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Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Orthodox Christianity in the US has always been something of a ghettoized affair, relegated to a few secluded ethnic groups.  Now, that it is emerging from the confines of racial groups (don't make the mistake of confusing Anglos and Greeks with that silly term 'white'... they are apples and oranges), Orthodoxy is emerging as a 'counter-cultural' phenomenon.

Orthodox Christianity is something which goes against the grain of American religion and politics.  It has no existing categories in which to fit, because those who hate American religion often find much less to reject in it than the name of Christ.  When it comes to politics, then there's a whole other level of confusion: Orthodoxy has thrived under Socialist and Capitalist systems.  It does not require a political system to cooperate with it in order to work, because it assumes Caesar will win and kill you anyway, so get about preparing to meet God.  

Genuine sobriety is also becoming a counter-cultural movement.  In the early days of AA, you went from the hard-drinking days of the 1930s through the 1970s, which merged seamlessly into the drug scene starting in the 1960s until now.

AA made its mark: we have a lot less public drunkenness, and the three martini lunch is less acceptable than it once was.  But, we are getting 'stoned' on lots of other stuff now: prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high, internet and porn addictions are skyrocketing, and people are eating themselves to death in record numbers.

Moderation, the hallmark of sobriety, is not only under attack, it is losing.  Our society rejects it as a value.  Instead, we are supposed to follow our desires... well, except when they become obviously evil.  Sure, we can have all the sex we want with whatever and whoever we want... just not with those kids.  Then we wonder why kids get molested, when we have rejected the idea of self-control and self-denial?

As a society, we can't even tell our kids to pull up their pants, and yet we are supposed to tell them about how to be adults?  Is anyone paying attention to this?

Self-control is no longer in vogue, and so Orthodox Christianity and sobriety represent 'rebellions.'  We are no longer teaching people to fit in with society, but actually to stand against it and withstand the full brunt of its animosity.  There is no 'blessed homeland' to return to: the sober man does not return to the warm embrace of his community for more than a second before it becomes obvious that he's not going to play ball like he used to.  He won't party with his friends, and he won't indulge in the angry indignation of the group as he had before... if he wants to stay sober.

The addict is the 'off scouring' of society as much as the Christian when either chooses God over society.

Both are counter-cultural movements, and both recovering addicts and Orthodox Christians would do well to remember this.

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