Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ortho Dixie: Orthodox Christianity and Southern Identity


Anyone who has grown up in the melting pot of immigrant religiosity of the industrial northeast has a very specific vision of Southern religiosity – evangelical, provincial, low-church, and rabidly anti-Catholic, among other things. Even growing up in a household sympathetic to the South, I had plenty of condescending ignorance about the way Southrons practiced their religion. Grab a Bible, flip on Billy Graham, and say “Amen”, and you’re more than half-way there.

Nuance to any ignorant view comes only with closer acquaintance – and that closer acquaintance for me took the form of spending more than three quarters of my adult life south of the Mason-Dixon, from Washington, DC to Memphis, TN, thence to Maryland and now in Georgia. I found the rich history of traditional Christianity throughout the South and met a large number of High Church Southern men and women, Anglicans and Catholics and – especially surprising to me – Orthodox Christians. It is this last group that played the greatest role in my religious life: I was received into the Orthodox Church by a Georgian; in Pennsylvania I heard liturgy at a parish Bishop George, abbot of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in West Virginia, and the pastor of my parish now is an Appalachian convert.


  1. Orthodoxy interests me. Perhaps I'll take the plunge and order those Orthodox-related books I have on my Amazon wish list. I hear the Orthodox (general) and Russian Orthodox churches are more sound, in terms of tradition and doctrine. The Greek Orthodox seem to have problems. It's a shame if accurate, though; a Greek Orthodox church is the easiest one for my to visit.

    Pardon me for just thinking aloud in your comments section, Mr. Townsend.

    1. Not at all, please think away!:) I've been to one service and it reminded me of the High Episcopal Church before they got infiltrated with commies.

  2. Ashamed to be White and ashamed to be Christian. Damn.
    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg cited the Talmud as the reason for her success, as well as for the success of other Jewish Supreme Court justices. America and her courts are established upon Biblical law, not Talmudic law.
    Has she no shame.
    In the deep South, Christian's whole life revolved around
    the church. They took care of the poor and homeless, not
    the over-bearing gov. The take-over of the gov was to
    make Christian's less valuable, i.e. not needed.