Author Topic: Evangelism?  (Read 1770 times)

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Offline JimCBrooklyn

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Evangelism?
« on: November 16, 2010, 02:11:28 PM »
Some of you may remember some of my inquiries this summer, when I was living in Russia and began to inquire into Orthodoxy (I'm a Roman Catholic, and my wife is Russian Orthodox). I have taken a long hiatus from any active internet searching, in favor of direct contact with priests/prayer, as there's only so much use one can get out of reading fragmented bits of ECF passages copy-pasted by both sides of the RC/EO argument! That said, I found many of you on this board to be VERY helpful. My search is still frustrating, enlightening, and ongoing.

It occurred to me that I am not aware of any direct evangelism efforts on the part of Eastern Orthodoxy, at least not in the West, which, is, after all, what I am familiar with. I cannot speak for the East, and as such, I may be misinformed on the subject, but a major concern of mine is that at times, it seems like preserving national identity/cultural tradition (something I understand and support) is a much bigger priority in Orthodox parishes than evangelism, and at times it seems to become a direct hindrance to evangelism.

Some of you may recall even, that one "accomplished" RO priest in Petersburg advised me to remain RC, as it was easier than converting, culturally more suited to life in America, and "basically the same thing" as Orthodoxy.

While he was clearly not a good rep for the church at large, the whole issue of convert-seeking concerns me: aren't we as Christians commanded to evangelize?

My thoughts are muddled, I know, but any comments are warmly welcomed.

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Jim
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 02:28:57 PM »
When living in Austria and attending Mass with a RC friend, I asked the Priest after the Mass how you covert to RC. He said that he had never been asked and didn't know for certain.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 02:30:21 PM »
Some of you may remember some of my inquiries this summer, when I was living in Russia and began to inquire into Orthodoxy (I'm a Roman Catholic, and my wife is Russian Orthodox). I have taken a long hiatus from any active internet searching, in favor of direct contact with priests/prayer, as there's only so much use one can get out of reading fragmented bits of ECF passages copy-pasted by both sides of the RC/EO argument! That said, I found many of you on this board to be VERY helpful. My search is still frustrating, enlightening, and ongoing.

It occurred to me that I am not aware of any direct evangelism efforts on the part of Eastern Orthodoxy, at least not in the West, which, is, after all, what I am familiar with. I cannot speak for the East, and as such, I may be misinformed on the subject, but a major concern of mine is that at times, it seems like preserving national identity/cultural tradition (something I understand and support) is a much bigger priority in Orthodox parishes than evangelism, and at times it seems to become a direct hindrance to evangelism.

Some of you may recall even, that one "accomplished" RO priest in Petersburg advised me to remain RC, as it was easier than converting, culturally more suited to life in America, and "basically the same thing" as Orthodoxy.

While he was clearly not a good rep for the church at large, the whole issue of convert-seeking concerns me: aren't we as Christians commanded to evangelize?

My thoughts are muddled, I know, but any comments are warmly welcomed.

Во Христе

Jim
You mean recently I take it, as Orthodoxy came to North America until 1867 by evangelization. That continued: more of the Amerindians in Alaska converted after the Czar left than did when he was ruler there. Thereafter there was a problem with PECUSA: their diocese of CA originally thought of getting orders from St. Innocent in AK instead of the PECUSA in NY, and that didn't sit well with many Episcopalians. Shortly thereafter came the conversion of those whose forebares had submitted to the Vatican "back to Orthodoxy." And then the deluge of immigrants which strained the resources of the minority Church.

There are a lot of missions in Africa, India, China, Japan (which has its own autonomous Church), etc, and the past year the Church has been planted in Fiji
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=search2
In America the various jurisdictions coodernate evangelization through the mission center in St. Augustine.

As for the West, the issues of conversion versus Church reunion etc. get in the way for much evangelization.
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Offline Paisius

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 03:14:28 PM »
Some of you may remember some of my inquiries this summer, when I was living in Russia and began to inquire into Orthodoxy (I'm a Roman Catholic, and my wife is Russian Orthodox). I have taken a long hiatus from any active internet searching, in favor of direct contact with priests/prayer, as there's only so much use one can get out of reading fragmented bits of ECF passages copy-pasted by both sides of the RC/EO argument! That said, I found many of you on this board to be VERY helpful. My search is still frustrating, enlightening, and ongoing.

It occurred to me that I am not aware of any direct evangelism efforts on the part of Eastern Orthodoxy, at least not in the West, which, is, after all, what I am familiar with. I cannot speak for the East, and as such, I may be misinformed on the subject, but a major concern of mine is that at times, it seems like preserving national identity/cultural tradition (something I understand and support) is a much bigger priority in Orthodox parishes than evangelism, and at times it seems to become a direct hindrance to evangelism.

Some of you may recall even, that one "accomplished" RO priest in Petersburg advised me to remain RC, as it was easier than converting, culturally more suited to life in America, and "basically the same thing" as Orthodoxy.

While he was clearly not a good rep for the church at large, the whole issue of convert-seeking concerns me: aren't we as Christians commanded to evangelize?

My thoughts are muddled, I know, but any comments are warmly welcomed.

Во Христе

Jim



Here you go Jim. I have to post this info at least once a month in response to a Catholic saying that the Orthodox Chruch is not a missionary Church. I do understand that most of you are not as exposed or involved in Orthodox missions so it's really just a matter of making you aware.


Historically there were fewer Orthodox missionaries because of a number of circumstances. The great world powers when the Age of Exploration began were all Western European, Catholic nations. Most of the Orthodox world was under Muslim domination or, in the case of Russia, grossly underdeveloped compared to their Western counterparts.

Despite that, the Russian Church has always been active in missionary activity. They evangelized the Tartars, the Mongols and sent missionaries to China, to Alaska, to Japan. Currently the Orthodox Christian Mission Center has active missionaries in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Guatemala.

Also recently some 5,000 Mexican Indians were received into the OCA and, even more impressively, some 500,000 Guatemalans were received under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Offline Marc1152

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 09:13:34 PM »
I belong to an Orthodox Mission Church here in Maryland. All English services and I don't think we could be much more culturally American.

The other Church I belonged to was one of the larger OCA Churches. I would say 70% or more of the folks were converts, many former RCC. Of the cradle Orthodox, very very few were not born in the USA. A few.

We just received a Japanese Catechuman. She is being tutored by other Japanese Orthodox who live in the area.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 09:16:42 PM by Marc1152 »
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline JimCBrooklyn

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 10:58:27 PM »
Interesting stuff.

If anyone has anymore thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them, as well, and please, everyone, pray for me. I'm in a very difficult place: I have one foot in each church; as long as I remain Catholic, and not one in the process of entering the OC, I wonder if I am doing so out of fear (fear of something new, of alienation from close RC friends, even priests), rather than truth, but as long as I dabble in Orthodoxy, I wonder if I am being led astray or distracted from the true faith. I mean that as no offense to anyone; it's just hard to discern all of this.

God Bless,
Jim
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-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2010, 11:56:09 AM »
Interesting stuff.

If anyone has anymore thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them, as well, and please, everyone, pray for me. I'm in a very difficult place: I have one foot in each church; as long as I remain Catholic, and not one in the process of entering the OC, I wonder if I am doing so out of fear (fear of something new, of alienation from close RC friends, even priests), rather than truth, but as long as I dabble in Orthodoxy, I wonder if I am being led astray or distracted from the true faith. I mean that as no offense to anyone; it's just hard to discern all of this.

God Bless,
Jim

I'm just thinking out loud here, so take it for what it's worth, have you thought about committing yourself to a thorough experience of the OC? That is, attending services, inquirer classes, regular conversations with a priest, studying Orthodox books and materials?
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2010, 12:03:36 PM »
I belong to an Orthodox Mission Church here in Maryland. All English services and I don't think we could be much more culturally American.

The other Church I belonged to was one of the larger OCA Churches. I would say 70% or more of the folks were converts, many former RCC. Of the cradle Orthodox, very very few were not born in the USA. A few.

We just received a Japanese Catechuman. She is being tutored by other Japanese Orthodox who live in the area.

So you grew your beard out of solidarity with Conan rather than out of Orthodox romanticism?
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Offline JimCBrooklyn

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 02:11:48 PM »
Katherine,
That process has just begun.
Jim
It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
-Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 02:24:57 PM »
So you grew your beard out of solidarity with Conan rather than out of Orthodox romanticism?

Since when is it "un-American" to have a beard? For young people, I think they're just making a comeback is all. They where quite common, as were all kinds of facial hair, in the Americas even into the early 20th century. Cultural trends shift and change.

Oh, and to Jim, there's really not a lot of Orthodox evangelism. Most of what everyone else is throwing at you are people that are coming to it themselves, or mentioning old imperial colonies (like Alaska), or churches set up by immigrants. That's not evangelism, at least in the way you mean. There's good historical reasons for it, but the time has now come where those excuses are running out.

But to be totally honest, I really do see a shift in attitude about Orthodox evangelism all around me in my city. It certainly isn't being put into much action, but the core attitude is shifting from "that's something for the Protestants" to a conviction that it is something that must be done. May God help us.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 02:29:37 PM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Marc1152

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 06:19:02 PM »
I belong to an Orthodox Mission Church here in Maryland. All English services and I don't think we could be much more culturally American.

The other Church I belonged to was one of the larger OCA Churches. I would say 70% or more of the folks were converts, many former RCC. Of the cradle Orthodox, very very few were not born in the USA. A few.

We just received a Japanese Catechuman. She is being tutored by other Japanese Orthodox who live in the area.

So you grew your beard out of solidarity with Conan rather than out of Orthodox romanticism?


Yes

okay...No..

 Ive had a beard since I was 18.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 06:20:09 PM by Marc1152 »
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2010, 07:40:48 AM »
I belong to an Orthodox Mission Church here in Maryland. All English services and I don't think we could be much more culturally American.

The other Church I belonged to was one of the larger OCA Churches. I would say 70% or more of the folks were converts, many former RCC. Of the cradle Orthodox, very very few were not born in the USA. A few.

We just received a Japanese Catechuman. She is being tutored by other Japanese Orthodox who live in the area.


So you grew your beard out of solidarity with Conan rather than out of Orthodox romanticism?



Marc without a beard!?  :o Is outrage!

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2010, 11:40:14 PM »
So you grew your beard out of solidarity with Conan rather than out of Orthodox romanticism?

Since when is it "un-American" to have a beard? For young people, I think they're just making a comeback is all. They where quite common, as were all kinds of facial hair, in the Americas even into the early 20th century. Cultural trends shift and change.

Did you give up your sense of humor in solidarity with Conan or out of Orthodox romanticism?

 :angel:
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 11:40:31 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 12:58:34 AM »
Did you give up your sense of humor in solidarity with Conan or out of Orthodox romanticism?

There are only tears in holy Russia.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 01:16:04 AM »
Did you give up your sense of humor in solidarity with Conan or out of Orthodox romanticism?

There are only tears in holy Russia.

 :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 01:24:26 AM »
Did you give up your sense of humor in solidarity with Conan or out of Orthodox romanticism?

There are only tears in holy Russia.

 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Brilliant.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 01:25:09 AM by orthonorm »
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Offline Thomas

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2010, 09:59:52 AM »
MODERATOR'S REQUEST

Let's go back to topic  "I am not aware of any direct evangelism efforts on the part of Eastern Orthodoxy, at least not in the West, which, is, after all, what I am familiar with. I cannot speak for the East, and as such, I may be misinformed on the subject, but a major concern of mine is that at times, it seems like preserving national identity/cultural tradition (something I understand and support) is a much bigger priority in Orthodox parishes than evangelism, and at times it seems to become a direct hindrance to evangelism."

Please no more comments on "Conan's Beard" or "tears only in Russia"

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Offline myrrhbear

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2010, 05:16:32 PM »
We had an Orthodox Missionary come and give a presentation at our mission church in Northern Virginia about all he and his organization is doing to evangelize. He sees a tremendous need for this and is having excellent results! There needs to be more!
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Offline Aindriú

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2010, 05:29:25 PM »
We had an Orthodox Missionary come and give a presentation at our mission church in Northern Virginia about all he and his organization is doing to evangelize. He sees a tremendous need for this and is having excellent results! There needs to be more!

He didn't happen to have a powerpoint to share, did he?

I'm going to need this.

Offline myrrhbear

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2010, 07:38:12 PM »
There was a slide show that may have been power point. Am I allowed to say who it was? In any case, know that there are those out there working effectively and many of us who evangelize one-on-one, working hard to "get the word out" to the many unfamiliar with Orthodoxy!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Evangelism?
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2010, 12:42:18 AM »
Here are some interesting podcasts on the topic:

http://ancientfaith.com/collections/evangelism_and_orthodoxy