Monday, November 28, 2011

The Next Generation

How do we keep our youth in the Church?

We are living in an age that has witnessed changes on a massive scale as never before. The way we communicate has changed with the coming of the internet, with information available that would have required a library and advanced degrees to access in the past. Ideas and information are available that leave our youth with choices that were never available a generation ago.

Moral norms have changed, with values and lifestyles that would have never been seen as acceptable in the past becoming part of mainstream. Gay marriage, the high divorce rate, children being raise by unwed parents, and profane music that sounds like it came from the underworld (which inspired it, I'm sure). Child sexual abuse is reaching shocking numbers, with clergy, boy scout leaders, coaches and police officers under arrest. With the environmental crisis increasing and political unrest spreading, hope is fading. Our world is polarized in ways that are mind boggling, and the economy has lowered the hopes and expectations of a whole generation.

With all that has changed in our world, is it any wonder young people are abandoning the Christian faith in droves? With the youthful questioning of authority, it is not enough to simply expect them to accept the authority of bishops, priests, and the traditions and teachings of the Church. There needs to be a change in the way we of the older generations communicate with our youth.

In this age of information we must demonstrate to our youth the difference between information and wisdom. Wisdom is that which is passed down from the past and which imparts substance and enlightenment. Wisdom is not about information, and does not compete with worldly knowledge. Wisdom need not be in conflict with science, nor be linked to narrow mindedness. Wisdom is that which not only connects us to the best of human knowledge and experience, but links us to that which is eternal. Wisdom gives us the ability to relate to our Creator, to our culture and to others. The urgency of imparting this message is great, for we have a whole generation that is in danger of losing faith in God.

It is not enough to expect our young people to attend services if we do not listen to them, respect them, and try to understand the world that is confronting them. They are growing up in a different world than people of my generation experienced, and this important difference must be acknowledged and respected. We can't simply teach the truth to our youth, we must live it in a way that makes it real for them. We  must be patient with them, be open to their struggles and non-confrontational when they disagree with us, or we will lose them forever to Christ.

Today's young people have the same hopes and dreams that previous generations held, but this fast changing world is depriving them of hope. Nihilism has become the religion of countless numbers of our youth, with the result that life has become meaningless . The information age has driven God out of societal, cultural and governmental prominence, resulting in mass disbelief.

We who are of the older generations must witness to the wealth of truth that is in the ancient knowledge and wisdom of the Church by demonstrating it's worth in how we live. If young people do not see a genuine living out of the Faith in us, they will keep looking for truth in directions that will take them far from it. Young people are worthy of our love and respect, and worthy of sharing with us the life in Christ that is their heritage as well. The Church will not be a draw to our youth unless her members demonstrate holiness of life and reach out with love, patience and understanding, offering something that is seen as real by today's young people.

Finally, today's young people need to see joy in the hearts of those of us who have taken on Christ. If we do not have joy in our hearts the youth will see nothing that is attractive to them, and will continue in the wasteland of consumerism, materialism, nihilism, and all hope for the future of our planet will have died.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday November 28, 2011 / November 15, 2011
25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Beginning of Nativity Fast.

Holy Martyrs and Confessors Gurias (299), Samonas (306), and Abibus (322), of Edessa.
Venerable Paisius (Velichkovsky) of Moldavia and Mt. Athos (1794).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas and Peter priests, Gregory and Nicitas deacons (1937).
Martyrs Elpidius, Marcellus, and Eustochius, who suffered under Julian the Apostate (361).
Martyr Demetrius of Thrace (307).
"Kupyatich" Icon (1180) of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Venerable Philip, abbot of Rabang (Vologda) (1457).
St. Quinctian, bishop of Seleucia (4th c.).
St. Thomas the New, patriarch of Constantinople (665-668) (Greek).
Repose of St. Herman, wonderworker of Alaska (1836).

Thank you for your prayerful and financial support of the Monastery. 

For those of you who live locally, we have a wonderful bookstore and gift shop (likely the best Orthodox store in the region). Please consider purchasing your Christmas gifts with a visit to Way of a Pilgrim Bookstore here at the monastery on Vashon Island (please call the monastery (206.714.8319) before taking the ferry, just to make sure your visit is a convenient time for the monastic community). 

For those who do not live in the region, you can make donations directly to the monastery through PayPal.

Again, we thank you for remembering the holy work of the monastery during this season of the Nativity Fast.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-10

 1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s Final Judgment and Glory
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

Luke 14:12-15


12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
The Parable of the Great Supper
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”   

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