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Re: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

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  • Vassily Mihailoff
    Dear Fr. Panagiotes, Evlogiete! Our challenge is to live according to our Lord s Gospel, show our faith by example, and, for those of us that are parents,
    Message 1 of 26 , Jul 19 8:27 PM
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      Dear Fr. Panagiotes,
       
      Evlogiete!
       
      Our challenge is to live according to our Lord's Gospel, show our faith by example, and, for those of us that are parents, teach accordingly. The cultivation of narcissistic ideals in the hearts of our youth is certainly anti-Christian, and works in direct opposition to what our Saviour teaches. As we endeavor to emphasize God's will in the admonishment and guidance of our children, it is helpful to cite specific words spoken by our Saviour regarding these issues that are as relevant today as ever before, (and exposing the falsehood of such worldy trends):
       
      Regarding serving our Lord's will and our own:

          Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)
       
      Regarding the world's enticements and appeals:
       
          And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)
       
      Regarding the need for "otherworldliness":
       
          If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)
       
      Regarding the need for self denial first:
       
          If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
       
      Regarding self worship:
       
          And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
       
      The Holy Fathers teach that the more we fervently love God, follow His commandments, and deny ourselves, the more our Lord, in His infinite love, offers gifts of Grace, ilumination and faith. As such, the more we embrace our Lord with our hearts and actions, the more "light" our Lord provides, which illuminates the right path and exposes falsehood and deceit. May our youth learn to love and embrace our Lord and follow His holy will, through the aids provided by the Holy Church, and rendered able to see the falsehood of [ever present] humanism, which is the foundation of narcissism and self-love.
       
      With love in our merciful Saviour,
       
      Vassily, the poorest of examples
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 1:14 PM
      Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

      SECULAR IDOLATRY
      According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
      Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
      North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.
      North American educators have been embracing self-esteem-building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
      Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.


      In Christ,
      +Fr. Panagiotes


      Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.


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    • j_presson2003
      Father Bless - I am inclined to agree with the good deacon and my fellow musician Fr. Eugene. I say the following, with the assertion that I believe
      Message 2 of 26 , Jul 19 9:28 PM
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        Father Bless -

        I am inclined to agree with the good deacon and my fellow musician
        Fr. Eugene. I say the following, with the assertion that I believe
        wholeheartedly that the *public confessions* of our hierarchs on
        matters of the Church are 2nd to none.

        That said, I am inclined to think that we as traditionalists are
        tempted, inclined (and trained) to look for "trouble without", and
        are less likely look at the "trouble within". I know it is a
        temptation every time I turn on the television, or read the paper.
        With the experience of the internal affairs of the last 9 months
        fresh in every one's minds out here, I am just a little concerned
        that we are looking for enemies in the wrong places -I am inclined to
        think that the old Walt Kelly Pogo axiom "we have met the enemy and
        he is us" comes dangerously close to applying.

        Everytime I hear a complaint, criticism, etc of the "trouble
        without", however right and well intentioned, I must admit part of me
        says "Wait a minute! We have a house of our own to get together, a
        beam to get out of our own eye, our own elephants walking around
        clumsily in our living rooms, naked emperors, even some of our own
        loony water that gets drunk from time to time -how do we own the
        right to carp and criticize when our house is not in order?"

        I agree, that to an extent, knowledge of the "trouble without" can be
        a useful tool in sidestepping the less than savory elements of our
        society, be it secular or "sacred", but I firmly believe that in
        freedom or persecution, a Church culture that fosters a positive
        witness to the values we hold sacred as Orthodox Christians will
        shine and transfigure our darkened world, and even if in a small way,
        defines us. Continual complaining about the problems and the "perps"
        risks defining us in other ways, esp. when "trouble within" threatens.

        Forgive my musings -the sinful psaltis -John

        --- In OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com, <edurkee@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Father, Bless!
        >
        > It's a sin to judge another person's heart. Yet, at times one
        can't help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them.
        >
        > My friends are a mix of Orthodox (very few), Quakers, atheists,
        Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules
        or codes of behavior in musical circles: be polite, and play well.
        >
        > Like I said, although it's a sin to judge, one can't help but
        observe. And what I've observed is that my musician, non-Orthodox
        friends, tend to be more accepting, more communicative, more
        committed to looking at their own faults, more open to new
        acquaintances -- and, in a word, at least more OPEN to the
        possibility of love -- than most of my Orthodox acquaintances.
        >
        > So in answer to your question, I'd say that we have ourselves to
        become more willing to look at our own faults, more open to new
        relationships, more willing to listen than to form opinions. That
        would be a good start.
        >
        > Orthodox people CERTAINLY don't have the monopoly on the virtues.
        In my observation, most of the people I know who are most actively
        cultivating the virtues (e.g., humility, honesty, kindness,
        compassion, and above all, a strict attention to one's own faults),
        are NOT Orthodox.
        >
        > We have nothing to say about the current culture, at least until
        the old calendar/traditionalist hierarchs can put aside their pride
        and self-interest and really start some reconciliation happening.
        >
        > Meanwhile, I'll go to church and worship God in my own way, because
        that's where the truth is. I'll spend time with my heterodox
        friends, because they're just a whole lot nicer and more level-headed.
        >
        > I DARE you to share what I've written. And one more thing:
        this "time to circle the wagons" stuff is a crock of nonsense. We're
        supposed to blow the doors off -- not lock them.
        >
        > With respect, in Christ,
        >
        > Eugene
        >
        > >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...>
        > >Date: 2007/07/19 Thu PM 12:14:19 CDT
        > >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com>
        > >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
        >
        > >
        > > SECULAR IDOLATRY According to a new book, Fame Junkies by
        Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States,
        said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They
        were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of
        Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator,
        etc. 
        > >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to
        the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian
        and other national ÂÂ"IdolÂÂ" programs have a large proportion of
        adult viewers. North American society, and to a lesser degree,
        the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees
        itself as a ÂÂ"secular societyÂÂ", in essence it is a ÂÂ"religious
        societyÂÂ" that worships the individual.  The successful
        individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly
        demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The
        gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on
        the scandals and downfall of these idols. North American educators
        have been embracing self-esteem-building programs since the early
        1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle, requires one child a
        day to be given a badge that says ÂÂ"I'm greatÂÂ". The other
        children then take turns praising the ÂÂ"greatÂÂ" child and
        eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child
        for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people
        feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that
        they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism
        among North American youth. Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit
        in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our
        children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all
        around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share
        with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.
        > >
        > >In Christ, +Fr. Panagiotes
        > > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge
        to see what's on, when.
        >
      • tammi@esoteric.ca
        Hello Father, In this world of ever changing symbols : status, fashion, celebrity, toys, gadgets, gismos...It s important for us as Orthodox Christians to
        Message 3 of 26 , Jul 20 5:16 AM
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          Hello Father,
          In this world of ever changing "symbols": status, fashion, celebrity,
          toys, gadgets, gismos...It's important for us as Orthodox Christians to
          know that WE want for our children, and to teach them about that.
          Having a 10-year-old, I know about all of the fads, fashions, and "idols".
          The way that I keep my daughter in check is to say "We are Orthodox
          Christians, that is not something we do (or say, or wear, etc)."
          When people say "Oh, it's not a big deal, just do it." (whatever IT is!),
          I just smile and nod at them, and then explain to my daughter later about
          why we DON'T "just do it."
          We've been going to church since my daughter was a baby, being Orthodox is
          part of who she is, and we make it a part of her life outside of the
          physical "church" as well.
          It's actually not as hard as you would think to be Orthodox, even with all
          of the added "things" that being Orthodox entails...Considering all of the
          "variations" in people's lives...allergies, fundamentalist beliefs,
          superstitions, "accepting attitudes"...When we are fasting, I just tell
          people who don't know it that we are vegans. That answer is accepted
          without a second comment!
          In Christ,
          Tammi

          >>>> "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...> Jul/19/2007 1:14 PM
          >>>>
          > SECULAR IDOLATRY
          > According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent
          > of teenage girls in the United States, said their primary career goal
          > was "celebrity assistant". They were asked to choose between celebrity
          > assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500
          > Company, U. S. Senator, etc.
          >
          > Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the
          > young. Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other
          > national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
          > North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a
          > whole, has become egocentric. Even though it sees itself as a
          > “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society”
          > that worships the individual. The successful individual becomes a
          > celebrity and an idol. This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is
          > worshiped and hated at the same time. The gossip columns, tabloids and
          > blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of
          > these idols.
          > North American educators have been embracing self-esteem-building
          > programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic
          > Circle, requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm
          > great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great”
          > child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the
          > child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young
          > people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that
          > they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism
          > among North American youth.
          > Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?
          > How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the
          > narcissistic loony water that is all around us? Please let us hear from
          > clergy and parents. Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox
          > Christians.
          >
          >
          > In Christ,
          > +Fr. Panagiotes
          >
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------
          > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see
          > what's on, when.
          >
        • Jeff Dorrance
          Father bless, Well said, Eugene. In my neck of the woods, there are no Orthodox (as understood within HOCNA), other than yours truly. And so, for me to not be
          Message 4 of 26 , Jul 20 5:26 AM
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            Father bless,
            Well said, Eugene.
            In my neck of the woods, there are no Orthodox (as understood within HOCNA),  other than yours truly. And so, for me to not be open, communicative, and accepting would be really absurd. I'd have nobody to talk to.
            Regarding the poll, these girls seem pretty normal to me, given the choices presented to them. One choice was to be just an assistant and the others to be somebody of significance. 43.4% chose the assistant role and the others, I assume, chose one of the person of significance roles. I may be wrong and often am, but I think that the 56.6% who chose the more ambitious role may be responding to cultural messages from the National Organization of Women crowd.
            Home school your children if you want them sheltered from undesired cultural messages.
            Elias
            edurkee@... wrote:
            Dear Father, Bless!

            It's a sin to judge another person's heart. Yet, at times one can't help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them.

            My friends are a mix of Orthodox (very few), Quakers, atheists, Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules or codes of behavior in musical circles: be polite, and play well.

            Like I said, although it's a sin to judge, one can't help but observe. And what I've observed is that my musician, non-Orthodox friends, tend to be more accepting, more communicative, more committed to looking at their own faults, more open to new acquaintances -- and, in a word, at least more OPEN to the possibility of love -- than most of my Orthodox acquaintances.

            So in answer to your question, I'd say that we have ourselves to become more willing to look at our own faults, more open to new relationships, more willing to listen than to form opinions. That would be a good start.

            Orthodox people CERTAINLY don't have the monopoly on the virtues. In my observation, most of the people I know who are most actively cultivating the virtues (e.g., humility, honesty, kindness, compassion, and above all, a strict attention to one's own faults), are NOT Orthodox.

            We have nothing to say about the current culture, at least until the old calendar/traditiona list hierarchs can put aside their pride and self-interest and really start some reconciliation happening.

            Meanwhile, I'll go to church and worship God in my own way, because that's where the truth is. I'll spend time with my heterodox friends, because they're just a whole lot nicer and more level-headed.

            I DARE you to share what I've written. And one more thing: this "time to circle the wagons" stuff is a crock of nonsense. We're supposed to blow the doors off -- not lock them.

            With respect, in Christ,

            Eugene

            >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@ yahoo.ca>
            >Date: 2007/07/19 Thu PM 12:14:19 CDT
            >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@ yahoogroups. com>
            >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

            >
            > SECULAR IDOLATRY According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States, said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
            >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers. North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols. North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle, requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth. Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.
            >
            >In Christ, +Fr. Panagiotes
            > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.



            Park yourself in front of a world of choices in alternative vehicles.
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          • Tzogas, Athena
            This is the world we live in. Our jobs as parents are to empower our children to be confident, law- abiding Christians capable of functioning in the society
            Message 5 of 26 , Jul 20 7:19 AM
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              This is the world we live in.  Our jobs as parents are to empower our children to be confident, law- abiding Christians capable of functioning
              in the society we live in.  Children do need praise, WHEN deserved.  I don't believe you just tell a child they are great just because.
              To build self esteem a child  also needs to hear constructive criticism, learn from mistakes, accept their short comings and strive for self improvement(emotional and spiritual)
              I don't think that translate to narcissism.  Children raised with Christian values and with strong ties to their Church and Christian faith
              should be able to differentiate between "entertainment" value of television programming versus acceptable/unacceptable behaviour/thoughts.
              I don't believe that making our children ignorant to the world prepares them for adulthood.  They have to learn to overcome these obstacles and temptations
              and it is our job as parents to ensure we do that. 
               
              That said, we have to keep in mind that the examples below are from the entertainment industry.  Fortunately or unfortunately, success for those in the industry is
              a measure of popularity...after all no record or movie sales equals no income. No that does not excuse behaviour by some in the industry but society as a whole has to
              take its share of the blame for feeding and thriving on the shortcomings of  the rich and famous. 
               
              Also a note to the survey results:
              The question is posed to teenage girls who probably have no clue or the maturity level to understand what a CEO or a president of a company does .Interesting that they want to be  assistants and not the idols.  It would be further interesting to see what the average age, school grade and  family income of those teenage girls was. That could say alot about the results.  I take results of surveys with a grain of salt.  Anyone ever taken a stats course knows that results can be easily skewed,interpreted  and presented to support the agenda of the surveyor.
               
              Athena


              From: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com [mailto:OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fr. Panagiotes Carras
              Sent: 2007, July, 19 1:14 PM
              To: Orthodox Info Egroup
              Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

              SECULAR IDOLATRY
              According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
              Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
              North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.
              North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
              Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.


              In Christ,
              +Fr. Panagiotes


              Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.

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            • catrin_thorp
              Father, bless! I agree that the whole self-esteem business has gotten out of hand these days, and also that it s an increasingly difficult task to be in the
              Message 6 of 26 , Jul 20 7:34 AM
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                Father, bless!

                I agree that the whole "self-esteem" business has gotten out of hand
                these days, and also that it's an increasingly difficult task to
                be "in the world but not of the world."

                It's natural for babies and small children to be self-centered, but
                in the old days kids outgrew that pretty quickly as they had to take
                on more responsibilities and become contributing members of their
                families and communities. It doesn't do much good to tell a
                child, "Hey, it's not all about you" -- they have to become involved
                in something larger and more important than themselves before they
                can really understand that. There are plenty of opportunities out
                there, whether it's doing the walk-a-thon for Ugandan orphans, or
                collecting canned goods for a food bank, or going on trips with the
                St. Paul Fellowship of Labor to help out in different parishes and
                monasteries. Admittedly, it's a bit easier if you're part of a large
                parish where there are organized youth groups that always seem to
                have some worthwhile projects going on, as well as wholesome "fun"
                actitivies that the kids can do together, but even isolated Orthodox
                families can find ways that they and their children can live their
                faith by doing things for other people.

                Of course, if we don't want to come across as total hypocrites, the
                kids also have to see US practicing what we preach! Do they see us
                going to services and keeping the fasts without grumbling? Do they
                see us expending our time and energies for the Philoptochos, the
                Sunday school, the summer camps? Do they see us making good choices
                about what books to read, what movies or television programs to watch
                (if we watch at all), how we dress and speak? How do we treat other
                people in general -- are we loving and giving, or harsh and
                judgmental? Do we look down on other people because of their race, or
                social standing, or religion, or do we constantly remind ourselves
                that harlots and publicans (and at least some non-Orthodox) will
                enter the Kingdom of Heaven before us? The kids may sometimes roll
                their eyes at us now, but years from now they may well look back and
                ask themselves, "What would Mom or Dad have done in this situation?"
                Scary thought for those of us who are supposed to be setting the
                example!
              • patricia patty
                Hello Father, As someone who is not a parent yet, I have still often thought of the difficulties and influences that this society provides for our youth. I
                Message 7 of 26 , Jul 20 9:05 AM
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                  Hello Father,

                  As someone who is not a parent yet, I have still often thought of the
                  difficulties and influences that this society provides for our youth.
                  I think every opportunity should be taken by the parents, to speak to
                  children about God's teachings and how our children can be good examples of
                  these teachings. I also feel that children should be involved in programs
                  that are not limited to sports, dance, etc. Every now and then children
                  should participate in volunteer programs that help other children in their
                  age groups, suffering from abuse, illness, poverty, etc. It usually only
                  requires spending some time playing with these other kids. Instead of
                  always hearing how "fortunate" our children are to have their health, a
                  loving family and some sort of financial comfort, they can understand for
                  themselves how truly blessed they really are. I think these experiences
                  will be humbling to our youth, with a better understanding that people
                  should not worship or idolize other people. Doing God's work will
                  strengthen their faith, teach them humility and understanding so that they
                  have the tools to live in this world and deal with all it has to "offer".

                  In Christ,
                  Panayiota


                  >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...>
                  >Reply-To: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com
                  >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com>
                  >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
                  >Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 10:14:19 -0700 (PDT)
                  >
                  > SECULAR IDOLATRY
                  > According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of
                  >teenage girls in the United States, said their primary career goal was
                  >"celebrity assistant". They were asked to choose between celebrity
                  >assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company,
                  >U. S. Senator, etc.
                  >
                  >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the
                  >young. Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other
                  >national �Idol� programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
                  > North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole,
                  >has become egocentric. Even though it sees itself as a �secular society�,
                  >in essence it is a �religious society� that worships the individual. The
                  >successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol. This idol, in a
                  >truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time. The gossip
                  >columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals
                  >and downfall of these idols.
                  > North American educators have been embracing self-esteem-building
                  >programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle,
                  >requires one child a day to be given a badge that says �I'm great�. The
                  >other children then take turns praising the �great� child and eventually,
                  >these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity.
                  >Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about
                  >themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the
                  >mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                  > Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world? How
                  >do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the
                  >narcissistic loony water that is all around us? Please let us hear from
                  >clergy and parents. Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.
                  >
                  >
                  >In Christ,
                  >+Fr. Panagiotes
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >---------------------------------
                  >Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's
                  >on, when.

                  _________________________________________________________________
                  Don't get caught with egg on your face. Play Chicktionary!�
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                • j_presson2003
                  Or perhaps a small parochial school movement in HOCNA? Perhaps it could start as a network of Orthodox homeschoolers? THe enemy without has changed the world
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jul 20 9:13 AM
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                    Or perhaps a small parochial school movement in HOCNA? Perhaps it could
                    start as a network of Orthodox homeschoolers? THe enemy without has
                    changed the world through the schools -why can't in a small way we do
                    the same thing? It's easier to be agaisnt something than for
                    something, after all, as someone said

                    JPP -

                    --- In OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com, Jeff Dorrance <jeffdorrance@...>
                    wrote:
                    I may be wrong and often am, but I think that the 56.6% who chose the
                    more ambitious role may be responding to cultural messages from the
                    National Organization of Women crowd.
                    > Home school your children if you want them sheltered from undesired
                    cultural messages.
                    > Elias
                    >
                  • frdavidbelden
                    ... can t help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them. ... Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules or codes of
                    Message 9 of 26 , Jul 20 9:19 AM
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --- In OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com, <edurkee@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Dear Father, Bless!
                      >
                      > It's a sin to judge another person's heart. Yet, at times one
                      can't help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them.
                      >
                      > My friends are a mix of Orthodox (very few), Quakers, atheists,
                      Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules
                      or codes of behavior in musical circles: be polite, and play well.
                      >
                      > Like I said, although it's a sin to judge, one can't help but
                      observe. And what I've observed is that my musician, non-Orthodox
                      friends, tend to be more accepting, more communicative, more
                      committed to looking at their own faults, more open to new
                      acquaintances -- and, in a word, at least more OPEN to the
                      possibility of love -- than most of my Orthodox acquaintances.
                      >
                      > So in answer to your question, I'd say that we have ourselves to
                      become more willing to look at our own faults, more open to new
                      relationships, more willing to listen than to form opinions. That
                      would be a good start.
                      >
                      > Orthodox people CERTAINLY don't have the monopoly on the virtues.
                      In my observation, most of the people I know who are most actively
                      cultivating the virtues (e.g., humility, honesty, kindness,
                      compassion, and above all, a strict attention to one's own faults),
                      are NOT Orthodox.
                      >
                      > We have nothing to say about the current culture, at least until
                      the old calendar/traditionalist hierarchs can put aside their pride
                      and self-interest and really start some reconciliation happening.
                      >
                      > Meanwhile, I'll go to church and worship God in my own way,
                      because that's where the truth is. I'll spend time with my
                      heterodox friends, because they're just a whole lot nicer and more
                      level-headed.
                      >
                      > I DARE you to share what I've written. And one more thing:
                      this "time to circle the wagons" stuff is a crock of nonsense.
                      We're supposed to blow the doors off -- not lock them.
                      >
                      > With respect, in Christ,
                      >
                      > Eugene
                      >
                      > >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...>
                      > >Date: 2007/07/19 Thu PM 12:14:19 CDT
                      > >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com>
                      > >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
                      >
                      > >
                      > > SECULAR IDOLATRY According to a new book, Fame Junkies by
                      Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States,
                      said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They
                      were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of
                      Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator,
                      etc. 
                      > >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined
                      to the young.  Television programs such as American idol,
                      Canadian and other national ÂÂ"IdolÂÂ" programs have a large
                      proportion of adult viewers. North American society, and to a
                      lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even
                      though it sees itself as a ÂÂ"secular societyÂÂ", in essence it is
                      a ÂÂ"religious societyÂÂ" that worships the individual.  The
                      successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This
                      idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same
                      time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity
                      by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols. North
                      American educators have been embracing self-esteem-building programs
                      since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle,
                      requires one child a day to be given a badge that says ÂÂ"I'm
                      greatÂÂ". The other children then take turns praising the
                      ÂÂ"greatÂÂ" child and eventually, these compliments are written up
                      and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were
                      intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many
                      educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and
                      fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                      Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world? 
                      How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the
                      narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us
                      hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as
                      Orthodox Christians.
                      > >
                      > >In Christ, +Fr. Panagiotes
                      > > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge
                      to see what's on, when.
                      >


                      I couldn't agree more with Fr. Deacon Eugene. I just hope that when
                      he says: "I'll go to church and worship God in my own way" that he
                      means the True Orthodox way. I'm surprised that Fr. Eugene
                      would 'challenge' Fr. Panagiotes to print his letter - he can't know
                      Fr Panagiotes as well as I do, having worked closely with him for 22
                      years!

                      Fr.Eugene is also right when he says: "We have nothing to say about
                      the current culture until the old calendarist/traditional hierarchs
                      can put aside their pride and self interest and really start some
                      reconciliation happening" ... especially in Seattle, where the
                      lawful Hierarch was pushed out, and the former cathedral parish is
                      now under the omophor of another Hierarch a continent away!

                      Right on, Fr. Eugene! Not one clergyman of the former ROCA has come
                      to us after the recent collapse of that Church, and I am convinced
                      it is because of the Seattle debacle. A former member of our Church
                      recently asked me to meet with him, and told me he would come back
                      except for the reasons cited above.

                      Fr. David +
                    • Ann K
                      Dear Father, Bless It s really interesting reading all the thoughts of our people. I agree with Tammi. My children were brought up with bible stories. Church
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jul 20 11:24 AM
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                        Dear Father, Bless

                        It's really interesting reading all the thoughts of our people.  I agree with Tammi.
                        My children were brought up with bible stories.  Church was and is the center of our life.  Prayer and blessings and chanting was always around us.  When the kids were young, I read a book about raising children.  It said to prepare the foundation as if you were planting a tree.  A tree needs good soil - the parents prepare the home environment for raising a child.  I had icons in their bedrooms.  Each child had their saint's icon.  Storybooks were bible stories and Saints' lives.  No posters or pictures were allowed in their rooms.  The home was treated with respect.  We didn't draw on walls or stand on furniture.  But we did play in the mud.  And each play was given a lesson... God created the world.  Look at the mud --Adam was made.... A young tree needs a stake to train it to grow straight.  Parents need to become that stake.  What they do will be mirrored by their children.  What they allow and don't allow will help the children grow strong.  We helped our children and raised them Orthodox.  They had many friends growing up and they choose which were good friends and which were not.  We guided them.... My daughter had a neighbor friend her age ( she was seven at that time) who went to the park and started "french kissing" two boys.  She came home and told me about it and we had a long discusion about her and the situation.  She then decided that she wouldn't play with this girl again.  I spend a great deal of time giving them true models to follow.  My daughter would name all her dolls "Katherine" and "Theodora" and my son was always thinking about "What would Christouli do in this situation or what would Panageitsa think about that"...and so on...  Why were there so many different types of people and colours and so many questions like that.  We would then talk about Noah and the flood.  It's important to really know your faith and to pass it on to your children.  Teach them about the differences too.  They will have many different friends and they will have a chance to explain their faith to them and know the differences about the other religions too.  We did the best we could.... If I could go back and do it again....I would home-school them because the schools did a lot of damage.

                        Oh and never lie to the children...ever...the truth will help them tell the truth....
                        Just my thoughts, father, bless!

                        Yours in Christ,
                        Anastasia

                        "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...> wrote:
                        SECULAR IDOLATRY
                        According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
                        Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
                        North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.
                        North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                        Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.


                        In Christ,
                        +Fr. Panagiotes

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                      • J P
                        Father Panagiotes and fellow Orthodox Christians, I m not sure of what value I can bring to this topic being as I m not a parent and still have so much to
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jul 20 11:33 AM
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                          Father Panagiotes and fellow Orthodox Christians,

                          I'm not sure of what value I can bring to this topic
                          being as I'm not a parent and still have so much to
                          learn about our Faith. But, ironically enough, this
                          very topic of new age idols was brought up not so very
                          long ago. We've replaced pagan idols with idols of the
                          flesh, whether they be athletes, movie stars or just
                          rich individuals who need to have every nuance of
                          their lives reported on by the media. Materialism and
                          the size of one's wallet is valued while spirituality
                          has gone by the wayside. Society at large has
                          forgotten what is truly important. Christmas has
                          become X-mas and the meaning has been lost while we
                          are told to "buy buy buy" to make each other happy and
                          content. I'm reminded of what was told to myself which
                          has lingered in my mind. That we are to raise "saints"
                          and that our homes are to be "churches". We might not
                          be able to change the world but we can bring a little
                          "light" into our small corner of it. As someone has
                          stated, we cannot point fingers when we only have to
                          look into the mirror of our own selves. We are to be
                          the examples, to be "Christ-like" so that when we say
                          we have the whole Truth we can be living examples of
                          it. Children may have outside influences, but the
                          greatest influences are the parents. If I am to be a
                          parent, I have to be the example and I will be the one
                          held accountable. We cannot expect our children to be
                          humble, to love God with all their hearts, when we are
                          lacking. We need to pray more, fast more, humble
                          ourselves and ask for God's help and mercy. We need to
                          instill in our children that the "heroes" are not the
                          ones scoring goals, who have achieved fame or have
                          accumulated the most wealth but are the Saints of the
                          Church who struggled and/or martyred for the Faith. We
                          need to educate ourselves more about Orthodoxy, ask
                          for spiritual guidance, "fix" ourselves first before
                          we can presume to pick at the inadequacies of others.
                          Our children are our lasting legacy...the ones where
                          our future priests, bishops, "saints" will come from.
                          This is our sacred duty..to pass on the Traditions of
                          the Church. Everything else, dealing with the
                          practical issues of the world, need to filtered
                          through an Orthodox perspective. For this to be
                          achieved, we cannot just shirk the duty ourselves and
                          expect it from just our priests. Each of us, belong to
                          the Body Of Christ and as such, we need to present
                          ourselves and live our lives with this in mind...

                          humbly yours,

                          Demetre




                          --- Martha <martha.vh@...> wrote:

                          > Dear Fr.Panagiotes
                          >
                          > Thank you for this email. I agree with your opinion
                          > and appreciate the
                          > opportunity to offer the following thoughts.
                          >
                          > It is my belief that we (society) have always been
                          > people who think of
                          > themselves first. This has been seen throughout
                          > history where societies
                          > have viewed themselves as superior to others. When
                          > you think about it,
                          > not much has changed. The difference now is that we
                          > are inundated with
                          > media which enables us to get personal with the
                          > 'rich and famous'. We
                          > are also constantly being told that in order to be
                          > successful, we must
                          > have a certain level of income, size of house, type
                          > of car or truck,
                          > etc.
                          >
                          > As a parent I have struggled with these influences
                          > when raising my
                          > children. They are young adults now and I still
                          > worry that my job could
                          > have been done better. It was difficult as they
                          > were growing up to not
                          > fall into the trap of what was the norm. Whenever
                          > we did not allow our
                          > children to do certain things, watch certain movies,
                          > or play certain
                          > video games, they would protest that all the other
                          > kids' parents allowed
                          > them and why wouldn't we. I remember trying to look
                          > proud and say to
                          > them "I'm glad I'm different". It was a constant
                          > struggle to undo some
                          > of the damage that had been done while at school, or
                          > watching a program,
                          > commercial, or just talking to their friends. It
                          > was mostly difficult
                          > dealing with other parents, who did not agree with
                          > us. We had 'peer
                          > pressure' to allow our children to have certain
                          > toys, movies, etc. What
                          > do you tell a friend or relative who gives your
                          > child a gift for
                          > Christmas which is a violent video game complete
                          > with great graphics so
                          > you can see the blood and guts look realistic, or a
                          > T-shirt with a
                          > violent picture of the rock group called Cannibal
                          > Corpse?
                          >
                          > Self esteem programs in schools are important since
                          > there are a lot of
                          > children even in this rich society which suffer many
                          > forms of abuse.
                          > But these should be carefully studied and programs
                          > such as Magic Circle
                          > should not be allowed - perhaps if they were to tone
                          > it down to just
                          > everybody saying one nice thing about everybody,
                          > that would promote
                          > positive thinking about piers, as well as curb
                          > bullying. As parents we
                          > can and should insist that the schools have a zero
                          > tolerance on
                          > bullying. We all know what the outcome of excessive
                          > bullying is.
                          >
                          > Our society is constantly changing. It is
                          > frightening to realize that
                          > our children will have more difficulty keeping our
                          > faith alive with
                          > their children in the future. They are now getting
                          > more outside
                          > influences than ever before with media such as MSN,
                          > Facebook, blogs etc,
                          > they are being subjected to opinions of millions and
                          > constantly looking
                          > at 'pop ups' while they communicate with their
                          > friends. Gone are the
                          > days when they talk to one person at a time on that
                          > old thing called the
                          > 'house telephone'. Today, their influences have
                          > gone out of control.
                          >
                          > As Orthodox parents, what we must do is talk to our
                          > children as much as
                          > possible and try to relate today's issues to our
                          > faith. In this society
                          > where there are so many faiths, this is also a
                          > struggle. We must be
                          > sure to learn as much about our faith as possible in
                          > order to answer the
                          > many difficult questions that our children will come
                          > up with. The
                          > reality is, today's youth will not just accept an
                          > answer like 'because I
                          > said so' any more. They need to understand. We
                          > must teach them so they
                          > will understand. In order to teach them we must
                          > continue to learn
                          > ourselves.
                          >
                          > In Christ,
                          > Martha
                          >
                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com
                          > [mailto:OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com]
                          > On Behalf Of Fr. Panagiotes Carras
                          > Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 1:14 PM
                          > To: Orthodox Info Egroup
                          > Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
                          >
                          > SECULAR IDOLATRY
                          > According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake
                          > Halpern, 43.4 percent of
                          > teenage girls in the United States, said their
                          > primary career goal was
                          > "celebrity assistant". They were asked to choose
                          > between celebrity
                          > assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a
                          > Fortune 500
                          > Company, U. S. Senator, etc.
                          > Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is
                          > not confined to the
                          > young. Television programs such as American idol,
                          > Canadian and other
                          > national "Idol" programs have a large proportion of
                          > adult viewers.
                          > North American society, and to a lesser degree, the
                          > world as a whole,
                          > has become egocentric. Even though it sees itself
                          > as a "secular
                          > society", in essence it is a "religious society"
                          > that worships the
                          > individual. The successful individual becomes a
                          > celebrity and an idol.
                          > This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped
                          > and hated at the same
                          > time. The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise
                          > in popularity by
                          > focusing on the scandals and downfall of these
                          > idols.
                          > North American educators have been embracing
                          > self-esteem-building
                          > programs since the early 1970s. One popular program,
                          > called Magic
                          > Circle, requires one child a day to be given a badge
                          > that says "I'm
                          > great". The other children then take turns praising
                          > the "great" child
                          > and eventually, these compliments are written up and
                          > given to the child
                          > for posterity. Programs like this were intended to
                          > make young people
                          > feel better about themselves, but many educators now
                          > concede that they
                          > may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of
                          > narcissism among
                          > North American youth.
                          > Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this
                          > idolatrous world? How do
                          > we protect ourselves and our children from drinking
                          > from the
                          > narcissistic loony water that is all around us?
                          > Please let us hear from
                          > clergy and parents. Share with us what we can do,
                          > as Orthodox
                          > Christians.
                          >
                          > In Christ,
                          > +Fr. Panagiotes
                          >
                          > _____
                          >
                          > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy
                          >
                          <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=47093/*http:/tv.yahoo.com/collections/222>
                          > with an Edge to see what's on, when.
                          >



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                        • Dr. Photini Dimock
                          Wow! I couldn t agree more with your thoughts regarding this very important issue. Thank you so much! Dr Photini Dimock _____ From:
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jul 20 1:34 PM
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                            Wow! I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts regarding this very important issue. Thank you so much!  Dr Photini Dimock

                             


                            From: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com [mailto:OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Vassily Mihailoff
                            Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 8:27 PM
                            To: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

                             

                            Dear Fr. Panagiotes,

                             

                            Evlogiete!

                             

                            Our challenge is to live according to our Lord's Gospel, show our faith by example, and, for those of us that are parents, teach accordingly. The cultivation of narcissistic ideals in the hearts of our youth is certainly anti-Christian, and works in direct opposition to what our Saviour teaches. As we endeavor to emphasize God's will in the admonishment and guidance of our children, it is helpful to cite specific words spoken by our Saviour regarding these issues that are as relevant today as ever before, (and exposing the falsehood of such worldy trends):

                             

                            Regarding serving our Lord's will and our own:


                                Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

                             

                            Regarding the world's enticements and appeals:

                             

                                And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)

                             

                            Regarding the need for "otherworldliness" :

                             

                                If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)

                             

                            Regarding the need for self denial first:

                             

                                If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

                             

                            Regarding self worship:

                             

                                And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

                             

                            The Holy Fathers teach that the more we fervently love God, follow His commandments, and deny ourselves, the more our Lord, in His infinite love, offers gifts of Grace, ilumination and faith. As such, the more we embrace our Lord with our hearts and actions, the more "light" our Lord provides, which illuminates the right path and exposes falsehood and deceit. May our youth learn to love and embrace our Lord and follow His holy will, through the aids provided by the Holy Church, and rendered able to see the falsehood of [ever present] humanism, which is the foundation of narcissism and self-love.

                             

                            With love in our merciful Saviour,

                             

                            Vassily, the poorest of examples

                            ----- Original Message -----

                            Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 1:14 PM

                            Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

                             

                            SECULAR IDOLATRY

                            According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 

                            Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.

                            North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.

                            North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.

                            Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.

                             

                            In Christ,

                            +Fr. Panagiotes


                            Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.


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                          • vasiliki barrowman
                            Dear Fr. Pangiotes, God Bless you for writing this interesting but incendiary subject if that is the correct title for this subject. Maybe most or some of us
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jul 20 3:26 PM
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                              Dear Fr. Pangiotes,
                              God Bless you for writing this interesting but incendiary subject if that is the correct title for this subject. Maybe most or some of  us are living on a thin line but dont know what to do.
                              Gone are the days of taking those goddess and god statues out of various hues, nationalities and whatnot and smashing them and then doing the cleansing rites as described in the Old Testament times. We have replaced them with tv shows like American Idol and other forms of Secular Idolatry.( And if one can turn on the radio talkshows on weekends you can hear a local talkshow host talk about the tactics being used on the tv show American Idol.) And as for our egocentrical ways it shows in the way we vote for the sons of men in various forms of city, state and federal government who promise us the moon and stars and then turn around and stick us with bait and switch. Its further side effects are felt in various places around the world. How long shall some or most of us drink the kool aid or the loony water is question we need to ponder? And the answer lies in the heart.

                              "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...> wrote:
                              SECULAR IDOLATRY
                              According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
                              Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
                              North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.
                              North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                              Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.


                              In Christ,
                              +Fr. Panagiotes

                              Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.


                              Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.

                            • jerinicm
                              Evlogeite, Fr. Panagiotes: It is charcacteristic of persons past a certain age--I number myself among them--to make pronouncements on the way that America is
                              Message 14 of 26 , Jul 20 5:12 PM
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                                Evlogeite, Fr. Panagiotes:

                                It is charcacteristic of persons past a certain age--I number myself
                                among them--to make pronouncements on the way that America is sunk
                                in a cesspit of stupidity, egoism, and barbarism (true), while the
                                whole word is going to perdition (also true).

                                Yet I agree with Father Eugene that we would do better to
                                concentrate on ourselves rather than those without. And for
                                ourselves, I would suggest a positive effort to encourage ourselves
                                and our children in the Faith rather than this constant carping
                                against the world. Indeed, last October, at the clergy-laity
                                meeting, the delegates recommended a positive campaign to teach
                                Orthodoxy. Let the kids see how wonderful our Faith is and develop
                                some healthy enthusiasm.

                                Orthodoxy is not a religion of "Don'ts"--don't see this movie, don't
                                do that, don't wear the other thing--although it may seem so to our
                                young people, as well as to those "without." Nor do the heterodox,
                                even those of good will, find this approach endearing.

                                Let's concentrate on Orthodoxy as a religion of "Do's." Do love God,
                                do say your prayers, do go to church. If you have the inclination,
                                Do chant in the choir, Do paint an icon, and so on.

                                The world is a dire threat, but let us look upward, not into the pit.

                                Forgive me, dear people, if I have offended any of you.

                                In Christ,

                                Margaret Jerinic

                                --- In OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Panagiotes Carras"
                                <frpanagiotes@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > SECULAR IDOLATRY
                                > According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4
                                percent of teenage girls in the United States, said their primary
                                career goal was "celebrity assistant". They were asked to choose
                                between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of
                                a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc.
                                >
                                > Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to
                                the young. Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and
                                other national "Idol" programs have a large proportion of adult
                                viewers.
                                > North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a
                                whole, has become egocentric. Even though it sees itself as
                                a "secular society", in essence it is a "religious society" that
                                worships the individual. The successful individual becomes a
                                celebrity and an idol. This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is
                                worshiped and hated at the same time. The gossip columns, tabloids
                                and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and
                                downfall of these idols.
                                > North American educators have been embracing self-esteem-
                                building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called
                                Magic Circle, requires one child a day to be given a badge that
                                says "I'm great". The other children then take turns praising
                                the "great" child and eventually, these compliments are written up
                                and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were
                                intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many
                                educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and
                                fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                                > Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous
                                world? How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking
                                from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us? Please let
                                us hear from clergy and parents. Share with us what we can do, as
                                Orthodox Christians.
                                >
                                >
                                > In Christ,
                                > +Fr. Panagiotes
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > ---------------------------------
                                > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see
                                what's on, when.
                                >
                              • eugene
                                Hi, John, You said below very eloquently what I was trying to express. What is the hope that is within us, for which we are called to give account, when
                                Message 15 of 26 , Jul 20 5:47 PM
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                                  Hi, John,
                                   
                                  You said below very eloquently what I was trying to express.  What is "the hope that is within us," for which we are called to give account, when asked?  Is it the hope that our children will keep the fasts and their chastity until their dying breath?  Well, I HOPE so!  But I don't think that's THE hope, the one within us, that we should be able to give an account of. 
                                   
                                  It's a very, very bad thing when an organization begins to define itself by what it is not, and what it doesn't do; as opposed to what it is, and what it does.  This goes for any organization -- and any individual. 
                                   
                                  I asked Metropolitan Ephraim once why he had to distribute so many articles about how bad the Muslims are, rather than some articles that would actually help us negotiate our daily relationships.  And he said that material on how to live as an Orthodox Christian was easily obtained from the Lives of the Saints, the Scripture, and some articles that evidently our diocese had produced (which I'm not familiar with). 
                                   
                                  Ah yes: but even St. Cosmas of Aetolia said that these sacred sources need some "unpacking."  I'll get back to this unpacking business later.  Meanwhile, I'd like to point out that instead, what we have "unpacked" for us in article after article, email after email is this: the Muslims are against us.  The secular humanists are against us.  The media is against us.  The public schools are against us.  The homosexuals are against us.  In fact, the whole WORLD is against us.  Ad nauseum.  Forgive me.
                                   
                                  I understand very well that the world is under the power of the evil one and that we have to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But do we want, venerable Fathers, brothers and sisters... do we want our children growing up with a profound sense that everyone is against them?  Or do we want our children free from fear?  Free from anger? 
                                   
                                  One of our brave young people once said that she expected the Church to do just one thing for her: prepare her to receive Holy Communion.  I told that to my oldest son once, God keep him (God keep both of them), and he thought that was wonderful.  If we've got that, we've got everything.  If God is for us, who can be against us? 
                                   
                                  To cut this short, I'd like to make a suggestion.  Why don't we all in this elist bravely trespass and talk some theology.  Let's talk about what the Faith means to us in terms of positives.  Here; I'll start:
                                   
                                  1)    It means that I have within me a mysterious sense of eternal glory and blessedness that I can never quite define or describe, but which seems to sustain me through the worst of personal tragedies.
                                   
                                  2)    It means that I can truly have NO FEAR.  Because again, if God is for me, who can be against me?
                                   
                                  3)    It means that I can fearlessly, again, face my own shortcomings (anger, depression, anxiety, the whole list of the passions), and realize that I am so much more than that, because God in Christ has made me more than that.
                                   
                                  4)    It means, on the basis of the above, that any criticism a friend or spouse or colleague has to make of me, can be heard, thought through, and responded to with honesty, because again: I am not afraid.  In other words, it means I can admit that I'm wrong, really wrong, on many occasions.
                                   
                                  5)    It means that I don't have to care what any person, or any institution, thinks of me, because I already know what God thinks of me: "Who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
                                   
                                  A couple closing points:  I'm not a deacon any longer -- just Eugene.  Secondly, it was pointed out to me by Demetrios A. that my earlier posting sounded negative.  For that, I sincerely ask forgiveness, especially from Fr. Panagiotes.  I admit that I have an anger in me that is troublesome.  I bear the responsibility, and must work to correct that anger, with God's help.  Thirdly, it was asked if I was still an Orthodox Christian.  Yes, and by God's grace hope to remain so until my death.
                                   
                                  John -- thank you so much for your post.  Where are you?  Where do you live?  Where's your parish?  And again, I think I'd really enjoy hearing what other people have to say about their Faith -- what is IS, rather than what it is NOT.  Any takers? 
                                   
                                  In Christ,
                                   
                                  Eugene
                                   
                                   
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  Sent: Friday, July 20, 2007 12:28 AM
                                  Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Re: Share your thoughts with us

                                  Father Bless -

                                  I am inclined to agree with the good deacon and my fellow musician
                                  Fr. Eugene. I say the following, with the assertion that I believe
                                  wholeheartedly that the *public confessions* of our hierarchs on
                                  matters of the Church are 2nd to none.

                                  That said, I am inclined to think that we as traditionalists are
                                  tempted, inclined (and trained) to look for "trouble without", and
                                  are less likely look at the "trouble within". I know it is a
                                  temptation every time I turn on the television, or read the paper.
                                  With the experience of the internal affairs of the last 9 months
                                  fresh in every one's minds out here, I am just a little concerned
                                  that we are looking for enemies in the wrong places -I am inclined to
                                  think that the old Walt Kelly Pogo axiom "we have met the enemy and
                                  he is us" comes dangerously close to applying.

                                  Everytime I hear a complaint, criticism, etc of the "trouble
                                  without", however right and well intentioned, I must admit part of me
                                  says "Wait a minute! We have a house of our own to get together, a
                                  beam to get out of our own eye, our own elephants walking around
                                  clumsily in our living rooms, naked emperors, even some of our own
                                  loony water that gets drunk from time to time -how do we own the
                                  right to carp and criticize when our house is not in order?"

                                  I agree, that to an extent, knowledge of the "trouble without" can be
                                  a useful tool in sidestepping the less than savory elements of our
                                  society, be it secular or "sacred", but I firmly believe that in
                                  freedom or persecution, a Church culture that fosters a positive
                                  witness to the values we hold sacred as Orthodox Christians will
                                  shine and transfigure our darkened world, and even if in a small way,
                                  defines us. Continual complaining about the problems and the "perps"
                                  risks defining us in other ways, esp. when "trouble within" threatens.

                                  Forgive my musings -the sinful psaltis -John

                                  --- In OrthodoxInfo@ yahoogroups. com, <edurkee@... > wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Dear Father, Bless!
                                  >
                                  > It's a sin to judge another person's heart. Yet, at times one
                                  can't help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them.
                                  >
                                  > My friends are a mix of Orthodox (very few), Quakers, atheists,
                                  Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules
                                  or codes of behavior in musical circles: be polite, and play well.
                                  >
                                  > Like I said, although it's a sin to judge, one can't help but
                                  observe. And what I've observed is that my musician, non-Orthodox
                                  friends, tend to be more accepting, more communicative, more
                                  committed to looking at their own faults, more open to new
                                  acquaintances -- and, in a word, at least more OPEN to the
                                  possibility of love -- than most of my Orthodox acquaintances.
                                  >
                                  > So in answer to your question, I'd say that we have ourselves to
                                  become more willing to look at our own faults, more open to new
                                  relationships, more willing to listen than to form opinions. That
                                  would be a good start.
                                  >
                                  > Orthodox people CERTAINLY don't have the monopoly on the virtues.
                                  In my observation, most of the people I know who are most actively
                                  cultivating the virtues (e.g., humility, honesty, kindness,
                                  compassion, and above all, a strict attention to one's own faults),
                                  are NOT Orthodox.
                                  >
                                  > We have nothing to say about the current culture, at least until
                                  the old calendar/traditiona list hierarchs can put aside their pride
                                  and self-interest and really start some reconciliation happening.
                                  >
                                  > Meanwhile, I'll go to church and worship God in my own way, because
                                  that's where the truth is. I'll spend time with my heterodox
                                  friends, because they're just a whole lot nicer and more level-headed.
                                  >
                                  > I DARE you to share what I've written. And one more thing:
                                  this "time to circle the wagons" stuff is a crock of nonsense. We're
                                  supposed to blow the doors off -- not lock them.
                                  >
                                  > With respect, in Christ,
                                  >
                                  > Eugene
                                  >
                                  > >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@ ...>
                                  > >Date: 2007/07/19 Thu PM 12:14:19 CDT
                                  > >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@ yahoogroups. com>
                                  > >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
                                  >
                                  > >
                                  > > SECULAR IDOLATRY According to a new book, Fame Junkies by
                                  Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States,
                                  said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They
                                  were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of
                                  Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator,
                                  etc. 
                                  > >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to
                                  the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian
                                  and other national ÂÂ"IdolÂÂ" programs have a large proportion of
                                  adult viewers. North American society, and to a lesser degree,
                                  the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees
                                  itself as a ÂÂ"secular societyÂÂ", in essence it is a ÂÂ"religious
                                  societyÂÂ" that worships the individual.  The successful
                                  individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly
                                  demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The
                                  gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on
                                  the scandals and downfall of these idols. North American educators
                                  have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early
                                  1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle, requires one child a
                                  day to be given a badge that says ÂÂ"I'm greatÂÂ". The other
                                  children then take turns praising the ÂÂ"greatÂÂ" child and
                                  eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child
                                  for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people
                                  feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that
                                  they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism
                                  among North American youth. Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit
                                  in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our
                                  children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all
                                  around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share
                                  with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.
                                  > >
                                  > >In Christ, +Fr. Panagiotes
                                  > > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge
                                  to see what's on, when.
                                  >

                                • eugene
                                  Hi, Elias, Thank you. I think I ve met you once before at a conference or something... hope you re well and happy. I d like to risk saying something strange.
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Jul 20 6:00 PM
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                                    Hi, Elias,
                                     
                                    Thank you.  I think I've met you once before at a conference or something... hope you're well and happy.
                                     
                                    I'd like to risk saying something strange.  In your "neck of the woods," as you say, there are no Orthodox.  In other words, there is no Church.  You ARE the Church, then, in your neck of the woods.  But since like anyone you're a LIVING Church, that will include all your network of relationships with the heterodox, which is also a living thing, that network, that communication.
                                     
                                    So your "church" will have to be the heterodox, I guess.  Don't get me wrong.  Of course there will be no "intercommunion" or services or whatever.  I know how hard that is, by the way.  I've lived far from a Church in the past, and really, really missed it.  But, there they are: the people in front of you every day, every one a living icon.  It sounds like you're doing a good job (hey, who am I to say, but you mention it) at trying to be open and communicative and accepting.  So your "liturgy" will have to be your work... or watering the grass... or whatever you do.  Buying something at Dunkin' Donuts and talking to the cashier.  Guess that will have to serve for the "kiss of peace." 
                                     
                                    And just like John wrote earlier, that can be really transformative.  We can really bring a lot of light out there.  I guess what I'm trying to do is encourage you.  Forgive me if I'm presumptuous.  I'm just really into this idea of, well, if people aren't going to come to MY little church (and they don't!), I'll bring it to THEM!  But just in terms of buying a few donuts or something; not much in the way of preaching, which is not a good idea.
                                     
                                    Keep in touch!
                                     
                                    Eugene
                                     
                                     
                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Sent: Friday, July 20, 2007 8:26 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

                                    Father bless,
                                    Well said, Eugene.
                                    In my neck of the woods, there are no Orthodox (as understood within HOCNA),  other than yours truly. And so, for me to not be open, communicative, and accepting would be really absurd. I'd have nobody to talk to.
                                    Regarding the poll, these girls seem pretty normal to me, given the choices presented to them. One choice was to be just an assistant and the others to be somebody of significance. 43.4% chose the assistant role and the others, I assume, chose one of the person of significance roles. I may be wrong and often am, but I think that the 56.6% who chose the more ambitious role may be responding to cultural messages from the National Organization of Women crowd.
                                    Home school your children if you want them sheltered from undesired cultural messages.
                                    Elias
                                    edurkee@verizon. net wrote:

                                    Dear Father, Bless!

                                    It's a sin to judge another person's heart. Yet, at times one can't help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them.

                                    My friends are a mix of Orthodox (very few), Quakers, atheists, Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules or codes of behavior in musical circles: be polite, and play well.

                                    Like I said, although it's a sin to judge, one can't help but observe. And what I've observed is that my musician, non-Orthodox friends, tend to be more accepting, more communicative, more committed to looking at their own faults, more open to new acquaintances -- and, in a word, at least more OPEN to the possibility of love -- than most of my Orthodox acquaintances.

                                    So in answer to your question, I'd say that we have ourselves to become more willing to look at our own faults, more open to new relationships, more willing to listen than to form opinions. That would be a good start.

                                    Orthodox people CERTAINLY don't have the monopoly on the virtues. In my observation, most of the people I know who are most actively cultivating the virtues (e.g., humility, honesty, kindness, compassion, and above all, a strict attention to one's own faults), are NOT Orthodox.

                                    We have nothing to say about the current culture, at least until the old calendar/traditiona list hierarchs can put aside their pride and self-interest and really start some reconciliation happening.

                                    Meanwhile, I'll go to church and worship God in my own way, because that's where the truth is. I'll spend time with my heterodox friends, because they're just a whole lot nicer and more level-headed.

                                    I DARE you to share what I've written. And one more thing: this "time to circle the wagons" stuff is a crock of nonsense. We're supposed to blow the doors off -- not lock them.

                                    With respect, in Christ,

                                    Eugene

                                    >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@ yahoo.ca>
                                    >Date: 2007/07/19 Thu PM 12:14:19 CDT
                                    >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@ yahoogroups. com>
                                    >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

                                    >
                                    > SECULAR IDOLATRY According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States, said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
                                    >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers. North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols. North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle, requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth. Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.
                                    >
                                    >In Christ, +Fr. Panagiotes
                                    > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.



                                    Park yourself in front of a world of choices in alternative vehicles.
                                    Visit the Yahoo! Auto Green Center.

                                  • Demetrios Kouros
                                    I would like to assert, without any opinion, but just as endification to the links between what people observe and and how it may affect them, in regards to
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Jul 20 7:34 PM
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                                      I would like to assert, without any opinion, but just as endification to the links between what people observe and and how it may affect them, in regards to SECULAR IDOLATRYHere is a classic example....
                                       
                                      ALBERT BANDURA
                                       
                                      "Observational learning, or modeling

                                      Of the hundreds of studies Bandura was responsible for, one group stands out above the others -- the bobo doll studies.  He made of film of one of his students, a young woman, essentially beating up a bobo doll.  In case you don’t know, a bobo doll is an inflatable, egg-shape balloon creature with a weight in the bottom that makes it bob back up when you knock him down.  Nowadays, it might have Darth Vader painted on it, but back then it was simply “Bobo” the clown.

                                      The woman punched the clown, shouting “sockeroo!”  She kicked it, sat on it, hit with a little hammer, and so on, shouting various aggressive phrases.  Bandura showed his film to groups of kindergartners who, as you might predict, liked it a lot.  They then were let out to play.  In the play room, of course, were several observers with pens and clipboards in hand, a brand new bobo doll, and a few little hammers.

                                      And you might predict as well what the observers recorded:  A lot of little kids beating the daylights out of the bobo doll.  They punched it and shouted “sockeroo,” kicked it, sat on it, hit it with the little hammers, and so on.  In other words, they imitated the young lady in the film, and quite precisely at that.

                                      This might seem like a real nothing of an experiment at first, but consider:  These children changed their behavior without first being rewarded for approximations to that behavior!  And while that may not seem extraordinary to the average parent, teacher, or casual observer of children, it didn’t fit so well with standard behavioristic learning theory.  He called the phenomenon observational learning or modeling, and his theory is usually called social learning theory.

                                      Bandura did a large number of variations on the study:  The model was rewarded or punished in a variety of ways, the kids were rewarded for their imitations, the model was changed to be less attractive or less prestigious, and so on.  Responding to criticism that bobo dolls were supposed to be hit, he even did a film of the young woman beating up a live clown.  When the children went into the other room, what should they find there but -- the live clown!  They proceeded to punch him, kick him, hit him with little hammers, and so on. "(Dr. George Boeree, 1998)

                                      Dr. C. George Boeree. (1998, 2006). Personality Theories. In ALBERT BANDURA 1925 - present. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/bandura.html

                                      For a video of Bandura and this theory go to http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2953790276071699877

                                      Demetrios James Kouros.

                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 1:14 PM
                                      Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

                                      SECULAR IDOLATRY
                                      According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
                                      Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
                                      North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.
                                      North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                                      Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.


                                      In Christ,
                                      +Fr. Panagiotes


                                      Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.

                                    • patricia patty
                                      Hello Father, As someone who is not a parent yet, I have still often thought of the difficulties and influences that this society provides for our youth. I
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Jul 21 5:33 AM
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                                        Hello Father,

                                        As someone who is not a parent yet, I have still often thought of the
                                        difficulties and influences that this society provides for our youth.
                                        I think every opportunity should be taken by the parents, to speak to
                                        children about God's teachings and how our children can be good examples of
                                        these teachings. I also feel that children should be involved in programs
                                        that are not limited to sports, dance, etc. Every now and then children
                                        should participate in volunteer programs that help other children in their
                                        age groups, suffering from abuse, illness, poverty, etc. It usually only
                                        requires spending some time playing with these other kids. Instead of
                                        always hearing how "fortunate" our children are to have their health, a
                                        loving family and some sort of financial comfort, they can understand for
                                        themselves how truly blessed they really are. I think these experiences
                                        will be humbling to our youth, with a better understanding that people
                                        should not worship or idolize other people. Doing God's work will
                                        strengthen their faith, teach them humility and understanding so that they
                                        have the tools to live in this world and deal with all it has to "offer".

                                        In Christ,
                                        Panayiota


                                        >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...>
                                        >Reply-To: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com
                                        >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com>
                                        >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
                                        >Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 10:14:19 -0700 (PDT)
                                        >
                                        > SECULAR IDOLATRY
                                        > According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of
                                        >teenage girls in the United States, said their primary career goal was
                                        >"celebrity assistant". They were asked to choose between celebrity
                                        >assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company,
                                        >U. S. Senator, etc.
                                        >
                                        >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the
                                        >young. Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other
                                        >national �Idol� programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
                                        > North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole,
                                        >has become egocentric. Even though it sees itself as a �secular society�,
                                        >in essence it is a �religious society� that worships the individual. The
                                        >successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol. This idol, in a
                                        >truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time. The gossip
                                        >columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals
                                        >and downfall of these idols.
                                        > North American educators have been embracing self-esteem-building
                                        >programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle,
                                        >requires one child a day to be given a badge that says �I'm great�. The
                                        >other children then take turns praising the �great� child and eventually,
                                        >these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity.
                                        >Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about
                                        >themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the
                                        >mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                                        > Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world? How
                                        >do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the
                                        >narcissistic loony water that is all around us? Please let us hear from
                                        >clergy and parents. Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >In Christ,
                                        >+Fr. Panagiotes
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >---------------------------------
                                        >Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's
                                        >on, when.

                                        _________________________________________________________________
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                                      • Irene Borody
                                        Hello Eugene, Observation through the eye can too lead one into sin, not just the accusing thought. In essence you misunderstand the ecuminist movement which
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Jul 21 9:39 AM
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                                          Hello Eugene,

                                          Observation through the eye can too lead one into sin, not just the accusing
                                          thought.

                                          In essence you misunderstand the ecuminist movement which surrounds our
                                          everyday actions, speech, and thought. Your non-Orthodox friends support
                                          that which is the cause of destruction of the Orthodox faith. Their 'be
                                          polite' or 'open' or neutral perspective and responsiveness to others, has
                                          led them so far astray from knowing the truth in their own hearts. Their
                                          "love" as you call it is only a surface love which can be easily washed
                                          away. The love which is amongst all mankind but is reflected through the
                                          Orthodox as examples, is much more deep and most importantly can not be
                                          easily led astray. You ask your friends, how many different idealistic
                                          faiths have they experimented with during the course of their "relaxed" and
                                          "open" life. You will hear them say "Oh I love God, he is here for me...this
                                          church didnt work for me, yoga didnt feel right, but buda is...well even
                                          that was only cool for awhile." They are like fine china, once chipped they
                                          are exposed to other cracks. We faithful Orthodox are not so easily
                                          manipulated because through holy baptism God has instilled in us the Fear of
                                          God. And what does fear mean? No it does not mean that we shake at the
                                          thought of Him, but that we love Him so much that we dare not estray
                                          ourselves from His love for mankind. We are armed with the invisible trophy.
                                          Not even the devil can destroy that.
                                          Correct me if I am wrong but it appears that you have allowed yourself to do
                                          the same. Blending with others exposes you to the elements which suck all
                                          others into their own perfect world with their own 'individual' God, which
                                          sometimes is themselves. You say you pray to God in your own way, thus you
                                          have pulled yourself away from the foundational pillars of the church. You
                                          might as well say that you pray with the demonitc music blaring.
                                          Be careful dear of what you day about our Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
                                          they have been ordained by our Saviour to be where they are today. The
                                          Bishop is the Christ on Earth. His "pride" as you call it is only your own
                                          pride pinching you in the heart...you who said it is a sin to judge another
                                          person's heart...well your off to a great start. May God protect you from
                                          ever thinking that again.
                                          Oh and by the way, why do the Orthodox have to reconciliate with everyone
                                          else. We have not done anything wrong. God was the one who instructed us to
                                          do what we are doing today. Everyone else has been lead astray and should be
                                          asking our Saviour for forgiveness and direction back to the true faith. We
                                          can pray for them and ask for their foregiveness...which we have and will
                                          always have to do until the end of time. Thay my brother is the Orthodox way
                                          of life.
                                          Be couragous, when you hear of something that you have been taught is wrong,
                                          dont just let it slide and say "Oh they are entitled to their own opinion."
                                          If it be God's will the holy spirit will bless you with words which will
                                          come out of your month and proclaim faith, truth, love for God. Some of us
                                          have been granted the strenght by God to voice our holy faith, well others
                                          we are silent. It is better for us to be silent than to communicate to
                                          others that food which nurishes ecumisum. Thus you have kept your peace and
                                          have not declared individualism, which furthers your soul from the our
                                          Saviour.

                                          May God grant you strenght and endurance as an Orthodox Christian to
                                          enlighten those around you in a God befitting manner, with strenght, peace,
                                          and love.

                                          Irene


                                          >From: "frdavidbelden" <frdavidbelden@...>
                                          >Reply-To: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com
                                          >To: OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com
                                          >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Re: Share your thoughts with us
                                          >Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 16:19:40 -0000
                                          >
                                          >--- In OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com, <edurkee@...> wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > > Dear Father, Bless!
                                          > >
                                          > > It's a sin to judge another person's heart. Yet, at times one
                                          >can't help but notice behaviors, and have observations on them.
                                          > >
                                          > > My friends are a mix of Orthodox (very few), Quakers, atheists,
                                          >Baptists, Hindus, etc. Mostly musicians. There are only two rules
                                          >or codes of behavior in musical circles: be polite, and play well.
                                          > >
                                          > > Like I said, although it's a sin to judge, one can't help but
                                          >observe. And what I've observed is that my musician, non-Orthodox
                                          >friends, tend to be more accepting, more communicative, more
                                          >committed to looking at their own faults, more open to new
                                          >acquaintances -- and, in a word, at least more OPEN to the
                                          >possibility of love -- than most of my Orthodox acquaintances.
                                          > >
                                          > > So in answer to your question, I'd say that we have ourselves to
                                          >become more willing to look at our own faults, more open to new
                                          >relationships, more willing to listen than to form opinions. That
                                          >would be a good start.
                                          > >
                                          > > Orthodox people CERTAINLY don't have the monopoly on the virtues.
                                          >In my observation, most of the people I know who are most actively
                                          >cultivating the virtues (e.g., humility, honesty, kindness,
                                          >compassion, and above all, a strict attention to one's own faults),
                                          >are NOT Orthodox.
                                          > >
                                          > > We have nothing to say about the current culture, at least until
                                          >the old calendar/traditionalist hierarchs can put aside their pride
                                          >and self-interest and really start some reconciliation happening.
                                          > >
                                          > > Meanwhile, I'll go to church and worship God in my own way,
                                          >because that's where the truth is. I'll spend time with my
                                          >heterodox friends, because they're just a whole lot nicer and more
                                          >level-headed.
                                          > >
                                          > > I DARE you to share what I've written. And one more thing:
                                          >this "time to circle the wagons" stuff is a crock of nonsense.
                                          >We're supposed to blow the doors off -- not lock them.
                                          > >
                                          > > With respect, in Christ,
                                          > >
                                          > > Eugene
                                          > >
                                          > > >From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" <frpanagiotes@...>
                                          > > >Date: 2007/07/19 Thu PM 12:14:19 CDT
                                          > > >To: Orthodox Info Egroup <OrthodoxInfo@yahoogroups.com>
                                          > > >Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us
                                          > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > SECULAR IDOLATRY According to a new book, Fame Junkies by
                                          >Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States,
                                          >said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".���� They
                                          >were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of
                                          >Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator,
                                          >etc.����
                                          > > >Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined
                                          >to the young.���� Television programs such as American idol,
                                          >Canadian and other national ���"Idol���" programs have a large
                                          >proportion of adult viewers. North American society, and to a
                                          >lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.���� Even
                                          >though it sees itself as a ���"secular society���", in essence it is
                                          >a ���"religious society���" that worships the individual.���� The
                                          >successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.���� This
                                          >idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same
                                          >time.���� The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity
                                          >by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols. North
                                          >American educators have been embracing self-esteem-building programs
                                          >since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle,
                                          >requires one child a day to be given a badge that says ���"I'm
                                          >great���". The other children then take turns praising the
                                          >���"great���" child and eventually, these compliments are written up
                                          >and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were
                                          >intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many
                                          >educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and
                                          >fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                                          >Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?����
                                          >How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the
                                          >narcissistic loony water that is all around us?���� Please let us
                                          >hear from clergy and parents.���� Share with us what we can do, as
                                          >Orthodox Christians.
                                          > > >
                                          > > >In Christ, +Fr. Panagiotes
                                          > > > Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge
                                          >to see what's on, when.
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >I couldn't agree more with Fr. Deacon Eugene. I just hope that when
                                          >he says: "I'll go to church and worship God in my own way" that he
                                          >means the True Orthodox way. I'm surprised that Fr. Eugene
                                          >would 'challenge' Fr. Panagiotes to print his letter - he can't know
                                          >Fr Panagiotes as well as I do, having worked closely with him for 22
                                          >years!
                                          >
                                          >Fr.Eugene is also right when he says: "We have nothing to say about
                                          >the current culture until the old calendarist/traditional hierarchs
                                          >can put aside their pride and self interest and really start some
                                          >reconciliation happening" ... especially in Seattle, where the
                                          >lawful Hierarch was pushed out, and the former cathedral parish is
                                          >now under the omophor of another Hierarch a continent away!
                                          >
                                          >Right on, Fr. Eugene! Not one clergyman of the former ROCA has come
                                          >to us after the recent collapse of that Church, and I am convinced
                                          >it is because of the Seattle debacle. A former member of our Church
                                          >recently asked me to meet with him, and told me he would come back
                                          >except for the reasons cited above.
                                          >
                                          >Fr. David +
                                          >

                                          _________________________________________________________________
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                                        • Charlotte
                                          Hi Father, Evlogeite! Thanks for the email and for bringing to our attention this important issue. I ve really enjoyed trying to organize some of my thoughts
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Jul 21 12:21 PM
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                                            Hi Father, Evlogeite!

                                             

                                            Thanks for the email and for bringing to our attention this important issue. I’ve really enjoyed trying to organize some of my thoughts on the subject. Not sure you should post this (so please feel free not to), but since you asked us to share, here goes, hope it makes sense (and sorry it’s so long!)…

                                             

                                            We'd probably all agree that idol worship and narcissism have plagued man since the fall. But why are they such prevalent evils today and so widely accepted as 'normal'? At the risk of being too obvious or of over simplifying the issue, I would say the answer is that these evils (along with many others such as greed, gluttony, lust, immodesty and hatred) are so prevalent and accepted today because secular society lacks a 'higher goal’.

                                             

                                            From what I can tell, most of us (Orthodox and secular alike) are driven to succeed (to varying degrees and according to one’s own understanding of success) and taught to value the importance of this from a young age. Most of us believe that achieving success will ultimately bring us happiness. And isn't happiness what we all really want? If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t the pursuit of happiness an underlying motivation for most of our actions? And when pursuing happiness in worldly pleasures no longer satisfies us, it can even be a cause for many of us to seek God. And so, it would appear that the problem is not in desiring success and happiness but rather in how we go about trying to achieve it.

                                             

                                            We can all see that the world teaches its children that success (and therefore happiness) is found primarily in worldly accomplishment (whatever that may be to any given person at any given time). Whereas the Holy Orthodox Church has always taught its children that true 'success', and thus true 'happiness', is achieved only through true knowledge of God, which can only be acquired through an Orthodox life, which (as the holy fathers teach us) consists of acquiring the Holy Spirit (through participation in the church and practicing the virtues).

                                             

                                            Keeping this and “Fame Junkies” in mind, I don’t see much difference between, say, striving to be president (of anything) and striving to be a celebrity, since the motives behind both goals can be the same and both paths can be equally self-serving and harmful to the soul (if one allows them too be) or a means for doing good. (For the Christian, any path can be used for our souls’ benefit and salvation can be attained wherever we are.) I don’t think it should be surprising to us when girls (and boys and men and woman) want to be close to famous people and desire to be famous themselves. Celebrities express many of the same values held by the average North American and many people look to them as role models, wishing to emulate their lives (the way the Orthodox look to the saints). They’re beautiful, rich, and successful -- and seemingly happy as a direct result. For many, fame (on any level) and all that comes with it (fortune, respect, admiration and love) is synonymous with success, and whether it's accomplished through TV, movies, music, business, politics, sports, art, or even seemingly higher goals like humanism, philanthropy, and environmentalism, doesn't seem to matter. Ultimately, it all leads in the same direction and works toward the same end, namely, to attempt to satisfy our hunger for happiness.

                                             

                                            That’s not to say that we as Orthodox Christians can't or shouldn't have worldly goals and accomplishments, or that we shouldn’t participate in worldly affairs. And I think it's normal and healthy to respect, admire and recognize people for their talents, abilities, and accomplishments. We can inspire and teach each other through this and it's humbling to learn to ‘give credit where credit is due’. But what does it mean to ‘be in the world and not of it’? I don’t think our faith requires that we all physically withdraw to the caves (as the ascetics). But can’t we all spiritually withdraw to the ‘caves’ of our hearts and minds? The church, instead of telling us what we may or may not do, wisely teaches us that no matter what our circumstances, we need to be innocent (sinless and perfect) yet cunning (in finding ways to attain the Holy Spirit and thus salvation), see (sin for what it is) without seeing (without judging the world) and learn to pray without ceasing (the Jesus prayer). And if 'all is permitted' for the Christian (since we are not legalists) then it must be the responsibility of each of us to learn to recognize the voice of conscience in this (and every situation we face), and to not allow our love for others to become idolatry or our desire for success to become narcissism.

                                             

                                            Although we may, from time to time or quite frequently, be caught in this snare of the enemy (the snare of self-love which is pride), and may be sorely lacking in clear Orthodox perspective in one way or another (according to our measure of faith) sometimes not even noticing when we are guilty of idolatry, these spiritual illnesses (and all others) can (according to our Holy Fathers) be recognized and treated (with the help of our spiritual 'physicians'). And in general, I don't think it has to be terribly difficult or too much of a struggle for Christians to see for themselves and to teach their children about the harmfulness to the soul of the 'secular way' and how to avoid this 'broad path'. There cannot be a formula, though, or any step by step instructions for everyone to follow which will guarantee success, since we each have to find our own way. But our merciful Lord, out of His love for mankind, has already done the hard work for us, has He not? Not only has He provided the way for our salvation, He has given us everything we need for success in our struggle (against sin), even in these times. He has sent us the Comforter, given us the holy sacraments, and countless examples of holy lives in the saints. He’s even shown us (in part) the reward that awaits the faithful who endure to the end.

                                             

                                            And no doubt, we need constantly to remind ourselves and our children that there is something far greater to be had in our holy faith (in the church) than what the world offers. We need to prepare our kids (by preparing ourselves) to be self-denying (as our Saviour demonstrated) rather than self-loving. And we ourselves can be assured and promise our children that if we determine to strive courageously in that holy struggle (not necessarily exclusively, but ‘first and above all else’) we won’t be disappointed. That is a promise the world cannot make...

                                             

                                            Perhaps the real difficulty for Orthodox Christians today lies in being so fearful; fearful of the world, sin and the enemy; fearful that we and our children won't find that 'true success'. Forgetting that our Saviour came for the sick (not the healthy) we tend to ‘blame’ our fallen world for our own spiritual sickness, when in reality, there are no excuses for any of us, and least of all for us Christians. There are many temptations facing all of us all the time but we don’t have to be afraid. (Our Lord who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Our Lord is Love and love casts out fear). Yes, it's true, we will probably fall and probably have to watch our children fall. Our children may not always heed our warnings nor believe us when we tell them that the world's promise of happiness through worldly success is empty and fleeting at best. We cannot force our children to desire salvation over worldly pleasures. And although we can influence them to make good decisions, they must come to a place where they decide for themselves to turn from sin, seek salvation and consciously struggle for it, and no amount of sheltering them from the world will make that happen. But just as babies learn to walk after falling many times, so can we and our children learn to walk in the faith, if we desire, despite the many evils in us and around us. If we pray, and even if our children suffer a great fall, God will not let them fall away completely or forever, even if we ourselves are but a poor example for them and have not yet reached that 'higher goal’.

                                             

                                            With love,

                                            Charlotte

                                             

                                            ----- Original Message -----
                                            Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 11:14 AM
                                            Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

                                            SECULAR IDOLATRY
                                            According to a new book, Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern, 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States , said their primary career goal was "celebrity assistant".  They were asked to choose between celebrity assistant, President of Harvard University, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, U. S. Senator, etc. 
                                            Infatuation with fame and celebrities, however, is not confined to the young.  Television programs such as American idol, Canadian and other national “Idol” programs have a large proportion of adult viewers.
                                            North American society, and to a lesser degree, the world as a whole, has become egocentric.  Even though it sees itself as a “secular society”, in essence it is a “religious society” that worships the individual.  The successful individual becomes a celebrity and an idol.  This idol, in a truly demonic manner, is worshiped and hated at the same time.  The gossip columns, tabloids and blogs rise in popularity by focusing on the scandals and downfall of these idols.
                                            North American educators have been embracing self-esteem- building programs since the early 1970s. One popular program, called Magic Circle , requires one child a day to be given a badge that says “I'm great”. The other children then take turns praising the “great” child and eventually, these compliments are written up and given to the child for posterity. Programs like this were intended to make young people feel better about themselves, but many educators now concede that they may have overshot the mark and fostered a culture of narcissism among North American youth.
                                            Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?  How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the narcissistic loony water that is all around us?  Please let us hear from clergy and parents.  Share with us what we can do, as Orthodox Christians.


                                            In Christ,
                                            +Fr. Panagiotes


                                            Sick sense of humor? Visit Yahoo! TV's Comedy with an Edge to see what's on, when.

                                          • Mary Bockman Lytle
                                            Holy Father, Bless! Always suspicious of such sensational statements as 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States said their primary career goal was
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Jul 21 3:02 PM
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                                              Holy Father, Bless!

                                              Always suspicious of such sensational statements as "43.4 percent of
                                              teenage girls in the United States said their primary career goal
                                              was 'celebrity assistant'", especially when someone is trying to sell
                                              a book, I thought I'd check into Halpern's survey, which was the
                                              basis for his FAME JUNKIES. Halpern's description of the survey
                                              follows below and is worth reading.

                                              Jesus told His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him
                                              deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For
                                              whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose
                                              his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man
                                              advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast
                                              away?" (Luke 9:23-25).

                                              When someone believes that created things are capable of taking care
                                              of his life, as many of the respondents of Halpern's survey
                                              apparently do, greed -- not God -- becomes the driving value in his
                                              life. Idolatrous greed -- devotion to oneself, striving to acquire
                                              reputation, status, social contacts, power, wealth, posessions, and
                                              fame -- is the age-old scourge of fallen man.

                                              "Where do we as Orthodox Christians fit in this idolatrous world?" We
                                              don't.

                                              "How do we protect ourselves and our children from drinking from the
                                              narcissistic loony water that is all around us?" We are examples to
                                              our children of a God-centered life. We teach them not only by our
                                              words, but by our deeds, that our labors are devoted to God's glory,
                                              not our own; that the fruits of our labors are the outpouring of
                                              God's blessings, not our own achievement. They will learn by our
                                              example that God -- not reputation or status or social contacts or
                                              power or wealth or posessions or fame -- is the Source of everything
                                              we need in this world and the next.

                                              In the love of our Saviour,
                                              Mary Beth Lytle

                                              ___________________


                                              THE FAME SURVEY . . .

                                              As part of my research for Fame Junkies, I teamed up with several
                                              academics and conducted a survey of some 650 teenagers in the
                                              Rochester, New York, area. The survey yielded some interesting and
                                              disturbing findings on how teens think about fame. Some highlights
                                              are included below. Detailed information on how exactly this survey
                                              was administered is included at the bottom of this page.

                                              OVERVIEW:
                                              [1] I'd rather be famous than smart . . .
                                              [2] Jennifer Lopez is more popular than Jesus . . .
                                              [3] Forget being president of Harvard – Make me a celebrity personal
                                              assistant . . .
                                              [4] Black kids are more desperate for fame . . .
                                              [5] Teens who watch TV and read "glam mags" want and expect fame the
                                              most . . .
                                              [6] Heavy TV-watchers are especially likely to believe fame will
                                              improve their lives . . .
                                              [7] Lonely and depressed kids hope that fame will solve their
                                              problems . . .
                                              [8] Lonely kids are also more likely to follow the lives of
                                              celebrities . . .
                                              [9] Lonely kids prefer 50 Cent and Paris Hilton to Jesus . . .
                                              [10] Kids believe that celebrities deserve their fame . . .

                                              [1] I'd rather be Famous than Smart . . .
                                              In one of the questions in the survey, teens were given the option
                                              of "pressing a magic button" and becoming stronger, smarter, famous,
                                              or more beautiful. As it turns out, boys in the survey chose fame
                                              almost as often as they chose intelligence, and girls chose it more
                                              often.

                                              [2] Jennifer Lopez vs. Jesus . . .
                                              As part of the survey, students were asked to choose which famous
                                              person they would most like to have dinner with. There were a range
                                              of options including "none of the above." Among the girls who opted
                                              for the dinner, the least popular candidates by far were President
                                              Bush (2.7%) and Albert Einstein (3.7%). Far ahead of them were Paris
                                              Hilton and 50 Cent (both at 15.8%), who tied for third place. Second
                                              place went to Jesus Christ (16.8%) and the winner was Jennifer Lopez
                                              (17.4%).

                                              [3] Forget being President of Harvard – Make me a Celebrity Personal
                                              Assistant . . .
                                              Another question asked: "When you grow up, which of the following
                                              jobs would you most like to have?" There were five options to chose
                                              from and, among girls, the results were as follows: 9.5% chose "the
                                              chief of a major company like General Motors"; 9.8% chose "a Navy
                                              Seal"; 13.6% chose "a United States Senator"; 23.7% chose "the
                                              president of a great university like Harvard or Yale"; and 43.4%
                                              chose "the personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star."
                                              It's worth noting: Research psychologists, like Robert Cialdini at
                                              Arizona State University, have long suspected that people with low-
                                              self esteem are the ones most likely to "bask in the reflected glory"
                                              of others. This appears to be true here. For example, among girls who
                                              indicated that they received bad grades in school (i.e., C's or
                                              below), the percentage who opted to become assistants rose to 67%.
                                              What's more, among both boys and girls who got bad grades – and who
                                              described themselves as being unpopular at school – the percentage
                                              who opted to become assistants rose further to 80%.

                                              [4] Black Kids Are More Desperate for Fame . . .
                                              African American kids were especially keen on becoming famous. When
                                              asked whether they would rather become famous, smarter, stronger, or
                                              more beautiful, 42% of them opted for fame whereas only 21% of whites
                                              did so. What's more, almost 44% of African Americans said that their
                                              families would love them more if they became famous, while only 27%
                                              of white students said so.
                                              It's Worth Noting: Of course, there are many ways to explain
                                              this data, but one factor to be considered is that African American
                                              kids often have especially hard childhoods. According to a 2005
                                              article in the New York Times, two-thirds of black children are born
                                              out of wedlock and nearly half of those children who live in single-
                                              parent households are poor. All of this seems to suggest that
                                              hardship may be driving many African American kids to embrace fame as
                                              a remedy to their woes.

                                              [5] Teens who watch TV and read "glam mags" want and expect fame the
                                              most . . .
                                              According to the study, teenagers who regularly watch certain
                                              celebrity-focused TV shows – namely Entertainment Tonight, Access
                                              Hollywood, and Insider – are more likely to believe that they
                                              themselves will someday become famous. The same trend appears to be
                                              true for those teenagers who read celebrity-focused magazines like US
                                              Weekly, Star, People, Teen People, YM and J-14. There is also a
                                              strong correlation between how many hours of television that
                                              teenagers watch in general and how badly they want to become famous.
                                              One of the questions on the survey asked: "If you could push a magic
                                              button that would change your life in one way, which of the following
                                              would you pick?" The options were (a) becoming smarter, (b) becoming
                                              much bigger or stronger, (c) becoming famous, (d) becoming more
                                              beautiful, and (e) my life doesn't need any changing. Among those
                                              teens who watched one hour of television a day or less, only 15% of
                                              the boys and 17% of the girls opted for fame. But among those teens
                                              who watched five hours or more a day – and a good number of them did –
                                              29% of the boys and 37% of the girls opted for fame.
                                              It's worth noting: Admittedly, it's unclear whether these TV shows
                                              are to blame, or whether the kids are opting to watch these shows
                                              because they already believe that they're destined for fame. There is
                                              evidence, however, that some TV shows are to blame. One question in
                                              the study asks: When you watch TV shows or read magazine articles
                                              about the lives of celebrities, how do they make you feel? A number
                                              of teens commented that such stories made them feel like they could
                                              and would become famous. One wrote: "When I watch TV shows or read
                                              magazine articles about the lives of celebrities, this makes me feel
                                              like one day I will probably be in their shoes." Another wrote: "They
                                              make me feel like one day I'll be there on the magazine, talking or
                                              telling people about my life."

                                              [6] Heavy TV-watchers are especially likely to believe that fame will
                                              improve their lives . . .
                                              Findings from the survey also suggest that teenagers who watch
                                              television frequently are more likely to believe that fame will
                                              improve their lives. For example, teens who watch five hours or more
                                              of television a day are significantly more likely than those who
                                              watch just an hour or less to agree with the statement, "Becoming a
                                              celebrity [will] make you happier." Teens who watch five hours of
                                              television or more a day are also twice as likely as those who watch
                                              an hour or less to believe that their family will love them more if
                                              they become a celebrity.

                                              [7] Lonely and depressed kids hope that fame will solve their
                                              problems . . .
                                              According to the Rochester survey, there is some compelling evidence
                                              that children who feel lonely, depressed, and under-appreciated are
                                              more likely to seek fame in the hopes that this will make them
                                              happier or better liked. For example, teens who described themselves
                                              as often or always "depressed" were more likely than others to
                                              believe that becoming a celebrity would make them happier. Teenagers
                                              who described themselves as feeling "lonely" were also more likely to
                                              believe that fame would make a positive impact on their lives –
                                              though the results were slightly different for boys and girls. Lonely
                                              boys were more likely to reply that fame would simply make
                                              them "happy," whereas lonely girls were more likely to answer that
                                              fame would make them better liked by kids at school.
                                              Ultimately, some of the most compelling evidence about the
                                              relationship between loneliness and the desire for fame comes from
                                              question #20 on the Rochester survey, which asked: "If you suddenly
                                              became a celebrity – like a movie star or a rock star – what would be
                                              the best thing about being famous?" The answer for a number of teens
                                              was simply companionship. "If I was to become famous, people would
                                              probably think I was sooo cool and they would all want to be my
                                              friend," wrote one participant. "A lot more people would notice me
                                              and my friends might want to be with me more," wrote another. "I
                                              would have a lot of friends and I would have a lot of really, really,
                                              really nice clothes," wrote a third.

                                              [8] Lonely kids are also more likely to follow the lives of
                                              celebrities . . .
                                              There is also evidence from the Rochester survey that lonely
                                              teenagers are especially susceptible to forming para-social
                                              relationships with celebrities. Boys who described themselves as
                                              lonely were almost twice as likely as those who said they weren't
                                              lonely to endorse the statement: "My favorite celebrity just helps me
                                              feel good and forget about all of my troubles." Meanwhile, girls who
                                              described themselves as lonely were almost three times as likely as
                                              those who said they weren't lonely to endorse that statement.

                                              [9] Lonely kids preferred 50 Cent and Paris Hilton to Jesus . . .
                                              Another interesting phenomenon emerged in a question that asked teens
                                              whom they would most like to meet for dinner: Jesus Christ, Albert
                                              Einstein, Shaquille O'Neil, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent, Paris Hilton, or
                                              President Bush. For boys who said they were not lonely, the clear
                                              winner was Jesus Christ. For those who described themselves as
                                              lonely, however, Jesus finished at the back of the pack and 50 Cent
                                              was the clear winner. A similar trend exists for girls who feel
                                              underappreciated by their parents, friends, and teachers. These girls
                                              tended to favor having dinner with Paris Hilton, whereas those girls
                                              who felt appreciated were far more likely to opt for dinner with
                                              Jesus Christ. It's hard to know exactly what explains these results,
                                              but one interpretation would be that lonely and underappreciated
                                              teens are especially desperate to befriend the ultimate popular guy
                                              or girl.

                                              [10] Kids Believe that Celebrities Deserve their fame . . .
                                              In the Rochester survey, teenagers were asked to choose the most
                                              likely explanation of why certain celebrities were so successful.
                                              There were a number of options including luck, innate talent, hard
                                              work, and even the possibility that the entertainment industry simply
                                              decides to turn certain people into stars. Of these options, however,
                                              more teenagers chose "hard work" than all of the other options
                                              combined.

                                              Details on Exactly How this Survey Was Administered . . .

                                              I. The Basic Information
                                              Jake Halpern and Professor Carol M. Liebler of Syracuse University
                                              wrote a survey containing 32 questions, most of which were related to
                                              fame and pop culture. Copies of this survey were distributed to a
                                              total of 653 students at three different schools in and around
                                              Rochester, New York. The students were 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th
                                              graders. Meredith Hight, a graduate student at Syracuse's Newhouse
                                              School of Public Communications, input this data into an SPSS
                                              database. Summary responses were tabulated by Professor Elaine Allen
                                              at Babson College. Professor Grant segmented the results by
                                              demographic information and by several key variables including
                                              loneliness and amount of television viewing among others. Analyses
                                              were examined using chi-squared statistics, with results having a p-
                                              value less than 0.05 determined to be statistically significant.
                                              (Statistical Significance implies that there is a relationship
                                              between the categories that were being compared.) For good measure,
                                              these results were then reviewed and confirmed by Professor Richard
                                              McGowan at Boston College. In text below, the details and methodology
                                              of this study are explained.

                                              II. Why Rochester, New York?
                                              In 2004, Josh Herman – who works for a company called Acxiom –
                                              authored his "Mirror on America" study, in which he ranked those
                                              cities whose consumer demographics most closely reflect that of the
                                              U.S. as a whole. Herman did this by using a system called Personicx,
                                              which analyzes demographic information such as age, marital status,
                                              home ownership, number of children, estimated income, net worth
                                              and "urbanicity" (i.e., whether you live in the city, suburbs, or
                                              countryside). Using this method, Herman compiled a list of those 150
                                              metropolitan areas whose demographics are the best "mirrors" of
                                              America as a whole. In September of 2004, Rochester, New York, ranked
                                              second on the list.
                                              For the most part, Personicx is used by marketers who want to better
                                              understand the "consumer landscape" of a given city. Admittedly, for
                                              purposes of this survey, the Acxiom study it is not a perfectly ideal
                                              tool for measuring the comprehensive demographics of American cities –
                                              in the way that the U.S. Census Bureau does, for example – because
                                              it does not look at certain factors like race, national origin, or
                                              religion. Nonetheless, it does provide a strong indication of which
                                              cities are most quintessentially American, and Rochester is at the
                                              top of the list.

                                              III. Information on the Three Schools in Rochester, N.Y.
                                              Three different schools participated in this study, including one in
                                              the city of Rochester and two in the suburbs. Some basic information
                                              on each of these schools is provided below:

                                              1. Monroe High School (Rochester School District): There are 1,192
                                              students at this school. Surveys were given to 8th graders during
                                              class time. This school has a high percentage of poor and minority
                                              students. The total non-white population at Monroe High School is
                                              88.1%. The poverty rate at the school is 89.1%, which is defined by
                                              the percentage of students who are eligible for a free or reduced-
                                              price lunch.
                                              2. Twelve Corners Middle School (Brighton School District): There are
                                              865 students at this school. It is situated in Brighton, which is a
                                              suburb of Rochester. The surveys were given to 6-8th graders during
                                              class time in health and "home and career" classes. At this school,
                                              the demographics are as follows: 75.8% Caucasian/White, 10.4% Asian,
                                              6.8% Black/African-American, and 3.1% Latino.
                                              3. Willink Middle School (Webster School District): There are 1,100
                                              students at this school. It is situated in Webster, which is a suburb
                                              of Rochester. The surveys were given to 6-8th graders at the end of
                                              classes and during study halls. At this school, the demographics are
                                              as follows: 93.3% Caucasian/White, 6.6% Hispanic, 3.1% African
                                              American, 1.8% Asian.

                                              IV. Demographic Information on the Participants
                                              Of the 653 students who participated in the study, their demographic
                                              information is as follows:

                                              Gender: There were 312 Males, 310 Females, and 31 subjects who did
                                              not indicate their gender.
                                              Grade: There were 2 fifth graders, 76 sixth graders, 165 seventh
                                              graders, and 377 eighth graders.
                                              Race: There were 329 whites/Caucasians, 95 mixed, 62 black/African-
                                              American, 58 Hispanic/Latino, and 14 Native American.
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