Tasting notes from my travels in American Christianity
#11
(10-09-2019, 08:26 PM)mpk1987 Wrote: I have a relatively decent bishop so while I have my qualms about the diocese getting my money, I am ultimately at peace with it.

I have an excellent Bishop, probably one of the most orthodox in the US, but I still have qualms about giving to the Diocese because each Diocese contributes to the budget of the USCCB, and I don't want that auxiliary of the Democratic Party getting a single penny of my money.
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#12
(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: First, Orthodoxy is ugly.  People who say it is beautiful don’t know what they’re talking about.

Or they just have different taste than you???????
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#13
(10-10-2019, 11:31 AM)Melkite Wrote: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so your experience on whether the chants and iconography of Orthodoxy are beautiful or not is your own.  While I wouldn't say the TLM is ugly, I also wouldn't say it's beautiful in comparison to Byzantine liturgy.  It's beautiful in its own way, but to me, also doesn't feel "right."  Like the beauty that it has is forced, somewhat gaudy.

However, I have to think your experience within Orthodoxy was brief, not with more than one parish.  In general, you're right about their success in evangelism, but I'm guessing you either went to a Greek parish or an OCA parish that was largely ethnic.  The Antiochian Archdiocese is made up almost entirely of Evangelical converts these days, and many of them are young families with a lot of children.  The only Orthodox parish I've been to which matched your description was an inner city OCA parish that had been there from the Metropolia days.  Very few people, and most of them old.

I attended two, and the Antiochian church was better. The average age of Orthodox are younger and richer, that much is true. However, they still have a convert and retention problem that matches and supersedes the Catholics.  I'm not aware of any statistics that suggest otherwise. I researched that question quite a bit because I think it reflects on the Catholic issue. A traditional liturgy isn't the only problem. I think Orthodoxy's brazen liberal politics are a big issue. I believe that frankly the unapologetic conservative politics of evangelical churches are a major explanation for their success. A liturgy by itself doesn't win converts in a broad sense. 

(10-10-2019, 07:56 PM)Florus Wrote:
(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: First, Orthodoxy is ugly.  People who say it is beautiful don’t know what they’re talking about.

Or they just have different taste than you???????

I am willing to concede that partially. For sure there are cultural distinctions that I just don't appreciate. However ugliness is also explicitly built into their aesthetics. Like I said with Byzantine iconography. It's not just my opinion that they look ugly. They are designed to be visually unappealing to direct ones thoughts beyond the material to the spiritual. That is the fundamental raison d'etre of the style, per Orthodox theologians. Making the people look anything other than sickly and freaky is a corruption of the style and a criticism they levy toward Catholic art.
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#14
(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 1: Conservative Evangelicalism.  Where to start?  The pros of this brand of Christianity are more numerous than I think many of us are willing to admit... Moreover, there is a zeitgeist to these churches; they are the only churches that are growing in the U.S. and they already have impressive numbers anyway.  There is a real sense that you are part of something monumental and lasting.  Sixty-five percent of children raised as conservative Evangelicals continue practicing into adulthood!

I've never been to an evangelical service nor have I ever considered converting to evangelicalism, but I definitely have respect for them, in spite of their seriously flawed theology. They are one of the few groups of Christians consistently preaching and practicing traditional Christian morality. Is it any wonder that the Church is hemorrhaging adherents to these evangelical churches? 

According to a Pew Research study (source), Protestants in Latin America have higher rates of religious commitment, are less likely to support gay marriage, and are more likely to share their faith with others than Catholics. A median 60% of Latin American Protestant respondents said the reason they left the Church was because they wanted a greater emphasis on morality (81% said they were seeking a personal relationship with God). Is it any wonder that Latin America is rapidly becoming evangelical/Pentecostal? Theology aside, can we really blame and condemn these apostate Catholics for leaving the Church when the Church has failed to inculcate morality and fallen into spiritual torpor? Personally, I'm loath to say that these evangelical Protestants are going to Hell just for being outside the Church since, morally speaking, they're living more Christian lives than many Catholics.

As for Orthodoxy, I've been to Serbian and Russian Orthodox masses on a few occasions and, while I found the church, music, and liturgy of the mass beautiful, I also found it off-putting. I mentioned in another thread that the first and only time I have attended the TLM (at an FSSP church, nonetheless) thus far, I found it cold and alienating. Well, the Orthodox mass was even more alienating.

The icons painted on every square inch of the church interior, having to stand the entire two+ hours, people constantly milling around the church to light candles at the icons stands, and the priest and his entourage of deacons and whoever else constantly walking in and out from behind the iconostasis to process and incense and so on was bewildering and chaotic. I much prefer the relative order and straightforwardness of the TLM. PLus, at least I get to sit down (the latter experience was actually only at the Russian Orthodox church; the Serbian church had pews and the liturgy was less long-winded and elaborate and was in the vernacular for the most part - yet, I still feel at home in the Catholic Church, NO or TLM).

(Edit: formatting)
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#15
(10-11-2019, 02:26 AM)whitewashed_tomb Wrote: I've never been to an evangelical service nor have I ever considered converting to evangelicalism, but I definitely have respect for them, in spite of their seriously flawed theology. They are one of the few groups of Christians consistently preaching and practicing traditional Christian morality. Is it any wonder that the Church is hemorrhaging adherents to these evangelical churches? 

According to a Pew Research study (source), Protestants in Latin America have higher rates of religious commitment, are less likely to support gay marriage, and are more likely to share their faith with others than Catholics. A median 60% of Latin American Protestant respondents said the reason they left the Church was because they wanted a greater emphasis on morality (81% said they were seeking a personal relationship with God). Is it any wonder that Latin America is rapidly becoming evangelical/Pentecostal? Theology aside, can we really blame and condemn these apostate Catholics for leaving the Church when the Church has failed to inculcate morality and fallen into spiritual torpor? Personally, I'm loath to say that these evangelical Protestants are going to Hell just for being outside the Church since, morally speaking, they're living more Christian lives than many Catholics.

As for Orthodoxy, I've been to Serbian and Russian Orthodox masses on a few occasions and, while I found the church, music, and liturgy of the mass beautiful, I also found it off-putting. I mentioned in another thread that the first and only time I have attended the TLM (at an FSSP church, nonetheless) thus far, I found it cold and alienating. Well, the Orthodox mass was even more alienating.

The icons painted on every square inch of the church interior, having to stand the entire two+ hours, people constantly milling around the church to light candles at the icons stands, and the priest and his entourage of deacons and whoever else constantly walking in and out from behind the iconostasis to process and incense and so on was bewildering and chaotic. I much prefer the relative order and straightforwardness of the TLM. PLus, at least I get to sit down (the latter experience was actually only at the Russian Orthodox church; the Serbian church had pews and the liturgy was less long-winded and elaborate and was in the vernacular for the most part - yet, I still feel at home in the Catholic Church, NO or TLM).

(Edit: formatting)

I tend to agree with your points about evangelicals. Also keep in mind that they are winning Catholic immigrant converts as well! So those evil red neck racist Trump loving churches are the ones getting a mass influx if immigrants while the REFUGEES WELCOME mainline pr*testants continue to look older, WASPier, emptier, and more lesbian. Immigrants don't have the slightest interest in these churches.

Now, why the Catholic Church wants to emulate the latter rather than the former is beyond me. But it has to do with them wanting to function more as an NGO for the new world order and the connections that come with it. But that money and connections haven't stopped the mainline pr*ds from spiraling into irrelevancy so I don't see why it would matter with them.

New World Order Catholicism might be my new term for whatever it's typically called... conciliar etc. I think it's more appropriate.
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#16
(10-11-2019, 01:23 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: I am willing to concede that partially. For sure there are cultural distinctions that I just don't appreciate. However ugliness is also explicitly built into their aesthetics. Like I said with Byzantine iconography. It's not just my opinion that they look ugly. They are designed to be visually unappealing to direct ones thoughts beyond the material to the spiritual. That is the fundamental raison d'etre of the style, per Orthodox theologians. Making the people look anything other than sickly and freaky is a corruption of the style and a criticism they levy toward Catholic art.

Are we looking at the same icons?  They're certainly intended to look a bit unrealistic to emphasize otherwordliness, but I've never heard anyone say they are supposed to look sickly.   Do they seem more sickly in appearance to you than some renaissance paintings of pasty-white, bloated saints?
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#17
Melkite Wrote:of pasty-white, bloated saints?

Hey don't be racist! Some people can't help being very white. :laughing:

whitewashed_tomb Wrote:Theology aside, can we really blame and condemn these apostate Catholics for leaving the Church when the Church has failed to inculcate morality and fallen into spiritual torpor? Personally, I'm loath to say that these evangelical Protestants are going to Hell just for being outside the Church since, morally speaking, they're living more Christian lives than many Catholics.

Theology aside, yes, in general we can "blame" them although that's the wrong way to frame it. We shouldn't be focused on "blaming" anyone (at least not in this broadly condemnatory way) but on our own lives and decision making.

People aren't mindless, stupid sheep. While we all have mob-like characteristics strongly ingrained in us, and these can easily come out with the right provocation, in general people have the ability to think for themselves and act for themselves. This is the basis of personal responsibility and morality. The spiritual life of an adult is his OWN responsibility. The Church is there to help him, and is the only true help for him. If we abandon the idea that there is any true, objective help for our spiritual lives, then we should stop going to any church altogether and stop lying to ourselves about the whole thing. If Church hierarchy fail to do their own job, which is to provide that proper aid, that is THEIR responsibility. But the teachings of the Church are easily available even to those in third world countries, and the mystics tell us that deep progress in the spiritual life is prolonged, arduous work. Finally, God always gives the grace to remain faithful. If we fail to cooperate with that grace, that is our own fault. And we know deep down this is how it should be—God completely respects our autonomy and treats us as individuals responsible for our actions but is completely ready to offer strength when we ask for it.

And morally speaking, you can't make that sort of assessment about people you don't know but can only see from the outside, and from the far distance at that. I shouldn't need to argue for this point since it seems evident.

But the biggest problem with this sort of moral comparing is that it is Kantian to its core and reduces religious differences to apparent ethical-moral ones. This strips every religion of what makes it unique and is the basis of the modern view of all religions being on an equal field (ignore the doctrinal differences; focus on how we can all live in harmony in one brotherhood of luv. Sound familiar? Thanks, Kant). Even if they were living "more Christian lives," whatever this really means, and I can guarantee that upon some philosophical scrutiny, it would quickly fall apart into meaninglessness, this has no bearing on whether they are going to Hell or not.

We should be careful to avoid emotional rationalizations and really adhere to strongly defined concepts and values. People often take the easy choice. It's not our place to "blame" anyone for doing so since we are all hypocrites and sinners. But to excuse taking the easy choice is just as wrong if not more harmful in the long run.
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#18
>mindless, stupid sheep

I fail to understand how in the world do people, (who likely have had not actual contact with sheep), come off calling sheep stupid.

Number 1, people used to call children lambs not kids 
Number 2, oh never mind  

Interesting tidbit: I mentioned to a sister, who keeps sheep and whose place is on a running river, 'animals like to drink from running water', her reply, 'not sheep, they like still waters'. Ah, I thinks, the 22nd psalms, (which I've recently seen has had the wording changed,, (prolly reflecting some environmental  BS).

>end rant
Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!
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#19
I tend to agree that some of Orthodoxy IS ugly and personally speaking I cannot stand modern Russian Orthodox chanting.  That ridiculous "high opera" theatrical garbage is more post Nikonian and post Petrine (Peter 1) than it is traditional.  Now the old Znammeny chanting on the other hand,  or the Valaam style,  is beautiful.  I also like traditional Greek style chanting.  Heck I even still love Gregorian chant. 

I am willing to concede that not everyone is taken with icons or Orthodoxy though, and many LOVE that theatrical post Nikonian, post Petrine operatic style.  People have different tastes.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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#20
(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 1: Conservative Evangelicalism.  Where to start? 

Yup, the Holy Eucharist. If Christ ain't there I can pray, read the scriptures and watch homilies at home.

(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 2: Orthodoxy. 

Papal succession for me, and the Filioque clause is a non issue for me. Even if I wanted to there is no Orthodox Churches where I live.

(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 3: FSSP,

I would go if I even had the choice, as for the finances, just don't put money on the plate that goes to the liberal stuff, just to the Priest and then do the rest privately to the charity of your choosing rather then putting it in someone else's hands to distribute.

(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 4: Your local diocesan parish.  Barf. 

Well I've got no choice, and as long as Christ is there truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist I'll keep going trying to bring as much dignity and reverence back as I can, by receiving communion only from the Priest, on the tongue and on one knee. (Which I was raised in N.O. and had been receiving in the hand most of my life and didn't even know there was another way to receive Our Lord, can't go back now, last week the Priest switched lines and unfortunately I missed out on receiving Christ because I couldn't receive in the hands ever again and from a lay person, so I bowed to Our Lord and returned to my pew). "For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

Last week we had another priest who quoted from Bishop Barron (knew it was gonna go down hill a bit from there) and then implied that someone learned to forgive God.... forgive God? excuse me? and I guess to anyone else we look like those who pretend like the Priest didn't just say something heretical or imply some other nonsense. Nevertheless, we pray for them and try to show example and sow seeds when possible, I've seen some become better for it. It's very sad, and I pray for the restoration of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which will be restored Mark 4:38-40.

I would also note, that no matter where you go, it is up to the parents to raise their children in the faith, especially their father which is to resemble their heavenly father and is thus the greatest determining factor.

(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 5: Charismatic Episcopal or High Anglican.
 

I could never go Protestantism, even if a minority 'claim' to have the real presence I don't believe it and that could be changed over night IMO. I believe Christ founded only One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, to whom shall I go?

(10-09-2019, 08:03 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: Option 6: SSPX.  Finally… home, 1.5 hours away. 

With all of this said, my only qualm is how I feel about schism these days: Namely, that I don't have any interest in that idea. 

I agree, I've not researched it enough, personally id rather be safe then sorry, so I would personally go any traditional parish still tied to Rome if I had the option and just be careful where I put my money.

p.s. I also refuse to eat bugs :)

God Bless You
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