Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Administrative Change

As you no doubt have noticed, there are now comments available on the right hand side of the blog. These are thanks to Intense Debate, a blog comment service. These kind people will moderate comments for spam--as part of this process, the first two of your comments will need to be approved. After the first two comments, you can post freely.

Please let me know if the service has any bugs in it.


In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Book Announcement

This week Navigator Press has published a collection of essays entitled Out of the Ooze. It so happens that there is included in the book a have short piece that I wrote entitled "God-Pleasing Evangelism." On their web page, NavPress describes the book this way:

We need more than statistics. In a day when millions of people are walking out of church and more churches are closing their doors than opening them, we need to discover what is really happening. Spencer Burke, creator of, brings you face-to-face with pastors and elders, committed attendees, back-pew sitters, and people who have walked out of the church looking for something more. Their unlikely love letters give you an opportunity to hear firsthand from the whole body of Christ.

Out of the Ooze marks the beginning of an annual series publishing the best of each year's articles exploring the themes of faith, social justice, art, and ministry.

You can download excerpts from the book on the NavPress's site for the book or by clicking here: Excerpt from Out of the Oooze.

Besides the fact this is always fun to see my name in print, what is exciting for me about this book is that it is directed toward the same people as The In their own words:

TheOOZE is a website dedicated to the emerging Church culture, and organizes the premiere annual event for this audience, called Soularize. Over the past six years TheOOZE has developed a community that captures the ethos of the emerging Church movement. Our site and events hold the tensions between creativity and information, theologians and artists, traditional and new voices.

For better or worse, there are increasing numbers of young, and not so young, usually unchurched or post-churched (lapsed in other words) men and women who are attracted to the Emergent Church movement.

As the inclusion of my own essay suggests, there is an interest and openness to Orthodoxy among those who identify with the Emergent Church movement. But this movement has got my attention not simply as a group of potential Orthodox Christians. One of the things that I have learned from my conversations with folks in this movement is to temper not my convictions about the Orthodox Church, but my way of expressing that conviction.

In addition, as I look at The Ooze, and the people who post and comment there, I ask myself: What might I, as Orthodox Christian, learn from this movement? My own view is that there is a great potential here to could help the Church reach our own lapsed members. Depending on how one defines a lapsed Orthodox Christian that number can reach 50%, 60%, 70% and even 80% (or more) of the men and women who were baptized in the Orthodox Church.

Orthodoxy in America has a unique opportunity to escape the triumphalism that has plagued us especially in recent. A lively conversation that takes seriously the concerns and criticisms of the Emergent Church movement might be helpful for us as we try and move beyond an approach to missions, evangelism, parish ministry and renewal, that is based not in polemics, but a gentle openness to the Holy Trinity in the lives of the men and women (Orthodox or not) who we serve. It was a rational for this openness to the presence of God in the lives of others that I tried to give expression to in my own essay.

Anyway, if you have the opportunity and the money, do consider picking up a copy of Out of the Oooze. Autographs are free!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory