October 31, 2014

Peter and Helen Evans: Bishops wont act? Ask for a blessing, then do it yourself!

Peter and Helen Evans edit the Politics and Prayer website.

We read comments on this blog and also hear people complaining that “the Bishops should proclaim…” a Day of Prayer or March for Life or any number of semi-public events. Let us suggest that we don’t have to wait for a proclamation. We don’t have to wait to be told what to do. Various cities around the United States are having their own March for Life, people regularly dedicate a day for prayer and fasting or hold vigil outside an abortion clinic, and invite anyone who wants to pray – even non-Orthodox – to join in. When you think about it, you probably don’t want the Church council, or any other committee, involved to water down the event.

Therefore, organize the event yourself, and then ask for a blessing. We Orthodox can stand in church, the public square, in municipal buildings and witness our faith, then ask for a blessing. We do not have to wait for a proclamation, just ask for a blessing.

In the coming months are several events including the National Bible Marathon (http://www.dcbiblemarathon.org/Home.html). You can plan one in your state capitol, city hall or even town flag pole and then ask for a blessing. Start out with just a few people and it will grow. You might even help grow your church!

The National Day of Prayer is coming up in May (http://nationaldayofprayer.org/). We must not let prayer be driven out of the public square. Plan your own and then ask for a blessing. Advertise in your church bulletin but also in Craigslist, Facebook and your other favorite social networking sites, on bulletin boards in supermarkets and coffee shops, pass out flyers to friends. Your event will grow over time. If you plan an event for the National Day of Prayer, post it on their website, it will definitely draw people.

The Spirit moves in our lives from the inside outwards, not just from the top down. Don’t wait for a proclamation, ask for a blessing.

Comments

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    Scott Pennington says:

    However, what the bishops can do, and the only thing that will actually make any difference within the Church, is for them to make it impossible for Orthodox Christians to publicly support abortion rights and be communicants. It takes no real courage to march in a pro-life event. It does take courage to risk a loss in revenue to the Church by withholding the chalice from those who advocate killing the unborn.

    Preaching to the choir is useless. We all get together on a mall someplace and lament the slaughter of the unborn. Those who are pro-life give impassioned speeches, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Some pro-abortion protesters show up and yell some and hold up signs. People become more polarized because of the animosity. Opinions are very, very seldom changed. Really, it’s just noise.

    But it is the “American way” and perhaps it makes some people feel better, like they’re “doing something”. If you actually do want to do something, I suggest you donate to pro-life pregnancy help centers and other services for expectant mothers to help them make the right decision. Rallies, marches, etc. are a waste of time, energy and money. Work instead, give the money to pregancy help centers. That’s time better spent.

    Now, National Day of Prayer is a different matter. I can see great value in making a public expression of religion in a country where one party wishes to cleanse the public square of Christianity.

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    Peter and Helen, I am perilously close to reaching the conclusion that we Orthodox in America don’t need bishops anymore, given their overall pusallinimity in this and other regards. The only thing that causes me from going over the abyss is the stalwart witness of the Holy Synod of the local, territorial Church in America (otherwise known as the OCA).

    thank you for your stalwart Christian witness. Keep up the good work.

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      Karen says:

      George, can you honestly say that even with the most recent reporting on OCAnews.org? This is a sincere question. I fear hope in the OCA’s “stalwart witness”, etc., may be misplaced (even though I love my OCA parish). I’m very disheartened by what seems like serious compromise, indeed even “pusillanimity,” on the part of our Metropolitan. Clericalism and taking the path of least resistance seem to be the order of the day.

      Being in the Evangelical camp most of my life, I haven’t been Orthodox long, so I guess I appreciate some perspective on all this. How do Orthodox lay-persons remain faithful to Christ when, seemingly, their only human source of spiritual direction offers something less than a clarion call to righteousness?

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    Michael Bauman says:

    George: No bishops, no sacraments, no Church. The Evans are correct, if we want something changed, we have to change. We have to act.

    Good or bad bishops we still, each of us, have the resonsibility to pray, fast, give alms, forgive our enemies and repent. The ‘give alms’ part is inclusive of all of the ministries of the Church IMO.

    I have decided to keep it simple and remind my bishop, +Basil, frequently of the need for a functioning local synod asking him directly the questions that occur to me.

    Unless you are GOA, there is no reason to worry about the GOA really (pray of course) but raise a voice, respectful and persistent where ever you are.

    I believe the Holy Spirit is behind the upheavals and the revelations of misdeeds…”all things will be revealed”

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      Harry Coin says:

      Michael, when I think of ‘give alms’ the plain meaning is to get value to the people needing alms. As it doesn’t say ‘God’ on the check it must be considered whether one’s church is or isn’t the most effective way of giving alms. For example, if I give to a local food kitchen staffed by volunteers I know that every penny will purchase food. Count yourself lucky if you know exactly where every penny goes when you give it to your parish.

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        Michael Bauman says:

        Harry, my parish is quite transparent, its the archdiocese that is the problem. Giving alms to me is the scriptural admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, protect the innocent, visit the sick and incarcarated—in general caring for the physical needs of our fellow human beings. Tithing is another thing altogether.

        I have a great deal of difficulty ‘tithing’ to a self admitted millionaire bishop who seems to have anger and power issues and who is accountable to no one on this earth (apparently).

        The result is that I’m ‘not a member in good standing’ in my parish according to the parish by-laws. That means I have no input into the financial decisions made by the parish or the committees–nothing to do with the scaraments. However, it does separate me to some extent from the life of the parish in more subtle ways. I’m still going to find ways to support my parish financially (though they have made that difficult) but at least some of the money I’d otherwise pledge will go directly to some of the parish ministries such as The Treehouse. I may even buy more books at 8th Day Books because despite its for profit status, it is a ministry in many ways.

        Local, local, local. The more local we are, the better we will be. The Church is personal: Cosmic in reach but only realized in the small, still voice within each of us as we greet the Bridegroom.

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