“It seems he especially likes to pester young Orthodox Christians with all sorts of what-if’s about dating, relationships, marriage, and monasticism.” What sort of what-if questions are you faced with? How do you handle them?
“The present moment is the place where time and eternity meet and where God enters into our lives.” Where have you seen God entered into your life?
“But the nasty What-If demon twists this necessary and spiritual undertaking into an anxiety-ridden, paralyzing question filling us with guilt, worry, and fear.” Sometimes I worry about what is going to happen for me after graduation. What if I don’t get a job or into law school? It fills me with fear for the future. Does that happen to anyone else? What do you do?
“We can’t confuse his what-if’s with repentance for the past or discernment about the future. Don’t let him convince you that his imaginary situations where he replays your past with anguishing regret are the same as contrition or the images he throws before you with terrorizing anxiety of futures that haven’t happened need to be addressed to find God’s will.” What do you think this section is trying to say?
Sometimes, the article even has questions built in for you!
“Do you say “yes” to Christ in this moment with this breath? Are you listening for His call in your heart right now? Can you see Him in the person or situation that’s right in front of you?” These are perfectly easy questions to discuss with your chapter!
There’s also a whole section of posts on topics like getting more people to come to your meetings, managing chapter funds, working with other religious organizations, and more! Learn from others’ experience what works! Click on the tag Chapter Guide to access these articles!
Don’t see something you want or need?? Email us at email@example.com with your questions and comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!
What you can expect: An unnamed Russian pilgrim hears in church one day that he should, “pray without ceasing,” so he travels around on foot seeking wisdom on how to pray, specifically the Jesus Prayer
Why you should read it: The Way of the Pilgrim is a great introduction to the Jesus Prayer. It teaches you how to begin to pray not only in a monastic setting, but in many manners of living. Plus, it’s all told in an easy-to-read narrative style that feels like you’re reading a novel.
The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned to It
Author: St. Theophan the Recluse
Length: 320 pages
What you can expect: Short letters from St. Theophan to a young woman about how to cultivate her inner life and live virtuously amidst the worldliness and debauchery of the society around her
Why you should read it: St. Theophan is basically writing to a college student, and his advice is practical while challenging you to really take stock of who you are and why you do the things you do. It’s also great because the letters are super short–you could read one or two during a meeting, and even if you didn’t make it through the whole book, it would be worth it!
Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives
Author: Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Length: 212 pages
What you can expect: The biography and teachings of Elder Thaddeus, a 20th century elder from Serbia who emphasizes how important our thoughts are to our entire spiritual life and outlook on others
Why you should read it: Elder Thaddeus has a great way of focusing our attention on how the demons misdirect us by influencing our thoughts and how we can reorient ourselves toward Christ through prayer. It’s great for a chapter book study because his teachings are organized by topic, so you could choose a particular one to focus on for a few weeks like “On Thoughts” or “On Love.”
Wounded by Love
Author: St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia
Length: 253 pages
What you can expect: The biography and teachings of one of the most recently canonized saints with tons of practical advice on prayer and dealing with difficult situations as well as lots of amazing miracle stories
Why you should read it: St. Porphyrios died in 1991, so the people he counsels throughout the book are not too different from you and me! His message of gentleness encompasses both our treatment of others and also our own spiritual lives. Like Elder Thaddeus, he covers a variety of topics in short sections so you can pick and choose what to read if you can’t cover the whole book in a semester.
Fr. Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father
Author: Alexander (last name not given)
Length: 277 pages
What you can expect: An incredible biography of a priest living in a Soviet prison camp
Why you should read it: Few other books can describe the life of a saint perfected through suffering like this one. This book is packed with the miraculous and transformative work of an incredible spiritual father. His love and devotion to God and to others, no matter their station, personality, or sins all in the midst of his own great suffering will inspire you to follow in his footsteps.
We often get asked by chapters how and where they should open a bank account for money they raise for their activities throughout the year. Here are our top three suggestions:
Option #1: You can find out if student activities or the campus ministry department on your campus offers banking options for recognized organizations. Sometimes, there is even funding offered through the school if you are recognized.
Option #2: You can work with a local parish to set up a fund through the parish. How that is done would be at the priest’s discretion and probably with the input of his parish council president.
2A: The parish could open a separate account for you that could be managed by your priest and lay coordinator (ie, they would sign the checks).
2B: The parish could add your chapter’s funds to the parish’s operating account. Basically, your OCF chapter would be a line item in their annual budget, and any money you bring in would be earmarked in the main parish account for chapter events.
Option #3: You could open a separate account on your own at a bank of your choice. You can even apply for your own EIN number here. We don’t particularly suggest this option–it’s more of a last resort–simply because it will just cause you extra work when students graduate in passing on the account information, signature approval, etc.
If you have questions on setting up your account, send them our way at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We’re talking outreach again this week. Now that we have the principles down, what can we say when we get questioned about our faith? Let’s start with the hardest question you’ll probably get.
Orthodox? What’s that?
In the back of my head, I’m always thinking…”Hmm…where to start?” It will take us all a lifetime of liturgy, prayer, learning, compassion, humility, and repentance to really answer that question, but as some of you have probably found, a little history lesson is a good place to start for the casual inquirer. And we’re not talking detailed or complex history for you history buffs out there. Just the plain and simple–something that can get the conversation started in a non-confrontational way.
So here goes. My Five-Minute-or-Less Church History Lesson:
The Orthodox Church is the ancient Christian Church, starting at the time of the Apostles and continuing down to us today with an unbroken line. In the early Christian Church, there were five main centers of Christianity: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and each of those centers had a patriarch or pope (same word)–basically, an important bishop. For about a thousand years, there was only one Christian Church, but when the East and the West split, Rome became the Roman Catholic Church while the other four centers remained in communion with each other and became known as the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church. Today, while the majority of Orthodox Christians are in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, there are Orthodox Christians all around the world, including here in the United States/Canada.
Whew. I think I even did that in less than 150 words.
There are two ways the conversation typically goes after this.
Hmm…I never heard of that. That’s interesting.
And now’s your chance for some hospitality so you say,
Yeah, it’s really beautiful. Do you mind me asking you what your faith background is?
And now you listen.
So…is it sort of like Catholic?
That one deserves its own post, So until next week, keep sharing Christ’s Church with love and grace! Oh, and let us know what questions you’ve come across on campus!