Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

WR: The New Hybrid


Les Enfants TerribleAbstract: Enfants Terribles: The Challenge of Sectarian Converts to Ethnic Orthodox Churches in the United States
by Phillip Charles Lucas

[This article] considers two case studies of collective conversions to Eastern Orthodoxy to illustrate the most pressing challenges faced by ethnic Orthodox congregations who attempt to assimilate sectarian groups into their midst. I argue that these challenges include: 1) the different understandings of ecclesiology held by former Protestant sectarians and by “cradle” Orthodox believers; 2) the pan-Orthodox aspirations of sectarian converts versus the factionalism found in ethnically-based American Orthodox jurisdictions; 3) the differing pastoral styles of former sectarian ministers and Orthodox priests; 4) the tendency of sectarian converts to embrace a very strict reading of Orthodoxy and to adopt a critical and reformist attitude in relations with cradle Orthodox communities; and 5) the covert and overt racism that sometimes exists in ethnic Orthodox parishes. I suggest that the increasing numbers of non-ethnic converts to ethnic Orthodox parishes may result in increased pressure to break down ethnic barriers between Orthodox communities and to form a unified American Orthodox Church. These conversions may also lead to the growth of hybrid Orthodox churches such as the Charismatic Episcopal Church.

This is prescient. However, it seems the new hybrid is actually the Western Rite itself!

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January 26, 2008 - Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, -- Phyletism, Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , ,

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