Och has also quoted Arturo's Cultural Catholic Serendipity as a bit of a piggyback: "A soccer player making the Sign of the Cross before coming on the field is far better than the social critics who think that a Puritan God showers His decent bourgeois elect with earthly blessings."
Leaving aside the fact that I have known several Latin American soccer players whose off-the-field peccadilloes would leave the great ascetics just as horrified, sign of the cross or no, as would the shallowness of many Protestants, we come here to a common critique of Evangelical converts to Orthodoxy or Catholicism: that we're trying to transform it (or that we mutate it without even knowing it) into some sort of freakish hybrid of Byzantine Rite health/wealthism, hopelessly attached to middle class, bourgeoisie trinkets and morality as superstition.
And I get where the sentiment is coming from, I think. In general, the folks here at SVS who grew up OCA or AOCANA or whatever are WAY more laid back about the faith than most of us converts. And, generally, I mean "laid back" in a good way; most of us converts, even after a decade or more of being in the Church, have times where we're still obviously trying to find and fit into our skin (insert pun about Orthowine in Evanjellyfish wineskin here).
But it seems to me a mistake to think that Evangelicals (or the converts therefrom to RCC or EO) are motivated to attempt to read from Scripture--and thereafter, keep--the commandments of Christ out of some desire for temporal rewards, be they foreign policies or constitutional amendments or LandRovers with Daddy/Mommy/kiddo ιχθυες swimming kitchily on the back hatch. Furthermore, it seems unwise to point to the rather syncretic, "Orthodoxy/Catholicism-as-culture" approach as an antidote to this.
Och quoted Abba Antony as saying "always have God before your eyes, whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it." It seems to me that both the Evangelische kitch movement and the juxtaposition of Sán Judas Tadeo candles with the smutty novelas Arturo mentioned seem to be a betrayal of "God before your eyes...according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures." Whether or not one can "quote an address" in Scripture to justify one's participation in or abstinence from activity x is immaterial; such an ability is not "knowing the Scriptures" anymore than an ability to do so is ignorance thereof, as Och points out at the end of the "personal" post. Yet enough of a consensus has come down liturgically, scripturally, patristically, and iconographically throughout all branches of Christianity to make it perfectly clear that the vast majority of pop culture--whether the whitebread version wedded to Evangelicalism or the "progressive" relativism of ECUSA or the "Mi Vida Está en Tus Manos" sticker in Gothic font on the back window of the pickup truck with Calle 13 blaring rhymes about ass-shaking out the back--is incompatible with the ascetic ideal.
So "Going to Mass once in a while" may be great if one goes with an idea that something is..."off"...and that this "thing" which is primary helps bring it in line, sure. And I get it that most of the time, you take what you get from parishioners; I'm not under any delusion of a sea change in this reality an time soon. But saying that confirming the Eucharist with some desire to obtain knowledge of--and, of course, ascetic fulfillment of--the commandments of Christ is somehow not better than just receiving the thing itself is just plain wrong. Moreover, the assertion that the only other alternative to cultural reception of "the thing" apart from "how you believe in it and how you employ it" is what those neo-trads do, namely, "going to Mass under the pretext of being the 'last good Christians on earth', or of social conservative engineering" is disingenuous. So let's not pretend that those are the only options. Neither let us pretend like anyone who engages in crass "Charismercialism," to coin a phrase, lacks even a modicum of depth, nor that those with a rosary around a TV blaring José Luis is somehow "better," or at least excusable, because of culture, nor worse because of "nominalism."
Och is right on in avoiding buttonholing every other person into making a decision for Christ, but if that's the diagnosis, what's the cure? The 55 Maxims Och referenced mentioned plenty of concrete activities and disciplines that lots of eager converts do, and do loudly; apparently, we're fine with having our reward. They also referenced things--really, they are many of the same things--that often get excused or neglected to our own ruin for love of "culture." We ought to mind these little things, yes. And we ought to mind them quietly.