A letter from His Grace Bishop Gregory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, liaison from the Assembly of Bishops of the U.S.A. to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), concerning the Church’s joint ministry to our Orthodox college students:
Dear Reverend Fathers:
As many of you know, the loss of our Christian youth is a staggering problem today in our country. Statistics show us that more than 80% of our young people are graduating high school, going to college and never returnlng to their faith group. l do not mean their parish or community, but their faith. In other words, more than 6 out of 10 Orthodox young adults will abandon Orthodoxy. This is a huge challenge for all of us.
Trust is a foundational building block of any relationship. Without it there simply is no way to have anything more than some superficial connection. But trust requires risk. And we humans avoid risk most of the time. Jesus challenges us to risk trusting Him.
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You remember when you were a kid and Christmas seemed to take forever. My mom use to use that old tried and true way to get me and my brother to behave through the year: “Boys, Santa is watching and Christmas is just (fill in the blank) away!” Well the older I got the shorter that line would get me to behave! And Christmas seemed to come quicker and quick as my birthdays increased! Now it seems Christmas is every other week!
It is said that St. Anthony warned the believers with “A time is coming when people will go mad and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad, you are not like us.”
I was reading a seventh grade public school exam from many decades ago and was struck with the level of language, grammar, and difficulty of the exam. It was very sophisticated and I struggled to “pass!”
There’s a famous hamburger restaurant out West called In-N-Out Burger. All the natives out that way swore it was the best hamburger joint in the world. Well, I tried it when I was out that way and my verdict: Eeh, it was OK. But the name, great name signifying quick food for inside or take out.
But it also reminds me of “inside and outside.” And that idea has all kinds of ramifications. So much so that a whole slew of colloquialisms, sayings, and quotes come to mind. The best ones always seem to come from my grandmother! She use to say “Pretty on the inside means more than pretty on the outside.” Of course there’s also that mean old saying “Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes to the bone!” I like Mawmaw’s saying better.
You’ve met them. They are the ones who always seem to have a criticism of how things are going AND they don’t jump in to assist, they just want to complain. Truth be told, I’ve caught myself doing the same thing.
Isn’t it amazing how much insight into a problem you can have and feel completely comfortable standing on the sidelines offer all this free advice? I guess by all the nodding and smiling, you get where I’m going!
Today we hear The Lord refer to the people who bring Him a case the disciples couldn’t heal as a “faithless and perverse” generation. What made them so? Their “little faith.” But in another place, The Lord teaches that faith as little as a mustard seed is enough to moves mountains. So in one place a little faith produces a “faithless and perverse generation” and in another place a little faith moves…
Dear friends of Life Encouraged, I am asking for your help! We Christians MUST not remain silent as our brothers and sisters in the Middles East are ethnically cleansed from their homes, churches, and lands. Our brothers and sisters are being persecuted, martyred, and driven from their homes, and our silence is killing them. Please go to www.iocc.org and do your part to help our brothers and sisters as they seek a safe place,…
While I understand the immediate discomfort some have when they hear language like this, may I ask your indulgence (big smile here!) in seeing beyond an initial, emotional response, and consider the thoughts written here. You may discover some edification for your own Christian maturity. Just give it a fair chance, is all I ask. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Here’s just the beginning of the article:
Before God became man, an important sign of God’s presence was the Ark of the Covenant.
In the wilderness, Moses placed it in the Holy of Holies. The Israelites crossed the Jordan River with it, and they marched around Jericho with it. King David danced before it. And after King Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, the Ark was again placed in the Holy of Holies. The lid of the Ark was decorated with golden statues of angels, and a number of people were permitted to see the uncreated light of God, as the Shekinah glory literally shone between the wings of the cherubim.
Click the link to read the rest. You’ll be glad you did.