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Author Topic: Kids "hate" going to church  (Read 12430 times) Average Rating: 0
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« 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. 
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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?").
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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).
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« 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. 

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

^ Extremely well said.
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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...
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« 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.

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« 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

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

Regardless we should all strive to take the kids to church.
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« 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...
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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
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« 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.
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« 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...
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« 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...
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« 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
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« 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!
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« 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.
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« 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.

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« 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.


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