Friday, August 12, 2011

Theology for Today (Teologie pentru azi)

When I made my first visit to Romania in 2004, I saw two young men wearing black slacks, white shirts, and ties. And I knew immediately what they were. They were Americans, to be sure. Whether they were Adventists, Mormons, or Jehovah's Witnesses was up for grabs and actually unimportant. These people were here to convert Orthodox to whatever it is they were.

I had myself been received into full communion with the Orthodox Church just a year earlier. And as an American myself, I felt a particular responsibility to help galvanize the Orthodox here in Romania against this invasion, as it were.  And so, I made a video in Romanian and I composed articles in Romanian describing the biblical texts most commonly used by Protestants against Orthodox (and Catholics for that matter), as well as biblical proofs for Orthodox teaching on points in dispute.

Looking back, I realize now that my motive in doing all that work actually had in it a touch of the same paternalistic spirit which prompts American Protestants to try to convert Orthodox over here. At that time, I thought they needed my assistance to combat this onslaught. 

Now, I have been told by many Romanian Orthodox that they have found my video and essays helpful. I thank God if they are.

But in the years since I made those materials, I have come to understand that the Romanian Orthodox Church is blessed with strong members using the latest technologies to present Orthodox Faith in a dynamic and engaging way. An example can be found in the website Theology for Today (Teologie pentru azi).

I had the deep pleasure of spending an afternoon with Father Dorin Octavian Picioruş, who runs Theology for Today (Teologie pentru azi). The subtitle of this site is significant--An Orthodox-Christian Platform for a Different Kind of Post-Modernity (O platformă creştin-ortodoxă pentru o altfel de postmodernitate). Father Picioruş is very in tune with the challenges and opportunities in articulating the ancient Christian faith to a generation yet unborn. And a visit to the site is a visually stunning and edifying experience.

Father Picioruş and his wife Preoteasa Gianina Maria-Cristina Picioruş are both sound academics, with doctorates in theology and literature. One thing that impresses me and makes us such kindred spirits, is that they have a desire to access the primary texts in their original language and for that reason have learned them.

But this site is no repository of dusty academic ideas. This is a place where, as the title states, Theology for Today comes alive.

If you would like to help them with a donation, they list their bank information to send a donation: 

Picioruş Gianina Maria Cristina

Even if you don't read Romanian, you'll see that this site is exactly the kind of thing that shows the bright future the Romanian Orthodox Church has, all on its own, with or without the help of Americans like me. But I count it as a blessing if I help in any way.

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