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I am a Romanian orthodox christian that has been a subscriber of your masculinist newsletter since its first episodes. I also write for www.theodosie.ro an orthodox blog focused on national civic subjects.

The point I want to make is that the ortodox christianity in the west is (still) very far away from what those living în orthodox countries tend to recognize as such. I am sure that the Greek word "phronema" is known by those close or interested in EO. It losely translates to "mindset of the Church" and is one of the missing links for the proper understanding of EO. This cannot be obtainded through study or through intelectual effort alone, but through consistent religious practice while suffering for the faith. Until now there has been very little suffering for the orthodox faith in the west, therefore I believe the alure of EO is mostly of cultural nature. I mostly see cultural contagion at work and only few conversions.

The second point I want to make is that orthodoxy in the west will only erupt through its own saints, (people living and practicing in the west) not through religious appropriation. From an orthodox point of view it is a lot more relevant the fact that USA was the (foster) home of Saint Seraphim Rose or John Maximovici and ROCOR, than the fact that orthodox esthetics have gained visibility. One true (local) saint man is a lot more relevant sociologically than any brute increase in the number of those interested in EO.

Last, for the orthodox believer the enchantment many speak of is verry worrying because it points towards great spiritual dangers, described by Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov. It might be better to remain in a deserted spot, spiritually speaking, while prepearing for suffering, than pursuing spiritual endeavors the sort of we witness today.

My 2 cents. Thank you for your great job! Greetings from Romania!

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I'm a PCA Presbyterian and have been studying Eastern Orthodoxy for 20 years. It is pretty obvious that it is the continual expression of the historic church from antiquity. Yet, I have no intent to convert. Such a conversion would require laying down convictions and picking up others almost arbitrarily, but also attempting to pick up a whole new ecclesiastical culture that in the end may be life giving, but could also be so disruptive to my family as to do far more harm than good. While I am convinced of the continuity of the East, I don't believe in the slightest that conforming myself to that continuity is necessary to be in communion with the body of Christ. I have yet to experience the Divine Liturgy, but hope to, and desire to see elements of Incarnational worship reintroduced to my own tradition.

My primary interest in Orthodoxy is in the anti-materialist sacred structure and space- the Logos working on us through the physical world. The embracing of mystery. Protestantism, particularly American, is in many respects is so "stripped down" as to be almost entirely disembodied. Having thrown off the symbolic language and structure of the ancient church, calling it superstition (and much of Roman Catholicism at the end of the medieval period, was indeed), we've ended up with a spiritualization of rationalism that drifts through temporary habitations, unable to manifest transcendent meaning from one generation to the next. When we devalue the Eucharist as a mere gesture of good will, rather than as ontological participation in the cross dimensional localization of Christ's energy, working into us, it is no wonder everything else becomes superficial. I understand Orthodox Christianity as embracing a rational mysticism, while Protestantism (heir of the Enlightenment) is largely a mystical rationalism, which is why the tendency of its institutions to devolve to liberalism.

Paul Kingsnorth, Martin Shaw, and others, are interesting, because they are among many post-secular intellectuals returning to faith, and in doing so, seek out the oldest, most peculiar and ritualized, because of the realization that a true encounter of the divine is going to be otherworldly and strange. As the West collapses, I think that is the future of Christianity. My hope is that, at least to some degree, the Reformed churches are able to revert the mystical and the rational, and pursue sacred spaces instead of safe ones.

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Nov 28, 2023·edited Nov 28, 2023

I can see the attraction to an old established, even mystical, religion, but can't possibly understand those who would join a church that is so unbiblical. Heck, they pray to dead people. I know one person personally who became orthodox, but it was really based on the feeling it generated to attend their church, and not really their theology.

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Off-topic: LItHub visits Kurt Vonnegut's Indianapolis

https://lithub.com/visiting-vonneguts-indianapolis/

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I see the recent success of the Jonathan Cahn novels amongst evangelicals as one indication of re-enchantment gaining traction. Even in some reformed circles I am familiar with, the idea of Providence at work in global affairs and discussion of spiritual warfare being seen more visibly, are no longer taboo topics reserved for Pentecostals. It will be interesting to see how re-enchantment fits into a Negative world in the coming years. Will “secularists” shift from boomer “new atheist” empiricism to hostile neo-pagan spiritualism (as already seems the case).

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I live in New England and I don't know a single person who has converted to EO. I have been connected to the Greek community so I do know several who have left Greek Orthodox for atheism/agnosticism or stayed as ethic community centers. The more interesting trend I see in New England is the move away from the Roman Catholic church. I know dozens of ex Roman Catholics, almost all of which now attend the evangelical mega church in Maine (there is only one here, Eastpoint).

I think this is actually also connected to the idea of intellectual elite within the church as well. In EO and Catholicism your faith is externalized and you participate by attending, not by "really meaning it". This allows for you to focus on other things, such as intellectual advancement. You can assume your faith, receive spirituality from your church and priest, and spend your intellectual energy on science or whatever . However, this also quickly causes reduction in true belief. When a catholic starts to get serious about following Jesus they convert to Evangelicalism.

Evangelicals on the other hand can never assume they faith, they must constantly be spending their intellectual and emotional energy ensuring their faithfulness. This takes away from their ability to pursue intellectual standing. When an evangelical gets exhausted of trying to intellectually excel and keep up their own internal faith (especially when others around them aren't) they convert to a high church or deconstruct.

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As someone without much connection to evangelism, I'm curious to hear more about how and why the "register" of Dreher's Benedict option book was off-putting to evangelicals.

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Now 75, I entered Orthodoxy 26 years ago, from childhood and adolescent generic Evangelicalism, then late-20s Calivinism. Politics had nothing to do with it. What had a lot to do with it was the desire to be in demonstrable continuity with first-century Christianity. I've been immersed in the Church ever since entering, serving as Cantor for my parish.

I'm fairly confident that something like the Orthobro phenomenon is bringing young men to our door for "political" reasons, but I don't think many are making it through catechesis to Baptism (or Chrismation) without shedding most of that. We learned a chastening lesson with Matthew Heimbach (see Wikipedia: In 2016, Heimbach was formally received into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Following online circulation of photos exposing him as a provocateur racist, he was excommunicated from the Church mere weeks later.)

Overall, are we growing? I have mostly anecdotes based on my own parish, which definitely is growing. I acknowledge, though, that other parishes under my Bishop are dying. It may be because we're in a University town and converts trend young.

I've read all the earlier comments, including from those stone-cold confident that Orthodoxy is wrong because it doesn't fit some "rational" scheme or other. I won't engage them; I was too wrong about too many things for too long to be too full of myself, and this is a poor forum for such arguments.

But I'll challenge the skeptics to give their local anglophone Orthodox parish a month of Sundays to see what's really going on.

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I am cradle Orthodox and work for a large Orthodox parish. We have consistently brought in catechumens for 30 years but our numbers have jumped since 2020 with an average of 15-25 catechumens at a time. Our once very ethnic parish has become solidly split about 50/50 between cradles and converts. Anecdotally, most parishes I hear about are having record numbers of catechumens post-covid. It seems that many come in with a “dissident” attitude learned from the internet, but relax and settle into a more sustainable mindset the more they get involved in real parish life. I firmly believe in the truth of the Orthodox faith and that we will only grow as more and more people seek the Truth.

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New to your blog, so a bit behind, I'm afraid. what do you mean when you say"...Just as in the evangelical world, the hot thing shifted from “Presbyterian” to “Anglican, ...,”? Thanks.

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Ever since I became an Evangelical there have been claims of rising interest in Orthodoxy by young people. This has never really materialized. The "smells and bells" crowd does have more influence than their numbers would suggest. I think the anti-institutional bent of most low church Evangelicals is the biggest reason for this.

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Orthodoxy may gain converts, but to say it will gain traction is to forget that the overall trend among all denominations is decline.

While there is something to reenchantment, I think more people are looking for tradition, ritual, and reverence.

Some people are looking for or experiencing reenchantment, but biologic explanations and materialism still dominate most peoples thinking

I think we are at the beginning or civilizational decline that will be long and slow. Trends we see that cut across the grain are probably small exceptions that we are hopeful about rather than true trends that will reshape society. I am 34 with four children between 0 and 6. Despite weekly church and Sunday achool, nightly bible readings, and trying to follow a liturgical calendar I think it is far more likely I will have to introduce the gospel to my grandkids than them telling me about the real presence of the devil and the holy spirit.

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Thinking again about this. Regarding re-enchantment and Eastern Orthodoxy, Paul Kingsnorth and Martin Shaw are doing what Jordan Peterson did with reanimating the Biblical stories with ascetic spiritual practices like fasting, solitude and opening yourself up to God in nature without distractions. To your point they are already having an outsized influence along with Jonathan Pageau. I expect protestant Evangelicalism to adapt rather than fold into EO.

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I have doubts about EO becoming a major force of change in America because the average American Christian has never even heard of Eastern Orthodoxy. I live in the Bible Belt and have spoken to many who've been Christian their entire lives and they have no idea what I'm talking about when I mention EO. They know Catholicism, but not EO. I only became aware of Orthodoxy about four or five years ago after doing a lot of online reading.

I had an online discussion once with an EO priest who lives in Wales. He was defending his church as the only/original church, etc., and was shocked when I told him most Americans aren't even aware that his church is "a thing." In this way EOs have done a terrible job at making themselves known and drawing people in.

Bnonn's comment that EO "involves a wholesale rejection of one's existing worldview and religious culture" is spot-on from what I've been able to discover. You basically have to come in and say you were never a Christian before. This will be a really hard sell for many who have had legit experiences along the way.

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Re re-enchantment, Justin Brierley has a great new podcast all about this topic

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/re-enchanting/id1682867001

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