Friday, June 12, 2015

Orthodox Christianity Shouldn’t be Tolerated; It Should be Embraced

In more than twenty years of ministry (both as a non-ordained youth director, and as an ordained clergyman) I have met many, too many really, people who seem to approach Orthodox Christianity from the attitude of tolerance. Many Orthodox Christians, especially those who have been Orthodox since their birth, view the life of the Church with an unfortunate perspective of, “Why must I do all this stuff to be a Christian?” All this “stuff” can be a number of things including: fasting, attending Divine Liturgy weekly, reading and studying the Holy Scriptures, serving the poor, participating in the many sacraments and blessing services, not the least of which praying daily. To a world which focuses more and more upon pleasure, the Orthodox Christian Way of Life can seem a burden to difficult “to be worth the effort.” As a result of this attitude of tolerance, most view the life of the Church with the attitude of, “If I have nothing else to do, then I’ll go to Church.”

Unfortunately, this attitude of tolerance is based upon a terribly incorrect understanding of the “stuff” that we tolerate. We don’t fast, just to fast. We don’t attend Church merely to be in Church because it is where we are supposed to be on Sunday morning. The “stuff” we DO as Orthodox Christians has a purpose.

The purpose of the Orthodox Christian way of life is to train ourselves to spend eternity with God. Whether it is the Sunday Divine Liturgy, fasting in honor of the Holy Apostles (we’re doing this one now....) or scheduling a time for Holy Confession with our Spiritual Father, all this “stuff” helps us to prepare our souls for eternity with God in heaven. The Orthodox Christian way of life presumes we desire to be with God in heaven. The Orthodox Christian way of life shouldn’t be tolerated; it should be embraced with zeal......IF we desire to be with God. If not.....

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