Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reason #951 Why I Don't Belong on Facebook

I saw this silly survey posted by several of my Orthodox friends on FB and was tagged for participation today. I realize that it is meant to be all in fun, yet ironically, there is nothing funny at all about some of the statements which are included. Such things always point to the many things that are NOT needful that folks love to glom onto, it seems. And sometimes it is these non-needful things that seem to become their religion.

I chose not to respond to this on FB, but I will respond to it here (as I did once before with a similar blog-meme) on my own blog because blogs are about opinions and God knows I have them. But nothing is truly black OR white. As my priest once said to me in response to some question I had, "this being Orthodoxy, the answer is yes AND no." So instead of blanket agreement or disagreement with any of the statements, I must have qualifiers (and they are below, in italics).

Stuff like this always reminds me that I don't fit real easily into the stereotypes that American Orthodox Christians - especially converts like me - have created for themselves. But it also reminds me how useless stereotypes are.

According to my survey results, I was either Orthodox before my chrismation, or I am not a very good Orthodox Christian now, I guess. Either way, I'm not losing alot of sleep about it.

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YOU KNOW YOU'RE AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WHEN ...

You are pro-life

I am pro-life when it comes to the decisions I make about my own body and who is living or has lived in it. I am not prepared to make such decisions for other women whose lives and situations I know nothing about. And I cannot support those who think they should be able to make such decisions for other women ... this includes politicians and bishops. Maybe especially politicians and bishops. And I am Orthodox enough to be a little irked that this is the first statement in this survey, as if it a sort of litmus test of one's "Orthodoxy."


You want to venerate icons when you see them

When I see them at church, yes. When I see them outside of church, it depends upon who I am with and how it might affect them.


You instinctively cross yourself in the Orthodox manner

I instinctively make the sign of the cross, but it took a couple of years to consistently get my directions straight without thinking first. (and I'm not sure whether it matters much to God whether I push across or pull across. Maybe it does?)


It's not a scandal to see your priest drinking a beer or a glass of wine.

A scandal? Good grief. It wasn't a scandal to see my pastor drink a beer or a glass of wine or even a cocktail when I was a Lutheran either. I have enjoyed an alcoholic beverage with far more Lutheran pastors than I have with Orthodox priests.


You can follow the Divine Liturgy without a book.

All except for the propers for the day (troparion, kontakion, etc.), yes, I can. But I could do this as a Lutheran, too. It is not a sign that one is Orthodox, it's a sign that one is faithful in worship.


You know "Christ is risen!" in at least 3 languages

I do, yes. But it is a tradition of the church that I don't fully understand. Rather than "connect me" to other Orthodox Christians throughout the world (just little bits of the world are important for this connection, it seems) it rather smacks of phyletism to me - and it makes me uneasy. So my participation in this Paschal custom is fairly half-hearted. Perhaps I will grow into an appreciation of this tradition someday. I'm not there yet.


You've been to a late night (wee morning) Pascha party

I have - but truthfully, most of the time I'd rather skip the party.


It's Constantinople, not Istanbul

Who cares and why?


You go without meat regularly and for long periods but aren't vegetarian.

I try to - and am more successful at it some times than at other times, it seems. But lots of Orthodox Christians don't ... for the record.


Saint Nicholas comes early to your house and Christmas comes later

We've never had a strong St. Nicholas - or Santa Claus - tradition at our house.


The deacon intones, "Let us complete our prayer..." and there's still an hour to go

Yeah, I was on to this years before I was received into the church, as I have said in a similar post before.


You've learned how to avoid hot wax from candles

Is this to imply that I never held a candle at worship before I was Orthodox? Wrong.


You know birth control pills can end a life

I know lots of things can end a life, not just birth control pills.


You develop a new found appreciation for olive oil.

Have always appreciated olive oil - always.


You know "Lord have mercy" in at least 3 languages

Two actually - but I knew the Greek/Latin long before I was Orthodox.


You've heard you worship Mary

No one has ever told me this.


You get used to standing when you'd rather be sitting down.

Actually, I'd rather stand.


You wake up from a nightmare saying the Jesus Prayer

Really? Does anyone honestly do this?


You buy your Easter candy after Easter

I buy Easter candy when it's available.


You've heard you worship pictures

No one has ever told me this, either.


You know your friend's Saint's day

I know some of them. And not all of my Orthodox friends took a saints name when they were received. Neither did I.


You open your mouth as you would at the dentist when receiving communion

Duh.


When you have nothing else to do you say the Jesus Prayer

Right. All Orthodox Christians do.
Actually I watch TV, crochet, or surf the 'net. And judging by what appears on the 'net in most of the Orthocybersphere, so do lots of other Orthodox Christians - for many of them (myself included) it might be better if we did say the Jesus Prayer instead of sitting down at the computer.



When you tell people your religion, they assume that you are Jewish

That's only happened to me once.


You over-indulge on meat and milk chocolate at Easter

I over-indulge on these things almost all year long.


You've had a scare involving a child and fire in your church

I was involved in such a scare when I was a very little Lutheran, but not had such a scare since I've been Orthodox that I can recall.


You cease to worry about punctuality for services and meetings

A former colleague once said that "showing up early is a sign of anxiety; showing up late is a sign of contempt; showing up right on time is a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder." I'm generally anxious, I guess. If I have enough respect for my employer or my doctor to get to work or to a medical appointment on time, then for me this is a no-brainer.


Someone beside you bends to tie their shoelaces and you touch the floor.

Never. But I do make the sign of the cross sometimes when someone near to me reaches up to scratch their head.


You are used to counting out 40 days, backward and forward on your calendar.

My calendar is color coded...no counting necessary.


You have carpet burns on your forehead by the end of Holy week

Nope. But I usually have sore knees and a sore back. Rug burns are for sloppy prostrators.


You get asked if you're Greek Orthodox or Russian Orthodox

People usually assume I'm Greek Orthodox. At catechism class shortly before I was received, an exuberant woman in the class asked me why I wanted to be Greek Orthodox. I told her that I don't want to be Greek anything, I just want to be an Orthodox Christian.


You know the difference between evangelism and proselitization.

I do, yes. But it's quite plain to me that many Orthodox Christians do not.


You know what FWO means and are happy when you see it

I have no idea what that means and don't know that I've ever seen it. So instead of being happy to see it, I'm just confused.


Americans have never heard of your religion

Generally speaking, Americans don't know anything about anything outside of their own experience. Sad state of affairs, really.


The term "joyful sorrow" makes sense

It does to me. But I don't generally use it among those to whom it doesn't make sense. In fact, I don't use it much at all except in thought.


You think Santa would look better with an omophorion

I think an omophorion would look stupid over the red jacket with white fur trim and wide black belt. And I think there is a really big difference between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus - and I am glad for that difference.


You've gotten your prostration method down to a science.

I have, but my knees seldom cooperate.


A cheeseburger is the best and the worst thing you could eat during lent

I'm thinking steak would be the best/worst. A cheeseburger is one of the worst things you can eat any time of the year.


March madness refers an inexplicable desire for hummus

I've never had an inexplicable desire for hummus. I suspect that hummus is what manna must have tasted like. It just is. Eat it and be grateful. And I am more grateful for some hummus than other, it seems.


Coming to church late is no big deal.

Disagree. For me, it is a big deal ... just ask my kids (see comment above about being late for liturgy and meetings). Every Sunday morning as we are trying to hurry them up so we can get to church on time, I tell them that "being late for liturgy is for cradles." Then they remind me that they ARE cradles ... Oh, yeah. "Well, then you can be late for liturgy when you are grown up cradles."