Well, I'm glad to see you are less strident about this issue than before!
It sort of rejuvenates my faith in humanity!
But, as a former amateur wrestling champion, I think I can say I've got you pinned down here . . .
First of all, yes, of course, the situation is different in the U.S. with Ukies and other East Slavs.
The U.S. is quite unique as a strongly unicultural melting pot society.
As for "proof," I can only offer you proof of strong, vibrant cultural parishes up here. You are welcome to come and visit any time.
The proof is in the 'putting." And we'll put you right in with the choir so you can look down and see all those Ukie faces singing in Ukie!
I do think that your view of "converting" and "preaching" is a bit tainted with evangelicalism, don't you agree? No? Well, I didn't think you would anyway . . .
Your own Slavic identity comes out loud and clear with you again imputing motive in me that you simply are not in a position to judge, namely, my copping out from witnessing to Christ.
Perhaps I am. I hope not. But even when I help others come into this Church or that, I know that it has nothing to do with me.
Since I can't call on the Administrator here to make an objective judgement call on the matter, I'll have to refer it to a much Higher Court.
The Judge in that Court is very fair, as I am led to believe, and He knows what we do in secret, as opposed to before men
As long as I'm squared away in my conscience with Him, I'm not too hot and bothered with what even the Administrator of this Forum himself thinks of me or my views
So, since we await the Administrator of the Heavenly Forum's decision on this, (I love you, but I think He is really Divine!) we can proceed to the point I think I have you pinned down on.
And that is your contention that we somehow have to get people to join specifically OUR Church and, if we don't, that means we've somehow failed.
And, sorry, Sir, we live in a pluralistic society where people may join more than one Church tradition, even . . .even . . . the Latin tradition . . .
If you are saying the UGCC is failing to witness to Christ, please offer some concrete evidence how its martyrs, confessors and vibrant parish life today is somehow failing His Cause.
And don't stop with me. I'm sure His Beatitude would like to hear about it too!
We have English-language liturgies and parishes. Heck, you yourself posted about the Gaelic/Ukie liturgy in Dublin.
But it seems to me that, left to your mainstream ecclesial dictatorship, you would remove the aspect of choice from converts completely in this respect.
If someone came to you and wished to convert to Christ because he heard your beautiful Cantor's voice, would you be upset if that person said, "But I really would like to join the OCA?"
I don't think you would be upset, just as I wouldn't.
And would you feel that you have failed because that person has joined the OCA? Do you think your colleagues fail because members of your English-language BC Church want to join the OCA - and do?
I really think what you are about here is how to increase the ranks of the BCC in the U.S. - a valid pursuit.
I think the sociological issues involved are much more complex than language and cultural issues.
I'd have to study the matter, but I would hypothesize (see what you've done to me?
) that the weakening of cultural identity MIGHT lead to a greater desire to join with Orthodoxy per se since EC churches AS CHURCHES might be perceived as "narrow ethnic enclaves" outside the mainstream.
And the OCA is no ethnic enclave, but a true mainstream Orthodox Church where one has the CHOICE to participate in either mainstream Orthodoxy or else Orthodoxy within a cultural framework.
This needs study, something I don't believe either of us has done sufficiently on this issue, although you are, by far, more knowledgeable about the American situation than I.
If you are saying that Church communities with a cultural perspective don't have the right to exist because they exclude converts who may not find the culture relevant etc. - then you are wrong - and we agree to disagree.
Again, if I don't want to join with Greek-speakers or others because I don't understand the language - there are other valid choices to be made - including choices from among a broad range of English-speaking Churches.
And what if I, like others here, find an English-speaking Church community to be "foreign" to me?
What if I find English liturgies to fail in helping me to express my own inner experience of the Christian faith as an Eastern Orthodox Catholic?
And, frankly, English liturgies for me is a great turnoff. I understand them. But I can't pray and worship in them.
So if you are about trying to create a univeral Church where everyone will feel at home in North America because English is used - I would think again.
Well intentioned though you are, you would be imposing a cultural framework of your own, the mainstream one, on many, many people who would reject it as a suitable vehicle for the expression of their faith in Christ.
You may want to raise this issue with our Patriarch and some others . . .
You might also want to revisit the book, "How to win friends and influence people..."
I'm not saying you are copping out or anything like that.
We "cultural" Christians don't say things like that . . .
Theologically, though, you have me beat.
Sociologically, your view conveys something of a naive view in this respect - your admitted "harshness" betrays something of an unwillingness to accept a view other than your own as normative on this issue.
We are both agreed that we are to be used by Christ to draw others to Himself.
As for which community He calls them to - it is not up to you or me to decide that.
It is up to Him.