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Author Topic: living out the faith in Protestantland  (Read 1902 times) Average Rating: 0
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calligraphqueen
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« on: May 21, 2007, 03:35:13 PM »

Over the course of the past week, we have felt the sandwiching of our former Protestant past and the secular world around us more intensely.  Both my dh and myself grew up in, around and embedded in what is now known as Jerry Falwell ministries.  The entire community here is under a heaviness.  My dh feels incredibly compelled to grant them the "answer" they are now looking for-as Jonathan Falwell preached yesterday.  (we were home from church and my dh is intent on watching all that transpires till the funeral)

Our local start up Antiochian parish sent their priest over for a friendly debate with a former muslim on staff at LU, and that faculty member was unable to handle Fr. Alban's points.  That is as far as we have gotten, other than two law school grads that are Orthodox.  my dh thinks God is about to make some changes, but I argue that it's not necessarily that our few families will impact our community for Orthodoxy.
Maybe it's because I spend more time putting up with the nuts that harshly judge my faith as "freakish" or whatever. I grew up with many of these people, and I don't sense the "seeking" that my dh does.  All the homeschooling or moms groups are Protestant, and that is where my children and I interact.  My dh is in the secular world all day at work, and has no idea how heated things can get because he isn't as exposed as the rest of the family.
so, now my dh thinks I am not supporting him.  Maybe I am confused?  Our priest did say that we have to wait until people come looking for us before we offer them the truth.  Dh feels that the baptist church community here IS now looking, now that their leader has gone home. 
I am torn.  How do we live our faith out when we live in an intense pressure cooker of protestantism?  It's one thing to live in a community with a smattering of churches here and there, but to be in a town that was put on the map by one man and whose economy and spirit is directly affected by it is totally different.
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Heorhij
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 03:56:57 PM »

Hi Calligraphqueen,

This is a million dollar question, I think:

"How do we live our faith out when we live in an intense pressure cooker of protestantism?"

I ask that myself all the time, even though I live in somewhat different circumstances (university town, friends mostly liberal university folk). What bothers me though is that Orthodoxy in the minds of Americans whom I know is associated with something ancient, mysterious, attractive, "exotic," something "worth trying maybe" as a "spiritual experience, you know," something "for your spiritual enrichment," as "part of your spiritual journey," - but NOT as real, living Christianity... To conservative Protestants, Orthodoxy seems not "enough" Bible-based; to liberal Protestants like my friends from my former church, Presbyterian Church (USA), it lacks social gospel, large-scale organized charities, and does not deal with "contemporary issues" like "rights" of women, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, etc. It is becoming my impression that here in the US, everything is always about "issues" and not about simple basic Christian faith.

Best wishes,

George
« Last Edit: May 21, 2007, 03:57:23 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2007, 12:10:21 AM »


 Hi Calligraphqueen,

 I don't have any great answers for you, just some support. I will pray that God guides both your family and your community. One thing occurs to me though. You mentioned that sometimes things can become heated. I assume that you're talking about discussions you have with your friends and peers. Well, if I understood correctly then maybe this little quote from St. Francis (yes, he was Catholic) will help; "Always preach the gospel, and SOMETIMES use words." (paraphrased, emphasis mine).

 Allow me to relate a personal story with you. When I was a Muslim, I was so HOT, HOT, HOT to convert people to Islam that I was elected the president of the local chapter of the Muslim Students Association. We had several big conferences at the University. I thought that if I showed the people where they erred, they would convert. So I had debates and many heated discussions. And can you guess how many people I converted? Zero. Arguments and heated discussions just don't work. I'm not suggesting that you are the one initiating these conversations, but sometimes silence really can be the best answer. Jerry Fallwell was a GIANT in the Protestant world who cast an equally GIANT shadow. Now that he's no longer with us, and esp. in your town, there's genuine mourning for his loss and although this seems to be a good time to talk about Orthodoxy, they might interpret it as a subtle attack on a man they dearly loved.

 You mentioned that you have a parish (albeit tiny) in your town. Lean on one another and pray that God will help you with this burden (He will) and that He will guide you through this time (He will do that also). You probably felt a little better just sharing this with us didn't you? It does indeed help to get these things off our chest sometimes.

 PS Please forgive me if I was off base here Embarrassed   Cheesy

 Through the prayers of our Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, may God have mercy on us all.

 Gabriel
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 08:19:06 AM »


 Allow me to relate a personal story with you. When I was a Muslim, I was so HOT, HOT, HOT to convert people to Islam that I was elected the president of the local chapter of the Muslim Students Association. We had several big conferences at the University. I thought that if I showed the people where they erred, they would convert. So I had debates and many heated discussions. And can you guess how many people I converted? Zero. Arguments and heated discussions just don't work. I'm not suggesting that you are the one initiating these conversations, but sometimes silence really can be the best answer. Jerry Fallwell was a GIANT in the Protestant world who cast an equally GIANT shadow. Now that he's no longer with us, and esp. in your town, there's genuine mourning for his loss and although this seems to be a good time to talk about Orthodoxy, they might interpret it as a subtle attack on a man they dearly loved.

Y'know, in summary I will once again add my $0.02 regarding effective evangelism:

"You can never argue someone into Church; you can only love them into Church"

I don't want to hijack the thread, but I did want to interject this now...it's been 6 months or so since I wrote it in this forum, so I guess it's time now!  Smiley
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calligraphqueen
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2007, 01:26:12 PM »

I don't have a burning desire like my dh to "share" orthodoxy.  I am not sure if I should, or something is wrong with me, or what.  It's just the daily living amongst people that used to be my "friends", school chums, fellow homeschooling moms, and what not that gets to me.  I have one lady constantly trying to annoint me with canola oil, and she actually ran up and did this to the only other Orthodox lady in our group.  They feel a compelling to reconvert us as we are now heretical in their eyes, or just plain screwed up on our beliefs.
My dh DOES have a burning desire to share the answers, but has no idea how to go about it.  It's difficult enough for me to walk amongst the very same people i have grown up with or grown to know, now that I am "different"  Yet, I still have to walk the same paths as before.  Our parish is not only tiny, it's filled with very elderly folk that feel they have finished their walk and now it's all about retirement and sailing to Greece.  None of them EVER homeschooled, or had very many children, or converted-so I am an anomaly there.  It's really a matter of not being "Greek" enough, being a convert to a cradle church, and having been a baptist for so long-in a baptist town.  I guess I am not seeing where I am supposed to "fit" or what role i am supposed to play now.  Day to day living of my faith, without coming across as trying to change anyone at all.  That isn't my style, but people here tend to take offense if you say anything other than the typical canned responses.
This is probably convoluted at best, it's just difficult to know where you stand after converting.
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Heorhij
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2007, 01:43:09 PM »

I am an anomaly there.  It's really a matter of not being "Greek" enough, being a convert to a cradle church, and having been a baptist for so long-in a baptist town. 

I am on the other extreme. When I say to my American-born friends that I have finally discovered Orthodoxy, they almost invariably say, "but of course, that's great, good for you because you were born in Ukraine. So, you are coming home spiritually, coming back to your spiritual roots," etc. And when I then tell them that in my tiny Milan Synod parish only my wife and I are from Eastern Europe and the rest of the parish are ALL "Anglos," Americans to an n-th generation and of clear Anglo (or Scottish) roots, my friends just stare at me and say (if anything), "hmmm... interesting."  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2007, 01:47:55 PM »

God bless you.

It will be getting more difficult as you begin to have others come into knowing more about your faith. Most converts are reasonable in thinking the opposite that the more people know about the faith the better things will become. It is exactly the opposite in most cases.

It seems to me that people are called to the Holy Church. It is a pull that takes you their. Even though you were outside the Holy Church if you really think about it you always knew that you were destined to be orthodox; many converts find that they knew this thier whole lives.

Except the difficulty with a smile; a cheerfull loving contenence. Christ teaches us that we will face difficulty and without the difficulty the faith can not follow.

My prayers are with you.

Dcn Amde
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

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Amdetsion
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2007, 01:52:16 PM »

calligraphqueen

What is "dh"Huh
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2007, 01:56:50 PM »

dh = dear husband.

Once heard Falwell preach an entirely Orthodox/Catholic sermon on the ancient Christological heresies and the church's teachings in reaction to them. He talked about the hypostatic union.

Twenty years ago, right around the time Falwell's political clout waned (he was a kingmaker in 1980 and that was it), some friends and I speculated on what if such-and-such televangelists converted and we concluded Falwell would have been some kind of traditionalist.

Since then I've wondered if the Orthodox convert boomlet got anybody from his church and ministry like it did from Oral Roberts' Pentecostal-style one.

So who knows?
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