Monday, August 5, 2013

Would it be possible to have an ideal American Rite melding features of the Byzantine tradition and American culture?

Though skeptical of all things American, I do think it evangelically important to inculturate the Gospel, which should include, for example, the use of vernaculars. Inculturation is particularly and notoriously difficult in America, which lacks any one culture. America is a place of many coexisting – but only limitedly interacting – cultures. It is also a place of rampant individualism, which is utterly contrary to the Gospel. It would certainly be possible to meld features of Byzantine tradition and American culture – which has happened historically to a small degree – but there would be nothing “ideal” about an “American Rite.” 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Is a united American Eastern Church a realistic possibility?

When first immigrating to the United States, Eastern Christians usually intended to return to their homelands and thus considered themselves as in diaspora. Despite new circumstances, the mother Churches often continue operating from this conception. Though continuing as minorities, Eastern Churches in this country now have generations of history, American cultural characteristics, and numbers enough to regard them as a particular Church. Really, it doesn't makes sense for one location to have five or more Eastern bishops representing various jurisdictions. This redundancy weakens the ability of the Eastern Churches to evangelize, to catechize, and to do all that the Church must do in the world. 

This jurisdictional unity could only happen if the Churches would seek it and would self-identify first as Eastern Christians rather than as this or that ethnic group. Until Eastern Christians in the United States stop referring to themselves primarily as Russians or Ukrainians or Rusyns or Greeks or Arabs or this or that ethnicity rather than primarily as Christians, they will poorly reflect the one Church they truly are. 

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