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Author Topic: The Protestant "Overton Window"  (Read 632 times) Average Rating: 0
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Hinterlander
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« on: December 09, 2013, 04:57:37 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 07:38:13 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

Nice article.

I do want to point out that all the good German students I've met blow all American good students out of the water.

Also, private schools are a complete joke, unless you live in Quito. And prep schools are evil.

So what would you say defines your American Protestant Overton Window?
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 07:59:32 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

If you're struggling to create good discussion here, you could always resort to trolling.

Remember, the Orthodox on this board are mostly American from Protestant background, so there shouldn't really be a big divide.
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Hinterlander
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 10:13:12 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

If you're struggling to create good discussion here, you could always resort to trolling.

Remember, the Orthodox on this board are mostly American from Protestant background, so there shouldn't really be a big divide.

I don't know what other people here might have to say.  I like the article (I'm a public school teacher) and appreciate this term - it helps me understand myself and my fellow Protestants as I inquire more deeply into Orthodoxy. 
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Hinterlander
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 10:15:05 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

So what would you say defines your American Protestant Overton Window?

I'd say the biggest issue for me is the veneration of the Theotokos which I am not too hasty to try and "understand" as I've read it's a mystery to be sought through real participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

I'd say it really comes down to "romaphobia" as is often mentioned.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 10:15:50 PM by Hinterlander » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 10:28:49 PM »

I'd say the biggest issue for me is the veneration of the Theotokos which I am not too hasty to try and "understand" as I've read it's a mystery to be sought through real participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

Could you elaborate on what makes it an issue? I can guess based on what I hear most protestants say, but I'd like to hear your words.

I don't come from a protestant background, but I had some reservations about venerating the saints coming in. Once I came to accept the life of the Church, I suddenly didn't have those apprehensions anymore. It could be, as you suspect, that you just need more time and experience with the Church.

I'd say it really comes down to "romaphobia" as is often mentioned.

Would you say you hold a bit of "romaphobia"? How severe?
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 10:40:38 PM »

I'd say the biggest issue for me is the veneration of the Theotokos which I am not too hasty to try and "understand" as I've read it's a mystery to be sought through real participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

Could you elaborate on what makes it an issue? I can guess based on what I hear most protestants say, but I'd like to hear your words.

I don't come from a protestant background, but I had some reservations about venerating the saints coming in. Once I came to accept the life of the Church, I suddenly didn't have those apprehensions anymore. It could be, as you suspect, that you just need more time and experience with the Church.

Due to many issues I am not yet able or willing to expose myself to the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.  I can understand and accept the Orthodox teachings about the Theotokos as sinless, ever-virgin, etc.  I can also appreciate the stories I read of her presence through holy icons and on Mount Athos.  However, as an active and committed member to a Protestant congregation the veneration of the Theotokos is really something "beyond the pale"

I'd say it really comes down to "romaphobia" as is often mentioned.

Would you say you hold a bit of "romaphobia"? How severe?

I don't think I hold much romaphobia anymore.  I think the "Overton Window" of many Evangelicals is influenced by an understanding of themselves as holding to a Christianity that is unlike Catholicism - and unlike Catholicism for a reason they perhaps don't even fully understand anymore but hold to as part of their religious identity.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 10:41:14 PM by Hinterlander » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 10:48:35 PM »

Due to many issues I am not yet able or willing to expose myself to the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.  I can understand and accept the Orthodox teachings about the Theotokos as sinless, ever-virgin, etc.  I can also appreciate the stories I read of her presence through holy icons and on Mount Athos.  However, as an active and committed member to a Protestant congregation the veneration of the Theotokos is really something "beyond the pale"

I think I understand. Do you think there will be a time when you will "open up"? Will such a time be dependent on changing your current situation (i.e. leaving aspects of your Protestantism behind)? I'm not suggesting that you take action right now; I'm just curious about how you think things will pan out as you learn more about Orthodoxy.

And I assume that you've already been given the usual apologetic for venerating the saints ("it's just like asking a friend for prayers", etc.). Do you find those help or just complicate the issue?

I don't think I hold much romaphobia anymore.  I think the "Overton Window" of many Evangelicals is influenced by an understanding of themselves as holding to a Christianity that is unlike Catholicism - and unlike Catholicism for a reason they perhaps don't even fully understand anymore but hold to as part of their religious identity.

Well, I suppose the good news is that Orthodoxy is not like the Catholicism that Protestants try not to be like (which is a largely fictitious entity to begin with).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 10:52:12 PM by lovesupreme » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 10:55:03 PM »

Due to many issues I am not yet able or willing to expose myself to the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.  I can understand and accept the Orthodox teachings about the Theotokos as sinless, ever-virgin, etc.  I can also appreciate the stories I read of her presence through holy icons and on Mount Athos.  However, as an active and committed member to a Protestant congregation the veneration of the Theotokos is really something "beyond the pale"

I think I understand. Do you think there will be a time when you will "open up"? Will such a time be dependent on changing your current situation (i.e. leaving aspects of your Protestantism behind)? I'm not suggesting that you take action right now; I'm just curious about how you think things will pan out as you learn more about Orthodoxy.

And I assume that you've already been given the usual apologetic for venerating the saints ("it's just like asking a friend for prayers", etc.). Do you find those help or just complicate the issue?

I could fully embrace that too, no problem.  Most of all my hangups are dealt with regarding Orthodox beliefs and practices.  Many Protestants are not going to be swayed by these sorts of explanations because the issue lies outside their "Overton Window".  Your debating it with them is not going to help really.  You have to help them get rid of their Overton Window first - but perhaps discussing the issue will help in that task.
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 11:04:55 PM »

Due to many issues I am not yet able or willing to expose myself to the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.  I can understand and accept the Orthodox teachings about the Theotokos as sinless, ever-virgin, etc.  I can also appreciate the stories I read of her presence through holy icons and on Mount Athos.  However, as an active and committed member to a Protestant congregation the veneration of the Theotokos is really something "beyond the pale"

I think I understand. Do you think there will be a time when you will "open up"? Will such a time be dependent on changing your current situation (i.e. leaving aspects of your Protestantism behind)? I'm not suggesting that you take action right now; I'm just curious about how you think things will pan out as you learn more about Orthodoxy.

And I assume that you've already been given the usual apologetic for venerating the saints ("it's just like asking a friend for prayers", etc.). Do you find those help or just complicate the issue?

I could fully embrace that too, no problem.  Most of all my hangups are dealt with regarding Orthodox beliefs and practices.  Many Protestants are not going to be swayed by these sorts of explanations because the issue lies outside their "Overton Window".  Your debating it with them is not going to help really.  You have to help them get rid of their Overton Window first - but perhaps discussing the issue will help in that task.

I suspected as much. I wonder how successful convert-apologists are when they try to convince their friends and family to embrace their new faith in Orthodoxy or Catholicism using the common points like these. If they're so darn simple and effective, why aren't they bringing more converts to the Church? Many times, as you surmised, it's about stepping out of the box first, and that can take a lot of effort and sacrifice.

I think your realization that you're inside the box, the "Overton Window," and that's preventing you from embracing Orthodoxy, is a good sign, by the way. How can we, if at all, help you move?
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 11:40:20 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

So what would you say defines your American Protestant Overton Window?

I'd say the biggest issue for me is the veneration of the Theotokos which I am not too hasty to try and "understand" as I've read it's a mystery to be sought through real participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

I'd say it really comes down to "romaphobia" as is often mentioned.

Popular Orthodox attitudes towards the saints give me a bit of trouble, too. I was raised Orthodox. The development of the cult of the saints has a rather interesting history, if not a somewhat cloudy one.

The part that gives me trouble is when Orthodox speak of saints as active agents that you can pray to for favors and such. "I prayed to St. X and he healed my broken leg." I am not sure what the point of such practices is, and I cannot imagine any theological justification for it.

I treat it as being just popular piety. Other Orthodox, however, will defend the validity of this practice as essential to Orthodoxy. And I'm not denying that it is, but I don't get the validity of it.
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 11:43:11 AM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

So what would you say defines your American Protestant Overton Window?

I'd say the biggest issue for me is the veneration of the Theotokos which I am not too hasty to try and "understand" as I've read it's a mystery to be sought through real participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

I'd say it really comes down to "romaphobia" as is often mentioned.
Former pentecostal/baptis/non-denom evangelical here.  Veneration to Mary tripped me up for a long time due, mainly, to my "romaphobia" that I learned form my churches and Chick publishing literature.  What got me over that was considering what was good for my soul: becoming part of Christ's Church, which is His Body.  If Mary is our Savior's Mother (which she is, there is no doubt), thenshe can be our Mother too.  Just as we have earthly fathers and a Father in heaven, we have our earthly mothers and a mother in heaven.  She is with her Son along with all those godly saints, praying and glorifying God for us unceasingly.  Just as I love my mother always, I love Mary too.  This doesn't take away from the love I have for my father or God.
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 12:10:40 PM »

Veneration to Mary tripped me up for a long time due, mainly, to my "romaphobia" that I learned form my churches and Chick publishing literature.  What got me over that was considering what was good for my soul: becoming part of Christ's Church, which is His Body.  If Mary is our Savior's Mother (which she is, there is no doubt), thenshe can be our Mother too.  Just as we have earthly fathers and a Father in heaven, we have our earthly mothers and a mother in heaven.  She is with her Son along with all those godly saints, praying and glorifying God for us unceasingly.  Just as I love my mother always, I love Mary too.  This doesn't take away from the love I have for my father or God.

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26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 05:48:56 PM »

I'd say the biggest issue for me is the veneration of the Theotokos which I am not too hasty to try and "understand" as I've read it's a mystery to be sought through real participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

Could you elaborate on what makes it an issue? I can guess based on what I hear most protestants say, but I'd like to hear your words.

I don't come from a protestant background, but I had some reservations about venerating the saints coming in. Once I came to accept the life of the Church, I suddenly didn't have those apprehensions anymore. It could be, as you suspect, that you just need more time and experience with the Church.

Due to many issues I am not yet able or willing to expose myself to the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.  I can understand and accept the Orthodox teachings about the Theotokos as sinless, ever-virgin, etc.  I can also appreciate the stories I read of her presence through holy icons and on Mount Athos.  However, as an active and committed member to a Protestant congregation the veneration of the Theotokos is really something "beyond the pale"

I'd say it really comes down to "romaphobia" as is often mentioned.

Would you say you hold a bit of "romaphobia"? How severe?

I don't think I hold much romaphobia anymore.  I think the "Overton Window" of many Evangelicals is influenced by an understanding of themselves as holding to a Christianity that is unlike Catholicism - and unlike Catholicism for a reason they perhaps don't even fully understand anymore but hold to as part of their religious identity.

Dear Hinterlander,

I can empathise with your situation somewhat. My wife belongs to your denomination (CRC), my in-laws are very involved, university professors at the denominational institutions so I highly respect the history and the denomination you are in.

David DeJonge, who founded Legacy Icons is also a former CRC member and I know of a few other former CRCers who have become Orthodox. Also, I know the CRC and Orthodox college chaplains in my area work very closely together.

I would respectfully say, there is only so far you can go through intellectual study of Orthodoxy. I understand that you are not ready to commit to an Orthodox parish, but perhaps you could attend a Saturday night vespers service? Or attend a Sunday liturgy on occasion? Can you talk to a priest to incorporate some Orthodox prayer to your life? Start a prayer rule, etc? I found that as I started to pray and included, "Rejoice, Virgin Thetokos, Mary full of Grace, Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb for you have borne the Savior of our souls". There is absolutely nothing that I could find wrong with that statement. And as I prayed it every day I got more and more comfortable with it, I was less afraid of accidentally worshiping Mary and at the same time, growing in love for her and for the Lord as well. As my parish priest told the children, we venerate because we love.

When I considered how high Orthodoxy considers all humanity, as really made in the image of God, we should really be bowing down and kissing each other all the time. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who stated that if we encountered a truly deified human, it would be a being we would strongly be tempted to worship, and if we he encountered a truly fallen human it would be a nightmare beyond our worst imaginations, (paraphrased).





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« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 08:42:02 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

If you're struggling to create good discussion here, you could always resort to trolling.

Remember, the Orthodox on this board are mostly American from Protestant background, so there shouldn't really be a big divide.

I am Greek american Orthodox from birth, but I stand up for Protestants as well, so that does not always mean that there is a divide.
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 08:55:07 PM »

From a recent article on Salondealing with public education policy:
Quote
The “Overton Window” is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like “The Eiger Sanction” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the “box” that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/01/school_choice_vs_reality/

As a Protestant who has taken considerable time to better understand Orthodoxy I realize that my inability to talk successfully (or even bring up the topic) is due to this issue.  Orthodoxy and many of it's concerns is simply way outside the "Overton Window" of most American Christians.

Nice article.

I do want to point out that all the good German students I've met blow all American good students out of the water.

Also, private schools are a complete joke, unless you live in Quito. And prep schools are evil.

So what would you say defines your American Protestant Overton Window?

I disagree. I studied at Goethe University as a Fulbright Scholar back in 1972. I found that the German students are taught facts, but  not critical thinking. They go to a lecture in  a large hall and never have a chance to ask questions. Even in a seminar, a student never disagrees with the professor. Americans are taught to question everything, including the views of their professor, or they used to be before the victory of political correctness. I was in a seminar on Prussian history and disagreed with the professor. Being young and an American, it did not really matter if the professor liked me, because I was going back to Oklahoma State, to finish my PhD. I expressed my disgreement. The other students were horrified, but the professor found it refreshing to be challenged. In a seminar you have to do some sort of project to earn a certificate for participation. I went to the professor and asked him what I had to do to earn the certificate, he said, "Just keep doing what you are doing, question me when you disagree."
Actually the area in which I disagreed with him is relevant to this discussion. He argued  that Prussian militarism came from Calvinism. I disagreed, because although it is true that the Prussian royal family, the Hohenzollerns adopted Calvinism under Elector John Sigismund in 1613, the rest of the population remained Lutheran.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 09:25:10 PM »

The part that gives me trouble is when Orthodox speak of saints as active agents that you can pray to for favors and such. "I prayed to St. X and he healed my broken leg." I am not sure what the point of such practices is, and I cannot imagine any theological justification for it.

They are deified. They emanate the divine energies of God, which are healing. They are repositories and conduits of grace, partaking of the divine nature and sharing it with us.

Think of the apostles and saints working miracles while on earth. No saint would tell a person that needed a miracle: "Just talk to God about it directly."

I really don't see how you could see some artificial divide in their ability to heal in this life and when they are uninhibited after repose.
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