Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

An American Orthodoxy? III

North America

  • Please log in to reply
125 replies to this topic

#121 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 November 2009 - 04:01 PM

When I read the following by Fr. Raphael this reminded me of the first post I made in the American Orthodoxy I thread:

Having said this however I think that there is a lot more that should be looked at in our society. My personal belief is that our modern culture is not just 'another culture among the wider mosaic'. That is often how we as Orthodox interpret this. I would suggest though that what we are living amidst is more the conditions of a cultural/social/religious revolution where civil society defines all core values. This places religion and the Orthodox Church in particular into an unprecedented role since the underlying assumption is that a Christian or religious vision can no longer (even legally) define the society we are part of. My own thought is that this places us in an unprecedented situation in which belief is a 'niche' choice. This obviously affects us in profound ways but we rarely look carefully at this question. Instead we posit two extremes: Orthodoxy is called to adopt and transfigure the culture it finds itself in or it radically rejects the culture it is part of. Personally I am uneasy with both of these approaches in the conditions we presently find ourselves in. Although it could be that it is good & proper to cherry pick among several of the values found here and to modify them according to need. Thus tolerance can be modified from 'anything goes' to a form of charity or care for others.

In a sense then what we are doing is allowing that society places us as Orthodox into a very odd situation where personal choice will always appear relative no matter what. But along with this we can employ what is available within our society and use it to good purpose (eg the internet is an expression of the fragmentation of the traditional community; but paradoxically it can be used to bond kindred spirits within that fragmented community). Like the children of Israel making off with the jewels of Egypt we also can make good use of what surrounds us if we are creative enough in mind & heart.


This reminded me of two quotes in that post:

Initially, on one hand, I think it is noteworthy to consider the words of Pope Benedict XVI spoken in his first public address after being elected (being the good German theologian that he is), "We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism, which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest values one's own ego and one's own desires." But, on the other hand, Jürgen Moltmann, who is also no stranger to the halls of Tübingen, provides a theology of hope in his work, In the End, The Beginning, when he writes, "Creative powers are awakened at every age, when new possibilities emerge and if they are recognized as such. In this sense we are always standing at the beginning."


I wasn't sure there was much more to say after Owen's post above, but I maybe there is?

#122 Oleg Anishchenkov

Oleg Anishchenkov

    Banned

  • Banned
  • Pip
  • 21 posts

Posted 21 November 2009 - 09:15 AM

I think that the role of American Orthodoxy is of great importance now. I think that American Orthodox people are in the front line of the struggle for Truth, Love, and Beauty. You are in the middle of the "melting pot" of the society which consists of different religions, ideas, races, etc, etc, etc.., and t e m p t a t i o n s.

You are in the front of us Russians now who (unfortunately) have not done their best at defending the Orthodox values. Here in my country sin is becoming "a commodity", it is in vogue now! My 15-year-old son Antony told me that all the girls in his class smoke cigarettes or pretend they can smoke to show off, and they are not churchgoers as you may conclude (this is just an example of what I mean). We are loosing our Orthodoxy and ourselves! On the other hand you have already accumulated experience of how to survive and not only to survive but how to win under such conditions; American Saints like Fr S. Rose have proved this to the world.

I can't but admire the inborn Christian values of your people, your openness and outgoing, patience, mercy, and rigidity when it is necessary.

i want to learn from You a lot!

In Christ,
Oleg A.

#123 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,064 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 November 2009 - 03:48 PM

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

#124 Mary

Mary

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 800 posts

Posted 21 November 2009 - 04:05 PM

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


Perhaps it is different kinds of grass, and we can share what we have and learn from each other? =)

#125 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,341 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 November 2009 - 05:11 PM

I think there is plenty of precedence for American Orthodox. It is true that secularism is a comparatively new thing. The Roman persecutions were more severe, Christians had to be more secretive (although in those days there was a secretiveness to the Holy Mysteries), and the major problem was that Christians refused to burn incense to the Roman gods. Today, persecution is much more subtle (becoming more overt as time goes on); there is a subtle corrupting influence to secularism that afflicts most of us in some way, and just being a super-traditionalist is not the answer. With all of that said, the choices are still really the same for us today as they were in, say, the 5th century. The problem of empire as a competing spiritual force is there, even though it was a Christian empire then and a secular empire now. I don't mean empire in the conventional sense of nations going out and colonizing other nations. An empire is a self-consciously spiritual entity that projects power. And the Gospel is all about power. [This is the one theme sadly lacking in our preaching and teaching. Too often, our theological truths are expressed merely as important and necessary information -- no power behind it] That is what we are confronted with in the modern secular super state. We have yet to see a constructive reaction to this by Christians of any stripe really. The reaction to Christian empire and its corrupting influence (Christianity became too popular!) was a very robust monastic movement. We have yet to see that in our own day, even though there are some promising signs. I think really that is the key -- for the parish priests to not so much promote monasticism but to point to monastics as our exemplars so that we can practice asceticism in our own "back yard," and help people to think of monastics as a potential font of spiritual wisdom. Some priests I know struggle with this tension between the parish priesthood and monasticism. Unfortunately I think all too often this occurs among priests who are kind of frustrated monastics themselves, and this is not a good way to go. And I think most clergy think of the parish as the beginning and end of all things, and see monasticism as a bunch of people off doing their own thing. Or as a kind of competition.

#126 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,341 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 21 November 2009 - 05:12 PM

I appreciate Oleg's fresh point of view. All too often we just hear condemnation of America from Orthodoxy. If nothing else, it is an impractical approach. One thing that America has stood for in the past is innovation and practical wisdom. We need not fear it with respect to practical applications of evangelism.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users