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Author Topic: Are converts "protestantizing" the Church?  (Read 24041 times) Average Rating: 0
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PhosZoe
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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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cizinec
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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.

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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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