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Author Topic: Who’s To Blame for the Emerging Church Movement (Hint: Evangelicals)  (Read 2623 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 03, 2011, 12:58:32 PM »

Quote
Then I said this to the group of largely evangelical youth ministry professionals (believe it or not, it’s mostly evangelical colleges and seminaries that have youth ministry professors): You all have strong feelings about the emerging church movement, most of them negative.  Well, you are directly responsible for the emerging church movement.
 
I went on to describe that the major themes of the movement are a natural outgrowth of youth ministry, as practiced in evangelical churches for the past three decades.  These evangelical youth ministry professors have been teaching their students, who have subsequently been practicing, relational [non-hierarchical] youth ministry.  Therein, adolescents are encouraged to embrace their own hermeneutical authority, my primary thesis regarding the emerging church movement.
 
Youth rooms are essentially egalitarian environments, in which the “clergy” shun the accoutrements of power (vestments, titles, special roles in rites).  Instead, youth are encouraged to engage all of the practices of the community equally.
Then what happens is that, when the youth 'graduate' to adulthood, and enter into the normal services of the church, they find the church service to be the opposite of what they experienced in the youth groups. They then try to re-create the relational, non-hierarchical, "embracing-their-own-hermeneutical authority" experiences of their youth groups, which manifests as "emerging" churches. What youth groups do is, they separate the youth from the normal life of the church, and the youth begin to think that a youth group is what church is all about. I don't know if Orthodox have youth groups with similar characteristics as Protestant youth groups.
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 01:32:10 PM »

True. It leads to the habit of people who want to do as little as possible and still call it 'church.'
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 01:59:38 PM »

Our small parish is in the process of starting up a youth group and I'm really struggling with it.  We were in the anti-youth group/anti-children's church contingent for almost 20 years when we were Protestant and were relieved and refreshed by how this wasn't an issue in Orthodoxy.   Except now it is. We LOVE how all the generations mix both in the services and in the fellowship time afterward, and I'm not really wanting to drive the kids over to "youth group" an hour after liturgy ends now once a month.  I know we don't have to, but at this point, we've agreed to give it a shot.  
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 02:13:56 PM »

It was my embrace of, and participation in, the Emergent movement that ultimately led me to atheism. Of course that's not the same for everyone and I'm not trying to say it's the logical outcome of it, but it was the last in a series of gradual "nothing matters" steps. It really was a slippery slope of, "Well, if we don't need this then we don't need that, and if we don't need that then we certainly don't need this." And ultimately I was left with nothing.

I think you're spot on, Jetavan. It's the natural progression of a hyper-personalized approach to Christianity, where everyone virtually gets to create their own spiritual reality.
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 02:33:37 PM »

i think groups for kids are very useful, coz the kids will not be so embarrassed that they can't sit still, and also they will have more chances to express themselves than when they are surrounded by adults. but the kids group should have the exact same theology (including the theology expressed in the songs) as the rest of the church.
kids groups should include simple explanations of what the church believes, why we practice our faith as we do, and should include plenty of opportunities for asking questions without being made to feel stupid.

i have never seen the need (even when i was young) for a separate group for 16 to 25 year olds or even older - in any decent culture, these guys should be integrating with the rest of the church, learning from the elderly and encouraging everyone with their energy.
unfortunately many cultures in developed countries tend to compartmentalise people into 'young', 'old', 'rich', 'poor' etc.

so the problem is NOT the existence of kids groups, it's what u do with them that matters.
hopefully our churches don't have groups like the one quoted by the original poster.

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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 03:07:56 PM »

I was usually very involved with the youth group for the churches that I attended, and I loved the closeness of those groups and how involved everything was. I recall two youth pastors of mine that were very influential in my life and i was great friends with both of them (one officiated at my marriage, even). I knew that "adult" church was different and not very involved as much as the youth group was.

I remember begrudging certain churches I was in when the adult congregation didn't partake of certain youth activities or even disapproved of the youth group as a whole. I mean, didn't these people understand that the youth they were driving away were the future of the church? I can understand why so many people - when moving from the youth group to the more "grown up" part of church  - went their own way and made these emergent churches.

When I was home on leave on my first deployment my wife took me to this non-denominational church that had the rock music, people dressed in t-shirts and jeans (and usually chucks), tattoos, rock music, a sermon that touched on modern problems of my generation, and rock music (they even had boxes of ear plugs for those who sat too close to the speakers); in other words it was exactly what I wanted in a church. I went and I did enjoy it, but it was really lacking something.

I found that I had matured in my faith. I was seeking a more traditional based service that did not sugar coat the Gospel. Something that challenged me to be a Christian in church and at home - not a mediocre slacker in church and at home (still working on that one). I saw this church that my wife had found for me and found (in my opinion) that it was full of very immature Christians (in the sense that they couldn't let go of their youth group days or move on theologically). ISTM that they had this idea that since God accepts you just as you are, why try to better yourself? Why the need to dress up and pretend to be something you're not? Why not just be who you are in church and at home? (To be honest, I do respect them for their great community out reach programs and I think that particular church is a great place for those starting out in Christianity. I still love that church and the people who attended it are still great friends of mine, but I just found the place to spiritually immature for me. I say this not to puff myself up or to make it seem like I am some how a better Christian than they are, but to explain my emotions at that time.)

I understand that sentiment as I also had the same feelings. If God accepted me for who I am then why force myself to appear to conform to someone else's standards. It was when I realized that I was getting no where spiritually with that attitude (aside from the occasional roller-coaster experiences) that I shouldn't dress up and look nice to impress the old guy sitting behind me, I didn't need to cut back on the vulgarity to appease the old lady singing off key in the choir loft, I didn't need to do any of that stuff for anybody, but I should want to do it to let God work in my life and change who I was into a better person. I wanted to be like Christ (essentially I was longing for theosis with out knowing it).

Through the grace of God when researching various Christian denominations I remembered the EOC from when my father mentioned it when I lived in Chicago. I did more research on it and decided to give it a try when I got home. I was lucky that there were two GOC's not too far from where I lived in Georgia. I went to one Divine Liturgy and I was hooked. I had found the involvement I was looking for in the form of the laity taking part in the service throughout and in a daily prayer routine (I know a lot of Protestants advocate at least having a time set aside every day for prayer, but I love the whole praying at certain hours continuously through the day). I had also found that there was no sugar coating of the Scriptures or the message that the priest was trying to get across, and also that the sermon was always based on and expounded on the Scripture reading of that day. I had found a Church to challenge me at home and in the Church and encourages me to better myself and to reach for being one with Christ more so than any other church. And I found a Church that involved the youth, from the youngest infant to the college age guy with the beatnik goatee in every single service and did not dare to separate or discourage them from growing in the faith. I found a very united Church.

 In short, I found everything I wanted in the EOC that I was looking for in non-denominational/emergent churches and more to the fullest.
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 04:01:48 PM »

The funny thing is that emergent churches seem to profess a special hatred for youth groups. I read Dan Kimball's book about worship years ago, and one of the themes he repeated over and over was that church should not serve as youth group 2.0.

As for youth groups in Orthodox churches -- eh, I see nothing wrong with a bunch of kids getting together to eat pizza and watch movies on a Saturday night.
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 04:04:29 PM »

It may be useful to have something for the very young kids. For instance, Sunday school. I agree that when they get older, they should be integrated into the congregation. I was in the pre-teen group at my old parish. It was fun. When I got older, though, Mom took me to all the regular services with everyone else.
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 04:26:05 PM »

I've heard of the "emerging church", but only as something so distant, so near the fringes of the church, that I have never encountered it in any church I have visited in my Albanian work (among a good number of denominations here in Britain, and all the way from Inverness to Penzance), nor in any church I have preached in as DMY (i.e. not for the Mission). So I cannot comment from personal knowledge. But it seems to me from reading some of the above that the blame (as the title of the thread puts is) lies with current Western culture, not with any Christian denomination.

I am aware that Evangelicals here are anxious - ought I to say paranoid? - about the emerging church, should it spread unbiquitously here.

Visiting the Evangelicals of Sicily in the last couple of years I was struck - enviously so - by how the generations mix together socially so relaxedly and happily. Elsewhere? Well, the Greek churches don't seem to have many young people, and the Albanian and Kosovan ones have almost only young people, so one cannot extract much of a hint there. But if I were seeking to locate the blame, I would look to the general break-down of western society and the widening generation gap which is such a stark feature of it.

I also think you should make a clear distinction between Evangelicals (i.e. people who believe and practise what Evangelicals always have since the 16th or 18th centuries (whenever you wish to date the beginning of the movement)), and people who retain the name but have invented all manner of new ideas which do not truly accord with Evangelical teaching and would not be acknowledged by real Evangelicals.
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 04:39:07 PM »

I've heard of the "emerging church", but only as something so distant, so near the fringes of the church, that I have never encountered it in any church I have visited in my Albanian work (among a good number of denominations here in Britain, and all the way from Inverness to Penzance), nor in any church I have preached in as DMY (i.e. not for the Mission). So I cannot comment from personal knowledge. But it seems to me from reading some of the above that the blame (as the title of the thread puts is) lies with current Western culture, not with any Christian denomination.

I am aware that Evangelicals here are anxious - ought I to say paranoid? - about the emerging church, should it spread unbiquitously here.

Visiting the Evangelicals of Sicily in the last couple of years I was struck - enviously so - by how the generations mix together socially so relaxedly and happily. Elsewhere? Well, the Greek churches don't seem to have many young people, and the Albanian and Kosovan ones have almost only young people, so one cannot extract much of a hint there. But if I were seeking to locate the blame, I would look to the general break-down of western society and the widening generation gap which is such a stark feature of it.

I also think you should make a clear distinction between Evangelicals (i.e. people who believe and practise what Evangelicals always have since the 16th or 18th centuries (whenever you wish to date the beginning of the movement)), and people who retain the name but have invented all manner of new ideas which do not truly accord with Evangelical teaching and would not be acknowledged by real Evangelicals.

Some of the forefront of the emerging movement is located in England. I don't know how much that would have spread to Scotland or Wales. In Kimball's book, he speaks almost lovingly about the emerging worship at St Mary's in London. Here's a website for an English "alternative worship" group. I do not know how much real world presence this kind of thing has, only that it exists.
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 04:43:36 PM »

I've heard of the "emerging church", but only as something so distant, so near the fringes of the church, that I have never encountered it in any church I have visited in my Albanian work (among a good number of denominations here in Britain, and all the way from Inverness to Penzance), nor in any church I have preached in as DMY (i.e. not for the Mission). So I cannot comment from personal knowledge. But it seems to me from reading some of the above that the blame (as the title of the thread puts is) lies with current Western culture, not with any Christian denomination.

I am aware that Evangelicals here are anxious - ought I to say paranoid? - about the emerging church, should it spread unbiquitously here.

Visiting the Evangelicals of Sicily in the last couple of years I was struck - enviously so - by how the generations mix together socially so relaxedly and happily. Elsewhere? Well, the Greek churches don't seem to have many young people, and the Albanian and Kosovan ones have almost only young people, so one cannot extract much of a hint there. But if I were seeking to locate the blame, I would look to the general break-down of western society and the widening generation gap which is such a stark feature of it.

I also think you should make a clear distinction between Evangelicals (i.e. people who believe and practise what Evangelicals always have since the 16th or 18th centuries (whenever you wish to date the beginning of the movement)), and people who retain the name but have invented all manner of new ideas which do not truly accord with Evangelical teaching and would not be acknowledged by real Evangelicals.

Mr Young, pretty much the whole point of the "Emergent Church" movement is that you will not encounter it at a church. A big part of it is a "returning to the house church" model, you're more likely to come across an emergent church group meeting in a coffee house or bar than anywhere else. Other than that its a whole bunch of "I can worship God in my own way wherever I happen to be" with a little bit of Bible study.
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2011, 04:56:12 PM »

I can do a mean Rob Bell and a nice Mark Driscoll.

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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2011, 04:58:03 PM »

Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is this movement?

I tried the page on Wikipedia and am even more confused than before.
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2011, 05:03:56 PM »

I can do a mean Rob Bell and a nice Mark Driscoll.


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Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is this movement?

I tried the page on Wikipedia and am even more confused than before.
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2011, 05:04:19 PM »

Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is this movement?

I tried the page on Wikipedia and am even more confused than before.

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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2011, 05:09:40 PM »

I can do a mean Rob Bell and a nice Mark Driscoll.


LOUD soft LOUD soft whisper -- Jesus Christ -- whisper conclude.

For Discoll add in some curse words.

Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is this movement?

I tried the page on Wikipedia and am even more confused than before.
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2011, 02:47:15 AM »

It may be useful to have something for the very young kids. For instance, Sunday school. I agree that when they get older, they should be integrated into the congregation. I was in the pre-teen group at my old parish. It was fun. When I got older, though, Mom took me to all the regular services with everyone else.
I don't like this approach. My parish has a youth group of sorts with our deacon serving as kinduva "youth pastor", but we make sure ALL the people in the parish, the youth included, worship together in the services of the Church. There is no separation of the youth from what is the very core of the Church's life. The youth are integrated into the life of the parish from baptism.
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2011, 01:39:01 PM »

I'd like to add three comments:

1) When I was young, back in the 1960s and early 1970s, the churches (Methodist, Baptist, Anglican) had youth groups meeting whenever, but people of all ages worshipped together at the Sunday services. It certainly still happens at our church in Wrexham from babes in arms to those in their 80s.

2) Reading not only this thread, but various others, over many months, it strikes me that some of the things you deplore in "Evangelicalism" are deplored just as much by many Evangelicals themselves (here in Britain, certainly) - perhaps deplored more, as they are distortions of our faith, whereas you are only looking at distortions of someone else's faith and practice.

3) You Orthodox often comment on the fact that Evangelicalism does indeed mutate in many and various ways, and goes into serious distortion and decline. A question arises: is that a sign of health or of sickness? One could view it as proof that Evangelicalism is diseased at the heart because it is heterodox and will always mutate badly or split sooner or later; or you could view it as a sign of divine grace, whereby God takes the "risk" of entrusting to his children a considerable degree of liberty, knowing with grief that many will abuse it. (Has this not been his way of dealing with us since Eden?)

Conversely, the consistency of Orthodoxy could be viewed as a sign of divine origin and approval, or of the power of a controlling human hierarchy (hier- perhaps being the correct term, though no pun was intended).

(One could even argue that Orthodoxy itself is an ancient distortion of New Testament religion - but that is a different theme, and not the topic of this thread.)
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2011, 01:57:28 PM »

Quote from: David Young
Conversely, the consistency of Orthodoxy could be viewed as a sign of divine origin and approval, or of the power of a controlling human hierarchy (hier- perhaps being the correct term, though no pun was intended).

(One could even argue that Orthodoxy itself is an ancient distortion of New Testament religion - but that is a different theme, and not the topic of this thread.)


This again?  Huh  Undecided
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2011, 02:23:56 PM »

I was brought up an evangelical, I trained for evangelical ministry, I spent months in Senegal with evangelical missionaries.

It is my opinion that evangelicalism has not only distorted the Gospel, but outside of the traditional congregations is liable to constantly changing fads. The evangelical church of my youth has changed out of all theological and practical recognition. It will change again over the next decade.

I know one Baptist Church who almost got a majority recently to NOT make baptism a condition of membership! Give it a year or two and the vote will be passed. How can a Baptist Church not require baptism? In my own lifetime I have seen what remained of denominational distinctives slowly, and not so slowly, be erased as a vague, universalist, anti-dogmatic evangelicalism has been spread through a variety of causes, not least the big, semi-charismatic family weeks.

Those of my evangelical friends who actually have a dogmatic (though heterodox) foundation to their faith have retreated to the few traditional congregations and movements that remain. Everything else is rushing to become the same, united by feeling and not by theology. By the time I left the evangelical congregation I had been brought up in, the eldership were teaching that we needed less theology and more love. No wonder that we went in every direction.

The evangelical movement I grew up in started in 1829, by 1832 it had split. By the end of the century there were about 10 splits, more took place in the 20th century. This is what evangelicalism does. In my own home town several of the evangelical churches have split over the last decades. That's not a criticism of all evangelical folk. But it is what evangelicalism does. How many Methodist groups were there within a century of the Wesleys? How many Presbyterian groups. How many Baptist groups?
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2011, 05:54:40 PM »

I have seen what remained of denominational distinctives ... erased as a vague, universalist, anti-dogmatic evangelicalism has been spread through a variety of causes, not least the big, semi-charismatic family weeks.

...evangelical friends ... have retreated to the few traditional congregations ... Everything else is rushing to become the same, united by feeling and not by theology.

What you write is a perceptive assessment of what has happened, and is continuing to happen. I could echo the same words, changing only one of yours, namely the reddened evangelicalism, which should be replaced with religion (or some other word), for the monster you describe is not Evangelicalism. As your friends have wisely discerned, that remains in "the few traditional congregations".

The criterion of religious truth is not popularity, and surely all faiths (both true and false) have times of popularity and times of apostasy when their beliefs are not currently in fashion and only a remnant remains.
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2011, 06:03:42 PM »

(One could even argue that Orthodoxy itself is an ancient distortion of New Testament religion - but that is a different theme, and not the topic of this thread.)

One could also argue that the character Jesus Christ is merely an amalgam of various other mythological pagan god-men.

Way to slip that jab in. While you're at it, give us back our Trinitarian theology since our distorted bishops and saints first clearly exposited it for you. Or is homousios in your New Testament church?
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2011, 06:05:11 PM »

David, I agree to a great extent with your point, and on other Orthodox forums I have defended (to some degree) traditional evangelicals from the deserved criticism which those who call themselves evangelicals but are not really attract. Many Orthodox are not aware of the diversity and consider all those who are not Catholic or Orthodox as evangelicals.

I agree that this is not strictly the case at all, but unfortunately the word has been taken by those who do not deserve it, and it thereby become tainted.

What will traditional evangelical groups do to reclaim the name? The downgrade was happening in the 19th century and Spurgeon tried to act against it. But I think that from the time of Billy Graham the elevation of feeling over theology has been dominant and has almost entirely won the day.

Is this not so? Doesn't evangelicalism, as popularly understood, now stand for a warm, fuzzy, feel-good faith with a strain of the charismatic movement?
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« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2011, 01:40:34 PM »

those who call themselves evangelicals but are not ... the word has been taken by those who do not deserve it,

Thank you. This is most heartening. And surely there must be churches, congregations and priests who call themselves Orthodox but who do not truly hold the Orthodox faith.

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What will traditional evangelical groups do to reclaim the name? ... Doesn't evangelicalism, as popularly understood, now stand for a warm, fuzzy, feel-good faith with a strain of the charismatic movement?

I believe it was Screwtape whose correspondence revealed that the Devil has a linguistic department; if not, some other writer. It is hard to reclaim the meaning  of a word, once it has been stolen. Think of the words "gay". The position will doubtless be maintained, but ever-increasing definitions seem to be needed: Conservative Evangelical seems to be the preferred one at present, at least for insiders. I doubt that most people would have a clue what it means.

You are right. The word Evangelical nowadays conveys no consistent meaning to those outside the movement. It seems to mean zealously active for converts (not necessarily religious), happy-clappy, people who wave their arms at church, and many new developments too numerous and confusing to list.
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« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2011, 02:05:13 PM »

I know with my son he goes to a very popular church's youth group and I decided, after his insistence, to attend and see for myself. It was little more than a youth hangout with christian metal. The youth pastor, who is a friend of mine conversely, is viewed not as an authority so much as a friend and mentor type. They mentioned very little teaching at all as it was centered on entertainment and personal emotional fulfillment which sounds alot like what these Emergents are wanting.

I've been really torn as to what to do concerning this. I think that the youth church movement (which I totally believe is the older cousin to the emergent church movement) is, spiritually, not a good place to grow what so ever. However, his friends do all attend and it is a safe place and he is surrounded by genuinely good people who I like, personally, although I think they are gravely wrong spiritually (which I also thought well before I started becoming Orthodox).

I do find it kind of funny hearing Baptists (since they're so prevalent in my area) speak negatively about Emergents when they just took the protestant view of authority, tradition, and leadership to its logical conclusion.
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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2011, 01:32:27 PM »

my son he goes ... it was centered on entertainment and personal emotional fulfillment ... I've been really torn as to what to do ... not a good place to grow what so ever. However, his friends do all attend and it is a safe place and he is surrounded by genuinely good people ... I think they are gravely wrong spiritually

You have a problem - but we don't know how old your son is. If you try to prevent him from going, he'll probably resent it, and by the principle that law makes a person want to do the very thing that is forbidden, it will make the meetings seem even more attractive to him.

We all go through various phases, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and there is some hope that both he and his friends will grow out of this phase. If God is truly working in his soul, surely that will create a hunger for reality which sooner or later he will know cannot be satisfied by entertainment-based religion. I think you must pray for him persistently, asking God to deepen a real work within him and to draw him closer to Christ.
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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2011, 01:44:26 PM »

yes, good reply.
may God show him His love and power as you pray for him and show your love too.
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2011, 02:05:19 PM »

It really is difficult since he is starting to finally come out of his shell and all of his friends go there so its very difficult as to what to do. I am converting to Orthodoxy (my Chrismation is probably the Saturday before Easter) and my wife is starting to come around (praise God). My son however, really could not care less. He really does not do much with the religious aspect of the place he goes to (hey, he's 14, so its pretty normal methinks). However, what is being said above is very prevalent and infact, the most Emergents in our area come from this place originally, when they get disenfranchised, and I know that eventually he will listen to what these people say. So its almost a "I'm screwed either way" scenario.

I think that the youth groups in alot of these churches, because they are so deep in the emotinal aspect of everything, are trained that they have to "feel" spiritual instead of BEING spiritual. Picking and choosing things that they think will make them "feel" better.

I see alot of kids in these places during the singing of the songs etc. get all emotional (whether put on or not is immaterial) and kids around him/her mimick him/her after they start up, and make it quite obvious that they're simply copying.
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2011, 02:33:29 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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What youth groups do is, they separate the youth from the normal life of the church, and the youth begin to think that a youth group is what church is all about. I don't know if Orthodox have youth groups with similar characteristics as Protestant youth groups.
I agree with this statement wholeheartedly Smiley

I work with our parish Sunday School program, I teach the high-school/college aged group on Sundays an also am involved with the clergy and Education steering committee to help retool and redesign our k-12 curriculum.  I would say then that youth groups and Sunday School is CRUCIALLY CRUCIAL!  The youth of all ages need a place in the Church that is their own, specifically formulated and catering to their specific needs, both educationally, socially, and religiously. 

Of course, much like the OP stated, we shouldn't distinctly SEPARATE the youth groups from the overall parish, because the children misunderstand their experience.  The purpose of the Sunday School and youth groups is precisely the opposite, it is to fully integrate our youth into our parish life.  The Sunday School and Youth groups should facilitate this integration and communication between the kids, the families, the parish members, and the clergy.  We should work to have functions, lessons, and gatherings which help to streamline this process so that our kids both get a proper Church education to know and understand their faith while also developing a social and familial relationship with the entirety of the parish, otherwise they will inevitably wander off and away from the Church as adults.  So we need youth groups,  but we also need to focus on integrating the youth into adult parish life.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2011, 02:38:13 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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What youth groups do is, they separate the youth from the normal life of the church, and the youth begin to think that a youth group is what church is all about. I don't know if Orthodox have youth groups with similar characteristics as Protestant youth groups.
I agree with this statement wholeheartedly Smiley

I work with our parish Sunday School program, I teach the high-school/college aged group on Sundays an also am involved with the clergy and Education steering committee to help retool and redesign our k-12 curriculum.  I would say then that youth groups and Sunday School is CRUCIALLY CRUCIAL!  The youth of all ages need a place in the Church that is their own, specifically formulated and catering to their specific needs, both educationally, socially, and religiously. 

Of course, much like the OP stated, we shouldn't distinctly SEPARATE the youth groups from the overall parish, because the children misunderstand their experience.  The purpose of the Sunday School and youth groups is precisely the opposite, it is to fully integrate our youth into our parish life.  The Sunday School and Youth groups should facilitate this integration and communication between the kids, the families, the parish members, and the clergy.  We should work to have functions, lessons, and gatherings which help to streamline this process so that our kids both get a proper Church education to know and understand their faith while also developing a social and familial relationship with the entirety of the parish, otherwise they will inevitably wander off and away from the Church as adults.  So we need youth groups,  but we also need to focus on integrating the youth into adult parish life.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Which is the main reason I allow my son to still attend on Wednesdays at the other place. There is no real youth group at my parish because there are no youth there of his age except 1 or two and they're not very involved to begin with.


PP
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« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2011, 04:11:48 PM »

*Thanks to Nick for the utterly perfect portmanteu to describe Rob Bell's way of speech. I really do do an impeccable impression of both.


Please support this assertion with a link to a video containing the claimed impeccable impressions.  And the "You're not a man" diatribe by Driscoll is off the table.  Its been done.
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« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2011, 11:58:46 AM »

You Orthodox often comment on the fact that Evangelicalism does indeed mutate in many and various ways, and goes into serious distortion and decline. A question arises: is that a sign of health or of sickness? One could view it as proof that Evangelicalism is diseased at the heart because it is heterodox and will always mutate badly or split sooner or later; or you could view it as a sign of divine grace, whereby God takes the "risk" of entrusting to his children a considerable degree of liberty, knowing with grief that many will abuse it. (Has this not been his way of dealing with us since Eden?)
Seriously? Be honest, David - now which is more likely - that the current state of evangelicalism (at least the US version) in all its confusion and dissension is a sign of divine grace? Or in reality, the result of a basic misunderstanding (I will put it no stronger than that) of Christianity?

Quote
Conversely, the consistency of Orthodoxy could be viewed as a sign of divine origin and approval, or of the power of a controlling human hierarchy (hier- perhaps being the correct term, though no pun was intended).

Again, which is more likely? That Orthodoxy having preserved unchanged the faith given to the Apostles by our Lord is a bad thing?
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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2011, 01:50:53 PM »

Sorry David, your arguments smack of someone swinging wildly in the dark hoping for anything to connect. They dont even make any sense.

Somehow having the extraordinary amounts of division and chaos is a good thing? Compare that to the scriptures where the Apostles tried to unify the believers into all believing the same thing.

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« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2011, 02:27:12 PM »

It may be useful to have something for the very young kids. For instance, Sunday school. I agree that when they get older, they should be integrated into the congregation. I was in the pre-teen group at my old parish. It was fun. When I got older, though, Mom took me to all the regular services with everyone else.
I don't like this approach. My parish has a youth group of sorts with our deacon serving as kinduva "youth pastor", but we make sure ALL the people in the parish, the youth included, worship together in the services of the Church. There is no separation of the youth from what is the very core of the Church's life. The youth are integrated into the life of the parish from baptism.

Yes, most parishes that I've been to that have a "Youth Group" is for "after-Liturgy" activities. During Liturgy, all are present, all participate with the rest of the parish. Usually the Youth Group will meet on a different night of the week, spend some time doing devotions or Bible Study, then have a fun activity. During the summer weekend day trips may be included, pool parties, picnics, etc.

It's always been more about having a social outlet for the kids to grow in their faith, and have a positive place for them to hang out.

I always thought it was a good thing, as it served as a way to make friends of the same faith who may not attend the same school as me.
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 02:33:11 PM »

It may be useful to have something for the very young kids. For instance, Sunday school. I agree that when they get older, they should be integrated into the congregation. I was in the pre-teen group at my old parish. It was fun. When I got older, though, Mom took me to all the regular services with everyone else.
I don't like this approach. My parish has a youth group of sorts with our deacon serving as kinduva "youth pastor", but we make sure ALL the people in the parish, the youth included, worship together in the services of the Church. There is no separation of the youth from what is the very core of the Church's life. The youth are integrated into the life of the parish from baptism.

Yes, most parishes that I've been to that have a "Youth Group" is for "after-Liturgy" activities. During Liturgy, all are present, all participate with the rest of the parish. Usually the Youth Group will meet on a different night of the week, spend some time doing devotions or Bible Study, then have a fun activity. During the summer weekend day trips may be included, pool parties, picnics, etc.

It's always been more about having a social outlet for the kids to grow in their faith, and have a positive place for them to hang out.

I always thought it was a good thing, as it served as a way to make friends of the same faith who may not attend the same school as me.
The only reason my son stays in the youth group he's in is because my parish does not have anything for teenagers. As it is, there's only 3 or 4 in the parish anyways. 2 are brothers, and 1 is only present during DL on Sunday. There is a kids Sunday School, but it has about 5 kids in it, and they're about 5-8 years old. I hate it, but nothing really I can do about it.


PP
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 02:47:20 PM »

Sorry David, your arguments smack of someone swinging wildly in the dark

They weren't arguments, merely questions or tentative other lines of enquiry. But I do suspect that God gives people a huge amount of liberty, and freedom to go wrong, more than I would if I were a creator-god. His grace is profligate. (If it were not, who would be saved?)

I agree that the divided state of Evangelicalism is a scandal, and some of the mutations which have come out of it are not recognisable as Evangelicalism and hardly as expressions of NT religion at all. But should those of us who hold fast the traditional Eavngelical faith abandon it because others have distorted it? I suspect that is also a rather weak argument!

Ad fontes! We must seek what the scriptures say.

You may wonder what I myself mean by the divided state of Evangelicalism. Not the variations on certain doctrines and practices which are not of the essence of the religion, but the disunity of heart, the fragmented character of the various strands, the dividedness. The "strands" have always been there: presbyterian, episcopalian, independency; Arminian, Calvinist; pædo-/believers' baptism; and so on. These are not the heart or essence of the movement.

Fashions change. We had our heyday till about 1880; since then we have been fighting a rearguard action. We knew a resurgence in the 1960s. Who knows what beliefs dubbed "Christianity" will be popular in the future? None of us! But each must hold fast to what he believes before God, even if he has to say like the prophet, "...and I alone am left, a prophet of the Lord." (Even then, if I recall, God had kept 7000 who had "not bowed the knee.")
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 02:52:29 PM »

It may be useful to have something for the very young kids. For instance, Sunday school. I agree that when they get older, they should be integrated into the congregation. I was in the pre-teen group at my old parish. It was fun. When I got older, though, Mom took me to all the regular services with everyone else.
I don't like this approach. My parish has a youth group of sorts with our deacon serving as kinduva "youth pastor", but we make sure ALL the people in the parish, the youth included, worship together in the services of the Church. There is no separation of the youth from what is the very core of the Church's life. The youth are integrated into the life of the parish from baptism.

Yes, most parishes that I've been to that have a "Youth Group" is for "after-Liturgy" activities. During Liturgy, all are present, all participate with the rest of the parish. Usually the Youth Group will meet on a different night of the week, spend some time doing devotions or Bible Study, then have a fun activity. During the summer weekend day trips may be included, pool parties, picnics, etc.

It's always been more about having a social outlet for the kids to grow in their faith, and have a positive place for them to hang out.

I always thought it was a good thing, as it served as a way to make friends of the same faith who may not attend the same school as me.
The only reason my son stays in the youth group he's in is because my parish does not have anything for teenagers. As it is, there's only 3 or 4 in the parish anyways. 2 are brothers, and 1 is only present during DL on Sunday. There is a kids Sunday School, but it has about 5 kids in it, and they're about 5-8 years old. I hate it, but nothing really I can do about it.


PP

Well, there are far worse things your son could be doing than hanging out with kids at another church. Smiley

I'm not sure what part of the country you're in and what the Orthodox population is like, but would it be possible for your parish to get together with another parish to form a pan-Orthodox Youth group?

I mean, if you get 5 kids from Holy Trinity, and 3 from Annunciation, and a hook up with the GOYA kids at the local Greek parish, you may have a decent sized group.
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2011, 03:15:26 PM »

...but nothing really I can do about it.


Are there other Orthodox churches in the vicinity? Maybe there could be a pan-Orthodox youth activity?
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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 03:36:21 PM »

It may be useful to have something for the very young kids. For instance, Sunday school. I agree that when they get older, they should be integrated into the congregation. I was in the pre-teen group at my old parish. It was fun. When I got older, though, Mom took me to all the regular services with everyone else.
I don't like this approach. My parish has a youth group of sorts with our deacon serving as kinduva "youth pastor", but we make sure ALL the people in the parish, the youth included, worship together in the services of the Church. There is no separation of the youth from what is the very core of the Church's life. The youth are integrated into the life of the parish from baptism.

Yes, most parishes that I've been to that have a "Youth Group" is for "after-Liturgy" activities. During Liturgy, all are present, all participate with the rest of the parish. Usually the Youth Group will meet on a different night of the week, spend some time doing devotions or Bible Study, then have a fun activity. During the summer weekend day trips may be included, pool parties, picnics, etc.

It's always been more about having a social outlet for the kids to grow in their faith, and have a positive place for them to hang out.

I always thought it was a good thing, as it served as a way to make friends of the same faith who may not attend the same school as me.
The only reason my son stays in the youth group he's in is because my parish does not have anything for teenagers. As it is, there's only 3 or 4 in the parish anyways. 2 are brothers, and 1 is only present during DL on Sunday. There is a kids Sunday School, but it has about 5 kids in it, and they're about 5-8 years old. I hate it, but nothing really I can do about it.


PP

Well, there are far worse things your son could be doing than hanging out with kids at another church. Smiley

I'm not sure what part of the country you're in and what the Orthodox population is like, but would it be possible for your parish to get together with another parish to form a pan-Orthodox Youth group?

I mean, if you get 5 kids from Holy Trinity, and 3 from Annunciation, and a hook up with the GOYA kids at the local Greek parish, you may have a decent sized group.

...but nothing really I can do about it.


Are there other Orthodox churches in the vicinity? Maybe there could be a pan-Orthodox youth activity?
Im not complaining about him going to church, but I am worried about him learning things that I do not agree with. Lynchburg, where I reside, has an extraordinarily small Orthodox presence. I believe that the GOA church has about 30 or 40, and ours has about 40 or 50 depending on if Liberty U is in session.

I think a pan-Orthodox youth group is a fantastic idea. unfortunately, as I am the only parent with a teen i our parish who is pushing for him to get involved, our presence would be small. Maybe I should call the GOA church to see if they have somewhere he can go to. Thats a fantastic idea.


PP
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 05:16:01 PM »

I think a pan-Orthodox youth group is a fantastic idea. unfortunately, as I am the only parent with a teen i our parish who is pushing for him to get involved, our presence would be small. Maybe I should call the GOA church to see if they have somewhere he can go to. Thats a fantastic idea.


PP

Excellent - go for it. Who knows - you may find out there are other parents in the same situation.
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