Friday, January 28, 2005

The Great Commission Team or How I ended up on this committee and what we are working on now

At St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, OR (that’s where we go to church), my DH and I are member of the Missions and Evangelism committee aka The Great Commission Team. We have been a part of this committee for a few years, now. I think it all began when I was asked to give my “journey to Orthodoxy” story to a group of non-Orthodox at someone’s home. Since I had never been asked this question it turned out to be a very thought-provoking process for me to recall my own “journey within Orthodoxy” (note the change of wording from “to” to “within” as both my husband and I are cradle Orthodox and neither of us ever left the Church, although we definitely had our ups and downs growing up in the Faith). Someday I will blog about my journey, but right now I am trying (in a very round-about way) to explain why we are on this committee. The reason that we were asked to participate in this discussion/presentation is that the question came up as to what happened to the Greeks? The Russians? The Serbs? The Arabs? How come there are lots of converts that are trying to share Orthodoxy with their friends and families but you never actually meet any ethnic Orthodox? And our parish is made up of mostly converts so it is an appropriate question. I was asked to share my journey as a cradle-ethnic Orthodox (my husband has the blessing of being a cradle Orthodox, but not an ethnic Orthodox). That’s why I refer to us as being the “token cradles” on this committee (and my husband will be the first to tell you that he never, ever thought he would marry a Greek girl because he was going to marry a nice Orthodox girl… hehehe).

So within this committee we are currently working on two projects (which, by the way, if you every move to Portland and decide to join our parish, this is the committee to be on… we read books, have discussions, delve into our faith… it’s amazing). OH, and by the way, and I am not sure why this is, but I am also the token woman on the committee. Back to our two projects. The first is that we came up with a list of frequently asked questions that non-Orthodox ask regarding Orthodoxy. Our short list of 39 questions is rather daunting. What we hope to do with this list of questions is answer them within the group (hence the great discussions) so that we understand our own faith. Below are the first four questions and the answers that we came up with for them. I have typed them in an outline format (because that is how I think). I am going to also post a list of all the questions for you to peruse at your leisure. Please comment and let me know what questions you are usually asked or, if you remember, what questions you asked prior to becoming Orthodox. And if you aren’t Orthodox, welcome and add your own questions, too (or, better yet, comment about which questions you would like to have answered).

1. You’re Jewish, right?
No- Orthodox means correct faith/worship- correct viewpoint.
Orthodox Jew – follows Judaism in its fullness
Orthodox – truth in the face of heresy
Term formally used post schism
Catholic = according to the whole

2. You’re just like the Catholic church but in the east.
Papal infallibility, worship of Mary, schism in 1054
Orthodox not Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic left Orthodoxy
We have an unbroken line to the apostles
*ask the person how do you define Catholic to find out what they are getting at

3. Don’t you worship Mary/ Can Mary save us?
No- worship is reserved only for God.
Honor Mary’s role in salvation history
Savior (Christ) v. someone who helps (Mary)
*to honor Mary is to honor and believe in the potentiality of Christ in our life.

4. Are you saved?
He who believes (continuous)
Persevere in your belief
Saved- language we don’t use in the Church, we don’t judge

In the coming months, as we meet, I will post our answers to the questions. Our second project involves creating a Basics in Orthodoxy curriculum for Fr. T. So far, we have an outline of what will be discussed in each class (I will post that outline next week, I don't want to overwhelm my blogging fan club with too much information...hahaha).

1 comment:

papa herman said...

I would also be interested in learning what books you have read, and are reading in this 'team.' Especially those books that have helped you (or others on the committee) to better understand or clarify the Faith for you.

Also, if you feel that some books have been more helpful than others will you please note those.