Thursday, August 09, 2007

Women, Health & the Orthodox Mission

According to a report on FOXNews, "Mental health experts say more and more youngsters are being influenced by the 'sexualization of girls,' a term coined in a report released earlier this year by the American Psychological Association." Apparently, mental health professionals are realizing that the message sent to young girls through the media and affirmed by the actions of some female "role models" have negative effects on the mental health of girls. Read "Young Girls Going Wild, But at What Consequences?"

We also live in a world where some people actually advocate eating disorders as a way of remaining physically thin. See the BBC Report on "Seeking 'thinspiration' ."

Without the active, spiritual experience of our Creator in our lives, human culture declines and people suffer.

These articles highlight the importance of the Orthodox Christian mission in society. As the Church, the body of Christ on earth, we have been called to reach out into the world with love and compassion to bring those around us into the safe haven where souls are healed and life is renewed. We have the anthropological knowledge and understanding of the world necessary to help young girls (along with their parents) and young women know what it means to be a healthy person in body and soul. Through education we can offer a worldview for the mind, but even more importantly, we can provide a place for the nurturing of innocence (not naivete) and a way of healing from the scars that have already been inflicted upon heart and mind.

A lot of secular people probably think that Orthodox mission and evangelism is about making converts that belong to the same organization and think the same way. This misunderstanding is unfortunate. The Orthodox mission is a medical mission. Our common vocation is to bring healing through divine grace so that people live healthy lives. If anyone ever wonders why our society needs the Orthodox Church, look around at those in need. If we're honest with ourselves, we don't have to look very far.