All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

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September - October 2009

CHILDISH THINGS

"When I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Recently, an evangelical Protestant journal published an article about the pervasive issue of young people who are unable (and sometimes unwilling) to grow up. The article highlighted the segregation of each generation, particularly in school, as one of the major stumbling blocks to transmitting the secrets of maturity to a younger generation.

Remarkably, one of the most troubling results of this "inability to launch" is the increase of rudeness, lack of concern for other people, vandalism, and violent crime. Quoting a study by high-level police researchers, the point was rightly made: when you spend all your time with those who are just like you, why would one expect an improved character?

The impact on spiritual life is immediately apparent. Some 85% of faithful college and university students lose their faith by the time they graduate. The reason? Lives that are simply too busy to offer them any time to differentiate from the lives of peers. Their classroom for life is their school or work room, where they spend around eighty hours each week, surrounded almost completely by people of the same age, cut off from any examples who would challenge them to be anything different. In such an environment, why would anyone - including Orthodox parents - expect such young people to turn out any differently than the world we see on television?

As we wrap up our Canadian vacation season, it is necessary to consider the extent to which we are being shaped to resemble the secular world.

Is Church on Sunday, and several minutes of daily prayers (if that), enough to make our character spiritually mature?

From what are we restraining ourselves, and toward what goal are we striving, for our life as a whole, and every day?

What childish things are we putting aside to make these changes possible?

It should not surprise us that Saint Paul's words coincide exactly with a modern study. The question for us is, what are we going to do about it?

- FrG+

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