Five reasons why our mission is ineffective
In Petrov fasting, I want to think not only and not so much about the lean kitchen, but about the work that the holy apostles Peter and Paul began – the work of spreading the teachings of Christ. Priest Alexander Permyakov argues why Orthodox missionary work today is not popular or ineffective.
1. I will start with the fifth reason: we have the concepts of missionary activity and the work of diocesan missionary departments, well, that's all … I have been in the mission field for 15 years, and I can’t understand how to apply these concepts in practice. The concepts do not take into account the problems of lack of motivation for the mission of the parish clergy. And since they do not take this into account, they do not show ways to solve problems.
The mission requires a huge amount of time (well, the money also does not interfere with it). Now imagine that someone in the Patriarchate invented the creation of a floor cleaning department in the temple. Previously, it was spontaneously done by everyone who wanted to. So … Now we have experts appeared on cleaning floors. They have to pay money for it. Therefore, the volunteers fled. That's right: let the experts wash. There are many temples, but few specialists …
The clever men from Moscow said: “Nonsense! Let the specialists look for helpers from among the parishioners. ” I would like to say to these clever men: you yourself have found a lot of helpers? You might think that the turn of the volunteers costs to the specialists !!! Yeah. No one is worth it. And the concepts are written so beautifully, as if they were plans for Potemkin villages. For people familiar with the theory of management, at least one system error is obvious in this whole story: flooring, washing floors in the church and collecting volunteers (that is, management issues) are two completely different things!
It is the same in the mission: to convert a concrete person to Christ and to gather groups of activists in the temple are different things. Most of the talented missionaries I know do not know how to gather activists. And those who can do it, alas, do not understand anything in the mission. Therefore, the mission in our parishes, as a rule, is spontaneous.
But the organized nature of our work is of any kind of tusnya, from which there is no other use for the Church, except for glossy reports and brilliant dust in the eyes of the bishop. And we are at a dead end: after all, concepts teach this! And concepts will not teach the bad!
2. Reason number four. The fourth place is taken by the absence of a “church church norm,” that is, a tangible ideal of missionary work. From the books we know what a monk should be. Slightly less information about how a priest should be. And what should a layman be? Unclear.
Some laypeople copy monks, live like monks, women only see sisters … In fact, monks in the world. And what should they be?
There is a clue: the ideal of a lay believer is a person who can be a receiver to the infant in Baptism. And who are our receivers? Yes, anyone. Now at least the Muslims have ceased to take godparents, but atheists and agnostics are still taken. The last condition remains: the recipient must be baptized. This is our “churching standard”. All baptized are “ours.” We will not go on reconnaissance with them, but we give them children as godchildren. Paradox.
3. Reason three. The “honor bronze” is given to the problem of the crisis of Orthodox culture. Traditional religion (and Orthodoxy is one of the traditional religions) is associated with culture. Russian Adventists can grow outside the traditional culture. Orthodox Christians do not know how.
There are two interesting nuances:
The nuance of the departure of the Orthodox culture from the life of people in the role-playing game of a meager group of reenactors. We study Orthodox culture from books, we burn the effigy of Maslenitsa, then we can invite the father to school for an open lesson … But this has nothing to do with the real life of the people. The people listen to “Europe Plus”, hang out on “YouTube” and in “Instagram”, where the Orthodox segment is 0.5%. We build temples with a specific architecture, we write icons similar to the masterpieces of Rublev and Ushakov. But our creativity does not teach, does not educate, does not change a person in the postmodern era.
We naively believe that the more crosses we put at the crossroads, the more Holy Russia we have here. Nonsense. Timati also carries a cross on himself, and this does not make him closer to Christianity.
The image of crosses and domes is reinterpreted by the modern consumer culture in its magic key. But much more often, crosses become just an element of an ornament, a material for creating brands. The same applies to the crescents and stars of David. A person can go to the temple, admire painting and church music, but on all vital issues this person will turn to his family astrologer.
The clergy of the people is not in authority. This is true, because over the past 20 years, the clergy have positioned themselves as "experts in church parish magic": "Put a candle to the Matrona of Moscow, order a requiem, sorokoust – and everything will be fine."
For ten parishes, we have one community, which means that only one priest becomes a real shepherd, and the rest are perceived by people as bearded wizards.
This popular perception of the priest played a cruel joke with the clergy. After all, magic and magic are perceived by people as a kind of service, which means it is a service industry. And here we find ourselves on the same "market" with psychics and magicians. Strengthening in this area, we, according to the laws of competition, strengthen them too.
The second nuance of Orthodox culture: culture is a prerequisite for churching. Culture is a set of parts from the Lego designer. Suppose this kit is designed to build a helicopter. If we lose the assembly scheme, we will not collect the helicopter. But we can assemble a tank or a locomotive. That is why people who are stuck in the ruins of Orthodox culture rarely church.
The “assembly scheme” of Orthodox culture is the liturgical calendar … And this is the calendar of agricultural works. All these apple, honey rescues, willows, Sretensky candles, all this is focused on a typical peasant, which was a Russian peasant for almost 1000 years from the Baptism of Russia. There are almost no peasants among us for whom the Typicon was intended. Farmers – do not count. The peasants lived in a community, farmers do not live like that. So the “assembly scheme” is lost.
4. The honorable second place is occupied by the absence of a full-fledged catechism. Catechism should give a person not just a sum of knowledge, but an ideological system. If we talk about pre-baptismal catechism, then in our cathedral a person takes 4 classes. Even if the classes were 10, and that would be enough. It is necessary to make friends with a man, to make him our battle friend and ally. And this is generally a different conversation and a different competence.
And about the post-crest catechism, I generally keep quiet. The level of involvement of Orthodox people in it is 1-2% at most. Why is this so? Because there is no “churching norm”! And why do I need a catechism, if I'm already Orthodox? Tell me, the person who wanted to spit on the catechism, on our calls to read the Scriptures and to prayer … Is this man, is he, not Orthodox? The answer to this question opens up the reality of another problem that reached the final …
5. "Gold Medal" – rashristanny ethos of the clergy. Ethos is a tacit law, a set of norms of behavior that we learn not through instructions with a duty, but through an example of the elders with an illustration of how this duty can be bypassed. A vivid example of the ethos of an individual family is a lie of children. It is unlikely that one of the parents teaches children how to lie. Children watch their parents lie. And even if parents teach children to tell only the truth, children will still lie if they see examples of unpunished lies of parents.
The same happens at the parishes. Our parish ethos asserts that any person baptized in Orthodoxy, but not a believer in Christ, has more chances for salvation than a believer in Christ, but baptized in baptism.
We are talking about the need for a community, a mission, youth work, but inside the parish ethos, it is different … There is no place for a mission in it, neither for the youth, nor for the community. The values of the ethos are not formed at conferences, but in a narrow circle of their “proven people”. As a rule, at dinner among our own people, we are talking about what we are actually thinking about. And, alas, we are more concerned about political issues, relations with those in power than the problem of slow dying of our religiosity …
Yes, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. This is about the Church said, not about us. We can unwittingly stop the Earth and get off this train going to the Kingdom of Heaven …
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