Stewardship and Millennials – A Matter of Trust

Millenial

Orthodox Outpost is please to welcome Fr. Robert Holet as a contributor.   Fr. Robert is pastor of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Charlottesville, VA and chairs the stewardship program of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.  Fr. Robert is the author of The First and The Finest: Orthodox Christian Stewardship as Sacred Offering. 

Stewardship and Millennials – A Matter of Trust

Fr. Robert Holet

A Word about an Orthodox Stewardship Perspective

So much of what I write on Christian Stewardship reflects my deeply-held belief about a distinctive Orthodox perspective on stewardship – a distinctive spiritual and liturgical viewpoint. Normally in daily life, we identify stewardship as effective management of the stuff of life.  We baptize this view by searching the scriptures, finding a plethora of citations about ‘managing worldly affairs’ (usually money), and formulating something that includes our understanding that all things come from God – that He has set humankind in a special role as Steward-of-the-World, and that we need to be prudent about our actions in this regard. But, from pages of Genesis and the story of Adam to Revelation, we can easily find examples of failed human stewardship, and even cosmic disaster.

From where I stand, though, we miss the first and essential element of true stewardship, without which we are pretty much destined to fail. This key first element of our stewardship activity is the offering in thanksgiving of our first and finest portion of what we’ve received from God, back to God. Orthodox Christian stewardship first calls us to make a sacrificial offering of our earthly gifts and ourselves to God. We enter into the liturgical space of the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy to raise up to God ourselves and our material well-being to Him in thanksgiving. Approached in this way, we orient the whole of our life as steward, centering our actions in the Lord as His followers in all of life’s activities.

Need an example? The story of the Healing of the Ten Lepers (Lk. 17:11f) first reveals what Christ accomplishes for the lepers. Then, He commands them – ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’, and off they go, never to be seen or heard from again. Except for one. Energized by the healing power of Christ coursing through his body, his heart leaps into thankfulness and worship, prompting him to hurry back to Christ to thank Him. Turning to Christ in thanksgiving (going beyond even what was commanded) makes this man a Christian steward of the grace that Christ has poured out into his life. It is this essential Christian character of the offering of thanksgiving (Eucharist) that forms the heart of all Orthodox Christian stewardship; slways leading to a deeper communion with God and an inner spiritual transformation. There are many examples of well-intentioned giving without this joyful, thankful dimension of authentic Christianity; missing is the reflection of Christ as Philanthropos.

Christian stewards are receivers of an abundance of gifts from God which express a sacred trust or covenant. He will not only bestow material necessities, but will also inspire, support, empower and enable us to mature through His gifts. These gifts, and the sacred offering and use of these gifts in a Godly way, constitute a means of sanctification and theosis. Every stewardship story in the Gospels reminds us, however, that the Master will return and require an account from His servant, as to his stewardship of the sacred gifts. To become a Christian steward is to become fully human – characterized by a Christ-centered relationship with the Lord, with one another, and with the world.

Now let’s take a look at how Millennials might be gifted by the Lord in some distinctive ways in the present age.

Note– These observations are generalizations which may not be applicable in every situation, but are meant to point to general cultural trends.

 Meet the Millennials – The New Stewards of God’s Riches

At our Church’s Strategic Planning retreat last month, it struck me how young the participants sitting across the table from me were!  I can describe it as ‘shock and awe’. I experienced optimism and hopefulness – seeing these younger adults step up into leadership roles in the Church, sacrificing precious time from work and home, and engaging creatively in the important work of guiding our Church deeper into the new millennium.  They’re not called ‘millennials’ for nothing!

When I encounter millennials in my campus ministry, these youthful teenagers and twenty-somethings have a ‘way of life’ – hanging out, chatting as much on their cell phones as with their numerous friends.  When I spend more quality time with them in environments like our church camp, I get a sense that the planet that we mutually inhabit is viewed very differently through their eyes, and their day-to-day activities are, for them, lived in a rapid-fire mode.  It’s not day-to-day, but moment-to-moment.   I am hopeful because they are thoughtful, energetic, creative and bright – gifted by God for their opportunity to do the sacred work of stewarding Christ’s Church and His world.

Admittedly, I feel in my gut a measure of inner fear. They’re so young! They’re inexperienced. Do they really know what they’re getting into? How heavy the burden is? Can I really trust them?

New Trustworthy Ministers and Grace-filled Ministries

Stewardship is, in the end, always about our worthiness of the trust bestowed upon us by another. The Giver’s gift represents a sacred trust. Parents are keenly aware of the profound responsibility of giving the keys of their car to their youthful daughter in an act of trust. A father can conclude that his son or daughter has been trained, and matured to the point where he can risk that trust in his child, and that the outcome will lead to the betterment of all.

In the Church, ordination serves as an icon of this stewardship-trust. I wonder what a Bishop feels when he entrusts the abundant power, grace and responsibility of the priesthood to a twenty-something millennial? When the ordination act is completed, there’s an Axios! acclamation[i] and joy in the congregation, affirming the Bishop who is acting on this trust. The priestly ministry of the newly ordained is the stewardship of the grace and ministry of the spiritual authority of Christ himself – which the Bishop possesses only in his own ‘earthen vessel’. (2Cor 4:7f).  The Axios! affirmation both affirms the candidate and the congregation, allaying the fear I mentioned above. The millennial candidate for ordination has offered himself to Christ, in an act of self-stewardship of his life, to become a steward of the Church’s ministry.

The very human-divine act of entrusting God’s ministries and responsibilities in the Church is nothing new and is not limited to ordination. But it does serve as a pattern for millennials who wish to explore their God-given gifts, grow through personal education and training, and receive affirmation by the Church to engage in the responsible stewardship of their life. A host of activities formerly reserved for clergy are being entrusted to worthy lay people, including women. As discussed below, there may well be tasks that the Church needs to do now – that can best be done by millennials, or even only by millennials. The stewardship of the Church’s ministries today by millennials is not an option. Rather, as in every generation, new people emerge with the gifts given by God to carry out the sacred work of the Church.

This is exactly what Jesus did in training his disciples, empowering them, correcting and rebuking them, encouraging them, and giving to them His Spirit so they could actually carry out through their earthly ministries what was utterly impossible for them to do on their own – the stuff of healing the sick, raising the dead, moving mountains and changing bread and wine into His Body and Blood.  And how He must have wondered about their strength, faithfulness and sacrificial spirit as He entrusted to them the sacred Message and Mission of the Salvation of the World? The ‘succession’[ii] process is not only for bishops – but for the ordination of priests, deacons, those in minor orders and yes, those in lay ministries.

When Church leaders call millennials to this sacred offering of themselves in the mission and ministry of Christ in our age, dynamic new ministries, and even miraculous manifestations of Christ’s active work in His Church will emerge. And to discern, support, bless and empower the call of each of the millennial members of the Church is to be and do what Jesus, the Master of the Stewards, calls them to be. Nothing less. Failing this, the older generation fails in its stewardship of the Church – burying the talent because of fear. (Mt. 25:14ff)

Millennials are Special

I say this tongue in cheek, with a hint of sarcasm, as we know how this theme has played out in an age of entitlement and ‘participation trophies’ where those of recent generations have been sometimes insulated from failure, disappointment and the realities of a harsh world. Of course, one need only need to read of the travails of the holy apostle Paul to learn how true stewards of the Church will face the Cross, suffering and even death if they are to be faithful stewards of the Gospel. No coddling – no more.

It’s clear to me that millennials[iii]  are indeed special – or perhaps better, specially equipped – to be faithful and successful stewards of God’s gifts entrusted to them in their own lives and in the Church today. Let me mention five ‘strengths’ that I see in the millennial generation that I’ve experienced.  [iv]

Flexible Interactions

Millennials can live on the fly.  They have to. Because they have only known a world that is in hyper-drive, their very survival depends on developing, early on, a psychology of adaptability. If Method A doesn’t work, it is quickly discarded so that Method B can be implemented. Growing churches today are the ones that respond quickly and adapt.

Just this week, traveling through a rust-belt town near where I grew up, I passed three parishes of various Orthodox jurisdictions. I could not tell if any were active, or even open. Their ethnic population bases have eroded, their institutions have corroded and their life support monitor is barely blinking. Trusting in an institutional mode of the stewardship of Church life, parishes such as these possessed a resilience to stand strong in down times. That resilience has become brittle. In a very nice town near our parish in Virginia, there are two massive Protestant church buildings – capable of holding 200+ in their sanctuaries, with halls, classrooms, offices, etc. with ‘For Sale’ signs hung in their beautiful entries, to be sold to the highest bidder at a bargain basement price. This failure to adapt is not unique to our Orthodox experience.

So, how can millennials make an impact?  Millennials may well value the Church, but not necessarily the institutional expression of Church. If a millennial vision of Church life were to become normative, many institutions may disappear so that a new, decentralized, relational mode of Church life could emerge – characterized by small group interactions, lowering of entry barriers, and quick assimilation of new people. This is a common experience for millennials – not unlike when their families have moved to new areas with very different demographics – so they’ve had to adapt and make new friends fast, while keeping their personal bearings in a new or rapidly changing environment. In a similar way, the experience of going to a college campus today demands that students either adapt quickly or drop out.

A millennial-oriented Orthodox community might look different from most of our existing parishes. Young members may not be gathering at the church for late night food sales and fundraisers. Rather than having lots of formal meetings at Church, there will be more informal small-group gatherings to tackle ministry projects. Fellowship becomes an informal hang out session at a cafe or coffee shop. Even quasi-liturgical prayer can edify and lift up the souls of those two or three when they gather in the Lord’s name in some place that doesn’t have an iconostasis – like a hiking trail way-station. Such gatherings don’t replace formal liturgy in Orthodoxy, but can be life-giving, and even outreach-oriented in their communion with Christ.

Older generations have usually resisted change – and that resistance,  if held in place long enough, will not only discourage gifted and committed millennials sent by God to bless His Church, but will effectively erect impregnable walls to participation by millennials in local parish life. The gift of the millennials in our age may help the Church stretch and adapt as it reaches out to new members in new ways.

The potential downside of flexibility, of course, is one which Orthodoxy is uniquely positioned to guard against – the tendency to be so flexible as to be cut off from the essential nature of the Church-Christ relationship. Orthodoxy holds distinct dogma and moral teaching as immutable, which will retain a framework for Church life. A millennial Church will be one that is dynamic, but that will need to balance that energy with Orthodoxy’s moral compass and doctrinal guidance systems to be fully functional.

Talk to Me – Electronic Communications

We’re all familiar with the ubiquitous sight of the young adult staring at a cell phone, reading messages from friends, texting the latest coordinates to a lost pizza delivery guy, or snapping a selfie to upload to Eternity. Today’s I-phones and Androids leverage capabilities that were unimaginable just 20 years ago. Just watch the CBS 60 Minutes program about Mount Athos (2011), whose residents manage their worldly affairs through their own computerized nerve center, and you’ll realize that even some of the most conservative elements of the Orthodox have realized the need to interface electronically with the cosmos.

Millennials are wizards at this stuff – trained from their earliest youth to intuitively interact with new devices – who routinely create their own aps for extending their personal lifestyle and giftedness with a broader community. Do you think that the Church could benefit from such a capability? Do you think we might actually need it? Today? And who else, but a youthful generation knowledgeable about such things, should be at the helm of developing such systems. They do it, they know it, and unlike some of us, they enjoy it. The Mars Hill of tomorrow will be a space in virtual reality. Getting there will take special gifts and gifted stewards.

Daily, we hear of the downside of the Internet world and electronic communication. That same person staring at his cell phone can be subject to many dangers, the least of which might be the potential of meeting oncoming car! Of greater concern for millennials is to develop an inner watchfulness, to defeat the temptations of spiritual dissipation, where one’s time, talent and even identity is distracted by mindless diversions online, or worse, lost in the dark corners of the Internet. The important things of life can rarely be communicated in a tweet. To love another means making a connection beyond an electronic poke – it must become a physical or spiritual embrace to be real. The Christian standard is the Lord’s communion of love at the Mystical supper – leading us to an intimate experience with God and one another. To do this well, in Church, means turning off the I-phone when entering the church building, to be able to experience Love in a different way. Here’s the challenge – the same I-phone may well have the information and time schedule for services that millennials and others will use to discover that Eucharistic supper.

Millennials have shrunk the world!  –  A Global (Christian?) world view

Serving college students, I’m always amazed at the global exploits of many of our youth.  The question for many is not if you’re studying abroad, but where and for how long. One young couple decided that their honeymoon would be a trip around the world (on a student’s budget I suspect). Millennials seemingly move so easily between peoples and cultures and recognize the equality and value of people who are different, celebrating the differences as they try to transcend the cultural and linguistic barriers that present themselves. They just try to engage, and can laugh at their efforts as a ‘Fail’, after which they try again. The communications modes mentioned above foster this global awareness. No one on the planet is more than a couple of seconds away if the technology is in place. Skypeing renders the other Present – effectively in real time. An app can do the translating from Swahili to Chinese and the GPS can locate you both precisely. I think it would now be possible to actually make the whole world sing at one time with the right device, although maybe not in perfect harmony as the old Coke lyrics may wish.

In the Orthodox Church today, many like-minded young adults join brigades heading out on OCF Real Break or other mission-oriented trips. The more exotic, the better! These can be intensely challenging, but are immensely rewarding. If such a trip heads to Istanbul, the students can be affirmed in their faith in a way unavailable to most of us in previous generations.

Juxtapose this worldview for a moment against the experience in our ethnically-oriented parishes in America. It wasn’t all that long ago that, in any one town, three distinct parishes of people founded by Carpathian mountain immigrants dotted the landscape. Those from the southern Carpathians identified as Transylvanian, and hence Romanian. Those in the middle from the region of Uzhorod may have chanted ‘Prostopenije’ in the ‘old country’ – hence they had a different identity from their neighbors to the north, which used the Galician chant version. The disagreements of the three groups may well have led to fights which then required, of course, the formation of three different parishes. (All three parishes may be on life support now). Among the Greeks it was not good enough to be Greek, you had to be from the Correct Island. Failing that was sometimes little better than to be an infidel[v].

Millennials have no context for this behavior, and most would not tolerate such exclusivity. Prophetically, the Church of the young today calls us all to a global vision and this openness to ‘the other’ is a prescription dose for our spiritual illness. An awareness of the suffering of others, particularly our Christian brethren in Syria and the Middle East, can lead to solidarity of love, prayer intercession and action. Broad-based ministries within Orthodoxy (like OCMC, IOCC, FOCUS) can provide not only opportunities to engage others – but also serve Christ in them. When parish or diocesan activities focus only on ‘our own,’ the millennials may raise objections, or just smile as they walk out the door. It’s not their world. They see a ‘bigger picture’.

Of course, the dangers of globalism are many – as even the American political realm is discovering. The great danger for us, as Christian stewards, is simply to ignore, our neighbor – the person Jesus told us to love. Perhaps the danger is not myopia, but hyperopia – farsightedness that cannot focus on what is close by. Sometimes, it’s more satisfying to serve the poor around the globe, when what I’m really called to do is to visit my lonely grandmother. This is part of the discernment of stewardship – to realize the full picture of how we serve Christ as stewards and see where we’re not used to looking.

Friend Me – PLEASE!!!!   – Friends and Mentors

We all have a desire to share our lives with friends. Ask a millennial how many electronic friends they have on social media and it may be in the thousands! So much time is spent in this realm because these connections are deeply valued. To lose a ‘friend’ is rejection, and that is a bummer. While we might decry certain aspects of young adult relationships[vi] in dating and beyond, the very effort manifests a deep desire of the heart to share life with others, even if the approach might be subject to pondering on a spiritual level.

Millennials join-up with others, almost to a fault. From their earliest years, the array of group activities from soccer or other sports teams, interest groups, skill development groups and clubs of every sort all provide a wealth of valued personal connections. From a distance, I have seen the lives of many young people profoundly enriched as they opened themselves to coaches who train, direct, discipline and encourage them to excellence. Relationships formed by millennials with mentors and coaches can last a lifetime, becoming cause for celebration in times of joy and support in the dark moments of life. Those in the military experience a particularly intensive bonding with others – valuing their ‘life-long ‘buddies’. Jesus Himself walked this path with his disciples – who He trained and disciplined until the end, when He spoke to them no longer just as Rabbi, or even Lord, but as ‘Friend’.

Millennials cling to their friends. Is it little wonder then that, if their friends are not in their Church, they won’t be going there either? When they enter into dating relationships, what are the odds that they’ll look to the Church for that special life partner? Larger parishes have a slightly better chance of meshing these two groups of people; but lacking that, part of the great energizing force, healing grace, and staying power of Christian fellowship will be missing. The Church will have nothing to offer. It’s not a matter of loving God – rather, with whom will I live and share my love of God?

Millennials who are faithful contributors in our parishes are vital to this dynamic of fellowship. Their ability to connect our church communities with their friends could emerge as an essential new force of evangelization – if they thought that they had a church worth sharing with their friends. Progress on the stewardship growth curve for millennials today may mean learning to really appreciate the Great Wealth of what we have in the Church. Once you’ve found the Pearl of Great Price, you certainly want your friends to share in your good fortune! The entire Church should be oriented to be as stewards of the Mysteries of Christ – and our millennials may be our best ambassadors of this great treasure to people we don’t even know.

Of course, we can see the potential difficulties here as well. . The rules and modes of expressing friendship and discerning love can become very blurry, very quickly. Stewardship of friendship is a solemn responsibility in Christian terms. Addressing his disciples at the Mystical Supper, Jesus called them ‘friends’; meaning a deep, committed love characterized by the cup of His blood, shed for them as their means of eternal communion – nothing less. His is not a friendship that can simply be deleted with a single click.

Oriented Eastward – In the Spirit

Reading a recent Facebook discussion about the appropriateness of yoga in Orthodox parishes, I was reminded of how such an issue can become a big deal for us in Orthodoxy, where holding the purity of the Faith is of supreme importance. The morphing of spirituality into religiosity leading to a dissipation of Christian faith and expression is well-discussed and documented. But it’s clear that while the ‘Nones’ – that is, those in our land who hold no religious view – may somehow deeply value a certain spiritual dimension in their lives. Many millennials have not found a psychological or spiritual framework into which religion (let alone Orthodoxy) fits.

Moral behavior proceeds from such a world view. Millennials will challenge the Church constrained by a moral code contrary to what they’ve come to believe from their friends and others of influence. How can the Church deal with this? I was told a number of years ago by a priest who had studied deeply the attitudes of youth that ‘moral failure’ was one of the greatest forces that led them away from the Church. How can the Church entrust her future to millennials if they are not going to be able to preserve the Faith and essential moral teachings unsullied? Perhaps the cultural flight from Christian moral teachings today is due to a failure of us older members to live those teachings and share their life-giving force in family and parish life. Millennials have zero tolerance for hypocrisy.

Entrusting the stewardship of the Church’s treasure to our younger members is a tremendous need. Part of this process requires dialogue, understanding and training (asceticism) – so that the truths of the Gospel and moral teachings can resonate correctly in the soul despite the confusion of messages in the world. This is the work of the Spirit, to which young people need to be invited. They will need to be formed in the fullness of the Church’s teaching, so that they are able to discern the truth of the messages of the world, drawing upon the Church’s rich understanding of Christian anthropology.

While this is a particular difficulty today, it is not new. I can recall, as a young man, advocating for abortion in the 1960s because it just ‘made sense’. Of course, I am embarrassed to say that I needed to learn that not only was my understanding flawed, but so was my method. To dismiss the Church’s ancient teachings without exploring them manifests a serious flaw in the stewardship of what had been entrusted to me. I just hadn’t taken the time to research it and think it through. I suspect that many young people may hold such opinions for the same reason – but they too can and will be led to the Truth, hopefully before the father of falsehood introduces a serious crisis in their lives.

Millennials and Money – Share It!

What is a stewardship article without a discussion of money?

While financial trends ebb and flow, a ‘disturbing’ trend is emerging in certain financial markets. Millennials, it would seem, are not buying houses to fulfill the American dream in imitation of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. This trend is concerning to the home-building industry which is finding that ‘starter’ homes are no longer needed. A growing trend is the ‘tiny house’ – a movable home under 400 sq. ft. that is a house in miniature with minimal accommodations. The age of the McMansion is over. Millennials are driving this trend. Tiny house owners believe that their money should be used for life experiences. Their purchasing habits, examined by the world’s market analysts, are being tracked all the way to the bank or, in some industries, bankruptcy.

All this is to say that there have been major shifts in what millennials consider ‘important’ in life, and in material possessions. It is actually refreshing; and perhaps more reflective of the teachings of Jesus, who decried the accumulation of material goods. Having all of the best possessions (cars, clothes, etc.) may not be as important as it once was.

Similarly, given the desire of millennials to connect horizontally, the phenomenon of ‘crowd funding’ is an amazing trend in financial stewardship. Young people will give away money to someone they may not know (except electronically), just to help them in a difficult situation in life, or help them start a project or business. This childlike generosity is eerily like the Gospel exhortation where Jesus taught His disciples about the stewardship of their common purse, based on the Beatitudes and love of neighbor and especially those in need.

If one’s true treasure is sent where one’s heart is fixed, then a review of the financial stewardship of millennial members of the Church might be a real signal about what they really believe. It’s clear that many millennials want to share their time and energy in serving others (see the Real Break discussion above), and money often heads in the same direction. But again, the old models don’t fit. If the tried-and-true financial model in the church of the twentieth century – that stewardship means maintaining church institutions – does not fit their world-view or their life mission, then their financial stewardship won’t be directed toward the Church. In some ways, I think millennials are very prudent in their financial stewardship. They want to see a return on their investment – a return more calculated in human/friendship/care of others and righting injustices, rather than maintenance of a tired, old institution which is not deemed ‘worthy’ of that investment.

The Church has much to learn from this perspective – a return to a Christian humanistic and caring orientation with its energies, rather than merely a self-serving orientation that endeavors to perpetuate itself. Ironically that self-perpetuating attitude (ignored by the young) is not what is meant by ‘preservation’ in the realm of Christian stewardship. Rather, it is God alone who gives the Church its life, purpose, mission and resources – in every age and every place! Trying to maintain it through human force (money) to ‘assure’ its future is folly; and it is the fate of a church with a healthy endowment and no members. The notion of living daily in an awareness of how God provides us our daily bread (money in this case) which can then be used to do good and can serve others is actually much closer to the Gospel – rather than that instituted in our American culture in previous generations.

Of course, there are many political and economic dimensions to this – as many young people consider the importance of universalizing (in justice) the care of others through state institutions. It remains to be seen whether the current generations, if they rely on bank and government debt to sustain their way of life, can find a Godly way of stewardship of money that is actually a fruit of their labor – not that of others.

Conclusion

So what shall we say regarding the stewardship of millennials? The question is not so much whether millennials are gifted to serve Christ, and minister in His Body, the Church, but rather twofold  –

First, Will they serve Christ in this way? The spiritual way of sacred offering – first of oneself in thanksgiving to God, and then all of our life, is often repeated as a prayer and exhortation in our Liturgy when we affirm the proclamation, “Let us commend ourselves, each other, and all of our life to Christ our God.” When this dynamic of sacred offering of self to Christ is present, the answer to the question is a resounding, ”Yes!”

Second – How can the Church support and enable the gifts of millennials to be offered to God in the realm of the Church and empower its work? Will millennials step forward as the stewards of the Church as it emerges in the Lord’s time – where they can affirm all that Christ has bestowed upon the Church in history, while stewarding faithfully those things which Christ will make New?

The Church will soon be led by millennials in its most prominent clergy and lay positions, who are faithful to Christ and will hear His call in their hearts to respond by being stewards of His gifts to the best of their ability.  God willing, they too will hear His words, which we all long to hear, ‘ Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Mt. 25:23 NIV

[i] ‘Axios’– Greek, meaning ‘He is worthy’ is proclaimed by the congregation as an ‘amen’ to the act of the bishop.

[ii] It is a tricky thing to adjoin the terms ‘apostolic’ and ‘succession’ to the entrusting of the Church’s mission to those other than bishops.  ‘Apostolic succession’ has a specific, technical meaning in the Church regarding the passage of the apostolic ministry to bishops through episcopal ordination.  But in a sense this general stewardship of Church ministries could (must?) be called an ‘apostolic’ continuation because it is the apostolic Church which stewards God’s gifts in the Church, not just through the ordained ministries, but all ministries.

[iii] I commit to your reading the work of Christian Smith, describing the religious orientation of young people today as ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’.   Much of his thought is germane to the discussion of the belief systems of young people today. One article on the topic can be found here: https://www.ptsem.edu/uploadedFiles/School_of_Christian_Vocation_and_Mission/Institute_for_Youth_Ministry/Princeton_Lectures/Smith-Moralistic.pdf

[iv] I’ll also mention with each strength, a potential weakness or blind spot – in the wisdom of the ages that recognizes the commonality shared by both.

[v] This is, of course, not to decry ethnic identities themselves. What must be decried is the intolerance of others and the failure to identify and share the spiritual treasures of the Church’s great riches by judging others as ‘other’ and hence, unworthy – a failure of love.

[vi] These friendships may well be essential for the psychological survival of many millennials, who have not known stability of relationships in their homes due to marital breakdowns and dysfunctions.

Andrew Estocin

Andrew Estocin is a lifelong Orthodox Christian. He received his B.A. with a double major in Philosophy and Theology from Fordham University. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Albuquerque Journal, Touchstone, Beliefnet.com and The Orthodox Observer. Andrew’s work is featured on the The Orthodox Christian Network where he writes on a variety of contemporary issues.

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