"Discipleship in Cross-Cultural Mission Contexts"


  Discipleship in Cross-Cultural Mission Contexts


Archpriest David C. Rucker

Victor Downing and Student of St. Herman Theological Seminary

Orthodox Church in America

Orthodox Christian Mission Center

Lausanne Orthodox Initiative: Discipleship and Christian Formation

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Boston, MA USA

7 June 2018



My brothers and sisters, greetings in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Glory to Jesus Christ!


Nearing the end of our time together, I anticipated what needed to be said and heard has already happened. This will most likely be a review. I will attempt to apply some of these precepts to a current cross-cultural discipleship application from my students and mentors among Native Alaskan peoples, who are themselves very conscious of being disciples of disciples since 1794. Those who came to them in 1794, set a record that has not been broken since, making the longest missionary journey in the history of Christianity to reach a specific unreached people group. Those missionaries left Valaam Monastery on December 21, 1793 and did not arrive in Kodiak until September 24, 1794; It took them 291 days to travel 7,300 miles by foot, donkey, horse cart, and finally ship and kayak. As Orthodox Christians, they were very conscious of being the disciples of disciples who traced their lineage to the twelve.


Orthodox Cross-Cultural Discipleship Precepts  


  1. Orthodox Christians are enculturated into the Kingdom of Heaven while participating in this enculturation process with others. This is what Orthodox Christianity calls making disciples, or theosis, or deification. It makes sense, therefore, that the following are Christ’s first and final words relating to His mission:


                  Repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near (Mt. 4:17).[FDR1]       


                  Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men (Mt. 4:19).


And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples[1] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:18-20).


  1. The fulness of the teaching of Who God is: Trinitarian Theology


  1. The fullness of the teaching of Who we are created to be/become. The incarnation of the second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus, the Christ, the God-man, is the foundation and the method of all discipleship.


  1. There is no real understanding of the incarnation of Christ without understanding the Virgin Mary as Theotokos (the title accepted by Luther, Calvin and Wesley, incidentally).  In the words of Billy Graham to the missionaries in Hong Kong before the Hong Kong Crusade, “It is time for us as Protestants to give Mary her due.” If we forget the Virgin Mary and the fullness of her as Theotokos, we will eventually forget Who Christ is, and we cease being Christian.


  1. The Church year begins and ends with contemplating the incarnation through feasts of the Theotokos and the Cross.


The relational character of the ministry implies that the only acceptable method of mission for the Church is the incarnational one: the Church relates to the world through and in her ministry by being involved existentially in the world.  The nature of mission is not to be found in the Church’s addressing the world but in its being fully in com-passion with it (Zizioulas 1985:224).


  1. Salvation is synonymous with becoming part of the Church “of the living God”, “God’s household”, which is the “pillar and foundation of the truth[FDR2] ” (I Tim. 3:15). The Church is manifested in actual historical, intentional, Orthodox, Eucharistic communities. Separating salvation and discipleship from the Church is as inconceivable for an Orthodox Christian as severing an arm or leg from the torso of a living body and expecting it to function.


  1. Early analogies for the Church included “the Ark”, the harp, an orchestra and the hospital. The hospital analogy made discipleship and life-long healing synonymous.


  1. Trinitarian baptism is the initiatory right of passage, confirming a Trinitarian theology on which every aspect of Christian life and practice. The local Church-parish and every “institution”, from the “little church” (family/household) to the local parish to the entire ecclesia is manifested and understood[FDR3] . All of life is the living out, the fulfilling, of our Baptism and Chrismation.


  1. The “Holy Mysteries” (sacraments) manifest eternal Reality (Truth), and are therefore indispensable tools for discipleship (theosis).


  1. The local parishes were founded by imitating Christ’s ministry on earth:


  1. Real flesh and blood Persons in authentic relationships, making both individual and group-decisions to follow Christ;
  2. A transfiguration of death through resurrection;
  3. Teaching (entrusting), mentoring and doing[FDR4] , using the language of the people (dynamic equivalent translation) and culturally appropriate analogies;
  4. The adults of the parish were to accept their God-given responsibility for the children and youth, from baptism onward[FDR5] . The Holy Mysteries (sacraments) were many and connected to the Church Year, particularly Pascha, the Feast of feasts, Ascension and the resulting Pentecost, all encapsulated in the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist each Sunday;
  5. Genuine love proven by suffering, beginning with servant-leaders (deacons, presbyters, bishops); Servant-leaders practice hierarchical-conciliarity, fighting against clericalism (St. Silouan’s “upside-down pyramid[FDR6] ”).


  1. Constant attention to core dogmatic theology to guard against “drift” from the vision, purpose and mission of the Church (all Orthodox dogmatic theology is translating the Reality, the Truth, of Who God is and Who we are created to become, through the God-man, Jesus Christ, Who brings us to the Father, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit (Ro. 1). On the Creed, there was no compromise[FDR7] .



“… teaching them to observe… (Mt. 28:18-20).”


When Jesus said, “…teaching[2] them to observe…,” He was not saying instruct, or lecture; rather He was saying “hold conversations that facilitate learning.” Likewise, He was not saying teach them to passively scan or superficially understand His commands. The word “observe” (τηρ?ω) means to watch-over, to guard, protect, and to keep in custody.  Jesus used the same word when He asked God the Father to “keep” (τηρ?ω) His disciples (Jn. 17:11-12). St. Paul used that word when he prayed that the Christians in Thessalonia be “preserved” (τηρ?ω) blameless (1 Thess. 5:23).  At the end of his life St. Paul declared that he had fought the good fight and finished the race and “kept” (τηρ?ω) the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).


In a sermon to a congregation of the laity, St. John Chrysostom made the same point, but even more definitively:


“This is the cause of all evils, not knowing the Scriptures … (Chryosostom, NPNF, First Series, Volume 13:301).


St. Innocent of Alaska wrote in his first catechism to the Aleut in 1833:


…in order to follow Jesus Christ, first of all you need to have a special desire and resolve to do so; and in order to have a desire follow Him, you must know where to go, and what the way is, and what is needed for this way. But how can you know what you don’t want to know, or what you have only heard bout slightly and superficially? And so, before following Jesus Christ, you must do the following: You must study attentively the foundations of Christianity, i.e., the actual books of Holy Scripture on which our Orthodox faith is founded. You should know where they came from, who wrote them and when, how they were preserved and have been handed down to us, why they are called Divine and Sacred. . . . it is the binding duty of every Christian, when he reaches maturity, to know his faith thoroughly; because anyone who does not have a solid knowledge of his faith is cold and indifferent to it and frequently falls either into superstition or unbelief (St. Innocent, 2006:17).




Effective cross-cultural communication of Good News:


Jesus taught by responding to questions, asking questions, quoting Scripture, and illustrating His thesis with metaphors, parables, and examples at-hand.  Jesus taught one-on-one, in very small groups, and to very large crowds. Jesus invariably fashioned His communication to fit His audience; i.e., He told the truth in a style that was most likely to ignite insight and in language most likely to be understood by the specific audience to which He was speaking. 


Our Church-parishes  must follow His lead. We must speak in the “language” of those who are listening by “translating” Orthodox words and concepts into language and actions that will communicate the greatest news ever heard by each particular people group. Fr. Meyendorff identifies this as essential to disciple-making:


The great Fathers –St. Basil. St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostom—are called “ecumenical teachers” …because they were able to convey Orthodox truth to the entire “ecumene,” i.e., the “inhabited earth” of their day.  They did so, because they knew and experienced Truth themselves, but also because they used the right words to express it and to have it understood by their contemporaries (1987:149).


The Content of Discipleship


“… all that I commanded you… (Mt. 28:18-20).”


Clearly Jesus requires the Church-parish to teach others to do all that He has commanded. A study of the New Testament will reveal scores of His commands.  But in the same way an airline pilot incessantly satisfies scores of commands from his various checklists to satisfy the one command that matters most (“Get your passengers safely from here to there.”), so too the Orthodox Christian Church-parish satisfies the command to “make disciples” by incessantly satisfying two commands: love God and love one another (Downing 2018).


  • “…‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets (Mt. 22:37-40, Mk. 12:28)


  • “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn. 13:34-35, 15:17).


  • “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ [i.e., in His supreme authority], and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 Jn. 3:23-24, commentary added).”


Orthodox Christians are commanded to love God above all others, and to love one’s neighbors, and each other as Christ has loved us: self-sacrificially, without expectation of reciprocity, without regard for the worthiness of the other person, and demonstrably… visibly. That requirement is not new to the 21st century, nor is it uniquely difficult for us.  While the command to love God and one’s neighbor makes sense, the command that Christians love Christians is cited more than twenty times in the New Testament.[3]  


Because we have been abused, neglected, betrayed, addicted, self-absorbed, egotistical, presumptuous, indulged, irresponsible Christians loving Christians does not come “naturally”.  We came to Orthodox Christianity as sinful children of a sinful world.  It is an enormous under-statement to say that loving others –especially those who offend or scare us—is “unnatural.” Therefore, when observers see Orthodox Christians loving each other they see a miracle made possible only by the real-time intervention of God… and that is especially true among those who have nothing in common except their faith (Downing 2018).


Observers “see” God when they see Christians love each other.  Christians “hide” God when they don’t love each other.[4] Disciples are more likely to be made when people see Christians loving each other and loving those who are not Christians. In sum, when a Church-parish is characterized by love, disciples are being made.



Vision, Mission, Purpose AND Ignorance, Forgetfulness and Sloth 


The internal and local demonstrations of the Gospel is not the only form of discipleship.  Every Church-parish is sent out to make disciples.


An Orthodox Christian parish, however it was founded and for whatever purpose it was organized, must understand itself to be an apostolic community with a missionary purpose.  Its members, especially its leaders, must be conscious of themselves as people sent by Christ from God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring God’s unity, holiness, and fullness to all human beings in this divided, sinful, and fragmented world. If a parish has no awareness and consciousness of being “sent” by God to speak his words, to do his work, and to accomplish his will in this world, then it is not an Orthodox Christian parish.  At best, it is a bunch of decent people carrying on a bundle of benign activities for their own benefit (Hopko 2004:88).


“The Church has been “anointed,” “has been sent,” as Christ was …to continue His work: “…proclaim release to the captives and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord “ (Lk. 4:18-19)… if the Church is indifferent to… the salvation of the world, she denies herself, contradicts herself and her essence, and is a traitor in the warfare in which she is engaged. A “static church” which lacks a vision and a constant endeavor to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world could hardly be recognized as the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” to whom the Lord entrusted the continuation of His work… Every local Church, in order to be organically connected with the apostolic Church and faithful to her “catholic” tradition… is obligated to seek constantly the extension of the doxology of God.  She is obligated to have an uninterrupted flow of catechumens and to be praying: “That they too, together with us (the faithful), may glorify the most-honorable and majestic name” of God (Yannoulatos 2010:61-63).



To love (?γ?πη) is Christ (Phil. 1:21, 1 Jn. 4:8, Jn. 3:16); therefore, those who love are The Body of Christ. It is love (?γ?πη) which is impossible for human beings to achieve apart from Christ-in-me[5] and which turns a society of individuals into the Body of Christ, which is the Orthodox Christian distinctive.


…the word [for Church] ekklesia was chosen so as to manifest the identity of the first Christian communities… a collectivity of people who want to live together within the struggle to attain true existence, to make existence become true, as their common goal.  By their living together they want to realize that mode that knows no limitations of decay and death… for Christians it was the mode of those relationships that liberate existence from the necessities, limitations, and predeterminations of nature or essence… They wanted to transform the necessity of nature into the freedom of relation, into love (Yannaras 2013:22-23).


“For the Fathers, Christianity was above all an experience, the totally unique and sui generis experience of the Church, or even more precisely: the Church as experience… I define that experience…as experience which precisely cannot be reduced to the categories of the “subjective” and “objective,” “individual” and “corporate.” This is the experience of the Church as a new reality, a new creation, a new life –as reality, in other terms, not of some “other world” but of creation and life renewed and transformed in Christ, made into the knowledge of and the communion with God and His eternal Kingdom.  It is this experience –radically new because it is not of “this world,” but whose gift and presence, continuity and fulfillment in “this world” is the Church… (Schmemann 1979:20).


The Real Divine Liturgy

 The point is not that a Church-parish has a “Discipleship Program,” nor is the point that every member of the Church-parish is a Catechist.[6] Rather, the Church-parish –as a whole— makes disciples (or fails to make disciples) by what the Church-parish as a single unit does and how it does it. This is difficult for us to understand because we are 21st century North Americans whose “progress” has resulted from specialization.  For example, the Chemistry professor teaches Chemistry, not the university janitor or the university accountant; so too, we think discipleship is the priest’s responsibility of every member of the local parish. 

There is no more complete, precise, profound, or accessible view of Orthodox Christianity than the Divine Liturgy[FDR8] .  Therefore, there is no more glorious or urgent priority than ensuring the Divine Liturgy offered by each Church-parish is authentic, understandable, personable, gracious, and beautiful.  It is the Divine Liturgy done rightly that makes disciples and that propels Orthodox Christians into the streets to further reveal the love of God by how they care for their neighbors. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that the authenticity and viability of the Church-parish and, therefore, the disciple-making of a Church-parish is a function of the extent to which the Church-parish worships truly.[7]


The Divine Liturgy is More Than the Divine Liturgy


The Church-parish doesn’t make disciples by hosting a perfectly staged and perfectly performed Divine Liturgy.  For the Divine Liturgy to be a demonstration (i.e., revelation) of the Kingdom of God, the participants must know what they are doing, what God is doing, what is at-stake, and they must have evidence that their lives are being rehabilitated because of participating in the Divine Liturgy. To do less than that is to promote magic, delusion, and even idolatry of local cultural traditions (Downing 2018).







Student Project, St. Herman Theological Seminary

Kodiak, Alaska


Northern Alaskan Native Traditional Eskimo Whaling of the Western Arctic


Traditional Eskimo whaling of the Western Arctic consists of the shore-based pursuit of bowhead whales (and sometimes other species) during the spring migration in shore leads or open water passages as the winter ice begins to break up. A few communities have an opportunity to engage in fall whaling when migrating bowheads are returning to their winter grounds. Hunters in skin boats (umiaks) typically throw hand-held harpoons at surfacing whales, and use inflated bladders or "drags" to slow struck whales. Animals that were struck and killed were then towed to shore ice edges by several boats of paddlers. At the ice edge, the whale carcass was butchered, with the skin and blubber (muktuk or maktak) removed prior to sectioning the carcass and removing large amounts of meat. Meat and blubber were transported to underground ice cellars where permafrost temperatures kept the contents frozen until it was consumed. Baleen or "whalebone" (long sheets of bendable food filters hanging from the upper jaw) and bones were also removed to the hunters' village to be used as raw materials in a number of tools and utensils.


All aspects of whaling fall under the control of ceremonial rituals and belief systems as well as customary patterns having to do with the attraction of whales to the crews, permitting themselves to be taken for food for the village, the hunting and butchering process, and the various uses to which the whale's resources are put.


This shore-based Eskimo whaling stands in contrast to pelagic (or ocean-based) or commercial whaling. Such ship-based whaling flourished during the 17th-19th centuries. Scandinavian, Dutch, English, Scottish, and American whale fleets pursued the circumpolar bowhead stocks, first around Spitsbergen and Greenland, and later (in the 19th century) in the Canadian Arctic and the Bering Sea-Chukchi Sea regions. Oil reduced from blubber and baleen were the primary commodities produced by this worldwide whaling industry.


Unlike commercial ship whalers, Eskimo whalers were limited to taking whales near their villages when the animals migrated past on their annual round and primarily were seeking food through their whaling endeavors. Because of the huge quantity of meat and oil that successful whale hunting provided to a coastal village as well as the danger involved in a whale's pursuit, whaling and whalers had special significance for such communities. The primary food source consisted of whale products, the community's families were organized around whaling crews led by powerful and influential captains, men's and women's roles were defined by the parts they played in the whaling process, pan-community and intercommunity distribution of whale products tied together related and other peoples, and taboos and customary procedures gave structure to village behavior.


The basic pattern of traditional Eskimo whaling continues from the distant past into modern times, based on an unbroken lineage of whaling knowledge and skills that were handed down between the generations. While today's Eskimo whalers have added technological advances such as bomb darts, aluminum boats (in some villages), Global Positioning Systems and two-way radios to the repertoire of whaling apparatus, the basic pattern of pursuing bowheads from shore camps during the migration season with hand-thrown harpoons, with all the accompanying dangers, has not changed. Reading the weather and carefully navigating the offshore waters reflect skills that tie the past with the present.





Whaling and Disciple-Making[8]

v. 2.0


Exporting Ancient Native Alaskan Treasures to 21st Century Alaskans and Especially to 21st Century People of the Lower 48[DCR9] 


Questions for Native Alaskan Disciple-Makers

Responses to questions 1- 20

(in real-time discussion and as written homework)

Responses to question 21

(in real-time discussion and as written homework)

  1. What do you call the whale[9]?



  1. What do you call the vessel?



  1. What do you call the harpoon?



  1. What are the roles aboard the vessel?





  1. So, whaling is what happens aboard the vessel? [What about ashore?]




  1. What are the roles ashore?





  1. What is required to qualify for such roles? [character?]





  1. Who has which role in the vessel and why?





  1. What are the roles ashore?





  1. Which is more important: roles on the vessel or roles ashore?



  1. 11.      [DCR10] Choose one role. Describe the outward “behavior”, the “belief”, the “values”, and the “world view.” (“peel the onion”)





  1. What is required to qualify for such roles? [character?]





  1. What must be done in preparation?





  1. What are the dangers?






  1. What makes a successful venture?




  1. What is the guarantee of success?





  1. When you succeed, why do you succeed?





  1. Why did your ancestors go whaling?




  1. Why do you not go whaling today?




  1. What are the disadvantages of not whaling? [Character? Pride? Gratitude?]




  1. How is making disciples like whaling? Refer to what you have said (above[DCR11] ).









Leveraging Your Ancient Culture



  1. Describe the environment of the tundra / Arctic Circle /where whaling occurs[10]? [Go beyond the physical.  Focus on the nature of the physical (e.g., dangerous, unpredictable, full of opportunity/provision, misunderstood, etc.)]


  1. Describe the environment of The Lower 48[11]


  1. How are the environments of The Lower 48 and the environment where whaling occurs similar[12]? What do you have that the people of The Lower 48 Need?  Speak to the following:
    1. Individual character
    2. Group character
    3. Behaviors / skills
    4. Response to danger
    5. Response to provision
    6. Ingredients of a successful whaling venture


  1. 4.   Consider three “ethne” from the Lower 48: (1) Single parent, poverty level family in Chicago, (1) “Yuppie” couple with no children in Palo Alto working for Google and Bristol Meyers, (3) Teenaged high school students in upscale Atlanta high school.  Build an “Onion Model” for each.


  1. What are the connections between the above people and conditions and The Gospel of The Kingdom of God?


  1. What are the connections between the above people and conditions and Orthodoxy?


  1. What is your proposal for serving the people of The Lower 48?


  1. If we view your proposal (# 6) as a whale hunt, what do we need to do next?





Anastasios, Archbishop (Yannoulatos), Mission in Christ’s Way: An Orthodox Understanding of Mission, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2010.


Chrysostom, St. John, Homilies on Colossians, Homily IX, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 13, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Fourth Printing, 2004.


Downing, Victor, “Advanced Catechism Class Project,” Saint Herman Theological Seminary, Kodiak, AK, Paschal semester, 2018.


Hopko, Thomas, Speaking the Truth in Love: Education, Mission, and Witness in Contemporary Orthodoxy, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2006.


____________, The Orthodox Faith: Volume 1: Doctrine and Scripture, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1981.


_____________, The Orthodox Faith, Volume 2: Worship, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1981.


Innocent, St., Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kuriliun and Aleutian Islands, Indication of the Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven, Part Three, Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev, Holy Trinity Monastery, NY, 2006.


Meyendorff, John, Education: A Major Priority, and Why Theology, p 149, in Witness to the World, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1987.


Schmemann, Alexander, The Eucharist, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1987.


______________, Church World Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1979.


Yannaras, Christos Against Religion: The Alienation of the Ecclesial Event, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2013.


Zizioulas, John D., Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985.



[1] Greek: μαθητε?ω to become a pupil; enrol as scholar: instruct, teach. The literal translation is, “...you disciple all the people groups.”

[2] διδ?σκω: to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses

[3] Here are a few examples:

  “A new commandment I [i.e., Jesus] give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another (Jn. 13:34).”

  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn. 13:35).”

  “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater…(2 Thess. 1:3).”

  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 Jn. 4:7-8).”

[4] “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:13-16).”

[5] “I [St. Paul] have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20).”

[6] Catechist: a teacher of the principles of Christian religion, especially one using a catechism.

[7] At least one authoritative voice thinks this is not going well: “...there is a eucharistic crisis in the Church.  In the tradition of the Church, nothing has changed.  What has changed is the perception of the eucharist, the perception of its very essence.  Essentially, this crisis consists in a lack of connection and cohesion between what is accomplished in the eucharist and how it is perceived, understood and lived. To a certain degree this crisis has always existed...however, this crisis has become chronic.  That schizophrenia that poisons the life of the Church and undermines its very foundations has come to be seen as a normal state (Schmemann 1987:9).

[8] Vic Downing  (SHS Advanced Catechism Class project, 10-12-15)

[9] Ancient Native Alaskan activities in addition to whaling may be considered if they involve the whole village, teamwork, danger, and necessity.

[10] Again, other ancient Native Alaskan activities may be considered as long as they require the entire village, teamwork, danger, and necessity.

[11] It is very unlikely Native Alaskans will know this “off the tops of their heads”… that’s the point. They will need to work as a team or teams to “explore” and “learn the lay of the land” / the currents of the channel.  This will propel them into discussions with those who are living in The Lower 48 as well as into articles and U-Tube presentations.  An alternative is to do with work in-parallel with a comparable group from The Lower 48 where each group interviews the other… this could be accomplished via live GotoMeeting events and/or simultaneous “Exchange Programs” down there and up here.

[12] To what extent to Native Alaskans readily think in analogies?  (I’ve found that people from The Lower 48 typically  find it difficult.) We may need to help with this.

  1.  [FDR1]Matthew 3:2 2and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Matthew 4:17 17From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Mark 1:15 15"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Matthew 6:10 10your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 10:7 7As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'


  1.  [FDR2]1 Timothy 3:15 15if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.


 [FDR3]Since God consists in three Persons, and since everything that exists –especially including humans—is created by God and is therefore of-God, it follows that “…nothing that exists, whether on earth or in heaven, is independent.”[1]  Therefore, the Orthodox Christian disciple is not a person who is primarily concerned with personal salvation; rather, the disciple is a person-in-relationship-with-persons, a person who is “being saved in-community.”[1] Therefore, the “Love one another” commands are not an ideal or a nice-to-have; rather, Jesus commands the disciple-maker to do that which is most basic and essential to every human being, as if to say, “Breathe!” (Downing, 2018).


God is eternal and God is love (1 Jn. 4:8).  The Holy Trinity is a community of love among the three Persons of the Godhead.[1] Therefore, the Orthodox Christian disciple-maker is a loving person living in-community / communing with others who may or may not reciprocate in a loving way (Jn. 3:16, Eph. 5:25, Mt. 18:20). 


 [FDR4]RADACT required; CPE required. Proposed tracks include iconography, Alaskan Native arts and crafts—wood working, carving, sewing.

 [FDR5]Establishing CGS as required curriculum at SHS.

 [FDR6]Fr. Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory, wrote:


“[All] members of an Orthodox parish, if they are to be Christ’s holy Church, must totally mobilize their efforts to love God with all of their minds, through enlightenment and education.  Jesus’ first title in the Scripture is rabbi, which means “teacher” or “master” (Greek: didaskolos, Latin: magister) ... The Lord’s first followers are called disciples, or students.  And the first thing said about those who believed in God’s gospel of Christ crucified and glorified is that they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). An Orthodox Christian parish, therefore, is essentially a teaching and learning community” (Hopko, 2004:91-92).


Sadly, the common misunderstanding among many Orthodox Christians is that behavioral and intellectual competence in the faith is an exclusive responsibility and ability of the clergy.  To the contrary, consider St. Paul’s instruction to the brethren (i.e., the whole Church as distinct from just the clergy or theologians)  in Colosse, in 61 A.D.; he clearly established competence in the faith is “normal” for the Church-parish as a whole and, therefore, for every Orthodox Christian:


“If then [i.e., since] you were raised with Christ, seek  those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind  on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life  is hidden [encrypted]  with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life  appears, then you also will appear [be decrypted] with Him in glory... Therefore... put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace  of God rule  in your hearts,  to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Col. 3:1-17, commentary and emphases added).

 [FDR7]Therefore, the net effect of what the disciple-making Church-parish teaches and how it teaches is that those who are taught (which is every Orthodox Christian) personally guard, watch-over, protect, and defend what Jesus has commanded, in the face of relentless attacks by The Deceiver, The Father of Lies, Satan.

 [FDR8]Prototype being the Paschal Liturgy, on which all is modeled

 [DCR9](and eventually to the global business culture world-wide)


 [DCR10][At this point insert a series of open ended questions that cause them to illustrate your “Onion” Model…Behavior à World View

 [DCR11][Relationship to your “Onion Model”? Will we die if we don’t? Danger? Team? Roles? Preparation? Food?  Community? Beyond our control? Etc.]