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Author Topic: The Purpose-Driven... WHAT???  (Read 4391 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: January 01, 2006, 02:27:59 AM »

I found the Purpose-Driven Life for a dollar at the second-hand store. I figured that if I didn't like the book, I could always sell it on Amazon for more money. I may have to sell this sooner than I expected to.
In reading this book, I have noticed some strange ideas. The strangest of all is his claim that when we die, it will not matter what doctrines we believed or what church we belonged to as long as we 'love Jesus'. But didn't Jesus teach that if we love Him, we must follow His commandments? He may not teach the rapture and constantly threaten us with hell-fire like other conservative evangelicals but he appears to be the other extreme - providing the shallow 'health and wealth' Gospel.
What's the deal?
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2006, 01:15:33 PM »

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he appears to be the other extreme

That's correct. Though he's a nice guy. And loves Jesus. Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2006, 06:26:59 PM »

I think that his book can actually be quite useful for those who are able to discern its truth for its errors. But as an introduction to the Christian faith, it doesn't help at all. He's still a nice guy though.
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2006, 06:48:11 PM »

A couple Orthodox churches in the area have had "Purpose Driven Life" group study sessions....

I wasn't sure what to think as I know next to nothing about it and I truly have no interest in reading this book.

How bad is it?
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2006, 07:51:43 PM »

The real book on finding 'the purpose-driven life' is The Way of a Pilgrim. The problem with Warren's version is just how watered down it is.
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2006, 07:55:20 PM »

Now Matthew, have you read "The Purpose-Driven Church," also by Warren, and if so, how does it compare...
It was recommended to me, but I'm not sure if I want to waste the money.
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2006, 08:19:22 PM »

I have not read that book but I'd recommend that you find it at your local library instead of purchasing it. Do Orthodox Churches really need to hear from an American Evangelical on how to be 'purpose-driven'?
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2006, 08:22:36 PM »

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Do Orthodox Churches really need to hear from an American Evangelical on how to be 'purpose-driven'?

Isn't that the truth...  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2006, 08:29:08 PM »

Now Matthew, have you read "The Purpose-Driven Church," also by Warren, and if so, how does it compare...
It was recommended to me, but I'm not sure if I want to waste the money.

One of the Orthodox churches who had the "Purpose Driven Life" study group was having a new session this year using "The Purpose Driven Church".

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The real book on finding 'the purpose-driven life' is The Way of a Pilgrim. The problem with Warren's version is just how watered down it is.

I'd have to agree with you on both points.
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2006, 08:37:38 PM »

I do not doubt, however, that Warren is a good person who intends on helping people.
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2006, 08:46:30 PM »

Having read the Purpose-Driven Church twice (and watched a lecture by Mr. Warren via simulcast when I was a Wesleyan), I would say that the Orthodox could learn from the book, even if 90% of it is unworkable within an Orthodox framework. His basic viewpoint is to do studies or polls, find out what people want, and then give it to them. So, if they want 30 minutes of hymns that sound like country music, mixed with 10 minute sermons, then that's what he suggests doing. But like I said, just the other 10% might be enough to make it profitable for an Orthodox Christian to read... it's really radical stuff, like making a purposeful effort to be nice to visitors. I know that would be a hard thing for Orthodox to learn, but we could try.
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2006, 09:53:45 PM »

His basic viewpoint is to do studies or polls, find out what people want, and then give it to them.

It is not the liturgy which conforms itself to modern man but modern man who must conform himself to the liturgy.
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2006, 09:56:18 PM »

Very interesting... I do have a few classmates at seminary who have read it, and had a similar reaction to the book.  The polling could be worked, but not with this sort of "appeasement" attitude, but instead maybe just to get an indication of where we are, so that when the polling is done in the future, we can see how far we've gone.  Of course, this is really more survey and research than polling (in the modern usage) per se.
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2006, 10:46:13 PM »

A bit off topic, but Matthew777, your image of Jesus is a bit ... unusual.

The picture seems to depict a Jesus with a perfect-body, I'm not sure if that's rather appropriate.

He looks more like a sex symbol in that picture.

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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2006, 11:12:58 PM »

A bit off topic, but Matthew777, your image of Jesus is a bit ... unusual.

The picture seems to depict a Jesus with a perfect-body, I'm not sure if that's rather appropriate.

He looks more like a sex symbol in that picture.



It's one of those Minority Jesii
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2006, 12:57:40 AM »

The picture seems to depict a Jesus with a perfect-body

Perhaps, perhaps. Jesus was, after all, a carpenter.  Cool

It's a good picture.

Peace.
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2006, 01:06:33 AM »

The picture seems to depict a Jesus with a perfect-body, I'm not sure if that's rather appropriate.

I know the depictions are entirely different, but I've seen several icons where Jesus has some pretty chiseled abs.

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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2006, 03:24:47 AM »

I'm not comfortable with the idea of Jesus being the sex god, and I don't think He should be depicted as such in imagery.

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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2006, 03:47:33 AM »

I'm not comfortable with the idea of Jesus being the sex god, and I don't think He should be depicted as such in imagery.



Neither do I
and I'm no comfortable with Rastafarian looking Jesi
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2006, 04:23:37 AM »

Neither do I
and I'm no comfortable with Rastafarian looking Jesi

If a black man has long hair, it will very easily grow in locks. I think what you are really implying is that the idea of a black Jesus bothers you.
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2006, 10:16:27 AM »

As for my 2 cents on the image (which I don't think is a real big deal in the grand scheme of things):

A black Jesus only "bothers" me as much as the blonde, blue-eyed ones. I prefer seing Him portrayed in Western-styled art as who He was according to the flesh- a Palestinian Jew. I remember going to a Catholic bookshop while living in Japan and seeing Christmas cards of Mary and the Baby Jesus as both Orientals. It was a pretty card and it didn't offend me, I just found it odd that some people wanted to "re-incarnate" Christ in a way pleasing to their imagination rather than in accordance with reality. Again, I find it more odd than wrong............

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2006, 11:07:26 AM »

OK Off topic everyone. Forget the picure. Let's get back to the topic at  hand!
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2006, 06:06:59 PM »

I don't know about you guys, but I don't find anything remotely sexy about Matthew777's Jesus. 

And sdcheung, I remember laughing when reading one of Father John Behr's books where, speaking about the historical Jesus movement, he speaks of the great number of "historical Jesuses" it produces.  I never saw Jesus in the plural, and laughed.  "Jesii" just takes it to the next level.  It's even funny to say!  Sounds like "Cheesy eye".
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2006, 07:33:45 PM »

I don't know about you guys, but I don't find anything remotely sexy about Matthew777's Jesus.ÂÂÂ  

And sdcheung, I remember laughing when reading one of Father John Behr's books where, speaking about the historical Jesus movement, he speaks of the great number of "historical Jesuses" it produces.ÂÂÂ  I never saw Jesus in the plural, and laughed.ÂÂÂ  "Jesii" just takes it to the next level.ÂÂÂ  It's even funny to say!ÂÂÂ  Sounds like "Cheesy eye".

I agree, nothing sexy about it at all.  Call me a stick in the mud, but I'm partial to the traditional depictions I see in my Church.
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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2006, 08:12:41 PM »

A black Jesus only "bothers" me as much as the blonde, blue-eyed ones. I prefer seing Him portrayed in Western-styled art as who He was according to the flesh- a Palestinian Jew. I remember going to a Catholic bookshop while living in Japan and seeing Christmas cards of Mary and the Baby Jesus as both Orientals. It was a pretty card and it didn't offend me, I just found it odd that some people wanted to "re-incarnate" Christ in a way pleasing to their imagination rather than in accordance with reality. Again, I find it more odd than wrong............

In Christ,
Rd. David

Was it really "re-incarnating" Christ or "pleaseing their imaginations"?  I would suggest from what human beings do that what happens is that when they hear the Gospel they may portray it in their own styles of art that are *what they know*.  People tend to picture things in their own patterns and references that are familiar to them. Nothing bad is intended, it's what they know. 

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It is not the liturgy which conforms itself to modern man but modern man who must conform himself to the liturgy. 

If that were so, would that preclude any translation to another language besides the original among other things?

I have read neither of the "Purpose Driven" books, just to be clear.

Ebor

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« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2006, 11:34:17 PM »

Ebor,

Actually it was Matthew who wrote that. I was going to say that I agree with the sentiment of the statement, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure that I do. I think, in many ways that would be unacceptable to the more conservative Orthodox, that the liturgy should conform to modern man, just like it conformed to 4th century man when the Church cut more than half the service out (among other changes throughout history).
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2006, 01:40:47 AM »

Ebor,

Actually it was Matthew who wrote that. I was going to say that I agree with the sentiment of the statement, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure that I do. I think, in many ways that would be unacceptable to the more conservative Orthodox, that the liturgy should conform to modern man, just like it conformed to 4th century man when the Church cut more than half the service out (among other changes throughout history).
Perhaps I'm slightly misinterpreting the statement, but I would tend to think that comparisons between modern times and the "Byzantine" period of the Church tend to create more smoke than light.  The Church was in an accomodating mood in the 4th century and at other times, specifically because it had won the conflict with secular culture.  Our own time, I think, resembles much more the early years of Christianity, when the surrounding culture was not only different from, but hostile to, the culture of the Christian Church.  Modern tastes and preferences, as a rule, are not only non-Christian, but anti-Christian.  In the light of that fact, I think the isolationist spirit of the early Church is the most appropriate in our current situation.
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2006, 02:27:51 AM »

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I would tend to think that comparisons between modern times and the "Byzantine" period of the Church tend to create more smoke than light

I guess I would agree, but for a very different reason: I tend to believe something very different than the typical picture painted by modern Orthodox books about the 4th century. I'm not going to air a laundry list to demonstrate why I think that time was just as bad as ours, so it will have to suffice to say that my position is that we shouldn't act any differently now than we did back then. I can respect those who would disagree with that though, I realise it is hardly the normative view.
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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2006, 10:53:45 AM »

Our own time, I think, resembles much more the early years of Christianity, when the surrounding culture was not only different from, but hostile to, the culture of the Christian Church.ÂÂ  Modern tastes and preferences, as a rule, are not only non-Christian, but anti-Christian.ÂÂ  In the light of that fact, I think the isolationist spirit of the early Church is the most appropriate in our current situation.

This is an overstatement. Modern tastes and preferences, in Euro-American culture, are heavily shaped by some 1000-1500-1900 years of Christian culture. They are certainly anti-ecclesiastical, and I think we can generally blame those who speak and act in the name of the church for bringing that about.
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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2006, 12:55:48 PM »

This is an overstatement. Modern tastes and preferences, in Euro-American culture, are heavily shaped by some 1000-1500-1900 years of Christian culture. They are certainly anti-ecclesiastical, and I think we can generally blame those who speak and act in the name of the church for bringing that about.
Fair enough, but perhaps it will add some clarity if we look at specifics.  What would "adjusting" to modern culture entail?  For the Orthodox, it would certainly entail shortening the liturgy, but as has been mentioned, the liturgy has already been cut by more than half.  Much more "abridgement" and we'd be butchering it.  Another possible innovation would be modern forms of music, simplification of ritual, etc.  But all these changes would be fundamentally in the direction of secularizing the church.  And this is what I meant by the contrast between now and the Byzantine age.  Then, for all their personal failings, the general populace wanted something from their Church that was at least fundamentally religious in inspiration.  They weren't looking for entertainment, and it is my fear that those moderns who are attempting to change the Church's practice now are essentially looking for just that.
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« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2006, 01:29:22 PM »

Cyprian

Your fears have been realized. Attend a large evangelical worship service with a "contemporary" service and see. Their's rock music, "creative dance" a drama skit and sermon that is delivered in stand up mode.  Oh, and if your lucky you might leave with a key chain or a pen and a cup of coffee from a real barista.

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« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2006, 01:36:44 PM »

Cyprian

Your fears have been realized. Attend a large evangelical worship service with a "contemporary" service and see. Their's rock music, "creative dance" a drama skit and sermon that is delivered in stand up mode.  Oh, and if your lucky you might leave with a key chain or a pen and a cup of coffee from a real barista.



sounds like redeemers at 67th street and hunters college
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« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2006, 05:16:39 PM »

Fair enough, but perhaps it will add some clarity if we look at specifics.ÂÂ  What would "adjusting" to modern culture entail?ÂÂ  For the Orthodox, it would certainly entail shortening the liturgy, but as has been mentioned, the liturgy has already been cut by more than half.ÂÂ  Much more "abridgement" and we'd be butchering it.ÂÂ  Another possible innovation would be modern forms of music, simplification of ritual, etc.

And? Here we go again on one of those all-or-nothing arguments that really gets on my nerves. As an Anglican I'm already aware of spending more time in church that the Average Mainline Protestant Bear, and I'm also well aware of the machismo opportunities that affords. It is depressingly common to hear Protestant to Orthodox converts essentially bragging about how much more time they spend in church. Your abridgement comment is an exaggeration.

And when someone else brings up the evangelical megachurches, as an Anglican one of my chief criticisms of them is one which I also direct at the most authentically Orthodox liturgy: that the whole event is a kind of performance which one need merely attend. In the details this breaks down, of course: the evangelical service is consciously a performance and the Orthodox service is unaware that it is. It leads to opposite errors of caring too much and not caring enough. But when you say

Quote
But all these changes would be fundamentally in the direction of secularizing the church.

.. I have to disagree about "fundamentally". Indeed, under the circumstances I'll have to doubt the reality of secularization. What I see instead is compartmentalization of religion, which is utterly congenial to the secular.

Quote
And this is what I meant by the contrast between now and the Byzantine age.ÂÂ  Then, for all their personal failings, the general populace wanted something from their Church that was at least fundamentally religious in inspiration.ÂÂ  They weren't looking for entertainment, and it is my fear that those moderns who are attempting to change the Church's practice now are essentially looking for just that.

Well, why don't you ask them, instead of speculating?

I don't have nearly enough time now to go into the issue of arts, society, and the church. Suffice it to say that it's vastly complicated by how contaminated church art is as a symbol of the church itself. It's extremely difficult to talk coherently about the meaning of church art as art because its separate meaning as a symbol of the church varies so much from person to person. I think there are rights and wrongs here, but I think also that we, as churchy people, are predisposed to misinterpret what other people see.
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« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2006, 05:36:39 PM »

And this is what I meant by the contrast between now and the Byzantine age.ÂÂ  Then, for all their personal failings, the general populace wanted something from their Church that was at least fundamentally religious in inspiration.ÂÂ  They weren't looking for entertainment, and it is my fear that those moderns who are attempting to change the Church's practice now are essentially looking for just that.

You sure about that? There's a reason we have a canon that excommunicates those who leave the church after the Gospel Reading and before the Eucharist...because people would come for the fun part, i.e. the Homily which was directly after the Gospel, and leave before all the boring stuff, i.e. the Eucharist.
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« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2006, 01:17:05 AM »

I'm aware of the issue; complaints about it appear in the homilies of St. John Chrysostom.  The difference is that people who acted in that way in the 4th century didn't try to change the actual course of the Church.  They were less activist than our modern "fun-seekers", and were content to alter their own attendance patterns, rather than trying to reform the Church.  And anyway, all this is beside the point.  The point is that the actual liturgical changes of the 4th century were not intended to "cater" to that sort of people.  Their most important aspects were the increase of a "mysteriological" emphasis and the importation of imagery from the Roman Imperial cult.
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« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2006, 02:40:47 AM »

And? Here we go again on one of those all-or-nothing arguments that really gets on my nerves. As an Anglican I'm already aware of spending more time in church that the Average Mainline Protestant Bear, and I'm also well aware of the machismo opportunities that affords. It is depressingly common to hear Protestant to Orthodox converts essentially bragging about how much more time they spend in church. Your abridgement comment is an exaggeration.
That wasn't really the point of my statement.ÂÂ  My point was that the modern Orthodox liturgy is a development of liturgical forms which originally lasted for about 5 hours.ÂÂ  Now, a lot has been cut from those forms to shorten the liturgy to its modern 1.5 hours (give our take, of course).ÂÂ  The point isn't the time spent as a mere quantity, it's the internal integrity of the liturgy.ÂÂ  The liturgy can be compared to a novel; you can only abridge it so much before the basic plot and development begin to suffer.ÂÂ  I also have had the misfortune of being exposed to the "bragging" of overzealous Orthodox converts, and I find it as distasteful as you do.ÂÂ  Nevertheless, it simply seems to me that further abridgements of the Orthodox liturgy would be a matter of quality rather than merely quantity.
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And when someone else brings up the evangelical megachurches, as an Anglican one of my chief criticisms of them is one which I also direct at the most authentically Orthodox liturgy: that the whole event is a kind of performance which one need merely attend.
Personally, the problem I find with the megachurches is not that the congregation is passive (which isn't always the case, especially if the church is Pentecostal), but that they pander to desires for entertainment, novelty, etc. things that have nothing in the least to do with God or Christ or salvation or anything else of the sort.ÂÂ  The religious aspect becomes a mere matter of tacking on religious words to forms and practices which occur simply because they are "entertaining" or "appealing".ÂÂ  At a slightly lower level, the result is always extremely banal, aesthetically speaking.
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In the details this breaks down, of course: the evangelical service is consciously a performance and the Orthodox service is unaware that it is. It leads to opposite errors of caring too much and not caring enough.
Again, I don't think the categories of "passivity" or "activity" are particularly applicable to liturgics.ÂÂ  Sure, it's possible for some one to go to an Orthodox church, just basically stand there and let their mind wander, then leave again, but it's just as possible for someone to just "go through the motions" at a Church where their active involvement is more expected.ÂÂ  What matters is the "prayer of the heart", which can occur just as easily by internally joining in with the prayer of a chanter as it can by any external noise or activity.ÂÂ  Besides, someone who attends an Orthodox church will find many opportunities to venerate icons, cross themselves, and engage in various other forms of silent, but nevertheless physical, worship.
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.. I have to disagree about "fundamentally". Indeed, under the circumstances I'll have to doubt the reality of secularization. What I see instead is compartmentalization of religion, which is utterly congenial to the secular.
This issue can be clarified by an analogy with physical substances, let's say the water and wine that mix together to create the Eucharistic chalice (for purposes of the analogy, water being daily human life and wine being the divine grace which should fill it).ÂÂ  It is true that, as long as the wine and water do not mix, there is no Eucharist, but it would be the height of folly to, on those grounds, dump out the wine and fill the chalice with all water instead.ÂÂ  The point is that the spirit of Christianity, which is embodied in its worship, should be allowed to penetrate our lives as a whole.ÂÂ  It's a question of levels.ÂÂ  There is always a difference between the liturgy and our lives as we actually live them, but our aim should be to raise our lives to the level of the liturgy, not degrade the liturgy to the level of our lives.

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Well, why don't you ask them, instead of speculating?
I'm not speculating.ÂÂ  I was using the word "fear" more as a figure of speech than anything else.

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I don't have nearly enough time now to go into the issue of arts, society, and the church. Suffice it to say that it's vastly complicated by how contaminated church art is as a symbol of the church itself. It's extremely difficult to talk coherently about the meaning of church art as art because its separate meaning as a symbol of the church varies so much from person to person. I think there are rights and wrongs here, but I think also that we, as churchy people, are predisposed to misinterpret what other people see.
That's fair enough, but what I'm arguing against is the tendency to use those types of facts as a pretext to desacralize the Church, making it a mere vehicle to fulfil our desires, whatever the nature of those desires.ÂÂ  It is in the liturgy that countless generations have found themselves called beyond their constricting boundaries of their current situation.ÂÂ  This is one of the many ways the traditional view of the Church "throughout the ages" is significant and life-enhancing.ÂÂ  One of the functions of corporate worship is to resist the tyranny of the immanent, and, as I see it, modern liturgical reforms such as those occurring in some sections of the Catholic church and the Protestant "megachurches", are only serving to reinforce that tyranny.

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« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2006, 10:14:15 AM »

Cyprian:

Your replies are thoughtful and enlightening. Thank you. I should note that the form of worship that you see in megachurches is permeating down to smaller churches and even some main line Protestant denominations.

As for zealous Orthodox converts (Ugh!!), but give them time. They are excited about being enlightened by the true faith.

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« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2006, 11:21:20 PM »

Hi,

Sorry to dig this out again, but I was wondering if anyone can share with me if there's some "doctrines" that are not necessarily compatible with Orthodoxy in this book?

Thank you.

Mina
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« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2006, 01:43:31 AM »

Here are some links that might give some insight into some of the errors of Purpose Driven (although they are from Protestant sources for the most part):

http://www.christian-witness.org/docs/mayMM04_1RickWarren.doc
http://www.moriel.org/discernment/purpose_driven_church.htm
http://www.myfortress.org/RickWarren.html
http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/2003/1-purpose.htm
http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/pied_pipers_of_purpose.htm

After sifting through the Protestant errors of the authors, one can still find much un-Orthodox about Warren.
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« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2006, 08:23:54 PM »

Why then do I hear that some Orthodox churches use this book in group study sessions?

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2006, 02:56:14 AM »

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Why then do I hear that some Orthodox churches use this book in group study sessions?

Maybe they figure that people are more likely to participate if they've actually heard of the book? It also (ironically) perhaps provides a better possibility for talking about Orthodoxy, since a co-worker or friend is much more likely to be able to talk about this book, as opposed to an Orthodox book (which most Orthodox have never heard of, let alone Catholics and Protestants). I remember one service where (during the homily) the priest asked people to raise their hand if they had ever read any religious/spiritual book, and maybe a dozen people out of a couple hundred raised their hands. Most people just don't read spiritual material.
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« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2006, 07:31:25 PM »

I agree with Asterikos on his assessment. 

However, I think that the church should really push for Orthodox spiritual readings.  As many have already mentioned, why do we need to read what a 20th century Protestant preacher has to say about purpose-driven life? 

I'm not saying that we can't get anything from the book.  But there is a way to get people excited about Orthodox literature.  Just tell them to read one paragraph from one of the homilies of St. John Chrysostom, or any other book you chose.  That should be enough motivation (in my opinion).

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« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2006, 03:46:57 AM »

I am giving this book a second chance. My first read, I sped through looking for whatever errors I could find and gave up after a few chapters. Now, I'll give it the suggested 40 days of reading, and then make my judgement based on its overall message and its effectiveness at presenting that message.

As much as I dislike American Evangelicalism as a movement, Rick Warren seems different from the rest of the crowd, and his work may just have redeeming value. In comparison, C.S. Lewis was a devout member of the Anglican faith, and yet his books are read and appreciated by many Orthodox Christians.

Peace. 
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« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2006, 09:24:12 AM »

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Rick Warren seems different from the rest of the crowd

I think you're right, though the difference isn't a good thing. Try reading his Purpose Driven Church, which will give you some idea as to his ecclesiology and worship practices, among other things. He makes run-of-the-mill evangelicals look downright traditional.
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« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2006, 10:44:57 AM »

You may be correct, but I'm going to judge the Purpose-Driven Life on its own message, even if I disagree with the messenger.
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