Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

by Fr. John Reeves

For a long time, I’ve wanted the parish to have more opportunities for adult education. Fellowship (OCF) for students, an integral part of our parish’s campus ministry. And there is Orthodoxy 101 for inquirers, and Orthodoxy 2.0 for catechumens in their last stage of preparation before baptism. But we’ve needed more. I’ve needed more: a time for those of us who are already Orthodox to grow spiritually. This fall and next spring will provide that very occasion.

Here’s the pitch: Beginning September 6 and continuing on first and third Tuesdays through December, we will begin the study of a fascinating book: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives. It is a collection of the sayings of a modern elder, Fr. Thaddeus of Serbia. (Fr. Thaddeus reposed in the Lord recently, in 2006.) Much of his early monastic life was spent under the tutelage of monks from Valaam Monastery who had taken refuge in Serbia in the 1920s.

Elder Thaddeus covers many topics of ordinary life: not just the typical “prayer and fasting” but reconciliation with enemies and purity of heart. Each session will deal with a different topic based on the short chapters in the book—“On Thoughts,” “On Family Life,” “On Humility,” “On Serving God and Neighbor,” to name a few. And because it will be one chapter per session, if you happen to miss a night, you won’t “fall behind.” (If you are wondering, Part II will begin in February, after our usual “Theophany break.”)

Books will be available for purchase. Additionally, copies will also be available for those who want to borrow them for the duration.

The new ministry doesn’t have a name, yet. It may never have one. I do think that “Adult Education,” while accurate, may be a bit off-putting. “Fellow-ship,” I always like, because that typically means food for the stomach as well as the soul.

So join me in what promises to be an excellent way to deepen our commitment to and life in Christ. Tuesday, September 6, 7-8:30 p.m.

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