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Carole
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« on: June 06, 2007, 10:35:39 AM »

This will likely be a rambling and rather confused post.  Please bear with me.

I own and moderate a very small message board for Catholic women.  These women are my dear friends and I honestly believe that most of them would be supportive of our journey to Orthodoxy, even though they'll be confused and hurt. 

But I am also a member of a couple other predominantly Roman Catholic message forums.  I have been an active member on one of them since 1999 - this forum was instrumental in my conversion to Roman Catholicism.  I have grown close to some of the members.  I am pretty sure (99.9%) that telling people there are about our decision to convert to Holy Orthodoxy will not go well.

My problem is this.  I know that converting to Orthodoxy is the right thing for our family to do.  I believe, without reservation, that Orthodoxy is not only "right for us" but just plain right.  Unlike when we converted to Catholicism, where I had a plethora of questions and issues that I simply ignored or overlooked in my haste to leave the Lutheran denomination and my ignorance of Orthodoxy. But, these people are my friends and the Catholic Church has been my spiritual home, the one that I chose, for 5 years.

I feel a sense of something like guilt over leaving the Catholic Church.  I chose to be Catholic, I stood in front of witnesses and affirmed all that the Church teaches.  Now here I am, less than 5 years from that time, planning to leave the Church.

Unlike my journey into Catholicism my journey into Orthodoxy seems to be less "emotional."  I am not interested in debating or engaging in apologetics.  I'm not interested in trying to prove to people that I'm doing the right thing.  I'm even less interested in discussing my reasons for doing this.  I want to do this quietly because it is an intensely personal decision. 

I think continuing to read (even though I post less and less) at Catholic boards might be fueling a sense of guilt, confusion and indecision that is keeping me from moving forward and doing what I know must be done.  I worry about severing friendships.  I worry about hurting people. 

Should I just slip quietly away from the one Catholic message board where I am a member and start trying to find someone to replace me at my board?  Do you think that stepping back from my Catholic contacts would help me be more clear?

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Carole
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2007, 12:33:07 PM »

Carole,

I think that once you start down the Orthodox path, you cannot help but want to live your life differently.  It seems that continuing to read the boards is just fueling your confusion.  If you're really sure that this is the path for you, then make it as easy for yourself as possible.

God be with you.
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"The act of faith is a constant dialogue with doubt." Bishop J.T. Robinson
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2007, 12:56:46 PM »

If you want to convert, the Lord will convert you as you convert to him!  Pray (with an Orthodox prayer book) when you wake and when you sleep, and see where that takes you.....

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2007, 05:01:20 PM »

I have read that Orthodoxy has a similar 5 year burnout rate...
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2007, 05:34:23 PM »

Carole,

Let me respond by telling you a story. I grew up in the Assemblies of God church. I was very devoted to it for a number of years, so much so that many things I observed troubled me. One of these was the fact that many of the people I grew up with were leaving the church. I talked with one of the pastors about it, who was completely unconcerned. He told me there was no problem because the church was growing. I replied that having more people is not equitable to having people who are devoted to the church. As I was praying about this situation, it became clear to me that the church had serious theological flaws, and that this was the primary reason for my friends' unhappiness. I was faced with the decision to stay and try to remedy these flaws, or to leave. I chose to leave.

I didn't know where to go, so I tried a Southern Baptist church down the road. I, too, made a profession of faith, in the Baptist doctrine, which at the time I felt was more accurate than the Assemblies'. During this time, I kept many of the friends I had in the Assemblies church. Occasionally I would go back to the church, but I never felt at home there anymore.

Finally, through research into the life and practice of the early Christians in the book of Acts, I became convinced that neither the Baptists nor the Assemblies of God believed like the early Church. I never doubted, however, the truth that God would preserve his Church. Rather than becoming disillusioned, I left the Baptist church in search of true Christianity.

It was at this time that I was invited to the Orthodox parish by a friend I had met in college. Immediately upon entering the building I knew that, although the Church appeared to my senses different than I expected her to, to my spirit she was the Church I had been reading about and searching for.

After my conversion, I attempted to keep the friends I had had for several years now, but it proved to be impossible. As I began splitting my time between them and the friends I was getting to know at the Orthodox parish, I found myself drifting from them. Eventually, they chose to end the relationship (unkindly, too--I found myself at the wrong end of a fistfight).

I say this not to scare you, but as you come into the Church, you may have to make sacrifices. For me it was friends I had known since junior high school (as well as having to flee for my life to another apartment, changing phone numbers, etc.). Remember, to "know Him and the power of his resurrection" is to be in "the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death" (Philippians 3:10). What form that death must take God will reveal to you. This message board may, and I stress may, be something you have to give up. Whatever you should do, it will be made plain to you as you pray and continue on your quest to become like Christ.
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2007, 08:16:42 PM »

Carole,

It is, of course, your choice as to what you wish to do in this situation. Though you should really consider whether the potential for a bit more ease in your spiritual life is worth severing friendships. If your spiritual life becomes easy it probably means that you are no longer growing spiritually, if you wish to grow spiritually at some point you must confront and come to terms with your past; of course, it will vary from person to person whether they wish to attempt this now or later. I would venture to guess that through these people who are your friends you are more likely to grow in your Christian life than through any dogmas, institutions, or creeds.
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Carole
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2007, 09:17:58 PM »

Thanks everyone.  I don't fully know the answer on how much I should participate on these message boards.  But I do know that the time has come for me to tell people at both forums of my intentions.  I suppose I'll make my decision on level of participation in part on the responses I receive.
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Carole
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2007, 02:24:58 AM »

My two cents....

Those who have known me since I joined in December 2005, know that I adhered to a rather unique spiritual group prior to Orthodoxy. Without going into great detail as to the whole story, I am 19 and am blessed with two atheist parents coupled with hectic living arrangements. IN other words, I rebelled.

Because of the nature of that religious group, I quickly rose into the administration. At 16 I was writing youth editorials for a newspaper in global circulation, at 17 I was special assistant to the chairman of an international organization that encompassed the entire religious group (or tried to). I was in contact with elders of the faith, those who carried the true weight of how we worshipped and lived our lives. At 18, I was running an entire global division.

I was also significantly involved in the online presence of the group, etc, etc, etc.

I thought about Orthodoxy for 13 months before I attended my first Liturgy. In that timespan I rejected my former religious affiliation twice.

I just walked away from three years of my life. From friends, from brothers and sisters of the faith, just like that. I knew what had to be done and I did it.

My situation is much more simplistic than yours, no comparison. So I will give some advice once to me (by a member here in fact). The Church is 2000 years old, She will be there when you are ready. Smiley

In Christ
Torrey

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Thomas
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2007, 08:56:39 AM »

Carole,

I know that what you are about to do is frightening.  May I recommend that you find another to take your board for women while you determine what you will do.  Limit your interaction on the other Catholic boards while you determine your course of action.  If you choose to enter the catechumenate of the Orthodox Church, write a simple  notice thanking those who helped and supported you on the boards you posted on in the past and notify them at that time of your decision. Then do not return to those boards for a period of time 6 months or a year while you focus on learning the Orthodox Christian Faith.  This allows for a graceful and low profile departure that will show you as the gracious person that you are.

My prayers are with you.

Thomas
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 12:11:34 PM by Thomas » Logged

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Carole
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2007, 09:04:38 AM »

Carole,

I know that what you are about to do is frightening.  May I recommend that you find another to take your board for women while you determine what you will do.  Limit your interaction on the other Catholic boards while you determine your course of action.  If you choose to enter the catechumenate of the Orthodox Church, write a simple  notice thanking those who helped and supported your  on the boards you posted on in the past and notify them at that time of your decision. Then do not return to those boards for a period of time 6 months or a year while you focus on learning the Orthodox Christian Faith.  This allows for a graceful and low profile departure that will show you as the gracious person that you are.

My prayers are with you.

Thomas

Thank you, Thomas.

I truly appreciate your advice (and the advice of all who responded).  I think the small message board I run is going to be the one that I maintain contact with.  I've told the women there about what is going on and the response has been supportive, helpful and positive.  With the members placing an emphasis on the fact that it was originally the fact that we were all Catholic that brought the community together but it is friendship and other common bonds that holds us together.

The other boards ... I think those are the ones I am going to have to step back from.  The main focus of one of them is Catholic apologetics so I know that some of the members there are a little more "hard core" and the news of our intentions will not be well received.
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Carole
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2007, 09:10:53 AM »

Well done, Carole! Smiley
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 09:11:08 AM by FrChris » Logged

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Carole
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2007, 09:32:25 AM »

Thank you, Father!
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Carole
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2007, 04:38:21 PM »

Carole,
I think you have made a good decision.  I too had to step away from boards and forums that I had been a part of for many years.  I don't think I joined them as a Baptist, or because I was a baptist for so long, I joined them because it was a forum for large families and the specific needs we face.  The world loves to bash us for our family size, and for years these forums were my support network.  However, as I began to grow away from protestant thought, completely, I felt less and less in common with these ladies.  Many were devout and dedicated, but harsh when you did not believe just as they did.  It came down to watching women force their convictions on others over the tiniest percieved infraction, from celebrating OT Jewish holidays to making homemade laundry detergent.  Everything was wrapped up in their faith, which was (in my case) often an external ideology.  I suspect that many of the things your former comrades discussed would also be wrapped up in Roman doctrine.  While it wouldn't differ as much as protestant doctrine, it would still differ. 
As you come to Orthodoxy, as God leads you, you will no doubt face many changes in areas you felt were once solid or assured and comfortable.  Even Roman Catholics are accepted in the public square, as are most mainline protestant denoms.  for the Orthodoxy, so far anyway, it appears to be quite different.
I have friends that are hurt by our conversion, family that is violently opposed and hateful, and former groups I no longer have anything to do with.  At times, it will feel very isolating.  I don't say that to scare you away, but it is true.  I am not one to sugarcoat the truth.  If you have an active ORthodox parish with other women/families it will help that transition immensely.
Many blessings to you as you make this journey.

Rebecca
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Heather Anne Michaela-Rett Syndrome
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