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RE: [OrthodoxInfo] Share your thoughts with us

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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 1 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


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


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    • vasiliki barrowman
      Dear Fr. Pangiotes, God Bless you for writing this interesting but incendiary subject if that is the correct title for this subject. Maybe most or some of us
      Message 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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.



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            • 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 6 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 7 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.

                  _________________________________________________________________
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                • Irene Borody
                  Hello Eugene, Observation through the eye can too lead one into sin, not just the accusing thought. In essence you misunderstand the ecuminist movement which
                  Message 8 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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                    to win laptop loaded with Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Windows Live
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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 9 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 10 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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