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HYes, G.K. Chesterton pointed out that democracy is not incompatible with tradition, and there are some things that are caslled "liberal" that are anything but. I still recasll my shock had first encountering the notion that an "abortion on demand" policy was "liberal" (It was about 45 years ago, in the UK, and it sounded like fascist eugenics to me at the time).

I'm not qualified to say what American Orthodoxy shuld look like, but it doesn't, surely, need to adopt the worst features of a local culture. There is always a sense in which Orthodoxy is countercultural, even in "the Old Country".

American Orthodoxy is pernicious to the Old World and its younger camp followers because the notion of consumer sovereignty is so throughly ingrained into the American psyche. This notion is anathema to the Old World. The oldsters are now forced to explain, to listen, to mollify, to fix, to raise money, and, yes, to act like the Servants of Christ, which can be pretty exasperating. I've heard the exasperation expressed in denunciations of individualism, republicanism, and capitalism and the championing of absolutist Tsarism and, above all, the State's responsibility for paying clerical salaries.

On another note, by my reckoning, this Old World tradition is only about 500 years old anyway, which, coincidentally, is about as old as Protestantism. My reckoning says the the absolutist streak in Orthodoxy began in Russia with Ivan Grodzny and in Greece with the transformation of New Rome into an Exarchate.

Third, I share a suspicion of the mythical de-cultured transnational Orthodoxy, which, for example, tells us that New Calendarists need to restrict themselves to eating rabbit food on Turkey Day.

Finally, I'd be interested in knowing what you mean by usury.

You know, sdf, your comment opens up a few more questions: can the Orthodox ethos survive, shorn of its cultural expressions?

Is there some "de-cultured" sort of Orthodoxy that is looked for in the "American Orthodoxy" agenda? Does that (or, God forbid, will that) "de-culturization" end up with an American Orthodox uber-chancery in DC, and an administrative conglomeration that will feel rather much like another pitchfork full of mainline?

I'm all for real American Orthodoxy, which I find somewhat present in the Front Porchers, Agrarians, and what true myth I can prise out of American literature.

But the American Orthodoxy that is afoot has little to do with this, and has a lot more to do with putrid fragments of the social gospel, the "public church," and even -- ironically -- a little dose of Neuhaus.

A true American Orthodoxy will have ornamental Old World mentions (e.g., an occasional Svatyj Boze), a good dose of Old World koladyj, holy supper rituals on Christmas Eve and ethnic fasting foods for Lent, but a lot of accommodation of decent Americana ... some of my friends will have to get over the fact that there is nothing wrong with fried chicken in the Easter Basket.

Imagine: the chardosh (which is wretchedly misspelled) and square dancing in one Church. God Bless America and Ja Rusin Byl.

Peace on Earth.

"James, you understand the one great reason why ethnicity should persevere in American Orthodoxy: the humble, communal spring of joy in dance and song."

Hear, hear! I grow ever more fearful in the talk of an American Orthodoxy. Stripped of its real cultures, Orthodoxy is even less likely than it already is to resist the solvent of American secularism.

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