Monday, July 21, 2008

Four down, Two to go, Ten days to do it in

Well, I finished that essay. Finally. Two more to go, though - a minimum of 9, 1.5 spaced pages (i.e. six real pages) to write. Let's hope I get it done...

I was listening to a podcast done by re/CALL - it's a podcast done for teens, but I like to listen to it because I figure that they must be doing something right, and it's very easy to listen to. The most recent podcast (listen) is about a very effective means of Orthodox evangelism - to be precise, lifestyle evangelism, or sharing one's faith through who one is. It only works if Christ is genuinely a part of our life...which is good, because if He's not, one shouldn't be evangelising anyway, IMHO.

This time, I decided to take some dot-point notes, which I'm going to share. If you want explanations of these dot-points, listen to the podcast itself and there should be a fuller explanation.


The goal of evangelism is to introduce other people to Orthodoxy, and then to involve them in an Orthodox community, and it is fundamental that Orthodoxy is presented (as it is in actuality) as a living faith, one that creates, forms and shapes lives in Orthodox Christians that others want to be a part of.

Part of our deal is to let our 'light shine in the world' and to be salt and light. Salt has three relevant features - it makes people thirsty (i.e. we should live such that people are thirsty for the Living Water - Christ), it gives things flavour (i.e. that we have communities that support) and that it is a preservative (i.e. against decaying social relationships). Light is in reference to the joy and power of Christ within us.

Christians generally have pretty bad PR - hypocritical and stupid. To show something different, we have to be something different - to have integrity and courage to lead people to glorify God. We can do this in a number of ways, particularly in helping one's neighbour - whether in institutions like soup kitchens or in helping someone who can't help themselves.

Part of lifestyle evangelism is that we need to reach beyond ourselves and those who think like us - it's very easy to stay in Orthodox enclaves, but this, well, isn't Orthodox. Our practise of Orthodoxy should be apparent - visitors to houses can see the icons on the walls, and if they are interested, they will ask, giving us an opportunity to speak about their role in our lives; getting people food can provoke questions about not eating a meaty/dairy food because of fasting, giving us an opportunity to speak about prayer and fasting; people talking about their favourite TV shows can lead to the response that one doesn't watch them because they're in church at vespers (or Liturgy in the evening, in some places), which can provoke questions with responses about the beauty of the church.

In short, be properly Orthodox and don't hide or be ashamed of your Orthodoxy, and you're halfway there.

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