Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking It To The Streets

Orthodoxy has such a visually-rich liturgy that I think it would do well with billboard advertising. I know, spoken like a true ex-Protestant, always wanting to change things. From some of my chats with my priest, it sounds as if advertising is not something the Church does. On the other hand though, I don't think that is entirely true. Websites, for instance, are a new form of advertising. I have also seen ads in the Faith section of our local newspaper for Orthodox Churches. So, why not billboards?

One idea I had (I'm not in advertising, but it is sort of fun to think up stuff like this) is to have a billboard that shows an Orthodox altar on the right and the typical Protestant altar (pulpit, stage, etc) on the left. The caption would read, "Which church has watered down the Gospel?" I think it would be strikingly clear which one has removed worship elements from the Sunday morning service. Hopefully, it would make people pause and think.

I would be interested in hearing your ideas for Orthodox billboards. Even though I am not in advertising, I still have an evangelistic mindset in drawing people to the fullness of the faith, and in helping them realize there is so much more to their glorious heritage that is still maintained to this day in the blessed Holy Orthodox Church.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Will God Ask If I Was Orthodox On Judgement Day?

I recently told a friend of mine I had converted to Orthodoxy. After a brief conversation about Christianity, his reply was, "Well, I don't think God is going to ask you whether you were Orthodox or Lutheran or Baptist when you see Him." I agreed. I don't think He is going to ask you anything about your denomination, but instead, you will stand there with your soul bared, and everything you are, to the core of your being, exposed. It will probably be a scary and embarrassing moment for most. What church you attended may not be as important as how well did your church prepare you for the day you stand vulnerable before the radiant, glorious and all-consuming fire of the living presence of God. How well did they train you to fight the forces of evil which war against your soul? Did your church challenge you to crucify and put to death the misdeeds of the flesh and control your passions?

As I pointed out to my friend, there are coaches who train you to a level where you can enjoy a sport. There are others who are more competitive who train you to win games. Then there are those who train at the Olympic level where their athletes are the best of the best, trained to finish the race with the victor's crown, to "run in such a way as to get the prize".

I knew a guy who played football in high school. He was really good and had a lot of fun playing the game. He went to college on a football scholarship. He said at this point, football stopped being fun. They were analyzing films and plays - they were making it more of a science than a sport. The pro level was even more intense, at which point he decided to go into pharmaceutical sales.

In the same way, Orthodoxy, when practiced fully, is intense. As my priest has said before, if Orthodoxy were just one of many right ways of practicing Christianity, it is the wrong way, because so much more is demanded of you. However, if it truly is the Olympic way, the way of the victorious martyrs and crown-bearing champions, then there would never be a need for God to ask if I am Orthodox or any other denomination. I will have been fully trained, fully discipled, presented "before His presence without fault and with great joy" because I have followed the Way laid out before me, passed down from Jesus to the Apostles to the entire Church for all generations to come. If any have strayed from this Way through a "different Gospel", then they have left the original Way, and horrifically trained others in their same errors leaving weakened souls in their wake.

May God have mercy on us all.