoughts.

I am a convert to Orthodoxy and of course, I have noticed the "ethnic" issues, like most converts. However, my take on all this is quite opposite to the Frankie crowd. Whereas he sees this as a barrier and a problem, I have seen it as a door to freedom.
The "ethnicity" in my diocese offers me the opportunity to get out of myself and into other people, as different as they are from me. I attend a Serb church that has one Serb (we are nearly all converts)! But our diocese is "very" Serb. Forgive me for oversimplifying this but here's what I see in my diocese: All the complaining about the "ethnic barrier" comes from white, middle class former evangelicals who simply don't like being in the minority. Frankly ( Grin) they come from a background that has allowed them to be the "elite" in Christianity and they have enjoyed much priviledge in Protestant America to point fingers at other groups and say "You're not REALLY a Christian." Now they have entered Orthodoxy and find that finger pointed right back at them and they have the nerve to be offended. They are entirely too used to being in the ruling majority and now that the tables are turned they cloak their dissatisfaction with cries of "It's too ethnic! We need American Orthodoxy!!!"

What would "American" Orthodoxy be, pray tell? Fashion shows and rock bands?Huh Instead of "breaking the fast" after Liturgy, it would become "potluck"Huh?

No thank you. I've had enough Jell-o.  I'll stay in my Serb church where there is only one actual Serb, but we are actually trying to be Serbian....we have fun cooking Serbian food for Sundays and our KOLO sisters are trying to organize a class where our one Serb will teach us to speak a little Serbian. I'm grateful to the Serbs and to the Serbian Church...they let ME in!!! They baptised me, and they undertook to teach me the true faith....I won't repay that debt it by being "American" (or Irish) Orthodox....


On the issue of former evangelicals criticising the manner of evangelism by the Orthodox:  This is another area for converts in my experience.  Many of them criticise the Orthodox for their "lack of zeal". Why is this?  Because it isn't evangelical Protestant, that's why.  I have found that converts who harp on this subject are people who simply want to control every aspect of their spiritual lives, and in my view, this is un-Orthodox.  We do not control evangelism.  We do not control the Holy Spirit.  We do not force people to listen to us and our babbling.  We do not hit people over the head with our Bibles (unless your name is Feofil, Fool-for-Christ).  The criticism that the Orthodox are not "actively evangelising" is an empty argument.  It is one that attempts to control the outcome of any given situation and this attitude is decidely non-Christian, not to mention non-Orthodox.  Pass the spittoon, please....

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« Reply #121 on: February 27, 2005, 06:47:24 PM »

Forgive me for oversimplifying this but here's what I see in my diocese:  All the complaining about the "ethnic barrier" comes from white, middle class former evangelicals who simply don't like being in the minority.  Frankly ( Grin)  they come from a background that has allowed them to be the "elite" in Christianity and they have enjoyed much priviledge in Protestant America to point fingers at other groups and say "You're not REALLY a Christian."  Now they have entered Orthodoxy and find that finger pointed right back at them and they have the nerve to be offended.   They are entirely too used to being  in the ruling majority and now that the tables are turned they cloak their dissatisfaction with cries of "It's too ethnic!  We need American Orthodoxy!!!"

Suzannah,

Like you, I have enjoyed myyears of spiritual as well as cultural expansion since my own conversion from evangelicalism, gifts that were given to me by my so-called "ethnic" Orthodox Christian brethren.

I see the same thing in my parish, with with some variations...

The former evangelical complainers in my parish carry some clout because they are joined by ethnic-anti-ethnics who want to be more American.  I've come to realize that these second generation Americans have been scarred by decades of American anti-Soviet propaganda.  It appears that they have developed a case of spiritual Stockholm Syndrome and now identify with their oppressors.

And so there is tension in my parish between the former-evangelical-now-Orthodox who feel that they are on high ground (aka home turf) because after all, this is "America, MY Country" (and their "ethnic" allies) and converts who cherish and seek to cultivate in this country, the holiness that gave and gives name to Holy Russia.

I don't see why we need more than English translations of Orthodox Russian (or Greek, Arab, Serbian, Romanian, etc.) liturgy and prayers in order to transplant Orthodoxy from the Old Country to the United States.   

American religion is gnosticism with some vestiges of Christian culture, so what form will this hypothetical American Orthodoxy take in this cultural milieu?








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« Reply #122 on: February 27, 2005, 06:55:06 PM »

Very well said Suzannah! I could not agree more! Especially with:

"I'm grateful to the Serbs and to the Serbian Church...they let ME in!!! They baptised me, and they undertook to teach me the true faith...."


And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my self on to my Coptic lesson for the exact same reason your willing to learn Serbian! Smiley Stay strong and God bless!

P.S. - Your assessment of those converts criticizing the Orthodox for a lack of "evangelical zeal" was spot on.

In Christ,

Nick
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« Reply #123 on: February 27, 2005, 07:24:26 PM »

I don't see why we need more than English translations of Orthodox Russian (or Greek, Arab, Serbian, Romanian, etc.) liturgy and prayers in order to transplant Orthodoxy from the Old Country to the United States.
I agree.  I think the first priority should be to establish English-speaking Churches in as many areas as possible (although a foreign-language parish could be acceptable if there's already an English one in the area), but any specific attempt to "Americanize" the Church is likely to go sour.  Orthodox Christianity in America (or, in my case, Canada) will develop its own "flavour" over time, but there's no point hurrying the process.  If a potential "convert" is put off by a few foreign customs, they probably aren't worth having around to begin with.
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« Reply #124 on: February 27, 2005, 09:48:07 PM »

What would "American" Orthodoxy be, pray tell?  Fashion shows and rock bands?Huh  Instead of "breaking the fast" after Liturgy, it would become "potluck"Huh?

Hmm...how about eight tones that are more palatable to American ears?  Russia did it in less than 100 years, iirc, after Orthodoxy came there.  We could start w/Russian tones and go from there.  And what, exactly, is wrong w/potluck?   Huh

Quote
I'll stay in my Serb church where there is only one actual Serb, but we are actually trying to be Serbian....we have fun cooking Serbian food for Sundays and our KOLO sisters are trying to organize a class where our one Serb will teach us to speak a little Serbian.

Because being American and speaking English is...bad?  I mean, I teach other people to speak Spanish and favor very open doors on immigration, so I can hardly be accused of being an English-only, America-love-it-or-leave-it kind of guy, but still...being Serbian (which I guess amounts to speaking Serbian and cooking Serbian food) is great, as it can open up doors for the converts and cradle to fellowship, gain common ground, show cultural sensitivity and humility, etc...but the fathers didn't die for a language or a certain nation's cuisine.  They died for the faith.  That faith is there regardless of nationality, and I think it's very dangerous to confuse taking in Serbian (or, in my case, Carpatho-Russian/Ukranian) culture with being Orthodox according to a particular jurisdiction's customs.  You can do that and still be (like me) Scotch-Irish who brings Guinness and Sauza Tequila to Pascha along with hamburger patties and stuffed jalape+¦os.  That stuff makes me NO LESS ORTHODOX.

Quote
  I'm grateful to the Serbs and to the Serbian Church...they let ME in!!! They baptised me, and they undertook to teach me the true faith....I won't repay that debt it by being "American" (or Irish) Orthodox....

Well, there's not really anything any of us can do about that.  I am an Anglo-American because I was born such, and an Orthodox Christian because I converted to that.  I can observe as many things as I want to--and indeed I do; I help out with Piroghi making, the Old Country Christmas sale, and Ukranian Pysanki (egg painting)--but I am what I am, and shouldn't feel obligated to mask that or change that.  I love the fact that one family in the parish does a St. Patrick's Day celebration at their house because the dad is Irish (the rest of the fam is Ukranian, I think).  Pour me a pint, bring out the haggis (hey, I'm scottish, too!) and lets sing the Troparia and Kontakia to these fine Irish saints!

Quote
On the issue of former evangelicals criticising the manner of evangelism by the Orthodox:  This is another area for converts in my experience.  Many of them criticise the Orthodox for their "lack of zeal". Why is this?  Because it isn't evangelical Protestant, that's why.  I have found that converts who harp on this subject are people who simply want to control every aspect of their spiritual lives, and in my view, this is un-Orthodox.  We do not control evangelism.  We do not control the Holy Spirit.  We do not force people to listen to us and our babbling.  We do not hit people over the head with our Bibles (unless your name is Feofil, Fool-for-Christ).

I disagree; I don't think your take on evangelism is as simple as you'd like it to be.  Evangelism CAN be done in that way, where we feel obligated to buttonhole everyone we know about the Faith.  But it doesn't HAVE to be done in that way.  It COULD be done in a way that is humble, that lives a life in a way that, while not obnoxious, is nevertheless conspicuous because it is DIFFERENT and thus provokes a response, an opportunity.  Many Orthodox want to blend in as much as they can to American secular culture, and this, to me, is sad.  You're right; we don't control the Holy Spirit.  We shouldn't push the faith on others.  But to say that we are necessarily doing that when we want to do something to make our presence and the Faith known is a bit too much.  I see such events as opportunities through which the Lord may work if He likes.  If not, fine; our witness is not validated or condemned by whether or not folks respond.  But we are called to be witnesses to what Christ has done in our lives and what He is doing.

Quote
The criticism that the Orthodox are not "actively evangelising" is an empty argument.  It is one that attempts to control the outcome of any given situation and this attitude is decidely non-Christian, not to mention non-Orthodox.  Pass the spittoon, please....

I don't think it's an entirely unfounded accusation, as I've seen parishes die out because people couldn't fathom why people would want to be Orthodox if they weren't of a certain ethnicity.  I've seen visitors greeted with a "why are you here?  You aren't <insert ethnicity here>!"  Talk about non-Christian...again, wanting to get the message out isn't necessarily trying to "control every outcome"; it could be that we know that we're simply "pilgrims of the Absolute," as Fr. Alexander Schmemann put it, and we're inviting as many as WANT to come to do so.
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« Reply #125 on: February 28, 2005, 05:34:00 PM »



What would "American" Orthodoxy be, pray tell? Fashion shows and rock bands?Huh Instead of "breaking the fast" after Liturgy, it would become "potluck"Huh?

No thank you. I've had enough Jell-o.  I'll stay in my Serb church where there is only one actual Serb, but we are actually trying to be Serbian....we have fun cooking Serbian food for Sundays and our KOLO sisters are trying to organize a class where our one Serb will teach us to speak a little Serbian. I'm grateful to the Serbs and to the Serbian Church...they let ME in!!! They baptised me, and they undertook to teach me the true faith....I won't repay that debt it by being "American" (or Irish) Orthodox....


"American Orthodoxy" a true melting pot of many cultures and backgrounds gathered in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church worshipping the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Although I think it's noble in a way that you and the rest of your parish are making an attempt to learn Serbian, cook Serbian food, Join the Kolo, etc. All of these are social and cultural additions that came about to help preserve a particular culture but really have nothing to do with being Orthodox. You don't have to be Serbian (Greek, Arab, Russian, Ukranian, Egyptian) to be Orthodox.

 

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« Reply #126 on: February 28, 2005, 06:14:56 PM »



 You don't have to be Serbian (Greek, Arab, Russian, Ukranian, Egyptian) to be Orthodox. 



True, but it sure helps.
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« Reply #127 on: February 28, 2005, 06:24:51 PM »

Suzannah,

I agree in part and disagree in part. You and I chose to be Serbian Orthodox. We live our faith the way we receive it from our Serbian Church, but that doesn't mean that OCA is wrong. They have their own row to hoe.

Some here like your "lack of zeal" comment. I do not. Most of our parish are immigrants who grew up under communism. When they actually come, most come late (in the last five minutes) to liturgy, don't show up for other services, ask to put pool tables in the church (so when the church people leave they can shoot pool), they lack a basic understanding of Orthodoxy, etc. etc. etc. Their primary concern is generally social. That's not all, of course. We have some who suffered tremendously for the faith and they are some of the most zealous evangelizers, so I don't buy your "because it's evangelical Protestant" argument. Were Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, the Apostles, St. Sava and the other "zealot evangelizers" misguided former EvProts? I don't think so.

Sorry for sounding too negative. I think you have it mostly right.


PhosZoe,

I don't think you get to moniker all the religious traditions of a culture "social and cultural additions" and call it groovy. Many did *not* come about to help preserve a particular culture and they had *everything* to do with being Orthodox! The slava, badnjace, and many other Serbian traditions put theology into the daily lives of the people. That's what a living tradition is for!

PhosZoe, I don't think you should criticize people for living their faith in an ethnic way. That's like condemning the people who brought the faith here in the first place.

Suzannah, I don't think you should criticize people who are making Orthodoxy here in the American culture. That's like condemning St. Sava for not forcing the Serbs to become Greeks.

. . . . and I'm sorry I didn't add smilies. I'm not angry, irritated, etc.

 Grin Wink Cheesy Afro Smiley Cool :cat: :dog:
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« Reply #128 on: February 28, 2005, 07:34:21 PM »

Just because some people come late to Church, etc., it doesn't mean that Orthodoxy is lacking in missionary zeal, or that the Orthodox model of evangelization is somehow in need of a tune-up/infusion from Evangelical Protestant converts.

The reason I liked Suzannah's comment is because I have heard mission-minded Orthodox Christians criticized by former Evangelical Protestant converts because they did not appear aggressive enough for their tastes.  The model was a slow, gentle, "come and see" approach, as opposed to a barrage of Chick tracts and hurry-up-and-answer-the-altar-call approach.  It may not have netted huge numbers, but the people who came stayed.  To criticize such an approach because it doesn't resemble the old Evangelical model they were familiar with was unfair in my opinion, and I thought Suzannah summed that up very nicely.
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« Reply #129 on: March 01, 2005, 01:18:06 AM »

You don't have to be Serbian (Greek, Arab, Russian, Ukranian, Egyptian) to be Orthodox.

True, but it sure helps.

Bravo, PhosZoe.  And I do think, epektasis, that you're right, too, but only if you mean that it CAN help if the person of said nationality is actually concerned with the FAITH and how it has influenced the people, rather than a merely cultural influence that has nothing to do with the Faith.

Most of our parish are immigrants who grew up under communism.  When they actually come, most come late (in the last five minutes) to liturgy, don't show up for other services, ask to put pool tables in the church (so when the church people leave they can shoot pool), they lack a basic understanding of Orthodoxy, etc. etc. etc.  Their primary concern is generally social.

Not only have I been disgusted by people like this, but I have been told that they are "leaders of the parish," parish council members, etc., and that I should just be quiet and learn from the "mystical sense of Orthodoxy" these people get from speaking a certain language (loudly and during liturgy) and eating certain food (in the parish hall, again during liturgy, right before coming up to the nave to get the communion they're "entitled" to as a lifelong member of the Church).  Angry  No thanks.

That's not all, of course.  We have some who suffered tremendously for the faith and they are some of the most zealous evangelizers, so I don't buy your "because it's evangelical Protestant" argument.  Were Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, the Apostles, St. Sava and the other "zealot evangelizers" misguided former EvProts?  I don't think so.

An excellent point, cizinec.  My godfather has never been anything but Orthodox a day in his life, and while he isn't the most theologically knowledgeable person around, he has been a great witness in his life to the truth of Orthodoxy.  He is baffled by the fact that so many other Lebanese Orthodox--in his family and otherwise--just don't seem to realize what they've got.  I thank the Lord that he (as far as I can tell) does.

The slava, badnjace, and many other Serbian traditions put theology into the daily lives of the people.  That's what a living tradition is for! 

That's true, but these things are much more meaningful and spiritual than merely speaking a language and eating certain cuisine and "calling it groovy," as though this made you more Orthodox!

Suzannah, I don't think you should criticize people who are making Orthodoxy here in the American culture.  That's like condemning St. Sava for not forcing the Serbs to become Greeks.

...or condemning them for eventually coming up with their own Serbian expression of the Faith...were they corrupting the Faith that was given to them by arrogantly "Serbianizing" it?

Just because some people come late to Church, etc., it doesn't mean that Orthodoxy is lacking in missionary zeal, or that the Orthodox model of evangelization is somehow in need of a tune-up/infusion from Evangelical Protestant converts.

It does, however, reflect that folks don't appreciate it or know exactly what's going on.  And before you jump on me for being a culturally insensitive, arrogant American, I know about Third World time.  I know that America's one of the few countries where you are expected to start everything at a certain time, sharp.  I also, however, have read the stories of churches in Soviet Russia packed to the gills for MATINS, not to mention the actual LITURGY because folks took their faith so seriously. 

I wonder...why is it that the vast majority of the books on Orthodoxy in English were only put out after the 1970s, which just so happened to be, more or less, when the large wave of conversions to the Faith from Evangelicalism began?  I do think that the conversion of many evangelicals has been a shot in the arm for the Church in America; not only have they mobilized things that weren't moving and started things that didn't even exist, but the cradle Orthodox are seeing people who WANT to be in the Faith who weren't BORN INTO it.  I know that, in the parish I was chrismated in, the mother and grandfather of my godfather both came up to me and told me how much they appreciated seeing my doing all the metanias, all the prostrations...they said they had started doing it again more consciously because of what I (as well as about 20 other converts from Oral Roberts University there in Tulsa) had been immersing ourselves in.  It was an inspiration to THEM...and we were just trying to emulate the religious traditions that WE saw THEM do!

The reason I liked Suzannah's comment is because I have heard mission-minded Orthodox Christians criticized by former Evangelical Protestant converts because they did not appear aggressive enough for their tastes.

Well, that does seem arrogant, no doubt about that.  I would have been grateful just to find some mission-minded Orthodox!  Lots of the ones I'd met didn't have any clue as to how to have a conversation with someone who asked about the Faith (my present parish is quite different, thankfully!).

The model was a slow, gentle, "come and see" approach, as opposed to a barrage of Chick tracts and hurry-up-and-answer-the-altar-call approach.  It may not have netted huge numbers, but the people who came stayed.  To criticize such an approach because it doesn't resemble the old Evangelical model they were familiar with was unfair in my opinion, and I thought Suzannah summed that up very nicely.

Well, you're right that criticizing the "come and see" approach was out of line, but the way in which she "summed it up" was overly-simplistic.  Your choice of words--a "barrage" of Chick tracts and hurry-up-and-answer"--don't even allow for the possibility that something like that could even be done in a humble, unassuming manner.  I've worked in lots of different types of evangelistic settings, so I can safely say that not everything out there is a pushy "cold call" to sell Jesus to random passersby.  The same tactics can be employed with very different techniques; to overgeneralize and call the more overt style of evangelism--used by none other than St. Paul--"Protestant" and by that implying that they are unnecessary or inferior is, to me, just as unfair.
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« Reply #130 on: March 01, 2005, 10:56:51 AM »

Pedro, you and I seem to have something in common in that we both have experiences (and family) in the Evangelical and Orthodox worlds. I guess the biggest difference is that most of the Evangelicals I am personally familiar with are also Charismatics. With you, this does not seem to be the case. As far as "witnessing" to others, or evangelizing, I prefer the Orthodox model. To me, the greatest way to "witness" is to invite others to "come and see" the Divine Liturgy, to do my best to remain in constant prayer (and I fail constantly!), and to try my best to live a life that is Christ-like and serve others (again, I fail more than I succeed). Whenever anyone asks me where I get my peace, or why I am so happy, etc., I glady tell them and invite them to come and see.

I love the materials the Antiochians have published. Although I might mention that the Coptic Orthodox Church has also published a huge amount of English material and places a heavy emphasis on mission, without any such Evangelical "shot in the arm". Also, I know of a few "cradle" EO priests here on the East Coast whom I would call missionaries par excellence, using the above described "come and see" method (One of them is mentioned here by Orthodoc http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php/topic,2929.0.html). And you should see the missions of both the Coptic and Greek Patriarchates of Alexandria in sub-Saharan Africa! None of that is a knock on the Antiochians or the former Evangelical converts. I'm just pointing out that is possible for cradle Orthodox to have "zeal" and be "on fire" for mission, without necessarily reflecting it in the way that Evangelicals might expect. I also pointed this out to provide some balance to your statement that the Orthodox only began publishing materials in English, etc., after Evangelicals became Orthodox, which sort of implied (maybe unintentionally?) that the ex-Evangelicals are the only ones interested in mission, and the ones doing most of the work. I'm not saying that the overt approach is necessarily all bad. I'm just saying that I don't think its our place to come in and knock what got us into the Church in the first place saying, "You're not on fire for the Lord!"  Or to criticize the little old lady dressed from head to toe in black because she walked in halfway through the anaphora.  It is not our place to point the finger and say, "How ironic!  Now I'm more Orthodox than you!"  Converts should come in with a spirit of humility, not a rod of correction we have no right to wield.  Any convert who comes in with an attitude that he or she is going to revamp the Church needs to pray for humility.
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« Reply #131 on: March 01, 2005, 11:37:15 AM »

Antonius Nikolas,

I just LOVE how you take a tiny speck of my description and pretend it as the totality of my description.

Little old ladies in black dresses indeed! Did you fail to read about the placement of a pool table in the church itself?

You make great arguments when you're opponent is a self-created straw man!

Let's take your "come and see" approach alone. "Come and see our pool table!" Yeah, I should be really careful about "claiming I'm more Orthodox" than these folks.
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« Reply #132 on: March 01, 2005, 12:18:58 PM »


PhosZoe,

I don't think you get to moniker all the religious traditions of a culture "social and cultural additions" and call it groovy.  Many did *not* come about to help preserve a particular culture and they had *everything* to do with being Orthodox!  The slava, badnjace, and many other Serbian traditions put theology into the daily lives of the people.  That's what a living tradition is for! 

PhosZoe, I don't think you should criticize people for living their faith in an ethnic way.  That's like condemning the people who brought the faith here in the first place.




There's a line. When someone has adopted a particular tradtion and it makes them into something they are not that's a different story. I've met more than my fair share of converts who get so gung ho on the "cultural stuffs" that they lose themselves as people and forget about WHY they came in the first place. Converts can make all the pita, baklava and sarma they want to but it doesn't make them anymore Orthodox. It means they have a new recipe. Being Orthodox should not be license to give one a "cultural" extreme makeover.
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« Reply #133 on: March 01, 2005, 12:42:41 PM »

Antonius Nikolas,

I just LOVE how you take a tiny speck of my description and pretend it as the totality of my description. 

Little old ladies in black dresses indeed!  Did you fail to read about the placement of a pool table in the church itself?

You make great arguments when you're opponent is a self-created straw man!

Let's take your "come and see" approach alone.  "Come and see our pool table!"  Yeah, I should be really careful about "claiming I'm more Orthodox" than these folks.

Whoa!  Where did that come from?

I guess the old addage is true, "Fling a stone in the hog pen, the one that is struck is the one that will squeal".  I wasn't talking to you or about you.  I was making a general comment in my discussion with Pedro based on real off-line experiences I have had, and was telling him about.  Not everything is about you, my friend, and I wasn't "arguing" with anybody.  Just discussing.  There is no argument to win, we are just expressing different points of view.  Chill out.  If I meant cizinec, believe me I would have said cizinec.
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« Reply #134 on: March 01, 2005, 12:59:34 PM »

Pedro, you and I seem to have something in common in that we both have experiences (and family) in the Evangelical and Orthodox worlds. I guess the biggest difference is that most of the Evangelicals I am personally familiar with are also Charismatics. With you, this does not seem to be the case.

You got it. Thanks for making that good observation; it puts things into perspective for me about what you said.

Quote
I also pointed this out to provide some balance to your statement that the Orthodox only began publishing materials in English, etc., after Evangelicals became Orthodox, which sort of implied (maybe unintentionally?) that the ex-Evangelicals are the only ones interested in mission, and the ones doing most of the work.

Mmm. Yeah. That wasn't what I wanted to imply, though now that I read the post again, that's definitely how it came out. Sorry. Glad you didn't take it the wrong way. Embarrassed

Quote
Or to criticize the little old lady dressed from head to toe in black because she walked in halfway through the anaphora.

Well, as for the lady who's committed most of the Liturgy to memory and "dresses the part" (there're a couple in my parish), that's one thing. But I think there IS some merit to making a distinction between folks like that and folks like "da boys" in my former parish that I mentioned, for whom coming to church meant social hour (both during and after liturgy) and not worship. When the latter is put under the umbrella of "I'm something you shouldn't try to 'revamp' because I'm 'Orthodox,'" then we have a problem.

Thanks, though, for your balanced words otherwise.
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« Reply #135 on: March 01, 2005, 01:40:59 PM »


Don't get me wrong Pedro, I'm not sticking up for the fellas smoking in the vestibule either!  Or especially the lady in the pew in front of me who lets her kids talk LOUDLY about cartoons while scribbling in their coloring books!  She's totallly oblivious!  And these aren't little kids either.  One of them is like 10!  They drive me nuts!

All I'm trying to say is we should be very careful about getting up on our high-horses and judging the "cradles" too harshly, because we feel we made a "choice" for the Church and they didn't (At least to our eyes.  But do we really know their hearts?), or measuring their model of evangelization with Morris Cerullo's yardstick.  Ya feel me? Wink
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« Reply #136 on: March 01, 2005, 02:44:27 PM »

Antonius Nikolas,

Since you first addressed the issue immediately after my post concerning being late to liturgy, etc., and you didn't address anyone in the post, it appeared you were speaking directly to what I said.

Quote
Just because some people come late to Church, etc., it doesn't mean that Orthodoxy is lacking in missionary zeal, or that the Orthodox model of evangelization is somehow in need of a tune-up/infusion from Evangelical Protestant converts.

The reason I liked Suzannah's comment is because I . . .

I understood that you maintained that "terminology" when speaking to Pedro's position. You seemed to create a radical convert complaining about late-comers to the liturgy and impugned some motivaitons behind the complaints. Since I too complained about those who come excessively late to liturgy, among other things, your accusations (in the post specifically to me it was . . . "late to Church, etc.," as if the other things I listed weren't a little more revealing, and the post to Pedro it was "Or to criticize the little old lady dressed from head to toe in black because she walked in halfway through the anaphora") appeared to be aimed at me and those like me.

Concerning not arguing, I've seen several arguments put forward in the recent posts to this thread. I don't see a problem with rigorously testing these arguments.


Phos Zoe,

Quote
There's a line. When someone has adopted a particular tradtion and it makes them into something they are not that's a different story. I've met more than my fair share of converts who get so gung ho on the "cultural stuffs" that they lose themselves as people and forget about WHY they came in the first place. Converts can make all the pita, baklava and sarma they want to but it doesn't make them anymore Orthodox. It means they have a new recipe. Being Orthodox should not be license to give one a "cultural" extreme makeover.

The "cultural traditions" I mentioned were:

Quote
The slava, badnjace, and many other Serbian traditions

Then you discuss "cultural stuffs" as if all things from a culture are equal. Do you think that I am arguing that one should stop being what they are for a fabricated ethnic identity made up of dietary and linguistic changes? Do you think that the celebration of Slava is equivalent to making sarma? I talk about practicing the Orthodox Faith in the way it was handed down to you through your church, not changing your menu. Are those two things the same?

At the risk of sounding too Saussurian, I think there is a lot of agreement here that is not apparent simply because people are making arguments based on terminology that has radically different meaning from argument to argument.

Terms of Ambiguity:

Traditions:

When I'm talking about "Traditions," I'm referring to the way a particular church has "taught" its people to live the Orthodox Faith.

Evangelism:

I mean effictively communicationg the Orthodox Faith to the heterodox/non-Christian people in our communities in such a way that they are welcomed to Orthodoxy if they wish.

The Orthodox Model of Evangelism:

I mean the evangelism of the saints. See my post concerning Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, St. Sava, et. al. I really believe we have a disagreement on definition here.


I also see real disagreement when it comes to the right of the OCA, as an AMERICAN Orthodox church, to develop Orthodox traditions in an AMERICAN way, just as St. Sava did in Serbia.

I see disagreement on the role of spiritual Traditions that a particular church practices.  Some seem to deride them as ethnic diversions unimportant to living the faith, while others, including myself, see them as absolutely essential when living the faith as a person in a family in a parish in an eparchy in a patriarchate in the Church.
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« Reply #137 on: March 01, 2005, 03:35:27 PM »

Cizinec,

The first post, which you quoted in the little box, was a response to you.  The second post, which set you off, was a reply to Pedro.  If you didn't respond to the first one, I wouldn't keep harping at you with a second, and if I meant to impugn you, I would do so directly.  As to "arguing" I think you know that I meant quarreling, not merely engaging in discourse.
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« Reply #138 on: March 01, 2005, 04:06:06 PM »

Just to provide some balance for myself...

I've been told to stop taking antidoron to catechumens after communing in my current parish -- the parish I was in formerly used this as a custom to welcome inquirers and catechumens and it's how I myself was welcomed into the parish at first. It's not the tradition in my current parish, so I cut it out.

"Reading" in my current parish means chanting with a tone, not reading reading.

The spontaneous chanting "Most Holy Theotokos, save us" by the congregation when she is invoked by the priest is missing in my current parish; I had to learn to drop it.

The differences in when and how one crosses oneself are different and should be changed by the "new guy" accordingly.

These and other differences I've learned to accept without questioning. So there is an awareness that we need to respect these traditions of our respective parishes.

These traditions, however, are of a totally different nature from the cuisine and language which, though they may be great for making you a more cultured and well-rounded person, have little if anything to do with how Orthodox one is.
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« Reply #139 on: March 01, 2005, 07:22:01 PM »

Actually, I was responding to both.


Quote
. . . if I meant to impugn you, I would do so directly

I'm assuming you were doing that "directly" when you said, "I guess the old addage is true, 'Fling a stone in the hog pen, the one that is struck is the one that will squeal'."

So, even though you didn't *orignally* intend it to mean me (I'm still not sure who these granny haters are - have you confronted them directly? you must have or you wouldn't have mentioned them here), but now, using your "farmer" wisdom, you guess it's true.

Do I have that straight, or does your "pig" cliche have an entirely different meaning?
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« Reply #140 on: March 01, 2005, 10:18:42 PM »

I'm grateful to the Serbs and to the Serbian Church...they let ME in!!! They baptised me, and they undertook to teach me the true faith....I won't repay that debt it by being "American" (or Irish) Orthodox....


yes and no!

It was the wonderful Greek Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia who prophesied:

***************************************************
"When the Church in the British Isles begins to venerate
her own saints again, the Church will prosper there"

***************************************************

So a knowledge and veneration of the Saints of Ireland could be our contribution to the restoration of holy Orthodoxy to the lands of the West[/size].

Edited to fix quote ~ Pedro
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« Reply #141 on: March 02, 2005, 07:34:54 AM »

  I don't want to speak ill of some of the church leadership, so I'll just say that the growth of the western rite has something to do with the bishop that is over the diocese.  Most of the WR come under the leadership of Bishop Basil.  And we love Bishop Basil to pieces.
  Bishop Basil would tell you that the WR doesn't have to get larger than what it is, it is the simple fact that a congregation somewhere is using the WR, that is all that matters.

I agree; the WR has found a special "patron" of sorts in that wonderful man...the article I think you referenced above is found here.
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« Reply #142 on: March 02, 2005, 07:44:59 AM »

I don't understand why pro-American Orthodox Churchers are not piling into the Antiochian Western Rite parishes. 

Well, a couple of reasons.  One, it's mostly fueled by parishes (or parts thereof) of former Episcopalians who come over en masse.  While there are individuals who come into these parishes (St. Peter's in Ft. Worth has many of these conversions), the parish-size conversions (as well as the already-established bond between parishoners) is what holds the parishes together long enough to establish themselves.  A few WR parishes that have been attempted on an individual convert basis have gone under or become Eastern Rite.

Two, lots of converts don't feel they've "really" converted unless they change the way in which they worship.  Now, for me, the WR would have been a change (I was Southern Baptist).  But for an Episcopalian, I can see the problem...everything looks, sounds, smells almost exactly the same, but the only difference is this bishop coming in, blessing you and smearing oil on you, and afterwards, though everything proceeds almost entirely as before, you're somehow now "Orthodox."  I can see why they'd want "more."  My thought is that we've had so much of one particular flavor of Orthodoxy for so long that we can't stomach the fact that something else might be just as Orthodox but look SOOO different.

Quote
Perhaps this is the next step in the evolution of the American expression of Orthodoxy in this country?

Eh...could be.  I doubt the Episcopalians in Ft. Worth who are splitting from ECUSA will come over here via WR; they're content to reestablish communion as an independent diocese with the worldwide Anglican Communion who's also breaking it off w/ECUSA.  Personally, I see this as a sort of permanent subset of Orthodoxy that will never seriously rival the Eastern Rite as long as ER missions are being established as quickly as they are.  Much like the ER Catholics compared to the predominant Latin Rite.
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« Reply #143 on: March 02, 2005, 11:32:50 AM »


I'm assuming you were doing that "directly" when you said, "I guess the old addage is true, 'Fling a stone in the hog pen, the one that is struck is the one that will squeal'."

So, even though you didn't *orignally* intend it to mean me (I'm still not sure who these granny haters are - have you confronted them directly? you must have or you wouldn't have mentioned them here), but now, using your "farmer" wisdom, you guess it's true.

Do I have that straight, or does your "pig" cliche have an entirely different meaning?


Your interpretation of the passage you dismiss as a "pig cliche" and "farmer wisdom" is for the most part on point. Since you reacted so vehemently to words that were not at all meant for you, you obviously felt "struck" by them. Ergo, you "squealed".

In the interest of ending this pointless tit-for-tat, let me say that I do not consider you a "granny-hater". I don't know you, and you don't know me. As to the people I have encountered in my life off-line, you don't need to worry about them or my interraction with them in any capacity. After re-reading the relevant passages, I can see how you thought the words were meant for you, but they were not. I hope we can drop this. I for one am tired of flogging this dead horse. (Another corn-fed witticism) Wink I never had any interest in this topic as a purely intellectual exercise. To me, humility is the crux of the matter. My objection is to the attitude that "protestantization" holds the cure for what "ails" the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #144 on: March 02, 2005, 01:25:45 PM »



The "cultural traditions" I mentioned were:



Then you discuss "cultural stuffs" as if all things from a culture are equal.  Do you think that I am arguing that one should stop being what they are for a fabricated ethnic identity made up of dietary and linguistic changes?  Do you think that the celebration of Slava is equivalent to making sarma?  I talk about practicing the Orthodox Faith in the way it was handed down to you through your church, not changing your menu.  Are those two things the same? 

At the risk of sounding too Saussurian, I think there is a lot of agreement here that is not apparent simply because people are making arguments based on terminology that has radically different meaning from argument to argument. 

Terms of Ambiguity:

Traditions:

When I'm talking about "Traditions," I'm referring to the way a particular church has "taught" its people to live the Orthodox Faith.

Evangelism:

I mean effictively communicationg the Orthodox Faith to the heterodox/non-Christian people in our communities in such a way that they are welcomed to Orthodoxy if they wish.

The Orthodox Model of Evangelism:

I mean the evangelism of the saints.  See my post concerning Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, St. Sava, et. al.  I really believe we have a disagreement on definition here.


I also see real disagreement when it comes to the right of the OCA, as an AMERICAN Orthodox church, to develop Orthodox traditions in an AMERICAN way, just as St. Sava did in Serbia. 

I see disagreement on the role of spiritual Traditions that a particular church practices. Some seem to deride them as ethnic diversions unimportant to living the faith, while others, including myself, see them as absolutely essential when living the faith as a person in a family in a parish in an eparchy in a patriarchate in the Church.

No, making sarma is not the same as celebrating Slava. I see your point about practicing your faith as handed down by your church. Point being that the Serbian church has traditions that are unique to the Serbian Orthodox people and American converts shouldn't have to feel as if they should take on an ethnic identity in order to become Orthodox. When an American convert of Anglo descent  celebrates Slava and a Serbian family celebrates Slava it means the same thing. BUT, The Anglo American will always be anglo American despite celebrating a Serbian tradition. 
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« Reply #145 on: March 02, 2005, 01:32:45 PM »


... correct me if I'm wrong, your position seems to be advocating for being "American" more than being "American Orthodox".


Correcting.  I was being facetious.

I'm against this Former-Evangelical-Threatened-by-Host Minority sort of attitude that is present in Orthodox parishes in America.

I'm for Pan-Orthodoxy in America rather than an "American Orthodox" ethnicism that some people think is a solution to an alleged, yet overhyped "ethnic" problem.

I would not be an Orthodox Christian if not for the Slavs, Greeks, Arabs who have brought Holy Orthodoxy to America.   My family and I are in your debt.



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« Reply #146 on: March 02, 2005, 01:46:08 PM »

I would not be an Orthodox Christian if not for the Slavs, Greeks, Arabs who have brought Holy Orthodoxy to America.   My family and I are in your debt.

Certainly not indepted to me.  Wink

But certainly glad to have you and your family in the wonderful world of Orthodoxy.  In fact, I must admit, joining the OC.net has really opened my eyes to the amount of non-ethnic Orthodoxy that actually exist.

Before joining here, the whole non-ethnic group seemed more of an urban myth than reality.  Grin
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« Reply #147 on: March 05, 2005, 01:13:50 AM »

Orthodoxical,

Welcome.

I read your posts and you sound like a man after my own heart. You will make a good orthodox christian if you choose that path. Your suggestions on being humble, quiet, with a learning heart, volunteering your time to the parish, doing work around the community to show your serious about your faith and loving everyone no matter how grumpy they are to you is right on the money. Love truely conquers all. God will pour His grace upon you in humility.

God bless you in your walk towards the Orthodox faith. You will not regret the choice if you choose Orthodoxy.

In Christ,

Orthodoxy

Hi Orthodoxy,
Thank you for the kind words. I am late in replying because I don't often have a lot of time during the week for such a pleasant avocation as this message board, and I've had less than usual this week. Anyhow, I have a few observations on posts that have appeared on this thread since I last visited. I am still strongly inclined towards Orthodoxy, nothing I have read here or elsewhere since last time has changed that. I am at this time a little frustrated in my search for a specific church, because I am presently working a Sunday-Thursday schedule - I can't attend Divine Liturgy anywhere until that changes, which will take a few more weeks.
Some folks seem to be passionate one way or another on the "ethnicity" of a given Church. Some are put off by the "Serbness" of a Serbian Church or the "Greekness" of a Greek church, etc etc. Still others are put off by the people who are put off by that. I find a middle way kind of advantageous. On the one hand, I do not endeavor to become a Russian or an Arab or what have you. I couldn't even if I wanted to. I'm a mongrel, of Swede-Scot-Welsh-French lineage, and I enjoy various aspects of each flavor in the cassserole that is me. I have no wish to become a person who is culturally Romanian or Ukrainian or Lakota Sioux. But, I am likely converting to Orthodoxy as the culmination of a long search for Truth, a long hunger for an authentic Liturgy and potent, living Sacraments. One should not convert to a Church in order to adopt a nationality. There is nothing admirable or "Orthodox" about rebelling against one's English roots and pretending one is Syrian. But at the same time, one shouldn't stay in a church simply because its rites and its culture are familiar and comfortable. I think it is an advantage, to a convert, to be immersed in an environment that is not familiar, not altogether comfortable and tried and true. It would help keep you focused on what you ARE there for: the Liturgy, the worship of God, and the partaking of Sacraments. The American Baptist in me will always love "Blessed Assurance". It is a great song. Not just for the warm childhood memories of bland white folks, who have with no trace of an accent and who like ham and bean suppers, gathering together to share their faith in the blood of Jesus, but also because I think anyone who sings it, sings each word of it, sincerely, is in fact "saved". But there is more to the life of a soul than singing a nice song. In the Baptist Church, I could sing about the blood of Jesus. In the Orthodox Church, I will be able to eat it and swallow it, along with His Flesh. For some, the grape juice and cubes of white bread may be enough. The Lord saves whom He will. But I need the body and blood, and if I can get that in a congregation dominated by Lebanese folks or Romanian folks, well, I thank God for that. And I hope they do, too. The cradle Orthodox might not know how lucky they are, they may take it for granted. Whatever Church I end up joining, I certainly hope to make friends and learn some new customs as well as some old Traditions. But make no mistake about it, I am there for the Liturgy and the Sacraments, not for the baklava or borscht.
The other active idea on the latter pages of this thread seems to be concerned with the meaning and the virtue of "evangelizing". There are different ways to do that. Here is an issue I have not seen on this thread, probably because it would be more akin to "Catholicizing" the Orthodox Church, rather than Protestantizing it. I have said in previous posts that I am ALMOST certain Orthodoxy is the Faith to which I want to give myself. It is 98% decided. But, it is not 100%. Because, I could, conceivably, still end up in Rome, despite a number of doctrinal misgivings ranging from priestly celibacy (which has wrought havov on the modern RC Church because it is not happening) to the Bishop of Rome as Universal Emperor. Obviously, this is not the thread to get into nuts and bolts Catholic things. But as regards Evangelization, they SEEM to outdo both the Protestants and the Orthodox. This is why they still have the tip of their shoe in my door, and I would appreciate the insight of people who know more about what Orthodoxy is up to in this area. The Scriptures say "be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only" and "Faith without works is dead". The Protestants are good at preaching the Gospel and imploring their listeners to come in. The Orthodox are (apparently) good at inviting people to worship, to see the Liturgy and Sacraments being practiced. But the Catholics are really good at following the admonition of St Francis: Preach the Gospel always - if necessary, use words. They have so many missions, so many orders of nuns, monks, brothers, and lay people, running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals and schools, serving the poor in a thousand different ways, all over the world. And as a lapsing Protestant heading towards Orthodoxy, I have to admit it impresses me a whole lot. The Salvation Army is a great little organization, despite their odd inclination to dress up like theater ushers. They devote almost all their resources to serving the poor. Their "church" is usually a room in the back of the soup kitchen or off the dormitory. But they have no Sacraments to speak of. Rome has both, soup kitchens AND the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. And I do find it admirable, and I think it is probably the single best form of "evangelization" that there is. I'd love to know what other Orthodox folks think of this, especially converts.
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« Reply #148 on: March 05, 2005, 12:25:08 PM »

Just to provide some balance for myself...

I've been told to stop taking antidoron to catechumens after communing in my current parish -- the parish I was in formerly used this as a custom to welcome inquirers and catechumens and it's how I myself was welcomed into the parish at first.  It's not the tradition in my current parish, so I cut it out.

I ask myself, "Am I protestantizing in my own parish?"

For instance, re: Pedro's quote above...

In my current parish, after communing, parishoners hand out pieces of antidoron to pretty much anyone who did not commune: fellow parishoners, catechumens, inquirers, just-off-the-street visitors.  One could easily get the impression that it is the duty of parishoners to distribute antidoron.

After visiting  Russian and Greek parishes, I noticed a completely different practice.  The priests themselves distributed the antidoron at the end of the Divine Liturgy.

I did some research and found many statements similar to this:

"Antidoron should not be given to non-Orthodox. It represents the Holy Gifts. (Thus the custom—now sadly ignored in most Churches—of fasting from the midnight before Liturgy, even when not communing.) So as not to embarrass non-Orthodox visiting our services, we place portions of an unblessed loaf of bread at one side of the antidoron tray and give these to non-Orthodox with the customary blessing: 'May the blessing of the Lord....' "

I have a newfound appreciation (a respectful fear) for the antidoron and I do not distribute it as it seems to be something that I am unqualified to do.

Should we, chameleon-like , just adapt our practices to the parishes that we happen to be in at the time? Or is my parish too lax in the proper handling and consumption of the antidoron?

By adopting a practice that is counter to the practice of my home parish , am I  "protestantizing," picking and choosing based on my own conscience? 

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« Reply #149 on: March 06, 2005, 12:50:12 AM »

Quote
But as regards Evangelization, they SEEM to outdo both the Protestants and the Orthodox. This is why they still have the tip of their shoe in my door, and I would appreciate the insight of people who know more about what Orthodoxy is up to in this area. The Scriptures say "be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only" and "Faith without works is dead". The Protestants are good at preaching the Gospel and imploring their listeners to come in. The Orthodox are (apparently) good at inviting people to worship, to see the Liturgy and Sacraments being practiced. But the Catholics are really good at following the admonition of St Francis: Preach the Gospel always - if necessary, use words. They have so many missions, so many orders of nuns, monks, brothers, and lay people, running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals and schools, serving the poor in a thousand different ways, all over the world. And as a lapsing Protestant heading towards Orthodoxy, I have to admit it impresses me a whole lot. The Salvation Army is a great little organization, despite their odd inclination to dress up like theater ushers. They devote almost all their resources to serving the poor. Their "church" is usually a room in the back of the soup kitchen or off the dormitory. But they have no Sacraments to speak of. Rome has both, soup kitchens AND the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. And I do find it admirable, and I think it is probably the single best form of "evangelization" that there is. I'd love to know what other Orthodox folks think of this, especially converts.

Orthodoxical,

I also pondered the same things as you have, in regards to the idea of the Roman Catholic Church "out-doing" everyone else with missionary activity, and how the RC faith was spread all over by zealous missionaries who risked their lives to share it with others.

Although I can appreciate that, I believe the Orthodox faith to be the True Catholic Faith, in it's fullness - nothing added to It, or taken from It. It was because of that that I finally took the first steps to learning more about the Orthodox Catholic Faith and to eventually be received into the Church.

There have been many others who shared their faith and risked their lives to share it, Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and yes, Orthodox. You will find after doing some research about Orthodox missionary activity that many have sacrificed their lives for the Faith. I for one think that perhaps converts coming into the Church can use some of the evangelical zeal they were raised with in their previous church/denomination,and put it to good use in the Church to share the True Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic faith.

I am sure others will chime on this and provide some good insight for you, Orthodoxical.

Prayers for you, in this time of discernment. May God guide you where He would have you to be!

In Christ,
Aaron
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aurelia
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« Reply #150 on: March 07, 2005, 03:12:14 PM »

The priest gives out the antidiron in our church...the bulletin clearly states every week that non orthodox may not partake of the communion, but anyone may come up after for antidiron, (as a gesture of fellowship, I presume) there is also a bit ont he church ettiquite page how not to throw it away as it has been blessed, at the very outside you may crumble it up for the birds.  I keep having to eat the rest of my daughters' antidiron because well, some families make a better bread than others,LOL! laugh
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« Reply #151 on: March 10, 2005, 02:53:08 PM »

I would just share two things with Orthodoxical and his post on Feb. 26th

I too looked closely to Rome before becoming Orthodox and for some of the very same institution-admiring reasons - ministries to the poor and educational institutions

One thing that I came to understand about Orthodoxy is that for the first 1400 years after Constantine they DID have all these things going on that the RC Church has today in Byzantium. BUT...since then MOST Orthodox in most Orthodox lands were struggling for their very survival under various forms of vehement persection whether Muslims, Turks, Communism. The RC's have built their institutions and outreaches in relative peace for 500 years!

It will be up to our and future generations of Orthodox to go about the business of institution building in terms of ministries, social outreach, schools, etc. That is if God allows and we ourselves don't have to endure persection - which I believe could be possible and in a relatively short period of time ,even in this country.

The other point is in regard to being saved. Our Orthodox understanding does not have the sense that someone is "saved" already; we are in the process of being saved through the Church and the sacraments by the grace of God and because of what He has done for us in becoming incarnate and suffering death and conquering sin and death. Salvation is a path we are on daily.
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« Reply #152 on: March 13, 2005, 04:15:46 AM »

I would just share two things with Orthodoxical and his post on Feb. 26th

I too looked closely to Rome before becoming Orthodox and for some of the very same institution-admiring reasons - ministries to the poor and educational institutions

One thing that I came to understand about Orthodoxy is that for the first 1400 years after Constantine they DID have all these things going on that the RC Church has today in Byzantium. BUT...since then MOST Orthodox in most Orthodox lands were struggling for their very survival under various forms of vehement persection whether Muslims, Turks, Communism. The RC's have built their institutions and outreaches in relative peace for 500 years!

It will be up to our and future generations of Orthodox to go about the business of institution building in terms of ministries, social outreach, schools, etc. That is if God allows and we ourselves don't have to endure persection - which I believe could be possible and in a relatively short period of time ,even in this country.

The other point is in regard to being saved. Our Orthodox understanding does not have the sense that someone is "saved" already; we are in the process of being saved through the Church and the sacraments by the grace of God and because of what He has done for us in becoming incarnate and suffering death and conquering sin and death. Salvation is a path we are on daily.

Hi Brother Aiden,
Thank you for the observations, both of which seem very astute to me. Regarding being "saved", I quite agree with your point. When someone makes a decision to respond to God's call in his or her life, that is simply the start of an ongoing process. I think even a lot of Protestants realize that, but they seem to be fixated on the act of "accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior" or getting "born again". Once you do that., you are all set, or so they seem to imply. And indeed, someone who accepts Jesus as Lord at a prayer meeting might be all set, if he walks out the door and immediately gets run over by a UPS truck. But, assuming his life continues, so should the development of his relationship with God. This is why I find the Orthodox Church in particular, and sacramental, liturgical, apostolic churches in general, to be superior to Protestantism. They have the tools one needs to develop an ever-closer bond with Christ and with other Christians (and other people). With all due respect to those Protestant churches that encourage regular prayer and Bible study (and many do), they don't have a well developed liturgy, wherein worshippers do nothing but worship God, and thet don't have the Eucharist, wherein one takes into oneself the actual body and blood of Christ. My dad was a rock ribbed Baptist all his life, but he stopped going to church in the 1970s, because he lost a lot of his hearing. He'd say, "why should I sit there for an hour when I can't hear a word the minister is saying?". At the time it seemed like a fair question. Now I would say, you don't go to church to hear a man give a lecture, that is close to irrelevant. But in the Baptist service, the minister's sermon was the centerpiece. Once a month we'd have a communion service, which everyone admitted was just a symbolic recapitulation of the Last Supper and not a Divine Sacrament. In the Orthodox (or Catholic) service, you can be stone deaf and you still go to church. Hearing may help, but you are there to worship God and partake of the Eucharist. I'm not trying to totally dismiss the importance or worthiness of the Priest's homily, but it is not the main reason you are there. Anyhow, this is just my longwinded way of saying I agree that "conversion" is an ongoing process, and it only starts with "getting saved". For a "cradle" Orthodox, there is (hopefully) a time when you realize you are in Church not just because it is a place your parents are in the habit of dragging you every Sunday, but rather it is the place you need to go to feed and cultivate your relationship with God and His Body. It may not be a sudden flash of insight, it could be an understanding that naturally develops as you mature. No matter how you enter the state of being saved, whether by Baptism after birth or by conversion, it is an ongoing, lifelong process.
PS - love the name Aiden, that was the Patron's name I was going to take when I was seriously thinking of becoming Catholic, it is nice to know it remains an option in Orthodoxy. It's nice that the treasures of Celtic Christianity are being rediscovered.
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