Sometimes we Orthodox bloggers spend a little bit too much time pointing out the theological deficiencies of our fellow western Christians. Ok, sometimes *I* spend a little too much time.....*wink*
So, to be fair, I�ve come up with a list of a few things I have noticed we Orthodox could improve upon that western Christian groups seem to do a better job of. These are, of course, gross generalities--there are many counter examples on both sides.
This list is also just in regards to the North American scene:
1. Tithing (at least true sacrificial giving). Thankfully, this is slowly changing for the better.
2. A balanced notion of headship of the father in the family. From what I've noticed, this is very evident in traditional reformed confessions yet harder find among the Orthodox, especially in families where only one spouse is Orthodox.
3. The fervent reading of the Scriptures and their study in the life of the faithful. Obviously, this is truly an Orthodox practice as evidenced by the lives of the saints, but sadly not taught very well in many Orthodox parishes. There are many western Christians who read the Bible far more than most Orthodox. However, this almost universally does not apply to former Protestant converts to Orthodoxy.
4. Serving our pastors. I've found many Orthodox priests are poorly served by their congregations, both financially and, more importantly IMHO, emotionally and spiritually. In many respects, they have a much harder job than your typical evangelical pastor. Which makes this even more problematic and scandelous for the Orthodox. Our spiritual fathers deserve better.
5. Preaching. Very Orthodox, underdeveloped and underemployed in our
day. Where are today's John Chrysostom's?
6. A zeal for missions and evangelism. Hands down, this one they have us beat. Now, there are many complicated historical, geo-political reasons for why the Orthodox have not been very good about this. It has nothing to do with our theology of missions. I�ll sum up the problem in two words: Islam and Communism.
There are many other things one could add to the list of course�feel free to add your observations in the comments.
In many respects this is why I care so much about the continuing discussion between Orthodox and other Christian groups. The non-Orthodox Christian has a lot to offer the Orthodox Church today. And what they bring to the table will be perfected and fulfilled in Orthodoxy. I�ve always found it providential that the one thing my former evangelical background gave me was a zeal for spreading the gospel. It is interesting that so many evangelicals are coming to Orthodoxy at a time when the Islamic and Communist yokes have been lifted from so many Orthodox areas and world wide missions and rebuilding of Orthodox churches and monastaries is now possible.
Bottom line: I'd rather spend time with a Protestant or Catholic who is re-evaluating his roots, than an Orthodox who is busy forgetting his.