Church and identity

henrikhankhagnell

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I am getting very confused all the time so please help me.
The Coptic Church talk about Egypt, the Ethiopian Church talk about Ethiopian and so on. I know that the Roman Catholic talk about much about Europe. So being a European it would be easier to become Catholic rather than Orthodox. but I do love Oriental Orthodoxy. What do you think?
 

Asteriktos

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Are you searching for a Church that Christ founded and which God reigns in, or a social club that will make you feel at home and comfortable?
 

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henrikhankhagnell said:
I am getting very confused all the time so please help me.
The Coptic Church talk about Egypt, the Ethiopian Church talk about Ethiopian and so on. I know that the Roman Catholic talk about much about Europe. So being a European it would be easier to become Catholic rather than Orthodox. but I do love Oriental Orthodoxy. What do you think?
You can convert to whatever religion you like.  However one cannot deny that cultures are influenced by the faith that the majority of its people practice.  For instance, the culture of a Greek revolves heavily around Orthodoxy, in a cultural sense.  The faith has been so infused with the nation that it is hard to separate them (Even if the majority of Greeks may not be regularly  practicing Orthodox).  The same goes for Italians and Spaniards and Catholicism, or Armenians and the OO, etc...  This is just the way things are and probably always will be, so get used to them.  I'm sure that if you sincerely wanted to convert to an OO church then you would be welcomed with open arms, but remember that while the OO's may respect you for coming over to them, you should try to do the same in regards to their culture and identity.  They won't force you to turn Copt, or Syriac, or Armenian, but things probably won't go well if you expect them to give up their own culture and adopt yours.
As a priest I once knew said "If you go to an ethnic parish, you'd better expect to eat pirogi's."
 

deusveritasest

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Picking a church based on who best speaks to your ethnicity and culture is shallow. You have to determine whose dogmatic tradition you agree with.
 

JamesRottnek

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Robb, just a quick comment.  I don't know whether or not you meant this, but it sounded like you were saying that he really should adopt the Coptic/Armenian/whatever culture if he joins their church.  If you were not saying this I apologize, but if you were, I think that might be going a bit too far.  Of course he should not expect them to adopt his culture, but neither should they expect him to give up being Swedish (I believe from other posts he's Swedish) just to be part of the Coptic Church or Armenian Church, etc.
 

deusveritasest

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JamesRottnek said:
Robb, just a quick comment.  I don't know whether or not you meant this, but it sounded like you were saying that he really should adopt the Coptic/Armenian/whatever culture if he joins their church.
Robb has quite a history of being an ethnicist who doesn't really care about the modern enculturation of the faith, and even opposes it.
 

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JamesRottnek said:
Robb, just a quick comment.  I don't know whether or not you meant this, but it sounded like you were saying that he really should adopt the Coptic/Armenian/whatever culture if he joins their church.  If you were not saying this I apologize, but if you were, I think that might be going a bit too far.  Of course he should not expect them to adopt his culture, but neither should they expect him to give up being Swedish (I believe from other posts he's Swedish) just to be part of the Coptic Church or Armenian Church, etc.
No, I didn't say that he should adopt these OO cultures if he goes OO.  I meant that he should show respect for the culture of the parish that eh finds himself in and not expect that they jettison their ethnic heritage just because he converted.  There should be an atmosphere of mutual respect which is, of course a two way street.
 

JamesRottnek

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OK, that's kind of what I thought you might be saying, but I just wanted to have it clarified.  I would of course agree that there should be a two way street of mutual cultural respect - otherwise either there would be no converts or there would be nothing but converts, neither of which is particularly great.
 

deusveritasest

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Robb said:
JamesRottnek said:
Robb, just a quick comment.  I don't know whether or not you meant this, but it sounded like you were saying that he really should adopt the Coptic/Armenian/whatever culture if he joins their church.  If you were not saying this I apologize, but if you were, I think that might be going a bit too far.  Of course he should not expect them to adopt his culture, but neither should they expect him to give up being Swedish (I believe from other posts he's Swedish) just to be part of the Coptic Church or Armenian Church, etc.
No, I didn't say that he should adopt these OO cultures if he goes OO.  I meant that he should show respect for the culture of the parish that eh finds himself in and not expect that they jettison their ethnic heritage just because he converted.  There should be an atmosphere of mutual respect which is, of course a two way street.
Except that you have opposed in the past ethnic churches making any effort to create an atmosphere that at all reflects the culture of the convert.
 

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deusveritasest said:
Picking a church based on who best speaks to your ethnicity and culture is shallow. You have to determine whose dogmatic tradition you agree with.
Confession: I'm shallow and have not felt dogmatic about anything other than the very basics of Christianity in at least 4 years. I wish I felt more like that. I could spend a lifetime trying to find every doctrine out, but I would rather move on with the basics of living and value historical bases of tradition.
 

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peterfarrington said:
How can you have any basis for living if you do not believe what the Church teaches?
You start from why you didn't completely give up on God in the first place several years ago (it was a rough year) and learn slowly from there being more honest than you used to be about who you are and stay to learn where you are not judged or shunned for not blinding following what pop Christian John Doe says you should be in order to be a good Christian and try to learn a bit more about the historical precedent of doctrine because that is more realistic than Jane Doe's latest revelation. I'm guessing that was to me. I'm a big fan of settling theological disputes with Church fathers' writings and historical stuff. The local Coptic priest described the Council of Chalcedon dispute as primarily a matter of translation. From there, I'm totally proud to be part Armenian.
 

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sounds like you're moving the right direction and honesty is a good starting point.
 

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Anastasia1 said:
deusveritasest said:
Picking a church based on who best speaks to your ethnicity and culture is shallow. You have to determine whose dogmatic tradition you agree with.
Confession: I'm shallow and have not felt dogmatic about anything other than the very basics of Christianity in at least 4 years. I wish I felt more like that. I could spend a lifetime trying to find every doctrine out, but I would rather move on with the basics of living and value historical bases of tradition.
Let me ask you this.  What are the very basics of Christianity for you?
 

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minasoliman said:
Anastasia1 said:
deusveritasest said:
Picking a church based on who best speaks to your ethnicity and culture is shallow. You have to determine whose dogmatic tradition you agree with.
Confession: I'm shallow and have not felt dogmatic about anything other than the very basics of Christianity in at least 4 years. I wish I felt more like that. I could spend a lifetime trying to find every doctrine out, but I would rather move on with the basics of living and value historical bases of tradition.
Let me ask you this.  What are the very basics of Christianity for you?
Genesis, Matthew, that sort of thing.
 

Robb

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deusveritasest said:
Robb said:
JamesRottnek said:
Robb, just a quick comment.  I don't know whether or not you meant this, but it sounded like you were saying that he really should adopt the Coptic/Armenian/whatever culture if he joins their church.  If you were not saying this I apologize, but if you were, I think that might be going a bit too far.  Of course he should not expect them to adopt his culture, but neither should they expect him to give up being Swedish (I believe from other posts he's Swedish) just to be part of the Coptic Church or Armenian Church, etc.
No, I didn't say that he should adopt these OO cultures if he goes OO.  I meant that he should show respect for the culture of the parish that eh finds himself in and not expect that they jettison their ethnic heritage just because he converted.  There should be an atmosphere of mutual respect which is, of course a two way street.
Except that you have opposed in the past ethnic churches making any effort to create an atmosphere that at all reflects the culture of the convert.
No, I support ethnic parishes maintaining their own identity and culture and not trying to overtly dilute it in order to appear more American, Canadian, etc... I have no

thing against providing materials and doing liturgies in the native language of the area in order to help those who are either not of that culture or have become assimilated into the host society.  

However, it should be remembered that I am an RC and the RCC is extremely different then the OC, at least in America.  We have ethnic parishes which accommodate the ethnic faithful who worship in them and wish to preserve their language and culture by doing so.  However we also have American RC parishes (Usually ones founded by Irish) who accommodate the American people who wish to convert to the RCC.  This leaves we ethnic Catholics free to work to preserve our heritage in the context of our religion without having to worry about bearing the burden of being the "Face of Catholicism" to the whole nation.  This also doesn't mean that we ethnic RC's aren't welcoming of newcomers and resist any attempt to integrate ourselves into U.S. society.  The average, ethnic RC parish has had to deal with the same struggles and splits over how to reach out to our youth who have become Americanized and how to transmit our culture to them in a positive way without appearing either too clannish and "foreign" as well as too assimilation'ist.  It's a tightrope for sure.

This seems to be the big problem that the EO's have had in transmitting their religion to American culture.  There never was a large group of English speaking OC's (Like the Irish) who could represent the religion to the majority of Waspish Americans in a way that they could relate to.  Instead all the OC's came from southern and Eastern Europe and their culture was considered "creepy" and foreign to most Americans.  Plus there was no one single jurisdiction which could speak for and represent Orthodoxy (At least after the Russian Revolution).  This leaves the OC in the west divided up into various national jurisdictions which are working on two fronts 1.  To preserve their culture 2.  Make converts and represent the OC to the western world.  Its certainly a big load for you guys to carry and unfortunately causes you much, much more friction then it does we RC's (That's not to say that we don't have our own battles between assimilation'ist bishops and ethnic churches).  
 

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Anastasia1 said:
Genesis, Matthew, that sort of thing.
I feel more Orthodox when I leave church and less during the week.

What about cultural things like God deserves worship that is more reverent than a dude singing shallow lyrics to guitar music maker and master of the universe makes him a little bigger than a girlfriend/boyfriend in life?
 

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Anastasia1 said:
Anastasia1 said:
Genesis, Matthew, that sort of thing.
I feel more Orthodox when I leave church and less during the week.

What about cultural things like God deserves worship that is more reverent than a dude singing shallow lyrics to guitar music maker and master of the universe makes him a little bigger than a girlfriend/boyfriend in life?
Don't we all? 

Are you an Armenian Church goer?  If so is the use of guitars and other "folksy" instruments a problem for your parish?
 

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Anastasia1 said:
minasoliman said:
Anastasia1 said:
deusveritasest said:
Picking a church based on who best speaks to your ethnicity and culture is shallow. You have to determine whose dogmatic tradition you agree with.
Confession: I'm shallow and have not felt dogmatic about anything other than the very basics of Christianity in at least 4 years. I wish I felt more like that. I could spend a lifetime trying to find every doctrine out, but I would rather move on with the basics of living and value historical bases of tradition.
Let me ask you this.  What are the very basics of Christianity for you?
Genesis, Matthew, that sort of thing.
Well, I think you're okay if you're dogmatically and Biblically Christian.  That's really the essence of Orthodoxy there, the beginning of Orthodoxy if anything.  You're on the right path.

Orthodox faith is not something you study in one day or a week to fathom, but something you grow into.

And for history.  History is there for an appreciation of dogmatic beliefs, not a necessary thing to get deeply engaged into, unless you're passionate about it.  But what matters is your faith, and if your faith is quite simple, then I would say, lucky you.

So, don't be too hard on yourself.
 

Anastasia1

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Robb said:
Anastasia1 said:
Anastasia1 said:
Genesis, Matthew, that sort of thing.
I feel more Orthodox when I leave church and less during the week.

What about cultural things like God deserves worship that is more reverent than a dude singing shallow lyrics to guitar music maker and master of the universe makes him a little bigger than a girlfriend/boyfriend in life?
Don't we all? 

Are you an Armenian Church goer?  If so is the use of guitars and other "folksy" instruments a problem for your parish?
I try to be. I have been to too many Protestant megachurches that played stuff like Chris Tomlin's Indescribable.
 
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