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RE: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

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  • J P
    Father Panagiotes and fellow Orthodox Christians, I m not sure of what value I can bring to this topic being as I m not a parent and still have so much to
    Message 1 of 26 , Jul 20, 2007
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      Father Panagiotes and fellow Orthodox Christians,

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

      humbly yours,

      Demetre




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

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



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    • Dr. Photini Dimock
      Wow! I couldn t agree more with your thoughts regarding this very important issue. Thank you so much! Dr Photini Dimock _____ From:
      Message 2 of 26 , Jul 20, 2007
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        Wow! I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts regarding this very important issue. Thank you so much!  Dr Photini Dimock

         


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

         

        Dear Fr. Panagiotes,

         

        Evlogiete!

         

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

         

        Regarding serving our Lord's will and our own:


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

         

        Regarding the world's enticements and appeals:

         

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

         

        Regarding the need for "otherworldliness" :

         

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

         

        Regarding the need for self denial first:

         

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

         

        Regarding self worship:

         

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

         

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

         

        With love in our merciful Saviour,

         

        Vassily, the poorest of examples

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

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

        Subject: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

         

        SECULAR IDOLATRY

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

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

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

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

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

         

        In Christ,

        +Fr. Panagiotes


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      • vasiliki barrowman
        Dear Fr. Pangiotes, God Bless you for writing this interesting but incendiary subject if that is the correct title for this subject. Maybe most or some of us
        Message 3 of 26 , Jul 20, 2007
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          Dear Fr. Pangiotes,
          God Bless you for writing this interesting but incendiary subject if that is the correct title for this subject. Maybe most or some of  us are living on a thin line but dont know what to do.
          Gone are the days of taking those goddess and god statues out of various hues, nationalities and whatnot and smashing them and then doing the cleansing rites as described in the Old Testament times. We have replaced them with tv shows like American Idol and other forms of Secular Idolatry.( And if one can turn on the radio talkshows on weekends you can hear a local talkshow host talk about the tactics being used on the tv show American Idol.) And as for our egocentrical ways it shows in the way we vote for the sons of men in various forms of city, state and federal government who promise us the moon and stars and then turn around and stick us with bait and switch. Its further side effects are felt in various places around the world. How long shall some or most of us drink the kool aid or the loony water is question we need to ponder? And the answer lies in the heart.

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


          In Christ,
          +Fr. Panagiotes

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


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

        • jerinicm
          Evlogeite, Fr. Panagiotes: It is charcacteristic of persons past a certain age--I number myself among them--to make pronouncements on the way that America is
          Message 4 of 26 , Jul 20, 2007
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            Evlogeite, Fr. Panagiotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

            In Christ,

            Margaret Jerinic

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

              Father Bless -

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

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

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

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

              Forgive my musings -the sinful psaltis -John

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

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

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

                Dear Father, Bless!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                With respect, in Christ,

                Eugene

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

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



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

              • Demetrios Kouros
                I would like to assert, without any opinion, but just as endification to the links between what people observe and and how it may affect them, in regards to
                Message 7 of 26 , Jul 20, 2007
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                  I would like to assert, without any opinion, but just as endification to the links between what people observe and and how it may affect them, in regards to SECULAR IDOLATRYHere is a classic example....
                   
                  ALBERT BANDURA
                   
                  "Observational learning, or modeling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Demetrios James Kouros.

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

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


                  In Christ,
                  +Fr. Panagiotes


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

                • patricia patty
                  Hello Father, As someone who is not a parent yet, I have still often thought of the difficulties and influences that this society provides for our youth. I
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jul 21, 2007
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                    Hello Father,

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

                    In Christ,
                    Panayiota


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

                    _________________________________________________________________
                    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 9 of 26 , Jul 21, 2007
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                      Hello Eugene,

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

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

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

                      Irene


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

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                    • Charlotte
                      Hi Father, Evlogeite! Thanks for the email and for bringing to our attention this important issue. I ve really enjoyed trying to organize some of my thoughts
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jul 21, 2007
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                        Hi Father, Evlogeite!

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

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

                         

                        With love,

                        Charlotte

                         

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

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


                        In Christ,
                        +Fr. Panagiotes


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

                      • Mary Bockman Lytle
                        Holy Father, Bless! Always suspicious of such sensational statements as 43.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States said their primary career goal was
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jul 21, 2007
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                          Holy Father, Bless!

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

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

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

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

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

                          In the love of our Saviour,
                          Mary Beth Lytle

                          ___________________


                          THE FAME SURVEY . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Details on Exactly How this Survey Was Administered . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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