Evangelizing the Neurotic

I greatly appreciate the response and questions to the article by Fr. Meletios on parish life and ego-driven needs. I am working on an article with reflections.  I will be focusing particularly on the question of how we evangelize those whose egos are the driving force in their lives. If the ego (as defined by Fr. Meletios) has no true existence – what is there to be saved?

Most of us have encountered new converts who (beyond enthusiasm and zeal) seem newly-armed and ready for battle. Few things are more formidable than a well-honed critique of the West (my very formidable critique has been the product of many years’ work) and membership in the one, true Church. I do not make light of converts – I am notoriously a convert myself. However, our salvation lies within the heart and not within the neurotic narrative of the ego. What does evangelization from and to the heart look like?

I’ll have a post ready sometime Monday.

Comments and thoughts are welcome.

Comments

  1. dinoship says

    Father Stephen,

    This is walking on a tight-rope for most Christians today for myriads of reasons…

    Saint Silouan’s idea of a disarmingly non-judgemental evangelisation instantly comes to mind, as well as Father Raphael Noika’s favourite saying: “Orthodoxy does not convince, it charms”.

    All this, of course, implies a “no evangelisation” evangelisation… One simply works on making oneself a vessel of the Spirit of Love and then, even their silence, or their smile speaks volumes.

    The very simple ‘command’ I have often encountered in the Holy Mountain is: “to the one who asks, you give” (implying that evangelising through the use of speech should only be done when someone is actually asking strongly for help in that particular direction -i.e.: for words- and even then it is precarious; it is a very dangerous matter to make oneself into a teacher – even if one is called to it by their position, as a lecturer or a spiritual guide).

    I am especially looking forwards to this article Father, as it is needed by all of us very badly…

  2. dinoship says

    The ‘marks’ of zealous asceticism (fiery zeal for one’s own fasting, all night vigil, relentless prayer constant standing in Church etc…) combined with “no evangelising” and radiant Joy and Love, has a proven record of turning many people from atheism to faith.
    Just like we see in the unbelievable martyrdoms of the early saints which simply by their fiery faith and endurance in tortures converted effortlessly thousands of onlookers into martyrs without saying a word!!