While I don't think we NEED 100,000 icons, I don't mind the church being as it is. It's a wellspring of beauty and holiness to my soul, and I'm sure, to those who step in. Even my atheist sister seemed in awe of just the beauty itself. We're surrounded by a lot of ugliness and darkness nowadays, so I think that something like that is beneficial.
However, I think that there should be a balance. My church isn't completely "finished" with the icons, paintings, etc. They are still doing charitable work and working on the improvements to the building one bit at a time. I think that is the best approach, although I am always in favor of bumping up the giving. I am actually thinking about talking to my priest about some more charitable work in the community. That is definitely something you can do. However, we are called to be saints, no matter what we do, lay person, clergy, mother, writer, etc. A full-time mother might not be out there saving 200 souls a day, but she is spending precious time tending to the 3 souls in her household. I wouldn't dare to call her work less important than someone who has the time to evangelize.
Plus, from what I've seen at my church at least, the priest seems to be more involved in the every day lives of the church members. I am in awe when I see him talking to everyone, asking about specific people and issues. He also takes the time out for my husband and I, as catechumens, and knows about what is going on in our spiritual and work lives as well as our marriage. He's already overworked and most likely underpaid, as it is, so I think we lay people do need to step up!
But as someone coming from the evangelical church, I'm stepping away from that for the time being, because I still struggle with guilt about not "evangelizing." Let me tell you what our evangelizing was like. It was aggressive, and while it was done out of love, it didn't feel right to me at all. But I still felt guilty if I wasn't targeting my nearest Muslim friend and trying to get her to talk about God. There are different ways. Ever since we became catechumens, we've had people ask about the church and even consider joining us. Now, in their cases, they were really intimidated, and I'm not sure that a few of them will be considering Orthodoxy in the future!
I pray that they will find the peace in the Church someday, but that's their choice. My point is that my husband and I appeared to be at peace and joyful, and we talked about our process of joining the church in a way that made people want to know more. We weren't even aware that we were evangelizing -- we just couldn't keep quiet about it.
So I keep asking that question, "What can I do to serve God?" Seeing His love in others is what attracted me to the church, not a bunch of tracts. So I pray that His sinful daughter may be able to repent over her own sins and let His light shine through her, rendering God visible in the world.
(Y voy a enviarte un mensaje a tarde
Y no soy de un pais como Sudamerica o España, pero mi madre es de Filipinas. Cuando yo era una nina, asistí de la iglesia catolica.)