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Author Topic: Are converts "protestantizing" the Church?  (Read 23249 times) Average Rating: 0
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Antonious Nikolas
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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 »

Published by The Christian Century, December 2004
http://www.orthodoxnews.netfirms.com/157/Orthodox.htm

‘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.

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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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