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eliasmok
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« on: May 04, 2005, 09:03:07 AM »

PLEASE THE QUESTION CONCERNS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ORTHODOX YOUTH AND NOT ALL THE YOUTH WHO ARE IN YOUR PLACE AND REGION.

THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2005, 03:05:37 PM by eliasmok » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2005, 09:08:21 AM »

I think we need a 'completely ignorant' or 'utterly abysmal' option. Most of the youth in my area don't even know what Orthodoxy is, even though there are several Orthodox churches in the area representing 5 or 6 different jurisdictions. Heck, most of the adults don't even have a clue. Having to explain to the teachers at my son's nursery school that we didn't have Easter until May this year, I could have been forgiven for thinking that I'd been transported to a paralel universe! I'm sure this is probably true of most places outside of the traditional Orthodox lands.

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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2005, 09:40:08 AM »

Sadly, I had to vote "not good."  A person my age or younger (I am 20) would be considered truly enlightened if they had ever even heard of Orthodoxy.  Here is how the scenario usually works.

Youth: "What religion are you?"
Me:  "Well, I am converting to Orthodoxy?"
Youth:  "You mean Judaism?"
Me:  "No, Orthodoxy is Christianity."
Youth: (Blank stare)
Me:  "Have you ever seen MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING?"
Youth:  "Yeah!"
Me:  "The Church they were married in...It was an Orthodox Church."
Youth: "Oh!"

I am serious, that is how the scenario usually plays out.  With minor variation, of course.
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2005, 09:44:41 AM »

And after that you get the inevitable "So, you're Greek?"

 :bang:

(Not that there's anything wrong with Greeks Wink )
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2005, 09:58:07 AM »

In my church (and what I hear from colleagues who attend other church's in the same city) the youth, are sadly quite theologically ignorant. I am a youth myself (19), and I quit going to Friday night youth meetings long ago because it was just such a waste of time. Trying to keep the youth on the right path in Christ - keeping them away from drugs, sex, alcohol, and all the evils of society seems to be the main focus - theology is just a non-issue. I certainly dont consider myself sufficiently educated yet, but the point is, all that I do know has come about as the result of my own personal study instigated by my own personal thirst for knowledge; rather than being motivated or influenced by the church itself. My church seems to care less whether the youth actually understand the Incarnation of God and the redemption of mankind, as long as they attend liturgy every week to celebrate these events, and live a moral life to enjoy the fruits of these events.

I have had the desire and personal motivation to make theology a hobby, such that I would go out of my way to read and learn for myself. Most of my friends, and the youth in general, simply dont have this mindset at all - they're good Christians, better than myself, and they're very concerned about their spirituality, but their concern for theology simply doesn't exist. Seeing as todays youth are tommorows leaders of the church, I believe my church is making a huge mistake by being negligent with regards to educating the youth on theological issues.

Furthermore, the fact we live in an age of ever-increasing skepticism means that the church really needs to put its foot down. I had one friend who nearly converted to Islam due to his ignorance - the church blamed his parents for not keeping an eye out on him - I blame the church for not sufficiently educating him to realise he was being duped by islamic lies. Skepticism and polemical attacks against Christianity from all sorts of perspectives (atheistic, islamic, Jewish etc etc) are everywhere - on the internet, on the radio, T.V., at work, at school, at social functions - ignorance today is a dangerous thing for any Christian, especially vulnerable youth.

The Lord promised he would not let the gates of hell prevail over His church, so I find hope in this promise and allow that hope to dissolve my fears that the youth's ignorance will be the church's downfall (in my region at least)....

Peace.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2005, 09:59:53 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2005, 10:00:09 AM »

Sadly, I had to vote "not good." A person my age or younger (I am 20) would be considered truly enlightened if they had ever even heard of Orthodoxy. Here is how the scenario usually works.

Youth: "What religion are you?"
Me: "Well, I am converting to Orthodoxy?"
Youth: "You mean Judaism?"
Me: "No, Orthodoxy is Christianity."
Youth: (Blank stare)
Me: "Have you ever seen MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING?"
Youth: "Yeah!"
Me: "The Church they were married in...It was an Orthodox Church."
Youth: "Oh!"

I am serious, that is how the scenario usually plays out. With minor variation, of course.

Yes, and try this real exchange when we had to take my son to the local hospital.

Receptionist: What religion is he?
Me: Orthodox
R: What, Jewish?
M: No, Orthodox Christian.
R: We don't have that on the computer, anything else I can try?
M: Romanian Orthodox? (there are quite a lot of Romanians in the area)
R: No, we don't have that either.
M: Russian Orthodox?
R: No...is it anything like Greek Orthodox?
M: Yes, we and the Greeks are in the same church.
R: (Looking puzzled) So is it alright if I put him down as Greek Orthodox then?
M: I suppose so.

Presumably if something goes wrong and they need a priest they always go to the Greek one. Poor fellow, I imagine he's worked off his feet, but there are at least two Russian, a Romanian, an Antiochian and a Serbian priest within a reasonable distance. Great , hey?

James
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2005, 10:19:01 AM »

It's not good in my area at all-the jewish exchange is common. But, on the campus of 40,000 youth, we have a 'street preacher' who converted to Orthodoxy about 5 years ago and talks in front of a main classroom building every day for abotu 6 hours a day, so more and more are hearing about Orthodoxy and how it is different from Catholicisim or Protestantism. It's brought a lot of people into the Church, and it's at least opening up people's ears and making them aware there is such a group.
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2005, 10:19:35 AM »

Well, in NYC, people always assume Orthodox means Orthodox Judaism.

Although, it doesn't specifically have to deal with the question of faith here is the best conversation I've been involved with (from a client);

C:  Where are you from?

A:  I'm from Serbia.

C:  Oh??? I didn't know Siberia was a country! Shocked

So you see, it is not a surprise that "they" don't know "we" exist. LOL
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2005, 12:04:45 PM »

S+úo Paulo City is Brazilian largest city (more or less the same size of New York City) and people here normally have no idea about what Orthodox Christianity is. When and if they learn about it (what is far from being common), they tend to think in it as a kind of old-fashioned Roman Catholicism.

Even among the Orthodox faithful, knowledge of Orthodox doctrine and theology is very poor also -- the picture here is the same one that EkhristosAnesti described. Situation is made worse by generally bad educational condition in my country as a whole. I utterly agree with EA about the need for a better education to our Orthodox youth: our flock is indeed vulnerable to anti-Christian cultural attacks through mass media and secular schools. I would also point out that, in underdeveloped countries, missionary activities should as much as possible come together with educative efforts such as Orthodox schools and printing houses, sowing the seeds of new Orthodox civilizations.
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2005, 11:17:28 PM »

If you think the Jewish question is confusing, try explaining that you are a Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity.  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2005, 11:41:13 AM »

Dear Ehkristos
Many blessing to you as a serious young man of the faith
I wish you well on your path. Remember that to pray is to be a theologian and to be a theologian one must pray!
Do not make theology just a hobby, make it part and parcel of a rule of prayer and ascetic discipline. Seek to become even more devout than those you compliment as being more devout than you!

You write,
My church seems to care less whether the youth actually understand the Incarnation of God and the redemption of mankind, as long as they attend liturgy every week to celebrate these events, and live a moral life to enjoy the fruits of these events.

In this cesspool culture of ours, attending divine liturgy faithfully every week and living a moral life is a HUGE achievement. Congratulate your parish, your priest and these young people if they are that far along. Light candles for them. Thank God for them and pray for them. We need a good beginning - that is a very good beginning indeed.

From where I come from spiritually, there are many evangelical protestant young people who know their Bibles and know doctrine that are pretty lazy about regular church attendance and their lives are not all that different from the surrounding culture, especailly in terms of sexual indulgence.

The "trick" is to combine knowledge and piety. A simple presentation of deep truths in an engaging way that can also be made relevant to prayer, liturgical practice and life "out there" in the world is a great need in the Church. May God raise up writers, priests and teachers who can engage our peoples' minds (young and old) so that the soil can be prepared for the real teaching to begin - from the Fathers of the Church. Then they can learn with their minds and their hearts (or with their minds IN their hearts).
« Last Edit: May 05, 2005, 11:53:52 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2005, 11:53:11 AM »

Elias,
   Sorry about not being on topic, but you didn't exactly specify or clarify what group of young people you were talking about.  When you do that people just assume and start going where they think the topic was headed. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2005, 11:56:15 AM »

Thankfully.
My boss let me leave early on Friday and understood immediately when I told him it was Eastern Orthdox Good Friday.
I live in an area where there are enough Greeks and ethnic Eastern Europeans that pople know what Orthodoxy is.
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2005, 06:12:44 AM »

it seems to me that the need of orthodox youth mouvements is important in todays life, and of course, with the support of their local church and Fathers.

knowledge seems to have two sources: the one which is acquired in the group (church|) and the other that comes by personnal effort...
everything goes in a Blessed circle.
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2005, 09:22:43 AM »

Having noted our problem in education, has this issue come more to the fore in your church communities? Our priest is focused on educating all that he can. Some of the young people who come to this country as refugees from Bosnia and Croatia don't know anything about the church and don't care. But the wee ones are getting a full dose and I don't doubt the future for our parish is bright and will be brighter in ten to fifteen years.

I can't help but think back to the Byzantine Catholic mission in Tulsa. The three college students who attended and assisted became ROCOR monks.

But then down here in the South (if you can call Oklahoma the South) religion, faith and theology are still extremely important in most people's daily lives. I can't get on the bus without seeing someone reading a bible, handing out tracts, discussing theology or praying.
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2005, 10:15:25 AM »

I think eliasmok was talking about how much Orthodox youth know about their own religion.  Because of this mis-understanding I think the poll should be re-taken. 
On that note, I have to sadly say that most of the Orthodox youth around Washington DC don't have much of a clue what their religion is all about.  Oh they know that Christ died for their sins, and to go to church on Sundays.  Other than that though, they wouldn't be able to tell you much except for some supersticions and their own theories for why things are they way they are in church. 
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2005, 11:40:44 AM »



Ania:

I agree with what you state.  The biggest sin within Holy Orthodoxy has been its failure to teach the faith to its people.  It is because of that so many of our people either leave the faith or have the attitude...."Its all the same.  We all believe in the same God."

When I was growing up there was 'Russian School' but no Sunday School.  I loved the beauty of the church so much that I decided that in order to learn what created such beauty I would have to learn it on my own.  This I did, and still do, by reading on my own.

When a Sunday School opened in my home parish I was sent.  But to be honest with you with the little knowledge I had acquired by that time on my own it didn't take me long to figure out I knew as much, if not more, than the parish ladies that were trying to teach me.

In the parish I'm in now things are a little better.  The teachers still have a long way to go but have a much better knowledge than mine did when I was a kid.

I have been to ethnic festivals where tours of the church are given.  Many times I have had to chime in when I very simple question was asked and the tour guide didn't have the slightest idea on how to answer.  In fact the best tour guide I ever came accross was a convert!

If we are to succeed and grow.  Or even keep our own then we are going to have to put the emphasis on religious education rather than ethnic traditions.

You have to fully comprehend something before you can respect it.  And you can't learn to love something you don't respect.  It's that simple.

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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2005, 11:51:52 AM »

Quote
It is because of that so many of our people either leave the faith or have the attitude...."Its all the same.  We all believe in the same God."


I believe you just quoted WORD FOR WORD, the response of that particular friend of mine mentioned in my post who almost converted to Islam.

Quote
The biggest sin within Holy Orthodoxy has been its failure to teach the faith to its people.


Agreed.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2005, 11:58:04 AM »

BrotherAiden

I absolutely agree with your assessment. It's purely the exclusive one-sidedness of my church in relation to what manner it chooses to approach and lead the youth that I am having problems with.

Remember my church in your prayers!
« Last Edit: May 06, 2005, 11:59:19 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2005, 12:30:18 PM »

That reminds me of something that happened after liturgy on Pascha.

A Serb was talking to me and eating some of my homemade salamis and started complaining about Metropolitan Christopher. He said, "I go sometimes to Joel Osteen's church and I always feel great when I leave. Our Metropolitan, he's always telling us to give more money and work more at church and I always feel guilty. Osteen doesn't do that and look at all the money he brings in and they are huge." I told him that the Metropolitan's and our priest's responsibility is to the welfare of our souls, not our conscience. We may need to hear what they say because it makes us uncomfortable and challenges us. I told him that the people loved Christ's message so much that they crucified him.

I was very quickly lectured about how we "all worship the same God" and a couple of Russian immigrants included pagans in that definition. I was so disgusted I walked away.

In case you've never heard of Osteen: http://www.joelosteen.com/site/PageServer

He was all over the news on Western Easter because he filled up Minute Maid park for the "service."

The sad thing is that most of the Serbs have kids that never come to church and thus never learn anything. Our churches are getting burned down in Kosovo. They care about that. The world can burn down the souls of their kids and they don't care.
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2005, 01:47:04 PM »

As one who is converting to Orthodoxy, rather than having been that way from "cradle", I can speak from a unique perspective and tell you that knowledge of the faith is sadly lacking in not just Orthodox youth, but Christian youth of both the protestant and Catholic professions.  These evangelical giants like Joel Osteen are gaining membership like crazy, but the vast majority of churches are hemorrhaging youth who are apathetic to the faith.  They don't read their Bibles, pray, or even try to struggle against their passions and temptations.  They just go with the flow.  Their attitude is that God doesn't matter.  My old Southern Baptist Church was huge, but the bulk of membership was middle aged to senior citizen peoples.

So, I will go even farther to say that the knowledge of Christian youth across the board is abyssmal.
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2005, 03:40:10 PM »

the effort of the Family in raising their children on orthodox knowledge in a way that is in HARMONY WITH THEIR OWN WILL and, the personnal THRIST to knowledge,and the APOSTOLIC role of the Fathers of the Church, these 3 factors seem to be THE ESSENTIAL NEED FOR THE ORIENTATION TOWARDS ORTHODOX KNOWLEDGE.
of course without forgetting THE ESSENTIAL POWER OF THE DIVINE GRACE.
it is all part of the Harmony of THE HOLY BODY OF CHRIST.

........... still there's the question about the support of orthodox youth to each other.......
« Last Edit: May 06, 2005, 03:43:42 PM by eliasmok » Logged
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