Orthodoxy, American style
I remember one time that an ethnic Orthodox Christian was criticizing Fr. Peter Gillquist for implying that he and his incoming group were bringing something of significant value to the reunion table with Orthodoxy in America. The internet author (probably on the Indiana list) was scandalized - apparently - that Fr. Gillquist would even remotely imply that his group of converts were doing anything other than complete and utter prostrations and wailing innumerable thanks in the direction of Damascus for being allowed to enter into Holy Orthodoxy.
Fact is, I think Fr. Gillquist is right in saying that the rush of converts has done much to bring renewed zeal to Orthodoxy in America. In fact, I would go even further and say that we converts are the very key to the future of Orthodoxy in America. Now, having already been accused of being a "crypto-protestant" (for offering political support to Israel of all things!) I recognize the "fears" some ethnic Orthodox folk have with converts bringing too much protestant baggage along with them.
As if ethnic Orthodox Christians bring no baggage from the old world? LOL! They bring trainloads of it! The very accusation that I am being too much like a protestant for supporting the state of Israel is a perfect example of such baggage. Sometimes we are told that American Orthodoxy isn't mature enough yet for autocephaly, and to that I would proclaim: what a bunch of hypocritical regurgitation. A friend recently emailed me a short list of all the immaturity and chaos that can be found throughout the Orthodox old world (one can add the jihadist bishop Hanna as another example that no American Bishop in ANY jurisdiction can quite match - are we really supposed to look at an old world Orthodox jurisdiction ruled by a bishop advocating suicide bombings and consider them MORE mature than American jurisdictions?)
So, count little (or big) old me - just a voice crying out (i.e. a loudmouth jerk) in the Kitsap county wilderness - as one who believes very strongly in celebrating AMERICAN Orthodoxy. It is time. Were it up to me the OCA would stop whispering about their autocephaly (who cares if the Patriarch of some two or three dozen dying Christians in Istanbul disagrees? He is after all only 2nd amongst EQUALS).
Orthodoxy isn't genetic, if it were then I would have some claim to special authority myself. I propose it is time that we Americans - convert or otherwise - start standing up and figuring out what American Orthodoxy looks like...without asking Greece, Ukraine, Russia, or Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria - we've had enough of their input, and in fact in the latter three Orthodoxy is dying or all but dead.
We are the future of Orthodoxy...far more so than most of the primordial Orthodox soups. But, what am I saying practically? Well I am still formulating these thoughts...stay tuned...or not, if I grieve you further.
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Orthodoxy, American style