America has got to go

This started as a comment from this minor thread, which I've expanded into a post:

Scotsman observes the contrived role-playing by Orthodox converts, excepting me from their company. However, I don't want to mislead anybody. I married a cradle Orthodox after my conversion.

Porter sizes it up: the folks in the linked thread are Anglos who want a liturgy that belongs to them instead of to somebody else. Unfortunately, these are also people who in the same breath wring their hands over "right-wing" European politics. If only we could do multiculturalism as well as the Americans! Well sure you can: just get a bunch of white people together and invent nukes. Just be sure to dismantle them before things get a little too democratic.

The Western Rite debate is an arcane issue of Christian liturgics. I just have not seen anybody make a good case for an "Orthodox Western Rite." The West has been schismatic (from my perspective) for a thousand years, and the pre-Schism rite is fragmented and incomplete. What remnants are still around are unknown to anybody but a few academics and hobbyists. There is nothing of Orthodox Western liturgics to "reclaim" for Orthodoxy because the West has forgotten them.

So, why not become a traditionalist Catholic? First, because I had a choice, and having weighed competing doctrines and prayed about things, I chose Orthodoxy. (But, I cannot stress this enough, that's just me. Anybody else crawling away from the Protestant wreckage who became Catholic, go forth and be a good Catholic.) Second, because the traditionalist Catholics are fighting the same rearguard action as their Anglican cousins. I chose what seemed to be the last redoubt of robust Christianity. And frankly, Orthodoxy is probably just the tertiary holdout against the secular American miasma.

The Slavs started with the Byzantine forms and evolved their own national and cultural expression of Christian worship over centuries. That's the direction we should be heading. Orthodoxy in America is a missionary Church, not diaspora (a previously unknown concept in Christian ecclesiology). Americans will not and should not have to learn Greek or Slavonic in order to worship. But, America is a Masonic regime. As the Matthew Heimbach episode showed, the American secular canon is superior to the Orthodox one. Orthodox converts are frankly horrified at the prospect of growing an organic, inter-generational Church on this soil. The idea of an American or English ethnos that might merit their own Church in the same measure that Greeks, Slavs and Arabs merit their own Church is apparently unthinkable. Somebody even piped up on Marginal Revolution when I took an opportunity to plug these ideas.

America, where everything goes to die.


Scotsman said…
Please understand that I was in no way implying you among the Larpian Orthodox members. But my observation is that the majority of them seem to be 'converting' as a means of compensating for something missing in their own lives. I would include Heimbach among this type. We are so used to celebrating 'the other' in Anglo-America that alot of people end of feeling like they don't have a home; so they seek out what they imagine are stronger ethnic bases. Matt obviously really misunderstood his own church.

This doesn't just apply to Internet Orthodox, btw, but alot of the so called 'hard right' forms of religion. I have seen it many times over the years - guy converts to SSPXism, or whatever, gets burned out after a couple of years and then practices nothing. It is probably not too dissimilar to why blacks covert to Islam.
Something IS missing in their lives: the ethnic solidarity and cultural expressions proudly and openly practiced by everybody else.
Scotsman said…
Yes, absolutely. As a fellow old-line WASPish American like myself, you've probably felt the same thing. I confess that I had in the past even flirted with the idea of trying one of those traditionalist Episcopal groups, but I hadn't had the heart to make the jump merely on cultural/ethnic grounds.
Porter said…
Something IS missing in their lives: the ethnic solidarity and cultural expressions proudly and openly practiced by everybody else.

No matter how assiduous the efforts, even I fail to overstate the crippling effects of this absence on our spiritual vitality. It is fundamental human nature--a primal need--to seek a place and a people; to know one's heritage, history, and symbols. To hold a position in the phalanx. To take comfort and pride in your tribe and belief that your minor role in it is worthwhile still.

All of these things are denied our people. And the deleterious effects are there to behold.

I remember one of my innumerable comment-war adversaries once explaining that whites need only take pride in themselves. What exquisite foppery. But more importantly, what abuse. A young, emotionally vulnerable person knows what of self-pride? Is emboldened by what accomplishments? Even in the absence of anti-white edu-mill insults from K-12, they would have a bare ledger of self esteem. As it stands, they are in emotional deficit.

Humans are plainly social creatures, drawing strength and sustenance from their tribe. It is a source of health and vigor...and thus the obvious reason why our enemies would deny it.
fnn said…
Of course, that's also why goys convert to Orthodox Judaism:
Anonymous said…
Bernard Brandt here (sorry for the anonymous, but Blogger is eating my entries otherwise),

Having dealt elsewhere with the original comments (and the troll who was accusing you of both racism [white and black!] and ageism), I think your current entry has a certain merit to it. Namely, that too many white folk have attempted to turn Orthodoxy into SWFL. I have noted this in the church where I worship and in which I have served for the last quarter century, and I tend to call the lot 'yuppie orthodox'.

Nonetheless, there is still the impulse among some in the U.S. (even us white folk) to make use of the Divine Liturgy and the Hours to attempt divinization or theosis, and 'in peace and repentance to pray to the Lord.'

I think, however, that you are perhaps being a bit harsh as to Western attempts to find a Western basis which would permit a similar theosis. I would agree with you that the current state of the RC 'Liturgy of the Hours' at least does not permit such, as Rome (or its usual suspects, its 'periti') have been dicking with that liturgy for the last millenium. I would also agree that attempts to do a 'reset' to something a trifle more Orthodox would be impossible, given the materials available.

I would like to point out, however, that Fr. Chadwick is a part of a project which is restoring a lost liturgical use, namely the Sarum use, which I believe could serve as an authentic pre-Tridentine rite. And Fr. Chadwick is one of the few who is advocating a return to (or at least, more of a liturgical use of) that usage.
Thanks for your comments Bernard.
123 said…
The Slavs didn't so much evolve their own tradition as maintain the various local traditions they received from the Mediterranean world and the Levant while those areas tended to continue evolving leaving the Slavs behind. There was some development, too, but the general thrust was Greeks continuing to develop the liturgies (plural) they had been developing in numerous traditional centers while the Slavs held on to what they had been given.

I have known role-playing converts, but they have been the exception to the rule everywhere except seminaries monasteries, ROCOR, and online. They wash out or end up in psych wards so quickly I'm not sure one could actually count them as being Orthodox or emblematic of much in Orthodoxy apart from the ever popular quickie catechumenate.