Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 26 , Jul 20 11:24 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      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

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


      Shape Yahoo! in your own image. Join our Network Research Panel today!

    • 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 2 of 26 , Jul 20 11:33 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        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.
        >



        Get news delivered with the All new Yahoo! Mail. Enjoy RSS feeds right on your Mail page. Start today at http://mrd.mail.yahoo.com/try_beta?.intl=ca
      • 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 3 of 26 , Jul 20 1:34 PM
        • 0 Attachment

          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.


          No virus found in this incoming message.
          Checked by AVG Free Edition.
          Version: 7.5.446 / Virus Database: 269.10.5/899 - Release Date: 7/13/2007 3:41 PM

        • 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 4 of 26 , Jul 20 3:26 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 of 26 , Jul 20 5:12 PM
            • 0 Attachment
              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 6 of 26 , Jul 20 5:47 PM
              • 0 Attachment
                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 7 of 26 , Jul 20 6:00 PM
                • 0 Attachment
                  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 8 of 26 , Jul 20 7:34 PM
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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 9 of 26 , Jul 21 5:33 AM
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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.

                      _________________________________________________________________
                      See Fireworks On Live Image Search
                      http://search.live.com/images/results.aspx?q=Fireworks&mkt=en-ca&FORM=SERNEP
                    • 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 10 of 26 , Jul 21 9:39 AM
                      • 0 Attachment
                        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 +
                        >

                        _________________________________________________________________
                        Tell us your tech love story in the Summer Lovin Competition for your chance
                        to win laptop loaded with Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Windows Live
                        OneCare.
                        http://www.microsoft.com/canada/home/contests/summerlovin/default.aspx
                      • 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 11 of 26 , Jul 21 12:21 PM
                        • 0 Attachment

                          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 12 of 26 , Jul 21 3:02 PM
                          • 0 Attachment
                            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.
                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.