“What’s Wrong With Us?”

Just a reminder (and a bit of shameless self-promotion) I will be speaking tomorrow evening (13 November) at the Youngstown-Warren chapter of the Society of St John Chrysostom. The title of my presentation is “What’s Wrong With Us? Thoughts on Why East/West Christian Relationships are Difficult.” The meeting, which is free and open to the public, starts at 7pm and is being hosted by St Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, 7782 Glenwood Ave, Boardman, OH.

For more information about either the meeting or the Society of St John Chrysostom, please call 330.755.5635.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

 

 

SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

YOUNGSTOWN-WARREN CHAPTER

 

PRESENTS

 

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH US? THOUGHTS ON WHY EAST/WEST CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS ARE DIFFICULT”

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2007, 7 P.M.

 

ST. MARY BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

7782 GLENWOOD AVENUE

BOARDMAN, OHIO

 

SPEAKER: FATHER GREGORY JENSEN,

ORTHODOX PRIEST AND PSYCHOLOGIST

 

FREE AND PUBLIC WELCOME

 

THE SOCIETY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM IS AN ECUMENICAL ORGANIZATION OF CATHOLIC AND ORTHODOX CLERGY AND LAITY, WORKING TO MAKE KNOWN THE HISTORY, WORSHIP, SPIRITUALITY, DISCIPLINE AND THEOLOGY OF EASTERN CHRISTENDOM, AND FOR THE FULLNESS OF UNITY DESIRED BY JESUS CHRIST.

 

(FOR INFORMATION CALL: 330-755-5635)

Advertisements

3 Responses to ““What’s Wrong With Us?””

  1. Zac Says:

    Bless Father,

    So what is wrong with us, as you see it? How do we avoid the pitfalls of people like John Bekkos and others who betrayed Orthodoxy in the name of union with Rome, and at the same time work together with Latins in productive ways that glorify Christ?

    I see that your talk is in a uniate parish… that should be interesting.

  2. Chrys Says:

    I’m not sure how to read the previous comment – concern? ironic? defensive?
    As a convert to the Orthodox faith, I firmly believe that it offers the fullest and most faithful way to believe and live as a Christian. In it, the fullness of the faith comes wonderfully alive.
    Knowing this, I do not feel threatened or anxious about Catholic claims, which I know well, nor Protestant claims, which I know very well.
    As such, I have no need to denigrate nor fear the other.
    It seems to me that calling Roman Catholics “Latins” (or calling Orthodox “Byzantines”) is not intended to express respect nor care.
    Let us understand that conversation with the other does not mean capitulation. Genuine conversation requires both having good will and assuming the good will of the other. It is very unlikely that the other is devious or seeking to subvert us. (If they were, they would not likely be talking with us. After all, they can only control one side of a conversation; the other side is beyond their control – if it is not a mere pretext.) We must presume that they bring the same good will to the conversation until they demonstrate otherwise.
    It is not Christian to demonize your opponent – even if you hate his position.
    Above all, the only one we should be concerned about betraying is Christ – and our own integrity (without which we lose ourselves). We dare not make an idol of “us and ours” – which seems to be at work behind the use of a term like “Latins.”
    It is because we desire NOT to betray Him that we must take unity seriously – so long as it is unity in a shared, honest faith and not a faith compromised for the sake of approval (which would, after all, just be another form of idolatry). If we live, we must live for Him; if we must suffer in His service, we suffer for Him. In all things, Christ is our life – even when we enter a “uniate” parish. (gasp). (At least it’s not something almost complete unChristian . . . like an Episcopal parish.) Zeal without love too often leads us to defend the right things in the wrong way.
    If anything we do or say is to truly bless, the source, means and end of our efforts must the Spirit of Christ.

  3. Fr. Gregory Jensen Says:

    Thank you Zac and Chrys for your comments.

    First, Zac, I do appreciate your question–but I think simply asserting that Bekkos betrayed Orthodoxy is insufficient. For many Orthodox, especially for those who came later in life to Orthodoxy, any cooperation is tantamount to a betrayal. So, in Bekkos’s case, how did he betray Orthodoxy? Simply referring globally to betrayal does not advance reconciliation.

    And might I ask why you refer to St Mary’s as a “uniate parish”? I am assuming your intent is not to be offensive, but I wonder if you could simply refer the parish as it refers to itself? Byzantine Catholic?

    Again, I don’t in anyway doubt your good intent, but it seems to me that one challenge facing us as Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics is our unwillingness to be reconciled. Absent that desire to be reconciled we cannot glorify God together.

    Chrys, I think you are on the right track–our use of language often undoes us. Infrequently do we offer our views, much less our criticisms, of each other with care for how the other side might here us. Indeed, in my experience, even when we are trying to get along we often do so without much understanding, or even inclination to understand, the other side of the conversation and their sensibilities.

    As for my talk, while there is much in my own presentation I would change, I will say that overall I was greeted with good will by both the Catholic and Orthodox members of the audience.

    Bottom line: Do we have good will in our hearts for each other? And do we assume good will in those with whom we speak?

    In Christ,

    +FrG


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: