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Labosseuse
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« on: April 18, 2007, 09:15:36 PM »


I've been lurking around this board for a few days and wanted to say hello.  I'm a young wife and my hubby and I have been Reformed/nondenominational all our lives.  Recently I've been really drawn to the Orthodox church, but my husband is really Protestant and is more skeptical.  We are planning to attend our first Vespers this Saturday if all goes as planned.

My initial attraction to the Orthodox church came through a few of my students.  I am a choir director, and these students indicated that they felt their services were reverant to God.  None of my other students felt that way.  As I've been reading and researching, many of the principles make sense to me, but it certainly is a different mindset than how I was raised.  It's even harder for my dear husband to get his head around icons, the intercessions of the saints, and the like.  Making a decision independent of him is not an option for me.

I would appreciate your prayers as we begin what may be a very long journey together.  I'll be around.
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2007, 09:26:45 PM »

Welcome Labosseuse (that's a tongue twister for sure).  The journey should be long and well considered, and actually the spiritual blessing of discovering a new faith is in the journey.  Is the church you found nearby?  Vespers is always a nice service to attend -quiet, reverental, and unfortunately not usually as well attended.  Have you done any reading on the significance of Vespers or the structure of the service so you know what to expect.  Also, have you TTTP?   (This phrase is so often repeated here we might as well give it its own abbreviation - talk(ed) to the priest)

Tina
 
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2007, 09:28:39 PM »

Welcome Labosseuse (that's a tongue twister for sure).  The journey should be long and well considered, and actually the spiritual blessing of discovering a new faith is in the journey.  Is the church you found nearby?  Vespers is always a nice service to attend -quiet, reverental, and unfortunately not usually as well attended.  Have you done any reading on the significance of Vespers or the structure of the service so you know what to expect.  Also, have you TTTP?   (This phrase is so often repeated here we might as well give it its own abbreviation - talk(ed) to the priest)

Tina
 

No, I've not done reading on Vespers yet, where should I start?  I don't want to go in looking like an idiot. Also, we haven't talked to the priest.  Should we do that right away?
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 12:56:47 AM »

Talking to a priest should be tops on the list....

If you have a variety of choices in terms of local churches and jurisdictions, the priest may be the deciding factor. I have found that with my priest, his influence is clearly felt in the congregation, so when I found a priest whom I felt comfortable with, the congregation has become a second family from day one.
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2007, 07:23:49 AM »

Hi,
My wife and I are in the same boat that you and your husband are in.  I'm very drawn to the historical and apostolic succession (? not sure if that is the correct term) of the Orthodox faith but the reformed traditions that I have considered to be absolute dogma are holding me back.  These reformed teachings have me scared to participate in any type of worship that resembles Roman Catholicism at all.  Would I be doing the right things in the eyes of God by introducing my family to icons, veneration of Mary and Saints, intercession of the same, and everything else that is different.  I don't know yet.  I do know that in the few months that I have actively been considering and researching all of this I have done more praying, searching scriptures, studying church history and such than I ever had.  I hope you post on your experience of the Vespers.
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 08:36:00 AM »

Welcome to Labosseuse and rugerdooger,

Christ is Risen!  For people coming from the  Reformed Movement, you will likely be drawn to the very heavy usuage of scripture in the Vesper services.There are many Psalms readings, the lighting of the  candles at the setting of the day, and the invitation to "let my prayers ascends as incense" these all impacted me when I attended my first vesper service.  I would recommend that if all possible try to attend a service in which he service is done in English (or your native language) so you can get the full impact of the evening worship.

Again Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2007, 09:32:50 AM »

Here are two links on the basics of Vespers to get you started.  And don't worry, there is nothing you can or can't do to make you look like an idiot when attending your first service.  I know it sounds intimidating to go to that first Orthodox service,  but I think you'll feel better if you talk with the priest first and have at least one familiar face when you go. 

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Vespers

http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=61
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2007, 11:01:01 AM »

Hi,
My wife and I are in the same boat that you and your husband are in.  I'm very drawn to the historical and apostolic succession (? not sure if that is the correct term) of the Orthodox faith but the reformed traditions that I have considered to be absolute dogma are holding me back.  These reformed teachings have me scared to participate in any type of worship that resembles Roman Catholicism at all.  Would I be doing the right things in the eyes of God by introducing my family to icons, veneration of Mary and Saints, intercession of the same, and everything else that is different.  I don't know yet.  I do know that in the few months that I have actively been considering and researching all of this I have done more praying, searching scriptures, studying church history and such than I ever had.  I hope you post on your experience of the Vespers.

Hello,

I have exactly the opposite issue, coming from Roman Catholicism I have dogma to shed (Dogma I never believed in, but it needs to go) as I convert.  There is an older gentleman who is converting as well at the Church I am at, he was from a very conservative Lutheran background (belief in Biblical Inerrancy, Sola Scriptura, etc) and he has found that through prayer, help from the Priest and re-reading scripture after his first Vespers and Divine Liturgy helped him so much.  He found that certain scripture passages pointed towards new things, new ideas, new beliefs that he would have never come to beforehand.  As cliche as it sounds, he said he began to look at things through a different light.  I'm sorry I don't remember all the passage he mentioned (he was going through them at a good clip), but I remember I Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and John 21:25.  Would it be right in the eyes of God to introduce your family to these new concepts?  I believe it depends when you yourself are comfortable with them.  The first time I brought an icon home, I scared my little brother since they "had weird heads"  Tongue.  When you are comfortable and sure of these new concepts, then you will be seen as a pillar for your family, just as the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (I had to squeeze that in somewhere)  Cheesy.

As others said though, the most important thing (for both Labosseuse and rugerdooger) would be to talk to a Priest.  Believe me, as much as the scripture, internet and books are a source of knowledge, it is amazing to just sit down with a Priest and discuss/talk/debate.
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 11:17:38 AM »

Welcome Labosseuse, Christ is Risen, Indeed, He  is risen!                                    God bless you in your journey. Let me say that Saturday vespers is a good way to become acquainted and knowing when to stand and sit is the key liturgical observance (follow the people). Following Vespers in the service book is difficult because many various rotating hymns not printed are sung in various places. In the Sunday service book this is less prevalent although the Divine Liturgy is more detailed. Note where silent prayers of the priest are printed and where the choir simultaneously sings, for instance. The richness of the liturgies are how scriptural and reverential they are and the sense of how our Lord Jesus Christ says in John 4:24 "God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth," becomes apparent in a peaceful and dignified sense (there are no "fashionable" trends, blessed be God). You will also notice the underlying template of worship God gave to Moses and overlay of the New Testament imprinted upon it; compare the old worship and that new merged and transformed in the book of Hebrews and in parts of Revelation. As far as icons and intercessions of saints are concerned, (although unusual to Protestantism) for icons: read Colossians 1 (esp v 9 - 16) and see it in a liturgical sense and for intercessions of saints see Revelation 8  in the prelude to 7 trumpets. Another perceived unusual aspect of worship is the honor accorded to the blessed Virgin Mary but was not she allowed to say (in Luke) that she would be called "blessed"? and in John 19:27 our saviour said to the apostle "behold YOUR mother"  (she was not St. John's maternal mother, of course). Of course these are just pieces of the worship our saviour has given us and must be put into context with the whole.  I hope that this is of assistance to you since I have only been Orthodox for two years and knowing that the Holy Spirit put me here. I have not formed an elitist attitude towards other Christians and do not consider them unsaved (although certain communion hierarchs such as some Episcopalians are clearly anti-Christs) or anybody who exhibits goodness in love (since "love covers a multitude of sins"). As all human beings, you will find the sweetest people who are Orthodox and some who are not too nice. If one congregation seems tight, try another (I did not experience this so I am only conjecturing). Nonetheless, I am not shamed of the Gospel and pray for the courage to proclaim it.                                                        
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 11:47:35 AM »

Hi,
My wife and I are in the same boat that you and your husband are in.  I'm very drawn to the historical and apostolic succession (? not sure if that is the correct term) of the Orthodox faith but the reformed traditions that I have considered to be absolute dogma are holding me back.  These reformed teachings have me scared to participate in any type of worship that resembles Roman Catholicism at all.  Would I be doing the right things in the eyes of God by introducing my family to icons, veneration of Mary and Saints, intercession of the same, and everything else that is different.  I don't know yet.  I do know that in the few months that I have actively been considering and researching all of this I have done more praying, searching scriptures, studying church history and such than I ever had.  I hope you post on your experience of the Vespers.

Definitely it will seem different. There are also some very deep theological differences for you, coming from the Reformed traditions, especially on that of the Atonement and justification. I think you'd have to come to adopt these different theological positions and then the icons, Mary, and saints will fall into place. At least, that's how it worked for me when I left my upbringing in a Reformed Baptist milieu and became Catholic. Now the statues, saints, Mary, etc. all make sense in the context of the sacramental theology. 
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2007, 06:33:59 PM »

I've been lurking around this board for a few days and wanted to say hello.

I hope you don't mind, Labosseuse, that I piggy back on your thread.  I didn't know where to go to put this since I'm new here since the end of last week and haven't quite figured out the breakdown of the threads.

My name is Trudy (Orthodox - Athanasia).  My patron saint is St. Athanasius of Alexandria.  I was received into Orthodoxy September 2004, having spent the last 20 years as an American Baptist.  I was (and still am) the only Orthodox in my family. 

I attend a small Orthodox Church in Eastern Pennsylvania which was the first one in the area.  St. Tikhon consecrated our altar and St. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre served as a priest.  I am the only Sunday school teacher of a dozen students ranging in grades from 2nd to 7th.  That makes for an interesting Sunday morning!

I am a "non-traditional" (read that as "adult') college student working towards my BA in History, which I hope to have done by the end of 2008 (according to God's will).  Curiously...actually Providentially...I learned about Orthodoxy in one of my history classes.

I look forward to participating though I don't know that I'll have much worthwhile to say.

In Christ,
Trudy (Athanasia)
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2007, 07:11:35 PM »


I look forward to participating though I don't know that I'll have much worthwhile to say.

In Christ,
Trudy (Athanasia)

Ooops sorry but my hair trigger post finger again.    Anyway, about having something worthwhile to say - it's never stopped me from opening my big mouth or posting to this list.  In fact, Cliff Clavin types like myself have probably been a benefit to more educated and knowledgeable list members who can knock holes in anything too stupid that I've said, therefore gaining a more respected standing in list hierarchies.   
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2007, 07:59:39 PM »

Welcome Labosseuse. Also welcome to Trudy (my toddler daughter's name is also Athanasia, though as her given and not Orthodox name Smiley ).
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2007, 06:37:49 PM »

Hi, Labosseuse and Trudy. Labosseuse, when you say Reformed, do you mean Presbyterian? My wife and I were members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from fall 2003 till fall 2006. I was even ordained elder there, was a member of the session.

Honestly, to me many of the things people mention here, like "shedding dogma," or "going through icons and saints," etc., are non-issues... My upbringing was atheist (former USSR...). I was for a short time attracted to Protestantism (its liberal, modernist wing) simply because I felt a need to go to SOME church on Sunday morning, and there was nothing remotedly Orthodox anywhere near. At one point, I did some pretty serious reading of the great European Reformers (even tried Calvin's "Institutes"), but it never "stuck" with me because it's pretty much "cerebral," equilibristics with Scripture... (please don't take it that I am judgmental, just my current retrospective feeling). I just absolutely missed CHURCH in Protestant "churches." But in our tiny Orthodox parish (we don't have even a separate building yet - it's actually a home church, our parish priest's house living room) my wife and I feel so at home, so in what we absolutely-"biologically"-"primeveally" understand, know, feel as indeed Church...

George
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