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Turkey Week

Posted by [] on November 22, 2007

It’s interesting to read questions in forums online of how one who is committed to the Nativity Fast, deals with family expectations of eating turkey on Thanksgiving. I never understand how one cannot realize that committing to Orthodoxy is inherently an act of dissent toward the culture – a break, indeed a repudiation of the assumptions of the culture. . . .

You can’t have your turkey and eat it too. If you’re going to keep the tradition, don’t ask how you’re supposed to fit in. Orthopraxis is a continual series of radical acts.

What did we expect? Following Christ is breaking with parents, breaking with patriotism, breaking with social pressure. Indeed, it may also be a means of making peace with these things. But it starts with the willingness to stand on our ground, not theirs. Being Orthodox is, in many ways, being an adult. It is a leaving of home, if anything – and, from there, perhaps a redeeming of home.

Turkey or not turkey is a small thing. Being steadfast, determining to live by the tradition of the Church – these are paramount.

Personally, I don’t feel any obligation to celebrate national holidays – I have a full calendar already – the Orthodox one – why would I need to fill it with other things? I don’t celebrate the 4th of July, because I don’t believe in Manifest Destiny. I don’t keep Thanksgiving, because it’s a feast in the middle of a fast, and besides, what do I care about Protestant dissidents finding a new haven? I’m more at home w. the neo-leftists on this – why do I want to celebrate our hundreds of years of plunder, pillaging, and extermination – something which we carried throughout our hemisphere in the 1980s and 1990s and have simply exported since 1999? Memorial Day? Veterans’ Day? I think you see where I’m going.

Orthodoxy (to quote the ‘zine Death to the World) accepts all cultures and embraces none – in other words, in order to rehabilitate or redeem culture, it is first necessary to abandon it. I don’t know what the words of Christ in the Gospels mean if not that.

If you’re a US Citizen, and feel obliged to keep Thanksgiving and other national holidays, keep them. If your bishop says you can eat turkey during the Fast, eat it. I’m not telling you what to do. I am saying that it isn’t Orthodox to try to make Orthodoxy fit something else. Orthodoxy is the fulness of all things. It is everything else that must be redeemed.

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4 Responses to “Turkey Week”

  1. visibilium said

    I’m a Turkey Day fan, and I not only eat turkey on the day, but also during the entire Thanksgiving weekend, if possible. I don’t need a Bishop’s dispensation (let Old Rome hand out those party favors), and I suspect that the parish priest does as I do.

    How could Orthodoxy accept all cultures, if it told me to ignore mine? We’re talking about a national holiday, not pornography. Orthodoxy sanctifies the things we use and the time we keep.

    Jesus was born into a particular culture and into a particular genetic collection of misfits (look at some of those “begats”). It seems somewhat Gnostic to demand that we give up our physical context for some supra-cultural Orthodoxy.

    It seems downright anti-incarnational.

    But…maybe you’re really talking about politics, not culture.

  2. [] said

    I didn’t say “dispensation” (which is not equivalent to the Orthodox concept of “economia”, incidentally). But simply the statement that you can make such decisions without economia, indicates that we’re not talking about Orthodox thinking, so what else need be said?

    You go on to illustrate this fact by offering your logic/reasoning for your attitude, but this can have nothing to do with Orthodoxy. We are not Protestants, that we make up a belief system based on our personal attitudes and theories. That’s a product of the very filioquist thinking that you in your participation in it find irrelevant.

    You’ve demonstrated the relevance. Your fundamental paradigm at work in the above description is heterodox.

  3. visibilium said

    Ah, I get you now. We still disagree, but I appreciate your explanation.

  4. turtlemom3 said

    Then there is the Old Calendar, which we are on. St. Philip’s Fast starts after Thanksgiving – of course, you “lose” July 4th hambrger cookouts, but I’d rather have the turkey dinner. And besides, giving Thanks to God is always a Good Thing.
    In Christ
    Elizabeth

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