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I presume, Mr. Dale, that your comment carries no small irony.

But if this were not so, then I might remind you that I referred to the "usual American experience," certainly not that of "old American families" where there should obtain agrarian custom, a familial and republican hearth, songs and stories and callouses from the earth.

I am sure you may be referring to this honorable tradition: but it is not the usual. Hardly.

How dare you insinuate that those of us who come from old American families are deficient in a culture!!! How dare you!

Excellent, Father. Most of us can probably give a list of kinds of people who have been castigated, ignored, blockaded or sneered out of our fellowships by clergy and laity. Its a big world out there and the gospel is to be preached to all of it... all of "them". All of "us".

Orr, thanks for the nod to Orwell, and you're right about Jim Crow status quo.

Steve, I don't think there should be any interruption, especially for castigation of a real annoyance, much less a perfectly acceptable blind dog. I have little patience for such improprieties -- and I'm referring to neither the poor woman or the noble dog (whose character might be better, in a symbolic way, than his persecutor's).

AG -- I have only much sympathy for immigrants, and for precisely the reasons you mention -- the tradition of the extended family, the ugliness of the anti-agrarian and consumerist anti-culture barbarianism.

But barbarians we are commanded to welcome, and assimilate through catechesis, ascesis and communion.

Part of this assimilation -- as I shall try to explore in the next post -- ought to be articulated not in the spoken language of the immigrant, but in the unspoken (and more meaningful) language of immigrant memory and folkways.

So stay tuned.

From the immigrants' perspective, they look at the acultural, consumerist mess that is America and decide that the Old Country definitely had its good points. Ethnicity is not a social construct. It is a group of people with a high percentage of ancestors in common: a very large, very extended family. Americans eschew this institution, and into the vacuum steps the market and trash culture. "Phyletism" is, in part, the immigrants' attempts to keep the barbarians from their gates.

Over time, this is a problem that solves itself with outmarriage and improving Old World economies. For the transitional generations though, it is hard to watch grandchildren unable to worship in the mother tongue.

When you speak of the disabled, I was once in a service where the priest interupted the service to castigate a blind woman for bringing her guide dog into the church, accusing her of blasphemous disrespect for the house of God. She left, and never returned.

I think it may have been a cross-cultural misunderstanding. I don't know if the priest was aware of the use of dogs as guides for blind people, and perhaps he had misinterpreted the situation, and I didn't feel that I could broach the subject with him, as he was clearly too upset by the incident to be approachable.

We should name the vision of St. Tikhon (as much as I venerate him) and the structures of both the EP's exarchates and the OCA with its ethnic dioceses for what they are: ecclesiastical apartheid, 'separate but equal'. (Of course, while "All animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others" in such arrangements - and it ain't Christ or His Apostles.) It matters little if Abp Iakovos marched with MLK in Selma if we defend our own Jim Crow status quo contrary to our own ecclesiology.

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