Sunday night, went to the Youth Committee meeting. Not a lot happened, just administration and stuff like that.
Monday, went to a meeting for Religious Education teachers at the school I do R.E. at. The most interesting discussion was when it was brought out that Buddhism and Christianity see a different emphasis in what they're trying to portray to students - Christianity, Christ; Buddhism, basically ethics and conduct. A shock, I know.
Tuesday, went to a careers fair for future teachers. Lots of demand from the UK, which got me thinking about spending six months or so over there. Bit of demand from South Australia, too. Also finished off my third essay...three to go!
Today, I'm going to start working on my fourth essay. It's basically a history of Israel from Jeroboam (the one after Solomon, when Israel is divided) to the fall of Samaria - for those with Orthodox Bibles, that's in 3 and 4 Kings; those with Protestant Bibles, that's 1 and 2 Kings.
(and people ask 'what's the difference'...!)
But, in a bid to procrastinate from that...I've found a few good essays by Fr Aris Metrakos that, well, I found very insightful.
He talks about conceptions of a parish - whether a cruise ship (where everyone is tanned, free of responsibilities) or a battleship (where everyone has a job to do at the best of their abilities), and suggested that most parishes need to get serious about what they're doing instead of being "bloated and afloat".
He talks about his views on what a third millenium Triumph of Orthodoxy would be like - there would be pan-jurisdictional unity on the focus of the Gospel (and, hence, Church life) being on making new Christians and helping the needy, with a knowledge that those who are Orthodox but don't come to Church are, for all intents and purposes, outside the Church (and, hence, the parish); and about priests - that services are the beginning and the end, but in between, there's a lot of pastoral work that needs doing, and also that the laity need to stop whinging about their priests unless there's a serious problem (like, they're immoral or seriously and decisively not doing their job).
He talks about parish composition, and how ethnicity has given way for cultural diversity and religious fervour, but the part I found most insightful (to me) was his view on missions - we shouldn't be starting up missions in the same area, it's just silly.
He talks about mixed marriages (i.e. an Orthodox and a heterodox Christian), and how people can whinge all they like about an Orthodox who marries a non-Orthodox and stops coming to church, but the real problem is usually that said Orthodox was probably not that settled in their Orthodoxy anyway.
He talks about who the lost sheep really are - that they're not the ones who are Orthodox but make the decision to reject church, they're the ones that don't know about the church but that we're not reaching because we spend too much time on the ones that reject church.
He talks about a definable American Orthodoxy - which is pertinant, because that'll probably be Australia in about 20 years.
He makes an argument for a long-term pastorate - as compared to the wisdom of some time back that a pastor should stay for 7 years before moving on to pastures greener.
He talks a lot on what it takes to be in the priesthood, a very good article indeed. He also writes about the odd questions that priests are sometimes asked and good ways to engender good council meetings.