edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
Today whilst waiting for a bus, I saw a man walking along talking loudly about Jesus and a lady on a corner offering Christian tracts.

Such people are generally ignored but they are making themselves fools for Christ as St Paul said.

Most people don't know about the beauties of Orthodoxy and at the rate we are witnessing, never will. Is it time for us to be fools for Christ?

St Aidan was an Irish monk who came to 'England' over a thousand years ago. Everyone he met he asked first if they had been baptised and, if they had to persevere in their faith. I do nothing. I think I'm embarrassed to talk about my faith. Will I be rejected in the end?


  • Aidan

    I have found that if we ask God to give us opportunities to serve Him in evangelism then He gives them, and especially so when we seek to serve Him in humility. Certainly I find it very much more easy to speak about our Orthodox Faith than I did when I was an Evangelical, because I believe that our Orthodox Faith is true and works.

    For myself, when I was at work I found that I could start mentioning I had been at Church on Sunday when people asked how the weekend had gone. I started talking about our Faith when it was a natural point to do so. When someone asked a question about Gnostic Gospels I bought him a book about the Christian view and asked him to read it and let me know what he thought.

    If we ask God then He will give the right opportunities. I don't mean that in a pious sense, but that I am sure it is true. I am not sure that all street work is productive - as an ex-Evangelical I have done street work in my time - but if we are ready to be used then He will use us.

    God bless you

    Father Peter
  • Father Peter, sometimes i am afraid to do that lest i become boastful and fall into the sin of pride out of my weakness

    i opened a forum on this before (what i just said not the original question of this forum) called "Boast or Shine Light" in which i asked for help on differentiating between letting my light shine and being boastful
  • Dear the_least

    I guess that the difference is whether when we witness it is all about us or all about God? Is it about what I have done or what God has done in my life and the lives of others?

    If I was to talk about being in Church on Sunday I could either say 'I preached a good sermon about the first Palm Sunday..' or I could say 'We were learning on Sunday about how God doesn't always answer prayers in the way we expect'.

    But it is a command from God that we share our faith, and sometimes that needs words. When I bumped into some Mormons in town we had a conversation and I witnessed, and then we shook hands and parted. I saw one of them the other day again and wished him well. What is more important? The offical witnessing conversation or the ongoing work of greeting him when I see him? I don't know. Either could be a seed. But just being pleasant without saying anything about the Faith would not have been witnessing, and just speaking about the Faith but in a rude way would not have been witnessing either.

    It does not seem to me that our problem is usually boasting. And in my own Christian life I have achieved so little that it it is not easy to boast. When I am boasting it is quite clear because I am speaking about me. To avoid boasting we need to make sure that we humble ourselves, and this is just part of our growing into Christ. If we pray all of the Hours from the Agpeya then when we speak about prayer we say that we pray a little and have found this book of prayers helpful.

    If we fast all of the fasts of the Church with great strictness we say to others that we fast a little and not very well, but that we have found this and that practice helpful to begin with.

    If we speak about Christ, even if we have seen visions of heaven, we say that we have barely begun to be transformed into a 'proper' Christian but this is what Christ means to us.

    Generally people do not want to know the minute details of theological controversies. They want to see us live Christian lives, and they want us to be able to explain simply what difference being a Christian makes to us. If we don't know what being a Christian means to us - rather than just repeating an official view - then we have little to share.

    Tell people that you will pray for them. When I left my job just before becoming a priest there were several others made redundant at the same time. Most of them in much worse circumstances than me, and with no faith to support them. One of them asked me to pray for him, and I said I would, and have done. He is not a Christian, but he knew I was and he knew he had a need and would turn anywhere for help - even God.

    Letting our light shine is usually not so much words as actions - 'that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven'. This seems to me to require both a life of careful selflessness, and some openness about our faith. If no-one knows we are Christians then they will not link our behaviour to our faith. But if they know we are Christians and our lives are shameful then this will also reflect on God to His dishonour.

    It is better to witness and deal with pride if it arises, than not witness at all in case you fall into pride. The first is a possible sin, the second a definite one!

    Father Peter
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