Well,what can I say? A few weeks away attending the Clergy/Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was both encouraging and challenging.
Encouraging because I met so many faithful Orthodox priests and laypeople who are so passionate about and for the Faith. Priests who really see the need to reach out beyond the comfort zones of particular ethnicities to offer this timeless faith to others, and laypeople who are so committed to a life of piety and service. It was a wonderful experience.
Plus we had the opportunity to talk about a new ministry tool we are launching at OCN. We will be starting a 24 hour online media outreach called "The Ark" in January 2007 (Lord willing). The Ark will be 24 hours of Orthodox Christian music and more. We will feature the budding contemporary Orthodox Christian music from the likes of Fr. Peter Jon Gilquist and others who are producing contemporary music for our Orthodox youth. We will also have mainline contemporary Christian music that has passed theological muster. All of this is to provide an alternative listening environment for our young people.
We will also feature Orthodox talk programming meant to enhance the education of our Orthodox faithful and to provide an outreach for the growing number of people who are consuming media from the internet.
A recent study reported on in the New York Times said that, for the first time since they have been measuring this, the 18-24 age demographic now consumed media more from the internet than from TV.
The future of media consumption is increasingly moving to end user control. People are going to consume media when and where they want. The days of network schedules dictating when you will watch your favorite show or listen to your favorite radio program are numbered, and we Orthodox program producers need to be ready for this change.
The greatest challenge is going to become how we introduce media products to new consumers. How do we build an audience for our media products? But I digress.
The challenge of this year's Clergy/Laity also came from clergy and laity. I was still saddened by the narrow minded and insular mindset of hierarchs, priests, and laypeople who seemed much more interested in preserving the status quo or some small and shortsighted notion of nationalism and a pure "ethnos" than actually taking Christ seriously when He offered His life and salvation to "whosoever will."
For the life of me, I cannot understand the mentality that reduces the "faith once for all delivered to the saints" to some hoarded ethnic treasure that cannot be shared lest it weaken the ties of the Omogenia to the "mother country." Do these folks really value "outsider's" souls so little? Perhaps they simply don't see it that way. Perhaps they feel that God will take care of those "outsiders" in His own way.
But God has chosen His people to minister His message to the world. If those who have the happy accident of being born in an Orthodox home never come to appreciate the priceless spiritual treasure they have or the spiritual "head start" they have been blessed to receive, no doubt God will raise up the "gentiles" to make His chosen people jealous! May God grant it to be so!
The Irony of the Reformation
2 weeks ago