Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Orthodoxy in America and America in Orthodoxy

One can hardly think of a more American city than Pittsburgh. Further, one can hardly find a greater presence of Orthodoxy anywhere in America than Pennsylvania (of the roughly 2000 Orthodox parishes in America, 250 of them are in Pennsylvania). Thus, it is quite probably of no surprise that a genuinely fine series of reflections on Orthodoxy in America that actually seems to "get" America should come out of the Pittsburgh area, from Fr. Jonathan Tobias:

  • Prospects, part 1: Ebb Tide: "President George W. Bush is ending his presidency...." ("a prequel of sorts")

  • Prospects, part 2: Bad News before the Good: "Some of you know that I grew up in the revivalist part of Protestantism. We were rightly named, as my father’s church put on two revivals every year, consisting of nightly evening services that lasted for one to two weeks.

    We had a strange expression that involved those services. It was 'the saw dust trail.' It stood for the invitation or the 'altar call' that was issued by the evangelist at the end of the service, in which sinners were called to come forward to the front to pray and take Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour."

  • Prospects, part 3: The American Genius: "...in the fervent search for commonalities, the Orthodox mission has overlooked the significance of difference … it is the separation from Holy Tradition that provides for us the most significant information about what is peculiar to America, her genius, and where we ought to travel to arrive at her center … in other words, where we, in completing the work of Cyril and Methodios, need to go to reach the heart of the indigenous people, the 'national consciousness' America."

  • Prospects, part 4: Orthodoxy at the End of the Sawdust Trail: "The American Gnostic experience seeks to experience the divine, but outside the protective communion provided by Jesus Christ and His Body, the Apostolic Church."

I strongly encourage a careful read of all four of these pieces.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The following is not germane to this post specifically, but I thought you'd appreciate it, given the focus of your blog:

"The Bible has always found its safest repose in the mountains. When the law was given to Moses, the great lawgiver did not make the place of his feet glorious by descending to the deep and widespread vale, but He stood upon Mount Sinai. The Bible has both a mountain home and a mountain range, and experience has proved that the word of God is hard to drive from the mountains." ~ The Lexington Gazette, 3 March 1859.

suleyman said...

It's good to know there are other folks out there concerned with the same things I am - namely Orthodoxy and the South.

You've got a great blog here.


rightwingprof said...

It's a topic near and dear to me (sorry for the cliche), and there is much there. I need to re-read all four and digest everything.

Incidentally, I also live in the mountains, the Alleghenies in central Pennsylvania, about 180 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Within 15 miles of my home, there are two small towns (both with pop less than 1000) with only two churches, one Orthodox, and the other, Eastern Rite. In one, the churches share a cemetery, and in the other, they both have the same name.

Interesting, I think.