Author Topic: What Draws Youth to the Church?  (Read 2598 times)

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Offline sinjinsmythe

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What Draws Youth to the Church?
« on: September 01, 2003, 02:40:28 AM »
 What Draws Youth to the Church?  


 This summer, at one of the Orthodox camps, two questions were posed to the youth: 1) What troubles them most and what do they most dislike about church, and 2) What draws them to church? The answers of the youth were varied, but nearly all of them testified to a conscious and serious attitude towards their faith and to the fact that our youth -and this is very comforting and encouraging -think about, agonize over, and are concerned about their spiritual life.

      What troubles youth and what do they not like about church? Apathy in parish life; lack of piety; Orthodox people who do not value their faith; the denigration of Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general) in public schools; ignorance regarding Orthodoxy; the need to lead a double life: one, "official," external, in the world, and the other, at home and in the heart, Orthodox; the attitude of heterodox and unbelievers towards Orthodox believers; the lack of morality in society; the inculcation of the theory of evolution as dogma; spiritual loneliness; swearing; contemporary society's fascination with various pagan, agnostic and Eastern teachings...

      What is it that attracts our youth to the Church? A feeling of spiritual peace in the soul; the Lord's promise of the Kingdom of Heaven; inspiring examples from the lives of saints; the feast of Pascha; spiritual warmth, that is so distinctive of Orthodox churches; authentic spirituality and church traditions; the possibility of cleansing one's soul through the Mystery of Repentance; participation in the services through singing on the cliros and  serving in the altar; the world of miracles and the miraculous; the Mystery of receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord; church aesthetics, especially icons; the variety and profundity of Orthodox church services; church discipline; the feeling of joy and serenity in church.
     Our pastors should know what goes on in the souls of our youth, what they come up against in the world, and how to help them in this warfare. Through contact with these young souls, a pastor not only receives the opportunity to influence them, but he himself can learn a great deal from what comes from these young souls -- fresh impressions, a lively interest, trust, zeal, examples of spiritual struggle, purity... A pastor, after all, is not only a perpetual teacher, he is also a perpetual learner.

Translated from Russkiy Pastyr, San Francisco, 1996:11
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Offline Linus7

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Re:What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2003, 11:55:45 PM »
What Draws Youth to the Church?  

Answer: other youth.

Just give 'em the Truth and be faithful to Him, and they will come and stay.

Kids will see through fads and Hollywood-style pandering. They want answers, and that's what the Orthodox Church has.
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Offline Oblio

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Re:What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2003, 08:08:53 AM »
Quote
; the inculcation of the theory of evolution as dogma;

This may be fodder for another thread but I sure don't see this as being a pervasive component of troubling things.  The only time I have ever heard talk about 'Evilution' is from the Fundagelical sects.  I thought it was pretty much below the radar scope for Orthodox, as long as it makes no attempt to remove God as the Creator and Ruler of all.

Or is there really an atheistic conspiracy of Evilutionists out there plotting to remove God from the world via the Scientific method ?

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re:What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2003, 10:21:12 AM »
Quote
Or is there really an atheistic conspiracy of Evilutionists out there plotting to remove God from the world via the Scientific method ?

Though it's mostly a sub-conscious thing (and not people explicitly planning the downfall of theism), yes, there is a conspiracy to bring down God. Satan is the mastermind, many people (including well-intentioned scientists) are his allies. You know what the road to hell is paved with...

Offline Doubting Thomas

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Re:What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2003, 11:26:39 AM »

Or is there really an atheistic conspiracy of Evilutionists out there plotting to remove God from the world via the Scientific method ?

I agree with Paradosis.  Darwinism is not some noble objective scientific theory.  Darwinists want to keep out of the classroom anything that might even suggest the possiblity that a supernatural being had any role in creating living things.  This is evident in the vitriol directed at those in the Intelligent Design movement who merely point out that Darwinian mechanisms cannot account for the positive evidence for intelligent agency in biological systems.
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Offline JamesR

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 08:09:52 PM »
1) What troubles them most and what do they most dislike about church

What troubles me most? Probably the fact that our Church's teachings literally seem to be the exact opposite of 90% of what society teaches today--especially in regards to our teachings on sexuality which I find very strict and hard to abide by. Secondly, probably the fact that most American Christians seem to be some type of lapsed Evangelical with a generally negative view of RC/EO Churches, always having to deal with people thinking your religion is weird, trying to prosletyze to you, inviting you to Protestant Churches and having to turn them down politely etc. This is especially hard because I don't even have the supportive Orthodox family but am the only one. What do I dislike most about Church in particular? Probably the fact that no one really is my age at it. Most people at my Church--as nice and friendly to me as they are--are in their mid 40s to 50s, mostly immigrants or second generation immigrants. I think that there are only like four other people at my Church who are my age.


Quote
2) What draws them to church?

The fact that I have a sense of order, peace and organization in my life. I know Orthodoxy is true and I'll die adhering to it even if it is really difficult, annoying and hard. What I find in Orthodoxy that I've never found anywhere else is a sense of order. All other Churches seem to be divided or have no theological structure or sense of order at all. Secondly--a less noble reason--probably the hope that someday maybe someone at my Church will hook me up with an Orthodox female my age I could marry someday, like maybe some old person's niece or grand-daughter from the Old Country etc.
Until I see the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, I will not believe.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 08:14:45 PM »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re:What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 08:16:01 PM »
This is evident in the vitriol directed at those in the Intelligent Design movement
Vitriol is heaped on the Intelligent Design movement for the same reason it is heaped on the Christ Myth movement.

Darwinian mechanisms cannot account for the positive evidence for intelligent agency in biological systems.
That's simply not true.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 08:17:43 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 08:25:11 PM »
What troubles me most? Probably the fact that our Church's teachings literally seem to be the exact opposite of 90% of what society teaches today--especially in regards to our teachings on sexuality which I find very strict and hard to abide by.

Sts. Jerome, Augustine, etc. also didn't find their messages on morality well received. Though they were perhaps more rigorist than most. Anyway, point is, there's nothing new under the sun. If you think people didn't want to fool around and do immoral stuff in ancient times... well, you'd be wrong. :)

Offline sheenj

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 08:57:03 PM »
Dude, you realize that this thread is almost as old as you are right?

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 10:49:24 PM »
Dude, you realize that this thread is almost as old as you are right?
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 11:14:43 PM »
What the heck...

1) What troubles them most and what do they most dislike about church?

What troubles me most is Church politics.  The way that Jurisdictions relate to each other in the 21st century USA isn't healthy.  When at camp, instead of using the word "jurisdictions," the kids in my cabin use the word "denominations."  The said "I wish we just had one big American 'denomination' where all Orthodox can belong to the same Church."  I must say that I agree.  I wish that all perishes in the United States (and Canada & Mexico?) were part of the OCA.  Orthodox youth see these jurisdictional lines as walls separating us, and we need some way to align ourselves with each other.  That's my biggest dislike about the Church in North America, that is.


2) What draws them to church?

I'm drawn to the Orthodox Church over the others for many more reasons than can be conveyed here.  For one, and perhaps the least important, it makes me feel connected to my Eastern European roots.  Though my grandparents were Catholics, I can eat the food, sing the songs, and hear the stories I did when I was small at Church.

The OC calls me to a life that is so very different from society.  Maybe I'm becoming a hipster in this way.  I and my Orthodox friends find all of this "death to the world" stuff very satisfying.  I would love to go out with my friends and have sex, get high, and everything else people at school do on a weekly basis.  I don't.  The Church gives me a way of living, and a purpose for the way I choose to live.  It gives me a perspective on life and what is truly important that most people around me don't have.

Lastly, having said what I have, it tickles me pink to meet other Orthodox teens (practicing Orthodox, that is.)  Going to youth camps and running into them when travelling with school (we're quick to spot each other's crosses,) it's wonderful to have someone who shares the point of view that I do.  As Orthodox, we don't live like everyone else, and we have much greater things on our minds than trivial day-to-day things, such as sin and our own salvation.  Meeting other Orthodox youth is just the best.  ;D


(While I'm here, JamesR, why must you keep bumping such old threads?)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 11:19:29 PM by trevor72694 »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 11:16:12 PM »
JAAAAAAAAAAMES
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Offline JamesR

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 03:58:44 AM »
Well I have to beat tweety's record!
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 10:41:55 AM »
1) What troubles them most and what do they most dislike about church

What troubles me most? Probably the fact that our Church's teachings literally seem to be the exact opposite of 90% of what society teaches today--especially in regards to our teachings on sexuality which I find very strict and hard to abide by. Secondly, probably the fact that most American Christians seem to be some type of lapsed Evangelical with a generally negative view of RC/EO Churches, always having to deal with people thinking your religion is weird, trying to prosletyze to you, inviting you to Protestant Churches and having to turn them down politely etc. This is especially hard because I don't even have the supportive Orthodox family but am the only one. What do I dislike most about Church in particular? Probably the fact that no one really is my age at it. Most people at my Church--as nice and friendly to me as they are--are in their mid 40s to 50s, mostly immigrants or second generation immigrants. I think that there are only like four other people at my Church who are my age.


The Orthodox Church does not proselytize.  We evangelize.  We are taught not to belittle anyone, but, to encourage them, to shine our light so as to entice them, to teach, etc.  It's really not that bad.  ...and nobody is forcing you to do it.  You are young, yet.  Give yourself some time before you put such a burden upon yourself.

Turning others' requests to attend their churches is easy.....just tell them you can't go to their church, because you are committed to going to your own.  You have a responsibility to attend your church.  Nobody is going to beg you to skip Liturgy at your church to come to theirs.

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Offline sheenj

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 10:45:02 AM »
1) What troubles them most and what do they most dislike about church

What troubles me most? Probably the fact that our Church's teachings literally seem to be the exact opposite of 90% of what society teaches today--especially in regards to our teachings on sexuality which I find very strict and hard to abide by. Secondly, probably the fact that most American Christians seem to be some type of lapsed Evangelical with a generally negative view of RC/EO Churches, always having to deal with people thinking your religion is weird, trying to prosletyze to you, inviting you to Protestant Churches and having to turn them down politely etc. This is especially hard because I don't even have the supportive Orthodox family but am the only one. What do I dislike most about Church in particular? Probably the fact that no one really is my age at it. Most people at my Church--as nice and friendly to me as they are--are in their mid 40s to 50s, mostly immigrants or second generation immigrants. I think that there are only like four other people at my Church who are my age.


The Orthodox Church does not proselytize.  We evangelize.  We are taught not to belittle anyone, but, to encourage them, to shine our light so as to entice them, to teach, etc.  It's really not that bad.  ...and nobody is forcing you to do it.  You are young, yet.  Give yourself some time before you put such a burden upon yourself.


I think he was saying his friends were trying to proselytize him.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2013, 12:15:43 PM »

Oh, missed that.  I thought he was busy trying to convert his friends.

Thanks for the correction!

 ;)
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline tweety234

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 03:08:49 PM »
Well I have to beat tweety's record!

how exactly?
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Offline tweety234

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2013, 03:10:33 PM »
hoping to find the lost paradise.
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Offline Basil 320

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 03:53:05 PM »
The original post is most enlightening and helpful.  Thank you for it.

And here I thought all the youth wanted was Metropolis Basketball Tournaments.
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Offline Timon

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 04:04:06 PM »
Just wanna say....

I dont particularly mind thread resurrection.  I wasnt around this site in 2003, so its nice to see what was going on here back then.

And if anyone started a new topic, some would would get mad at that person for not doing a search.

I found the OP interesting, since I do have a concern about how my (future) children will feel about Orthodoxy compared to other types of "cool" and "hip" churches around these days. 
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Offline mike

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 04:24:42 PM »
There is a difference between someone being too lazy to checking whether are some issues currently discussed about and starting arguments with people that have not logged here for several years.
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Offline Peter J

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Re: What Draws Youth to the Church?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2013, 09:35:41 AM »
Feel free to tell me I'm way off on this, but regarding the overlapping jurisdictions in the USA, it seems to me that people don't take much responsibility for it. E.g. here in New England, Orthodox ought to say "New-England Orthodox should unite" rather than just making a general statement about "American Orthodox should unite". (Okay, okay, granted I'm a non-Orthodox; but sometimes an outsider might possibly offer a view of a problem that is worthwhile.)
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