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Do You Want an American Orthodox Church

Would You Like North America To Have It's Own Orthodox Church???

  • Yes

    Votes: 59 68.6%
  • No

    Votes: 19 22.1%
  • Other

    Votes: 8 9.3%

  • Total voters
    86
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BrotherAidan

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greekischristian said:
So while I actually agree with the above quoted paragraph,

Well, then, in all fairness I'm an American so I'm clearly biased; perhaps we can hear more objective analyses from those not so intimately involved in the current situation.
That is quite possibly a first GiC, agreeing with me on anything! :p

And you are quite possibly right. It is probably moreso the Americans that do all the American culture bashing on these boards. Our Brit, Aussie and Canadian friends are probably more tolerant of us than we are of oursleves and they have to deal with many of the same issues in their own cultures. America is just more  commercial and over-the-top.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Is EVERYTHING we see in the Church today merely a product of our interaction with the surrounding culture?  What role does the ministry of the Holy Spirit play in your conception of the Church?  Is there such thing as timeless, eternal Truth, or is doctrine defined purely in accordance with the whims of the current age?
I think the work of the Holy Spirit is evident in that Orthodox Christians are at least raising these types of questions. A generation or so ago that might not have been the case. The work of the Spirit is also seen in what Fr. Chris has related and also Tamara and the Orthodox students movement.

The Truth of course is timeless, but it's application may not be fixed in stone, especially from one culture to another. I think, because of Communism and Islamic conquest of the Christian east alot of these issues were either back burnered or taken off the stove. Orthodoxy may be a messy affair at times, but I think that people saying that it is and that we would like to see it get better is positive and a movement of the Holy Spirit.

And, for us converts, the irony is that we were attracted to Orthodoxy because it doesnt change on a whim. It might take a couple centuries. So, we will likely never see the changes we long for. Our great-great-grandchildren might. And, in a twisted sort of way, that may be a blessing and perfectly in keeping with why we were drawn to Orthodoxy.

I also realize that what I have just written pretty much contradicts alot of what I have already posted on this thread. But sometimes you step back, look at your primary arguments and not only see the other side, but sort of feel the other side a bit yourself. (BTW, this is exactly why I find the higher critical method laughable; a liberal Bible scholar would surely view this post as a later redaction, inserted into the text to deal with a local issue that arose generations later. One author could never have written all the posts attributed to BA).  :-\
 

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I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.

Neither Greeks, Serbians, Romanians (or any particular one ethnic group) invented Orthodoxy. In fact, if you were to ask each of these groups separately about certain matters in regards to the Church, they would probably have some minor disagreements. Americans are LUCKY because we have Greeks, Serbians, Romanians and all the other ethnic groups represented here. This is great because it allows us to get a full view of the Orthodox faith; however when each of these groups remain exclusivist to the dominant culture (which is English speaking), they do a grave disservice not only to each other, but also to native born Americans and more especially to Holy Orthodoxy itself.

I would add that the majority of Americans are from western European background. Although most of them would find other cultures interesting, unless they have prior connections to a particular ethnic group (they themselves are married to or are dating a particular person from said ethnic group), they probably are not interested in becoming Greek, Romanian, or Serbian...... Native born converts to Orthodoxy owe a debt of gratitude to previous generations of Orthodox from various countries that have come here because without them its quite possible that we wouldn't have Orthodoxy at all here. If a group of American Orthodox went to Romania and demanded that the services should be in English in a particular parish, Romanians would think it would be very rude. I can understand immigrants wanting to stay in touch with their culture (language, customs, food etc.), that's all well and good, but it's a completely different matter when talking about Holy Orthodoxy.
 

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greekischristian said:
So what is 'American Culture'?
The 'what' is not something that can be quantified in a short list or sentence. American culture is really a few 'cultures' inside a larger Anglo civilization. Interesting that even the Nazis considered 'the West' as their enemy, embodied in the USA and UK (including the Commonwealth of Nations.) And really, that is what American culture is - Albion unchained. It is what gives Westerners so much in common with Australians and Kiwis, Canadians so much grief over their similarities/dissimilarities with Yankees, and the discomfort almost everyone seems to feel about us Southerners (we're almost *medieval*.)

I suppose the short answer is that for American culture, beginning from any other ethnicity, would be 'you can't get here from there'. Without Anglo ideas of Freedom (which literally means 'the rule of friendship'), Common Law (with Magna Carta), Lowland Scots ideas of the rights of nations and the nobility of man (Arbroath Declaration, and more), and much more Western and particularly British or English - one couldn't have America. We did get here from 'there' (in fact, America preserves much of 17th - 18th c. Britain, things the 'Homeland' and the rest of the Commonwealth grew out of - it is called 'colonial conservatism'.) America's foundations begin within the first generations of the Anglican schism and have *everything* to do with that history, as well as with what was happening in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and among the West Slavs - though to a lesser degree than the importance of events in Great Britain and Ireland.

America *is* a place, it is a people with a core population who descend in every sense from the founders. America has a language, values, laws, customs, local history - everything required of a particular culture. It is *NOT* simply a political idea or 'corporation' that one can ascribe to. To love America is not to be bound to a specific ideological creed, but is very much love of a particular bit of the planet, and of a people with common history and relation to one another.

We do have an American tradition, and there are still many of us who are neither deracinated nor forgetful of it that we have lost any identity or connection. In fact, it is something we simply are and cannot escape by changing names, diet, of affecting other languages or accents (religion, however, is not simply part of culture - which in any case, there is no 'American religion'. If there is any American position on religion, it is 'have religion' and 'seek Truth'). We have American English as our heart language (in fact, most often our *only* language for good or ill.) Some might find it expedient to ignore that baggage (taking the 'counter-culture' option like the Hippies, and 'dropping out') - most of us can't, we have to engage it. We swim in it - so to speak, so better to clean the water out than try to find a new pond.

(Again, I'll point to David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" - which is problematic in some parts, but on the whole is a sound thesis that is also *obvious* to the unlearned in America, as its what they were raised in and with. Its a beginning point though, though I'm glad to discuss both the living tradition of being an American as well as further academic or popular works for those who are interested, or do not have the experience of the American tradition.)
 

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Nacho,

Once again I whole heartedly agree with you. You sir are wise beyond your years! My wife is Romanian, and I appreciate the Romanian culture; however, with all of the Romanians in town, we can't get more than 4 or 5 to show up to church on pascha;however, the romanian penticostals can keep 400+ and growing in their church. I just don't get it.

I think that the OCA and even moreso the Antiochians are what Orthodoxy will primarily look like in the United States. I believe this is what the Holy Spirit is doing. We need more of that evangelistic spirit!

What I like about my parish is that about 65% of the parish are converts from Assemblys of God,and the other half are a mix of Indians, Russians, Ukranians, Greeks, ect. It is truly diverse, but has an evangelical spirit.
 

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Nacho said:
I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.
And who might they be, Nacho?
Perhaps you haven't heard any arguments from them because they don't exist except in your head. ;)
Unless, of course, you have the guts to name the posters you are referring to instead of making cowardly sweeping statements.
Objecting to the establishment of yet another nationalist Church does not automatically render one an "ethno-centrist"- in fact, it's the opposite.
You are the one who wants to establish a nationalist Church based on the nation's dominant culture, yet you label anyone who questions this as an "ethno-centrist"! It's incredible that you don't see the irony!

And so far, for all the talk about "culture", it all comes back down to linguistics.....
 

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Perhaps you haven't heard any arguments from them because they don't exist except in your head.
Unless, of course, you have the guts to name the posters you are referring to instead of making cowardly sweeping statements.
Come on now george, I thought you were above making personal attacks calling people "cowardly". This isn't the language that is used in effective dialog. Remember we are all Christians here.

Objecting to the establishment of yet another nationalist Church does not automatically render one an "ethno-centrist"- in fact, it's the opposite.
You are the one who wants to establish a nationalist Church based on the nation's dominant culture, yet you label anyone who questions this as an "ethno-centrist"! It's incredible that you don't see the irony!
I think that Nacho has laid out an effective argument about the ethno-centrist churches. As Nacho, myself and others have stated, it is those who use the church as a culture club and do not reach out and evangelize the culture that have the problem.

And so far, for all the talk about "culture", it all comes back down to linguistics.....
Again, you need to re read the posts. Yes Language is the big one, but America does have it's own unique culture. I beleive Aristibule summarized it great in his last post.
 

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I should do more than summarize. One thing I note is that most of the caricatures we get of American culture are actually describing the counter-culture which has been at war with American culture for quite a long time. Arguments about 'secularism', 'deism', 'individualism', 'capitalism' - all break down when compared with real American culture (and sure, there are some Americans that think that is America, but then again - they're deracinated, and I mean that not as an insult, but in the clinical sense. They're cut off from the roots, which explains their identity crisis and need to join another people.)

Like it or not, America is:

1. A religious nation, in fact - the most religious in the world. Over 189 million Americans claim to be Christian, the next two largest Christian populations (Brazil and Mexico) don't even approach that. Secularism, Atheism, Deism - these are actually all quite outside the norm for America. American religion is also by its nature more than a market, but is most often militant (especially here in the Backcountry.) In the Northeast, it may be a 'private matter', but in the South and West it is a matter of public theological apologetic, argument, and yes - proselytization. If you don't invite folks to your Church, they're going to try to get you to join theirs. That is the kind of environment we are in fact dealing with. Noting, that the 'ecumenicism' is not all that American, though some Americans hold to the idea - by far, the American population is anti-ecumenical, and of the firm belief that everyone else should be as they are: Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. Whether or not we offer Orthodoxy, they're going to push whatever they've got 'by any means necessary'. NOTE - America is not *PAGAN* but *CHRISTIAN*, and an inheritor of Christendom. That means everything belonging to the Church (especially the pre-Schism West) is the birth-right of every American (and, I don't mean that exclusively for Americans, but for every other Western country as well.)

2. American 'individualism' is nothing more than a media mythology. In the Northern parts of the country, the community is still the basis of life - an individual doesn't stand a chance vs. the neighborhood, the town, the 'public body'. In the South and West, the family (by which we mean all relatives, not just parents and siblings) is the basis of our society. Individualism simply means nothing where decisions have to take the opinions, advice, and vetoes of parents or other members into account. 'Individualism' in America is simply a youthful desire, not a reality of life.

3. Materialism - again, along with 'Nihilism', another item that does not describe the American culture, but the counter-culture. Americans may more often be pragmatic, but they aren't as a body all that materialistic. They do hold spiritual values, but what those values are can seem pure chaos. Refer back to 1, Americans are as a whole religious and complain vociferously about 'materialism', 'secularism', etc. Those aren't outside voices, but American complaints against a foreign body; which, oddly enough - many Americans consider to be European in origin - blame the French ... or the Soviets. ;)

Of course, there is much more to say... my point again is that we Orthodox (especially in America) shoot ourselves in the back again  everytime we confuse the victim with his disease. Kill the cancer, not the cancer patient.
 
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Orthodox Bagpiper said:
I think that Nacho has laid out an effective argument about the ethno-centrist churches. As Nacho, myself and others have stated, it is those who use the church as a culture club and do not reach out and evangelize the culture that have the problem.
I think it's unwise to point fingers at unnamed masses of the faithful - shouldn't this be approached as a series of comments by those feeling excluded and a general pastoral strategy at every parish?
 

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Orthodox Bagpiper said:
Come on now george, I thought you were above making personal attacks calling people "cowardly".
Interesting that you quoted everything from my post except the one point for it's existence:
ozgeorge said:
Nacho said:
I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.
And who might they be, Nacho?
It's not that difficult. Clearly Nacho is saying that there are posters on this thread who are "ethno-centrists". I'd like him to name who they are. Or perhaps you can do it for him?

Cowards.....
 

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Here, here to Aristabule's last two posts. Or, perhaps more in keeping with the American South, Amen and Amen, brother!

(I spent seven of the happiest years of my life in Greenville, SC)

I think the "foreign bodies" analogy is perhaps a better description of the "isms" (materialism, secularism) than the term counter cultural. They are like bacterias and viruses.

Once again, thank you. I am simply NOT going to sneer at my culture and all of its wonderful history. It's a great place. Otherwise, why the heck did all those Orthodox immigrants come here in the first place? Also, it IS pretty religious and Christian, even yet today.
 

greekischristian

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Aristibule said:
The 'what' is not something that can be quantified in a short list or sentence. American culture is really a few 'cultures' inside a larger Anglo civilization. Interesting that even the Nazis considered 'the West' as their enemy, embodied in the USA and UK (including the Commonwealth of Nations.) And really, that is what American culture is - Albion unchained. It is what gives Westerners so much in common with Australians and Kiwis, Canadians so much grief over their similarities/dissimilarities with Yankees, and the discomfort almost everyone seems to feel about us Southerners (we're almost *medieval*.)
Yet, 'the west' is not one uniform Culture, it involves both Germanic and Celtic influences as well as various local differences. English culture is not Scottish Culture is not Australian Culture is not American Culture.

I suppose the short answer is that for American culture, beginning from any other ethnicity, would be 'you can't get here from there'. Without Anglo ideas of Freedom (which literally means 'the rule of friendship'), Common Law (with Magna Carta), Lowland Scots ideas of the rights of nations and the nobility of man (Arbroath Declaration, and more), and much more Western and particularly British or English - one couldn't have America.
And it should be noted that the Lowland Scots are neither Anglos nor Saxons, they represent a vital Celtic influence in the Americas.

We did get here from 'there' (in fact, America preserves much of 17th - 18th c. Britain, things the 'Homeland' and the rest of the Commonwealth grew out of - it is called 'colonial conservatism'.) America's foundations begin within the first generations of the Anglican schism and have *everything* to do with that history, as well as with what was happening in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and among the West Slavs - though to a lesser degree than the importance of events in Great Britain and Ireland.
While English culture was dominate and heavily influential along the seaboard, it was far less influential on the frontier. There the Ulster-Scots, being forced out of the populated areas by the English, became the dominate culture, and their cultural influence became the basis of frontier, and later western, culture. As time went on indigenous phenomena related to the westward expansion also began to shape frontier culture directly and the more established eastern cultures indirectly. Of course, in all of this the cultural divide between North and South, in large part a result of agrarian versus industrial culture, cannot be ignored.

America *is* a place, it is a people with a core population who descend in every sense from the founders. America has a language, values, laws, customs, local history - everything required of a particular culture. It is *NOT* simply a political idea or 'corporation' that one can ascribe to. To love America is not to be bound to a specific ideological creed, but is very much love of a particular bit of the planet, and of a people with common history and relation to one another.
I disagree, America is a diverse people and consists of diverse cultures, already at the time of our Declaration of Independence Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, etc. were culturally distinct. These several states were united only by a common ideology, a valuing of liberty above security and the right of self-determination. The immediate cause of the War Between the States was the fact that the South deemed these ideals to be no longer held in common. Of what use is this land without the ideals on which it was founded?

We do have an American tradition, and there are still many of us who are neither deracinated nor forgetful of it that we have lost any identity or connection. In fact, it is something we simply are and cannot escape by changing names, diet, of affecting other languages or accents (religion, however, is not simply part of culture - which in any case, there is no 'American religion'. If there is any American position on religion, it is 'have religion' and 'seek Truth'). We have American English as our heart language (in fact, most often our *only* language for good or ill.) Some might find it expedient to ignore that baggage (taking the 'counter-culture' option like the Hippies, and 'dropping out') - most of us can't, we have to engage it. We swim in it - so to speak, so better to clean the water out than try to find a new pond.
We have traditions, we have cultures, we have identites...but we do not have a unified tradition, culture, identity, etc. There is no 'American Culture', though there are several American cultures. What I am insisting is that as a westerner, I am as culturally distinct from a New Englander as they are from an Englishman or an Australian. You seem to be attempting to diminish the significant of our regional cultures by attempting to force them into some monstrous generic mold labeled 'American Culture'.
 

greekischristian

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Aristibule said:
I should do more than summarize. One thing I note is that most of the caricatures we get of American culture are actually describing the counter-culture which has been at war with American culture for quite a long time. Arguments about 'secularism', 'deism', 'individualism', 'capitalism' - all break down when compared with real American culture (and sure, there are some Americans that think that is America, but then again - they're deracinated, and I mean that not as an insult, but in the clinical sense. They're cut off from the roots, which explains their identity crisis and need to join another people.)
Capitalism...Individualism...Deism...not central to 'American culture'? Perhaps in some regions...but by no means universally.

Like it or not, America is:
Let's see.

1. A religious nation, in fact - the most religious in the world. Over 189 million Americans claim to be Christian, the next two largest Christian populations (Brazil and Mexico) don't even approach that. Secularism, Atheism, Deism - these are actually all quite outside the norm for America.
A lot depends on both class and reigon. The Baylor study, 'American Peity in the 21st Century' found that only 16% of Americans making <35k/year believed in a distant (uncritical and uninvolved) diety, 37% of those making >100k/year had such a view of God. A similar divide is found amongst the educated and uneducated. Culture is largely a matter of class, this is no less true in America than it is in the Old World. Of course, region also has a significant impact; only 22% of Southerners believe in a distant God, whereas 30% of Westerners do, more than any other region. Even more telling is the difference in belief in an Authoritarian God, one both involved with and judgemental of human behaviour: in the South, 44% have this view of their God (the highest of any region), whereas in the West only 21% maintain this view (lowest of any region). It must also be kept in mind that this survey includes both the more pious hispanic and mormon populations, I am curious to know what the statistics would be for the West if these groups were excluded.

Time recently included data about Americans and religion in a demographics survey when the national population reached 300,000,000. Part of this is an interesting map about religious affiliation in America:

http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/denomination_nation/

Also click on the buttons for Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, and Roman Catholic which should reveal quite about about regional cultural influence of various religions. If you keep in mind that most the religious population of Utah and south eastern Idaho is LDS, and subtract much of the Roman Catholic population from the counties along the Southern border (which is mostly a result of the Hispanic community), you will find that indepentant of the Hispanic and Mormon communities (which are really subcultures of the west), we are not very religious out here in the West.

American religion is also by its nature more than a market, but is most often militant (especially here in the Backcountry.) In the Northeast, it may be a 'private matter', but in the South and West it is a matter of public theological apologetic, argument, and yes - proselytization.
Perhaps in certain places of the South and Midwest, but certainly not in the West, most people here arn't religious, and most who are will generally leave you alone. Of course, for the vast majority of people this is true throughout the country, even of those who believe in an Authoritarian God (the most common in the South), according to the aforementioned poll, only 22% believe that 'To be a good person it is very important to convert others to your religious faith.' Amongst those who believe in a distant God (most common in the West), only 0.3% believe this. Normalized for the entire population, only 13% of Southerners hold this view, and 10% of Westerners, representing the two regional extremes (though one must remember that Mormons, a highly agressive evangelical sect, are rather influential in the Western statistic).

Also of note (related to the prevalence of Deism), only a 26% of Americans respnded that they believe that 'Jesus is the Son of God' (yet 27% are Biblical Literalists, go figure). These numbers very from the two extremes (the West is actually the least religious of all Regions, even when you include the Mormons and Hispanic community) of 23% and 22% in the West and 28% and 33% in the South, respectively.

If you don't invite folks to your Church, they're going to try to get you to join theirs. That is the kind of environment we are in fact dealing with.
Maybe in the South and Midwest, but not in the West and Northeast.

Noting, that the 'ecumenicism' is not all that American, though some Americans hold to the idea - by far, the American population is anti-ecumenical, and of the firm belief that everyone else should be as they are: Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. Whether or not we offer Orthodoxy, they're going to push whatever they've got 'by any means necessary'. NOTE - America is not *PAGAN* but *CHRISTIAN*, and an inheritor of Christendom. That means everything belonging to the Church (especially the pre-Schism West) is the birth-right of every American (and, I don't mean that exclusively for Americans, but for every other Western country as well.)
America is, generally, not ecumenical only because it's not religious. Most have no religion and don't care whether or not you do...America is secular.

2. American 'individualism' is nothing more than a media mythology. In the Northern parts of the country, the community is still the basis of life - an individual doesn't stand a chance vs. the neighborhood, the town, the 'public body'. In the South and West, the family (by which we mean all relatives, not just parents and siblings) is the basis of our society. Individualism simply means nothing where decisions have to take the opinions, advice, and vetoes of parents or other members into account. 'Individualism' in America is simply a youthful desire, not a reality of life.
In the Northeast, South, and Midwest, this may be true...but that's part of the reason many in the West don't regard them as true Americans. Individualism is very much alive in the West, not only in the classical Western culture found in the mountains, but even in Western urban areas. They tend to be far less community oriented than most Eastern cities (San Francisco being a possible notable exception, but the city suffers from being too old and well established). The fact of the matter is that most people don't have well established roots in the West (and those who do are steeped in pioneer culture), and thus have relatively little tie to either community or family (it's not all that uncommon to move to another city so you dont have to deal with family more than a few times a year).

3. Materialism - again, along with 'Nihilism', another item that does not describe the American culture, but the counter-culture. Americans may more often be pragmatic, but they aren't as a body all that materialistic. They do hold spiritual values, but what those values are can seem pure chaos. Refer back to 1, Americans are as a whole religious and complain vociferously about 'materialism', 'secularism', etc. Those aren't outside voices, but American complaints against a foreign body; which, oddly enough - many Americans consider to be European in origin - blame the French ... or the Soviets. ;)
Are you talking about the same American I am? World's largest consumer? World's largest consumer of oil and energy? World's number one producer of greenhouse gasses? (not that I think this is a problem, though that is a discussion for the political board, but it does demonstrate the consumer (read materialistic) nature of our society).

Of course, there is much more to say... my point again is that we Orthodox (especially in America) shoot ourselves in the back again  everytime we confuse the victim with his disease. Kill the cancer, not the cancer patient.
I really don't know if you have a good grasp of what the demographics of America are...small Southern towns are the (extreme) exception, not the rule.
 

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greekischristian said:
Yet, 'the west' is not one uniform Culture
Exactly - which is why I used the term civilization - a 'super-culture'.

And it should be noted that the Lowland Scots are neither Anglos nor Saxons, they represent a vital Celtic influence in the Americas.
BS - that's *my* folk you are talking about, and we are indeed Anglos (though not Saxons.) It was the Angles who lived in Bernicia, built up Edinburgh, gave rise to the Riding clans, the Northumbrian dialect that became the guid Scots tongue (our ain tongue), and is the basis of our Uplands Southern dialect. Whatever the diverse origins of our people back in Alba (Scandinavian, Angle, Pict, Briton, Flemish, Norman, Gael) - they gained a unified Anglo culture before they came over to America, the 'Scotus domesticus'. Wild Scots (Scotus silvanus) only really settled in Nova Scotia and Cape Fear to any great degree.

While English culture was dominate and heavily influential along the seaboard, it was far less influential on the frontier.
Hardly - that's just the Rushdooney Revisionist school. It seeks to 'Calvinize' the South, and through subterfuge to make them into Crypto-Yankees - Puritans in Southern clothing. To begin with, most of 'Scotch-Irish' were in fact North British. The 'Celtic' vs. 'Saxon' divide is largely a product of 19th c. Irish immigrant clique maintenance. Like it or not, 'Celtic' really only applies to the Cape Fear / Peedee valley settlements (where my people are from), and the Welsh towns of Pennsylvania. Everyone else was *Anglo*-Celtic - they spoke, and do speak, English as their mother tongue (whether the Tidewater Southern English dialect, or the Scots derived Upland Southern English dialect.)

These several states were united only by a common ideology, a valuing of liberty above security and the right of self-determination.
Actually, there was no common ideology. I'll point you to another of Fischer's works: "Liberty and Freedom, a Visual History of America's Founding Ideas." Regionally, we did (and still have) very different ideas and language with regard to what being 'free' means.

You seem to be attempting to diminish the significant of our regional cultures by attempting to force them into some monstrous generic mold labeled 'American Culture'.
And, again - I say one thing, you accuse me of saying the opposite. What you are 'insisting' upon is saying the same thing I just said, but claiming it as your own idea. There is an American civilization which has American cultures (four main cultures, to be precise - that match pretty much with the four main American regions, dialects, etc.) No one proposed a 'monstrous generic mold', least of all myself.
 

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It's not that difficult. Clearly Nacho is saying that there are posters on this thread who are "ethno-centrists". I'd like him to name who they are. Or perhaps you can do it for him?
Ozgeorge, clearly there are some here that seem rather 'ethno centric'. I find some of greekishchristians views quite absurd. All I have been saying is that there needs to be a certain balance in the Church on this issue. I'm not making any claims that we should do away with people's cultures. The problem is that people's 'cultures' are impeding on the services in Holy Orthodoxy, thus dividing people along ethnic lines and driving away potential converts; also the net effect of losing members in some parts of the church. Above I said we are LUCKY to have all these ethnic groups here in America because it gives us a better picture and view of the Orthodox faith. Where I disagree again is dividing the Church along ethnic lines with services done in a language that only the old timers & first generation type immigrants understand. Ask the younger Greek crowd why they don't attend Liturgy these days, most likely you'll get a response such as not understanding what's going on in the service and other confusion about why we even attend church, along with the beliefs of the faith. I think my views are a fair assessment and speak toward the REALITY of the current situation in some parts of the Church. 
 

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Nacho said:
The problem is that people's 'cultures' are impeding on the services in Holy Orthodoxy, thus dividing people along ethnic lines and driving away potential converts; also the net effect of losing members in some parts of the church. Above I said we are LUCKY to have all these ethnic groups here in America because it gives us a better picture and view of the Orthodox faith. Where I disagree again is dividing the Church along ethnic lines with services done in a language that only the old timers & first generation type immigrants understand. Ask the younger Greek crowd why they don't attend Liturgy these days, most likely you'll get a response such as not understanding what's going on in the service and other confusion about why we even attend church, along with the beliefs of the faith. I think my views are a fair assessment and speak toward the REALITY of the current situation in some parts of the Church. 
I do not completely agree with this.  When I was a Roman Catholic, I would attend 2 latin-rite parishs.  One performed the Tridentine rite while the other performed the Novus Ordo Missae in Italian (with a few English services during the weekday).  I am second generation Italian/French and take an hour train ride then walk to this parish, instead of going to the English only one about a 7 minute walk from my house.  The congregation was not soley Italian immigrants.  You found a wide variety of people (Italians from recent migrants to 4 generations old, converts, Anglos, Germans, even an elderly Chinese couple).  Why did they come?  They each had their reasons.  Some were drawn because they felt a home with it being in English, some by the people, some by the culture, some because they were led to the Church by an Italian, etc.  This same parish, soon the Priest was moved to a new parish and a English-only speaking Priest was positioned there.  The parish was nearly empty during mass; it was as if the congregation lost its home.  It was extremely emotional for many.  Grandparents who had taken part in the baptism of their grandchildren in the same parish their own children were baptised in left, converts who had entered into that parish left, couples who were married in that parish left.  The last people to leave were not the converts, not the Anglos, the Scots, the Germans, but several Italian families who could not let the parish go.  Long storey short...  The parish has a new priest, is now majority Portuguese, and another local parish that was Italian is overcrowded by having to fit nearly two congregations. 

I am not saying a majority English Church will not be a welcoming place for North American inquirers and all, but you have to worry about not only ostracising the 'ethnic' members but her converts too.  I am, like I mentioned before, Italian/French and am converting at a Serbian Orthodox Church (who are some of the most ethno-centric people on the planet) but I feel welcome, whether I am at the parish I am going to or another, with a Serb or without.  You just have to avoid soccer discussions and talking about how Grappa is clearly superior in every aspect to Komovica.  :p  I, personally, wouldn't want it any other way.  I used to attend the English liturgy just to learn about the liturgy, but now, I would never dream of going to one that isn't in Slavonic.  I am a "ethno-centrist"?  Well, I don't think so, pretty hard since there is no Italian Orthodox Church (well, canonically at least  ;) ), but I am a "ethno-preservationist". 

A side note to all this, I do believe the issue is different in Canada compared to the US.  Canada is not so melting-pot compared to the US (a mosaic as they taught us in school  :p), so I really think it would be a MUCH harder sell North of the border.  People rarely view themselves as hyphenations up here, and I cannot see it starting anytime soon.  I cannot see a "united" Church in North America working without Ethnic diocese like the OCA has now.  Is this ideal?  Probably not, but hey, I voted no.  Anyways, just my 2 cents.  Thought it was about time I chimed in here.
 

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Nacho said:
Ozgeorge, clearly there are some here that seem rather 'ethno centric'. I find some of greekishchristians views quite absurd.
Perhaps I'm in the early stages of senility, I don't know, but could you please point out which posts of GiC's or anyone else smacks of ethno-centrism? So far, the only posts I can find which sound ethnocentric are coming from those who want to establish an American Orthodox Church based on a white, west-european culture. And that seems to be Orthodox Bagpiper.
 

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I cannot see a "united" Church in North America working without Ethnic diocese like the OCA has now.  Is this ideal?  Probably not, but hey, I voted no.  Anyways, just my 2 cents.  Thought it was about time I chimed in here.
The questions was not if you think there will be a united Orthodox church in North America, The question is Do you want a united Orthodox Church in North America.
 

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Perhaps I'm in the early stages of senility, I don't know, but could you please point out which posts of GiC's or anyone else smacks of ethno-centrism? So far, the only posts I can find which sound ethnocentric are coming from those who want to establish an American Orthodox Church based on a white, west-european culture. And that seems to be Orthodox Bagpiper.
GIC seems to have an obsession with the Greek culture, yet denies that America has its own culture and that we shouldn't have a national Orthodox Church. I wouldn't say that we have a very traditional culture like say that of Germany or France with longstanding traditions, but we are unique with customs that make us different culturally from other countries. I guess if we are cultureless you should educate all those misinformed journalist and newspaper columnist who often write about and use such phrases as "American Culture" in thier columns. Despite the debate about culture, why would any of you stand in the way of the unification of an American Orthodox Church? I could only think of self hating Americans and others who despise us for some reason. Every other country deserves an Orthodox Church, accept for America! 
 

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Nacho said:
GIC seems to have an obsession with the Greek culture...
Yup...definitely brings problems to his reasoning (although he denies it).

Nacho said:
...yet denies that America has its own culture and that we shouldn't have a national Orthodox Church.
"has it's own culture" is kinda loaded, but yes, America in a sense does.  I don't necessarily agree about a 'National' Church, but certainly a regional Church (e.g. North America at least).

Nacho said:
I wouldn't say that we have a very traditional culture like say that of Germany or France with longstanding traditions, but we are unique with customs that make us different culturally from other countries. I guess if we are cultureless you should educate all those misinformed journalist and newspaper columnist who often write about and use such phrases as "American Culture" in thier columns. 
Again, go back to his most recent posts about culture.  I can't say I disagree a whole lot about his most current posts.
 

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Nacho said:
Despite the debate about culture, why would any of you stand in the way of the unification of an American Orthodox Church? I could only think of self hating Americans and others who despise us for some reason. Every other country deserves an Orthodox Church, accept for America!
I'm Canadian  :p.

I'm not saying (North) America does not deserve a Church, it is just I fear that with a (North) American Orthodox Church, the pre-existing cultures, traditions, languages within the Church would be pushed or fall by the wayside.  That is something I would never want to see happen.  Unless there will be overlapping ethnic diocese (which sort of defeats the purpose of all this I suppose) or hyphenated Churchs, I wouldn't want to see it come into existance.  I want to go to a Greek wedding and see wreaths, I want to go to a Slavic wedding and see crowns, I want to go to a Serbian parish and celebrate my future Slava, etc.  Personally, I think the American melting pot mentality is an issue even with this throught of a United Orthodox Church, if it could somehow be more mosaic-y, it would be a different story.  I still think ethno-preservationist is the best word for it.  No offense to Americans, though I know I will be flamed for this, but I fear what this 'American culture' could do to the existing cultural traditions.  You see the unfortunate influences everywhere (from personal experience), you have to go to very small towns in Europe to trying be in Europe and not America with a different language and a few other traditions.  A McDonalds in Rome is a disgusting eyesore.  Not to bash Americans, but I do believe your culture would absolutely dominate and bring ethnic parishs, etc to ruin in a united Church.  Even in Roman Catholicism, they are pushing for the return to Latin, not greater use of the vernacular.  I know that is a totally different can of worms, but it shows that not all people want a completely Americanised Church.  I don't.  I am converting into the Serbian Orthodox Church, I will be getting married in it, if we are blessed with children one day they will be baptised and raised in it, I'll celebrate our Slava with them, and if blessed with one, pass it down to my son, etc.  Am I ethnically Serbian?  Nope, right next store to the former Yugoslavia, but no Serb blood as far as I know.  But I would fight tooth and nail to make sure the traditions are kept.  They are now (or well be) my traditions too, even though I cannot trace back my blood to the 'motherland'. 

I am sure people will enjoy picking this all apart, but unless the cultures and traditions can be maintained and passed down, I would be against a united American Church.  Unfortunatly, I cannot see assimilation mean anything but destruction.  Even if the Church did decide to pick a choose traditions (ie: Slava), I do not believe it would have the same meaning.  The Church's traditions would be some Frankenstein.  Without these migrants to the New World and their traditions, Orthodoxy would be next to non-existant here.  They at least deserve the respect and gratitude of allowing their traditions, language and culture to go unharmed and maintained without having to succumb to American culture.  Now, before someone says I am anti-American (which I have been accused of before, but I am Canadian so that is no surprise :p), that is not the case.

A little side note and not to sound SOC vs Montenegro/FYROM, but I cannot see many Canadians being happy about an "American" Church.  When I was looking into conversion, many 'non-ethnics' (your Anglos, Germans, etc) were looking at ROCOR and the GOC (One was going the WRO route too) rather than the OCA because of the American tag and its American nature.  They found the Church had no tradition and were drawn much more to the ethnic Churches, their 'richer liturgy' and 'richer traditions'.

Anyways, that is my rambling on this for a bit.  :p  Take it or leave it, it is just my opinion and what I have witnessed.
 

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Friul said:
A little side note and not to sound SOC vs Montenegro/FYROM, but I cannot see many Canadians being happy about an "American" Church.  When I was looking into conversion, many 'non-ethnics' (your Anglos, Germans, etc) were looking at ROCOR and the GOC (One was going the WRO route too) rather than the OCA because of the American tag and its American nature.  They found the Church had no tradition and were drawn much more to the ethnic Churches, their 'richer liturgy' and 'richer traditions'.
Friul,

I'm Canadian too.  I see this issue you bring up in this quotation as a red herring at best.  People who actually bother to attend an OCA service will see how it follows Eastern Slavic liturgical form in many respects and adds a few things that they like from other traditions here and there.  I grant you that there are a few parishes that don't adhere strongly enough to Orthodox architectural tradition (when that is possible), but there are parishes like that in every jurisdiction.  The fact of the matter is that parishes of many jurisdictions in Canada (including the OCA) tend to be way too insular in their ethnicity and as a consequence attract little interest.  The explosive growth of the OCA in British Columbia (and I do mean explosive, even though Orthodoxy is still a very small presence there compared to other faiths) would never have been possible following the model you propose. 

Having said all this, I am delighted to see you posting here, and I think it's quite wonderful that someone of Italian background like yourself is embracing Orthodoxy.  :)

 

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Nacho said:
GIC seems to have an obsession with the Greek culture, yet denies that America has its own culture and that we shouldn't have a national Orthodox Church. I wouldn't say that we have a very traditional culture like say that of Germany or France with longstanding traditions, but we are unique with customs that make us different culturally from other countries. I guess if we are cultureless you should educate all those misinformed journalist and newspaper columnist who often write about and use such phrases as "American Culture" in thier columns.
I see the irony continues to be lost on you. When I was a young student, I once hitchiked a lift with a fruck driver when my car broke down. A police car overtook us, and the truckdriver proceeded to say how  stupid and lazy the policeman was because he was not booking everyone in front of him for speeding, since it was obvious they were speeding because they were ahead of his truck and he was doing the speed limit. No matter how many times I tried to explain, he just couldn't get it. So in the end, I just gave up.

Nacho said:
Despite the debate about culture, why would any of you stand in the way of the unification of an American Orthodox Church? I could only think of self hating Americans and others who despise us for some reason.
No one, not even GiC has said on this thread that they don't want a united Orthodox Church in the Americas. What they disagree with is how it should be acheived. Your model of an autocephalous Church on the same model as the OCA is not the only possibility. Yet because you think it is the only possibility, you think anyone who objects to it is objecting to a united Orthodox Church in America....you're stuck in non-lateral thinking, kind of like my truckdriver friend....

Nacho said:
Every other country deserves an Orthodox Church, accept for America! 
Africa is composed of 47 Countries, yet it has only one Eastern Orthodox Church under one Patriarch, and has done so for nearly 2 millenia.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate can hardly be caused the Church of a particular country now, can it?
Is the Patriarch of Jerusalem the Patriarch of Israel, Palestine or both?
Which one country is the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East the Patriach of?
Check out my new signature Nacho: "Feelings aren't facts"......do you like it? ;)
 

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Pravoslavbob said:
Friul,

I'm Canadian too.  I see this issue you bring up as a red herring at best.  People who actually bother to attend an OCA service will see how it follows Eastern Slavic liturgical form in many respects and adds a few things that they like from other traditions here and there.  I grant you that there are a few parishes that don't adhere strongly enough to Orthodox architectural tradition (when that is possible), but there are parishes like that in every jurisdiction.  The fact of the matter is that parishes of many jusrisdictions in Canada tend to be way too insular in their ethnicity and as a consequence attract little interest.  The explosive growth of the OCA in British Columbia (and I do mean explosive, even though Orthodoxy is still a very small presence there compared to other faiths) would never have been possible following the model you propose.
I am sure it depends on where in the country as well.  All I can comment on is how it is in Southern Ontario.  Maybe it is because of the huge amount of ethnic Churchs in the region (especially the Golden Horseshoe region), but the OCA is really minor here, attracts few and very few 'adhere strongly enough to Orthodox architectural tradition' as you said [though I would never hold that against a Church, it is still a house of God].  I went to one in Hamilton and one in Toronto (I was already converting in the Serbian Church, but wanted to see others).  The one in Hamilton was on the second storey in a cube brick building and the liturgy was in a VERY small room.  It was a very plain room, not ornate at all, with few icons.  Nothing I would hold against it of course.  But something about it felt very off.  The nature of the priest, the congregation, and even the liturgy reminded me of Protestant services.  Another person I was there with, who was looking into the GOC (he was about as Anglo as they come and came from a Presb background), and he could not believe the difference between the two Churches (GOC and OCA).  The Church in Toronto was slightly better.  The building was quite large, but nearly empty during the Liturgy (maybe a dozen or two, in a Church that could fit hundreds).  I decided to talk to the Priest afterwards (an amazing man, I must add), about the size of his congregation, etc.  He said that was about it, even during Pascha.  It, at a time, was much larger, but people left for the nearby large Greek Orthodox Church.  They, and they actually told him this, felt they were missing too much of 'Orthodoxy' in the OCA (many are now at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church).  I obviously cannot speak for the whole country, or even the whole GTA, but from what I have witnessed over here, the OCA is in a dire position population wise.  Again, maybe it is due to the nature of the GTA and Ontario, but the Serbian, Greek, and Russian Churchs were very welcoming and many do make themselves known.  There is a Romanian Orthodox Church group who (with their Priests and laity), sell icons, religious books and publishings, etc on Dundas Square in Toronto from time to time.  They are fundraising to build a monastery and to educate people about Orthodoxy during Ethnic festivals (which everyone attends, from Anglos to Africans) or Romanian things (which again, all sorts attend, even me, I like the food and music  :D).  Will that work everywhere?  Probably not.  Toronto and the GTA is a unqiue case I suppose.

Pravoslavbob said:
Having said all this, I am delighted to see you posting here, and I think it's quite wonderful that someone of Italian background like yourself is embracing Orthodoxy.  :)
Thank you very much.  My 3rd cousin has converted to the SOC while serving in KFOR and one of my uncles is part of the Chiesa Ortodossa in Italia as well.   :)
 

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Friul,

First and most importantly, Bob is from the disgustingly little boring village known as Ottawa.  Right now, he is so smitten with Senators flu, he might try walking on water. LOL  (I hope you're not a Sens fan too, otherwise I'll have to contact your Priest).

Bob,

<serious hat on>  I don't want to put words in Friul's mouth, but it seems as though he may fear "American style" phyletism (if you will).  In my original reply in this thread, I said something to the effect of not minding a "North American" Orthodox Church.  I don't mind bringing everyone together in one Church (in fact I am all for it), I would just hope that the prevailing reason for doing so, would be the "Orthodox" part and not the "American" part.

Like Friul, I also strongly support retaining certain traditions that follow a certain ethnicity (like Slava), so even it there was union, I would NEVER give up my Slava.

 

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SouthSerb99 said:
Friul,

First and most importantly, Bob is from the disgustingly little boring village known as Ottawa.  Right now, he is so smitten with Senators flu, he might try walking on water. LOL  (I hope you're not a Sens fan too, otherwise I'll have to contact your Priest).
LoL, that explains a lot then.  :p  Poor guy, they will get his hopes up and yet again choke.   ;)

Nah, I am a Habs fan.  Born in Montreal.   :D

SouthSerb99 said:
Bob,

<serious hat on>  I don't want to put words in Friul's mouth, but it seems as though he may fear "American style" phyletism (if you will).  In my original reply in this thread, I said something to the effect of not minding a "North American" Orthodox Church.  I don't mind bringing everyone together in one Church (in fact I am all for it), I would just hope that the prevailing reason for doing so, would be the "Orthodox" part and not the "American" part.

Like Friul, I also strongly support retaining certain traditions that follow a certain ethnicity (like Slava), so even it there was union, I would NEVER give up my Slava.
You said it much better than my ramblings.   :p  A North American Orthodox Church or Orthodox Church of the Americas is one thing, but an American Orthodox Church is another.  I worry about the American part trying to trump the pre-existing Serbian, Greek, Russian, etc parts when/if the Church would unite in that way.  I also worry about just picking and choosing traditions for this 'American culture'.  As SS99 mentioned, the Slava.  I am would never be against the practice of taking a family patron saint (my family has one, and they are of Roman Catholic origins), but the Slava is a unique tradition.  I would hate to see it lose its meaning and importance to the Serbs in the New World (which it has been a key part for hundreds and hundreds of years) because the American Orthodox Church starts a general patron family saint tradition that does not share the same deep meaning.  And I would hate for the celebration of the Slava to vanish since American Priests find the practice foreign and either do not understand it or do not know how to properly celebrate/bless it with a family.  The problem I want to see avoided is the watering down or removal of traditional aspects from the 'old countries' for the sake of making a culturally American Church.
 

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Friul said:
I used to attend the English liturgy just to learn about the liturgy, but now, I would never dream of going to one that isn't in Slavonic.
But note, Friul, that you had to attend the English liturgy so that you would understand what's going on.  What happens to the Greek/Russian/Serbian/whatever youth that only have an option in a language they don't understand?  The fact that we're not making comprehensibility a priority in some of our parishes--that is, where such a need is evident and the parish is not serving a primarily immigrant community--is appalling...
 

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DavidBryan said:
But note, Friul, that you had to attend the English liturgy so that you would understand what's going on.  What happens to the Greek/Russian/Serbian/whatever youth that only have an option in a language they don't understand?  The fact that we're not making comprehensibility a priority in some of our parishes--that is, where such a need is evident and the parish is not serving a primarily immigrant community--is appalling...
A sizeable amount of Orthodox Churches in my area have at least a monthly Liturgy in English, while the rest are in the Church's mother tongue.  I believe that is a great opportunity to attend the liturgy and eventually step up to the Liturgy in Slavonic/Greek/Romanian/etc.  But, can one learn the Liturgy without an English one?  Yes.  When I was a Roman Catholic, I had to learn the Tridentine mass and Church Latin on my own and with the assistance of my Priest, so it is not impossible.  Comprehensibility is, though I can only speak for the area I am from, a priority.  The thing is, the demand is simply not there.  The majority of English Liturgies I have gone to (over a few jurisdictions) were sparsely attended.  During certain months, many are cancelled due to lack of demand.  What I am worried about is losing the beauty of the Liturgy in these languages by simply trumping them all with an English one.  When I attended English ones, it was a means to an end, I never dreamed of only attending the English one over the Slavonic one always.  I find parishes around here are making quite an effort by offering a few English Liturgies, and would hope they avoid offering fewer and fewer in their mother tongue.
 

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Friul,

Habs fan...huh... (not sure if that is much better - lol).  In any event, I agree with what you wrote above, but above that, I think you're a class act.
 

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Ozgeorge, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I know you might hate hearing that but I don't see much common ground here. I believe we should have an American Orthodox Church with services done primarily in English. Until that happens and with the way things are currently run in some jurisdictions, it will just repel the majority of people interested in converting. Unfortunately this makes Orthodoxy a footnote in the American religious scene, but a united American Orthodox Church would stand as a beacon of light. I'm sure you guys will once again flame me for this, but I have already proven my case. Many jurisdictions are losing their members, but yet you guys want to remain in some kind of fantasy world and pretend that everything is ok. I'm only advocating balance, it's not like I'm taking some kind of extreme position. People can still have their ethnic traditions and customs, and the social hour after Liturgy is perfect for such things.

I do agree allot with what Southserb has been saying in some of his post. He sees the need for balance also. I would even be for alternating between English & what other language people want to do the Liturgy in. This gives both ethnics and converts representation in the Church. Change doesn't have to come overnight, but there should be a slow progression towards working for a unified church that is relevant to the people/culture it is surrounded by. 
 
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this brings to point a question that has been troubling us.  there is such an emphasis on "not proselytizing"  ( can't get one set spelling of that word) that I believe many in the ethnic based churches use this as a crutch to do nothing at all.  Orthodoxy was alive here in my very famous town for years, but i never knew it.  Now as we plan for Jerry's funeral/viewing I think back to all the holes in doctrine and know that they drove me to search for Orthodoxy-BUT where was it all that time?  I drove by the building that houses our parish, but where were it's people?  I believe without some sort of American church, like just about all other countries seem to have, we struggle to find our place amongst the ethnic traditions, and cultural heritage that comes stock with Orthodoxy here.  I LOVE the rich tradition and culture of the Greek folk we attend church with, it's just not my heritage. It would be far harder for me to come up with one as "mixed" as I am, so I don't have that option really available.  However, the more Orthodoxy is limited as being ethinic or ethnically based it's going to keep a LOT of people away.  I guarantee those that i grew up with here in this bastion of protestantism aren't going to see it as anything other than "those people"- because the culture will alienate them.  It did me at first, only briefly, but I was so fed up I didn't care for very long.  Is that what it's got to take?  Making people die of thirst, and then only offer them some foreign culture? That isnt what Orthodoxy is supposed to be about. 
Orthodoxy can't be seen as only whichever culture is attached by whomever is introducing it.  Orthodoxy has to be the true Faith in a way that the American masses can access it readily.  IF this means having an American Orthodox church, then yes-we need one.  Otherwise, the two homeschooling Orthodox moms here in Jerrytown are going to continue to be ostracized by clueless protestant "sisters"  Some even run up and annoint us with canola oil to "help" us.  (they think we need it)
How can we be out there in our community, with the "no proselytizing" clause and still be visible and available?  I love the services done in partial Greek, simply because English is such a lazy language-but then what do I know.  It is beautiful, but language is going to keep a lot of people away...

sorry to ramble, we are all kind of upside down with Jerry's sudden death yesterday.  Whether you agree with him or not, he played a big part in my life and my dh's life-we would not have found Orthodoxy without him and his "vision" so FWIW.
rebecca
 

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calligraphqueen, what a great post! This is what a few others and I have been saying over and over in this thread, but no one seems to listen or care about the REALITY of the situation. They don't care enough that we are losing members, as long as they keep the exclusive ethnic club going that’s all that matters. Unfortunately, I see this as nothing to do with real genuine Christianity. I can guarantee you that the apostles would not run the modern church in such order. They would be out there evangelizing and telling people about the true faith; and the barriers between ethnic jurisdictions would be done away with. It sickens me that the Orthodox Church is so unevangelistic. I had to listen to some AG protestant guy glowingly talk about the thousands of missionaries and millions they have converted overseas the other day. He talked about some of the social institutions and schools they have also set up in some of the countries they are working in. I actually didn't tell him I was Orthodox because I felt so embarrassed that our efforts pale in comparison to one protestant sect.
 

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Nacho said:
calligraphqueen, what a great post! This is what a few others and I have been saying over and over in this thread, but no one seems to listen or care about the REALITY of the situation.
I wouldn't quite say so...it is more HOW calligraphqueen said as opposed to you and Bagpiper.  You two seemed to almost say it from a...ummm...."Jerry" mindset (sorry to be blunt).  She had some seriously good tact.
 

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Nacho said:
It sickens me that the Orthodox Church is so unevangelistic. I had to listen to some AG protestant guy glowingly talk about the thousands of missionaries and millions they have converted overseas the other day. He talked about some of the social institutions and schools they have also set up in some of the countries they are working in. I actually didn't tell him I was Orthodox because I felt so embarrassed that our efforts pale in comparison to one protestant sect.
Nacho, you do realise that if you set up the "Autocephalous Church of the USA" as is your grand vision that it's jurisdiction will end at the borders of the USA don't you? The Autocephalous Church of the USA will not be able to send missions to other countires.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Nacho, you do realise that if you set up the "Autocephalous Church of the USA" as is your grand vision that it's jurisdiction will end at the borders of the USA don't you? The Autocephalous Church of the USA will not be able to send missions to other countires.
George,

We send missionaries to Africa to help out the Patriarchate of Alexandria. We have missionaries in Albania and Romania.
Missionaries are not empire builders. They go to help other patriarchates. Whether we are autocephalous or not, missionary work will remain the same. We will send them where they are needed.
I don't think we will have an autocephalous church of the USA. I think it will be regional like the patriarchate of Alexandria.
They have a whole continent. We may see something like the Patriarchate of North America one day.
 

ozgeorge

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Tamara,
"Sending missionaries" is very different to "establishing missions". Nacho is talking about bringing Orthodoxy to where there was no Orthodoxy.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is an Exarchate of the Oecumenical Patriarchate and therefore has been able to set up missions in Madagasca, Indonesia, Korea, New Guinea etc. So far, Korea and New Zealand have been able to become their own Archdioceses in the space of less than 20 years, and have even established their own monasteries, and Indonesia and Madagascar are well on the way.
If we were the "Church of Australia" we would not be able to establish these missions. And rightly so. If Nacho wants a Church of the USA for cultural reasons, then it would be a bit of a double standard for the Church of the USA to then establish missions in other countries and impose it's culture on them.....
 

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ozgeorge said:
Tamara,
"Sending missionaries" is very different to "establishing missions". Nacho is talking about bringing Orthodoxy to where there was no Orthodoxy.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is an Exarchate of the Oecumenical Patriarchate and therefore has been able to set up missions in Madagasca, Indonesia, Korea, New Guinea etc. So far, Korea and New Zealand have been able to become their own Archdioceses in the space of less than 20 years, and have even established their own monasteries, and Indonesia and Madagascar are well on the way.
If we were the "Church of Australia" we would not be able to establish these missions. And rightly so. If Nacho wants a Church of the USA for cultural reasons, then it would be a bit of a double standard for the Church of the USA to then establish missions in other countries and impose it's culture on them.....
Well, North America is large enough to keep a North American patriarchate busy building missions for a long time. I would imagine that once we have established extensive mission system in North America we would continue to move southward into central and south America. I think it is already happening now as the OCA and Antiochians move into Mexico and are starting to do missionary work there. I hear of more calls for Spanish translators for catechism and liturgical translations. The missions established south of the border will be Mexican in culture. I don't think anyone would dream of imposing English on the Mexicans.
 

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I guess I am stepping in a little to late for the debate but I think those of you who want an American Orthodox Church need to look at how the larger patriarchates are set up. Most of them cover territory that includes multiple countries. This would mean there are variations in local customs and language. I think the patriarchate of Alexandria is a good example of the future of an Orthodox patriarchate because it is alive and flourishing. At this point in time they only have 2 million Orthodox Christians on the continent and over 300 parish communities. The communities have varied languages and customs that are developing as the Greek monks and the missionaries throughout the world help to establish them.

If we had a North American patriarchate then we would have a patriarchate that would have multiple languages within it's borders (English, French, Spanish and possibly other languages depending on the immigrant communities that would be served).
I think someone mentioned that the U.S. has varied regional areas with different cultures which I believe is true. Canada has two very obvious regional areas. And though we may not recognize it, I would imagine Mexico also has regional differences even though most Mexicans speak Spanish. I know U.S. citizens tend to be myopic and project their culture and language onto everyone else as the standard but we really need to have a larger view of what it will mean to evangelize North America.
 

Pravoslavbob

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Tamara said:
Canada has two very obvious regional areas.
Canada has several regional areas, believe me.  lol.  ;)
 
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