Firstly, there is a problem that somehow it is expected to be considered "natural" that the Church should adopt American (and Australian) culture simply because it is present in those countires.
Well, I think we may be talking past each other, and it might help to address specific issues (perhaps we could begin with the ones in my posts above, unless you'd prefer to talk about others) rather than just talking about "American culture" or "Australian culture" as a generality.
BTW...I'm sorry -- to you and to the rest of the readers of this thread -- for being so snappy in the other posts. I get that way over some issues. Need to watch that, 'specially as a mod...
If anything, I feel that Orthodoxy is "counter-culture"
I agree, which is why I think what Elisha did--address specific issues one by one--is the way to go here, as we're judging custom X
within the Church as the community of the Church
, and not necessarily as members of a particular human culture. I agree with you; I don't think any
culture--American or otherwise--needs to be admitted wholesale to the Church, since the Church is a culture unto itself.
Anytime the church has been officially linked to the secular state, nothing good has happened.
Well...it DID fascilitate the spread of the gospel around the world a heckofalot more easily than if we had to do it underground, being persecuted....
Just look at how the dress of Bishops and Priests have been adapted from the dress of SECULAR Byzantine authority from ages past. The beards, long hair, hats and Bishops dressed up like Byzantine Emporers.
I listened to Fr. Thomas Hopko's lectures on the Apocalypse recently, and I agree that it would do us good to "reclaim" some of the original liturgical imagery that is present in that book...rather than reflecting the Imperial Court, our clergy/sanctuaries/etc. would reflect the heavenly worship much more directly. We'll see what, if anything comes of that thought process within the Church.
A few weeks ago I was invited to a local Greek Orthodox Church. One parishioner asked if I wanted to visit their bookstore. I was so disappointed to find posters of Greece, books on Greek culture, etc.--but not an Orthodox Study Bible, Icons or anything remotely resembling Orthodox materials. My wife joked (not funny--more sad) that it felt like being in a Greek travel agent's office.
Shows you what people really care about and what they're there for, huh? Sad....
I am also hardpressed to understand how anyone who uses English as a first language could state that they prefer the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic or Ancient Greek. The Liturgy is not a "performance" that we come to observe. We are supposed to participate in worship, to hear the Word of God, to respond in prayer and thanksgiving.
What was that thing that St. Paul said? "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (1 Cor. 14:19)...that goes for English-speaking (or whatever-speaking) American citizens, as well as recent immigrants, which is why allowances ought to be made when there's a legitimate immigrant population that honestly does not understand English
Two seminarians from Uganda (who we know well and went to visit) related that they were being forced to learn Russian--to "help them with their eventual ministries in Uganda".
Well, of course, because you know there are so many pockets of Serbians and Ukranians in EAST AFRICA
. Geez, oh man...<deep breath>...OK...calm....
The result--loss of about 60% of parishioners.
Even if this went the other way--all English intro'd, pantsuits, no head coverings, etc--I think there's wisdom in the adage, "No changes for at least
a year when you arrive as a new priest." People are people and don't take kindly to dramatic regime changes at the hands of the priest (or anybody else).