Caregiver vs. Evangelist

Last night in my study group we were discussing the difference between a caregiver and an evangelist. I realized that in my mind they are the same thing. I look at evangelism as a way to be present, listen, and attend to the needs of the person in front of me by allowing myself to be a conduit of God’s love.

I especially appreciated our group leader reminding us that psychotherapy is usually (maybe always?) pre-theological. We can offer therapy to those who are not ready for the healing theology of Christianity. Are we so different (including myself) from those who can benefit from therapy? We all have moments when we try to escape suffering. In preparation for the group meeting I came across this verse, “To this (suffering unjustly) you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

If I wish to be a Christian, then I need to come to terms with the idea of embracing unjust suffering the way my savior did, the only true caregiver and evangelist. I need to enter into and share the burden of the unjust suffering of those around me. Our only true escape is into God, or should I say our only true salvation.

Credibility and Co-Suffering

These two words have been ringing in my ears for the last year or so. When I was the full-time administrator for Becoming Truly Human, an outreach ministry, the most common concern and question was, “how do I invite people to my small group?”

When I was in college I convinced my best friend, who was Southern Baptist at the time, to read The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. After he read it, he had specific questions and also had some moments of real interest. I realized the trainwreck I had caused when he asked me, “What was your favorite part?” and I responded, “I haven’t read it. I’m Orthodox, which is why I wanted you to read it.”

I immediately realized the mistake I made, but it took a long time for me to be able to articulate to other people the importance of credibility and co-suffering. I had built credibility with my best friend as someone who was honest. However, my request for him to read that book was an empty request because I had not read it myself.

The number one ingredient to a successful invitation is credibility, and co-suffering can get you there. They work hand in hand. Sometimes we give someone credibility without knowing the person, such as a doctor or professor. However, in casual conversations with friends, family, and neighbors, we need to do the hard work of earning that credibility and sharing the burdens of those in our lives. When we enter into someone else’s suffering, co-suffering, we are following the example of our savior.  In all of our suffering, we have an eternal co-sufferer.  We are not alone.

Metropolitan Joseph Blessed My Movie

On January 31st I flew to Denver and showed Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America my latest film. The film, titled Ladyminster, is about our Western Rite monastery in the Colorado Rockies. Immediately after the film was over, the Metropolitan ask us (there were several present at the screening, including Bishop John), “How can we help these people?” What a blessing that question was! Over the next 24 hours, I was able to experience and bear witness to several miracles.

We just finished the color grading of the film, and the audio mastering is happening this week. The film will be made available online for FREE very soon. You can watch a trailer here:

https://vimeo.com/239628862

Where Are My Thoughts?

Most days I stare at my computer screen wondering what to write. I look at my blog and sigh when I can’t think of something to write. When I am filled with emotion, true and deep emotion, words are difficult. Everyday I am aching for God, desiring His presence. My deep emotions are neither good or bad, just a longing to partake of the divine nature of God.

My thoughts are also simpler: pray, smile, talk to God, hug my son, love God… I know where I want my priorities to be. However, when I look back on each week, I disappointed to see where I spent my time. The good news is that this desire for God is growing, consuming me.

We are complex people, but the solution is simple: meet your maker, the one who loves you so much that He brought you into this world. All of this, everything, comes from our maker. We are His, and the more we can embrace that the more we can become who we were meant to be.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4

New Episode “Charlottesville Part 2”

In this episode Fr. Justin Mathewes brings along Fr. Dn. Turbo Qualls, an African American deacon in the Orthodox Church who works with Fr. Justin. Fr. Dn. Turbo shares some insight on the Charlottesville incident and how we can help each other move towards the kingdom of God during this tense time. Learn more about the inner city work these two are doing by visiting www.reconciliationservices.org.

Click HERE to listen.

New Episode “Charlottesville Part 1”

Adam speaks with Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director of Reconciliation Services in Kansas City about the recent events in Charlottesville. Are we looking at these events through the lens of Orthodox Christianity? Also, Fr. Justin closes with important information about the Brotherhood of St. Moses The Black and an upcoming conference in October. Learn more at www.mosestheblack.org.

Click HERE to listen.