Wow...a guy takes a day off and things go CRAZY
So here is my 2 cents about everything already said.
First of all, Cowboy...welcome to the site! Good luck getting all your posts in at work!
Secondly, I really wanted to say something about the "language" discussion being held.
I think that as Orthodox Christians we need to be really careful on several points.
1. We should never go to an extreme. If we are to have ALL English then we need to be careful. I've heard of parishes that use English and refuse to say "theotokos" but would rather say "birth-giver of God" does this not sound pharisaical??
2. I think we need to be realistic as WELL as theological. If the parish needs an ethnic language then we need to START from there. HOWEVER, this does NOT mean that we cannot come to a BETTER understanding of our mission here in America, which is to bring the Gospel to all nations.
3. I agree with a lot that's being said about small "t" traditions. There CAN be a lot learned from them, but in my experience a lot of converts don't care to take the time to learn anything from them. They're "hell-bent" on making sure that THEIR concept of Orthodoxy is vindicated. This goes back to point 1 about going to extremes.
4. I've talked to a number of "ultra-extremists" from the ONLY English side. The thing that keeps getting to me is their insistance that we have to spread the Gospel in a language that EVERYONE understands. Their solution to Ethnic parishes is to TEACH them English. Which is not a bad idea.
The thing is, what about Spanish? Are these same people willing to learn Spanish in order to preach to the upcomming spanish-language "take-over" which we all know is happening right now? I would say that these people are NOT willing to learn Spanish. So, in effect, they become the very same thing that they "abhore" they become Ethnically-oriented Orthodox, able only to be a part of and serve ONE community that speaks ONE language. Just like all of the other Ethnic communities.
The real problem is, that when you bring up this problem to the "extremists" they just say "we all need to learn English as the founding language of this country, etc." which is true. The issue is that there are NO programs (to my knowledge) in the OCA, Antiochians, or any other English based church for Spanish speaking people. Only in individual parishes is there any kind of work being done to help Spanish speaking people learn English, etc. Or a Spanish speaking service, etc.
This is why I put extremism as a FIRST problem. Yes we need to be zealous about our knowledge of the Gospel and what its trying to tell us to do. YES we need to spread the Good News to all people. But we ALSO need to have a better plan and better understanding of each other. When I talk to "extremist" converts all they try to do is tell me about THEIR goal for the church in America. What about MY goal as a cradle immigrant? Even if they are willing to listen, they can't understand. Believe me, i've tried a LOT.
In all of these things i'm willing to be wrong, just to make sure that Christ is a part of ALL people that I come into contact with. I'm not sure that the extremists are willing to be wrong.
Please forgive me if I focused only on one side of extremism. I think we are all aware of the problems with Ethnically minded churches. The thing is, no one is taking an objective look at "American" minded churches, and the problems there. (I think).