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Given your concerns I'd look into Episcopalian, Methodist, and ELCA Lutheran churches.

Methodist broke off of Anglican, so they're not that far from Catholic (at least if you choose a traditional liturgical service) but they don't have the patriarchy business. Episcopalian & ELCA are more liberal on most issues.  Methodists have been putting off a church split over gay marriage and ministers for 15 years or so, but it may be an issue in the future.

ELCA is the most liberal sort of Lutheran.  Don't go try the other types of Lutheran if you want to avoid patriarchy.

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I went through the same thing.  When asked the types of questions you pose, I would preface my answers with "Well, the church teaches that ..., but many people believe ..."  When they then asked, "Wel

I face this to a certain degree with some of the stories/requirements  in Islam.  Usually, I'm pretty open with my kids and will say that some people believe that this literally happened, while others

I'm confused about your question.    You daughter seems like a typical child asking questions.  Nothing earth-shattering and the Church does have answers for those.  As for behavior in church for adul

I do think that given how intensely dissatisfied you seem with this church, it's not a great idea to leave your DD in it.  I feel like it could really confuse her about religion and authority and societal institutions in general to be trying to bridge the gap between Mom, who seriously disagrees with the church on what she feels are fundamental issues and sees many of the authority figures and congregation members as hypocrites, racists, etc. and the religion itself as morally deficient, and the church and her priest, friends, friends' parents, people in positions of authority at the church, etc.

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Just want to add that EO may not directly address climate change but they most certainly speak about stewardship, which includes the environment.  And what Katie said about the teaching of  basically ignoring the physical world, saying it doesn't matter? That is gnosticism and it is a heresy; the Incarnation addressed this. 

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18 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

They do actually.  The Ecumenical Patriarch has written some of the most profound Christian writings on climate change you will see, not just ahi few things but many.  

This does raise the idea again of searching for role models, resources, etc outside the local parish. I know for me, I found all sorts of resources in the Catholic church but I had to seek them out. People like Richard Rohr, or Fr. James Martin, etc. And also seeking out and reading the various theological opinions, statements, etc. Actually reading things on the primacy of conscience in the Catholic tradition was very different than what I might be hearing locally (or seeing on Billboards of all things!). 

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18 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

They do actually.  The Ecumenical Patriarch has written some of the most profound Christian writings on climate change you will see, not just a few things but many.  

yes, he has.  He has been called "The Green Patriarch" for a reason 🙂 

Keynote Address on Climate Change

On the Protection of the Environment 

His book:  On Earth As it Is In Heaven

Also, check out Elizabeth Theokritoff.  Her book came up when I was looking for PAT. Bartholomew's book.  It reminded me of her body of work about the environment.  

 

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21 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

They do actually.  The Ecumenical Patriarch has written some of the most profound Christian writings on climate change you will see, not just a few things but many.  

In the 15 years I've been Orthodox, I don't believe I've ever heard the Ecumenical Patriarch referenced in church. He's never discussed. Maybe it would be different if we attended a Greek church? We've been members of two different OCA parishes. 

I've heard people complain about him but never once heard a priest reference anything the EP said or wrote. He's complained about because some see him as "liberal" because of what he's written about the environment and also because he's met with the pope. 

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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

In the 15 years I've been Orthodox, I don't believe I've ever heard the Ecumenical Patriarch referenced in church. He's never discussed. Maybe it would be different if we attended a Greek church? We've been members of two different OCA parishes. 

I've heard people complain about him but never once heard a priest reference anything the EP said or wrote. He's complained about because some see him as "liberal" because of what he's written about the environment and also because he's met with the pope. 

 

Well, the OCA is related to the Russian church, they aren't inclined to be keen on the EP.  These kinds of problems are found in every religious or ideological group.  Ultimately his writings are part of the Church as much as any are, whether they like it or not.  The EP isn't the only person in the Orthodox Church to talk about environmental concerns, either.

But if you are looking to see an Orthodox approach to the environment he's well worth reading.  He places the environmental crises firmly in the realm of a spiritual problem, it's cause and it's remedy.  

 

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11 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Well, the OCA is related to the Russian church, they aren't inclined to be keen on the EP.  These kinds of problems are found in every religious or ideological group.  Ultimately his writings are part of the Church as much as any are, whether they like it or not.  The EP isn't the only person in the Orthodox Church to talk about environmental concerns, either.

But if you are looking to see an Orthodox approach to the environment he's well worth reading.  He places the environmental crises firmly in the realm of a spiritual problem, it's cause and it's remedy.  

 

The OCA's relationship with Russia is complicated. It's actually not really Russian. The OCA's history is Eastern Catholic and the people that came from what used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Slavic but not Russian. Although the spirituality of those people has russified so now the OCA is much more Russian that it used to be. ROCOR are the real Russians, not the OCA. 

It's weird. The OCA is not historically Russian but has become very culturally Russian in the last generation or so. Even though the OCA is non-Russian slavic, the intellectual part of the OCA is Russian due to the Paris emigres at St. Vladimir's. In most recent years, you have russophile converts who are enamored of the Russian royal family but don't know anything of non-Russian slavs. 

I'd say that while there is very little discussion of the fight between the EP and the Russians, there is generally the assumption that the EP is wrong and the Russian patriarch is right. There's certainly a lot of the romantization of Russian saints and royalty in the OCA today. I personally have some major issues with the idea that the Tsar is a saint. 

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I kind of get this. For me, I could seek out writings by people in the Catholic Church that spoke to me. That fed my soul. I could find my place in the church that way. But for a little girl, reading theology written by people half a world away isn’t going to cut it. She needed a real life theology lived out in front of her in a way that I couldn’t give her where we were.

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For people in OCA I know, the longer the kids are in the more pressure there has been, especially on the girls, to start finding an EO husband, or to become a nun.  One priest’s daughter I know remained steadfastly single and went to college and is a career woman. But quite a few were going into orders or getting married at end of high school.  That could be a local issue, but you may want to think through whether your dd deciding that she does love the faith after all and becomes extremely deeply into it will be a cleft between her and your growing lack of comfort with the denomination. 

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While realizing that it’s a recruitment tactic to get disaffected youth, I found a lot of the American(?) EO “Death to the World” motto and paraphernalia somewhat distressing:

http://deathtotheworld.com/

 

ETA: It was a huge part of the local EO / OCA type culture and imagery.  And I decided that I didn’t want my child surrounded by that degree of negativity about the earth world we live in.  

 

 

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I find the Russians and particularly the Russophiles to have some approaches that are kind of hard to take at times, for sure.  However, I am afraid to some extent that sort of thing is a problem of groups.  I'm Anglican, and there are certainly elements in Anglicanism that drive me really crazy on occasion, and while I don't deal with them too much in my own parish at the moment that is really just luck.  

I've talked about this to another Anglican friend of mine who mostly is in the Catholic church these days, because she lives in a town where that is the only church you can get to without an airplane, in fact the bishop gave permission for her to receive communion because there is simply no other church there, apostolic or otherwise.  She's said though that despite her own issues with Anglicanism and even just the local problem of not having a parish, she's not thinking of becoming Catholic, it's just out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.  To a large degree I think moving between the apostolic/liturgical denominations is like that.  And if you are very involved there will always come a time when you are immersed in the problems and they get to you.  Big church issues, or local drama/culture issues, we all have them.

It's the problem of Hell is other people.  The only thing is that when we try and go it alone, we carry those problems with us, we can just overlook them in ourselves.

 

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

For people in OCA I know, the longer the kids are in the more pressure there has been, especially on the girls, to start finding an EO husband, or to become a nun.  One priest’s daughter I know remained steadfastly single and went to college and is a career woman. But quite a few were going into orders or getting married at end of high school.  That could be a local issue, but you may want to think through whether your dd deciding that she does love the faith after all and becomes extremely deeply into it will be a cleft between her and your growing lack of comfort with the denomination. 

That's an issue. One of my issues with Orthodoxy is the pressure on singles to marry other Orthodox when there are so few of them. I have a few single acquaintances who will only date other Orthodox people and none of them have found anyone. I was single and Orthodox and made the decision to ignore all of the advice about dating Orthodox people. I'm convinced that's the only reason I got married. My husband ended up converting in the end. 

Most of the kids go off to college in the parishes I've attended. I haven't noticed early marriages. I think our current parish has some influence from 'courtship' believers in families with younger kids. 

 

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

For people in OCA I know, the longer the kids are in the more pressure there has been, especially on the girls, to start finding an EO husband, or to become a nun.  One priest’s daughter I know remained steadfastly single and went to college and is a career woman. But quite a few were going into orders or getting married at end of high school.  That could be a local issue, but you may want to think through whether your dd deciding that she does love the faith after all and becomes extremely deeply into it will be a cleft between her and your growing lack of comfort with the denomination. 

It must be local - esp the part about becoming a monastic.  I haven't seen that at all.  Maybe it depends on if your parish is largely converts or not (mine isn't).  

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2 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

It must be local - esp the part about becoming a monastic.  I haven't seen that at all.  Maybe it depends on if your parish is largely converts or not (mine isn't).  

 

 Yes, mostly there are Converts locally.   

ETA: is your mostly non convert parish full of the Death to the World type imagery (see post above)? 

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4 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

That's an issue. One of my issues with Orthodoxy is the pressure on singles to marry other Orthodox when there are so few of them. I have a few single acquaintances who will only date other Orthodox people and none of them have found anyone. I was single and Orthodox and made the decision to ignore all of the advice about dating Orthodox people. I'm convinced that's the only reason I got married. My husband ended up converting in the end. 

Most of the kids go off to college in the parishes I've attended. I haven't noticed early marriages. I think our current parish has some influence from 'courtship' believers in families with younger kids. 

 

Yes, I agree that there is that... although I wouldn't call it an "issue".  In a perfect world it would be wonderful if our kids could marry within their faith.   But, I would say that encouragement comes from both parents and the parish.   The sad truth is it isn't very practical since there are so few Orthodox in America compared with other traditions.   

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25 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

 Yes, mostly there are Converts locally.   

As a convert I would say that many (most??) converts take it too far.  I don't think EO are alone with have this problem of convertitis.  Some people can be too enthusiastic about their newfound faith.   I think it was a blessing in hindsight that my dh didn't come along with me at the time (he converted 9 yrs later).   Plus, I married man who is most definitely not a follower or joiner and skeptical of leadership.   We had some experience with those types of converts and it seriously weirded him out.  My oldest (18 at the time) definitely had those tendencies too.  There's a lot I regret about her choices and my not speaking up at the time - but water under the bridge.  Now she's a mom with (almost) 4 kids and working full time.  She's settled down to reality.    When I was going through my catechumenate my priest had stories of converts who later decided the OCA wasn't Orthodox enough and went to increasingly more strict parishes... many ending up leaving the EO church altogether to kind of start their own little version.  

edited to fix a major typo!!

Edited by PrincessMommy
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26 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

 Yes, mostly there are Converts locally.   

ETA: is your mostly non convert parish full of the Death to the World type imagery (see post above)? 

I know this question was not directed at me but my parish is mostly convert and there is no "Death to the World" imagery. I've only seen that kind of thing online. 

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36 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

As a convert I would say that many (most??) converts take it too far.  I don't think EO are alone with have this problem of convertitis.  Some people can be too enthusiastic about their newfound faith. 

In my neck of the woods, we call that "cage stage." As in, you should be locked in a cage until you have settled into your beliefs a bit and can discuss them with decorum. It's a tongue in cheek expression, of course.

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45 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

As a convert I would say that many (most??) converts take it too far.  I don't think EO are alone with have this problem of convertitis.  Some people can be too enthusiastic about their newfound faith.   I think it was a blessing in hindsight that my dh didn't come along with me at the time (he converted 9 yrs later).   Plus, I married man who is most definitely not a follower or joiner and skeptical of leadership.   We had some experience with those types of converts and it seriously weirded him out.  My oldest (18 at the time) definitely had those tendencies too.  There's a lot I regret about her choices and my not speaking up at the time - but water under the bridge.  Now she's a mom with (almost) 4 kids and working full time.  She's settled down to reality.    When I was going through my catechumenate my priest had stories of converts who later decided the OCA wasn't Orthodox enough and went to increasingly more strict parishes... many ending up leaving the EO church altogether to kind of start their own little version.  

edited to fix a major typo!!

Same issue in Roman Catholic circles. And the converts really look down on the cradle Catholics. They also repeat a few stock phrases they learned from each other ad nauseam, often ignore the very teachings of the church they supposedly are being so strict about, etc etc. Not all, obviously, but it is a particular issue it seems with evangelicals who bring fundamentalism with them. My biggest issue though are those who confuse preference for piety. As in, saying that a Mass in Latin is somehow holier than one in English. You might LIKE it better, or there may be priests who do a great Latin Mass but a cruddy English one, but said properly both are equally pious and it is heresy to start ranking which Body and Blood of Jesus is the best based on such things. 

Now, to be fair, there are problems way in the other direction with the Episcopal church. I'm very in tune with social justice, women in positions of power, etc but will not and cannot accept the idea of Bishops who don't believe in the divinity of Jesus and such. For me, if you don't believe in the Creed even in a very light way, you are not Christian or at least not Anglican/Episocopal. So abuses go both ways....another example is there is controversy right now because communion is supposed to be for all baptized Christians but some priests give it to anyone, baptized or not, Christian or not. I'm not okay with that level of loosey-goosey liturgy, although I find it much easier to avoid than the things that bothered me in the other liturgical traditions, at least for now. 

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36 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I know this question was not directed at me but my parish is mostly convert and there is no "Death to the World" imagery. I've only seen that kind of thing online. 

 

Ah.  We had it big time at the local parish.  Posters and zines and so on.  

Even as a renounce the world in favor of heaven idea (without focusing on all the skulls etc), it was disturbing in ways similar to (and hand in hand with) not caring about environment and other issues you raised.  

 

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Not to derail your discussion too much... but your experience of Orthodoxy is so much different than mine... at our place kids are encouraged to ask questions... there is not that much griping about noise... re: Patriarchy and women's experiences: in my experience women have quite a lot of power... you might read Carrie Frost's Maternal Body (new book).

Also, Orthodoxy has a lot of room for 'don't know' and 'it's a mystery' type answers, which you might find more comfortable in your present state as you talk to your daughter. 

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As far as the marriage within the group issue, I don't think it's a matter of it being simply a stupid idea.  There can be real difficulties in a mixed marriage, especially one that asks a lot of people in terms of lifestyle.  It's something younger people often don't think will be an issue, but later on it can be, especially with regard to children.  I think it's actually less of a problem for people who are very deliberate about their beliefs and practice, they will tend to discuss these things and often marry someone who has a similar understanding, even if it's a different background.  I knew an Orthodox man married to a conservative Quaker women, for example, and it was very successful though at first it seems crazy.  But they both understood the nature of deep commitment to God and to the community and dealt with how to manage family and kids ahead of time.

For people who are less focused on that kind of thing, they may be very faithful but in a more practical way, sometimes they don't think about those elements, one may turn out to be far more attached than he or she had realised, and when there is a conflict it comes as a surprise that the expectations are so different.  

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8 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

As far as the marriage within the group issue, I don't think it's a matter of it being simply a stupid idea.  There can be real difficulties in a mixed marriage, especially one that asks a lot of people in terms of lifestyle.  It's something younger people often don't think will be an issue, but later on it can be, especially with regard to children.  I think it's actually less of a problem for people who are very deliberate about their beliefs and practice, they will tend to discuss these things and often marry someone who has a similar understanding, even if it's a different background.  I knew an Orthodox man married to a conservative Quaker women, for example, and it was very successful though at first it seems crazy.  But they both understood the nature of deep commitment to God and to the community and dealt with how to manage family and kids ahead of time.

For people who are less focused on that kind of thing, they may be very faithful but in a more practical way, sometimes they don't think about those elements, one may turn out to be far more attached than he or she had realised, and when there is a conflict it comes as a surprise that the expectations are so different.  

I agree.  I think it also has to do with respect for the other spouses beliefs.   In my past experiences I found that evangelical Protestants were the most uptight about this issue.  I knew several women whose husbands didn't go to church and they were very dismissive, judgmental, and negative about their spouses lack of belief.   And oh my...God forbid the other spouse was (whispers) Catholic.    I found in both Lutheran and Orthodox circles that most people were pretty okay with being in a mixed religious (or non religious) marriages.   They love their spouse and they make it work.  I'm sure they both would prefer to share the same faith when asked, but there is definitely a different attitude.   I remember being pleasantly surprised by this over attitude when I switched away from Evangelicism.  Having kids does make it more challenging and, of course, I don't know what happens at home, but I don't hear spouses being dismissive or negative about their non-Orthodox spouse like I did when I was an Evangelical.   

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21 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

As far as the marriage within the group issue, I don't think it's a matter of it being simply a stupid idea.  There can be real difficulties in a mixed marriage, especially one that asks a lot of people in terms of lifestyle.  It's something younger people often don't think will be an issue, but later on it can be, especially with regard to children.  I think it's actually less of a problem for people who are very deliberate about their beliefs and practice, they will tend to discuss these things and often marry someone who has a similar understanding, even if it's a different background.  I knew an Orthodox man married to a conservative Quaker women, for example, and it was very successful though at first it seems crazy.  But they both understood the nature of deep commitment to God and to the community and dealt with how to manage family and kids ahead of time.

For people who are less focused on that kind of thing, they may be very faithful but in a more practical way, sometimes they don't think about those elements, one may turn out to be far more attached than he or she had realised, and when there is a conflict it comes as a surprise that the expectations are so different.  

I think that it's better if spouses share the same faith but there simply aren't enough Orthodox singles to go around. I know several people who eventually gave up on marriage because they refused to date outside of the Church. I won't speculate about whether that was the right choice for them or not. However, I think that it's really bad advice to advise an Orthodox single person to only date within the faith. A single woman who resolves to only date Orthodox men has a very good chance of never getting married. I can literally count on my hands the number of young single Orthodox men I've met in my 15 years in Orthodoxy. 

Back when I was single I remember getting really bad advice from married Orthodox people about finding an Orthodox husband. Those people had met and married their spouses before converting. They really had no clue how few Orthodox single men there actually are. It's a good thing I surmised they had no idea what they were talking about and dated non-Orthodox men. Back when I converted, there was a woman who was about my age attending a different Orthodox church in the same town. She refused to date non-Orthodox men. We weren't close but I know she disapproved of my choice to date outside of the Church. 14 years later, I'm married and have a child while she's unmarried. I know that she wanted to be married and have children more than anything else. 

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1 hour ago, Little Nyssa said:

Not to derail your discussion too much... but your experience of Orthodoxy is so much different than mine... at our place kids are encouraged to ask questions... there is not that much griping about noise... re: Patriarchy and women's experiences: in my experience women have quite a lot of power... you might read Carrie Frost's Maternal Body (new book).

Also, Orthodoxy has a lot of room for 'don't know' and 'it's a mystery' type answers, which you might find more comfortable in your present state as you talk to your daughter. 

You know here's the thing, other people who attend my parish would write exactly what you did. 

Sure women are allowed on the parish council. They run things. It looks like "power." But it's illusory because only men can be priests and bishops. I used to tell myself that a male only priesthood wasn't really unequal too. 

 

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9 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

As a convert I would say that many (most??) converts take it too far.  I don't think EO are alone with have this problem of convertitis.  Some people can be too enthusiastic about their newfound faith.   I think it was a blessing in hindsight that my dh didn't come along with me at the time (he converted 9 yrs later).   Plus, I married man who is most definitely not a follower or joiner and skeptical of leadership.   We had some experience with those types of converts and it seriously weirded him out.  My oldest (18 at the time) definitely had those tendencies too.  There's a lot I regret about her choices and my not speaking up at the time - but water under the bridge.  Now she's a mom with (almost) 4 kids and working full time.  She's settled down to reality.    When I was going through my catechumenate my priest had stories of converts who later decided the OCA wasn't Orthodox enough and went to increasingly more strict parishes... many ending up leaving the EO church altogether to kind of start their own little version.  

edited to fix a major typo!!

I experienced this in college when I was exposed to Catholic converts for the first time, having grown up in a very Catholic area. I’d literally never known anyone who hadn’t been raised Catholic who was now Catholic, and the extremism was pretty shocking to me at the time. I’d grown up surrounded by people, even nuns and priests, who regularly questioned the church, it’s teachings, their faith, etc. I’d never before come across anyone who seemingly completely accepted all of Catholicism.

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I'm sorry that your experience of Orthodoxy has been what it has. What you have described is nothing like anything I've ever experienced in any parish I've ever been a part of, though we have always been part of the Antiochian archdiocese, never OCA. If anything children are doted on and loved and indulgently smiled at when they make noise. I have been especially struck by the incredible outpouring of love for children at our nearby Romanian parish. I also see women honored and respected and encouraged to teach and lead in many ways, even without being able to be ordained. I know of one woman who has been given a blessing to give sermons, and there are many women who chant and read and things like that. But I'm also a person who has never understood why equality has to equal sameness in every respect, including the right to do every single thing a man does, and it seems from the discussion here that that's what you want, so perhaps all of those things are still not enough. I'm sure you've heard it pointed out that how much we honor and venerate the Theotokos is an example of how women are not viewed as inferior to men. How do you view that? 

I'm curious what attracted you to Orthodoxy in the first place. Because the faith itself doesn't change, even if the people in your parish don't live it out in a way that seems right. And that's something that's worth discussing with kids as well, because hypocrisy and simply just falling short of the ideal people strive for is something they will see over and over again. 

Eta: I hope this does not come across as condescending or judgemental- I wish I could communicate my tone of voice. My questions are genuine and not meant to be snarky. 

Edited by Mrs. A
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Quote

But I'm also a person who has never understood why equality has to equal sameness in every respect, including the right to do every single thing a man does,

 

It sounds similar to argument that women are allowed to be nurses and to help care for sick family members or friends or people in the community and that that is sufficient equality even if women aren’t allowed to be a doctor as that’s a position to be reserved exclusively for men.

 

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14 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

 

It sounds similar to argument that women are allowed to be nurses and to help care for sick family members or friends or people in the community and that that is sufficient equality even if women aren’t allowed to be a doctor as that’s a position to be reserved exclusively for men.

 

 

Perhaps. But that really only means something if you consider caregiving to be inferior to doctoring - which I realize society does, since caregivers make a fraction of what doctors make. But does that actually mean that being a doctor somehow makes a person more valuable than being "just" a caregiver? 

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58 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

 

It sounds similar to argument that women are allowed to be nurses and to help care for sick family members or friends or people in the community and that that is sufficient equality even if women aren’t allowed to be a doctor as that’s a position to be reserved exclusively for men.

 

 

Ordination isn't really about a job, it's about a state, so something that is a job isn't particularly analogous.  A better comparison would be the idea that only women can be mothers, or men fathers.

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I think this idea of telling children about hypocrisy is interesting.  It's something that will come up everywhere, there are always people who do this sort of thing, in fact I might go so far as to say we all do it at times.  IN a healthy parish the leadership should try and be aware of when it is affecting the health of the group and address it, though no leader can be aware of everything.  Even then it will always happen.

But from the POV of others - frankly I don't think the struggles or blindness of others in my parish are my responsibility to point out, worry about, or judge, in most instances, I frankly have enough on my plate with my own issues and those people who I am in fact responsible to oversee (my kids and to some extent other children under my care in the Sunday school, and perhaps a person who asks for my help.)  There are others who do have that role but they don't and should not be telling me about it.

That is exactly what I would tell my kids if they were noticing such things.  No, generally adults should not reprimand children for a thing and do it themselves.  However, that does not mean kids should not listen to those adults about things like noise, or that they should be judging them.  It's not their role. If they are noticing adults setting a bad example it simply means they are very much old enough to begin to hold themselves to what they know is the right thing to do, that should be more than enough to hold their attention.

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1 hour ago, Mrs. A said:

 

Perhaps. But that really only means something if you consider caregiving to be inferior to doctoring - which I realize society does, since caregivers make a fraction of what doctors make. But does that actually mean that being a doctor somehow makes a person more valuable than being "just" a caregiver? 

 

Both men and women can be caregivers. 

For little girls it would be a different message to be told she can’t be a doctor.  To be told that a boy can be a caregiver and doctor, but she can only be a caregiver.  It is “just” in the sense of just the one possible for the girl, not both possible like her brother might have.  

And a different message as well that she can’t be a priest.   Obviously a message that most EO and RC are comfortable with.  But one no longer given as absolutely in Episcopal church (though it is probably still far from equal or without glass ceilings). Certainly it gives a different feeling being in the pews with a woman priest sometimes versus only men priests.  I have experience of both and know that it is a very different feeling.  

 

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On 9/8/2019 at 2:03 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

h. What happens when she realizes that her church has no practical solutions to help make things better? 

 

What would you be expecting from a church as a practical solution?

 

I posted this which purports to be a tiny step toward practical solution related to environmental crises, climate change, etc—but I would not expect to see that happening in a church.  Maybe Quaker with more of a history of political action? 

 

 

Edited by Pen
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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

Both men and women can be caregivers. 

For little girls it would be a different message to be told she can’t be a doctor.  To be told that a boy can be a caregiver and doctor, but she can only be a caregiver.  It is “just” in the sense of just the one possible for the girl, not both possible like her brother might have.  

And a different message as well that she can’t be a priest.   Obviously a message that most EO and RC are comfortable with.  But one no longer given as absolutely in Episcopal church (though it is probably still far from equal or without glass ceilings). Certainly it gives a different feeling being in the pews with a woman priest sometimes versus only men priests.  I have experience of both and know that it is a very different feeling.  

 

The Episcopal Church in the USA has had a female Presiding Bishop, the highest office in the church. And I want to say the Canadian church just elected a woman to be their presiding bishop as well?

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7 hours ago, Mrs. A said:

I'm sorry that your experience of Orthodoxy has been what it has. What you have described is nothing like anything I've ever experienced in any parish I've ever been a part of, though we have always been part of the Antiochian archdiocese, never OCA. If anything children are doted on and loved and indulgently smiled at when they make noise. I have been especially struck by the incredible outpouring of love for children at our nearby Romanian parish. I also see women honored and respected and encouraged to teach and lead in many ways, even without being able to be ordained. I know of one woman who has been given a blessing to give sermons, and there are many women who chant and read and things like that. But I'm also a person who has never understood why equality has to equal sameness in every respect, including the right to do every single thing a man does, and it seems from the discussion here that that's what you want, so perhaps all of those things are still not enough. I'm sure you've heard it pointed out that how much we honor and venerate the Theotokos is an example of how women are not viewed as inferior to men. How do you view that? 

I'm curious what attracted you to Orthodoxy in the first place. Because the faith itself doesn't change, even if the people in your parish don't live it out in a way that seems right. And that's something that's worth discussing with kids as well, because hypocrisy and simply just falling short of the ideal people strive for is something they will see over and over again. 

Eta: I hope this does not come across as condescending or judgemental- I wish I could communicate my tone of voice. My questions are genuine and not meant to be snarky. 

Like I keep repeating, someone looking at our parish on a Sunday would think that our children are loved as well. I'll guess that our parishes are virtually identical but you don't see what I see. 

Just like in your church, women chant in our parish. They serve on the parish council. No one says, "shut up and get me a sandwich!" But that doesn't mean "equality." 

The only way to justify a male only priesthood is to rely on the argument that men and women have different roles. Basically separate but equal. But separate can never be equal. 

And from a practical perspective - headcoverings? Modesty? "Saints and women saints?" No communion if you're having your period (this one isn't enforced in our parish)? Churching a woman after 40 days of giving birth by praying that she be "cleansed?" Why is a woman's body unclean? But we don't think women are inferior! Okay. 

"The Faith doesn't change" is WAY simplistic. The Faith doesn't change. The liturgy doesn't change. No. There are two ways to approach Church history; (1) the Faith doesn't change so any appearance of change isn't really a change, or (2) the Faith has obviously changed in some ways so let's not get so hung up on the Faith not changing. 1 is the official line. It's what you'll hear from the pulpits. 2 is scary. If one thing can change, can it all change? So everyone doubles down on #1. 

The Bible is crystal clear about divorce but the Orthodox Church allows divorce and remarriage. You can go back and forth on that one all day long. If you want to believe that the Faith never changes, you'll insist that it's not really a change because it's not actually a divorce because the second and third marriage ceremonies are different. 

That raises the question - why allow change for divorce and remarriage? Whose interests did that serve? But a male priesthood can't change. 

What attracted me to Orthodoxy in the first place? I get that it's scary when someone leaves. Everyone who converts to my church is really smart and insightful and everyone who converts away from my church is deluded or ignorant. There must be something wrong with people who leave. Either a character flaw or they weren't educated enough. It makes it a lot easier to see the world that way. 

 

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4 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Like I keep repeating, someone looking at our parish on a Sunday would think that our children are loved as well. I'll guess that our parishes are virtually identical but you don't see what I see. 

Just like in your church, women chant in our parish. They serve on the parish council. No one says, "shut up and get me a sandwich!" But that doesn't mean "equality." 

The only way to justify a male only priesthood is to rely on the argument that men and women have different roles. Basically separate but equal. But separate can never be equal. 

And from a practical perspective - headcoverings? Modesty? "Saints and women saints?" No communion if you're having your period (this one isn't enforced in our parish)? Churching a woman after 40 days of giving birth by praying that she be "cleansed?" Why is a woman's body unclean? But we don't think women are inferior! Okay. 

"The Faith doesn't change" is WAY simplistic. The Faith doesn't change. The liturgy doesn't change. No. There are two ways to approach Church history; (1) the Faith doesn't change so any appearance of change isn't really a change, or (2) the Faith has obviously changed in some ways so let's not get so hung up on the Faith not changing. 1 is the official line. It's what you'll hear from the pulpits. 2 is scary. If one thing can change, can it all change? So everyone doubles down on #1. 

The Bible is crystal clear about divorce but the Orthodox Church allows divorce and remarriage. You can go back and forth on that one all day long. If you want to believe that the Faith never changes, you'll insist that it's not really a change because it's not actually a divorce because the second and third marriage ceremonies are different. 

That raises the question - why allow change for divorce and remarriage? Whose interests did that serve? But a male priesthood can't change. 

What attracted me to Orthodoxy in the first place? I get that it's scary when someone leaves. Everyone who converts to my church is really smart and insightful and everyone who converts away from my church is deluded or ignorant. There must be something wrong with people who leave. Either a character flaw or they weren't educated enough. It makes it a lot easier to see the world that way. 

 

Why can't separate ever be equal? Does that mean that because a man can't physically bear children that he is not equal to a woman? He's certainly not the same in that respect - there is a separation in that distinction.  

I won't try to convince you one way or the other about the things you mentioned (change, divorce, headcoverings, etc., none of which really work as actual proof of women being inferior to men in the eyes of the church). Clearly we would just be talking past one another instead of coming to terms. 

But I will say that I don't feel the least bit scared by people leaving Orthodoxy, though it does make me sad. I don't feel any need to categorize people who come and people who leave into the categories of smart/enlightened  and deluded/ignorant, nor do I think that there must be something "wrong" with anyone who leaves, or that there's anything particularly "right" about those who come and those who stay. Your journey is your own, and it's not my business to judge your choices. I just had some questions because I wanted to understand a little better, that's all. 

 

Eta: I will say though that the whole no communion while on your period thing is something I've heard mentioned, privately, in passing, ONCE in 40 years. It sounds like a fundamentalist type thing to me. 

Edited by Mrs. A
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On 9/11/2019 at 4:37 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

You know here's the thing, other people who attend my parish would write exactly what you did. 

Sure women are allowed on the parish council. They run things. It looks like "power." But it's illusory because only men can be priests and bishops. I used to tell myself that a male only priesthood wasn't really unequal too. 

 

It’s similar to my experience as a former Catholic. Sure, in certain spheres nuns had lots of power and ran hospitals, schools, etc. But no women, including nuns, had any real power in the church hierarchy because all of the positions were reserved for men. So all real decisions were being made with no substantive female input.

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On 9/12/2019 at 9:19 AM, Mrs. A said:

 

Perhaps. But that really only means something if you consider caregiving to be inferior to doctoring - which I realize society does, since caregivers make a fraction of what doctors make. But does that actually mean that being a doctor somehow makes a person more valuable than being "just" a caregiver? 

Doctors are generally paid more because they have more authority, responsibility, and depending on the specialty, more specialized skills acquired after many years of intensive training. They are generally the ones making the difficult life and death decisions and directing the care team. There are also far fewer of them, especially in certain specialties. I don’t think any of that makes them more valuable as a person, the roles are just different. And different people, irrespective of gender, will prefer one role to the other. Some want the majority of decision making responsibility and authority and want to do the most specialized, technically demanding work, such as brain surgery. Others prefer a different job.

Edited by Frances
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5 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Like I keep repeating, someone looking at our parish on a Sunday would think that our children are loved as well. I'll guess that our parishes are virtually identical but you don't see what I see. 

Just like in your church, women chant in our parish. They serve on the parish council. No one says, "shut up and get me a sandwich!" But that doesn't mean "equality." 

The only way to justify a male only priesthood is to rely on the argument that men and women have different roles. Basically separate but equal. But separate can never be equal. 

And from a practical perspective - headcoverings? Modesty? "Saints and women saints?" No communion if you're having your period (this one isn't enforced in our parish)? Churching a woman after 40 days of giving birth by praying that she be "cleansed?" Why is a woman's body unclean? But we don't think women are inferior! Okay. 

"The Faith doesn't change" is WAY simplistic. The Faith doesn't change. The liturgy doesn't change. No. There are two ways to approach Church history; (1) the Faith doesn't change so any appearance of change isn't really a change, or (2) the Faith has obviously changed in some ways so let's not get so hung up on the Faith not changing. 1 is the official line. It's what you'll hear from the pulpits. 2 is scary. If one thing can change, can it all change? So everyone doubles down on #1. 

The Bible is crystal clear about divorce but the Orthodox Church allows divorce and remarriage. You can go back and forth on that one all day long. If you want to believe that the Faith never changes, you'll insist that it's not really a change because it's not actually a divorce because the second and third marriage ceremonies are different. 

That raises the question - why allow change for divorce and remarriage? Whose interests did that serve? But a male priesthood can't change. 

What attracted me to Orthodoxy in the first place? I get that it's scary when someone leaves. Everyone who converts to my church is really smart and insightful and everyone who converts away from my church is deluded or ignorant. There must be something wrong with people who leave. Either a character flaw or they weren't educated enough. It makes it a lot easier to see the world that way. 

 

wow... since that is what you think about people who leave Orthodoxy then I can see why you're so angry.  Be gentle with yourself and others.  Everyone has a different path.    hugs.   

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On 9/7/2019 at 1:30 PM, CuriousMomof3 said:

All along, there have been things where I disagreed with the Catholic church teaching, but on the whole I have seen the role that the church plays as an enormous positive in my kids' lives.

...  And in the course, it has become clear to me that if I believe at all, my beliefs are much more similar to the teachings of my youth than to what the Catholic church teaches. 

...

So, for now, I just keep my mouth shut, and go to church, and put one foot in front of another.  I'm not saying that's the solution for you, but that's where I've landed thus far.  

 

My cousins and I went to catholic schools from preK to 12th for some and preK to 6th for all the rest. Many of us are agnostic. My cousin who is a Methodist decides that her alma mater does a lot of good work and so supports them with time and money even though she is Methodist and the schools are Roman Catholic Portuguese Mission. 

My aunts, my uncles and my parents are majority Taoist and Buddhist. They think the Roman Catholic schools were the best local schools for us so we were sent there.  My alma mater helps in the leprosy camp (ETA: https://leprosyhistory.org/blog/new/1535.html) and the Vietnam war refugee camp. The spirit of giving is in concordance with Buddhism and Taoism. 

A friend’s dad is a Christian and his mom is a Buddhist, his parents are still happily married after more than 40 years. His parents had a civil wedding since both are of different religions. 

Edited by Arcadia
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1 hour ago, PrincessMommy said:

wow... since that is what you think about people who leave Orthodoxy then I can see why you're so angry.  Be gentle with yourself and others.  Everyone has a different path.    hugs.   

Strong feelings don't mean anger. One way women are controlled (by men and other women) is by being told that we're angry. Then we're told that we shouldn't be angry. It's very confusing. 

First, anger isn't bad even though women's anger is usually thought of as toxic. It's simply an emotion, not good or bad. Second, there are many things that deserve anger. 

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9 hours ago, Frances said:

. I don’t think any of that makes them more valuable as a person, the roles are just different. And different people,irrespective of gender, will prefer one role to the other. 

 

Thank you for pointing out that doctors make more becaus of training, responsibility, etc. That's very true. My point though was merely about the value of a person, regardless of their profession. Your point about different people preferring different roles is valid, however this is where the doctor/caregiver analogy falls short when comparing to the priesthood, because, like @Bluegoat pointed out above, it's not so much about doing as about being, and preference, strong as it may be, doesn't change that.  

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8 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Strong feelings don't mean anger. One way women are controlled (by men and other women) is by being told that we're angry. Then we're told that we shouldn't be angry. It's very confusing. 

First, anger isn't bad even though women's anger is usually thought of as toxic. It's simply an emotion, not good or bad. Second, there are many things that deserve anger. 

I don't disagree with what you wrote, but you misunderstood me.  I wasn't saying that your anger was invalid.  I was saying that your being judgmental about others who leave orthodoxy seems to be making you angry at your own situation.  You're being too harsh on yourself too when you wrote: "converts away from my church is deluded or ignorant. There must be something wrong with people who leave."   You seemed to have internalized that perspective.  That is what I meant by encouraging you to understand that everyone has a different path.  

And anger can turn to bitterness... that isn't good for anyone.  Hugs. 

Edited by PrincessMommy
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2 hours ago, Mrs. A said:

 

Thank you for pointing out that doctors make more becaus of training, responsibility, etc. That's very true. My point though was merely about the value of a person, regardless of their profession. Your point about different people preferring different roles is valid, however this is where the doctor/caregiver analogy falls short when comparing to the priesthood, because, like @Bluegoat pointed out above, it's not so much about doing as about being, and preference, strong as it may be, doesn't change that.  

So what happens if an EO or Catholic woman feels she is being called to be a priest in her faith? Does it always follow that she must be misinterpreting the call, but that a man with the same calling is correct?  I had a good friend in college who truly felt she was being led by God to be a priest, but of course it was not allowed in the Catholic Church.

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1 hour ago, PrincessMommy said:

I don't disagree with what you wrote, but you misunderstood me.  I wasn't saying that your anger was invalid.  I was saying that your being judgmental about others who leave orthodoxy seems to be making you angry at your own situation.  You're being too harsh on yourself too when you wrote: "converts away from my church is deluded or ignorant. There must be something wrong with people who leave."   You seemed to have internalized that perspective.  That is what I meant by encouraging you to understand that everyone has a different path.  

And anger can turn to bitterness... that isn't good for anyone.  Hugs. 

I haven't internalized it because I don't believe it. But that's a very common perspective in any church. Many people see someone leaving their church (even if they don't have a personal relationship with that person) as a personal attack on them. I've seen a lot of people leave over the years. People talk about it, trying to figure out what happened. The 'go to' when people leave Orthodoxy is that they couldn't keep the fasts. The 'go to' when people leave Catholicism is that they want to use artificial birth control. Then the speculation is that the person wasn't educated enough about the faith or they wanted to sex outside of marriage, fill in the blank. 

It's really difficult for people to understand that another person can disagree about religion in good faith. It's also difficult for religious people to understand non-religious people. 

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26 minutes ago, Frances said:

So what happens if an EO or Catholic woman feels she is being called to be a priest in her faith? Does it always follow that she must be misinterpreting the call, but that a man with the same calling is correct?  I had a good friend in college who truly felt she was being led by God to be a priest, but of course it was not allowed in the Catholic Church.

I think this goes with what I just wrote above about how it's hard to see good faith in people who disagree about religion. 

God can't call a woman to the priesthood so she must be wrong. I think that's the answer. 

Of course, there must be a base assumption that God actually calls anyone to the priesthood. 

Here's my take on this one after years of being "religious" and growing up in the Bible Belt. We all want to do various things; be a priest, go to medical school, marry someone or even minor things like buy a new car. A lot of people genuinely *feel* like God wants them to do those things. But do they feel that way because they really want to do those things or is really from God? Haven't we all noticed that God usually wants us to do what we want to do? KWIM? I honestly believe that most of the time, we're simply doing what we want to do and God has nothing to do with it. 

Another religious person is usually willing to believe that it's true inspiration if they agree with what the person is doing. For example, that person prayed and decided to join my church. God led them to do that. That other person prayed and decided to convert to Islam. God couldn't have led them to do that so they are deluded. (obviously this is not what I believe - I'm just going through the thought process) I remember a debate years ago about a bumper sticker that said something like "I pray and I'm pro-choice." The person I discussed this with could not believe that anyone could pray and be pro-choice. He was unwilling to ascribe any kind of good faith to that car owner's faith because he disagreed with the outcome. 

Sorry- I know I'm rambling here. 

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1 minute ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I think this goes with what I just wrote above about how it's hard to see good faith in people who disagree about religion. 

God can't call a woman to the priesthood so she must be wrong. I think that's the answer. 

Of course, there must be a base assumption that God actually calls anyone to the priesthood. 

Here's my take on this one after years of being "religious" and growing up in the Bible Belt. We all want to do various things; be a priest, go to medical school, marry someone or even minor things like buy a new car. A lot of people genuinely *feel* like God wants them to do those things. But do they feel that way because they really want to do those things or is really from God? Haven't we all noticed that God usually wants us to do what we want to do? KWIM? I honestly believe that most of the time, we're simply doing what we want to do and God has nothing to do with it. 

Another religious person is usually willing to believe that it's true inspiration if they agree with what the person is doing. For example, that person prayed and decided to join my church. God led them to do that. That other person prayed and decided to convert to Islam. God couldn't have led them to do that so they are deluded. (obviously this is not what I believe - I'm just going through the thought process) I remember a debate years ago about a bumper sticker that said something like "I pray and I'm pro-choice." The person I discussed this with could not believe that anyone could pray and be pro-choice. He was unwilling to ascribe any kind of good faith to that car owner's faith because he disagreed with the outcome. 

Sorry- I know I'm rambling here. 

I grew up Catholic and spent lots of time with evangelicals in college, so I completely relate to your struggles and what you are saying. 

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