The Next Generation of Orthodox Christians

The Next Generation of Orthodox Christians


Where do you live? Do you live on a farm where you tend crops and animals? Do you live in a big city where you walk, ride a bus, or hop on the subway to reach your destination? Do you live in a remote area or a heavily populated area? Do you live in a warm climate or a cool climate? We read about and watch on TV places that seem otherworldly to us in comparison to how we live day in and day out ourselves. We’ve been blessed with an education that introduces us to other cultures different from our own. These brief introductions allow us a glimpse of understanding of different ways to live, but they by no means allows us to fully understand them or make them a part of us. I know a cow lives on a farm, but I lack all the experiences associated with being a farmer. It’s one thing to see a farmer milk a cow. It’s quite another to get up every single morning, even when you just want to pull the covers over your head, and milk the cow, regardless of the weather waiting for you outside.

Is this the same method of how we’re teaching the next generation of Orthodox Christians? Are we giving them a brief introduction to a variety of aspects of our faith without truly diving in and participating in the life of the Church? Do we make it familiar to them so they can identify certain aspects of it but don’t have a true sense of what it means to actually fast, attend Lenten services, or participate in Orthodox traditions within the home?

Fr. Johannes Jacobse wrote in an article about The Twelve Days of Christmas, “Our Orthodox traditions – from fasting cycles to worship – exist to teach us how to live in Christ. The traditions impart discipline. These disciplines are never an end in themselves, but neither can life in Christ be sustained apart from them.”

There tends to be a lack of tradition in our modern culture, although people, as a whole, are still drawn to it. Take for example the British Royal Family. Look at the massive group of people who are in no way associated with England but have closely followed the wedding of Prince William and Catherine and their son’s baptism as they yearn for a sense of history and tradition.

We have an opportunity to be living examples to the next generation of Orthodox Christians as we practice the traditions of the Church and provide that sense of history and tradition they’ve been searching for in other ways.

About author

Jennifer Hock

I’m a mom with stories…many, many stories. Most of these adventures write themselves through the experiences my husband and myself have with our children. We have five children ranging in age from infant to 17. Our middle three were adopted through our local foster care system. The majority of our stories originate here through the intricate weavings of family, infertility, attachment, grief, adoption, and the seemingly endless energy of our boys.

My life has taken me on many unexpected journeys but all of these experiences have shaped me. They have strengthened my faith in God and my relationship with those who are dearest to me – especially with my husband.

As an Orthodox Christian family, stories about religious education, homeschooling, and traditions also find their way into my writings as well. Join me on this journey as we venture into all too familiar territory as well as the unknown as our family strives to grow closer to God with each step we take along the way.

You can also find me on Illumination Learning which was created to be a hub for finding Orthodox Christian education resources.