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Author Topic: How to introduce others to Orthodoxy through their questions?  (Read 1233 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: April 24, 2009, 09:26:18 AM »

Recently, I've been wearing my baptismal cross (a regular, simple three bar cross) on the outside of my clothing. (whereas before I had a San Damaino cross under my shirt) I have been asked twice so far what it means... Yet all I can think of responding is...

"It's a cross that symbolizes three aspects of Christ's cross, the top bar (with the title), the armbar, and the footbar. The bottom is slanted towards the good thief on his right, and down to the fallen thief on the left." usually coupled with telling them it is my baptismal cross...

How can I use opportunities like this when questions are asked to introduce these people to Orthodoxy?

Should I just use the usually explanations and just add that is an Orthodox Christian cross? Should I just leave it at that and let them ask what Orthodox Christianity is?

Even bigger question...

How do you answer... What is Orthodox Christian? or.. What denomination is that?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 09:27:50 AM by 88Devin12 » Logged
PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 10:13:07 AM »

Recently, I've been wearing my baptismal cross (a regular, simple three bar cross) on the outside of my clothing. (whereas before I had a San Damaino cross under my shirt) I have been asked twice so far what it means... Yet all I can think of responding is...

"It's a cross that symbolizes three aspects of Christ's cross, the top bar (with the title), the armbar, and the footbar. The bottom is slanted towards the good thief on his right, and down to the fallen thief on the left." usually coupled with telling them it is my baptismal cross...

How can I use opportunities like this when questions are asked to introduce these people to Orthodoxy?

Should I just use the usually explanations and just add that is an Orthodox Christian cross? Should I just leave it at that and let them ask what Orthodox Christianity is?

Even bigger question...

How do you answer... What is Orthodox Christian? or.. What denomination is that?
I would respond that it is an Eastern Orthodox Cross. That will get them thinking. Then you can answer that you belong to the Original Church, etc. Then, explain that it is NOT a denomination.
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2009, 10:16:53 AM »

Recently, I've been wearing my baptismal cross (a regular, simple three bar cross) on the outside of my clothing. (whereas before I had a San Damaino cross under my shirt) I have been asked twice so far what it means... Yet all I can think of responding is...

"It's a cross that symbolizes three aspects of Christ's cross, the top bar (with the title), the armbar, and the footbar. The bottom is slanted towards the good thief on his right, and down to the fallen thief on the left." usually coupled with telling them it is my baptismal cross...

How can I use opportunities like this when questions are asked to introduce these people to Orthodoxy?

Should I just use the usually explanations and just add that is an Orthodox Christian cross? Should I just leave it at that and let them ask what Orthodox Christianity is?

Even bigger question...

How do you answer... What is Orthodox Christian? or.. What denomination is that?
It's not a denomination.  It's the name brand.  Accept no imitations.

Yes, do add that it is an Orthodox Cross, and typically we try to pack the most meaning into the simplest things.
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009, 10:34:19 AM »

The best means of evangelism is not to use some "tactic" (i.e. wear one's cross outside the shirt, wear a prayer rope wrapped around one's wrist, leave pamphlets on Orthodoxy on the staff table... etc) but to "BE" Orthodox. That is... to be forgiving, loving, humble, ready to listen, helpful of others, prayerful and so forth. Folks are attracted to people who are loving and humble. We're not quasi-evangelicals in Orthodox drag. We're not looking for a 4 Spiritual Laws of Orthodoxy to "win" the lost. We're called to live pious lives and "be" Orthodox (and all that this entails). It means spending time in prayer every day... reading the scriptures every day... and living the liturgy as you go about your daily business. A life that is so lived is the best witness for the Church rather than having "pat" answers prepared beforehand.
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009, 10:43:10 AM »

We're not quasi-evangelicals in Orthodox drag. We're not looking for a 4 Spiritual Laws of Orthodoxy to "win" the lost.
So true. But I thought the lost loved Jack Chick?Huh Roll Eyes Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 10:49:52 AM »

We're not quasi-evangelicals in Orthodox drag. We're not looking for a 4 Spiritual Laws of Orthodoxy to "win" the lost.
So true. But I thought the lost loved Jack Chick?Huh Roll Eyes Tongue

Ugh.  I agree that the best way to show others Orthodoxy is to show by example... live what you believe and they will be drawn to it. 

Incidentally, I throw away Chick tracts when I find them.  They keep popping up in the women's bathroom at work.
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 11:20:27 AM »

I always say to anyone who is interested that the Orthodox Church is simply THE Church, the original Church founded by Christ on the "petra" (rock) of faith in Him and animated by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. So, it's not "a" "denomination." However, it's been my impression that people simply do not believe it. They are so used to the idea that there are all these different "churcheS," in plural. Even my Ukrainian compatriots are educated in the notion that there is this Orthodox Church, but there are also the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches.
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88Devin12
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 11:21:10 AM »

Well I'm not really intending it to be for evangelism. I just use it as a reminder to myself of who I am and what the Church is, and that I am a part of the Church now. That it isn't something I should be ashamed of or should hide. If evangelism comes with it, then ok.
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2009, 11:28:50 AM »

I understand and I suppose there's nothing wrong with it. I think, however, that you'll find most Orthodox (particularly men) do not wear their baptismal crosses outside their shirts... even to remind themselves of something that they should, in fact, not need reminding. For me it really comes down to how we start each day. If we spend time in prayer and reading the bible and perhaps a page on the saint of the day, we'll surely remember who we are.  Wink

I'm not ashamed of the Church but I generally don't wear my cross outside my shirt. I suppose it strikes me as more of a feminine style (my wife wears hers outside her blouse) and in fact, gets in the way while I'm working. The same can be said for prayer ropes wrapped around one's wrist. Again... there's nothing wrong with that but I think you will find this is done more by monastics and the zealous newly converted.

Bottom line: it's probably something to bring up with your spiritual father. I know it's a minor issue but since it was something you felt constrained to ask here, you should probably ask your priest his thoughts on the matter.

I'm not against you, bro. I'm just giving you another perspective on the issue.  Smiley
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 11:29:51 AM by Douglas » Logged

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88Devin12
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 11:38:44 AM »

And I really appreciate the other perspective...

Most of the time I don't wear my prayer rope on my wrist, it's usually tied to my belt. Its only tied to my wrist if I have a long-sleeve shirt on so I can tuck it under the shirt. Otherwise most of the time, I wear a shirt that hangs over my belt so it isn't out in plain sight (though probably still noticable).

The other thing too, is I feel when I have the cross on the outside, that I need to represent Christ and the Church properly and I need to guard myself. Although I've been a Christian my whole life, I've only been Orthodox for less than a week. I've tried to make an effort (trying harder even than when I was a Catechumen) to actually BE Orthodox and show people the way by my actions. I just feel that having the cross on the outside is an incentive for me to not misbehave and act foolish because I would feel horrible if I did, and then I always think, because of my actions, people would then think that all Orthodox are wishy-washy, lukewarm Christians... I definitely do not want them to think that... So I wear it on the outside to help myself be reminded to BE Orthodox.

Hopefully there will come a day when I won't need reminders, but I feel right now, since I'm an infant in the Orthodox Christian world, i'm still learning and growing.
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2009, 11:41:29 AM »

Incidentally, I throw away Chick tracts when I find them.  They keep popping up in the women's bathroom at work.
I know something else you could do in the bathroom with a Chick pamphlet..... Shocked
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2009, 12:05:19 PM »

Incidentally, I throw away Chick tracts when I find them.  They keep popping up in the women's bathroom at work.
I know something else you could do in the bathroom with a Chick pamphlet..... Shocked

ROFL.  Grin I think I just ruined my monitor spraying coffee in that general direction. Nuts!
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 12:13:58 PM »

ROFL.  Grin I think I just ruined my monitor spraying coffee in that general direction. Nuts!
Ha! Seriously, those pamphlets are garbage!
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 01:54:00 PM »


Hi Devin,

I know exactly how you feel.

At work I too, am surrounded by non-Orthodox. 

I have had questions asked about my cross, as well.  I always am happy to explain the meaning behind it and then go in to a few things that make us unique. 
I have gotten in to prolonged discussions with Baptists, Lutherans, Muslims, Catholics,...you name it.  In the MANY years that I have been at it, I have YET to "reach" anyone at work!
I suck at missionary work!   Sad  It's a good thing the Lord isn't depending on me to spread the Good News!

Having said that, I agree that "living an Orthodox life" is the best example.  I try to do that, and am very conscious of the fact that I represent the entire Faith when I am at work.
I am the only Orthodox they know and see.  Therefore, ANYthing I do wrong, or say, I feel reflects poorly on Orthodoxy.

I joined this "group" at my company almost a year ago.  It's all men, and each Thursday they have a standing appointment for lunch at a Mongolian BBQ, where you get to pick the meat, veggies, and sauces and then go to a big round grill where they prepare it all for you.   I've never really cared for it, but, I am a teamplayer and as such, I have yet to miss one luncheon.  It's all guy talk, and gaming, and systems, etc....but, I tag along.

When Lent began, I switched from the meat to tofu.  The first week they giggled at me.  The second week they asked more about it.  I explained in detail, thinking this is a great opportunity to "teach" them something.  When they thought it was silly, that God never said not to "eat", etc...I explained about how Christ was in the desert for 40 days, then I went on to explain how self discipline is a good thing, and how much more you enjoy Pascha after having deprived yourself of certain things.  Not just food, but TV shows, radio, etc.  All your addictions have been left behind... and this left more time to do "good" things, read more, pray more, volunteer more...then how joyous is Pascha!  How special and new everything seems to you... I was so into it...and thinking I was getting my point across....when....
the one very macho guy looks at me and says sarcastically...."Ok, ok, I get it!  Lets just drop her off at the nearest desert, so she has the chance to be REALLY HAPPY!"

He totally missed the point, and instead of teaching him something, I felt like I got a slap in the face.

Help!  I need some training in Evangelism.
 Undecided




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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2009, 02:31:30 PM »

Recently, I've been wearing my baptismal cross (a regular, simple three bar cross) on the outside of my clothing. (whereas before I had a San Damaino cross under my shirt) I have been asked twice so far what it means... Yet all I can think of responding is...

"It's a cross that symbolizes three aspects of Christ's cross, the top bar (with the title), the armbar, and the footbar. The bottom is slanted towards the good thief on his right, and down to the fallen thief on the left." usually coupled with telling them it is my baptismal cross...

How can I use opportunities like this when questions are asked to introduce these people to Orthodoxy?

Should I just use the usually explanations and just add that is an Orthodox Christian cross? Should I just leave it at that and let them ask what Orthodox Christianity is?

Even bigger question...

How do you answer... What is Orthodox Christian? or.. What denomination is that?

Just be yourself. I think what you did was just fine.





JNORM888
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2009, 02:35:16 PM »

Incidentally, I throw away Chick tracts when I find them.  They keep popping up in the women's bathroom at work.
I know something else you could do in the bathroom with a Chick pamphlet..... Shocked

Well... the paper's not very good quality, so I'm not going to entertain the idea too far.   laugh
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2009, 08:14:30 PM »


Hi Devin,

I know exactly how you feel.

At work I too, am surrounded by non-Orthodox. 

I have had questions asked about my cross, as well.  I always am happy to explain the meaning behind it and then go in to a few things that make us unique. 
I have gotten in to prolonged discussions with Baptists, Lutherans, Muslims, Catholics,...you name it.  In the MANY years that I have been at it, I have YET to "reach" anyone at work!
I suck at missionary work!   Sad  It's a good thing the Lord isn't depending on me to spread the Good News!

Having said that, I agree that "living an Orthodox life" is the best example.  I try to do that, and am very conscious of the fact that I represent the entire Faith when I am at work.
I am the only Orthodox they know and see.  Therefore, ANYthing I do wrong, or say, I feel reflects poorly on Orthodoxy.

I joined this "group" at my company almost a year ago.  It's all men, and each Thursday they have a standing appointment for lunch at a Mongolian BBQ, where you get to pick the meat, veggies, and sauces and then go to a big round grill where they prepare it all for you.   I've never really cared for it, but, I am a teamplayer and as such, I have yet to miss one luncheon.  It's all guy talk, and gaming, and systems, etc....but, I tag along.

When Lent began, I switched from the meat to tofu.  The first week they giggled at me.  The second week they asked more about it.  I explained in detail, thinking this is a great opportunity to "teach" them something.  When they thought it was silly, that God never said not to "eat", etc...I explained about how Christ was in the desert for 40 days, then I went on to explain how self discipline is a good thing, and how much more you enjoy Pascha after having deprived yourself of certain things.  Not just food, but TV shows, radio, etc.  All your addictions have been left behind... and this left more time to do "good" things, read more, pray more, volunteer more...then how joyous is Pascha!  How special and new everything seems to you... I was so into it...and thinking I was getting my point across....when....
the one very macho guy looks at me and says sarcastically...."Ok, ok, I get it!  Lets just drop her off at the nearest desert, so she has the chance to be REALLY HAPPY!"

He totally missed the point, and instead of teaching him something, I felt like I got a slap in the face.

Help!  I need some training in Evangelism.
 Undecided
Even the best training in evangelism, though, doesn't totally eliminate the possibility of the other guy being a daft jerk.
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