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Author Topic: Why Do Orthodox Not Actively Seek Converts?  (Read 1466 times) Average Rating: 0
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Studying_Orthodoxy
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« on: November 07, 2013, 06:55:12 AM »

Something I have wondered about is why the Orthodox Church does not actively seek converts. On the streets I have mostly seen Evangelicals or Protestants but rarely do I see Catholics or Orthodox people. I know that the church does do missionary work but it seems to mostly be in non-Western countries. Why therefore do the Orthodox not seem so active in converting people?

Is it because of the perception that in the West people over the centuries became less comitted to religious observance and therefore converts from Asian or African countries would be more devout and loyal? Or perhaps they also feel that along with this reason there is also the issue of many Westerners not wanting to be religious at all.
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 06:58:21 AM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 07:12:48 AM »

Look at it like door-to-door selling vs. setting up a shop. Which one do you think sells more? The one who accosts people unsolicited, or the one who lets them come in willingly?
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 10:04:55 AM »

It is not common, but it does happen in Orthodoxy.  Here is some information on the Willard Preacher, a former Evangelical street preacher at Penn State University who converted to Orthodoxy and remained a street preacher:

http://thewillardpreacher.com/

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/12/02/the-willard-preacher/

In the case of the Willard Preacher, he remains at the same location (Penn State University) and the same students may pass by him on a daily basis.  So, there is plenty of opportunity for the same people to challenge him, ask questions, inquire, etc.  If a person becomes interested in Orthodoxy after speaking with him, there is an active Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) on campus and a very good Orthodox parish that students can be direct to.  In other words, in that context there is a very good Orthodox community and support network in place which can make this kind of ministry very fruitful. 

There are a number of reasons why Orthodox generally don’t do this kind of activity as much as Evangelicals.  For many Evangelicals, salvation consists of a person admitting that they are a sinner and saying a prayer that Christ will come into their heart.  For many Evangelicals, once a person asks the Lord to come into their heart, that person is eternally saved, is guaranteed a place in the kingdom of heaven, and cannot lose this salvation.  So, the Evangelical street preacher can rejoice that he is “saving souls” by his street preaching regardless of what the audience does with their life after making a “decision for Christ”.

In Orthodoxy, salvation is a process, a way of life, a serious commitment; and a decision to follow Christ is only the beginning.  Such a decision, if not acted upon, is of little value.  To become Orthodox, one must be willing to truly live for Christ, to fast, to pray, to believe the doctrines that have been revealed to the Church through Christ and the Apostles.  While in Evangelicalism, great value is placed on merely “getting the word out” and “making a decision for Christ”; in Orthodoxy great care is taken to properly catechize, instruct, and form people to live in communion with Christ through obedience to Him and participation in the sacraments of the Church.  To make a crude analogy, while Evangelicals are primarily looking to get a person to agree to come out on one date, Orthodox are seeking to lead people into a committed marriage which is a much greater challenge.   

It is also difficult to go out onto the streets to preach Christ because Orthodox Christians and Orthodox churches are a very small minority in the U.S.  This country is saturated with false Christianities and heretical teachings.  An Orthodox Christian street preacher in the U.S. has an incredible task to not only preach the Gospel, but to clear up a ton of misinformation and falsehood that has been widely accepted throughout the country as “Christianity”.  Whereas street preaching is very conducive to one line statements, quick messages, etc., in Orthodoxy things must be spoken of very carefully and in detail so as to lead a person to the truth through the thick fog of falsehood.   
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 10:10:26 AM »

Look at it like door-to-door selling vs. setting up a shop. Which one do you think sells more? The one who accosts people unsolicited, or the one who lets them come in willingly?

Indeed.

That said, I do think that we could do a better job of simply letting people know we are here and we welcome visitors! Grin
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 10:35:00 AM »


We might actually do a better job, WELCOMING the visitors that we do get.   angel

I love the babushkas and yiayias....but, if they see a new face who does something wrong, they ought not correct them publicly, or give them dirty looks.  At least save that for their second visit.
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2013, 10:49:39 AM »

Thank you all for your answers.

Would you all agree that the West today is less religious than Asian countries?

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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2013, 10:53:28 AM »

Thank you all for your answers.

Would you all agree that the West today is less religious than Asian countries?



I wouldn't. For one thing, it's too sweeping a generalization. What do you mean by "religious"? Do you mean specifically Christian, or are you including non-Christian religions? Also how are you defining "West" or "Asian countries," for that matter?
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2013, 11:38:55 AM »

i was on campus ( U of MD) a couple of months ago. There was a group of about 15 evangelicals lined up in front of the Student Union you had to pass them to get by. The leader was shouting out some sort of unintelligible sermon like a maniac.

As I walked past the kids would come up and get in my way and ask if knew Jesus or some such.

I scolded them.
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2013, 11:43:28 AM »

It absolutely does happen.

Whether or not it is effective is another question. I'm not sure how many converts this sort of thing yields. I'd guess zero, but who knows.
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2013, 12:03:40 PM »

Something I have wondered about is why the Orthodox Church does not actively seek converts. On the streets I have mostly seen Evangelicals or Protestants but rarely do I see Catholics or Orthodox people. I know that the church does do missionary work but it seems to mostly be in non-Western countries. Why therefore do the Orthodox not seem so active in converting people?

Is it because of the perception that in the West people over the centuries became less comitted to religious observance and therefore converts from Asian or African countries would be more devout and loyal? Or perhaps they also feel that along with this reason there is also the issue of many Westerners not wanting to be religious at all.


The kind of street evangelism and big tent revival preaching you have in mind is, I think, more of an historical aberration.   The mass field meetings such as Wesley conducted and which were perfected by the likes of Charles Finney & co. In the late 19th century had their roots in religious practices along the Scottish-British border going back to the 16th century or so.  They worked in a certain time and place and with a certain kind of theology.  Billy Graham was probably one of the last to successfully use that method.  Look around, no one can quite do things the way he did them.  He was welcomed as a revival preacher in a Protestant culture.  Those days are largely past. 

Now some will challenge this and say, what about Paul on Mars Hill?  What about Pentecost and Peters preaching?   But if you look closely They weren't just on some street corner yelling around or handing out tracts.  Paul came to a philosophic forum and engaged them in debate.  He grappled with their existing ideas and showed Christ as the end of their searching.  This is the tack that we should take today, in my opinion.  Peter was preaching in the midst of an established religious festival in the midst of a miracle. 

After the apostolic and Before the modern era most evangelizing seemed to be directed at rulers.  If they accepted Christianity their realm would follow.  Not so much anymore and probably for the best.   Orthodoxy existed for centuries in lands that needed little evangelization, ie Russia, or in lands where effective evangelization was impossible, ie the Ottoman Empire.  When the Orthodox started to immigrate to the west, except for a few visionaries, they were foreigners in diaspora and their churches were more diplomatic chapels than anything else, in a strange land for a foreign people.  Thank God this is no longer.   

If we are to do evangelization I don't think the dying or dead practice of field preaching or it's cousins is the answer.  We have to be like Paul and engage the people where they are, and open their eyes to the fact that what their heart longs for can be found in Christ and His Church.   One person who did this very very effectively was Saint Innocent of Alaska.  He lived among the natives, taught them, learned their language, and showed them the light of Christ.  And note that he didn't have to revise the Liturgy or make it more appealing to do so.  We need to follow his example and be visible lights in our culture and not be afraid to engage it like Paul.  And after all that's what Christ said, Ye are the light of the world.  We shouldn't hide it under a bushel, as it were. 
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2013, 12:29:52 PM »

It is not common, but it does happen in Orthodoxy.  Here is some information on the Willard Preacher, a former Evangelical street preacher at Penn State University who converted to Orthodoxy and remained a street preacher:

http://thewillardpreacher.com/

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/12/02/the-willard-preacher/

In the case of the Willard Preacher, he remains at the same location (Penn State University) and the same students may pass by him on a daily basis.  So, there is plenty of opportunity for the same people to challenge him, ask questions, inquire, etc.  If a person becomes interested in Orthodoxy after speaking with him, there is an active Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) on campus and a very good Orthodox parish that students can be direct to.  In other words, in that context there is a very good Orthodox community and support network in place which can make this kind of ministry very fruitful. 

There are a number of reasons why Orthodox generally don’t do this kind of activity as much as Evangelicals.  For many Evangelicals, salvation consists of a person admitting that they are a sinner and saying a prayer that Christ will come into their heart.  For many Evangelicals, once a person asks the Lord to come into their heart, that person is eternally saved, is guaranteed a place in the kingdom of heaven, and cannot lose this salvation.  So, the Evangelical street preacher can rejoice that he is “saving souls” by his street preaching regardless of what the audience does with their life after making a “decision for Christ”.

In Orthodoxy, salvation is a process, a way of life, a serious commitment; and a decision to follow Christ is only the beginning.  Such a decision, if not acted upon, is of little value.  To become Orthodox, one must be willing to truly live for Christ, to fast, to pray, to believe the doctrines that have been revealed to the Church through Christ and the Apostles.  While in Evangelicalism, great value is placed on merely “getting the word out” and “making a decision for Christ”; in Orthodoxy great care is taken to properly catechize, instruct, and form people to live in communion with Christ through obedience to Him and participation in the sacraments of the Church.  To make a crude analogy, while Evangelicals are primarily looking to get a person to agree to come out on one date, Orthodox are seeking to lead people into a committed marriage which is a much greater challenge.   

It is also difficult to go out onto the streets to preach Christ because Orthodox Christians and Orthodox churches are a very small minority in the U.S.  This country is saturated with false Christianities and heretical teachings.  An Orthodox Christian street preacher in the U.S. has an incredible task to not only preach the Gospel, but to clear up a ton of misinformation and falsehood that has been widely accepted throughout the country as “Christianity”.  Whereas street preaching is very conducive to one line statements, quick messages, etc., in Orthodoxy things must be spoken of very carefully and in detail so as to lead a person to the truth through the thick fog of falsehood.   


The Willard Preacher is the Man! But it takes a specially gifted person to do what he does. 
I have seen other people try and fail miserably.  He is also someone who calls out to students to think for themselves and not be led by the nose by liberal godless professors. 
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2013, 12:31:01 PM »

We expect the withered hands to show up.
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2013, 12:32:24 PM »

Here is a short documentary on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F72m9hkiIWY the Willard Preacher.
I recommend watching it. He is a great guy.
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2013, 12:36:25 PM »

Generally we are taught to teach by example rather than to go out and try to "gather" in people by marketing techniques.  Only a few can do it in ways like the Willard Preacher.  Most can do it by being an example of trying to live the Gospels and inviting friends to church to see what you are passionate about and why.
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« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2013, 12:54:40 PM »

i was on campus ( U of MD) a couple of months ago. There was a group of about 15 evangelicals lined up in front of the Student Union you had to pass them to get by. The leader was shouting out some sort of unintelligible sermon like a maniac.

As I walked past the kids would come up and get in my way and ask if knew Jesus or some such.

I scolded them.

I was having lunch at a college once, and someone interrupted me to ask if I knew Jesus.  I didn't scold them, though.  I asked if they knew his lovely Mother. 

They left. 
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« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2013, 06:37:40 PM »

The Orthodox Church has always sought out the lost.  I think your question should be reworded to say "Why do Orthodox not actively seek converts like the Evangelicals do?"   Evangelicalism is built upon emotion; is it any wonder why a lot of evangelicals leave the church or go to the next big fad once the emotional high wears down.  Orthodoxy is not rooted in emotionalism.  Of course, we may become emotional but such is not the grounding for our theology, our worship, our prayer, our doctrine, etc.  And that is the key.  Our way of seeking converts is to invite people to see what the Gospel is in Jesus Christ our Lord and for them to accept it, not to give emotional highs which do not and cannot last.
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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2013, 08:17:48 PM »

This thread is predictably clueless as the Orthodox display their mystifying aversion to evangelism.

I thought you believed that having faith in Christ meant the difference in a person's fate in the next life.

Oh wait, no one really believes that here. And I don't think some psychotic street preacher really believes it either, the show notwithstanding.

We expect the withered hands to show up.
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« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2013, 08:24:56 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2013, 08:43:28 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.

LOL! sashaying . . .
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« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2013, 08:57:01 PM »

Religious conversion is a big deal if it's to be done at all. And becoming Orthodox takes a lot of effort on the part of the convert. There may be something that might come of street preaching, but there's more than just preaching the Gospel to those who have never heard. Depending on where you are, there's the matter of preaching to those who have heard lies or have been disserved or hardened. That calls for a different tactic. I don't think the Orthodox Church has come close to employing all effective or available tactics of evangelism, but it's also to be considered that evangelism is a calling requiring certain gifts and certain learning. Few have what it takes to bring one person to faith--and there are as many ways of evangelizing as there are persons, because what works for one may be disastrous for another.
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« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2013, 09:04:28 PM »

Guatemala
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« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2013, 09:07:22 PM »

This thread is predictably clueless as the Orthodox display their mystifying aversion to evangelism.

I thought you believed that having faith in Christ meant the difference in a person's fate in the next life.

Oh wait, no one really believes that here. And I don't think some psychotic street preacher really believes it either, the show notwithstanding.

We expect the withered hands to show up.
I regret not paying closer attention to your posts from before.
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2013, 09:34:13 PM »

Answer: Because we don't want to be tacky like the evangelicals!

The real question should be why is it that more people aren't actively seeking out the real faith, that being Eastern Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2013, 09:51:51 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.
Dang, Orthonorm much?

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« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2013, 09:57:49 PM »

Dang, Orthonorm much?

Whether or not you care for the way Rufus expressed himself, he made an important point.  Evangelism is not restricted to our caricatures of it--there are other ways to do it.  But we hide behind those caricatures to escape having to obey the gospel.  Just because we hear it sung to us on Sundays doesn't mean we're listening, much less doing...in real life, even Jesus had to wile out sometimes in order to make a point. 
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2013, 10:03:54 PM »

Dang, Orthonorm much?

Whether or not you care for the way Rufus expressed himself,

HEY!
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« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2013, 10:11:47 PM »

Whether or not you care for the way Rufus expressed himself,

HEY!

I liked what Rufus said and the way he said it.  Unfortunately, in America people have the right to have inferior taste.  Tongue
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« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2013, 10:25:18 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

I literally LOLed.
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« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2013, 10:39:39 PM »

When I first converted I wondered the same thing about actively seeking Protestants. I've learned that our Faith isn't something to be marketed, rather its something that we live. To live the Faith is the greatest evangelism statement. In my past experience as a protestant, their evangelism would get people in the church and proclaim their faith but nothing would ever stick. Their membership roles are like revolving doors(my experience). That type of evangelism is very superficial. In contrast, when I converted to Orthodoxy, there were people who mentored me and guided me in the Faith. They didn't just pray a sinners prayer with me and send me on my way.

Not meaning to be offensive to anyone, that's mostly my experience.
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« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2013, 10:49:18 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.

So what would be some examples of active evangelisation?
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« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2013, 10:57:41 PM »

When I first converted I wondered the same thing about actively seeking Protestants. I've learned that our Faith isn't something to be marketed, rather its something that we live. To live the Faith is the greatest evangelism statement. In my past experience as a protestant, their evangelism would get people in the church and proclaim their faith but nothing would ever stick. Their membership roles are like revolving doors(my experience). That type of evangelism is very superficial. In contrast, when I converted to Orthodoxy, there were people who mentored me and guided me in the Faith. They didn't just pray a sinners prayer with me and send me on my way.

Not meaning to be offensive to anyone, that's mostly my experience.

That's the other thing I don't get. Why is converting Protestants some sort of super top priority. Is converting other people somehow less important.

I gather that Southern Evangelicals must just be that much more annoying.
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« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2013, 11:00:31 PM »

I gather that Southern Evangelicals must just be that much more annoying.

Aren't they Protestants?
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« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2013, 11:16:04 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.

So what would be some examples of active evangelisation?

If you know people, you will probably get chances to talk about religion with them. There are a lot of people out there who would actually like to do that.

I have held many such productive talks with people, and I am anything but bold in social matters.

Most of the annoyingness of Evangelicals who try to do this comes from their bearing down on the other person completely tactlessly. I used to think it was some kind of psychological thing, but now I think they just genuinely have no clue how much most people outside their own bubble hate being talked at.

Also, being a genius helps.

Having a racist church definitely does not help, though it's not an insurmountable problem.
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« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2013, 11:17:17 PM »

I gather that Southern Evangelicals must just be that much more annoying.

Aren't they Protestants?

Yes. I meant, posters from other parts of the US must want to convert Protestants so bad because they're much more annoying where they live.

It's a regional thing.
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« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2013, 11:24:51 PM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Remember that there's exactly two ways to evangelize:

1) drag a big cross around and ramble like an idiot

2) sit there in church and wait for people to come sashaying in off the street and get blown away by the chanting and architecture so they convert like Vlad's emissaries in that made-up story.

Then complain that the world is so godless these days.

So what would be some examples of active evangelisation?
Are you referring to Protestants, Orthodox, or both? Some Churches, especially the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, knock on doors and visit with people at their residences.
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« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2013, 06:05:49 AM »

Because it does not work?

Remember seeing some Evangelical missionare carrying a 2-metre cross (actually he was pulling it, the cross had wheels) and shouting something in English about Jesus. People just were laughing and taking photos. I'm sure his success rate was 0%.

Was he yelling in English in Poland? Now that would be stupid.
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« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2013, 06:07:47 AM »

Look at it like door-to-door selling vs. setting up a shop. Which one do you think sells more? The one who accosts people unsolicited, or the one who lets them come in willingly?
Door-to-door salespeople typically come around uninvited, but do you think companies would employee that tactic if it didn't work? I'm pretty sure the same goes for door-to-door evangelists
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« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2013, 06:23:23 AM »

Look at it like door-to-door selling vs. setting up a shop. Which one do you think sells more? The one who accosts people unsolicited, or the one who lets them come in willingly?
Door-to-door salespeople typically come around uninvited, but do you think companies would employee that tactic if it didn't work? I'm pretty sure the same goes for door-to-door evangelists

Cold calling and spamming must work as well, at least on some of the most vulnerable people. That doesn't make it any less obnoxious, or unethical.
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« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2013, 06:59:59 AM »

I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

There are great missionary endeavors in the history of the Orthodox Church; the conversion of the Slavs by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople beginning in the 9th century; and the Church of Russia's Far East Missions in Japan and Korea, and of course its holy missionary work in Alaska.

But the scourge of captivity under the Moslem Ottoman Turks forced the church to be introspective, focused on preservation.  The Ottoman Empire oppressed all the Ancient Patriarchates, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and the Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Albania and Greece--which were part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; likewise, administratively, essentially for the others too.  This oppression existed largely from the middle of the 15th century until the early 20th century.

Without elaborating herein, the Ecumenical Patriarchate remains subjugated today in the Republic of Turkey.

Around the time the church was riding itself of the oppression of the Ottoman's, beginning in 1917 Russia and in Georgia, and after WWII, spreading throughout the Eastern European Patriarchates of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and the Church of Albania, these of the largest of the Orthodox Christian populous, were suppressed by the evil of Communism; again, rendering us focused on preservation. And since the fall of Communism (1990 more or less), these churches are focused on rebuilding.

Other than the missionary support provided by the Church of Russia before 1917, thereafter, the administration of the Archdiocese of the Aleutians and North America essentially fell apart. Since the early 1920's, the churches in the Western Hemisphere have been concerned with establishing churches and institutions for themselves.

Although controversial, since the Orthodox Churches involvement in the ecumenical movement in the middle of the 20th century, the church consciously decided not to preach to Trinitarian Christians.  It was under this principle that caused the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) to criticize the Evangelical Christian Churches that were proselytizing in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation after the fall of Communism, upon reports of its investigatory commissions, which had included Orthodox representatives.

I recently heard Fr. Thomas Hopko comment that the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America's acceptance of the Evangelical Orthodox Churches in 1988 was the spark that awakened the Churches of North America to our missionary calling.  Only in recent times do we have national offices for church missions.

But, let's remember too, we do have the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) doing exemplary work, largely in Africa, but elsewhere too, if I'm not mistaken.

Again, much of our history kept us introspective, but our theology calls us to mission.  And that may become more of a prominent aspect of our church as time goes by.
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« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2013, 07:26:39 AM »


Are you referring to Protestants, Orthodox, or both? Some Churches, especially the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, knock on doors and visit with people at their residences.


My experience has been that most door-knockers are JWs and Baptists.  Haven't had any Mormons yet, but maybe I'm not in a good area for that.  Where I live now, it's mostly the Catholics and Baptists butting heads, but Catholics don't do the whole door-knocker thing.  I got more JWs back in PA.  Haven't had any come to my door here in Buffalo yet.
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« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2013, 09:28:50 AM »

First of all, I believe a true conversion happens through The Light of The Holy Spirit radiating through our presence. Simply being devices that spread information or asking people to adhere to a religious system won't work and will have to compete against various other Christian groups and world systems that are already doing the same thing.

Secondly, I think one needs a doorway into the souls of the neighbor. Often the neighbor suffers spiritually, emotionally or physically so this is the perfect opportunity to confess the love of God and attempt to heal and help the person. If it's not through suffering that we enter into the souls of people, then it can be through spiritual discussion, talking about the divine life, etc. in order to nourish and enlighten the soul.

So, converting people is actually an every day and every situation kind of thing. We don't necessarily need to organize a mission or attempt to convert people in big numbers at once because our neighbor is everywhere around us and in every circumstance.
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« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2013, 09:44:21 AM »

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« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2013, 09:53:33 AM »

I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

I am curious . . .

Was this "establishment/reestablishment" process also, in many cases, influenced by nationalism? Does this relate to the problem of phyletism? Doesn't this help explain the remoteness of Orthodoxy to many Westerners?


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« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2013, 10:18:21 AM »

I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

I am curious . . .

Was this "establishment/reestablishment" process also, in many cases, influenced by nationalism? Does this relate to the problem of phyletism? Doesn't this help explain the remoteness of Orthodoxy to many Westerners?

I'm interested in hearing Basil's answer to this, but I would propose that while it could be said to be influenced by nationalism, it's not in the way you think.  If the dominant power is trying in any number of ways to wipe you off the face of the earth, freedoms are curtailed, evangelism is prohibited, etc., what can you do to ensure the protection and continued existence of Christianity-as-you-know-it other than focusing on "the nation" (itself partly a construct of your overlords)?  Maintain your language and customs, continue in your faith, marry within the community and have lots of babies, etc.  Over time, yes, this contributes to the formation of a mentality that, in our day and age, may not be ideal, but it comes from a different time and place (please God, let it not happen here), and it needs to be understood in order to work with it and move beyond it.  Unfortunately, many Americans don't relate well to "foreign", so they struggle to see why "nationalism" seems to play a role in "faith".  Europeans, feel free to correct me, but I think they understand "foreign" better: if Orthodoxy feels foreign to them, it might be their own nationalisms getting in the way.   
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« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2013, 11:31:00 AM »

if Orthodoxy feels foreign to them, it might be their own nationalisms getting in the way.   

In the US, Orthodoxy has followed the normal pattern of an immigrant church. Since I was raised Lutheran, I can tell you that it wasn't that long ago (two generations, maybe more?) that Lutherans in America still identified themselves as German, Norwegian, Finnish or Swedish-Lutheran. (Think Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegone.)

According to my husband, it was much the same for Roman Catholics: he was raised in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, went to an Irish Catholic parish and parochial school, etc. (He and his brothers used to go for confession to the local Polish church).

I'm sure many Protestant churches at the time, looked down on both the Lutherans and Catholics as being "foreign," and "too ethnic."
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« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2013, 11:39:09 AM »


The kind of street evangelism and big tent revival preaching you have in mind is, I think, more of an historical aberration.   The mass field meetings such as Wesley conducted and which were perfected by the likes of Charles Finney & co. In the late 19th century had their roots in religious practices along the Scottish-British border going back to the 16th century or so.  They worked in a certain time and place and with a certain kind of theology.  Billy Graham was probably one of the last to successfully use that method.  Look around, no one can quite do things the way he did them.  He was welcomed as a revival preacher in a Protestant culture.  Those days are largely past. 

Now some will challenge this and say, what about Paul on Mars Hill?  What about Pentecost and Peters preaching?   But if you look closely They weren't just on some street corner yelling around or handing out tracts.  Paul came to a philosophic forum and engaged them in debate.  He grappled with their existing ideas and showed Christ as the end of their searching.  This is the tack that we should take today, in my opinion.  Peter was preaching in the midst of an established religious festival in the midst of a miracle. 

After the apostolic and Before the modern era most evangelizing seemed to be directed at rulers.  If they accepted Christianity their realm would follow.  Not so much anymore and probably for the best.   Orthodoxy existed for centuries in lands that needed little evangelization, ie Russia, or in lands where effective evangelization was impossible, ie the Ottoman Empire.  When the Orthodox started to immigrate to the west, except for a few visionaries, they were foreigners in diaspora and their churches were more diplomatic chapels than anything else, in a strange land for a foreign people.  Thank God this is no longer.   

If we are to do evangelization I don't think the dying or dead practice of field preaching or it's cousins is the answer.  We have to be like Paul and engage the people where they are, and open their eyes to the fact that what their heart longs for can be found in Christ and His Church.   One person who did this very very effectively was Saint Innocent of Alaska.  He lived among the natives, taught them, learned their language, and showed them the light of Christ.  And note that he didn't have to revise the Liturgy or make it more appealing to do so.  We need to follow his example and be visible lights in our culture and not be afraid to engage it like Paul.  And after all that's what Christ said, Ye are the light of the world.  We shouldn't hide it under a bushel, as it were. 

QFT, especially the bit about big tent revivalism and street evangelism being the aberrations relative to the history of Christianity and definitely foreign to what Orthodox Christians understand to be the Church.

Admittedly, we could be doing a better job, but I don't think it's fair to say that the Orthodox are not actively engaged in evangelism.  I also don't think it's fair to dismiss the flourishing Orthodox missions in non-Western nations as if they somehow count for less and that what we see here in the West is what really counts.  In some respects, I think this might be a problem of vocabulary.  What many folks - especially Americans - have in mind when they hear "evangelism" is "evangelicalism" - the televangelist/megachurch model with its roots in the Second Great Awakening.

I think this vid does a great job of discussing what form Orthodox evangelism should take:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1sVNtrfhbY
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« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2013, 11:46:48 AM »

In America,there is no approach; cradles are left to "tryin' to keep the church afloat" via basket raffles & food festivals as churches languish into mausoleums as diaspora descendents drift away from the 6 million (or is it 6 hundred thousdand?, who knows?) faithful in America. Thankfully, astute priests & laity fill part of the void with oranizations like; FOCUS N.A.: http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/     , the IOCC: http://www.iocc.org/  etc. & with in faith in action, supported by our prayer & contribution, some good results.
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« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2013, 12:18:20 PM »

Quote
That's the other thing I don't get. Why is converting Protestants some sort of super top priority. Is converting other people somehow less important.

If you were protestant and converted to Orthodoxy, wouldn't you be thinking about ministering to your family and friends who were still protestants? It's not that other faith conversions are less important, its that you want those you love to learn the same Truth you did.
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« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2013, 12:24:48 PM »

Quote
That's the other thing I don't get. Why is converting Protestants some sort of super top priority. Is converting other people somehow less important.

If you were protestant and converted to Orthodoxy, wouldn't you be thinking about ministering to your family and friends who were still protestants? It's not that other faith conversions are less important, its that you want those you love to learn the same Truth you did.

Besides praying, what other type of ministering can be done? 
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« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2013, 12:46:16 PM »

In the US, Orthodoxy has followed the normal pattern of an immigrant church...

Agreed!
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« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2013, 01:09:13 PM »

Quote
Besides praying, what other type of ministering can be done?

Letting others see you living a holy life, helping those in need, and much much more. People watch us and in some cases even put us under a microscope if they know we're Christians and especially those from other faiths.
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« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2013, 01:56:42 PM »

if Orthodoxy feels foreign to them, it might be their own nationalisms getting in the way.   

In the US, Orthodoxy has followed the normal pattern of an immigrant church. Since I was raised Lutheran, I can tell you that it wasn't that long ago (two generations, maybe more?) that Lutherans in America still identified themselves as German, Norwegian, Finnish or Swedish-Lutheran. (Think Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegone.)

According to my husband, it was much the same for Roman Catholics: he was raised in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, went to an Irish Catholic parish and parochial school, etc. (He and his brothers used to go for confession to the local Polish church).

I'm sure many Protestant churches at the time, looked down on both the Lutherans and Catholics as being "foreign," and "too ethnic."

The experience of migrants in the 20th century is a bit different than the experience of migrants of the 19th.  My own Protestant group was started by Dutch immigrants of the mid-19th century then received a jolt of new Dutch migrants post-WWII.  To this day, my denomination remains predominately composed of descendants of these groups. This process is not smooth or even inevitable.  Why would it be assumed that the Orthodox will follow a similar pattern of the Protestant?  Especially when the outcome isn't even close to an ideal.
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« Reply #53 on: November 08, 2013, 02:11:14 PM »

Quote
Something I have wondered about is why the Orthodox Church does not actively seek converts. On the streets I have mostly seen Evangelicals or Protestants but rarely do I see Catholics or Orthodox people. I know that the church does do missionary work but it seems to mostly be in non-Western countries. Why therefore do the Orthodox not seem so active in converting people?

I believe the Christian Orthodox "evangelical model" is much more connected to its ancient Christian -an even jewish roots.  Have you ever seen jews proselytizing in the streets?  I digress, if you read ancient accounts of the Early Church you will read that Christians simply were who they were, "The Church."  They were all of one accord and they showed love towards one another.  They "proselytized" indirectly, for example, when the pagans saw how they lived so well as a community.  This attracted those looking from the outside. In the book of Acts it says: ""The congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them. . . . For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need" (4:32,34-35). They exposed themselves by simply being who they were.  One of the most profound comments made regarding the early christians came from Aristides, a spy sent by the Emperor Hadrian to report on the christians who said: " Behold! How they love one another" AND NOT: "Behold how they want me to accept Jesus Christ as my only, sole, unique, reserved, exclusive, isolated, unaccompanied, solitary, individual, personal Lord and Savior."

So in early Christianity there was never a soliciting, go knocking on your door model to ask people if they have received Jesus Christ into their hearts -when the pagans/gentiles did not even know who Jesus Christ was!! How could they "accept" someone whom they do not even know?!  A lot of this talk about why we Orthodox aren't "evangelizing" comes from the influence of living in an the aggressive street preacher proselytizing protestant christian culture.  One of my friends who was a former baptist tells me that they were given some sort of call list to call people to ask them to come to their church -and they would be insistent.  They would look at this as "bringing souls" to Christ.  Having been in telemarketing, it follows that model.  On a side note, though somewhat related.  One of the things that really ticks me off that I hear so often related to "evangelizing" is when christians, in particular: protestants look at "fulfilling the great commission" as something necessary in christian life -though, of course, based on their way of interpreting that passage, not realizing that Our Lord Jesus Christ does not say that to the masses.  He says that to the twelve!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In other words, He did not intend for every John and Mary (what is done today) to go out and take the Gospel "to the nations."

I think the best method of "evangelizing" -at least for me- is simply, to be Orthodox.  By this model, we should attract those who are hungry for the Christian Truth.
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« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2013, 02:42:28 PM »

The experience of migrants in the 20th century is a bit different than the experience of migrants of the 19th.

Quote
My own Protestant group was started by Dutch immigrants of the mid-19th century then received a jolt of new Dutch migrants post-WWII.  To this day, my denomination remains predominately composed of descendants of these groups.
Which is pretty much what happened to the Greeks, and Russians too.

Quote
This process is not smooth or even inevitable.  Why would it be assumed that the Orthodox will follow a similar pattern of the Protestant?  Especially when the outcome isn't even close to an ideal.
Of course, it's not smooth. Change is never easy. I remember the fights and hurt feelings when the decision was made to change the Lutheran hymnal!
But assimilation is pretty much inevitable. It follows a pattern (fairly broad, I'll grant you): first generation (off the boat) worship in their native language, generally speaking, laypeople are the impetus to forming the church and want it to be a little piece of the "old country," somewhere that they can relax and be themselves. Second generation, more "American" (whatever that means), not so much fluent in their parents' language or customs, pretty much want to be American and not (fill in ethnic group). Each succeeding generation, for good or ill, becomes more "American" and less hyphenated-American. This is just a brief description, of course.
Not sure what you mean by "outcome close to an ideal"?
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« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2013, 02:49:15 PM »

Its not like orthodox missions don't exist, they are simply in places where they are most effective (i think of a fairly recent church established in Fiji) and the way it is done is primarily through establishing a church community it seems.

Do the pro-active door knockers or street preachers convince anyone these days? Some I'm sure, but in an increasingly secularized enviroment how will knocking door to door persuade generally skeptical people who distrust or don't care about any sort of religion? The best way to convince people of religion in the west is through popular culture.
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« Reply #56 on: November 08, 2013, 02:56:10 PM »

Door-knocking is not effective.  When I was in my teens, I was working in the front yard with my dad on Sautrday.  Jehovah Witnesses came to talk to us.  My dad politely told them we weren't interested.  Somehow knowing that we are Hispanic, the next Saturday they sent a Hispanic JW speaking Spanish to us.  Again we said no.  Then the following Saturday, they sent Hispanic JW ladies to talk with my mom.  She said no.  Then the last Saturday they sent a young man and two young ladies to talk to me and my sister (also in her teens).  The girls were very pretty, but I said no.  My sister said no, too (the guy stuttered, I distinctly remember that).  The local Kingdom Hall was very persistent.  After that final "no" with the pretty girls, they never bothered us again.

In different places that I have lived, local independent or fundamentalist Baptists love using the same tactics.  Even when I was a pentecostal, I never remember us going out on mass witnessing trips.
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« Reply #57 on: November 08, 2013, 03:54:19 PM »

I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

I am curious . . .

Was this "establishment/reestablishment" process also, in many cases, influenced by nationalism? Does this relate to the problem of phyletism? Doesn't this help explain the remoteness of Orthodoxy to many Westerners?

I'm interested in hearing Basil's answer to this, but I would propose that while it could be said to be influenced by nationalism, it's not in the way you think.  If the dominant power is trying in any number of ways to wipe you off the face of the earth, freedoms are curtailed, evangelism is prohibited, etc., what can you do to ensure the protection and continued existence of Christianity-as-you-know-it other than focusing on "the nation" (itself partly a construct of your overlords)?  Maintain your language and customs, continue in your faith, marry within the community and have lots of babies, etc.  Over time, yes, this contributes to the formation of a mentality that, in our day and age, may not be ideal, but it comes from a different time and place (please God, let it not happen here), and it needs to be understood in order to work with it and move beyond it.  Unfortunately, many Americans don't relate well to "foreign", so they struggle to see why "nationalism" seems to play a role in "faith".  Europeans, feel free to correct me, but I think they understand "foreign" better: if Orthodoxy feels foreign to them, it might be their own nationalisms getting in the way.    

Yes, I agree with the foregoing in connection with what I wrote in Reply No. 39.

Fr. John Meyendorff has written in regard to the ethnic connection of the Eastern Orthodox Churches that were under the Ottoman Turks, the epithets, Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, used today, have their origin in the 18th and 19th century national revolutionary movements, whose activities were secretly conducted largely within the churches, to rid themselves of the Moslem Ottoman yoke. Typically, in the language of these nationalities, if someone responds to the question, to which religion do you adhere, the answer is "I am Orthodox," not I'm Greek Orthodox etc., validating Fr. John's explanation that the epithets are of later day origin.

In America, especially for churches established in the first half of the 20th century, most were founded within the context of ethnic fraternal societies, perpetuation of the faith being but one of the missions of these groups.  The second parish community of the Greeks initiated in America, today's Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan, was founded in 1892 by the "Athena Society." This is the church that refused to admit St. Tikhon upon his attempt to pay an archpastoral visit to the community on a Great Friday. Being of the older generation, I can recall in my youth, hearing within church circles, of the "dual mission" of the church, "dual" meaning both religious and cultural.
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« Reply #58 on: November 08, 2013, 04:20:33 PM »

The experience of migrants in the 20th century is a bit different than the experience of migrants of the 19th.

Quote
My own Protestant group was started by Dutch immigrants of the mid-19th century then received a jolt of new Dutch migrants post-WWII.  To this day, my denomination remains predominately composed of descendants of these groups.
Which is pretty much what happened to the Greeks, and Russians too.

Quote
This process is not smooth or even inevitable.  Why would it be assumed that the Orthodox will follow a similar pattern of the Protestant?  Especially when the outcome isn't even close to an ideal.
Of course, it's not smooth. Change is never easy. I remember the fights and hurt feelings when the decision was made to change the Lutheran hymnal!
But assimilation is pretty much inevitable. It follows a pattern (fairly broad, I'll grant you): first generation (off the boat) worship in their native language, generally speaking, laypeople are the impetus to forming the church and want it to be a little piece of the "old country," somewhere that they can relax and be themselves. Second generation, more "American" (whatever that means), not so much fluent in their parents' language or customs, pretty much want to be American and not (fill in ethnic group). Each succeeding generation, for good or ill, becomes more "American" and less hyphenated-American. This is just a brief description, of course.
Not sure what you mean by "outcome close to an ideal"?

Let me rephrase:

Assimilation does not mean that the churches are going to be healthier.  The outcome of populations assimilating is not that the churches are growing or attracting significant numbers of converts, at least in the Protestant experience I've witnessed.  This is what I mean by the outcome of assimilation.  I think this pattern may also be true of Mexican and Irish Catholics?

It may be wrong to think that as Orthodox parishes in America become less identified with cultures/ethnicities that they will attract considerable numbers of converts. 
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« Reply #59 on: November 08, 2013, 04:23:36 PM »

I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

I am curious . . .

Was this "establishment/reestablishment" process also, in many cases, influenced by nationalism? Does this relate to the problem of phyletism? Doesn't this help explain the remoteness of Orthodoxy to many Westerners?

I'm interested in hearing Basil's answer to this, but I would propose that while it could be said to be influenced by nationalism, it's not in the way you think.  If the dominant power is trying in any number of ways to wipe you off the face of the earth, freedoms are curtailed, evangelism is prohibited, etc., what can you do to ensure the protection and continued existence of Christianity-as-you-know-it other than focusing on "the nation" (itself partly a construct of your overlords)?  Maintain your language and customs, continue in your faith, marry within the community and have lots of babies, etc.  Over time, yes, this contributes to the formation of a mentality that, in our day and age, may not be ideal, but it comes from a different time and place (please God, let it not happen here), and it needs to be understood in order to work with it and move beyond it.  Unfortunately, many Americans don't relate well to "foreign", so they struggle to see why "nationalism" seems to play a role in "faith".  Europeans, feel free to correct me, but I think they understand "foreign" better: if Orthodoxy feels foreign to them, it might be their own nationalisms getting in the way.    

Yes, I agree with the foregoing in connection with what I wrote in Reply No. 39.

Fr. John Meyendorff has written in regard to the ethnic connection of the Eastern Orthodox Churches that were under the Ottoman Turks, the epithets, Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, used today, have their origin in the 18th and 19th century national revolutionary movements, whose activities were secretly conducted largely within the churches, to rid themselves of the Moslem Ottoman yoke. Typically, in the language of these nationalities, if someone responds to the question, to which religion do you adhere, the answer is "I am Orthodox," not I'm Greek Orthodox etc., validating Fr. John's explanation that the epithets are of later day origin.

In America, especially for churches established in the first half of the 20th century, most were founded within the context of ethnic fraternal societies, perpetuation of the faith being but one of the missions of these groups.  The second parish community of the Greeks initiated in America, today's Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan, was founded in 1892 by the "Athena Society." This is the church that refused to admit St. Tikhon upon his attempt to pay an archpastoral visit to the community on a Great Friday. Being of the older generation, I can recall in my youth, hearing within church circles, of the "dual mission" of the church, "dual" meaning both religious and cultural.

Take an old religion, make up a new nationality to go with it, and voila! You are stuck in cement!
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« Reply #60 on: November 08, 2013, 04:31:47 PM »

It may be wrong to think that as Orthodox parishes in America become less identified with cultures/ethnicities that they will attract considerable numbers of converts. 

I agree it is wrong to think that. Simply becoming less ethnically-identified will probably not attract visitors or converts. My point was that ethnic religious communities and consequent assimilation are not a uniquely Orthodox "problem" or situation, but rather the common experience of immigrant churches in the US (as you have pointed out, with your post about your Dutch church.)
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« Reply #61 on: November 08, 2013, 09:46:16 PM »

Look at it like door-to-door selling vs. setting up a shop. Which one do you think sells more? The one who accosts people unsolicited, or the one who lets them come in willingly?

Great answer!
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« Reply #62 on: November 09, 2013, 03:36:50 AM »

I think due to our history since the middle of the 15th century, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with introspection, establishment of its churches or reestablishment of what it once had.

There are great missionary endeavors in the history of the Orthodox Church; the conversion of the Slavs by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople beginning in the 9th century; and the Church of Russia's Far East Missions in Japan and Korea, and of course its holy missionary work in Alaska.

But the scourge of captivity under the Moslem Ottoman Turks forced the church to be introspective, focused on preservation.  The Ottoman Empire oppressed all the Ancient Patriarchates, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and the Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Albania and Greece--which were part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; likewise, administratively, essentially for the others too.  This oppression existed largely from the middle of the 15th century until the early 20th century.

Without elaborating herein, the Ecumenical Patriarchate remains subjugated today in the Republic of Turkey.

Around the time the church was riding itself of the oppression of the Ottoman's, beginning in 1917 Russia and in Georgia, and after WWII, spreading throughout the Eastern European Patriarchates of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and the Church of Albania, these of the largest of the Orthodox Christian populous, were suppressed by the evil of Communism; again, rendering us focused on preservation. And since the fall of Communism (1990 more or less), these churches are focused on rebuilding.

Other than the missionary support provided by the Church of Russia before 1917, thereafter, the administration of the Archdiocese of the Aleutians and North America essentially fell apart. Since the early 1920's, the churches in the Western Hemisphere have been concerned with establishing churches and institutions for themselves.

Although controversial, since the Orthodox Churches involvement in the ecumenical movement in the middle of the 20th century, the church consciously decided not to preach to Trinitarian Christians.  It was under this principle that caused the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) to criticize the Evangelical Christian Churches that were proselytizing in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation after the fall of Communism, upon reports of its investigatory commissions, which had included Orthodox representatives.

I recently heard Fr. Thomas Hopko comment that the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America's acceptance of the Evangelical Orthodox Churches in 1988 was the spark that awakened the Churches of North America to our missionary calling.  Only in recent times do we have national offices for church missions.

But, let's remember too, we do have the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) doing exemplary work, largely in Africa, but elsewhere too, if I'm not mistaken.

Again, much of our history kept us introspective, but our theology calls us to mission.  And that may become more of a prominent aspect of our church as time goes by.

This makes sense I agree

also another thing in my mind at least, perhaps traditional ways of conversion is not as effective anymore since the way people are educated. it used to be, a vast majority of the worlds population were uneducated peasent farmers. and to be honest, those peasants were not educated, nor did they have as high of values of original thinking and criticism of what they are told by authorities as we do today. they would listen to what they are told

Today, most young people are taught to think for themselves, to question EVERYTHING. living in a completely different world. for many young people, they might ask, what is the use for religion? Why do I need it? I am fine right now without it, i am having fun. I already have my answers to death and life, through scientific approaches. How do you convert someone like that? All I know is knocking on their door is defiantly never going to work for this generation, nor I don't think is street evangelism.  you will just be laughed at, and they will take pictures of you with their phone. they will quote whatever they want in an instant just by googling facts about the earth about history ectect or just quote richard dawkins and the like, to counter any argument you have if you are a street evangelist. at least my opinion..

this reminds me, who was that greek saint that went around Greece reviving Orthodoxy? I remember, this saint would have a very large cross and speak next to it. I think it was during the 19th century, or 18th century
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« Reply #63 on: November 09, 2013, 04:54:03 AM »

Quote
this reminds me, who was that greek saint that went around Greece reviving Orthodoxy? I remember, this saint would have a very large cross and speak next to it. I think it was during the 19th century, or 18th century

That would be St Kosmas Aitolos (of Aetolia). He traveled all over northern Greece in the mid-to-late 1700s.
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« Reply #64 on: November 13, 2013, 04:32:46 PM »

One of the worst type of proselytizing is knocking on doors, I dislike it. And as far as I remember, I have seen only JWs knocking on my door.
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« Reply #65 on: November 13, 2013, 04:57:25 PM »

One of the worst type of proselytizing is knocking on doors, I dislike it. And as far as I remember, I have seen only JWs knocking on my door.

Yes. It's just annoying people and making them laugh. Last Sunday I experienced it. I mean, Jehova's Witnesses knocked to my door. They were shocked my father and me are Orthodox and there was a nice, long discussion that shocked me, as usually after a few my quotations of the hymns they're giving up.


Basil 320 presented the issue very well. I can add that I think the best missionary work is, along with modern media such as Internet and this kind of personal experience that we're able to offer (as we can get to the people by all senses: sound - our sacred hymns; smell - the incense, the holy oil; vision - the icons, the vestments, the architecture, etc. taste - e.g the holy bread; touch - e.g. kissing icons, relics etc.) is just our attitude and everyday life, in truly Orthodox spirit
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« Reply #66 on: November 13, 2013, 05:15:12 PM »

While festivals do help keep parishes afloat, these are also an opportunity to answer questions from those unfamiliar with Orthodoxy. Perhaps just a small percentage among those that attend a festival express interest, but there are a few that ask questions each year. How visitors to a Liturgy are welcomed and greeted are important obviously. So after the fruits of being an example everyday show up at the door, will they return again? I have read about efforts to welcome visitors and provide information to them on the Liturgy and such. Perhaps an area that could be improved.
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« Reply #67 on: November 20, 2013, 02:04:43 PM »

Once I heard that Metropolitan Kallistos Ware was not made to feel very welcome by the Greek Orthodox. In this case, if a person goes to the church and is interested but is discouraged or turned down, then what?

Also, why did the Russians in the course of their eastern expansion from the 15th century onwards conduct missionary activities among the native peoples of Siberia and the Russian Far East? Why was there active efforts to convert people in this case?



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« Reply #68 on: November 20, 2013, 02:15:53 PM »

Once I heard that Kallistos Ware was not made to feel very welcome by the Greek Orthodox. In this case, if a person goes to the church and is interested but is discouraged or turned down, then what?


No.  Metropolitan Kallistos, Titular Metropolitan of Diokleia, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyatira and Great Brittan, is very much respected throughout the "Greek Orthodox" circles of which I am acquainted.  For many years, his book "The Orthodox Church" was the standard given by GOAA priests to catechumens for study about Holy Orthodoxy.  His title is indicative of the respect his ruling Archbishop and His All Holiness have for His Excellency. During his various visits to the U.S. he is always well received in parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2013, 02:20:13 PM »

No. 

"Less predictably, most of the Orthodox whose counsel I sought likewise offered me little encouragement. They were honest and realistic — and for this I remain grateful — in directing my attention to the historical shortcomings of the Orthodox Church, as well as to the particular difficulties it confronts in the Western world. There was much in Orthodoxy, so they warned me, that was very far from “heaven on earth”! When I approached the assistant bishop at the Greek Cathedral in London, Bishop James (Virvos) of Apamaea, he spoke to me kindly and at length, but urged me to remain a member of the Anglican Church in which I had been brought up. A Russian priest to whom I spoke in Paris gave me exactly the same advice..."

You can read more here...
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« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2013, 02:24:27 PM »

if a person goes to the church and is interested but is discouraged or turned down, then what?

"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matt. 11:12)

Keep trying until you get in. I'm assuming the violence here is spiritual warfare, of course  angel
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« Reply #71 on: November 20, 2013, 02:27:50 PM »

Oh, Reply No. 67 was referring to Metropolitan Kallistos' encounters with the Greek Orthodox Church, prior to his conversion and ordination.  I didn't understand it that way.
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