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That sentence, "We were different in the evangelical church because we simply accepted the grace that Jesus gives to all the world through the Orthodox Church" is ambiguous at best. The "we" refers to you and me, and the "difference" refers to our hearing the universal call of Orthodoxy and actually responding -- which I unfortunately described as "simple acceptance."

"Self-feeding" is probably a term to which I cannot respond reasonably. I think it is a rather protestant term connoting self-determination. I am afraid that the penchant toward autonomy and self-determination is a patent difficulty experienced by most ex-protestant converts: they unconsciously import that grossly unfortunate "townhall" polity they inherited from the congregationalists.

In contrast, the Church feeds us in every ecclesial experience. It feeds all those who are being saved -- even those who are still protestant. Protestants would be neither Trinitarian nor scriptural without the legacy of Orthodoxy. Megachurches are the completion of the protestant movement, in eradicating almost every vestige of the Church. Try to find even one megachurch that mentions the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or even utters the Names of the Three Persons on Sunday morning.

My best concrete examples of persons who reveal the "cosmic drama in Divine longing" are many, but I cannot tell you the particulars since this drama is revealed in every single confession. I will assure you that my most nominal faithful is able to recite the Nicene Creed, make the sign of the Cross, and have received the Eucharist on occasion, which is more than what any megachurcher can say.

Thanks for your reply, Father. Could you clarify a couple of comments you made, please?

"I am not a self-feeder at all. Neither are you." -- Are you referring to the services/prayers/lectionary w/which the Church feeds us?

"We were different in the evangelical church because we simply accepted the grace that Jesus gives to all the world through the Orthodox Church."

How did we "simply accept" the grace of Orthodoxy as Protestants, and how is that a bad thing if we did?

"Moreover, every single "cradle Orthodox" in my home parish and in my pastoral charges that I have had the privilege to administer have revealed to me the cosmic drama in Divine longing."

Could you give some concrete examples of this?

Thank you...

Well, yes, David, we Orthodox are subject to a great deal of criticism, even moreso than anyone else since "judgment begins in the House of the Lord." Should we repent? Yes. Should we struggle more toward theosis? Yes. Do we fail and sin? Yes.

But should we evaluate or judge our parishes for their results? No. That is not done in Orthodoxy, and it shouldn't be. We proclaim the Nicene Creed, we read the Epistle and Gospel in Liturgy, we sing the Liturgy. We try to pray, fast, and minister to our neighbors. We participate in the anaphora, and we witness the epiclesis.

That is enough.

Megachurches do not only run short on meat, but they run short on milk, too. I will make even plainer my main proposition in the piece above: megachurches are not only deficient, if not heretical, as the quasi-churches they are -- they also double the harm in detracting people away from Holy Tradition.

With all respect, I think you are too sanguine about the quality of the kerygma pronounced by these organizations: that kerygma, of which Hybels is probably of the better sort, acts as an inoculation against the "virus" of grace.

I am not a self-feeder at all. Neither are you. We were different in the evangelical church because we simply accepted the grace that Jesus gives to all the world through the Orthodox Church. Moreover, every single "cradle Orthodox" in my home parish and in my pastoral charges that I have had the privilege to administer have revealed to me the cosmic drama in Divine longing.

These Orthodox faithful who are not so intense and disciplined (and I am no better) are the ones who grew up praying to the Theotokos and uttering the Trinitarian Creed, in a sort of "of course" simplicity.

I feed off this simple faith that is deep, an unlettered, unsophisticated faith that far outstrips the megachurch neglect of the Trinity, the two natures of the Son, and the sacramentality of the apostolic deposit.

Fr., bless,

In all fairness to the High Desert churchmen, the song was geared towards the 7th to 8th graders, after all...

And, if I can be a bit of a wet blanket re: the Willow Creek Confession: we Orthodox, it seems to me, have little room to talk about others' not producing high percentages of intense, disciplined believers -- and we, as you note, do possess the apostolic gifts necessary to achieve said fervor. Who, then, deserves more criticism?

True, true: "At least we're going down the right path!" Also true is that those of us converts who did find our (own) way into the Church do tend to be self-starters and "self-feeders," but what of those raised in this Faith, cruciform though it may be, who nevertheless know little and have felt less of the cosmic drama of Divine Longing, man's wretched, desperate state, and the glorious reality of redemption and participation in the glorious Kingdom? More to the point, do we converts owe OUR awareness of the above to our time spent in Evangelical circles, and is said awareness the fount of our being "self-feeders" in the first place?

While megachurches may run short on meat and attempt to compensate through programs, workshops and "seminars and coffee bars," as I like to say, the "quasi-simpler" approach of these megachurches does often succeed in conveying the idea (if nothing else) of the kerygma of mankind's need for a Savior and gratitude for their idea of redemption is.

Were we Orthodox to refocus on this in all our ascetic endeavor, well...I wonder at the possibilities...

is that "megaresy" or "mega-heresy"? or a bit of both?

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