Monday, August 4, 2014

The Orthodox
College Student
Staying Orthodox in an anti-Christian environment

The summer months are coming to a close and many young people will be facing the prospect of heading off to college, some for the very first time. A scripture passage comes to my mind as I think of these wonderful young people preparing to leave home: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16)." College professors almost universally enjoy challenging young college students to question authority, yet are taken aback when their own authority is questioned. They know they are addressing a class of impressionable minds and almost make sport of attacking the positions of their students.

My advice to Orthodox students is to refuse to be intimidated and don't be discouraged. Most of these professors took years to acquire the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their belief system, or lack thereof, including atheism. These professors usually only ask you to question the authority of those who have instructed you thus far, such as your parents or your religious leaders, but are highly indignant when someone questions their authority. Their pattern of teaching is nothing new, for there have been antagonists like them from before recorded history. Furthermore, their arguments are nothing new, for there were teachers of atheism and other false teachings who confronted the Apostle Paul when he was preaching the gospel in Athens. The arguments may be new to you, but suffice to know these challenges to your faith have been answered by a great many apologists since the beginning of Christianity.

Textbooks, be they geared towards history, science, or philosophy, have always tended to expound anti-Christian viewpoints, and it is important to remember that publishing companies produce textbooks that will sell to such academic mindsets. Christianity may be ridiculed as being closed minded and backward looking, but academics can not claim to be insulated from the same unhealthy trait. Some of the most closed minded individuals I have ever known were academics. I find it interesting that Christian writers expounding the Christian Faith are often accused of being biased, while secularists thinkers expose their own arrogance, hypocrisy and narrow mindedness, disallowing others their freedom of opinion. Dismissing the faith of young people, these pompous academics move to crush that which they themselves do not understand.

The best advice I can offer the young Orthodox Christian heading off to college is this: know from the moment you enter the classroom that the professor is a better debater than you, so don't place yourself in his scope. If you do, expect to be blown out of the water. Secondly, don't be embarrassed by your commitment to your Orthodox faith. My experience teaching on both secular and religious campuses is that most students are secretly wishing to find a spiritual basis for the meaning of life. They may secretly envy you for your faith. My final advice, "Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2)."

Build a support system for yourself by gathering together with other college students to form a chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Meet on a weekly basis for worship, study, and networking. Get to know your faith to the degree that you can stand up to the best of them when defending your beliefs. If you do, you may one day be the reason an atheist professor finds Christ, and becomes an Orthodox Christian.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Visitors from China.

Monday August 4, 2014 / July 22, 2014
9th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.

Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalen (1st c.).
Translation of the relics (404) of Hieromartyr Phocas, bishop of Sinope (117).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Alexis priest (1931).
Venerable Cornelius, monk, of Pereyaslavl, and confessor of Alexandrov Convent (1693).
Venerable Marcella of Chios (1500).
St. Cyril I, patriarch of Antioch (298).
St. Wandregisilus of Caux (668) (Gaul).
St. Cyprian, fool-for-Christ of Suzdal (1622).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day

1 Corinthians 11:31-12:6

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

Spiritual Gifts: Unity in Diversity

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

Matthew 18:1-11

Who Is the Greatest?

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Jesus Warns of Offenses

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.

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PO Box 2420
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