Our Comments Policy

Due to some rather negative exchanges, including false accusations and ad hominem attacks, some threads in the comments have been deleted.  Likewise, all comments are now to be vetted before going up (if the system works correctly).  So, this means two things: 1) there may be lag time between when you write and when your comment is online and 2) if you’re not either making a point on topic that shows at least a basic level of respect and/or making an argument (and inductive arguments are fine, as are analogies, etc.–need not all be deductive) your comment will not go up.  Staying on topic is not to be ignored, either.  Our blog is not a forum for people to vent on their cultural and/or theological pet peeves.  Nor is it a forum to attack someone on a different issue than the one posted.  Comments must treat the topic of the post to which they are commenting.  Those who flagrantly violate this policy simply will have their comments deleted as a matter of course because my time is limited, as is that of my co-administrators.

2 Responses

  1. Pamela

    Hello Fr. Herbel,

    I just read with interest your post “The Side of American Orthodoxy that Orthodox are Loath to Admit.” I am American. I was raised Greek Orthodox from Greek Orthodox parents. My 3 children are raised Greek Orthodox. My husband was Roman Catholic and after 24 years of marriage, he recently converted to Orthodoxy.

    The loss of so many people born into this truly beautiful faith is tragic. In my expericence, it stems from a lack of education. Once any Orthodox starts to read about Orthodoxy, understands its differences with other Christian faiths, is opened to the depth and richness of its spiritual teachings, and lives accordingly doing mission work and helping others, it would be impossible to leave. I truly believe this! Sadly, we do so out of ignorance.

    But the question becomes, how do we get people to the point of knowledge and action (Orthodoxy is a way of life, we say)? Years ago, when I had little book knowledge of our faith, I would be incredibly frustrated by the Liturgy being almost entirely in Greek. It was difficult for my small children and would make me even angry (not good!) on the rare occasion when my husband would attend with us. At one point, we had 2 priests and our Proisamenos decided to have 2 Liturgies, one all English and the other in Greek. It was wonderful! My daughter, at age 9 knew the entire Liturgy! Since the English service did not have a choir, we sang the responses (as we should anyway but the reality is that we tend not to as much when the choir sings). I believe this helped our understanding take root. We have since gone back to 1 Liturgy with both languages. It is difficult for the priests because the communities tend to be split regarding the language issue. But as someone who does not speak Greek well and her children and husband speak none, language is a barrier and unless those individuals like us read to learn and understand, they can easily stray away from the Church feeling that they are not benefiting from the services. Reading along in the book is not enough. It needs to take root in our heart, and saying it (just as the Jesus prayer) helps us.

    In the past, I taught our High School Catechism class and would tell the children about the problem of young people going off to college and never coming back. “Why would you leave a faith you don’t know to join another faith you don’t know?” We talked about reading and learning so that they have answers and can make wise choices. If our children falsely think all Christian denominations are similar, or that its okay for church to be fun as opposed to holy, then no wonder they scatter to Americanized and watered down versions of Christianity.

    Although we know God with our heart, it seems to me that for us average individuals (who are inundated with un-Orthodox theologies being pushed at us by the world) we need knowledge to counter the falsehoods that come our way. Once we recognise and understand the Truth, then we can equip ourselves to do spiritual battle, and we recognize the importance of the Orthodox Church in our lives. Without knowledge, which allows us to engage the spiritual gifts the Church offers, we are left a bit confused. We do things simply because our parents did and because they became habit. This is why people leave; they don’t know any better, they are led astray by a feel good form of religion, or they don’t see the benefit in their life, or they mistakenly think all Christian expressions are basically the same. They don’t understand the treasure they have.

    I know I’ve written a lot which boils down to two things: language and education. Language helps education. Education helps settle us. Once settled we are free to practice, grow and struggle. We will feel secure worshiping more deeply. We will be capable of discerning the world around us, and as a result recognizing the importance of the Church. We will pray more, donate more, go on mission trips, and live more fully as Orthodox. We will be wiser in raising and educating our own children.

    I sincerely believe that if people “knew” they wouldn’t leave.
    With love in Christ,

    1. ted perantinides

      PAMELA,the reason many orthodox leave our “treasure”is that language is the deal breaker.a second reason is as you are driving by you see greek orthodox ,serbian orthodox,etc.orthodox.
      PEOPLE are beginning to equate the various orthodox jurisdictions with food instead of true christianity(orthodoxy). finally,how many converts have food fests created?why not have religious fests.im sure orthodox priests are intelligent,kind ,understanding and fantastic people.please accept my non-paragraphing.this is a very sore spot with me.

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