A recent post by the Blue Canopied Sara, in which she laments a new chrsitian magazine for teens modeled (pun intended) after the immensely popular fashion magazines of today, really got me thinking. Being one who is teaching a high school class at church and trying desperately to discern what "youth ministry" looks like in an Orthodox setting, I ask the following somewhat rhetorical question:
Should we dress Christianity up such that it seems cool to kids...or should we attempt to steer kids in a direction in which what is cool is judged by a new or transformed set of principles?
I think it is the latter, especially in the Orthodox setting - imagine how you might sell asceticism to a teenager whose totally into fashion mags and watching "Dawson's Creek"?
You might try drawing them in with a video like this!
Or perhaps a hip new TV series worthy of UPN telling the story of 17 year old hunk "Orthodox" John who learns how cool other kids think he is at school for not eating meat or dairy half of the year! And he gets the girl by wowing her with his perfectly executed full prostrations during Lent!
Or better yet, you could put together an Orthodox version of the magazines Sara mentioned, can you imagine the cover splashed with bold lettering promising exciting articles like :
How to get wax out of your clothes!
What to do about that awesome Pizza Party planned on Holy Friday!
See the Uncreated Light in 30 days!
All of which can be overlaid upon a huge glossy color picture of Blessed Macary
Well, I have my doubts that our Dawson's Creek-watching teen is going to show much interest...probably no more than a 30 something home improvement guy like me would be interested in subscribing to a "Home Living" magazine which featured the caption: "You too can live like a monk!".
Orthodoxy is a tough sell...it will not let you candy coat it or try and dress it up to appeal. Rather it seems to me that it insists on standing on its own merits and the beauty found therein cannot be seen by the untransformed mind (or eye, or nous, or whatever you want to call it). I believe Orthodoxy will appeal to people (and teens) who have begun to see the utter shallowness and emptiness of the consumer world around them. In that sense, perhaps the movie of the skulls might actually do some good.
Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 5:04 PM [+]