Some very good thoughts from The Ochlophobist

the AOANA, identity, demographics, culture; usual ochlophobic topics...

One impression I have of Orthodoxy in America is that so many people I meet in Orthodox parishes, people from all sorts of backgrounds, love culture in a manner and with a sustained intensity that I have seen in no other ecclesial order. They often want to see vibrant, livable, local cultures develop in and around their parishes, and they seem to want to cultivate a coherent Orthodox subculture in America and Canada. Culture is celebrated and lived with gusto in American Orthodox churches - not just the traditionally Orthodox cultures, but any culture that the parish might have some connection to. I have been in Orthodox parishes with Latinos in the "core group" of the parish and seen this play out naturally as a part of the parish life. I have seen Suth'run embraced in Orthodox parishes in the South. Consider the work of Fr. Moses Berry. There is something about the Orthodox intuition regarding culture which seeks diligently to preserve what is good wherever it is found. I think that Orthodoxy in America is unique in its position to preserve and cultivate love for culture and cultures. We live in this land of contradiction - in so many respects a cultural wasteland, but at the same time this melting pot in which peoples of decidedly different cultures must learn to live together, and sometimes do. Perhaps Orthodox here can be an image of that "little" and real America, an America focused upon living communities and loving what is close at hand, by recognizing this as part of our spiritual genius, our charism, and, frankly, perhaps as our gift to the rest of the Orthodox world. It is in this land, more than any other, that the old vestiges of phyletism have the greatest potential be exorcised.

Orthodoxy presents an organic vision of society that has long been absent from American life. It probably won't happen, but God grant I live to the day I can stop off in any little Southern town to venerate a local shrine.