Dear Brethren, well, happy calendar new year.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that our pal Shawn seems to have a point. This site is dominated by genuine Orthodox believers mostly from North America, who really think about the faith.
However, in some places, there is an ethnic tinge to our Church which seems to be stronger than the basic Christian message. His mother's experience seems entirely credible to me. To get back to Serbia, it seems that in Leskovac, a town I visit every year, our Church has been unable to reach out to the Rom
community, where Evangelicals have stepped in. It pains me to say that some elements (Patriarch Pavel
is unable to stop this) do identify being Serbian Orthodox as an expression of ethnic identity rather than
an attempt to follow the teachings of the Gospel. A friend of mine who is an Orthodox deacon in the town
says that if a Rom discovers Christ through Evangelicals rather than not discovering Him at all, that this is good.
There is, of course a strong note of hope. The Church at its highest level is trying to overcome the problem. Dear Shawn, could you honestly say that in bible belt America - I've never been there - there are not Baptists who are not religious by habit and tradition rather than conviction? In Vicenza where I live, the majority religion, RC, seems to be a comfortable means of marrying and dying. I think what I'm trying to say is that what you've found in our Church is present in all churches.
Come to one of our Liturgies with an open mind if you haven't yet done so, and try to get to know what
our Church really is.
Happy continued fasting to Russians and Serbs,
I agree. I currently attend a Baptist Church and have done so since I was a child. I can honestly say that most Baptist attend Church out of habit or ritual with no desire to increase their knowledge or understanding of faith or the Christian walk. Many attend because the parents and grandparents attended. Other's here in the Bible Belt (Texas) attend because it is good business.
The minority "remnant" are true follower of Christ seeking the truth and living by faith.
That is why I like to visit this website. I think most interactions here are from sincere believers or seeker of truth and we have an opportunity to learn from each other.