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Seeker73
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« on: April 23, 2008, 06:45:28 PM »

Hello everyone,

I'm an ordained Protestant pastor who has spent several years researching Church history, and this has brought me (after a lengthy faith journey) to the Orthodox Church.  I've been attending an OCA parish for a little while now, and I'm planning to become a catechumen soon.  I'm wondering if anyone knows of any Orthodox groups (whether in person or online) that are targeted towards Protestant pastors who convert to the Orthodox faith?  I would like to get in touch and communicate with other pastors who have left their denominations and joined the Church as I am in the process of doing. 
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 07:16:50 PM »

I noticed your bio said N. Carolina. Where abouts? I am 5 mi south of Murphy, across the state line (in GA). From this forum's perspective, we're neighbors, even if you are in the far north.  laugh

As far as your question,  I know I've run into more than a few across the years, but matching up the Minister part to the specific people is eluding me at the moment. It seems to my memory that several of the Priests that I met actually were Ministers prior to converting. But it is just a fuzzy memory at best.

I'm sure someone can steer you in the right direction.
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 07:43:48 PM »

Check out http://media.www.ntdaily.com/media/storage/paper877/news/2005/02/22/UndefinedSection/Reverend.Speaks.On.His.Conversion-1892984.shtml

and http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/lutheran-pastor-to-convert-to-orthodoxy/
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 11:38:07 PM »

I'm wondering if anyone knows of any Orthodox groups (whether in person or online) that are targeted towards Protestant pastors who convert to the Orthodox faith?

I would highly recommend reading Becoming Orthodox by Father Peter Gillquist.  He was part of a group of Protestant ministers who all researched church history.  Eventually, they and many in their congregations all became Orthodox together.  I read this book a few years ago... it really goes into the worries, concerns and frustrations they all had... as well as the answersSmiley

Read the customer reviews of the book here:
http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0962271330/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


I would like to get in touch and communicate with other pastors who have left their denominations and joined the Church as I am in the process of doing. 

You could probably obtain Father Gillquist's contact information from OC.net

God bless you in your journey!  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 11:50:16 PM »

I noticed your bio said N. Carolina. Where abouts? I am 5 mi south of Murphy, across the state line (in GA). From this forum's perspective, we're neighbors, even if you are in the far north.  laugh

As far as your question,  I know I've run into more than a few across the years, but matching up the Minister part to the specific people is eluding me at the moment. It seems to my memory that several of the Priests that I met actually were Ministers prior to converting. But it is just a fuzzy memory at best.

I'm sure someone can steer you in the right direction.

I'm in Hertford, which is in the northeastern corner of the state.  I'm actually near the NC/VA line.  Thanks for your reply, it's nice to see a neighbor here.   Grin
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 11:52:19 PM »


Interesting articles, thank you for sharing them with me.  It's nice to know that I'm not alone in leaving the denomination that ordained me in order to convert to the Church.
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 11:54:28 PM »

I would highly recommend reading Becoming Orthodox by Father Peter Gillquist.  He was part of a group of Protestant ministers who all researched church history.  Eventually, they and many in their congregations all became Orthodox together.  I read this book a few years ago... it really goes into the worries, concerns and frustrations they all had... as well as the answersSmiley

Read the customer reviews of the book here:
http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0962271330/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


You could probably obtain Father Gillquist's contact information from OC.net

God bless you in your journey!  Smiley

Thank you for this information.  I would love to exchange emails with him if he would be willing.  I've placed an order for the book, too.  It sounds like something I will want to read.
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 12:18:16 AM »

It's an amazing book....even for a convert kid like me, not being of a Protestant background.

Also you might want to try Coming Home: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-Protestant-Becoming-Orthodox/dp/0962271322/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209010313&sr=8-2

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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 01:19:27 AM »

Dear Seeker,

Fr. Kevin Scherer was a Baptist youth minister before he joined the Orthodox church. He is now in charge of OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship), our college ministry program. He is a priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Contact info for OCF is:   http://www.ocf.net/about/contact.html

My priest was a Vineyard youth minister before becoming Orthodox. Another Antiochian Orthodox priest in Washington state (who I am honored to have as a friend and advisor) was also a Baptist minister before joining the Orthodox church. And there are many others. Some of these men brought a number of their parishioners with them in the faith.

sincerely, Tamara
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2008, 06:12:09 PM »

Another Antiochian Orthodox priest in Washington state (who I am honored to have as a friend and advisor) was also a Baptist minister before joining the Orthodox church.
Are you in Washington state?  What parish do you attend?  Washington is my home state, and it is where I will be returning to when I get out of the Army later this year.
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2008, 07:23:15 PM »

Are you in Washington state?  What parish do you attend?  Washington is my home state, and it is where I will be returning to when I get out of the Army later this year.

No, I am in California but the priest in Washington state is our diocesan spiritual advisor. I have gotten to know him at diocesan events. He is wonderful. Let me know if you want any other info.
+ Thank you for serving our country. God bless you and keep you safe till you are discharged.+

  Smiley Tamara
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2008, 09:20:20 PM »

Dear Seeker,

Fr. Kevin Scherer was a Baptist youth minister before he joined the Orthodox church. He is now in charge of OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship), our college ministry program. He is a priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Contact info for OCF is:   http://www.ocf.net/about/contact.html

My priest was a Vineyard youth minister before becoming Orthodox. Another Antiochian Orthodox priest in Washington state (who I am honored to have as a friend and advisor) was also a Baptist minister before joining the Orthodox church. And there are many others. Some of these men brought a number of their parishioners with them in the faith.

sincerely, Tamara

I felt silly when I started investigating Church history and felt the desire to leave my denomination for the historic Church.  It's comforting to know that other Protestant clergy have done the same thing that I'm in the process of doing.  Thank you for your post.
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2008, 09:21:11 PM »

It's an amazing book....even for a convert kid like me, not being of a Protestant background.

Also you might want to try Coming Home: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-Protestant-Becoming-Orthodox/dp/0962271322/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209010313&sr=8-2



Thank you.  I'll be ordering this soon. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2008, 10:55:56 PM »

Hello Seeker73 God Bless You! I am a former Free Will Baptist Minister. I was just Chrismated on March 30 08. If you would like to talk just send me a PM. I think our stories will be very similar.
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2008, 06:49:30 PM »

Free Will Baptist? My favorite heterodox tradition; always wondered if the step to Orthodoxy would be a big one for them. I'm sure you have good advice for Seeker73.
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2008, 07:34:18 PM »

My story is very similar to others entering the Church. Mine was a search for absolute Truth. It really can't be found in 100,000+ Denominations. Absolute seems to suggest ONE source, not thousands upon thousands. This was the first step for me.
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2008, 02:36:12 AM »

Hello Seeker73 God Bless You! I am a former Free Will Baptist Minister. I was just Chrismated on March 30 08. If you would like to talk just send me a PM. I think our stories will be very similar.

Thank you, I would like a chance to talk to you.  We probably do have some things in common.
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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2008, 02:42:26 AM »

My story is very similar to others entering the Church. Mine was a search for absolute Truth. It really can't be found in 100,000+ Denominations. Absolute seems to suggest ONE source, not thousands upon thousands. This was the first step for me.

That's exactly what I've searched for.  I searched for several years and thought I found absolute Truth in the Roman Catholic Church, but that was not the case.  After learning about all the doctrines in the RCC that were actually later innovations (as opposed to the Orthodox Church, which has preserved the Faith) I had to leave.  I could not even think of staying.  Although I am disappointed and frustrated to some degree because of all the time I've spent in heterodox churches over the years, I do thank God that I've finally found the True Church that Christ established.  I'm so thankful that the Orthodox Church has preserved the original Christian faith since the time of the Apostles. 
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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2008, 02:42:56 AM »

Free Will Baptist? My favorite heterodox tradition; always wondered if the step to Orthodoxy would be a big one for them. I'm sure you have good advice for Seeker73.

I was a Church of Christ minister, which does have some things in common with the Free Will Baptists.
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2008, 02:44:49 AM »

That's exactly what I've searched for.  I searched for several years and thought I found absolute Truth in the Roman Catholic Church, but that was not the case.  After learning about all the doctrines in the RCC that were actually later innovations (as opposed to the Orthodox Church, which has preserved the Faith) I had to leave.  I could not even think of staying.  Although I am disappointed and frustrated to some degree because of all the time I've spent in heterodox churches over the years, I do thank God that I've finally found the True Church that Christ established.  I'm so thankful that the Orthodox Church has preserved the original Christian faith since the time of the Apostles, and I'm equally thankful that the Orthodox Church made its way to North Carolina!    Smiley 
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2008, 12:39:32 AM »

Although I am disappointed and frustrated to some degree because of all the time I've spent in heterodox churches over the years, I do thank God that I've finally found the True Church that Christ established.  I'm so thankful that the Orthodox Church has preserved the original Christian faith since the time of the Apostles. 

Please don't be disappointed or frustrated. Your years spent in Protestant churches were not a waste of time. God has taken you on a journey and He knew when you would be ready to enter the Orthodox Church. Your Protestant years were your preparation time. Be grateful to all of those Christians who helped you become that man you are and who helped you along the way.

sincerely, Tamara
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« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2008, 02:24:20 AM »

Please don't be disappointed or frustrated. Your years spent in Protestant churches were not a waste of time. God has taken you on a journey and He knew when you would be ready to enter the Orthodox Church. Your Protestant years were your preparation time. Be grateful to all of those Christians who helped you become that man you are and who helped you along the way.

sincerely, Tamara
This is a very true saying. Thank you Tamara! I would never had made it to Orthodoxy if it weren't for my years in the FWB Church. Do I regret preaching and teaching heresy? Yes. And I will never stop repenting for that. But it was certainly a time of preparation for me. I know full well the frustration you are feeling. One of the many things that comforted me in my journey into Orthodoxy was the phrase" You are a good God that Lovest Mankind!" I knew that if my heart was humble, and my repentance sincere that God would forgive my past. It can be painful to think of all the time we have lost with Orthodoxy. Just focus on the time you have now, and struggle like you have never struggled before. God Bless You All!
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« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2008, 09:37:13 AM »

The Church needs people just like you, with your experiences and knowledge.  I am sure your background is going to help many seekers and who better to answer questions than someone who lived and preached in that circle. 

Keep your mind focused on an eternity with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom and a few years off the earthly path won't seem so long.  As I get older I sometimes regret that I won't be able to read everything about the Orthodox Church, or travel to all the shrines, monasteries, and holy sites in the world, and how much more I could have done if I hadn't found the Orthodox Church until I was 30.  However, I am still amazed at the tiny little things God did to bring me into the Church. No lightning bolts, no miracles, just coincidences, acquaintances, and timing.  It was in his own time and I don't think I would have understood or accepted the Church if things hadn't played out the way they did. 
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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2008, 01:31:33 PM »

My father's family is all CoC -- you may want to read a friend of mine's blog -- http://notesfromacommonplacebook.blogspot.com/ -- he's former CoC, if I remember right, and may have some encouragement for you, as well.
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2008, 02:23:59 PM »

The timing of your life is most certainly part of a plan. If for no other reason than to give you the ability to help people like me. I really only know Orthodoxy, having been Chrismated at the age of 10. I really, simply do not understand or comprehend the Protestant mind. Not in theology, nor really in outlook on life. But it happens that I am deeply in love with the husband God gave to me, who just happens to be and come from a long line of Methodists. He doesn't understand my world very well. The confusions and misunderstandings that develop are vast, usually petty, and usually simply fixed if someone can explain the little details. Soooo, I depend on well-learned Orthodox who were previous well-learned Protestants to help me find the bridges to connect with my husband. Assuming that you follow through your path to Orthodoxy, and find the answers to ordinary questions, would you be nearly as well able to offer advice to someone in my position, if you hadn't spent so much time as a Protestant Pastor? Trust. Your past has a purpose in the future.
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2008, 02:33:46 PM »

I would not lament too much the time in the protestant world, though I know this is difficult. I spent many many years in Falwell's schools and town, as my parents moved us to this coast so my father could be ordained in the seminary there. God chose His time for you to be shown the truth, enlightened if you will. Whatever time you spent elsewhere was preparation, and you will have that much more familiarity for any converts that come your way later. It is difficult for us converts to find understanding in some ways, when we enter an ethnic parish. Granted we were accepted completely, but they cannot fathom what we come from. some of the stuff I was taught for over 30 years leaves my pastor and godparents aghast with shock.
I think you would like Fr. Gilquist's book, it seemed to really resonate with my dh when we converted. I didn't like it as much as he did by a long shot, might be a male/female thing there. I did like Coming Home as well as a few others.  More Spirited than Lions as given me more than an uncomfortable line into my own thinking in regards to feminist thought versus ORthodox doctrine. I had no idea as I never considered myself a feminist...
You aren't too far from me at the VA line either.  Tis nice to see someone else on this side of the country!!

I hope your search for others that converted as pastors is fruitful, I am sure there are many out there.  I would also suggest reading some of Frank Shaeffer's stuff, he minces no words about the likes of Falwell, Graham and others and has a distinct understanding of the protestant world before his conversion. Just read his crazy for God, but I think I had read a couple of other things by him when dh brought them home.
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« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2008, 08:08:08 PM »

Please don't be disappointed or frustrated. Your years spent in Protestant churches were not a waste of time. God has taken you on a journey and He knew when you would be ready to enter the Orthodox Church. Your Protestant years were your preparation time. Be grateful to all of those Christians who helped you become that man you are and who helped you along the way.

sincerely, Tamara

Thank you for your post.  It was encouraging.  Over the past few years, I have felt exactly like that, that my years in evangelical churches were a waste of time.  I don't know what God's purposes were for the circumstances regarding my faith journey, but I must trust Him. 
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2008, 08:09:47 PM »

This is a very true saying. Thank you Tamara! I would never had made it to Orthodoxy if it weren't for my years in the FWB Church. Do I regret preaching and teaching heresy? Yes. And I will never stop repenting for that. But it was certainly a time of preparation for me. I know full well the frustration you are feeling. One of the many things that comforted me in my journey into Orthodoxy was the phrase" You are a good God that Lovest Mankind!" I knew that if my heart was humble, and my repentance sincere that God would forgive my past. It can be painful to think of all the time we have lost with Orthodoxy. Just focus on the time you have now, and struggle like you have never struggled before. God Bless You All!

This brings me to a question that's been on my mind for a while.  Did I sin by preaching evangelical Protestant doctrine in the past?  Do I need to repent for it?
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2008, 08:13:59 PM »

The Church needs people just like you, with your experiences and knowledge.  I am sure your background is going to help many seekers and who better to answer questions than someone who lived and preached in that circle. 

Keep your mind focused on an eternity with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom and a few years off the earthly path won't seem so long.  As I get older I sometimes regret that I won't be able to read everything about the Orthodox Church, or travel to all the shrines, monasteries, and holy sites in the world, and how much more I could have done if I hadn't found the Orthodox Church until I was 30.  However, I am still amazed at the tiny little things God did to bring me into the Church. No lightning bolts, no miracles, just coincidences, acquaintances, and timing.  It was in his own time and I don't think I would have understood or accepted the Church if things hadn't played out the way they did. 

That is a good point that you make.  Ten years ago, I never would ahve considered the possibility of stepping one foot inside an Orthodox church.  My disillusionment with Protestantism evolved gradually over a period of years, and I spent four years in the Roman Catholic Church before I began to learn about the Orthodox faith.  Even though it is still frustrating at times, I must keep in mind that God knows what He's doing.  Thank you.
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2008, 08:16:28 PM »

My father's family is all CoC -- you may want to read a friend of mine's blog -- http://notesfromacommonplacebook.blogspot.com/ -- he's former CoC, if I remember right, and may have some encouragement for you, as well.

This looks intriguing, thank you.  I'll read it later tonight when I have more time.
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« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2008, 08:21:05 PM »

The timing of your life is most certainly part of a plan. If for no other reason than to give you the ability to help people like me. I really only know Orthodoxy, having been Chrismated at the age of 10. I really, simply do not understand or comprehend the Protestant mind. Not in theology, nor really in outlook on life. But it happens that I am deeply in love with the husband God gave to me, who just happens to be and come from a long line of Methodists. He doesn't understand my world very well. The confusions and misunderstandings that develop are vast, usually petty, and usually simply fixed if someone can explain the little details. Soooo, I depend on well-learned Orthodox who were previous well-learned Protestants to help me find the bridges to connect with my husband. Assuming that you follow through your path to Orthodoxy, and find the answers to ordinary questions, would you be nearly as well able to offer advice to someone in my position, if you hadn't spent so much time as a Protestant Pastor? Trust. Your past has a purpose in the future.

You are correct.  Most Protestant divisions and disagreements are petty.  They, of course, view them otherwise.  If anything good came out of my years as an evangelical, I can say that I do understand the Protestant mindset.  If you have any questions. feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to answer them.
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« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2008, 08:25:04 PM »

I would not lament too much the time in the protestant world, though I know this is difficult. I spent many many years in Falwell's schools and town, as my parents moved us to this coast so my father could be ordained in the seminary there. God chose His time for you to be shown the truth, enlightened if you will. Whatever time you spent elsewhere was preparation, and you will have that much more familiarity for any converts that come your way later. It is difficult for us converts to find understanding in some ways, when we enter an ethnic parish. Granted we were accepted completely, but they cannot fathom what we come from. some of the stuff I was taught for over 30 years leaves my pastor and godparents aghast with shock.
I think you would like Fr. Gilquist's book, it seemed to really resonate with my dh when we converted. I didn't like it as much as he did by a long shot, might be a male/female thing there. I did like Coming Home as well as a few others.  More Spirited than Lions as given me more than an uncomfortable line into my own thinking in regards to feminist thought versus ORthodox doctrine. I had no idea as I never considered myself a feminist...
You aren't too far from me at the VA line either.  Tis nice to see someone else on this side of the country!!

I hope your search for others that converted as pastors is fruitful, I am sure there are many out there.  I would also suggest reading some of Frank Shaeffer's stuff, he minces no words about the likes of Falwell, Graham and others and has a distinct understanding of the protestant world before his conversion. Just read his crazy for God, but I think I had read a couple of other things by him when dh brought them home.


I grew up in Falwell's town.  I also have a roommate who is currently enrolled in a distance program at that university.  I know the church and the area well.  I moved to NC as an adult.
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« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2008, 09:54:28 PM »

well whadaya know bout that!?  What is the likelihood?  I am usually the only Falwellville survivor on the forum.  Grin
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« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2008, 09:57:06 PM »

well whadaya know bout that!?  What is the likelihood?  I am usually the only Falwellville survivor on the forum.  Grin

Well, I have to say that I didn't expect to find another one here.  I know "Falwellville" very well.   Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2008, 11:17:01 AM »

Ancient Faith Radio has a podcast called:

The Illumined Heart

which might be of some benefit.

The very week I decided to convert to Orthodoxy after being a Lutheran all of my life they broadcast a show:

From Wittenberg to Antioch
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007

which can be found on:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/P32/

This is a talk with a former Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor who converted to Orthodoxy and is now a priest.

I was amazed at the timing -- just when I needed it!

It seems to me as if a large number of Lutheran clergy have converted to Antiochian. (Because it is exclusively English in the USA maybe?) You might be able to find something relating to converted clergy in some Antiochian "outreach program."
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« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2008, 05:18:23 PM »

Dear Dave,

There are also a few podcasts from a Lutheran Colloquium given by St. Andrew's House of Orthodox Study archived on Ancient Faith Radio at:

http://ancientfaith.com/specials/lutheran_colloquium

You may find it interesting to listen to the Orthodox clergy, many of whom were former Lutherans.

God Bless you on your journey,

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« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2008, 06:13:30 PM »

I was raised Lutheran but I had a pit stop in the Catholic Church before becoming Orthodox.
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« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2008, 03:01:43 AM »

Ancient Faith Radio has a podcast called:

The Illumined Heart

which might be of some benefit.

The very week I decided to convert to Orthodoxy after being a Lutheran all of my life they broadcast a show:

From Wittenberg to Antioch
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007

which can be found on:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/P32/

This is a talk with a former Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor who converted to Orthodoxy and is now a priest.

I was amazed at the timing -- just when I needed it!

It seems to me as if a large number of Lutheran clergy have converted to Antiochian. (Because it is exclusively English in the USA maybe?) You might be able to find something relating to converted clergy in some Antiochian "outreach program."

Thank you, that was fascinating. 

There aren't any Antiochian parishes where I live, but I'll do a search online for information.
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« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2008, 02:05:56 AM »

It sounds like you have many good resources here, but I did want to say something. My priest converted from Lutheranism, and had been a Lutheran pastor for several years before he and his family converted. When I was an inquirer it was very comforting to me to know that my priest had been in my shoes before. Because of his experiences he was able to better guide me and answer my questions about becoming Orthodox.

And personally I try not to be too hard on my protestant upbringing, even though I sometimes wish I had discovered Orthodoxy earlier. I know that my experiences there taught me to recognize the true church when I saw it. Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2008, 02:11:09 AM »

Howdy!

We Lutherans seem to be infiltrating on all fronts...
OCA
Antiochian
GOA
and who knows where else?
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2008, 09:22:39 AM »

Ditto, ex-Lutheran (ELCA).  I think though that I wouldn't have been as open to becoming Orthodox if I hadn't been raised in a liturgical environment like the Lutheran church.  It was exactly my exposure to that kind of worship that reinforced my desire for more traditional and conservative services. 

This goes way back, but I got more interested in my Lutheran faith during college.  Along the way I had a summer romance with a guy that provided me with my one exposure to the world of hard core, country, Holy Ghost pentecostalism.  His parents owned a dairy farm in deep East Texas.  So I go home one weekend to meet his folks.  Nice country people, very country.  The next day we went to church.  And even though I wasn't a very knowledgeable Lutheran, I knew this was so totally out of my league.   When they started speaking in tongues, and hollering and carrying on, I thought I'd landed on some kind of alien world and I was the alien.  All I could think was, Lutherans don't act like this, and church should be reverent and ordered.  Needless to say, that was the one experience that told me this relationship wasn't going anywhere, and it kept me on the path of liturgical churches.
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« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2008, 09:39:03 AM »

well whadaya know bout that!?  What is the likelihood?  I am usually the only Falwellville survivor on the forum.  Grin

I'm another one.  I've been most flavors of Baptist that there is, including Independent Baptist (Falwellville).  Thank goodness we're free from that now.
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« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2008, 11:54:03 AM »

You know I still live in that area and many of the hs groups use that facility for meetings, and of course I still know many people that attend. They think I am in a cult if they happen to find out. But my problem is that I literally get sick to my stomach when we have a meeting up there for some reason. Or they meet up at the nice indoor playground and I have to beg off.  Should I still feel this way after 4 years?  Our priest and one of our kids godparents had never seen the Christmas Tree production and we had free tickets from a family member that still works for the Godparent home.  Fr. and our friends absolutely loved the production, said it was as professional as any they had ever seen. but I cringed the whole time because still KNEW these people and KNEW what they believed.
I must be wierd, but just being around them still upsets my spirit and physical being.
Does anyone else feel this way about what they left behind?  OR did you guys remove yourselves far enough that you don't have to orbit in the same places?
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« Reply #43 on: May 06, 2008, 01:36:47 PM »

I still feel that way too.  I don't even want to experience another altar call.  I still remember trying to explain what an altar call was to my first priest, who is cradle Orthodox.  He is very involved in missions and evangelization, but he didn't have a clue about altar calls.  I was going to visit my brother who is Baptist and the shortest altar call I've seen in his church on Sunday morning is 15 minutes--they can go on much longer.  After I did my poor best trying to explain one to him, he didn't want me going either.  I have to admit, though, that I was never really comfortable with those.

The sad thing about the Independent/Fundamentalism is the legalism.  It can do so much damage.  I feel so sorry for teens who are raised in those homes.  They are not even allowed to listen to Contemporary Christian music (much less rock music), or do the other things that most kids are doing.  I can see why so many totally rebel and go off the deep end.  I was Southern Baptist when I converted to Orthodox, and they are nowhere near as bad.

It made me sick to hear Mr. Falwell say that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were the result of our sin, talking about the homosexuals and abortionists.   It was mentioned on one of the Orthodox lists that I belong to, and one of the cradle Orthodox priests said that we should look at ourselves to see if we have some of the blame for what happened.  I told him that, unfortunately, I didn't think Mr. Falwell's comments were doing that.  My experience of having been in that movement is that you blame it all on the homosexuals and abortionists (and fill in the blank with any other groups you feel like including) so that you don't have to look at yourself.
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« Reply #44 on: May 06, 2008, 02:20:01 PM »

It sounds like you have many good resources here, but I did want to say something. My priest converted from Lutheranism, and had been a Lutheran pastor for several years before he and his family converted. When I was an inquirer it was very comforting to me to know that my priest had been in my shoes before. Because of his experiences he was able to better guide me and answer my questions about becoming Orthodox.

And personally I try not to be too hard on my protestant upbringing, even though I sometimes wish I had discovered Orthodoxy earlier. I know that my experiences there taught me to recognize the true church when I saw it. Smiley

The lay warden at the mission I've been attending told me that the OCA and the Antiochian church have a high number of priests who are converts.  We don't have a priest yet, but the priest who comes every Wednesday night to teach the inquirer's class used to be an Assembly of God pastor.  (I recently discovered this fact.)  Maybe I can talk to him about his experiences while converting.  I agree, it is a comfort to me to know that this priest is a convert.  I don't feel so alone now.  Even though I haven't spoken to him about it, I'm sure he would understand what I've experienced.
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« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2008, 02:26:31 PM »

Ditto, ex-Lutheran (ELCA).  I think though that I wouldn't have been as open to becoming Orthodox if I hadn't been raised in a liturgical environment like the Lutheran church.  It was exactly my exposure to that kind of worship that reinforced my desire for more traditional and conservative services. 

This goes way back, but I got more interested in my Lutheran faith during college.  Along the way I had a summer romance with a guy that provided me with my one exposure to the world of hard core, country, Holy Ghost pentecostalism.  His parents owned a dairy farm in deep East Texas.  So I go home one weekend to meet his folks.  Nice country people, very country.  The next day we went to church.  And even though I wasn't a very knowledgeable Lutheran, I knew this was so totally out of my league.   When they started speaking in tongues, and hollering and carrying on, I thought I'd landed on some kind of alien world and I was the alien.  All I could think was, Lutherans don't act like this, and church should be reverent and ordered.  Needless to say, that was the one experience that told me this relationship wasn't going anywhere, and it kept me on the path of liturgical churches.

I was raised in a pentecostal congregation, so I know exactly what you mean.  I've seen people pass out, jump over pews, scream, cry, yell, and run laps around the church sanctuary.  I've heard them speaking in tongues, too.  All of this happened right in the middle of the Sunday services.  It used to scare me when I was a child, and I left the church when I was fifteen because of it.  I agree with you, church isn't supposed to be this way.  I sincerely worry about the fate of the souls of the people in that church, especially since the church denies the doctrine of the Trinity.  It makes me wonder about the origin of their "spiritual gifts."  One of the most disturbing things I found in the Roman Catholic Church was the acceptance of Charismatic Catholicism.  There are several Charismatic Catholic Masses here where I live, and I attended several.  They all reminded me too much of the church in which I grew up.  I personally have doubts about whether or not the movement is from God.
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« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2008, 02:43:59 PM »

I would also suggest reading some of Frank Shaeffer's stuff, he minces no words about the likes of Falwell, Graham and others and has a distinct understanding of the protestant world before his conversion. Just read his crazy for God, but I think I had read a couple of other things by him when dh brought them home.

It's not my purpose to start a fight about this, so I'll just say that my opinion differs with regards to Franky Shaeffer's works (at least Dancing Alone, the only one I've read, though I hear other books of his carry the same tone as Dancing).  I find Franky to be very bitter.  Don't misunderstand; I actually agree with some of his points, but his delivery is so angry and blunt (in my opinion) that I don't think anyone but an already-convinced catechumen or a (recently) chrismated Orthodox Christian would find a lot of common ground.  There's a way to highlight differences and shortcomings with tact and charity, and there's a way to do it without said attributes.  It's my opinion that Franky does this in the latter.

I'm glad the podcasts were mentioned.  I really like the Illumined Heart.
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« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2008, 02:46:45 PM »

You know I still live in that area and many of the hs groups use that facility for meetings, and of course I still know many people that attend. They think I am in a cult if they happen to find out. But my problem is that I literally get sick to my stomach when we have a meeting up there for some reason. Or they meet up at the nice indoor playground and I have to beg off.  Should I still feel this way after 4 years?  Our priest and one of our kids godparents had never seen the Christmas Tree production and we had free tickets from a family member that still works for the Godparent home.  Fr. and our friends absolutely loved the production, said it was as professional as any they had ever seen. but I cringed the whole time because still KNEW these people and KNEW what they believed.
I must be wierd, but just being around them still upsets my spirit and physical being.
Does anyone else feel this way about what they left behind?  OR did you guys remove yourselves far enough that you don't have to orbit in the same places?

I don't live in Lynchburg anymore, but I do still live near my former evangelical church and former evangelical friends (They all stopped speaking to me when I began attending the local Roman Catholic parish a few years ago) here in North Carolina.  I pass the church every day when I drive into town to run errands, go shopping, etc.  The Bible college from which I graduated is also here, just a few miles from where I live.  I pass by that frrequently as well.  I do feel the same way that you do.  I feel a spiritual upset every time I pass my former church and college.  I think not only of the spiritual deception (however unintentional it was) to which I fell vicitm, but I also think of the spiritual deception that still enslaves my former evangelical friends and congregants.  I can't stand it.
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« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2008, 02:56:46 PM »

I still feel that way too.  I don't even want to experience another altar call.  I still remember trying to explain what an altar call was to my first priest, who is cradle Orthodox.  He is very involved in missions and evangelization, but he didn't have a clue about altar calls.  I was going to visit my brother who is Baptist and the shortest altar call I've seen in his church on Sunday morning is 15 minutes--they can go on much longer.  After I did my poor best trying to explain one to him, he didn't want me going either.  I have to admit, though, that I was never really comfortable with those.

The sad thing about the Independent/Fundamentalism is the legalism.  It can do so much damage.  I feel so sorry for teens who are raised in those homes.  They are not even allowed to listen to Contemporary Christian music (much less rock music), or do the other things that most kids are doing.  I can see why so many totally rebel and go off the deep end.  I was Southern Baptist when I converted to Orthodox, and they are nowhere near as bad.

It made me sick to hear Mr. Falwell say that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were the result of our sin, talking about the homosexuals and abortionists.   It was mentioned on one of the Orthodox lists that I belong to, and one of the cradle Orthodox priests said that we should look at ourselves to see if we have some of the blame for what happened.  I told him that, unfortunately, I didn't think Mr. Falwell's comments were doing that.  My experience of having been in that movement is that you blame it all on the homosexuals and abortionists (and fill in the blank with any other groups you feel like including) so that you don't have to look at yourself.

I've experienced one hour altar calls on many occasions.

The legalism is awful among Fundamentalist and evangelical churches.  It's spiritually damaging.  What disturbs me the most is the lack of Christian love and outright hatred I've experienced in those churches.  Hatred directed at homosexuals in particular, but also towards abortionists and even African Americans.  You have no idea how many times I've heard the f-word used to refer to homosexuals, or the n-word used to refer to African Americans.  One Baptist church I attended for a while would not even allow an African American to enter the building.  I tried bringing a homosexual friend with me to church one Sunday morning a few years ago, but neither of us attended services that morning because her presence caused such a hostile reaction.  (Everyone correctly assumed she was a lesbian, due to her rather masculine appearance.)  I have experienced so many un-Christian things in Fundamentalist and evangelical churches (and my former Bible college), I can no longer call the movement "Christian" with a clear conscience.

I also heard Falwell's remarks concerning 9/11.  They sickened me as well.
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« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2008, 03:24:16 PM »

I've experienced one hour altar calls on many occasions.

The legalism is awful among Fundamentalist and evangelical churches.  It's spiritually damaging.  What disturbs me the most is the lack of Christian love and outright hatred I've experienced in those churches.  Hatred directed at homosexuals in particular, but also towards abortionists and even African Americans.  You have no idea how many times I've heard the f-word used to refer to homosexuals, or the n-word used to refer to African Americans.  One Baptist church I attended for a while would not even allow an African American to enter the building.  I tried bringing a homosexual friend with me to church one Sunday morning a few years ago, but neither of us attended services that morning because her presence caused such a hostile reaction.  (Everyone correctly assumed she was a lesbian, due to her rather masculine appearance.)  I have experienced so many un-Christian things in Fundamentalist and evangelical churches (and my former Bible college), I can no longer call the movement "Christian" with a clear conscience.

I also heard Falwell's remarks concerning 9/11.  They sickened me as well.
Yeah. Sounds a lot like my life within the Fundamentalist sects... Sad really.
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« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2008, 03:30:18 PM »

Yeah. Sounds a lot like my life within the Fundamentalist sects... Sad really.

Yes, it's very sad.  I pray for them daily.  I hope they all see the Truth and accept it one day.
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« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2008, 04:25:07 PM »

Hello Seeker73 God Bless You! I am a former Free Will Baptist Minister. I was just Chrismated on March 30 08. If you would like to talk just send me a PM. I think our stories will be very similar.

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Welcome to the Body of Christ!
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« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2008, 04:34:43 PM »

I've experienced one hour altar calls on many occasions.

The legalism is awful among Fundamentalist and evangelical churches.  It's spiritually damaging.  What disturbs me the most is the lack of Christian love and outright hatred I've experienced in those churches.  Hatred directed at homosexuals in particular, but also towards abortionists and even African Americans.  You have no idea how many times I've heard the f-word used to refer to homosexuals, or the n-word used to refer to African Americans.  One Baptist church I attended for a while would not even allow an African American to enter the building.  I tried bringing a homosexual friend with me to church one Sunday morning a few years ago, but neither of us attended services that morning because her presence caused such a hostile reaction.  (Everyone correctly assumed she was a lesbian, due to her rather masculine appearance.)  I have experienced so many un-Christian things in Fundamentalist and evangelical churches (and my former Bible college), I can no longer call the movement "Christian" with a clear conscience.

I also heard Falwell's remarks concerning 9/11.  They sickened me as well.

Wow!

This happened in this century? (metaphorical)

Lord have mercy on us.

I pray that your gay friend is OK after that traumatic experience and have found or is still seeking her salvation.

As you may know African Americans are conditioned over centuries in America with this kind of obscene brutality and contempt. I still pray that your African American friend is also well after the Godless attack by the 'God fearing' faithful at your former place of worship and have forund grace and eternal life through the cross of Jesus Christ.

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« Reply #53 on: May 06, 2008, 05:52:25 PM »

It's not my purpose to start a fight about this, so I'll just say that my opinion differs with regards to Franky Shaeffer's works (at least Dancing Alone, the only one I've read, though I hear other books of his carry the same tone as Dancing).  I find Franky to be very bitter.  Don't misunderstand; I actually agree with some of his points, but his delivery is so angry and blunt (in my opinion) that I don't think anyone but an already-convinced catechumen or a (recently) chrismated Orthodox Christian would find a lot of common ground.  There's a way to highlight differences and shortcomings with tact and charity, and there's a way to do it without said attributes.  It's my opinion that Franky does this in the latter.

One of the customer reviewers on Amazon wrote that in 2005, Schaeffer stated that he was too harsh in this book, and would rewrite half of it if he were able to do it over.  Note that it was published 14 years ago, when (I believe) he was still a new convert.  It's easy to be bitter about a church you've only just left.
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« Reply #54 on: May 06, 2008, 06:41:18 PM »

Wow!

This happened in this century? (metaphorical)

Lord have mercy on us.

I pray that your gay friend is OK after that traumatic experience and have found or is still seeking her salvation.

As you may know African Americans are conditioned over centuries in America with this kind of obscene brutality and contempt. I still pray that your African American friend is also well after the Godless attack by the 'God fearing' faithful at your former place of worship and have forund grace and eternal life through the cross of Jesus Christ.



Yes, this happened about six years ago.  It's truly sad. 

Sh has since moved, but last I heard she refuses to have anything to do with church at all.  She also now has a female romantic partner.  She was mistreated many times by Christians other than the one time I related, and I believe the incidents drove her deeper into the homosexual lifestyle.
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« Reply #55 on: May 06, 2008, 08:48:37 PM »

Yeah. Sounds a lot like my life within the Fundamentalist sects... Sad really.

A thought for all of you folks who have recently come from legalistic, Protestant backgrounds. I have observed that some former Protestants unwittingly or unconsciously bring a legalistic way of thinking with them into the Orthodox church. They start analyzing how things are done in Orthodoxy and where things measure up or don't measure up according to how things were done in the past. This type of thinking leads some of them to question their own bishop's decisions on certain matters. Some of these converts end up becoming very legalistic within an Orthodox frame work. I know this idea may seem ironic, especially when so many leave Protestant fundamentalism for this very reason. Unfortunately, the end results of this sort of journey into Orthodoxy are not always good. Many end up bitter and discouraged or they jump from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in an effort to find the "truest" form of Orthodoxy. Some end up leaving the church when they discover there is no such thing. Just something to think about as you settle into your new home.
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« Reply #56 on: May 06, 2008, 10:10:54 PM »

It's true for me.  I catch myself starting to do that alot.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am not the fasting police, the crossing yourself police, etc, and having to ask God's forgiveness for that.  However, I have not read the Rudder, nor do I usually complain about the canons not being applied like I think they should (that's the priests' and bishops' job--not mine) or anything like that.  Personally, I don't want to be responsible for that kind of thing.  The bishops and priests needs our prayers, because the more power you have,  the more accountable you are to God for how you use that power.  There are incredible temptations that come with the power and the responsibility.  The more power and responsibility a person has, the more Satan tempts them. 
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« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2008, 09:57:11 AM »

I was about to say this doesn't affect me, it's more my gung ho husband who blasted his way into the Faith. But then I remembered how confused and frustrated I get when I hear token lazy responses from cradle Orthodox as to why they don't do "such and such" anymore-mainly so they can blend into American society.  Why they gave up this practice or that practice, or they don't really care about pro life because they are feminist professors at a local lesbian college.  And I stand there astounded like, so what? 
These people had the faith handed to them at birth most of the time and take it for granted. They have no idea what others have to survive to find Orthodoxy, they don't seem to realize how incredible it is to land in Orthodoxy after nearly imploding as a baptist! Wink  I don't care about crossing, of fasting as far as other people go. But it bothers me when I organize our yearly Sanctity of Life Sunday Silent Witness with the other parish in town, just a few hours of silent support for women that have endured and suffered abortions.  and all of 3 people from our parish come including me. some are actually hostile about being pro life at any point in the human time line.  that's their business I suppose, but it does make me sad. Humans are the only species that are inconvenient at both ends of life these days.
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« Reply #58 on: May 07, 2008, 09:58:01 AM »

It's true for me.  I catch myself starting to do that alot.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am not the fasting police, the crossing yourself police, etc, and having to ask God's forgiveness for that.  However, I have not read the Rudder, nor do I usually complain about the canons not being applied like I think they should (that's the priests' and bishops' job--not mine) or anything like that.  Personally, I don't want to be responsible for that kind of thing.  The bishops and priests needs our prayers, because the more power you have,  the more accountable you are to God for how you use that power.  There are incredible temptations that come with the power and the responsibility.  The more power and responsibility a person has, the more Satan tempts them. 

I think all converts tend to go through that wanting to be the "perfect Orthodox Christian" phase, I know I did. It is a time in which we are really challenged because of our own Triumphalism that we have " found the True Faith". My spiritual father really kicked that out of me when he reminded me that on the Last Great and Dreadful day of Judgement, I will be judged by how I judged others. Wow! What an eye opener.  I  learned to simmer down  and now look at myself and what I have done and how great a sinner I am---it sure makes life simpler than trying to change another person. I think that this is our true relationship with God ---asking Him to help us change and forgive us.

Thomas
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« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2008, 11:44:42 AM »

These people had the faith handed to them at birth most of the time and take it for granted. They have no idea what others have to survive to find Orthodoxy, they don't seem to realize how incredible it is to land in Orthodoxy after nearly imploding as a baptist! Wink 

So very often, humans take for granted that of which they were never deprived. I know that I was once just such a person. There was a time I was just as stuck-up and concited about how well I was being Orthodox as a person could get. Then, in God's great wisdom, I had to endure the very difficulties that I so coldly dissmissed in other people's lives. Now, I don't worry about what any other person does or doesn't manage, I am too busy with my own life and current pit-falls.
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« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2008, 12:11:16 PM »

These people had the faith handed to them at birth most of the time and take it for granted. They have no idea what others have to survive to find Orthodoxy, they don't seem to realize how incredible it is to land in Orthodoxy after nearly imploding as a baptist! Wink  I don't care about crossing, of fasting as far as other people go. But it bothers me when I organize our yearly Sanctity of Life Sunday Silent Witness with the other parish in town, just a few hours of silent support for women that have endured and suffered abortions.  and all of 3 people from our parish come including me. some are actually hostile about being pro life at any point in the human time line.  that's their business I suppose, but it does make me sad. Humans are the only species that are inconvenient at both ends of life these days.

To some of us it does not feel as being handed the faith at birth, it feels more or less like family or culture do to most people, it is the one we were born to and grow up in, so it is not that a conscious thing for some. So, some of ud do not question it nor theorise too much about it and go along with it the way we have been raised to. Most of us never go through catechesis, nor bible studies and most cradle Orthodox I know never engage in the kind of analytical arguments and discussions about faith I see in this forum as they keep a rather middle of the road attitude - for various reasons.
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« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2008, 08:11:48 PM »

I think all converts tend to go through that wanting to be the "perfect Orthodox Christian" phase, I know I did. It is a time in which we are really challenged because of our own Triumphalism that we have " found the True Faith". My spiritual father really kicked that out of me when he reminded me that on the Last Great and Dreadful day of Judgement, I will be judged by how I judged others. Wow! What an eye opener.  I  learned to simmer down  and now look at myself and what I have done and how great a sinner I am---it sure makes life simpler than trying to change another person. I think that this is our true relationship with God ---asking Him to help us change and forgive us.

Thomas

The thing that changed my position of being the fasting police was having to be taken totally off fasting for about 1-1/2 years due to a health condition at the time.  I found out that there can be a perfectly good reason why someone has to be on a modified fasting rule or not being able to fast at all from food.  I no longer look at what people are eating.  I still have to follow a modified fast.  If I even catch myself starting to look at what other people are eating, I remind myself that that person's fasting rule is between them, God, and their Spiritual Father. 
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« Reply #62 on: May 07, 2008, 08:14:46 PM »

Maybe the moderators would want to split this thread?  It seems to be getting off topic. 
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« Reply #63 on: May 07, 2008, 08:20:11 PM »

Thank you and God bless to everyone who answered my original question that started this thread, and thanks to everyone who offered their insights and assistance to me.  Please know that it's greatly appreciated.  Since this thread has served the purpose for which I started it and seems to have gone off course since, I'll be making my exit now. 
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« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2008, 12:24:22 AM »

This brings me to a question that's been on my mind for a while.  Did I sin by preaching evangelical Protestant doctrine in the past?  Do I need to repent for it?
After your baptism and chrismation but before your first Eucharist, your priest will have you make your first confession in which you usually try to bring everything you can remember to God for forgiveness.  As for your question 'did I sin...?', I would discuss it with your priest and then follow his counsel.
May God continue to bless you.

In Christ,
Gabriel
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« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2008, 08:49:30 AM »

Maybe the moderators would want to split this thread?  It seems to be getting off topic. 

As our person seeking the advice of the forum feels that the question has been answered I am now closing this discussion. Thank you all for your insightful responses.

Thomas
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