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Articles > Social Issues > Do You Have An Attitude By Father Joseph Boules
Do You Have An Attitude By Father Joseph Boules
Published by Stbishoy on 2007/10/11 (8312 reads)

Do You Have An Attitude?

 

Some youth perceive the Coptic Church to be boring, long and something should be done about. Is the church really boring? We may get philosophical, but we don't need to convolute the argument. It basically comes down to, "what is boredom?" You may define boredom as "a repetitive act." This is not an accurate definition. I can list many repetitive activities that are not boring for some people. For example: watching TV everyday, talking on the phone with friends, et cetera. Those acts repeat, yet they don't bore you! Therefore, it is not fair to call the church bo ffb ring just because the "same" liturgy is celebrated every week. You may want to expand the definition of boredom to be: "a repetitive act which does not interest me." This would be a more accurate definition but does not let you off the hook! In essence, what you are saying is that church is boring because "it is a repetitive act which does not interest me."

 

An honest self-examination is in order to reveal what are one's interests! If the interests are spiritual and the church is incapable of providing such needs, I would be the first calling for changes (some people call it modernization). However, if an individual is interested in other-than spiritual matters, no form of church adaptation or conformity would suit such individuals. It is a simple equation with two variables resulting in a conflict of interest.

 

Saint Matthew recounts the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, "when it was evening, His disciples came to Him saying…" (Matt. 14:15). This is a very clear example of people spending a long time (till the evening) in the church since the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are numerous examples in our church of people who prayed continuously. St. Arsanious for example would stand and pray facing the sun, the sun sets rises, and our saint is still standing praying. The twenty-four priests in heaven praising the Lord continually pray without ceasing.

 

The disturbing thought is that some may find the Orthodox Church to be inconvenient therefore label it boring! Some erroneously think that the church is boring and long because it is an "Egyptian" church. This is simply not true. The bible is universal and the teachings are clear. Any honest Christian religion will abide by these biblical teachings.

 

So, what is wrong? Something has to be wrong because, for some people, the feeling of boredom exists. What can be done to confront and overcome this feeling?

 

The answer begins with you! You have got to be honest enough to admit your interests and goals. Do they include God? Some things in life are very boring but they must be completed. What if someone is ill and must take a certain medication, everyday, for the rest of his/her life? Wouldn't it get boring taking that pill day-in and day-out? Wouldn't this be the ultimate repetitive act? However, you do it because your goals and commitment to life is clear. The reward of completing such repetitive act is measurable by how much longer you live because of the pills. In this case, it is easy to force ourselves to complete this daily boring act of taking a pill every day, so we may live longer.

 

On the other hand, it is hard to measure the outcome of completing spiritual activities. The rewards are often heavenly. Unless we have a clear goal and a clear commitment to achieving the goal, we may get bored and don't finish the way because the end results are intangible. When we stop taking the pill, we can see physical signs of the body becoming fatigue. How ever, when we stop praying for a period of time, or stop going to church, there may not be any physical signs of a depleted soul. That is why if an individual has a serious commitment towards the spiritual life, he/she will know the unseen state of the spirit is growing. Just as the pills will make the ill person better, so will the spiritual exercises better the soul.

 

Part of the solution is to make adjustments to the attitude towards the church. It would be beneficial to know whether a person is willing to submit to the church's teachings as a means to get to Christ, or is the church something that he/she needs to analyze, evaluate, and postulate. Sometime, it is easier to question than to perform or follow which evades the imminent. It is healthy to have an inquisitive mind. However, it is important to know the motives behind the questions.

 

What helps is if you examine your goals and know where the role of the church is in your life. When these goals are clear and your priorities are straight, you need to make a commitment. Once a commitment is made, you don't have a choice to change it. After all, a commitment is sticking to your decision even after the mood in which you made the decision is long gone. If facts change, or life goals are altered, then you may adjust your commitments. However, if the variables remain the same, your commitment should also remain the same!

 

The key to attending church and actually benefiting spiritually is to alter the attitude towards the church. Remember that the church does not make you go to her every day. If you are uncomfortable with certain people or certain pressures applied to force you to go to church, the church should not suffer as a result. Having the right attitude will automatically crystallize the issues, and you will be able to sort church issues and everything else.


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 Re: Do You Have An Attitude By Father Joseph Boules

Posted: 2008/9/14 14:23  Updated: 2008/9/14 15:21

anonymous


Joined: 2008/9/14
From: Sydney
Posts: -1
Sorry but I do not completely agree on this article.<br /><br />Firstly my personal definition of boring is “A repetitive act which is demonstrated in the same manner.” The activities you listed that you consider repetitive are in a very vague approach. Watching television the activity is a repetitive act, but what we watch on television will most likely change. We cannot watch the same program continuously because psychological it will get to us. Talking on the phone with friends is something repetitive, but the conversations which are involved are always different. If two individuals were to talk about the same topics every single time they spoke on the phone, than this act would be considered boring. So my point is the examples you gave are simply just vague. Also straight out, I find the church mass boring myself, due to its repetitive act and I’m sure a lot of individuals have the same opinion but are not able to step up. Notice how I said church mass not the church. The church is a place where people gather to share one interest which is our belief in God. But in the church mass it is actually quite boring.<br /><br />Secondly to reduce the word boring from the church mass in my opinion involves two things. The first thing would be to get the Coptic society involved. When I mean involved I mean involved, not standing among the crowd staring at the deacons and at each other. Alter the mass slightly so it does not disrespect the ancient tradition of the Coptic culture with a hint of modern society. The second thing would be to get the priests to communicate their message in a more effective way, they should take advantage of the modern technology that surrounds them. This is probably the most crucial part of why people say the mass is boring. The priests after the gospel need to organize and prepare a series of things to dictate to the people, cause currently all I see is an individual standing up their with thoughts on their mind and cant say it to the people. Jesus was a great communicator and a leader, he was able to dictate the word of the lord with whatever means he can, in a respectable manner of course. If Jesus was physically among us in the contemporary society I’m sure he would take advantage of the technology and communication techniques surrounding us. One good example of a priest who does this is one I just came across suddenly on the internet his name is Father Anthony Messiah. He is a Coptic priest in America. He uses effective body language, clear and precise words, organized notes, statistics, and from to time may display videos or audios. He is a very good example of what a leader for the people should be like. <br /><br />Also the statement you gave earlier about overcoming the feeling of boredom starts with us, also I don’t fully agree on it. When it comes to personal matters such as praying, studying, it involves only me as an individual, and when I perform these acts I perform it in a way that keeps me enjoyed, happy and willing to perform these acts, hence in a non-repetitive way. When it comes to personal belief, it starts from us, and what we can do to improve myself. Boredom as an individual is different from boredom in a group. We need the leaders hence the priests to lift up this boredom of the group. People will try as an individual to not feel bored of the church mass but we as one person cannot do much, we don’t have the power or authority, the priests are gods chosen leaders. We can do so much but it requires the leaders and the follower’s strengths to lift this boredom.<br /><br />Also attitude towards church. I agree that Coptic Church should be seen as enlightenment and something enjoyable to go to, no question about this. But the people are part of the church, the churches existence and the reason it stands is because of the people. If their is no Coptic individuals in the area the Coptic Church would not exist. Yes the church is their to improve us spiritually, but the church is also their to improve us as a person and how we treat the world and reality. This does not only come down to spiritually this can be presented mentally or even physically. Example of physically would be control of what you feed your body. Mentally would be the things we say, and the thoughts we have in our minds should be with good intentions. Spiritually would be the way we feel towards god and how we communicate with him. To make these three things one would be “Individuality”. Church creates decent and respectable people with a strong sense of what is spiritual, mentally and physically acceptable. The church doesn’t make us go but the church should give us a reason to go. It doesn’t just involve spiritual benefits, it involves the people, priests and activities, so far these things are not enforced very well.