(Dateline: OC.net Secret Underground Bunker) While convening the annual OC.net International Peace Conference at the secret underground bunker located below the city of ~!@#$%^&*() in )(*&^%$#@!~, an alarm was sounded indicating the presence of an intruder. The investigation led the Admins and GMs to a carrier pigeon, which had flown down an extremely long pipe that leads from the OC.net Palace/Brewpub/Bowling Alley, through the mountains of *******, under the **************** ocean, and beneath the plains of ****. The pigeon had a message, written in Middle Ages Klingon, indicating that there were indeed 2
Posts of the Month for October 2010. The Admins and GMs, in their astonishment, proceeded to the super-top-really-really-secret antechamber of the Secret Underground Bunker, where they made their announcement of the Posts of the Month via closed-circuit TV to the masses waiting in the square outside the palace:
"We are pleased to announce that, for the month of October in the year of our Lord (possibly to be adjusted at a later date when a more accurate rendering of His birth may be computed using the latest scientific methods and advanced computing) Two Thousand and Ten, according to the Revised Julian Calendar, there are two Posts of the month:
The first, submitted by Fr. Peter Farrington,
I wonder if you need perhaps to stop trying to save the world for God.
I mean that I also used to have great plans (and good/holy ones too I mean), but I had to learn that God did not work according to my schedule. I had to learn that God did not need my service, and could raise up any number of people who were more faithful than I, more holy than I, more understanding of God's will than I.
I have had to learn to be patient, and prayerful, and seek above all to become more Christian in myself. All of my great ideas have had to be laid at the feet of our Lord. I have had to accept that in my life I might not achieve anything at all of note or importance, and this has been a great liberation.
The harvest belongs to the Lord. It is He who will determine when it will be brought in, not I. It is He who will organise the workers in the fields, not I.
Yet, perhaps, He will use even me in some small way in doing His will. But it will be a small way, a hidden way, a humble way.
Let me counsel you to try a little less hard to do God's will for Him. Learn to wait and wait and persevere in prayer. Prayer changes things. It is not something we do to fill in time. Pray for your priest, pray for each member of your congregation by name, especially those you have problems with, pray that the Lord will open a way to reach the non-Orthodox around you and integrate them into His Church. Seek to become more holy and grace-filled yourself as a matter of the greatest importance and urgency.
I have had to wait many years to start to see a lasting harvest of souls. In the past 6 months I have baptised 3 adult catechumens, which has been a great joy for me. But I have had to abandon all of my own plans before God has begun to work out His own.
May the Lord bless you, you are always prayed for at the altar.
And a second, submitted by Liza Symonenko,
You know folks, this is a discussion forum and I was simply trying to express my views concerning my own parish experience.
I seem to have ruffled feathers and most likely said things that have been misconstrued making me look "presumptuous" and "unfair".
That was certainly never my intent, and I am still trying to figure out why we were so greatly mis-communicating.
I am sorry for those of you who have encountered an ethnicity or a nationality to be a wall or a blockage of some sort to your personal journey in growing in your faith. I completely understand your points of view. I have little nieces and nephews who don't speak much Ukrainian. They are "lost" during the Gospel reading, etc. However, they would be lost at that age, anyway. They squirm, they fidget, they sit, they stand....no matter the language they are listening to in church. I don't know one child that doesn't get "bored" during the 2 hour Liturgy, no matter what language is used. They are simply too young and too unconcerned with their spirituality at that age to focus for that long, or to fully grasp and appreciate what unfolds before them. It's not the language, it's the age of maturity.
However, to ensure that they aren't completely lost, I a point of having a copy of the our church consistory book "calendar" which contains the menologian in both English and Ukrainian. On the ride to church (I always have the boys so they get there early to serve), they have been taught to look up what's being read, and then they grab the little Bible in the back pocket and read the Gospel. We then discuss what was read and it's significance. Therefore, before we get to church, they already know what the "theme" is. We even go over key words to listen for in the readings, and I know they were listening because when that word gets uttered and they recognize it they inadvertently glance my way from the solea.
I am aware of the language issue.
However, in my parish English is the issue. The vast majority do not feel comfortable with it. The older folks came to the US as older adults, and had difficulty picking up the nuances of English. The new immigrants haven't been here long enough to pick up the language all that well. For these people English would be the barrier.
However, we seem to dismiss them as simply being ethnically nationalistic, and that kills me.
Why are their spiritual needs less important than the English speaker? Why would we chance losing the sheep we already have in our flock, in order to try and entice other sheep? We are completely open to everyone. We serve in English as well as Ukrainian. We do charity work. We are "out" in the community. We do what we can to spread the Word and teach the Faith.
However, I am not so naive that I think I can change the world, nor am I so assured of myself to even contemplate that I know what is best for other parishes and how to "fix" the language barrier, or to tell someone I know better than they do.
All I can say is that the disciples of Christ did not alienate their flock as they went out to evangelize and baptize all other nations. They left leaders and bishops behind to tend to the flock they had already gathered. They did not forget about them and only keep their eyes on the horizon and to see how many more they can "save". They were still concerned about those they already "saved" - because each soul is important, and each soul is unique with unique requirements and needs.
Gaining a newcomer is not a "win", if you lose an existing parishioner who feels the need to leave your parish for another.
Yes, by all means use English. No question. Yes, the majority of folks in the U.S. would understand English more than any other. Yes, use English to teach Orthodoxy to the non-Orthodox. Use English to spread the Word in an English speaking nation. Don't alienate the English user, however, don't forget about the non-English user. Tend to the entire flock, because as I mentioned each soul is important, and the non-English speaker is no less important. Don't throw them to the curb like yesterday's news. Don't diminish their worth in the Church. Don't belittle them for not speaking English well. Don't belittle them for coming to America to escape certain death and torture in their own homelands. It's easy to sit and judge others when you were born in the States and speak fluent English, and then can look down your nose at the lesser, foreign element gathered around you, like the unwashed masses.
Well, your ancestors came here from somewhere as well. I'll bet they didn't speak English all that well. Would you have forbade them from praying in some other language than English, when they were new here?
Things will change, and English WILL take over...and people will not have an issue, because they WILL have forgotten their native tongues. However, until that happens don't dismiss the generation that still is living and among us and does not speak the language.
That's all I am saying on this subject. I hope I didn't sound pretentious, obnoxious or any other word that has been flung at me for trying to explain why my particular parish serves in both Ukrainian and English....oh, and yes, the sign outside does say Ukrainian Orthodox. If anyone is too scared to come to the church because there's a nationality attached to it, than they aren't serious about finding Orthodoxy. The Faith came to these lands through these "foreign" sources, it did not simply materialize on American soil. Any true inquirer would realize that, and knowing it still go and "see". They might be a bit uncomfortable, but, it shouldn't stop them. IF that parish does not greet them warmly and try to take them into their flock, than it's a parish issue, a personnel issue, an attitude issue within that church. As I mentioned we have our non-Ukrainian speakers, and when Father sees they are in church or even when he notices "unknown" faces, the services immediately go from 25% to at least 50% English. It works for us.
That's all I have to say on this matter. I apologize to the people who seem to have been offended by my point of view. I am saying no more on this matter because to be honest, it's a no win situation, and I find myself getting frustrating just trying to express my point of view, which seems to inadvertently clash with everyone's wiser and more correct views.
I have been going on 4 hours sleep for the last few days. None the less, I have a joyous weekend ahead of me, and I had this smile plastered on my face. The joy was with me, until I got on this forum yesterday. My crazy work didn't get me down, my lack of sleep didn't get me down, but this forum managed to rip that smile right off my face and the joy right out of my heart, just because I tried to explain the situation I am familiar with. When I finally made it to my bed this forum was spinning in my brain, and how was it that I was so misunderstood.
People here are way wiser than I, way more experienced, more titled, way more "learned", way higher in society and knowledge concerning the Church and some days I don't even know why I bother trying to express my simple point of view....and then it bothers me for the rest of the day (and night). I feel like a nail getting hammered over and over. Well, this nail just got bent a bit too far out of shape.
Please forgive me for having spoken out of turn and my own expressing my own "rant".
I love you all, I wish you all the best whether English speakers or otherwise! Please forgive me.
The crowd, overjoyed at both the announcement and at the realization that the curtains in the background of the broadcast gave away where the Secret Bunker was located, cried out as with one voice: AXIOI! AXIOI! AXIOI!
. They then proceeded to take the elevator in the palace down to the Super Secret Bunker a mere few dozen feet below.