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BlakeMichael
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« on: November 29, 2006, 12:54:00 AM »

Hi there. Smiley

I'm Blake, I'm 19, and I decided to join your forum after following a link I found on a blog.

I'd like to share a fairly brief post on how I came to this point, and hopefully get to know some of you all!

I first began in a Pentecostal church where a lot of my family participates. That's where the journey really began, you could say. It was there that I started to take the Gospel more seriously, repent from my former lifestyle and seek to walk more in the image of Christ. I had a zeal for learning more and more, but I guess you could say I learned more than I would've expected.

Simply put, my interpretation of Acts 2 didn't add up to theirs. As I grew, I began to feel like emotionalism and the 'self' was exalted above God and the Gospel. The supposed 'manifestations of the Spirit' were anything but edifying and orderly, and I knew that it was my time to go. I'd like to add here that this isn't a bash on the Pentecostals, as I don't doubt that they're on fire for God -- it's the manner of worship which told me it was time to leave.

I found myself in a Church of Christ, one of these "Established in 33 AD, Jerusalem" kind of places. I learned more there than I'd ever learned anywhere in such a small amount of time. It was a welcome break from what I had been used to - the worship was composed of hymns only, it was much more orderly, I felt welcomed and came to knew everyone on some level which was to be expected, as it was a small congregation. This is where I really took 2 Tim 2:15 and Peter 2:2 to heart, and studied, studied, studied.

Funny, because again, I bit off more than I could chew.

What began to turn me away from this place was the tracts they provided. Though at that time I was pretty anti-Catholic[which has changed], I couldn't support their 'truths' about them, such as it being created by Boniface III -- weren't there two Boniface's before him? The sermons of this church was 90% of the time defending itself and claiming itself to have the very same manner of teaching and doctrine as the Ancient Christian Church.

But that just wouldn't work for me. There's no way Christ's Church was anything like a modern Bible study. And come on, matzo's for the Eucharist?

I began studying Catholicism shortly after I stopped attending services at the CoC. I won't post the things I don't see eye to eye with, but they were things which disheartened me. I began thinking, maybe Christ's Church isn't here. No one truly has the roots anymore.

At that time, I knew practically nothing of Orthodoxy.

I began asking about it, studying it, listening to the hymns, generally seeking without bias. While in the Church of Christ I felt I was on a spiritual mountaintop, but I learned that I was in a low valley. And this taught me that I can't expect to learn with bias in my heart.

So I didn't say "They call Priest's Father, HOW RIDICULOUS AND UNSCRIPTURAL" "Look at those Icons, BLASPHEMOUS IDOLATERS!" Instead, I began to ask "Why is it this way? Is it really that Ancient?"

Knowing that I was born loving candles, incense, wondering about my stance on the Saints and other factors, I dove deeper.

And in a rather large nutshell, every little question had an answer. Even things which I hadn't mentioned to Father Mark, he had an answer for, and was willing to provide. That phone call was a real blessing to me.

--- Up to this point is an excerpt from a post at another forum I frequent. That was some time ago.

I finally went to my first liturgy on the feast day of the protection of the Mother of God, and it absolutely stuck with me. I'd been told plenty of times to really "marinate in the faith" and "taste and see", not relying only on what I'd been reading, but to experience the services. They couldn't have been more right. After that I basically became hooked. I've read Mountain of Silence and Gifts of the Desert by Kyriacos Markides, and I'm reading through The Law of God by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy now. Father Mark recieved me as a catechumen on the feast day of Saint John Chrysostom, and my first catechesis is this Sunday.

Please pray for me.

I look forward to getting to know you all, learning, and sharing.

In XC,

Blake
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2006, 02:02:32 AM »

Congrats.  Welcome to the forum Blake.

Oh, and my advice is to keep doing what you're doing and read almost everything here with a grain of salt.  There is a lot of diverse opinions and stuff going on - don't take it too seriously unless it is something simple like to pray and go to church.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2006, 02:04:31 AM by Elisha » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2006, 02:36:22 AM »

Welcome Blake. Smiley

Thanks for the great narrative outlining where you got to where you are today. 
My story has some parallels to your's, at least in the way that we were both open-minded searchers while teenagers.  So I feel some kinship with you on that front, which is cool.   Cool  I hope this board becomes, at the very least, a fun place for you to check out Orthodox goings-on!

James Bob
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2006, 08:04:38 AM »

Welcome!  Glad to have you.  I'll just echo the advice to take this forum with a grain of salt--we're all just sinners working out our salvation, and lots of times opinions do tend to clash--I'm glad you have a trustworthy priest to go to and a (sounds like) solid parish to "marinade" in.

Have a blessed catechumenate.
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2006, 08:19:13 AM »

Congrats.  Welcome to the forum Blake.

Oh, and my advice is to keep doing what you're doing and read almost everything here with a grain of salt.  There is a lot of diverse opinions and stuff going on - don't take it too seriously unless it is something simple like to pray and go to church.

Thank you for the welcome, and for the advice. Smiley

Welcome!  Glad to have you.  I'll just echo the advice to take this forum with a grain of salt--we're all just sinners working out our salvation, and lots of times opinions do tend to clash--I'm glad you have a trustworthy priest to go to and a (sounds like) solid parish to "marinade" in.

Have a blessed catechumenate.

Thank you, DavidBryan. Just wondering, would you happen to be the same DavidBryan from TAW?

Welcome Blake. Smiley

Thanks for the great narrative outlining where you got to where you are today. 
My story has some parallels to your's, at least in the way that we were both open-minded searchers while teenagers.  So I feel some kinship with you on that front, which is cool.   Cool  I hope this board becomes, at the very least, a fun place for you to check out Orthodox goings-on!

James Bob

Thanks a lot, James. Grin

Like I said, it's in a rather large nutshell, but it touches base on most of the key points. I really hate sounding so anti-prot, but I really grew tired of the modernism. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is no place for a stage near an altar, there's no way to truly seek God through modern praise choruses, personal gratification and emotionalism aren't substitutes for the Holy Spirit...  I could go on and on. When I walk into a sanctuary I want it to be as though I've left the world behind, not entered into another extension of it.

I think I'll leave it at that. Lips Sealed

Don't get me wrong, those churches hold truth, but Orthodoxy holds the fullness of that truth. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sola Scriptura has caused so many schisms it isn't even funny, and that probably isn't going to stop anytime soon. One of the best things I ever could've realized was this: Who am I to contend with the teachings of the Desert Fathers, or neglect the faith which so many martyrs have given their lives for?

Anyways...

I attend Saint Mary's Orthodox Church in Bluefield WV, an ACROD parish. Smiley
« Last Edit: November 29, 2006, 10:00:15 AM by BlakeMichael » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2006, 08:58:24 AM »

Hi, Blake!

A sincere welcome to the OC.net community! Ihope you enjoy your stay here, and all the above posts are accurate:

Pray and go to church, and don't take anything written here too deeply unless it matches up well with what you've been taught as you pray in church, living in your parish.

+Fr. Chris
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2006, 09:14:07 AM »

Blake: Welcome to the forum you sound like you are on the right path and rememebr this is just the internet. For serious guidance and advicestick with Father Mark. And remember no matter what anyone tells you here I am not anti-convert.  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin   Grin  Grin   Grin See the smiley faces!

Welome and many years!
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2006, 10:08:53 AM »

Hi, Blake!

A sincere welcome to the OC.net community! Ihope you enjoy your stay here, and all the above posts are accurate:

Pray and go to church, and don't take anything written here too deeply unless it matches up well with what you've been taught as you pray in church, living in your parish.

+Fr. Chris

Thank you Father Chris, I appreciate the welcome.

Blake: Welcome to the forum you sound like you are on the right path and rememebr this is just the internet. For serious guidance and advicestick with Father Mark. And remember no matter what anyone tells you here I am not anti-convert.  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin   Grin  Grin  Grin See the smiley faces!

Welome and many years!

lol! Cheesy

Rest assured, I run practically everything by Father Mark. We find time for a lot of conversation during coffee hour, which is one thing I love about having a relatively small parish. On Sundays we usually have 55-60 in attendance, which I find to be very comfortable.

I'll try not to get too caught up in any debate I may come across here on OC. Either way, thanks for the heads up. Wink

- Blake
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2006, 07:42:50 PM »

Good Man!!!!!  Wink
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2006, 07:50:16 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Blake.

Ebor
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2006, 12:13:03 AM »

Just wondering, would you happen to be the same DavidBryan from TAW?

Yep!
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2006, 12:59:58 AM »

You seem to have had a busy 19 years. In addition to praying and going to church don't forget almsgiving (and being nice to Catholics Grin)

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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2006, 01:10:20 AM »

Yep!

Awesome. I look forward to reading your posts. Did I mention it was the link from your blog which led me here?

You seem to have had a busy 19 years. In addition to praying and going to church don't forget almsgiving (and being nice to Catholics Grin)

Admittedly, all of this took place within the span of 1 year. The only thing I was busy doing before then was living in a dreadfully sinful state(as if I'm not now), and although I'm not proud of the things I've done, I'm thankful for them if only for the fact that I realized through them that no earthly thing can satisfy like the Most High.

It's going to make my first confession interesting. May God grant me grace.

Forgive me if the OP sounded harsh against Roman Catholics, that wasn't my intention. I think they have a beautiful faith, but theologically I can't say I see perfectly eye to eye, if I may.

Thank you all again for the warm welcomes. I'll try my best to stay out of trouble. Wink
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2006, 09:31:29 AM »

Welcome Blake,

I look forward to hearing more from you here at the Convert Issues Forum.  I want to let you know we are here for you.

In Christ,
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« Last Edit: November 30, 2006, 09:33:00 AM by Thomas » Logged

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