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Author Topic: Furture Career in Orthodoxy?  (Read 2337 times) Average Rating: 0
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Kallistos
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« on: August 14, 2005, 04:43:49 AM »

What sort of careers exist within Orthodoxy. I have been thinkings deeply about my furture, and I find it hard to see myself working in a secular field. So I really wonder what else would be open to me?

Thanks for any help.
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2005, 04:44:29 PM »

Well, there are priests, and well in the US that's about it. If you want to move to Greece you can always get a job teaching Theology in the public schools. We do have a handful of Professors here and some of the larger parishes may have a Religious Education director, but in general the Orthodox Church in the United States is too small to support anyone other than Priests (and the Bishops, of course).
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Jennifer
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2005, 05:29:32 PM »

What sort of careers exist within Orthodoxy. I have been thinkings deeply about my furture, and I find it hard to see myself working in a secular field. So I really wonder what else would be open to me?


Why can't you see yourself working in a "secular" field? 

This is the kind of attitude I alluded to a recent post.  We can't hide from the world.  Living in the world (even for priests) requires that we make some accommodations.  I'm not saying that we give up our faith but we have to do mundane things to put food on the table.  It seems to me that it is much more of a challenge to do a "secular" job for the glory of God than to do a "religious" job. 

And like it or not, some of us (well rather most of us) must have "secular" jobs if the churches are to be kept open, if the poor are to be clothed, if the children are to receive religious education, if the sick are to be cared for, etc. etc. etc. 

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2005, 05:43:12 PM »

What sort of careers exist within Orthodoxy. I have been thinkings deeply about my furture, and I find it hard to see myself working in a secular field. So I really wonder what else would be open to me?

Serving in the priesthood or living the monastic life aren't things you do because you can't find a place in the world you like, but things you do because you're called to those vocations.  Priestly service isn't an alternative of last resort, but a highly specific calling that is very difficult to follow.  As such, it shouldn't be looked at as an escape from the "real world."  On the other hand, a secular job doesn't have to be the fulfillment of everything you desire; it shouldn't be.  I know several people in my parish who have jobs that they enjoy and do well at...but whose true energy and passion is what they do at church in their spare time, in teaching Sunday School or leading discussion groups or helping with college ministry.  You don't have to be employed by the Church to have it be your true vocation.
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Kallistos
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2005, 05:59:05 PM »

This is not about escaping the real world. This has to do with not wasting my life doing a 9 to 5, that doesn't fulfil me. I don't like working because society expects it, or because I want to earn money. I want to be able to share and gain ideas about God and life. And I want to have a career that relates to the most important thing to me. Orthodoxy.

As far as the Priesthood is concerned. I'm not looking at it as a last resort. I at this moment, do not believe I would be ready to take on such a great task.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2005, 06:00:11 PM by Kallistos » Logged
Jennifer
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2005, 06:17:20 PM »

This is not about escaping the real world. This has to do with not wasting my life doing a 9 to 5, that doesn't fulfil me. I don't like working because society expects it, or because I want to earn money. I want to be able to share and gain ideas about God and life. And I want to have a career that relates to the most important thing to me. Orthodoxy.

As far as the Priesthood is concerned. I'm not looking at it as a last resort. I at this moment, do not believe I would be ready to take on such a great task.

Believe me, you'll gain a lot more "ideas" about God and life through sucking it up and getting a normal job than reading books all day and talking about God.  It takes a strong soul to get up every morning and go to an office where most of the people aren't religious. 

I know that this is hard for people to believe, but one can glorify God through being an accoutant or some such thing that the psuedo-pious would think is a "waste" of time. 

The way I see it is that some of us are called to be Marthas and some to be Marys.  The house needs to be clean.  The family needs to be fed.  Some of us are called to the 'mundane' tasks of making money to buy food. 

I know I'm sounding rather 'preachy' here but I believe very strongly that this is a very important insight into the spiritual life.  A guy can be a saint being an accoutant just as easily as if he teaches sunday or is a priest.  In fact, the accoutant may have an easier time. 

An accoutant who tithes to the Church isn't "wasting" his time.  He's making it possible for the priest to do his ministry.  For the children to learn about the faith in sunday school.  For the unchurched to hear the truth. 

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Kallistos
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2005, 08:13:02 PM »

Believe me, you'll gain a lot more "ideas" about God and life through sucking it up and getting a normal job than reading books all day and talking about God.ÂÂ  It takes a strong soul to get up every morning and go to an office where most of the people aren't religious.ÂÂ  

I know that this is hard for people to believe, but one can glorify God through being an accoutant or some such thing that the psuedo-pious would think is a "waste" of time.ÂÂ  

The way I see it is that some of us are called to be Marthas and some to be Marys.ÂÂ  The house needs to be clean.ÂÂ  The family needs to be fed.ÂÂ  Some of us are called to the 'mundane' tasks of making money to buy food.ÂÂ  

I know I'm sounding rather 'preachy' here but I believe very strongly that this is a very important insight into the spiritual life.ÂÂ  A guy can be a saint being an accoutant just as easily as if he teaches sunday or is a priest.ÂÂ  In fact, the accoutant may have an easier time.ÂÂ  

An accoutant who tithes to the Church isn't "wasting" his time.ÂÂ  He's making it possible for the priest to do his ministry.ÂÂ  For the children to learn about the faith in sunday school.ÂÂ  For the unchurched to hear the truth.ÂÂ  




As a personal choice. I would like to try to do something I love, and am interested in.

Most people try and are encouraged to go into a field of interest. And I agree with that philosophy.
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2005, 08:55:23 PM »


As a personal choice. I would like to try to do something I love, and am interested in.

Most people try and are encouraged to go into a field of interest. And I agree with that philosophy.

You think you're the only one who wants to do something they "love?"  Are your parents rich? 

Part of being a grown up is realizing that sometimes you have to do things you don't "love."  That's not to suggest that we have to do something we "hate."  We should find a career that we like but accept that we can't always do the exact thing that we want. 

I doubt seriously that the only thing you're interested in is Orthodoxy. 

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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2005, 10:52:46 PM »

I encourage you to listen to this lecture by N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham. He's Anglican, not Orthodox, but he has some good advice for those who have "secular" careers and how they can be witnesses to Christ in the workplace and elsewhere.

http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Jesus_Light.mp3
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2005, 09:04:12 AM »

Jennifer don't be so hard on this guy. Doing something you love is a recent phenomenon of the late 20th century. Before that you worked because you had to eat. Now we have choices. Also, he may have a passion for church ministry which we cannot discount.
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2005, 09:19:11 AM »

You think you're the only one who wants to do something they "love?"ÂÂ  Are your parents rich?ÂÂ  

Part of being a grown up is realizing that sometimes you have to do things you don't "love."ÂÂ  That's not to suggest that we have to do something we "hate."ÂÂ  We should find a career that we like but accept that we can't always do the exact thing that we want.ÂÂ  

I doubt seriously that the only thing you're interested in is Orthodoxy.ÂÂ  


i've been recently under pressure by parents/relatives to pursue graduate studies, i dont love my field but i can live with it and i have 3 years work experience. It's just that working and studying at the same time can be hectic and i dont have a special interrest or i dont feel like God is pushing me in that direction, i hear people telling me the world is changing ...this and that... you have to get a MBA to get anywhere ... my mom tells me you have to follow the world and invest in yourself and think about the future. But i dont want to follow the world and i only want to invest in my faith.
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2005, 09:46:33 AM »

Although I don't agree with everything Fr. AlexanderÂÂ  Schmemann said, in his Journals I came across the following which I think is good advice for anyone thinking of monasticism or priesthood.

Quote
"If I were a starets—an elder—I would tell a candidate for monasticism roughly the following:

*get a job, if possible the simplest, without creativity (for example as a cashier in a bank);
while working, pray and seek inner peace; do not get angry; do not think of yourself (rights, fairness, etc.). Accept everyone (coworkers, clients) as someone sent to you; pray for them.

*after paying for a modest apartment and groceries, give your money to the poor; to individuals rather than foundations;

*always go to the same church and there try to be a real helper, not by lecturing about spiritual life or icons, not by teaching but with a "dust rag" (cf. St Seraphim of Sarov). Keep at that kind of service and be—in church matters—totally obedient to the parish priest;

*do not thrust yourself and your service on anyone; do not be sad that your talents are not being used; be helpful; serve where needed and not where you think you are needed;

*read and learn as much as you can; do not read only monastic literature, but broadly (this point needs more precise definition);

*if friends and acquaintances invite you because they are close to you—go; but not too often, and within reason. Never stay more than one and a half or two hours. After that the friendliest atmosphere becomes harmful;

*dress like everybody else, but modestly, and without visible signs of a special spiritual life;

*be always simple, light, joyous. Do not teach. Avoid like the plague any "spiritual" conversations and any religious or churchly idle talk. If you act that way, everything will be to your benefit;

*do not seek a spiritual elder or guide. If he is needed, God will send him, and will send him when needed;

*having worked and served this way for ten years—no less—ask God whether you should continue to live this way, or whether change is needed. And wait for an answer: it will come; the signs will be "joy and peace in the Holy Spirit."

From: "The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983",ÂÂ   St. Vladimir Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2005, 09:48:04 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2005, 10:46:55 AM »

This is not about escaping the real world. This has to do with not wasting my life doing a 9 to 5, that doesn't fulfil me. I don't like working because society expects it, or because I want to earn money. I want to be able to share and gain ideas about God and life. And I want to have a career that relates to the most important thing to me. Orthodoxy.

As far as the Priesthood is concerned. I'm not looking at it as a last resort. I at this moment, do not believe I would be ready to take on such a great task.

I actually feel the same way, and I'm glad you posted this thread.


For myself I see the call coming from the desires of my heart.   I once was very passionate about one secular field, but things didn't work out for me there.   And after that, I sort of was lost.   Drifting around at this job and that.  Often hating it.    Orthodoxy is really the only thing I've been passionate about.    And have found a lot of success being a sort of low key unofficial missionary and repesentative of the faith.


So I would say for me this passion is a kind of a sign.   Since I know it is unusual compared to so many of my friends, relatives, and acquaitences.    Besides enjoying all the music and theology, I find I do take pleasure in the simple and eveyday things of the church.   So for example, I took up the job of cleaning the church; because nobody else was doing it.   And the church really needed it.    And I get a lot of satisfacton doing it.    Because I believe like the gospels say, and many monastics practice.   That it really is through service.   That these things are proven.   So I think its important to find joy in all kinds of simple acts of service.    Since in many ways this does represent "normal life", in between sunday and all those other church services.


I also see this as a calling I need to develope and plan for.    Something I need to study more for.   And train more for.   And something I need to spend a lot of time talking about with my priest.


I suspect it will probably be many years before I were to become a priest.   Like most likely 20.   Because of the need to learn and grow in the faith, because I don't think they would be able to have a paying position open for me, because I'm getting closed to being married and I should have my personal matters straightened out first etc.


But I think it is good to pray and think these things out well in advance.   Doing so can add direction and discipline to life.   Which is what I'm trying to do.
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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2005, 07:29:10 PM »

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do not seek a spiritual elder or guide. If he is needed, God will send him, and will send him when needed

And then:

Quote
aving worked and served this way for ten years—no less—ask God whether you should continue to live this way, or whether change is needed

I think that overall the advice is very goood, these two points coupled together are a recipe for spiritual disaster.  And given the fierce anti-monastic leanings of the St. Vladimir's establishment it doesn't surprise me such odd things would be said as to make it almost impossible for anyone to become a monastic.  Establishing contacts with living monastics and having a spiritual father are very important in avoiding spiritual shipwreck.  Being "normal" and having had some work experience are good things though, IMO.  I've had a year of experience in the "real life" work world being I decided for sure that that was not my path and will study Theology for now - but that year was very valuble in a lot of ways in terms of understanding people and dealing with less than ideal conditions.  Ultimately I believe the premise Fr. Alexander's points were written on are flawed though; the primary proving ground for monasticism is as a novice not in the world. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2005, 08:01:34 PM »

I havent noticed any anti-monastic leanings at SVS. heck, the retired dean is now the priest of a monastery. I think that's an unfair and ungrounded accusation.
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2005, 08:11:35 PM »

Living in obediance to a parish priest is still having a spiritual director. The statement is about not seeking a director--b/c you will most likely look for someone who tells you things you want to hear. It's very true that in a monastery, one might be assigned a spiritual director whom you have great problems with (like Elder Paisios speaks of) but you should accept that assignment. It takes a great amount of discernment to determine if someone should enter the monastery. Most of my friends who desire that life have been told to go live in the world for an unspecified time.. One was not and has been liviing at the monastery since they were 18. There's nothing wrong about telling someone to take some time experiencing that life and asking for God's direction.
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2005, 08:51:56 PM »

The experiences of others that I know and trust has been vastly different.  There are ROCOResque propogandists either.  But I am glad that others have had different experiences. 
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2005, 09:14:36 PM »

I'm sure everyone's attitude and personal viewpoint will lead to different conclusions. The fact that Fr. Hopko is serving at Holy Transfiguration seems to tell a different tale than the ones your friends have. The only anti-monastics I have ever met have been heavily cultural Orthodox or newbie Prot converts who are scared of it.

Perhaps it is not so good to be relating opinions obtained 2nd hand?
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2005, 12:22:15 AM »

Suffice it to say from my reading of SVS mateiral (various professors published works etc.) and the personal experience of close friends (one of whom is an OCA monastic interestingly enough), I believe that in general SVS has an anti-monastic vibe and people such as Father Thomas Hopko are the exception, not the norm.  Perhaps anti-monastic is too strong of word, more an untraditional attitude towards monasticism.  This has simply been my mostly second hand experiences - if your experiences have been different, then Glory to God, but that doesn't negate what others have experiences. 
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2005, 12:25:46 AM »

Hehe, I'm with you on the Hefeweizen! Dunkle!
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2005, 12:58:03 AM »

yup, Hefeweizen or Death is my response to the Old Calendarist cry "Orthodox or Death!"  On my return trip to Greece in October I have all day stop in Frankfurt, woo hoo!
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« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2005, 10:30:14 AM »

^ is a lucky man.  I wanna go to Germany too, especially since my grandmother's maiden name was Kriner.  Of course, I also want to go to most of the countries in Europe, so maybe I should save up money and take a Gran Turismo in a few decades...

-Philip.
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2005, 12:45:34 PM »

Since we are talking about Germany (and Hefeweizen) here as some pictures from Frülingsfest in Stuttgart last last spring:  http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/philotheitis/album?.dir=/5127

I'm the one in the strange hat.  Ironic these are in this thread as these could ruin a future career in Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2005, 01:18:01 PM »

Since we are talking about Germany (and Hefeweizen) here as some pictures from Frülingsfest in Stuttgart last last spring:ÂÂ  http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/philotheitis/album?.dir=/5127

I'm the one in the strange hat.ÂÂ  Ironic these are in this thread as these could ruin a future career in Orthodoxy!

Rock on!  I'm jealous.  I haven't been back to Germany since '99 (or travelled anywhere out of the state for that matter in a few years).
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