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Author Topic: Questions about conversion  (Read 1377 times) Average Rating: 0
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samurai333
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« on: February 27, 2008, 12:12:53 AM »

Hello all,

I am a senior in high school (currently RC) who has been fascinated by Orthodoxy and been reading about it since my Sophmore year.  I feel very drawn to it, however there are many questions I need to resolve before I take the step of converting.  Firstly, most of my interest in Orthodoxy is not a particularly intellectual reached conclusion, I am convinced of the Orthodox position on the Papacy, but on many other issues which are different between Orthodox and RC the RC position makes more sense to me.  That being said however, I just feel in my soul that Orthodoxy is correct and is the way to go, even if I cant really defend it in a theological debate.  I wonder if this is just my pride and desire to be "different" speaking or if it is a true spiritual conviction. 

Also, there is alot of tension in my home and my mother, who converted to RC from Presbyterian several years ago is one of those people who, if she believes something, you had better darn well believe it or there will be hell to pay. The two of us have not had the greatest relationship over the years, but over the last year Christ has allowed me to begin to overcome some of my pride in this matter and we have been working on it and made alot of progress. Obviously, I am worried that a conversion would seriously damage this.

Two other things that arent as big deals but have given me pause are : my age, many when I talk to them basically say "well you are too young, wait for a few years and then consider it." Also, and this one may seem silly to yall but if any of you are musicians/artists I think you will understand. I plan to be a musician for a living and was brought up playing the piano, but in the past few months have felt a draw to organ (similar to my draw to Orthodoxy Wink  According to my teacher and the professor at the college I auditioned at I have a very natural talent for the organ and have made very impressive strides for someone playing such a short time.  Obviously while the RC are very fond of the organ the Byzantines are not so much. (It was invented at Constantanople - I've been wondering why you guys arent the ones using it in your Liturgy!) I just kind of wonder if God has given me this talent, ostensably (sp?) he wants me to use it, but if i become Orthodox this kind of nullifies this.  I suppose many of these questions basically boil down to my pride and lack of faith but any advice or guidance anyone could give would be helpful. However, I suppose Im kind of asking for a certain response by posing this question to an Orthodox audience  Tongue
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GreekChef
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2008, 12:32:45 AM »

Welcome to OC.net, Samurai!

It's wonderful that you feel drawn to Orthodoxy... Don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have of any of us.  We welcome them!  I pray you find what you are looking for!

While I am a cradle Orthodox and thus can't relate to the issues regarding family personally, I have a friend who converted when she was a senior in high school, much to the dismay of her family.  One thing she told me was that the most important and helpful thing she did for her relationship with her mother (who objected strenuously) was to talk to her about her decision and make sure she understood that the decision to become Orthodox was in no way a judgment of her mother's faith.  When she depersonalized the argument, she said it made a big difference.  I hope that helps.  Otherwise, my advice would be to pray (you'll probably hear that a lot around here Smiley ).  Pray for her to understand, and pray for the wisdom and discernment to say the truth in love, so that she understands how you feel, and understands that you still love her.

As to your age, well, I personally feel that the whole "you're too young" thing is a lot of schmiz.  I have several friends who converted in highschool, and they are all still strong in the faith today!  You are absolutely old enough to be making this decision, and further, kudos to you for recognizing your faith and acting on it!

As to the organ issue, I wouldn't worry too much about it yet.  I have another friend who is in the process of converting even though he plays the organ at a Presbyterian church every Sunday.  A priest will give you guidance on how to handle the situation.

That would be my other piece of (albeit unsolicited) advice.  Seek out your nearest Orthodox Church and contact the priest.  He will help answer your questions, and will guide your catechism (should you choose to pursue it).  Also, begin to attend the services at the Church.  It is very important not only to study the faith, but to experience it, in your catechism. 

God bless you in your journey and welcome again to OC.net!

In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2008, 01:35:50 AM »

samurai,
Re:  Organ.  Great!  Just don't count and having a career playing it in ANY Orthodox Church - even those that do use them.  I'm sure there are very few Orthodox choir directors that can have a "career" out of conducting - no way an organist.  I'm sure you could pick up a few bucks at the Lutheran or Episcopalian church though.

Re:  Orthodoxy.  You say you are a senior.  Well, if you do the traditional move out after high school to go to college thing, than you'll have an easier time in not having to deal with mom.
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2008, 08:30:55 AM »

Dear Samurai,

It's so wonderful that you are feeling this call. I am much older than you (50), but I can relate to pretty much everything you wrote. I, too, was not raised Orthodox and was baptized in a different faith. And my mom, like your mom, believes in something different from Orthodoxy, and my mom is, like your mom, very opinionated and strong-willed, so that I feel that is just impossible to argue with her about matters of faith. And I, too, very often feel that I am Orthodox in my soul, but I cannot prove the truth of Orthodoxy to anyone in a theological debate - actually, I discovered that I simply cannot handle any theological debate.

When you have a chance, do contact an Orthodox priest. He will most definitely guide you in your quest for the Truth.

As far as organs go, some Orthodox parishes celebrate the Divine Liturgy according to the so-called Western Rite, which may actually include organ music. I believe some or even many parishes within the Antiochian Orthodox archdiocese in the USA are Western Rite.

Praying for you,

George
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2008, 09:33:47 AM »

Welcome Samurai,

We are happy you have come to our forum to discuss issues and questions that may be occurring to you as you investigate Orthodoxy.  We hope that this will be a good place for answers.

I can only reiterate what Greek Chef noted about your high school setting.

As for your playing the organ there are many public outlets, recitals, teaching in college or junior college in music theory ( a daughter-in-law does this)and yes even playing in non-Orthodox Churches that are open to a talented musician who plays the organ.  One outlet in the orthodox church is that of an assistant to a Choir Director.  I have been in Orthodox Churches and missions in which there are a lot of converts where the organ is used to train new members in the tones and hymns of the church so they can learn their parts and then these are sung during services as is the Orthodox tradition, acapella.

Again, Welcome!

Thomas
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2008, 04:16:31 PM »

Samurai,

I'm currently a senior in high school as well (converted while I was a sophomore by myself - you can imagine the eyebrows it raised. Heh), so I'm sure that you'll be successful in however you choose to approach this. My reason for conversion (Papacy) was pretty much the same as yours, and in the beginning, I saw a lot of RC things as making more sense. However, as time has gone on, I did not so much reject the old theology I was raised on, but simply supplemented Orthodoxy into places where clashes occur. For example, I still pray the Rosary, and even though there is an Orthodox version of it, it doesn't interfere with what the church teaches. Conversion from RC to Orthodoxy is one of the more easier journey's one can make than, say, Jehovah Witnesses.

Regarding the organ, our GOA church uses one, and we had a woman who had been paid to do it for 40 years. It really all depends on how westernized the church is, and whether the choir is "good" enough to not have an organ as background to cover up mistakes.
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2008, 05:29:28 PM »

I don't think you are too young to join the Orthodox Church.  When you are 18 you can;
join the Armed forces
get married
get credit cards
get student loans
and on and on.

So why would joining Christ's Church be barred to you because of age?  As Orthodox we know we are Christ's Church.  Why would anyone tell you that you are too young to come into Christ and His church?
Pray on it, talk to an Orthodox priest and go to the Orthodox church.  It will take sometime before you would be received into the Church.  This is true for almost everyone.  So during that time learn and pray. 

As for the Organ.  You can play it in so many different venues.  I wouldn't let the fact that Orthodox Churches do not use the organ keep you from joining the Church.  You could even play them at the Roman Catholic Church for funerals, weddings... (the organist gets paid to play these) plus the multitude of other opportunities that exist in the world to play the organ.
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