OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 20, 2014, 09:24:20 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Kids "hate" going to church  (Read 12725 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
WaterGreek
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 1


« on: March 30, 2009, 08:28:14 AM »

Hey all,

My first post here.

I am a life long Orthodox Christian married to a convert - but non-practicing - wife.   I've taken my 2 children to church since they were infants (by myself 99% of the time), have been involved with the church, have had the kids (now 11, 7) involved in as many things as they would go to, and generally try to teach them their faith.

But they've really made no close friends there, and do not like going.

I feel like I'm walking a fine line between being a strong parent and making them go, or feeling like a failure and letting them stop going, or go to another church in order to keep them from getting turned off religion altogether.   It's hard when their friends' churches are "cool" with all the bells and whistles - rock bands, lots of activities, cool things to do - and they like that better.

Now if I had a choice between turning them off to any faith by forcing them to go to the Orthodox church, or allowing them to go elsewhere to foster their spirituality, I think I would choose to let them go elsewhere.   But I feel like I've totally let down God, myself, and Orthodoxy by failing to kinder their spirits.

I'm really struggling with this and I know there is no perfect answer, still, I seek guidance.   My plans for now are to continue keeping them involved as much as possible, being a bit flexible, allowing them to go to youth activities at a friends church (last night was making Easter Baskets for folks in a nursing home), and trying to keep the dialogue open.

What have others done?   What wisdom can you all offer to me?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 08:30:19 AM by WaterGreek » Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 09:16:09 AM »

Welcome to the forum!
As a psychologist, I can assure you that from a psychological perspective, you will be blamed for all you children's problems when they grow up no matter what you do. Cheesy
I'm not a parent, so I should probably shut up and let others speak, but FWIW, here are some things I learned from growing up.
Church is important for children, but it is not as importants as many people think. It's actually more important for children (and adolescents) that there be congruence between their parent/s going to Church and the rest of their lives. Kids pick up hypocrisy very easily- they have built-in BS detectors.
Children learn what to love from their parents, and the reverse is also true. This is how bigotry and racism get passed down and also how the love of God gets passed down. If you want your children to love God, then love God yourself in your own life outside of Church and let your children see this. There are practical ways to do this for us Orthodox. Light the vigil lamp in front of the icons every Saturday evening and major feast day as a matter of routine- the way we leave the porch light on for friends that we love. Cross yourself before leaving the house, before starting the car, before starting the lawnmower or any work. I'm sure you can think of more.
I think sending them to other Churches is a bad idea which will just confuse them. How would you see this as helpful? By the time they are adolescents, they will be the cool ones because they will be exotic. Just sent them to school with a copy of this:
http://www.amazon.com/Youth-Apocalypse-Last-True-Rebellion/dp/0938635891
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
PrincessMommy
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 734


OCA


« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2009, 09:43:42 AM »

I am not expert on this and you're right, every situation is different. 

I like to look at at these problems as a "team effort".  I think it gives the kids a sense of being part of the family and the "team".   Acknowledge to your kids that you see they are unhappy, but don't be afraid to tell them that leaving Orthodoxy isn't the answer. 

First off, try to figure out why they're unhappy.  Is it something fixable?  Is it just they think its "boring"  Roll Eyes?  Are there not enough kids their age to have potential friends?  Is Sunday School not working out?  Would another parish ease or fix any of their issues?  How about just skipping S.S.?  I'm certainly not an advocate of parish hopping but, I think you're right to try and find the best solution to fix the needs you have right now.

Having said that, we have allowed our kids to join other traditions in kids activities in the past (youth group, concerts etc.).   When we went from being non-denom/baptist/charismatic to Lutheran our oldest locked herself in her room the first Sunday - she was adamantly against anything liturgical.  We allowed her to continue at the Baptist youth group as a compromise.  I think it gave her a good comparison with their doctrines (or lack thereof).   She is now Orthodox too and about to get married to the choir director in her parish.  My middle daughter goes to a Catholic high school and that definitely gives her ample opportunity to look at the differences in doctrine.  It has been a very good learning experience and I think it has strengthened her faith. 

HTH, and welcome to the forum
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2009, 11:08:16 AM »

Hi WaterGreek, and welcome to the forum!

I don't have any advice for you, because in the case of my daughter, the hate is quite real, without quotation marks. She never liked church, she actually hated it since rather early age (started to hate perhaps at 9-10 and fully developed her hate by the age of ~14). I never understood why. Her mother is the same way, and again, I never understood why. To them both, everything about "organized religion" is wrong, hypocritical, superfluous, deceitful; they see it as a means for one sort of people to get paid (priests), and for the other kind of people to be fooled. They aren't quite the same - the difference is that my wife, essentially an agnostic, makes concessions and accompanies me to church, while my daughter (a staunch, hardcore atheist) would never do even that much.

I wish I understood why some people are so "anti-church," whether they are young or older. I somehow have always been "pro-church" - I was (and still am) rebellious, but my negative energy has always been against the "establishment," the secular powers-that-be, never against the church. (Yet, who knows, if someone would force me to attend church when I was little, I might grow into a God-hater as well.)
Logged

Love never fails.
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,960



« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 11:25:01 AM »

One over arching thing: think of church like school.  In other words, at this age a non-negotiable.

That being said, if your child didn't like school, you would want to find out why, in order to cure it so that they become life long learners.

One thing, is Church/Orthodoxy confined only to Sunday?  Or is their back up the rest of the week.

I agree with George, letting them choose another church, especicially because it's "cool," or their friends go there, will muddle the issue.

And of coures, pray.
Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
SolEX01
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of New Jersey
Posts: 11,444


WWW
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 01:37:09 PM »

Welcome to the forum WaterGreek!

Seeing that you are with the GOA, could the language barrier (and/or emphasis on Hellenism) be an issue?

Are there other Orthodox Churches in your part of the world?  Try attending a different one for a few weeks and see if that helps with your children's attitude.

Do not be hard on yourself and at the same time continue keeping the lines of communication open with your children and your spouse.
Logged
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 01:59:08 PM »

In my experience, there are two main issues.

Orthodox parishes in general are not good at community building, and can become sacrament factories operating only for a couple of hours on Sunday.

Orthodox services do not induce participation on the part of the laity and many of the services contain long stretches of boring and repetitive material.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 03:18:08 PM »

Orthodox parishes in general are not good at community building, and can become sacrament factories operating only for a couple of hours on Sunday.

Honestly... that's the way I like it...  Embarrassed
Logged

Love never fails.
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 04:52:02 PM »

^^But is that healthy?  Honestly, I'm not calling for a cult-like scenario where every spare second of your schedule outside work is taken up with church activities, but a couple of hours on Sunday unconnected to the rest of the week?  The people at your parish are your parish family, or should be; maybe you have friends closer to you than your family, but you still have family gatherings, you spend time together outside of periodic reunions...I don't know.  I just think that if we're supposedly bound together with the love of Christ like St. Paul says, there ought to be at least some opportunity for our fellowship to overflow into the rest of our lives.

In other words, the Eucharist is the fruit of a unity that's already supposed to have been achieved.  Where is the proof of that unity outside of the service and/or coffee hour?  If all men will know that we are His disciples because we have love for each other, but we don't even have enough of a sense of community to call the elderly gal who fell and broke her hip, or visit the young, stir-crazy mom at home with her three-week old baby, or notify the parish of emergencies (like the priest's heart attack -- which happened at our parish, and some folks didn't get told about it, showed up when we weren't having subsequent services, and were very offended no one had told them), then how can we say that we love one another?  How are we involved AT ALL in each other's lives? 

We don't expect the family to always be the FIRST people we call in emergencies, but we have a shared history, a shared culture, shared interests in one another and in our common life together, so there are things to talk about, an inherent interest.  We should (of course, this is a dream world in some parishes) care enough about our faith to at least have that be a common topic of conversation at times, or at the very least to where it's understood that, when the chips are down, you can count on someone at church to be on the other end of a phone should you need to pick one up, and that that someone will care for you and try to help meet your need somehow, whether material, emotional, or spiritual.

Are we lacking in that? Yes, in several parishes in multiple ways, at times.  But to say that those with whom we labor to bring about the most miraculous work in the cosmos should therefore be held aloof from us, that our relationships with them shouldn't be affected in even the slightest way the whole rest of the week, doesn't make sense to me.  Perhaps the laity is not involved: perhaps reinstituting the kiss of peace, as our archbishop (who will retire tomorrow, sadly  Cry) has endeavored to do recently in Dallas, along with written inserts of the days' hymns, conscious seeking out of congregational singing, etc, maybe the start of an answer.

I'm preaching, I know.  Embarrassed  Let us love one another -- bearing all things, enduring all things, mourning with those who mourn, weeping with those who weep, serving in love the weaker brethren -- that with one mind, we might confess our common faith. 

Forgive me.

(With regard to the OP, perhaps this love will, in time, make itself manifest to kids who seem to despise church.  I think ozgeorge's take on the OP is right on, btw.)
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 05:24:18 PM »

^^But is that healthy?  Honestly, I'm not calling for a cult-like scenario where every spare second of your schedule outside work is taken up with church activities, but a couple of hours on Sunday unconnected to the rest of the week?  The people at your parish are your parish family, or should be; maybe you have friends closer to you than your family, but you still have family gatherings, you spend time together outside of periodic reunions...I don't know. 

David, actually, I don't have any friends that are closer to me than my immediate biological family - wife, daughter, mother, son-in-law, his parents and siblings. I have a handful of real good old friends, but they come as distant second to my family. And I don't know how in the world my parish members could be my family or my friends. I love them, i.e. I wish them all the best and if they need me, I will do whatever is needed for them. But they... how would I say it better... simply aren't my family OR my friends. I live very far from them. We have absolutely different lives. They don't seem to miss me much when we aren't together, and I don't blame them. Smiley

I just think that if we're supposedly bound together with the love of Christ like St. Paul says, there ought to be at least some opportunity for our fellowship to overflow into the rest of our lives.

Why is the fellowship during the Divine Liturgy not enough? It's a profound mystical union...
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 05:24:50 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Myrrh23
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,639



« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2009, 07:54:58 PM »

I think DavidBryan brings out several good points. Overall, how can we be fully Lanterns unto the World if our particular parish isn't as unified or zealous as it could be? I'm not saying Orthodox should go off and build a Mega-Church, but Christianity is not meant to be practiced as lonely as the parish DB described--in a loosely-based community. In disagreement with you, Heorhij, even if you don't feel it, I feel your parish is meant to be your family. Maybe that's said out of personal bias, but aren't our Christian communities meant to make us more or less Brothers, Sisters, Mothers and Fathers before Christ? Undecided We are meant to be a Family because we strive to be Christ's Family by obeying His Commandments, by reaching out and "loving each other". It's not easy, but nothing worth doing is easy.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 07:58:09 PM by Myrrh23 » Logged

*I am no longer posting on OC.net*

We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,208


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2009, 08:27:56 PM »

My children are 12 and 15 (boys) and they both love attending our parish. I think they love it for a variety of reasons.
One: it is open to everyone and all are welcome.
Two: the services are in English
Three: the families who attend are very connected to one another. It is a tightly-knit community who pray and serve together.
Four: They see their parish as dynamic and alive, because others come, watch, learn and then become baptized or chrismated

Someone once explained to me that just attending services isn't a completion of the sacramental life unless the child can take what she/he gets from the mysteries and then go out into the world and serve others. We have one member of our parish who runs a non-profit for the poor. His own children and the teens in our parish all spend time working at the non-profit on Fridays. In other words, their liturgical life spills over and becomes a part of their everyday life when they serve.
Logged
Andrew21091
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 1,271



« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2009, 08:41:18 PM »

Orthodox services do not induce participation on the part of the laity and many of the services contain long stretches of boring and repetitive material.

Orthodox services are only boring if one does not understand what the Liturgy is about and they do not know God.

For children who hate church, it may just be a phase. I was the same way once and I dreaded going to church. I saw it as a waste of time but then I eventually started to learn about the Faith and then I came to love it. I became more excited about the Church after reading the lives of various Saints. The Saints that really inspired me in growing more towards the faith are: St. Seraphim of Sarov, the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, St. John of San Francisco, Elder Paisios the Athonite and St. Symeon the Stylite. It would probably be good to teach your children about the Holy Saints of the Church. I'm not a parent, but learning about the Saints helped me a lot in looking to my Faith more.
Logged
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2009, 08:53:30 PM »

That all sounds nice, but I have two kids under 10 and I teach Sunday school to the Junior High and High School kids.  I am telling you from experience much of the structure of the services is boring and uninteresting to them.

Some of the longer services are also hard for the adults.  I also won't even try and count the number of homilies I've daydreamed through.

I will also say that the experience of community, or lack of it, and the desire to remain on the periphery and only have church be a one day a week thing is from what I've seen fairly common.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 08:55:01 PM by AMM » Logged
livefreeordie
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 750


« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2009, 09:26:13 PM »

We have 5 children 9 and under, and our sixth is on the way.  From our experience, how a kid behaves in Church has a lot to do with how they are raised outside of Church.  People always comment on how well behaved our children are, and in general, they look forward to Church.  We try to go to 2 to 3 services a week, of course sometimes we only make one.  I believe a big reason we don't have the problems we see a lot people with Children have is that we don't let our kids play video games, don't let them watch TV during the week(only movies after Church on Sunday), and we homeschool.  As a result, the two oldest, 9 and 8, both are reading at a high school level and all have long attention spans. Their average day is spent reading and constructive playing for hours.  There is of course the tantrum from the younger ones, but in general, when they get past the terrible twos they love Church, even the long services.

In my opinion, the problems most parents face are less about Church and more about our fast food, instant gratification culture and their battle should go beyond Church, but to all aspects of their children's lives in helping them to develop the patience and depth to really embrace an orthodox faith that requires patience and attentiveness.

The fact you are asking for help shows your humility and love for your children.  Keep doing your best, love them as hard as you can, be examples of the faith.  God will reward your effort.

Logged
Salpy
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,722


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2009, 10:02:30 PM »

Hey all,

My first post here.

I am a life long Orthodox Christian married to a convert - but non-practicing - wife.   I've taken my 2 children to church since they were infants (by myself 99% of the time), have been involved with the church, have had the kids (now 11, 7) involved in as many things as they would go to, and generally try to teach them their faith.

But they've really made no close friends there, and do not like going.

I feel like I'm walking a fine line between being a strong parent and making them go, or feeling like a failure and letting them stop going, or go to another church in order to keep them from getting turned off religion altogether.   It's hard when their friends' churches are "cool" with all the bells and whistles - rock bands, lots of activities, cool things to do - and they like that better.

Now if I had a choice between turning them off to any faith by forcing them to go to the Orthodox church, or allowing them to go elsewhere to foster their spirituality, I think I would choose to let them go elsewhere.   But I feel like I've totally let down God, myself, and Orthodoxy by failing to kinder their spirits.

I'm really struggling with this and I know there is no perfect answer, still, I seek guidance.   My plans for now are to continue keeping them involved as much as possible, being a bit flexible, allowing them to go to youth activities at a friends church (last night was making Easter Baskets for folks in a nursing home), and trying to keep the dialogue open.

What have others done?   What wisdom can you all offer to me?

It could be worse.  Yesterday, our Sunday School superintendant was called into the fourth grade class to break up a fight.  When she got there, she found two boys attacking each other, one of them had his hands around the other's neck and was squeezing as hard as he could.  She managed to get them apart.  (She's one tough woman.)

Anyway, I wouldn't give the kids the choice of going to another Church.  Have them stick with it and they'll thank you later.
Logged

PrincessMommy
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 734


OCA


« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2009, 10:40:04 PM »

^^But is that healthy?  Honestly, I'm not calling for a cult-like scenario where every spare second of your schedule outside work is taken up with church activities, but a couple of hours on Sunday unconnected to the rest of the week?  The people at your parish are your parish family, or should be; maybe you have friends closer to you than your family, but you still have family gatherings, you spend time together outside of periodic reunions...I don't know.  I just think that if we're supposedly bound together with the love of Christ like St. Paul says, there ought to be at least some opportunity for our fellowship to overflow into the rest of our lives.

We had an experience like that when 1./ our kids were young, 2./ both hubby and I went to the same church, and 3./ it was small (less than 100 people).  It was not an Orthodox church, but we definitely had community.  Those were some of the best years of our life...cherish it while it is with you, DavidB.

It is a lot different now especially since my husband isn't Orthodox.  Couples with kids from church don't invite my family over for dinner or play time.  I hear about them happening with groups of friends at my parish, but I'm not included.  I'm not saying it to get sympathy.  There are social things at church I purposefully don't participate in because I don't want to go without my hubby.   This is just the reality of my life.  At one time I had David Bryan's experience...but those days are gone.  I think it is an ideal situation, but not necessarily possible for everyone. Currently, my friends at church are either single or Orthodox alone.   Also, life is much busier, now that most of my kids are teens/young adults, so even if someone were to invite me to their "parish friends/family get together" I might not have time or not everyone would go.

IIRC, the OP is Orthodox alone as is Heorhij.
Logged
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2009, 12:34:56 AM »

I have younger kids-7, 3 and almost 2 (another on the way as well).

But I have to agree that a lot of problems with a child's view of church can be traced to what they think life should be like in general. If a child expects to be "entertained" at all times then they are not as likely to enjoy church. Going to services you can't be focused on yourself alone. And really in the lifestyle of the average child these days children are pretty self centered.
Logged
GabrieltheCelt
Hillbilly Extraordinaire
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,988


Chasin' down a Hoodoo...


« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2009, 01:39:43 AM »

Welcome WaterGreek!


But they've really made no close friends there, and do not like going.

Do your children feel 'left out' at their church?  Churches, like schools or any other gathering, can become cliquish.  This was one reason I hated going to church when I was younger.  Try observing all the children, if you haven't already, and see what's going on.  Maybe you and your wife could invite some of the other children over to your house for a birthday party or some other type of fun activity.



 But I feel like I've totally let down God, myself, and Orthodoxy by failing to kinder their spirits.
Don't be so hard on yourself.  I'm not a parent yet, but in talking to my brother (who has three children), and my friends with children, I can understand how hard it is to stay on top of these things and not always be second guessing yourself.  There's really only so much you can do as a parent. 

What wisdom can you all offer to me?

Aside from inviting the other children over to your home, how involved are you at your parish?  Does the church have youth activities of any sort?  Have you shared your concerns with other parents at your church?  With your priest? 

 In Christ,
Gabriel
Logged

"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2009, 02:16:42 AM »

WaterGreek,

I have the same problem with my eldest who just turned 4, although it waxes and wains. He does take his duties while in church seriously, but doesn't much like it. I have trouble getting him to pray at night before bed too (I try to set an examples, and now his baby brother who is 20 months old, crosses himself and does prostrations - very cute - but the older one still avoids it as best he can). Our church no longer has a Sunday School, although it did (not sure if it still does) have a Russian cultural school that includes religious studies for older kids on Saturday. My son is 1/2 Russian, but not much fond of speaking/listening to it (I guess because it's tougher for him, even though he understands it completely). We don't have coffee hour anymore either, despite having a largish congregation, for a variety of reasons. When we did have coffee/lunch hour, we did make friends with another family with children of the same age, but they have since moved far away. There are quite a few small children in our church, and we're friendly with a few of the families (and others like singles and older couples etc.), but there isn't really an opportunity to get to know them better, anymore, other than quiet nods in church (or when the kids need a break and are running around outside) Asides from the fact that we don't have a mechanism to get to know other families, I think it would be really hard anyway. For instance, moms gatherings (not that I could partake anyway as I work too much) would be hard as many of the Russian women don't/can't drive and everyone lives quite far from one another and the church. Russians strike me overall as very shy and reserved too, until of course you get to know them - then they are super friendly. I know I shouldn't whinge though - I realize that if I want it to happen (community events, etc.), then I need to take the initiative; it's just I can't personally at this point in my life as I'm burning the candle at both ends and frankly falling apart with the responsibilities I already have. It's a problem a lot of people have, right? My priest and I were chatting over the phone one day and this topic came up. Part of the problem is too that in the past in our church, there was always a core group of women who organized many things and were a sort of glue. But most of those ladies didn't work much outside of the home so devoted themselves to this sort of thing, and at any rate have passed on or are too old. There isn't anyone to replace them in this way.

Also, my Russian husband tells me in Russia that it is not normal to have the kinds of church gatherings that you see in e.g. Protestant churches (and while our church has been around for decades, many of our parishioners are recent immigrants). We figure that perhaps this stems from the fact that in the past in places such as Russia, your church was the one in your village or down on the block; you already always socialized or otherwise dealt with all the other parishioners outside of church as they were your neighbours. They already were your extended family. This is not the case here in North America (or really anywhere in a city) nowadays.

I personally don't have any answers for this problem but wish I did; I ache sometimes for more community and friendship with those who attempting to follow the same path.

Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2009, 07:39:01 AM »

Christianity is not meant to be practiced as lonely as the parish DB described--in a loosely-based community.

I don't know... We are all different, and maybe there are no "recipes" that fit all people in all cases. I am completely happy with the loosely-based community of my Greek parishioners. Again, I am ready to do whatever they would ever ask me to do for them, but right now it does seem that they do not need anything from me, and I am perfectly fine with this. I do not feel any discomfort just because I am not involved in church "activities." I had my share of sitting on various "committees" in a Protestant church and I would actually hate to see the same thing in the Orthodox Church - to me, it's all "vanity, chasing after the wind." I am blissfully happy when I hear an Orthodox priest say, "again and again, let us pray to the Lord..." and when I am going to receive Christ in the Eucharist. To me, that's "the only thing needed." I am not saying that I am right and you and others who want "building a comunity" are wrong; but I believe that there exist other people who are more like me than like you (and maybe you are actually closer to me in this regard than you think - because of some upbringing stereotypes?). And as far as kids are concerned, I generally tend to think, as I have already said on this forum, that at least for some kids the whole business of building "relationships," being involved in "activities" etc. is a huge and irreversible turn-off.

In disagreement with you, Heorhij, even if you don't feel it, I feel your parish is meant to be your family. Maybe that's said out of personal bias, but aren't our Christian communities meant to make us more or less Brothers, Sisters, Mothers and Fathers before Christ? Undecided We are meant to be a Family because we strive to be Christ's Family by obeying His Commandments, by reaching out and "loving each other". It's not easy, but nothing worth doing is easy.

In reality though, I do absolutely feel that I already AM in full communion with each and every Orthodox on earth and in heaven when I am receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist; "reaching out" in the traditional (in the USA) form of "community-building," "group activities" etc. is, to me, incredibly superfluous and totally unnecessary. Smiley
Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2009, 08:13:53 AM »

That all sounds nice, but I have two kids under 10 and I teach Sunday school to the Junior High and High School kids.  I am telling you from experience much of the structure of the services is boring and uninteresting to them.

Maybe that's because of the compulsiveness of all that. My very first encounter with the Orthodox Divine Liturgy happened when I was a ~9-10 y.o. child living in then-Communist Ukraine, compulsively fed with a lot of Communist garbage, which I hated even then (and even more so later). The encounter with the DL was a totally different and very mysterious experience, with all these rich obertones of something "forbidden," which I loved; I became really fascinated with the Churhc right away exactly because of this sense of "other-worldliness" of it (compare the words of Prince Volodymyr's envoys after they returned from Constantinople...).

I gues my daughter was exacly like me in this regard. When she first visited a Ukrainian Orthodox mission parish in Seattle, she had these wide-wide-wide open eyes of a little person who is utterly surprised, fascinated, spiritually "conquered." But when it turned to communication with other kids who were enthusiastically discussing shopping (girls) and sports (boys), she became completely turned off, and began to hate this "church thing," and hates it gravely till this day.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 08:14:34 AM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2009, 03:12:53 PM »

Our parish has been intentionally made into a community. And I love it. I think that your view Heorhij  is influenced by the fact that you are in the minority in your house. If your wife and child were involved in parish life then you likely wouldn't feel the same way. As it stands currently to be in a more involved and make church a "family" would mean leaving out your wife. And that wouldn't be healthy for your marriage. Especially since you describe your wife as out right hostile towards Christianity.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2009, 04:02:11 PM »

Our parish has been intentionally made into a community. And I love it. I think that your view Heorhij  is influenced by the fact that you are in the minority in your house. If your wife and child were involved in parish life then you likely wouldn't feel the same way. As it stands currently to be in a more involved and make church a "family" would mean leaving out your wife. And that wouldn't be healthy for your marriage. Especially since you describe your wife as out right hostile towards Christianity.

Yes, to some extent, maybe you are right... although I have to say that Lesya is not exactly hostile to Christianity as such; she is an agnostic and she simply has no feelings whatsoever about anything religious, anything supernatural - because she honestly does not know whether it exists at all or not. Her hostility is more to certain types of people whom she suspects to be religious fanatics, freaks. I don't have that particular kind of hostility but I can't say I like this type of people, either. And I most definitely dislike any "group activities" in any setting, religious or not. That's hardly my wife's influence, I have that in me, on my own, since very early age. The Divine Liturgy is, however, a totally different thing to me, because it is "other-wordly."
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 04:02:32 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2009, 04:38:14 PM »

You have mentioned that she makes fun of "religious people" that to me is hostile. Maybe your idea of hostile and mine are different.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2009, 05:09:40 PM »

You have mentioned that she makes fun of "religious people" that to me is hostile. Maybe your idea of hostile and mine are different.

Well, poking good-natured fun is not exactly hostility, I poke fun on her all the time and she does it to me all the time, that only makes our life better.Smiley

Sometimes she is furious at some religious people, but not because they are religious - because they are tactless or because they say atrociously wrong things. For example, she got mad at one Orthodox priest who called her on the phone (never actually having met her, not knowing her at all) and told her that because she is Orthodox and there will be a priest visiting our town, she has to cook dinner for that priest. That was, indeed, tactless, I am absolutely with her there. Or she gets mad at Evangelical preachers like Pat Robertson when they say that the number one obligation of a God-fearing Christian is to donate money to Israel. Again, I am absolutely on her side in that.

But I am afraid whe deviated from the topic, it's about kids and social activities at church.
Logged

Love never fails.
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2009, 05:15:42 PM »

And I most definitely dislike any "group activities" in any setting, religious or not. That's hardly my wife's influence, I have that in me, on my own, since very early age. The Divine Liturgy is, however, a totally different thing to me, because it is "other-wordly."

I'm the same way, Heorhij.  I despise the silly "getting to know you" games and group activities that are so popular these days.  Every time I got involved with something like that at my former church, it inevitably split the group into the people who are part of a clique and the people who weren't.  Even if they all got mixed together, it was like two factions in one party anyway.  I'd rather just go to Liturgy, pray, prostrate, sing, etc. and then go talk to people afterward than try to make church life into an ongoing church social.  What drew me to the Orthodox church in the first place was not all the bells and whistles, the lock-ins, the bicycle and tv giveaways, but the sense that I was actually taking part in real worship, not just clapping along to the praise band.
Logged

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2009, 05:18:52 PM »

And I most definitely dislike any "group activities" in any setting, religious or not. That's hardly my wife's influence, I have that in me, on my own, since very early age. The Divine Liturgy is, however, a totally different thing to me, because it is "other-wordly."

I'm the same way, Heorhij.  I despise the silly "getting to know you" games and group activities that are so popular these days.  Every time I got involved with something like that at my former church, it inevitably split the group into the people who are part of a clique and the people who weren't.  Even if they all got mixed together, it was like two factions in one party anyway.  I'd rather just go to Liturgy, pray, prostrate, sing, etc. and then go talk to people afterward than try to make church life into an ongoing church social.  What drew me to the Orthodox church in the first place was not all the bells and whistles, the lock-ins, the bicycle and tv giveaways, but the sense that I was actually taking part in real worship, not just clapping along to the praise band.

Thank you, EofK. Good to know that I am not a total "oddball." Smiley
Logged

Love never fails.
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2009, 05:40:55 PM »

We'll be fellow oddballs. Smiley
Logged

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2009, 10:27:12 PM »

From what I've seen, church is really just a Sunday morning thing and people don't get all that involved in anything beyond that.  So personally I don't see this as odd.  I don't hang out with anyone from church, and I'm one of the Sunday morning only people.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,916



« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2009, 12:35:07 AM »

I like how the Orthodox Church does not beg its congregants to care.

Whether you are there or not, the services will go on.  The Church will maintain the faith.  What you get out of it is what you put into it.  If the liturgy is dead to you, it is because you kill it.  If Church is boring, it's because you're not willing to exert any effort.

The typically church that practically begs its congregants to care knows that it needs them to survive.  People don't "need" religion today, and so their attendance at a church is almost like a bargaining chip with how things are done.

Is your seat comfortable?  Do you like the music?  Sure, bring your doughnut into the sanctuary; ain't no big thing...

PUKE!!!

It's all seeker sensitive and marketing.  The Orthodox Church is about serving God (literally servicing or tending to the God).  A lot of time when I enter an Orthodox Temple I feel as though I am entering into the temples of antiquity, incense alight, awaiting the sunrise to sing praises to the god.  Nothing about the service is designed to make the worshiper feel special.  It is about coming together to worship the God Almighty.

So "not liking" church is a problem, but if you can find some way to try and impress upon the children that effort and work are a part of the true spiritual life, then maybe they will begin to appreciate how cooperative their relationship with God is.  It's not a consumer endeavor for their entertainment, it's about peering beyond the either into the mysterious face of God.
Logged
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2009, 01:37:05 AM »

Heorhij - I do understand - my husband is the same as you.

To me, however, it helps to be able to spend time with other Orthodox; it's not about having buddies (I can do that on my own, although I don't have time for friends much nowadays), nor having rock shows and other such "popular" things, but it's about being able to spend time with people who understand what you are going through. You can share ideas with them and discuss things you wouldn't/couldn't with anyone else (hence the reason I am here on this forum). For instance, childrearing with an Orthodox viewpoint. You can provide support to one another in your struggles, and share lighthearted moments with the same perspective. You can feel free to be Orthodox - open about it, open about prayer, etc., which I most certainly cannot do in much of my daily life. You don't have to repress or hide it.

Furthermore, we must consider that showing up only on Sundays does not provide enough support to run a church (I am not pointing any fingers at anyone here -  I know everyone helps out in their own way, and goodness I'm not nearly involved enough at all). It's not just about tithing; there is a whole lot of work that is required, and one cannot possibly know what that is if you are only there for the liturgy (even if the priest mentions there is a need for help in some areas - that's rarely the whole story and often there are those behind the scene who are carrying far more of the weight than they should). Even at purely social events, people talk, and information gets around. If you are more involved outside of liturgy, you are far more aware of what the church is needing in order to function.

Also, if you want to have a church where congregants support one another in rough times, they have to actually have some idea of who other congregants actually are (yes, of course we should be as helpful to complete strangers too, but a church community goes beyond that).
Logged
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2009, 01:48:14 AM »

And I most definitely dislike any "group activities" in any setting, religious or not. That's hardly my wife's influence, I have that in me, on my own, since very early age. The Divine Liturgy is, however, a totally different thing to me, because it is "other-wordly."

I'm the same way, Heorhij.  I despise the silly "getting to know you" games and group activities that are so popular these days.  Every time I got involved with something like that at my former church, it inevitably split the group into the people who are part of a clique and the people who weren't.  Even if they all got mixed together, it was like two factions in one party anyway.  I'd rather just go to Liturgy, pray, prostrate, sing, etc. and then go talk to people afterward than try to make church life into an ongoing church social.  What drew me to the Orthodox church in the first place was not all the bells and whistles, the lock-ins, the bicycle and tv giveaways, but the sense that I was actually taking part in real worship, not just clapping along to the praise band.


Eeeeeekkkk - the various "enticements" you list above sound horrible, and that's not what I personally mean about community in the least. What about getting a group going for a wilderness hike and appreciating the great outdoors from an Orthodox perspective (and inspire stewardship)? Or just gathering for a picnic at the beach and enjoying the sight of the church's young children enjoying the moment, thereby inspiring congregants to be properly involved in the raising of the next Orthodox generation. Those are but a couple of basic ideas - I'm sure more inspiring people with better leadership skills could come up with far better ideas.
Logged
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2009, 01:58:54 AM »

Oh, another idea - what about a painting party? The church has to be painted, why not includes some food and a little hanging out during breaks (if you're too shy to talk much when you are on a break, just rest under a tree or something - at least you're a part of something - and yes, the most important part of something to be involved with is the liturgy, but as previously mentioned, there is importance to knwoing the community you are communing with)? I remember participating a few time in vareniki/pelmini (perogies) making sessions as a church fundraiser. It was actually rather fun. A bunch of women sat around making these things and chatting, while the guys (especially the priest) ran around getting dough ready and delivered to the tables (plus the guys cleaned up). There is something soothing once in awhile about not having to do something directly related to one's job or intellectual pursuits or something.

Just my largely uneducated opinion,

kmm
Logged
Myrrh23
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,639



« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2009, 02:04:48 AM »

Perhaps what EofK means is that even with ideas such as hiking and picnicing, it has acquired tones of what certain people consider "membership"--being in the clique. Heck, I know of Orthodox priests who weren't a certain ethnicity or weren't cradle-born, and the Church and its officials pushed them around and basically drew in the Welcome Mat. I feel Orthodox people need the kind of cohesive community that we all dream of, but we also need to be gentle about welcoming people and making them feel a part of it, and that takes time and patience and endurance, especially time. Perhaps the communities that EofK has experienced did not bother or did not know how to gradually build up their fellowships. I think, as Orthodox communities, we need to be like God's Still Small Voice---gentle, but inviting about it.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 02:05:28 AM by Myrrh23 » Logged

*I am no longer posting on OC.net*

We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2009, 02:11:27 AM »

Having a Paschal potluck and one after Liturgy each week is a community thing. Having the parish cleaned is a community thing. Maintaining the parish grounds is a community thing. Parish funds going towards these things is a waste when you could have volunteers maintain it instead. Taking meals to the sick and families with new babies is a community thing. These are all things that need to be done and when they are done get you involved in the lives of others. If a parish is unwilling to do these things (and would rather put it in the budget to have others do it) then is is a bad omen for the health of the body.

We have sign ups for bringing food and cleaning up each Sunday. The rotation is about every two months. Everyone brings things to the St. Nicholas day feast. The Paschal feast is one that everyone contributes to. Everyone helps hide eggs, play games with the kids, play music and various other activities. We all make the floral decorations for the parish during Holy week together as well. To think that community equals some protestant idea of "lock-ins" and the like is rather narrow minded and frankly a pretty "American" line of thought.

We make palm leaf crosses for palm sunday, dye the Paschal eggs, have the youth go to Mexico to build homes and churches for Project Mexico various times of year, make food to take to the local shelters each week, make a quilt for each couple getting married (we all cross stitch a square), the women in the parish make blankets for the local shelter a couple times each winter, we have baby showers, wedding showers, birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations, the youth make a waffle breakfast after baptisms on Lazarus Saturday, there are orthodox ski trips, girls retreats, boys retreats, youth retreats, men's retreats, women's retreats (the retreats typically take place at a monastery)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 02:21:40 AM by Quinault » Logged
Myrrh23
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,639



« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2009, 02:21:23 AM »

Having a Paschal potluck and one after Liturgy each week is a community thing. Having the parish cleaned is a community thing. Maintaining the parish grounds is a community thing. Parish funds going towards these things is a waste when you could have volunteers maintain it instead. Taking meals to the sick and families with new babies is a community thing. These are all things that need to be done and when they are done get you involved in the lives of others. If a parish is unwilling to do these things (and would rather put it in the budget to have others do it) then is is a bad omen for the health of the body.

We have sign ups for bringing food and cleaning up each Sunday. The rotation is about every two months. Everyone brings things to the St. Nicholas day feast. The Paschal feast is one that everyone contributes to. Everyone helps hide eggs, play games with the kids, play music and various other activities. We all make the floral decorations for the parish during Holy week together as well. To think that community equals some protestant idea of "lock-ins" and the like is rather narrow minded and frankly a pretty "American" line of thought.

We make palm leaf crosses pal sunday, dye the Paschal eggs, have the youth go to Mexico to build homes and churches for Project Mexico various times of year, make food to take to the local shelters each week, make a quilt for each couple getting married (we all cross stitch a square), the women in the parish make blankets for the local shelter a couple times each winter, we have baby showers, wedding showers, birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations, the youth make a waffle breakfast after baptisms on Lazarus Saturday, there are orthodox ski trips, girls retreats, boys retreats, youth retreats, men's retreats, women's retreats (the retreats typically take place at a monastery)

Wow. Very cool! Do you have a small parish, Quin?
Logged

*I am no longer posting on OC.net*

We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2009, 02:22:44 AM »

Between members (and kids) and catechumens there are about 150-200 people. Although a great number of people that have left the parish to join another come back for Holy Week and Pascha. Then it is more like 200-250 (if not more, it feels like 500 it is so crowded. We open the doors and have people outside for Paschal services. And it isn't "feast day Orthodox," it is people that used to be a part of the parish that are well known and loved). Our parish grew quite fast but to maintain community started several other parishes in other areas (places that are North, South and East of our present location) to keep the communal aspect going.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 02:40:41 AM by Quinault » Logged
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2009, 02:25:35 AM »

Perhaps what EofK means is that even with ideas such as hiking and picnicing, it has acquired tones of what certain people consider "membership"--being in the clique. Heck, I know of Orthodox priests who weren't a certain ethnicity or weren't cradle-born, and the Church and its officials pushed them around and basically drew in the Welcome Mat. I feel Orthodox people need the kind of cohesive community that we all dream of, but we also need to be gentle about welcoming people and making them feel a part of it, and that takes time and patience and endurance, especially time. Perhaps the communities that EofK has experienced did not bother or did not know how to gradually build up their fellowships. I think, as Orthodox communities, we need to be like God's Still Small Voice---gentle, but inviting about it.

Oh, I understand the issue with cliques - I'm not Russian, but attend a Russian church, and still find people surprised that a Russian man married a Canadian woman rather than the stereotypical Canadian/American man marrying a Russian woman, plus, I've felt the sting of being outside of the clique in my youth - not with church as I never really attended one until my late 20's, but in school etc. But I also don't worry too much if I have buddies at church - I just want to be part of a community.

What horrified me were the examples of "get to know you games" (although as a teacher we're supposed to conduct those with our students, they do make me squirmy, and make my husband downright hostile) and bells and whistles etc. I love the real worship too, and that by far is my favourite part.
Logged
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2009, 02:28:34 AM »


We make palm leaf crosses for palm sunday, dye the Paschal eggs, have the youth go to Mexico to build homes and churches for Project Mexico various times of year, make food to take to the local shelters each week, make a quilt for each couple getting married (we all cross stitch a square), the women in the parish make blankets for the local shelter a couple times each winter, we have baby showers, wedding showers, birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations, the youth make a waffle breakfast after baptisms on Lazarus Saturday, there are orthodox ski trips, girls retreats, boys retreats, youth retreats, men's retreats, women's retreats (the retreats typically take place at a monastery)

These are lovely activities that serve to let people know they are loved, are remembered, are cared for, and it brings people together in a positive way. Congratulations to your church!
Logged
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2009, 02:32:26 AM »

Feeling needed and that you can contribute sparks community. Our parish could not function without people that volunteer. And by doing this we keep the church budget down quite low. The annual church budget/expenses for my entire parish is LITERALLY less than the annual SALARY of one of the (nearly 2 dozen) pastors at the church I left-Mars Hill (here in seattle). Joining a church is always a bit awkward at first. But if they communicate to you that they not only want but need your help it is easy to slip in a feel like you are part of a larger family. Right now they are even sending my husband a card each month as well.

And although I do love my parish. I am not saying all this to brag on it. I am just trying to point out how community doesn't have to mean social games. It can (and should be) a means to make an impact on the community both within and outside of the parish.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 02:54:14 AM by Quinault » Logged
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2009, 03:25:49 AM »

Having a Paschal potluck and one after Liturgy each week is a community thing. Having the parish cleaned is a community thing. Maintaining the parish grounds is a community thing. Parish funds going towards these things is a waste when you could have volunteers maintain it instead. Taking meals to the sick and families with new babies is a community thing. These are all things that need to be done and when they are done get you involved in the lives of others. If a parish is unwilling to do these things (and would rather put it in the budget to have others do it) then is is a bad omen for the health of the body.

We have sign ups for bringing food and cleaning up each Sunday. The rotation is about every two months. Everyone brings things to the St. Nicholas day feast. The Paschal feast is one that everyone contributes to. Everyone helps hide eggs, play games with the kids, play music and various other activities. We all make the floral decorations for the parish during Holy week together as well. To think that community equals some protestant idea of "lock-ins" and the like is rather narrow minded and frankly a pretty "American" line of thought.

We make palm leaf crosses for palm sunday, dye the Paschal eggs, have the youth go to Mexico to build homes and churches for Project Mexico various times of year, make food to take to the local shelters each week, make a quilt for each couple getting married (we all cross stitch a square), the women in the parish make blankets for the local shelter a couple times each winter, we have baby showers, wedding showers, birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations, the youth make a waffle breakfast after baptisms on Lazarus Saturday, there are orthodox ski trips, girls retreats, boys retreats, youth retreats, men's retreats, women's retreats (the retreats typically take place at a monastery)

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!   Grin Grin Grin
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2009, 07:10:11 AM »

Having a Paschal potluck and one after Liturgy each week is a community thing. Having the parish cleaned is a community thing. Maintaining the parish grounds is a community thing. Parish funds going towards these things is a waste when you could have volunteers maintain it instead. Taking meals to the sick and families with new babies is a community thing. These are all things that need to be done and when they are done get you involved in the lives of others. If a parish is unwilling to do these things (and would rather put it in the budget to have others do it) then is is a bad omen for the health of the body.

We have sign ups for bringing food and cleaning up each Sunday. The rotation is about every two months. Everyone brings things to the St. Nicholas day feast. The Paschal feast is one that everyone contributes to. Everyone helps hide eggs, play games with the kids, play music and various other activities. We all make the floral decorations for the parish during Holy week together as well. To think that community equals some protestant idea of "lock-ins" and the like is rather narrow minded and frankly a pretty "American" line of thought.

We make palm leaf crosses for palm sunday, dye the Paschal eggs, have the youth go to Mexico to build homes and churches for Project Mexico various times of year, make food to take to the local shelters each week, make a quilt for each couple getting married (we all cross stitch a square), the women in the parish make blankets for the local shelter a couple times each winter, we have baby showers, wedding showers, birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations, the youth make a waffle breakfast after baptisms on Lazarus Saturday, there are orthodox ski trips, girls retreats, boys retreats, youth retreats, men's retreats, women's retreats (the retreats typically take place at a monastery)

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!   Grin Grin Grin

Yeah. Very American. Smiley
Logged

Love never fails.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2009, 10:45:28 AM »

My experiences with "church community" are very similar to what Quinalt posted.  My parents were pretty active in our parish growing up.  The whole family looked forward to helping out at our church's annual bazaar in August, working on constructing/tearing down the game booths (and working the games themselves) as well as working in the kitchen.  My father helped run the weekly bingo games and my mother made food for the poor every other week.  You just plain got to know people working alongside them w/o the need for the artificiality that EofK described.  It does help, though, if one can find a person of similar interest within the parish community.  At least it helped me to integrate myself into the life of the parish as I am not a conversationalist by any means and generally find meeting new people difficult.  However, once you're "in", so to speak, you're in.
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2009, 11:21:16 AM »

My experiences with "church community" are very similar to what Quinalt posted.  My parents were pretty active in our parish growing up.  The whole family looked forward to helping out at our church's annual bazaar in August, working on constructing/tearing down the game booths (and working the games themselves) as well as working in the kitchen.  My father helped run the weekly bingo games and my mother made food for the poor every other week.  You just plain got to know people working alongside them w/o the need for the artificiality that EofK described.  It does help, though, if one can find a person of similar interest within the parish community.  At least it helped me to integrate myself into the life of the parish as I am not a conversationalist by any means and generally find meeting new people difficult.  However, once you're "in", so to speak, you're in.

But what if somebody just does not need to "integrate" him or herself into what you call "the life of the parish?" Again, I never, never, never felt any need to be a part of this "life"! In the Church, I seek God. I come to the Chalice and receive Him. I prepare myself for that all the time, trying, failing, again trying. I interact with hundreds of people outside the church - at my work, and on the Internet forums like this one. I am just not seeking any additional occupation and interaction elsewhere! If some brother or sister in Christ, be he/she from my parish, or not from my parish, is "hungry" - needs something that I can help with, - I will try to provide what he or she needs to the best of my abilities. I don't need to be involved in any organized actitivites to do this!!!

I don't know... In Ukrainian large cities like my home city, Kyiv, or Lesya's home city, Luts'k, there are very many Orthodox people and there are wonderful Orthodox churches, with magnificent exterior and interior, with heavenly choirs, and everything that must be there. But there just isn't any "parish life" - and to me, that's GOOD!!!

Well, maybe not all people are so extremely anti-social as I am or as my wife and daughter are. But I know that I am not unique, and (closer to the OP) I am sure that there are kids who don't like social interactions. To them, the "parish life" may well be a permanent, irreversible turn-off. 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 11:22:33 AM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2009, 11:49:59 AM »

Heorhij,

I would never in a million years consider making someone become part of a group they do not wish to!  One of the reasons I'm going to the local OCA parish instead of the Antiochian one that I first attended when exploring Orthodoxy is the excessive pressure I felt to do things with the other parishoners with whom I had very little in common with at the latter. 

As you've noted, what I consider to be an "active social parish life" is something you are not used to nor do you find normal; it's just simply not done where you are from.  For me, and I suspect many Americans, being active in a parish outside of the sacraments is normal.  This is, I believe, across the American Christian spectrum, from the most liberal aliturgical Quakers to the most conservative insular SSPX parish.  But I know I personally would never push anyone, either figuratively or literally, into so much as a coffee hour let alone something more involved. 

What's necessary on both sides of this issue is plain old Christian charity and some basic cultural understanding and respect. 
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2009, 12:19:34 PM »

Heorhij,

I would never in a million years consider making someone become part of a group they do not wish to!  One of the reasons I'm going to the local OCA parish instead of the Antiochian one that I first attended when exploring Orthodoxy is the excessive pressure I felt to do things with the other parishoners with whom I had very little in common with at the latter. 

As you've noted, what I consider to be an "active social parish life" is something you are not used to nor do you find normal; it's just simply not done where you are from.  For me, and I suspect many Americans, being active in a parish outside of the sacraments is normal.  This is, I believe, across the American Christian spectrum, from the most liberal aliturgical Quakers to the most conservative insular SSPX parish.  But I know I personally would never push anyone, either figuratively or literally, into so much as a coffee hour let alone something more involved. 

What's necessary on both sides of this issue is plain old Christian charity and some basic cultural understanding and respect. 

Perhaps you are right... but it's not just my cultural baggage, I guess, it's also my personal, individual character. And - am sorry to state it, but it's true - not only I dislike group activities when I am involved in them against my will; I also dislike it when other people are involved in them in church. I just don't believe that this is what church is for. It makes me seek the door. Sad If, for example, I were in Quinault's parish and there were another Orthodox parish nearby, more similar to my current one (i.e. only DLs), I would most definitely leave the parish similar to Quinault's for the one that is more like my current one - even if I were NOT myself involved in all the "activities" Quinault described...

But again, maybe you are right and I should just be more respectful, I don't know.
Logged

Love never fails.
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #47 on: April 01, 2009, 01:40:11 PM »

Sometimes I think  this constant whirlwind of "doingness" is so completely ingrained in  North Americans to the extent that we feel too guilty to admit we don't enjoy it. I remember there came a point in my life when I nearly collapsed from the strain of the constant activity and effort and I realized I couldn't do it anymore-it wasn't "me", and so I stopped attending all these affairs (not without a huge dose of guilt which wasn't helped by the evil looks I received from other people and the way I was basically  "stroked off" their lists of "cool people"). This discussion is a good reminder to me that we are all different and that we (I!) should learn to respect those differences without demanding they be like me.
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #48 on: April 01, 2009, 01:43:33 PM »

Perhaps you are right... but it's not just my cultural baggage, I guess, it's also my personal, individual character. And - am sorry to state it, but it's true - not only I dislike group activities when I am involved in them against my will; I also dislike it when other people are involved in them in church. I just don't believe that this is what church is for. It makes me seek the door. Sad If, for example, I were in Quinault's parish and there were another Orthodox parish nearby, more similar to my current one (i.e. only DLs), I would most definitely leave the parish similar to Quinault's for the one that is more like my current one - even if I were NOT myself involved in all the "activities" Quinault described...

But again, maybe you are right and I should just be more respectful, I don't know.

Perhaps there is some truth in your statement that this is not "what church is for", at least objectively.  However, for some people, the local parish is the door, so to speak, for their own personal growth and interests.  There are things that go on at my parish that I have no interest in participating in.  However, I was recently given the opportunity to help redo the parish library.  Being a librarian whose dream was always to work in a seminary or other large religious library, this was a perfect opportunity for me to not only pad my resume, so to speak, but to also engage in work that I find interesting and enlightening on so many levels.  So, on a purely subjective level, this is exactly "what the church is for".

I can, however, see your point.  I can wholeheartedly agree with you that some people's enthusiasm can be incredibly overwhelming and even offensive, taking the subjective to be the objective.  In fact, this is bringing up some related (but non-church) memories that now bring a smile to my face but, at the time, frankly, ticked me off to no end.
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #49 on: April 01, 2009, 02:57:00 PM »

I interact with hundreds of people outside the church - at my work, and on the Internet forums like this one. I am just not seeking any additional occupation and interaction elsewhere! If some brother or sister in Christ, be he/she from my parish, or not from my parish, is "hungry" - needs something that I can help with, - I will try to provide what he or she needs to the best of my abilities. I don't need to be involved in any organized actitivites to do this!!!

I don't know... In Ukrainian large cities like my home city, Kyiv, or Lesya's home city, Luts'k, there are very many Orthodox people and there are wonderful Orthodox churches, with magnificent exterior and interior, with heavenly choirs, and everything that must be there. But there just isn't any "parish life" - and to me, that's GOOD!!!

Using the internet as a replacement for interacting with people is not healthy. How exactly would you know if someone in your parish is in need if all you do is attend services without interacting with anyone?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 02:59:48 PM by Quinault » Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #50 on: April 01, 2009, 03:06:06 PM »

I interact with hundreds of people outside the church - at my work, and on the Internet forums like this one. I am just not seeking any additional occupation and interaction elsewhere! If some brother or sister in Christ, be he/she from my parish, or not from my parish, is "hungry" - needs something that I can help with, - I will try to provide what he or she needs to the best of my abilities. I don't need to be involved in any organized actitivites to do this!!!

I don't know... In Ukrainian large cities like my home city, Kyiv, or Lesya's home city, Luts'k, there are very many Orthodox people and there are wonderful Orthodox churches, with magnificent exterior and interior, with heavenly choirs, and everything that must be there. But there just isn't any "parish life" - and to me, that's GOOD!!!

Using the internet as a replacement for interacting with people is not healthy. How exactly would you know if someone in your parish is in need if all you do is attend services without interacting with anyone?

I am not "replacing" anything, I am just saying that the amount of my real life interactions with people (students, faculty) plus internet interaction of forums like this one is enough for me; I have so many interactions per day that I just cannot "stuff" more of that into my life.

And how will I know about the need of my fellow parishioner? Well, they have my telephone number and my e-mail address. I receive and answer to at least a few dozen e-mails per day. There is no need for a special "group activity" in my parish for that.
Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2009, 03:08:48 PM »

So how did they get your email and number? Is it merely in a directory? If all you want is to attend services and not meet people-why would someone call you for help that doesn't know you beyond a nod and smile at liturgy? Obviously you have a little more "community" than you make yourself out to.
Logged
LBK
Toumarches
************
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 11,134


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2009, 03:22:24 PM »

While I do contribute in my own small and meager way in my parish, I do understand to a degree where Heorhij is coming from. Some people thrive on being socially active, some contribute in a more low-key way (e.g. myself), and some, through their personality and life experiences, are more the "lone wolves". Takes all sorts to make the world go 'round. Personally, I have far more respect for a lone wolf with integrity and sound principles than a social butterfly who's doing it for the recognition ("Lookit me! Aren't I good?").
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 03:23:38 PM by LBK » Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #53 on: April 01, 2009, 03:25:25 PM »

So how did they get your email and number? Is it merely in a directory?

Yes.

If all you want is to attend services and not meet people-why would someone call you for help that doesn't know you beyond a nod and smile at liturgy?

I don't know. Like I said, I am ready to help when I can; it does not matter to me, is this person from my parish or not; people meet me at my college, and elsewhere (including the Internet), and it's enough to have a short conversation with me in order to find out who I am and what I do and what are my interests, my circle of communication, my relationships, acquaintances, etc. I don't think I need to attend prayer meetings or quilt-making sessions for that. Smiley

Obviously you have a little more "community" than you make yourself out to.

I am not sure I understand this sentence, sorry. Again, all I am saying is that I do not see any need and any benefit from the so-called "group church activities," I find them absolutely superfluous, artificial and utterly without relevance to what Church is about, that's all.
Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #54 on: April 01, 2009, 03:29:09 PM »

There is a difference between a more quiet reserved person that is still involved in small ways and a person that refuses to be involved at all. I don't like being out there are volunteering for a ton of stuff. I have no interest in it. I would rather be home and interacting with my family. That is what I thrive on. But to keep everything to myself would be selfish. I need to at least interact enough to know who other people in the church are. It seems many people are espousing not knowing ANYONE in the church outside of a smile and nod as you come in and as you leave. And if that is the limit of your involvement in a parish then there is something wrong.
Logged
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2009, 03:34:25 PM »

A conversation as you enter or as you leave is community building.

I think your idea of a lack of community is different than mine. Here is an example from the church I left;


Arrive 4:30pm so you can find a parking space
Drop off kids at childcare a 4:45
Enter sanctuary at 4:50 and stake a claim on a seat
Service begins at 5pm
"Worship"
Sermon (if you are lucky the pastor is actually there, if not it is piped in via video)
worship music starts as a que to pick up your kids from childcare
Rush to get your kids before they shut down the communion lines
Service ends 6:30
Leave by 6:45 because the next service begins at 7:00pm

You can go into a service and out of a service without talking to or even really looking at ANYONE. What was their solution to the lack of community? An internet bulletin board to chat on during the week. Then later a "christian" version of facebook for their 7 "campuses" of a single church stretching out over an area between Shoreline and Olympia to the North and south (roughly 70 miles) and Seattle and Bellevue to the west and east (roughly 15 miles).
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 03:41:00 PM by Quinault » Logged
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #56 on: April 01, 2009, 03:38:30 PM »

I am not sure I understand this sentence, sorry. Again, all I am saying is that I do not see any need and any benefit from the so-called "group church activities," I find them absolutely superfluous, artificial and utterly without relevance to what Church is about, that's all.

I think what we really need here is a definition of "group church activities".

Would you object to, say, the "Sandwich Workshop" my parish does fortnightly that provides food for the nearby soup kitchen?  It's made up entirely of parishoners and Father makes a simple announcement the Sunday before that the group is gathering and any help would be appreciated. 

Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #57 on: April 01, 2009, 03:49:13 PM »

While I do contribute in my own small and meager way in my parish, I do understand to a degree where Heorhij is coming from. Some people thrive on being socially active, some contribute in a more low-key way (e.g. myself), and some, through their personality and life experiences, are more the "lone wolves". Takes all sorts to make the world go 'round. Personally, I have far more respect for a lone wolf with integrity and sound principles than a social butterfly who's doing it for the recognition ("Lookit me! Aren't I good?").

Well, I am trying to not judge people and therefore I would think twice before condemning somebody, saying that he/she does it "for recognition." Maybe it's this person's genuine desire to help a brother or sister in Christ, I don't know. But I feel very disturbed when Sunday meetings in a parish turn into various announcements, reports on activitiers, etc. I am kind of "scarred" in this regard by my short (but pretty dramatic) experience in the Presbyterian Church (USA) (November 2003 - October 2006).

Presbyterians do not have bishops, so the laity actually has the power to hire and fire ministers. And in that congregation where I was baptised, the minister was of my type (i.e. introvert, a lover of the church history, theology. prayer, worship etc., and a very strong believer in Sacraments), while the parishioners were obsessed with "activities" and saw their minister as a nuisance. They always complained that the minister's sermons were too long and "over their heads," or that the minister "wastes everyone's time by reciting this long boring Great Prayer of Thanksgiving before passing the juice and crackers," or that the minister insists that the parents of the child to be baptised at least read a short Catechism ("what nonsense, in this day and age???"), etc. The minister, on the other hand, was deeply hurt by endless announcements, which ate up the precious time of the Sunday morning assembly, and the various "activity reports." And the parishioners finally got rid of the minister - created an atmospere where the minister literally could not breathe, and resigned. And it was all accompanied by the talk in the parish about how important it is to be "involved," and how "insensitive" the minister was. I was among a very small minority that actually sided with the minister, and I still remember phone calls from some parishiners from the "anti-minister party" who lectured me for hours about the basic truth of Christianity, that the church is about activities and getting to know people etc. So, today, when I hear about parishioners meeting for making quilts etc., I begin to shiver all over and want to just run away.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 03:51:07 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #58 on: April 01, 2009, 03:58:01 PM »

The quilt we make for the people getting married isn't done as a group but as a "group." We all cross stitch the squares on our own time, turn them in at the appointed time and one lady pieces it together and does all the sewing. The fleece blankets are made every few months for "Project Linus" http://www.projectlinus.org/

As my view of a church without any community is colored by my experiences, yours is by what you percieved to be too much.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 04:05:33 PM by Quinault » Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #59 on: April 01, 2009, 04:18:37 PM »

I am not sure I understand this sentence, sorry. Again, all I am saying is that I do not see any need and any benefit from the so-called "group church activities," I find them absolutely superfluous, artificial and utterly without relevance to what Church is about, that's all.

I think what we really need here is a definition of "group church activities".

Would you object to, say, the "Sandwich Workshop" my parish does fortnightly that provides food for the nearby soup kitchen?  It's made up entirely of parishoners and Father makes a simple announcement the Sunday before that the group is gathering and any help would be appreciated. 



Tough question. I don't know. On the one hand, I do have pity for the people who are hungry. Yet, I work all day to educate kids, including very many kids from impoverished Mississippi "backwater counties," so that they do not end up in the catogory of the users of soup kitchens. Maybe I should do that even more and better than I am doing it now. And in church, I still prefer to just worship, pray, partake in the Eucharist.
Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #60 on: April 01, 2009, 04:23:27 PM »

The question wasn't whether you would do the activity. The question was whether you consider making sandwiches for the hungry "absolutely superfluous, artificial and utterly without relevance to what Church is about." You did make the bold statement that all group church activities are essentially that. You said there is "no need or benefit" from group church activities. You aren't just saying it isn't for you.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 04:26:10 PM by Quinault » Logged
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #61 on: April 01, 2009, 04:28:16 PM »

It sounds like the church i left, if it was an orthodox rather than protestant one-would be right up your alley Wink
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #62 on: April 01, 2009, 04:28:16 PM »

The question wasn't whether you would do the activity. The question was whether you consider making sandwiches for the hungry "absolutely superfluous, artificial and utterly without relevance to what Church is about." You did make the bold statement that all group church activities are essentially that. You said there is "no need or benefit" from group church activities. You aren't just saying it isn't for you.

OK, if you want - yes. That is also superfluous and without relevance to what Church is about, I believe.
Logged

Love never fails.
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #63 on: April 01, 2009, 04:29:47 PM »

I don't think that the church fathers would agree with you Heorhij. I am pretty sure that feeding the hungry is up there quite high for Christ as well. Wink
Logged
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #64 on: April 01, 2009, 04:30:39 PM »

But what if somebody just does not need to "integrate" him or herself into what you call "the life of the parish?"

No problem; it shouldn't be anything expected or forced.  But it really is a cultural expectation in America, and lots of folks who want to practice their faith actively seek outlets like work at a homeless shelter, visit elderly parishioners and/or bring them to church, etc.  If you don't want to do that yourself, that's OK, but saying that you "dislike it when other people are involved in them in church" is kind of getting into other peoples' business.  If there are enough folks there who feel a desire to do that sort of thing, there ought to be an outlet, imo, and they don't have to badger you about your not participating, just like you don't have to badger them about their desire to participate.  Taking care of those in need is definitely what St. Paul said "pure and undefiled religion" is, in addition to keeping ourselves undefiled from the world.

Sometimes I think  this constant whirlwind of "doingness" is so completely ingrained in  North Americans to the extent that we feel too guilty to admit we don't enjoy it.

I think some folks need to respect their own limits and admit that they can't do it ALL.  If you feel you need an outlet to serve, find something you can do easily and (above all!) thoroughly and consistently, and do THAT.  Don't go a mile wide and an inch deep, otherwise you will, indeed, burn out, I agree.

I don't know... In Ukrainian large cities like my home city, Kyiv, or Lesya's home city, Luts'k, there are very many Orthodox people and there are wonderful Orthodox churches, with magnificent exterior and interior, with heavenly choirs, and everything that must be there. But there just isn't any "parish life" - and to me, that's GOOD!!!

Why is that objectively a good thing?  Why would having any sort of "parish life" necessarily be a detriment to any and all who would participate therein?  Why could not people who want to serve be able to do so?  I know this may get close to home, but the Protestant churches in the Ukraine are taking in orphans off the street and feeding them while the Orthodox worry about their buildings.

Well, maybe not all people are so extremely anti-social as I am or as my wife and daughter are. But I know that I am not unique, and (closer to the OP) I am sure that there are kids who don't like social interactions. To them, the "parish life" may well be a permanent, irreversible turn-off. 

They shouldn't feel pressured to participate then, but better to have it and not use it than to want it and not have it.
The question wasn't whether you would do the activity. The question was whether you consider making sandwiches for the hungry "absolutely superfluous, artificial and utterly without relevance to what Church is about." You did make the bold statement that all group church activities are essentially that. You said there is "no need or benefit" from group church activities. You aren't just saying it isn't for you.

OK, if you want - yes. That is also superfluous and without relevance to what Church is about, I believe.

"I was hungry and you fed me" is not what the Church is about?!  Shocked
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #65 on: April 01, 2009, 04:52:11 PM »


Tough question. I don't know. On the one hand, I do have pity for the people who are hungry. Yet, I work all day to educate kids, including very many kids from impoverished Mississippi "backwater counties," so that they do not end up in the catogory of the users of soup kitchens. Maybe I should do that even more and better than I am doing it now. And in church, I still prefer to just worship, pray, partake in the Eucharist.

I don't know about impoverished Mississippi, but many of the users of soup kitchens in Baltimore City find themselves in such a place because of disaster or violence perpetrated on them by an outside force.  Not a one of them would use the service if they did not have to do so.  I have yet to meet a patron of a soup kitchen who was not a) incredibly thankful and b) voluntarily poor.  One man was so thankful he even tried to share his meal with my friend who actually served it to him. 

We have a pretty bad gang problem in Baltimore and its effects ripple through our neighborhoods like waves on the beach after a bad storm.  A family may find itself suddenly without a father or a mother due to a stray bullet or robbery gone bad.  All of a sudden, half the financial (not to mention emotional) support is gone and a family needs help in feeding itself.  I've met college graduates in the line next to people who are functionally illiterate.  Poverty and hunger strikes us all hard, fast, and often without warning.  In today's ailing economy, I expect to see more educated people stopping by to get a sandwich or three to help feed their families.

What did St. James write about sending the hungry or naked on their way with a smile and a prayer?  What did he say about faith without works?  While I certainly would not judge someone who did not participate in feeding the hungry or clothing the naked through parish outlets (after all, they may be doing something far more that I don't see in their spare time elsewhere), to consider doing these things not a part of Christian praxis is just plain wrong.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 04:58:46 PM by Schultz » Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Quinault
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 4,518


What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #66 on: April 01, 2009, 04:54:59 PM »

^ Extremely well said.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,089


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #67 on: April 01, 2009, 05:24:27 PM »

Feeding and taking care of the widows and orphans was one of the first organized social missions of the Church, and in the book of Acts it led to the formation of a new order of Clergy to service these folks.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #68 on: April 01, 2009, 06:26:21 PM »

I don't think that the church fathers would agree with you Heorhij. I am pretty sure that feeding the hungry is up there quite high for Christ as well. Wink

Right, it is high! But feeding the hungry, not ORGANIZING the feeding of the hungry. You have pity to the people who are hungry - go and feed them. There is no need in creating a church group that would do it in a coordinated fashion, I think.
Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #69 on: April 01, 2009, 06:27:41 PM »

Feeding and taking care of the widows and orphans was one of the first organized social missions of the Church, and in the book of Acts it led to the formation of a new order of Clergy to service these folks.

Yes, and still, I am afraid that organizing this activity the way things tend to be organized in the USA of today is superfluous and irrelevant to what the Church is about.
Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #70 on: April 01, 2009, 06:30:47 PM »

I don't know... In Ukrainian large cities like my home city, Kyiv, or Lesya's home city, Luts'k, there are very many Orthodox people and there are wonderful Orthodox churches, with magnificent exterior and interior, with heavenly choirs, and everything that must be there. But there just isn't any "parish life" - and to me, that's GOOD!!!

Why is that objectively a good thing?  Why would having any sort of "parish life" necessarily be a detriment to any and all who would participate therein?  Why could not people who want to serve be able to do so?  I know this may get close to home, but the Protestant churches in the Ukraine are taking in orphans off the street and feeding them while the Orthodox worry about their buildings.

Well, if they worry only about buildings, that's bad, too, but as far as I know they worry about the worship, first and foremost, and that's why I would feel most comfortable there.
Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #71 on: April 01, 2009, 06:33:39 PM »

What did St. James write about sending the hungry or naked on their way with a smile and a prayer?  What did he say about faith without works?  While I certainly would not judge someone who did not participate in feeding the hungry or clothing the naked through parish outlets (after all, they may be doing something far more that I don't see in their spare time elsewhere), to consider doing these things not a part of Christian praxis is just plain wrong.

Again, I am not against feeding the hungry. I just think that spending special effort to organize the activity of feeding the hungry all together, in a group of people from a particular parish, is a way to distract the attention, the energy of the people from what the Church is about, i.e. worship. We certainly can and perhaps should feed the hungry, but why organizing it in a parish? You see a poor person - feed him (her), that's all...
Logged

Love never fails.
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #72 on: April 01, 2009, 07:19:01 PM »

Feeding and taking care of the widows and orphans was one of the first organized social missions of the Church, and in the book of Acts it led to the formation of a new order of Clergy to service these folks.
Yes, and still, I am afraid that organizing this activity the way things tend to be organized in the USA of today is superfluous and irrelevant to what the Church is about.

Could you describe how the way it's organized is so anti-Orthodox?  Individual parishes with their deaconate WERE the way the Church fed the poor in the New Testament.

Our worship informs our service; it should not replace it.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 07:19:40 PM by DavidBryan » Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #73 on: April 01, 2009, 07:31:17 PM »

Again, I am not against feeding the hungry. I just think that spending special effort to organize the activity of feeding the hungry all together, in a group of people from a particular parish, is a way to distract the attention, the energy of the people from what the Church is about, i.e. worship. We certainly can and perhaps should feed the hungry, but why organizing it in a parish? You see a poor person - feed him (her), that's all...

But the Church HAS done this organization work since Day One.  As Cleveland pointed out, the diaconate was formed for this specific reason.  Again, no one is saying that one should not individually feed the hungry, but does not an organization tend to be able to do more work for more people by its mere existence?  I'm sure this is the case in other places in the Old Country.  I would be interested in hearing from our non-American and non-Ukrainian brothers and sisters on the subject.

This work of organization as a local church community has its origins in the Bible itself and even before the coming of Christ, the Jews did the same for their poor and hungry as an organized community

Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,089


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #74 on: April 01, 2009, 08:48:42 PM »

Feeding and taking care of the widows and orphans was one of the first organized social missions of the Church, and in the book of Acts it led to the formation of a new order of Clergy to service these folks.

Yes, and still, I am afraid that organizing this activity the way things tend to be organized in the USA of today is superfluous and irrelevant to what the Church is about.

I can see the danger that is possible on the large scale, but on the small scale (parish level) there should be plenty of checks against a superfluous enactment of essential charity; at the very least, such enactment can indeed assist those who are unsure or inexperienced to begin being charitable beings - and when organized properly, it can protect those who need the charity from any one of a number of nuisances or dangers (being taken advantage of, being preached to as a condition of receiving charity, being used, etc.).
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #75 on: April 01, 2009, 10:14:01 PM »

Presbyterians do not have bishops, so the laity actually has the power to hire and fire ministers. And in that congregation where I was baptised, the minister was of my type (i.e. introvert, a lover of the church history, theology. prayer, worship etc., and a very strong believer in Sacraments), while the parishioners were obsessed with "activities" and saw their minister as a nuisance. They always complained that the minister's sermons were too long and "over their heads," or that the minister "wastes everyone's time by reciting this long boring Great Prayer of Thanksgiving before passing the juice and crackers," or that the minister insists that the parents of the child to be baptised at least read a short Catechism ("what nonsense, in this day and age???"), etc. The minister, on the other hand, was deeply hurt by endless announcements, which ate up the precious time of the Sunday morning assembly, and the various "activity reports." And the parishioners finally got rid of the minister - created an atmospere where the minister literally could not breathe, and resigned. And it was all accompanied by the talk in the parish about how important it is to be "involved," and how "insensitive" the minister was. I was among a very small minority that actually sided with the minister, and I still remember phone calls from some parishiners from the "anti-minister party" who lectured me for hours about the basic truth of Christianity, that the church is about activities and getting to know people etc. So, today, when I hear about parishioners meeting for making quilts etc., I begin to shiver all over and want to just run away.

Not to be a downer, but this stuff happens in Orthodox parishes.  Not necessarily around the minister/priest being "invovled", but just about doing whatever the parishioners don't like.  Lots of parishes are priest mills.
Logged
username!
Section Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ukrainian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvaniadoxy
Posts: 5,068



« Reply #76 on: April 02, 2009, 12:15:22 AM »

Regardless we should all strive to take the kids to church.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 12:15:44 AM by username! » Logged

Myrrh23
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,639



« Reply #77 on: April 02, 2009, 05:01:42 AM »

While I do contribute in my own small and meager way in my parish, I do understand to a degree where Heorhij is coming from. Some people thrive on being socially active, some contribute in a more low-key way (e.g. myself), and some, through their personality and life experiences, are more the "lone wolves". Takes all sorts to make the world go 'round. Personally, I have far more respect for a lone wolf with integrity and sound principles than a social butterfly who's doing it for the recognition ("Lookit me! Aren't I good?").

Actually, it's probably better to write "than a social butterfly who might be doing it for the recognition". Just a thought.
I understand where you're coming from, because I'm very much that lone wolf, although I like the idea of the close parish family thing. I still have a lot of trouble even going to DL because I'm not used to engaging with people, although I know I can learn to get used to it a little. Even though I think the kind of parish Quin has described is the ideal, I'm not sure I'm into the creation of handfuls of parish activities. Dunno...
Logged

*I am no longer posting on OC.net*

We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
SDMPNS
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: raised in Metropolia which became the OCA now I belong to a GOA parish..
Posts: 540


Praise God for the beauty of Creation


« Reply #78 on: April 02, 2009, 05:48:34 AM »

There were times when I hated going to Church as a child. It was so boring especially since I could not understand what was going on. We did not speak Church Slavonic at home.
When I was in college I flirted with joining the Quakers....at least they were against the war ! I found out though that I missed the Liturgy.
Logged
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #79 on: April 02, 2009, 10:12:53 AM »



Not to be a downer, but this stuff happens in Orthodox parishes.  Not necessarily around the minister/priest being "invovled", but just about doing whatever the parishioners don't like.  Lots of parishes are priest mills.

Indeed!  The local Ukrainian Catholic parish in Baltimore once had a priest who found his clothes packed and the locks changed on the rectory door after the parishoners decided he wasn't Ukrainian enough (their words, not mine) for them.  Some of the parish leaders are influential enough w/in the archdiocese that they got the metropolitan to replace him.  He was the last one to know.
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #80 on: April 02, 2009, 10:29:01 AM »

Schultz, believe it or not that's is nothing compared to what a group of people in my parish tried; and I mean not even close.
Logged
LBK
Toumarches
************
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 11,134


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #81 on: April 02, 2009, 06:24:06 PM »

Indeed!  The local Ukrainian Catholic parish in Baltimore once had a priest who found his clothes packed and the locks changed on the rectory door after the parishoners decided he wasn't Ukrainian enough (their words, not mine) for them.  Some of the parish leaders are influential enough w/in the archdiocese that they got the metropolitan to replace him.  He was the last one to know.

Of all the ethnicities associated with Orthodoxy, I would have to say that the Ukrainians are particularly prone to chewing up and spitting out their priests.  Embarrassed Cry
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #82 on: April 03, 2009, 07:31:08 AM »

Presbyterians do not have bishops, so the laity actually has the power to hire and fire ministers. And in that congregation where I was baptised, the minister was of my type (i.e. introvert, a lover of the church history, theology. prayer, worship etc., and a very strong believer in Sacraments), while the parishioners were obsessed with "activities" and saw their minister as a nuisance. They always complained that the minister's sermons were too long and "over their heads," or that the minister "wastes everyone's time by reciting this long boring Great Prayer of Thanksgiving before passing the juice and crackers," or that the minister insists that the parents of the child to be baptised at least read a short Catechism ("what nonsense, in this day and age???"), etc. The minister, on the other hand, was deeply hurt by endless announcements, which ate up the precious time of the Sunday morning assembly, and the various "activity reports." And the parishioners finally got rid of the minister - created an atmospere where the minister literally could not breathe, and resigned. And it was all accompanied by the talk in the parish about how important it is to be "involved," and how "insensitive" the minister was. I was among a very small minority that actually sided with the minister, and I still remember phone calls from some parishiners from the "anti-minister party" who lectured me for hours about the basic truth of Christianity, that the church is about activities and getting to know people etc. So, today, when I hear about parishioners meeting for making quilts etc., I begin to shiver all over and want to just run away.

Not to be a downer, but this stuff happens in Orthodox parishes.  Not necessarily around the minister/priest being "invovled", but just about doing whatever the parishioners don't like.  Lots of parishes are priest mills.

That's what I figured out, and it frightens me. I has not yet happened in my parish, but as it "grows" (and it will, I think), it might happen, too. I am not as much afraid of "cliques" etc., as of the possibility of sly, inconspicuous substitution that will happen. Instead of the place for the gathering of the praying, worshipping people we will change into an all-American activities center with some Orthodox verbiage attached to it.
Logged

Love never fails.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,089


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #83 on: April 03, 2009, 07:36:16 AM »

Of all the ethnicities associated with Orthodoxy, I would have to say that the Ukrainians are particularly prone to chewing up and spitting out their priests.  Embarrassed Cry

Really?  I don't know about that.  There are enough parishes of all ethnicities (and even a few of non-ethnicities) who are quite prone to it.  I've seen it more along regional lines than ethnic lines.

This discussion seems tangential to the main topic, however...
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 07:37:03 AM by cleveland » Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #84 on: April 03, 2009, 09:49:15 AM »

Presbyterians do not have bishops, so the laity actually has the power to hire and fire ministers. And in that congregation where I was baptised, the minister was of my type (i.e. introvert, a lover of the church history, theology. prayer, worship etc., and a very strong believer in Sacraments), while the parishioners were obsessed with "activities" and saw their minister as a nuisance. They always complained that the minister's sermons were too long and "over their heads," or that the minister "wastes everyone's time by reciting this long boring Great Prayer of Thanksgiving before passing the juice and crackers," or that the minister insists that the parents of the child to be baptised at least read a short Catechism ("what nonsense, in this day and age???"), etc. The minister, on the other hand, was deeply hurt by endless announcements, which ate up the precious time of the Sunday morning assembly, and the various "activity reports." And the parishioners finally got rid of the minister - created an atmospere where the minister literally could not breathe, and resigned. And it was all accompanied by the talk in the parish about how important it is to be "involved," and how "insensitive" the minister was. I was among a very small minority that actually sided with the minister, and I still remember phone calls from some parishiners from the "anti-minister party" who lectured me for hours about the basic truth of Christianity, that the church is about activities and getting to know people etc. So, today, when I hear about parishioners meeting for making quilts etc., I begin to shiver all over and want to just run away.

Not to be a downer, but this stuff happens in Orthodox parishes.  Not necessarily around the minister/priest being "invovled", but just about doing whatever the parishioners don't like.  Lots of parishes are priest mills.

That's what I figured out, and it frightens me. I has not yet happened in my parish, but as it "grows" (and it will, I think), it might happen, too. I am not as much afraid of "cliques" etc., as of the possibility of sly, inconspicuous substitution that will happen. Instead of the place for the gathering of the praying, worshipping people we will change into an all-American activities center with some Orthodox verbiage attached to it.

I don't know Heorhij, if this is a totally "all-american" thing. My parish is quite established, yes, but it is profoundly slavic, and there are all kinds of activities. We have a very active sisterhood and the women are divided up into groups and they take turns preparing an after-liturgy meal on Sundays. Most people go down after church to have this meal together. On Saturdays we have Church school for the children and other opportunities, such as a course in iconography. The church is basically open to the public all weekend long. Meals are also served all weekend long by the sisterhood. They gather to make prosphora, dye easter eggs, make kulich, have bazaars to raise money for a monastery in Jerusalem, there are choir practises, parish council meetings etc. Many of the youth are here without any family and the Church gives them a sense of family and support. I think it's better that they are associating with other Orthodox young people who encourage their Faith than hanging out with ungodly youth who would undermine it. In our times, it's hard enough to maintain faith when we only associate with godly people, never mind if we don't.  I personally do not engage in many of these activities, because it gets wearisome for me, but I do think perhaps I am losing out when I don't. Anyhow, do you think these activities I've listed are wrong? Do you think it is wrong for single, lonely youth who have no family whatsoever on this side of the ocean, to find in the Church a warm, caring community? I know Orthodox women in Eastern Europe who also labour selflessly for the Church by preparing meals for the poor, the shut-ins, so I know it is done to a certain degree, even there...
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #85 on: April 03, 2009, 10:25:46 AM »

In our times, it's hard enough to maintain faith when we only associate with godly people, never mind if we don't.

I never understood why are people saying it... I associate exclusively with "ungodly" people, but that does not influence on my faith in any way. Why would it?

I personally do not engage in many of these activities, because it gets wearisome for me, but I do think perhaps I am losing out when I don't.


Maybe not. If you are like me, you don't. Smiley
Logged

Love never fails.
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,916



« Reply #86 on: April 03, 2009, 10:31:41 AM »

I never understood why are people saying it... I associate exclusively with "ungodly" people, but that does not influence on my faith in any way. Why would it?

Every interaction influences you in one way or another.  You might mean to say that it does not negatively influence you, but influence you it still does!
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #87 on: April 03, 2009, 10:46:40 AM »

I never understood why are people saying it... I associate exclusively with "ungodly" people, but that does not influence on my faith in any way. Why would it?

Every interaction influences you in one way or another.  You might mean to say that it does not negatively influence you, but influence you it still does!

It does not change my faith.

Some attempts that I made in order to establish friendship with "godly" people, however, were inevitably failure. These people are just so dramatically different from Lesya and myself that we cannot socialize with them at all.
Logged

Love never fails.
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #88 on: April 03, 2009, 11:39:59 AM »


Quote
Maybe not. If you are like me, you don't. Smiley

I still think it would be good for my soul to engage in the peaceful discipline of iconography...and I think it would be helpful for me to learn how to make prosphora bread with the sisters-these kinds of activities for me are soothing and meditative...For the most part I am more encouraged in the Faith by my brothers and sisters in Christ than I am by my blood siblings who have a deep hatred from religion and who mock my attempts to be religious constantly. No matter what anyone may say, this tears down rather than builds up. But on the other hand, I have had some pretty big arguments with Orthodox women from my parish which have left me worn out and disgusted with religion too. Mostly arguments about how evil relationships are between men and women, even if married. Those types of conversations have taken place far too often for my liking.

Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #89 on: April 03, 2009, 12:36:30 PM »


It does not change my faith.

Some attempts that I made in order to establish friendship with "godly" people, however, were inevitably failure. These people are just so dramatically different from Lesya and myself that we cannot socialize with them at all.

This is sad, but I know what you mean.  I have been a practicing Christian all my adult life (with the exception of a few years in college as a self-labeled agnostic) and it has only been recent that I've actually been able to befriend people at church that share interests of mine outside of church.  But just because your experience has been largely negative does not mean that everyone's experience is so.  I'm a bit surprised that you would think that you would think that your story is indicative of everyone else's, Heorhji.  And lest you think I'm picking on you, the same goes the other way.  There's nothing more annoying than an extrovert who tries to bring an introvert "out of his shell". 

Still, I think friendship with "godly" people (as if any of us are truly "godly") is different than the central issue here, in my eyes: the work of the parish community in acts of mercy and charity.  The church as community has been doing these organized activities since Pentecost.  I'm having a very hard time understanding why you think that such work is wrong.  I can totally understand your personal reticence in getting involved in such things; it's just not something you are personally comfortable with.  But to say that such activities and organizations objectively have nothing to do with Christianity or the Church is unfathomable to me.


Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #90 on: April 03, 2009, 12:56:38 PM »


It does not change my faith.

Some attempts that I made in order to establish friendship with "godly" people, however, were inevitably failure. These people are just so dramatically different from Lesya and myself that we cannot socialize with them at all.

This is sad, but I know what you mean.  I have been a practicing Christian all my adult life (with the exception of a few years in college as a self-labeled agnostic) and it has only been recent that I've actually been able to befriend people at church that share interests of mine outside of church.

Well, actually, in the Presbyterian congregation where I was baptised, there were several men with whom I shared interests - they were university teachers like me, and it was good for me to communicate with them everywhere, in church or outside of it. But they were all agnostics. They came to that church because of the belief that it's good for their kids.

Whoever was overtly "religious" - e.g., mentioned his/her personal relationship with sweet Jesis in conversations with me, or asked me, how exactly do I fight those godless Atheists as a biology teacher, etc. - always caused in me an immediate "shut down" reaction. Same for proponents of conservative values, etc.


But just because your experience has been largely negative does not mean that everyone's experience is so.  I'm a bit surprised that you would think that you would think that your story is indicative of everyone else's, Heorhji.  And lest you think I'm picking on you, the same goes the other way.  There's nothing more annoying than an extrovert who tries to bring an introvert "out of his shell". 

Still, I think friendship with "godly" people (as if any of us are truly "godly") is different than the central issue here, in my eyes: the work of the parish community in acts of mercy and charity.  The church as community has been doing these organized activities since Pentecost.  I'm having a very hard time understanding why you think that such work is wrong.  I can totally understand your personal reticence in getting involved in such things; it's just not something you are personally comfortable with.  But to say that such activities and organizations objectively have nothing to do with Christianity or the Church is unfathomable to me.

I don't know, brother. I just lack eloquence in defending my point, but that's how I feel. Again, not charity per se, but organized groop activities of the charitable nature, to me, remain absolutely superfluous and irrelevant thing.
Logged

Love never fails.
Tags:
Pages: 1 2 3 All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.283 seconds with 117 queries.