OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 22, 2014, 05:49:25 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Troubles Acquiring Orthodox Mindset  (Read 5745 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« on: June 24, 2008, 08:21:39 AM »

This question has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. I'd like to think this is a safe place to be honest and open with one's struggles, although I'm not sure if it really is that.

I've now been Orthodox officially for 4 years. I've been exposed to Orthodoxy for quite some time prior to that as well, and have always been highly attracted to all it has to offer. However, I've had many questions from the very beginning but was baptized very quickly without much instruction and feeling not quite ready for this step.

The first year I had a great deal of zeal and all the "triumphalism" of the typical Orthodox convert. After awhile, I took a few steps back and examined all my attitudes and was thoroughly appalled by what this spirit of superiority was doing in my life and how it was affecting my relationships with my Christian, but non-Orthodox friends. I felt it simply wasn't mature to have such an arrogant attitude towards my former faith, which had so many good aspects to it.

I then realized how very difficult it actually is as an adult to shake off all the teachings and influences one has experienced previously. I began to think of the Slavic penchant for 'syncretism' (which still lingers to this day-never having been successfully eradicated by the Church). I thought, "Wow. After all these centuries they're still clinging to aspects of paganism and I'm supposed to feel ashamed for clinging to aspects of my christian past? Something seems a bit wrong here. Or at least I think it should be understandable if it is difficult to totally remake myself and my religious thinking in 4 years time."

Has anyone else experienced these problems/struggles, or is everyone else able to embrace Orthodoxy and totally turn their backs on their religious pasts?

What do you think?
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,747



« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 08:55:21 AM »

I think that what you are discussing is common with many converts to the Orthodox Church.  Terms that I have seen used even on this forum have referred to "Nostalgia", "yearning", "thinking western", "what about my national tradition?" etc. When I had those feelings and thoughts in my early years as a convert, I found that the use of my spiritual father assisted me in addressing those issues and led to the development of an Orthodox mindset or "world view" as my spiritual father called it. In other words how do I as an Orthodox look at the world or more precise how do I as a non-monastic Orthodox Christian "live in the world but not be of the world"? The assigning of specific books by my spritual father helps me to continue to develop that world view.  Our discussions have led to an evolving  Orthodox World view that puts everything in its place and gives me a method by which I respond to it in an Orthodox fashion. Perhaps discussing these thoughts with a spiritual father or spiritual mother would help you in addressing this issuefor you.

In Christ,
Thomas

Corrected for spelling
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 12:41:53 PM by Thomas » Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 09:47:10 AM »

Great question. I am afraid I am another extreme. I was close friends with some wonderful people who were (and still are) Protestants, and I, under their influence, began to study the Bible by myself, and to listen to sermons in Protestant churches, and even got baptized in a Presbyterian church and became an elder there. However, I believe I could never, ever acquire a "Protestant mindset." I have always been drawn to the Church by its heavenly beauty a lot more than by any set of rules that the Church offers. I cannot be in a place that calls itself "church" but does not celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos and St. Basil the Great. And I totally, but totally do not get the idea behind all the various "classes," "ladies' breakfasts," "youth groups," etc. etc. etc. All I long for is to stand and listen to the choir singing "Axion Estin" etc., to go to a good priest and confess my sins, and to receive Christ in the Eucharist...
Logged

Love never fails.
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 09:49:35 AM »

This question has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. I'd like to think this is a safe place to be honest and open with one's struggles, although I'm not sure if it really is that.

I've now been Orthodox officially for 4 years. I've been exposed to Orthodoxy for quite some time prior to that as well, and have always been highly attracted to all it has to offer. However, I've had many questions from the very beginning but was baptized very quickly without much instruction and feeling not quite ready for this step.

The first year I had a great deal of zeal and all the "triumphalism" of the typical Orthodox convert. After awhile, I took a few steps back and examined all my attitudes and was thoroughly appalled by what this spirit of superiority was doing in my life and how it was affecting my relationships with my Christian, but non-Orthodox friends. I felt it simply wasn't mature to have such an arrogant attitude towards my former faith, which had so many good aspects to it.

I then realized how very difficult it actually is as an adult to shake off all the teachings and influences one has experienced previously. I began to think of the Slavic penchant for 'syncretism' (which still lingers to this day-never having been successfully eradicated by the Church). I thought, "Wow. After all these centuries they're still clinging to aspects of paganism and I'm supposed to feel ashamed for clinging to aspects of my christian past? Something seems a bit wrong here. Or at least I think it should be understandable if it is difficult to totally remake myself and my religious thinking in 4 years time."

Has anyone else experienced these problems/struggles, or is everyone else able to embrace Orthodoxy and totally turn their backs on their religious pasts?

What do you think?

Rosehip,

I agree with Thomas in that you should speak with your spiritual Father/Mother about this. He or she will be able to suggest some reading to help you, I'm sure.

I must admit that I have never felt nostalgic for my previous Chrisitian path. I did feel that way, when I was coming to the realisation that I had to leave Evangelical Protestantism and my first steps were supposed to return me to the Anglican Church. Somehow, and completely by accident, I just didn't make it. The issues I have had with the Orthodox Church have never really been "mindset" in the theological sense. Orthodox theology makes so much more sense to me than anything else I had ever known before, so in that sense I have been able to completely turn my back on my religious past, without turning my back on my non-Orthodox friends and family. In the beginning, it was the other way around; members of my previous congregation felt "betrayed" that my husband and I had left them; my family simply put up a wall of silence. Of course, this was nothing more than emotional manipulation; they all should have known me better! Grin

I do believe, though, in becoming Orthodox we have to accept different ethnic mindsets, without being swamped by them. Some people do seem to want to convert to an ethnicity as much as the Church and they can throw themselves as much into becoming Slavic (for example) as they do becoming Orthodox. However, I have guarded my own heritage very carefully because it is very important to me. And as much as I love the people I worship with, and love all our quirky differences, I don't believe that any of us should lose our sense of identity.

I'm not sure if this answers any of your questions, but also I feel that I should add that you need to remember that not all the things you learned as a Protestant were wrong. God has always been preparing you for this path; if some things from the past linger, don't worry about it. Talk to your spirital advistor and - slowly, slowly.

God be with you, sister - I hope you find the peace you crave.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 09:52:56 AM by Riddikulus » Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
Simayan
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate - GOA
Posts: 816



« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2008, 10:11:16 AM »

I would say this is a common feeling among converts, as well.

I never felt a longing, per se, because I was not formally raised in any religion before my Orthodox baptism at 15. However, I had been raised by my Irish family to always be spiritual and believe in God, and have always integrated them into my faith.

As my godfather said, "Orthodoxy doesn't destroy other traditions. We make other traditions Orthodox by practicing them."
Logged

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 03:20:26 PM »

I hear ya Rosehip,

This is an issue for me too. Any suggestions for one who was not raised in any religion whatsoever, and for someone whose family, friends and coworkers are generally atheist/agnotic and quite hostile to religion and religious practice (and make an effort to belittle it in front of me)? How did people in my position get over the hump? With the help of this site and others, and some reading materials, I'm working on it (here and there - timewise I'm overwhelmed), but then I lose momentum. I do feel kind of alone in my efforts. Two steps forward and 1 and 3/4 steps back. Not that I want to be one of those who speaks eg. - as someone else put it - Christianese, as while it is a genuine habit for some, for me it would be outright poseurish to do so.

kmm
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 03:36:08 PM »

Any suggestions for one who was not raised in any religion whatsoever, and for someone whose family, friends and coworkers are generally atheist/agnotic and quite hostile to religion and religious practice (and make an effort to belittle it in front of me)?

That would definitely be me. I had just a couple of friends who were believing Christians, and that was a rather long time ago, in the 1990-s when I lived in Seattle. No contact with them since. Otherwise, all my relatives, and all people with whom my wife and I socialize are atheists (some very militant), or agnostics.

How did people in my position get over the hump? With the help of this site and others, and some reading materials, I'm working on it (here and there - timewise I'm overwhelmed), but then I lose momentum. I do feel kind of alone in my efforts. Two steps forward and 1 and 3/4 steps back. Not that I want to be one of those who speaks eg. - as someone else put it - Christianese, as while it is a genuine habit for some, for me it would be outright poseurish to do so.
kmm

Agreed.
Logged

Love never fails.
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 04:14:56 PM »

It is vastly important to understand that when we are saying 'Orthodox' and 'Christian' we are speaking about and describing something...believing in and following something that is not liberal or inclusive.

We are the parts of a holy nation a chosen and holy people.

We are as Orthodox spending our lives doing all that we can to prepare for eternity.

We are doing this because we love Christ and His eternal kingdom to come more than we love our own lives not to mention a friend or a husband or wife or children or anything in this world.

It is a tough call.

Of course we are happy to have the things of this world. But we are not 'thirsting' for them or what they mean or provide.

WE have partaken of that holy water for which upon one drink you "thirst no more".

People who are conditioned to see 'christainity' as a means of worship of the Lord and hope for His grace while at the same time thirsting for this life need more time to shed this false mindset which many posess at no fault of their own. It is designed to keep us never truly content to be with God and that is it. It always has to be 'more'....always 'thirsting'.

The Orthodox life is a life that is led by those who do not thirst for this world.

Again; a tough call indeed.

So we are as orthodox looking to avoid things that distract us from our hope. Our freinds, cultures, successes, etc are not the priority. Eternal life with Christ is the only goal for us. Some of us has left the world to live in caves to meet this goal. Some of us have died horrible deaths to confess this way of life and true faith.

What will you do and what will you give up?

Today not many of us will give up much at all.

I am always saddened to read about the true believers of time gone by. They did not have the lives we have now. I guess that is why most of our saints are from so long ago.

I hope that what I am saying is understood.

We have a mission and a calling.

We must not fall short looking for companionship or exceptance by those in this world that we love. If they are really our loved ones then they will stand with us. We will all stand together. But it will have to be for the life and way of orthodoxy. NO compromise.

We are to be caring and kind with this issue. It is very difficult.

Arrogence is not our way.

WE use humility and patience.

God help us!
Logged

"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
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 08:43:55 PM »

I hear ya Rosehip,

This is an issue for me too. Any suggestions for one who was not raised in any religion whatsoever, and for someone whose family, friends and coworkers are generally atheist/agnotic and quite hostile to religion and religious practice (and make an effort to belittle it in front of me)?

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to change the attitudes of those around you. The only thing I would suggest as far as any effort to belittle you goes, is that you ignore it. Any response on your part will merely give energy to those who are ridiculing you. Cut it dead with no response or a response they don't expect. Chuckle and change the subject, or move on! They will soon get tired of the sport if they don't get the reaction they don't want; and what they want is to hurt you. Steel yourself against the attacks and don't give them any points.

Quote
How did people in my position get over the hump?

With great difficulty. Too often converts go into Orthodoxy with rose coloured spectacles. We don't see the work ahead of us, we only see the need to convert. And it comes as a complete shock that it can all turn out to be a grind, and not even the slightest bit pleasant at times. It's not easy for any of us. We have this ideal and then most of us turn out to be too lazy to be fanatical (thank God for that, I say! Grin) and so we have to find a level of involvement that we can live with without burning out. Every convert I know has problems (not that I know that many). A friend of mine asked me why we hadn't "gone Catholic". It would have been so much easier, the services would have been in our own language, we would have been with people who were of similar ethnicity, etc, etc. Becoming Orthodox can seem to be a step toward becoming isolated.

Quote
(N With the help of this site and others, and some reading materials, I'm working on it (here and there - timewise I'm overwhelmed), but then I lose momentum. I do feel kind of alone in my efforts. Two steps forward and 1 and 3/4 steps back. Not that I want to be one of those who speaks eg. - as someone else put it - Christianese, as while it is a genuine habit for some, for me it would be outright poseurish to do so.

I think this site is a great place to learn and knowing that others are in the same position helps, not sure why, but a problem shared is a problem halved, so they say!  Grin   
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 08:45:16 PM by Riddikulus » Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2008, 03:16:58 PM »

Quote
We must not fall short looking for companionship or exceptance by those in this world that we love. If they are really our loved ones then they will stand with us. We will all stand together. But it will have to be for the life and way of orthodoxy. NO compromise.

Amdetsion, I am a little confused by this. I understand it in part, but if my parents are against religion, and most certainly will not have anything to do with Orthodoxy, how am I to be kind and caring toward them and at the same time be adamant that they stand with me on this if they truly are my loved ones? I'm oversimplifying this, I know,  but if you could expand on this thought it'd be much appreciated.

The other day my stepmom told me that while she thought that some people do need religion (and she's thinking, I'm certain, of drug addicts and the like), she doesn't think I need it at all (which is flattering in that she, who is freakishly high functioning career-wise and other such wordly areas, also thinks I'm high functioning). I know, however, that we all need God. I may be somewhat high-functioning in some respects in this earthly world - mostly, I'm just really responsible - never a late bill payment! and professional in my work, (to the point where I am debating whether or not we have another child because I would be letting down my colleagues, my students and their parents, etc., although I am also afraid of having another child because I know work would just have a hissy fit - my boss told me, only half jokingly, that I had to promise to never get pregnant again if I wanted to maintain my new, hard-won permanent contract status - oops Amdetsion, there is my need to be accepted in this earthly world...). Nonetheless, I need help. Which I told her. I didn't get into specifics, as she wouldn't have listened anyway, just told her that as a matter of fact, I do need God. I do need the guidance the Orthodoxy provides. I am awfully weak though as momentarily I thought that perhaps she was right. Then I resolved to go home and do more Bible reading instead, which was only partially successful. Sigh.

Quote
nd it comes as a complete shock that it can all turn out to be a grind, and not even the slightest bit pleasant at times.

Riddikulus, this is true, although it's not all the fasting and praying and learning and repenting and loving self-sacrificially that is the grind so much as attempting to fit all that positively/enjoyably challenging stuff with all the other stuff that we think we have to do. Like work. I'm just finishing up my maternity leave and preparing for my new teaching assignment, going in for meetings etc. You see, I don't trust God nearly enough and I am absolutely terrified that I will lose my job and not be able to feed my kids if I don't work a bazillion hours a week. I worked out a part-time gig now but that is going to be a .75 contract, which means I'll still be working 30-40 hours per week with 2 small children (and my employers are now insistent I go back next year full-time around 60 hours per week). I can't let it go, but of course I need to. And so where to I fit my spiritual practice in with all this? But yes, I am thankful that I am not the only one with these issues.

By the way, I usually do keep my mouth shut, but listening to the ignorance is frustrating. I understand this ignorance - I was there and belittled Christians too until I realized, while still an atheist/agnostic, that it was awfully hypocritical of me. (Not that I'm saying I'm not a hypocrite/ not ignorant now - just over different things).

Heorhij - at Church yesterday I was speaking with another convert who was talking about how ideally we'd all live in a community right around our Church- of course this was how it was originally done and how many religious/ethnic communities still function today. It provides support to one another and encourages people to more easily participate in Church life. In our case though, our Church is in a very pricey, single family home neighbourhood, so this is unlikely!

Rosehip, I cannot imagine the strength of those who manage to shake off all of their old biases, whatever the basis for them, and yet practice Orthodoxy with humility, love and grace. Seems superhuman. But then only Jesus can provide this strength, eh? I guess we just have to keep at and grow...By the way, I'm sorry - I hope you don't feel that I've hijacked this thread with my problems. I jumped at the opportunity to get feedback and support when I saw that you were in need of the same. I hope it's all about Riddikulus' idea of problem shared being a problem halved.
Logged
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2008, 04:09:25 PM »

I am sorry to be confusing.

That is that last thing I want to be.

The following Gospel verse is difficult for most people to accept. Many various excuses have been made to "water-down" or "down-play" the intent of this teaching from our Lord because it exposes our weaknesses which keeps us from 'really' being HIS people' which means ALL of who we are is placed in HIS care and Love. WE do not divide our love for HIM because we think HE undeerstands that we are worldly. Of course we do this anyway. But we must understand that it is not HIS way for us. If that seems unfair to us we must realize that that 'sense' of "unfairness" is exacty right. It is unfair!

Gospel according to St. Matthew Chapter 10: 35 - 40
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me
.[/i][/color]

So it is that if we are enjoying the 'pride of life'....You know for example: I am smart or I am rich or I have great kids or I have a successful career or I have a good family heritage etc or all these things combined and more than we are not people of God but children of the world. WE can not be both either according to the Lord.

Often we mistake Christianity as a nice, peaceful religion which gives us all the wonderful things we want and still have salvation wating at the end. Sad thing is that we would be hard pressed to find anything in the bible to support this attitude.

This "rosey" view is very much protestant and secular.

Yes! we are happy to be true Christians...Orthodox.

Much beauty comes to us from the holiness of our divine worship and way of life.

WE are happy to suffer for Christ!

WE are happy to partake of HIS holy body and precious blood which suffered for us on the cross!

WE must give oursleves time to understand the love of Christ.

When we do we will easily deny anything or anyone in this dead and condemned world that causes us to compromise, palcate, bend or choose over that which is our holy faith. This is what our holy fathers teaches us.

This takes time and careful guidance; since we are not to be mean to anyone but love all people especially our families and loved ones. WE are to embrace the gift of life and enjoy its color and experience as well.

This all must be put in and kept in perspective since the love of God always prevails.......Always!

This is orthodox mind-set.

May God help all of us to obtain a life of holiness and adherence to God and HIS true faith.

Selaam
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 04:13:44 PM by Amdetsion » Logged

"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
The young fogey
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,518


I'm an alpaca, actually


WWW
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2008, 06:02:12 PM »

I don't worry about that 'mindset' stuff at all.

My faith is essentially the same as an informed version of what I held as an Anglican (they gave me the basics) and later as a Roman Catholic (they taught me how to examine my conscience and go to Confession).

But with a mystical kick to it all its own.

The church fathers' prayers in the services speak to me.

That and the quasi-sacramental presence in icons.

That's as close to a phronema as I'm gonna get.

And that's OK.
Logged

kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2008, 06:24:00 PM »

Amdetsion,

Thank you for the Gospel verse - it does put things into perspective. I do not think it was you being confusing - rather it was me being dense/ignorant/wimpy. Amdetsion, do you have any suggestions on how to aim to be this way and at the same time being loving toward my families members, coworkers etc.?

Thanks,

kmm
Logged
jlerms
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 826


O sweet Jesus, cleanse my soul.


« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2008, 10:30:13 PM »

Kmm,   
 I do not have any answers for you as I struggle with many of the same issues as you.  I just wanted to welcome you to this site (even though you have been here for a little while) and thank you for talking about important issues.  I appreciate you sharing with us.
God bless you,  Juliana
Logged
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2008, 02:11:49 PM »

I don't worry about that 'mindset' stuff at all.

My faith is essentially the same as an informed version of what I held as an Anglican (they gave me the basics) and later as a Roman Catholic (they taught me how to examine my conscience and go to Confession).

But with a mystical kick to it all its own.

The church fathers' prayers in the services speak to me.

That and the quasi-sacramental presence in icons.

That's as close to a phronema as I'm gonna get.

And that's OK.

God has an infinite path for you full of prosperity and love.

But you must believe this enough to seek it.

Logged

"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
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2008, 02:45:27 PM »

Amdetsion,

Thank you for the Gospel verse - it does put things into perspective. I do not think it was you being confusing - rather it was me being dense/ignorant/wimpy. Amdetsion, do you have any suggestions on how to aim to be this way and at the same time being loving toward my families members, coworkers etc.?

Thanks,

kmm

I have no suggestions I am sorry.

But I can offer you what Christ provided us all:

Humility!

You see our Lord offered us this gift. But we do not want it.

Lord have mercy...

Try to grow in humility.

Pray for strenght to achieve it.

You can start by giving a stranger all that you have in your pocket. In doing so you may learn about something new while walking home do to no car fare. Having nothing to eat for dinner yourself you may find how 'filling' it is that someone else is having a meal in your behalf.

Take time to go to a nursing home and sit with those who are infirmed with age.

Take time to talk to a person at an A A meeting. I mean to sit with the cases as if you are one yourself. Yes people may laugh at you because you are an alcoholic (atlease they think so) but do not bother to defend your reputation.

Talk to a parent, child, brother or sister that you nerver thought you would talk to again. Take the blame for everything and accept whatever un-earned scorn they dish out with patience and understanding.

Take the blame for someone who is guilty (made a bad but innocent mistake) so that they may have a real example of mercy in this cold and cruel world.

Read the bible with the young kids playing on and damaging your lawn. When I did this the results were far beyond words.

Treat your wife 'as if' she was the church of God; especially at times when you think she deserves your scorn and correction.

Do not use a foul word ...ever!

We do not want to do these things at all. Doing these things domnot make us feel strong...in control. Of course since God is our strenght and our guide.

I guess we will become a religious fools...

Paul was truely foolish to give up his wonderful life as a young, rich, Pharisee who also enjoyed having Roman citizenship. Can't be more of a religious fool than that I suppose.

These things are embarrassing and are "beneath" us.

We are proud of our degrees and "upstanding" lives.

Sad thing is Christ is not.

I am no good at these things either. Please pray for me. Since as true believers we must accept hardshhip and scorn and avoid pride.


Selaam
Logged

"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
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2008, 01:50:03 AM »

Juliana,

Thank you so much for your lovely message.

Amdetsion, thank you for you ideas. Pride and fear - big problems for me. Your note regarding the treatment of one's spouse is spot on - in my case I am regularly too hard on my husband, and that is because my pride often won't let me back down, at least with him (are we always the hardest on those closest to us - is it because I take him for granted?)

Although while I've always been responsible regarding work, I don't think I've always been all that upstanding, especially in my wild youth! So at least I have some understanding of how easy it is to mess up, and I thank God that I was given the opportunity to find a better path.

You are right though, while some of your suggestions are manageable, but some are real toughies. Wow! Personally for me I think the very toughest would be taking the blame for someone else's mistake. It's that pride thing again, worrying about what others think...something to think about. Oh yes, and not using foul words (occasionally my temper will allow my tongue to slip, especially when my I'm not squashing my pride with my husband, so that's the third real toughy - treatment of my spouse. He says I'm not too rough on him, but he is showing humility when he says that!).
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 01:55:16 AM by kmm » Logged
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2008, 02:14:57 AM »

Sorry y'all - I realize I've been babbling again...Forgive me my self-obsession. I'm just trying to find my way And it all just kind of pointlessly spills out. Brain vomiting, if you will.
Logged
cizinec
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 941


There ain't no way but the hard way.


« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2008, 09:46:39 AM »

This thread reminds me of my 7-year-old's favorite book:  From I-Ville to You-Ville.  I have to admit that it's one of my favorite books now.  The characters are Stubbornness, Humility, Arrogance, etc.  Every time I read or have my son read it aloud, it reminds me how much of a journey I have to make to get to You-ville.

I'm not sure I agree that an "Orthodox mindset" is easier for those who were born into Orthodoxy.  If anything, my guess would be it's at least as difficult.
Logged

"Brother, your best friend ain't your Momma, it's the Field Artillery."
prodromas
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Under the Green Pope
Posts: 1,239

Greek Orthodox


« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2008, 09:56:25 AM »

This thread reminds me of my 7-year-old's favorite book:  From I-Ville to You-Ville.  I have to admit that it's one of my favorite books now.  The characters are Stubbornness, Humility, Arrogance, etc.  Every time I read or have my son read it aloud, it reminds me how much of a journey I have to make to get to You-ville.

I'm not sure I agree that an "Orthodox mindset" is easier for those who were born into Orthodoxy.  If anything, my guess would be it's at least as difficult.

Humilty and all the other attributes of an Orthodox Phronema (mindset) are just as difficult to attain for a convert or cradle like ciznec said. The cradle if serious may just have had a longer chance to attain it.
Logged

The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
kmm
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 105


« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2008, 10:35:08 AM »

Amdetsion - one quick thought - I would question the ethics of sitting in on an AA meeting to attain humility, as I suspect the members of such a group might not appreciate someone who is not truly in their situation interloping for purposes of personal spiritual edification. Of course, you would have to be honest as to your purposes for being there, as to do otherwise would be to invite a trust and a belief in your ability to empathize that would not be warranted. Otherwise, your suggestions were good.
Logged
prodromas
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Under the Green Pope
Posts: 1,239

Greek Orthodox


« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2008, 10:44:39 AM »

Amdetsion - one quick thought - I would question the ethics of sitting in on an AA meeting to attain humility, as I suspect the members of such a group might not appreciate someone who is not truly in their situation interloping for purposes of personal spiritual edification. Of course, you would have to be honest as to your purposes for being there, as to do otherwise would be to invite a trust and a belief in your ability to empathize that would not be warranted. Otherwise, your suggestions were good.

Personally I think it is a great idea. Very "fight clubesque".
Logged

The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2008, 01:22:13 PM »

This thread reminds me of my 7-year-old's favorite book:  From I-Ville to You-Ville.  I have to admit that it's one of my favorite books now.  The characters are Stubbornness, Humility, Arrogance, etc.  Every time I read or have my son read it aloud, it reminds me how much of a journey I have to make to get to You-ville.

I'm not sure I agree that an "Orthodox mindset" is easier for those who were born into Orthodoxy.  If anything, my guess would be it's at least as difficult.

It is harder. WE take too much for granted
Logged

"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
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2008, 01:23:49 PM »

Amdetsion - one quick thought - I would question the ethics of sitting in on an AA meeting to attain humility, as I suspect the members of such a group might not appreciate someone who is not truly in their situation interloping for purposes of personal spiritual edification. Of course, you would have to be honest as to your purposes for being there, as to do otherwise would be to invite a trust and a belief in your ability to empathize that would not be warranted. Otherwise, your suggestions were good.

The A A idea is just one of trillions of things you can think of.

It does work if you are honest with people.
Logged

"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
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 555



« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2008, 03:16:02 AM »

According what I've read and been taught on the subject over the years, it takes about ten years to be sure a conversion sticks. It is even said it takes thirty years to make a monastic. 

So...if it can take at least ten years just to get rooted in Orthodoxy, and if a monastic has to struggle for thirty to just begin getting it right...then I think its safe to say, the development of an Orthodox mindset is not the casual labor of a summer afternoon, or a light weekend's reading.  It takes time.

Or as the Mother Gavriela of blessed memory might say, "the Orthodox path is knowledge that you suffer".  Suffering fruitfully takes time.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2008, 03:16:40 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
TheProdigalDaughter
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 43



« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2009, 11:59:04 PM »

This question has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. I'd like to think this is a safe place to be honest and open with one's struggles, although I'm not sure if it really is that.

I've now been Orthodox officially for 4 years. I've been exposed to Orthodoxy for quite some time prior to that as well, and have always been highly attracted to all it has to offer. However, I've had many questions from the very beginning but was baptized very quickly without much instruction and feeling not quite ready for this step.

The first year I had a great deal of zeal and all the "triumphalism" of the typical Orthodox convert. After awhile, I took a few steps back and examined all my attitudes and was thoroughly appalled by what this spirit of superiority was doing in my life and how it was affecting my relationships with my Christian, but non-Orthodox friends. I felt it simply wasn't mature to have such an arrogant attitude towards my former faith, which had so many good aspects to it.

I then realized how very difficult it actually is as an adult to shake off all the teachings and influences one has experienced previously. I began to think of the Slavic penchant for 'syncretism' (which still lingers to this day-never having been successfully eradicated by the Church). I thought, "Wow. After all these centuries they're still clinging to aspects of paganism and I'm supposed to feel ashamed for clinging to aspects of my christian past? Something seems a bit wrong here. Or at least I think it should be understandable if it is difficult to totally remake myself and my religious thinking in 4 years time."

Has anyone else experienced these problems/struggles, or is everyone else able to embrace Orthodoxy and totally turn their backs on their religious pasts?

What do you think?

I must say this is a situation I feel I am in right now. It is an uncomfortable place to be because I know that I can't/and really don't want to go back. This discomfort is very challenging, but I know it's for my good. What makes things hard is because I really felt like I was a "Good Christian" person, you know, I felt like my intentions and desires were Godly and there was a confidence that came with that which is hard to shake - and when something goes wrong here in my Orthodox journey, my mind grows very confused and compares my situation to how easy things were in my past, as well as the confidence I felt then. However, I know this is false thinking.

Metaphorically I would describe it as a thick fog. One moment my path is clear (baptism, being received and a few weeks after) now there is a fog. I don't feel far from God, I just feel these waves of deep isolation and confusion. I've been praying for clarity and strength to do Gods Will. 

It has become painfully obvious that Orthodoxy is very different. I sometimes feel like I'm out of my depths. In reality all I long for is to do Gods Will and be a good person. Sad


Logged

'Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.' Proverbs 27:17
believer74
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 99


« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2009, 12:50:55 AM »

Amdetsion,

Thank you for the Gospel verse - it does put things into perspective. I do not think it was you being confusing - rather it was me being dense/ignorant/wimpy. Amdetsion, do you have any suggestions on how to aim to be this way and at the same time being loving toward my families members, coworkers etc.?

Thanks,

kmm

I have no suggestions I am sorry.

But I can offer you what Christ provided us all:

Humility!

You see our Lord offered us this gift. But we do not want it.

Lord have mercy...

Try to grow in humility.

Pray for strenght to achieve it.

You can start by giving a stranger all that you have in your pocket. In doing so you may learn about something new while walking home do to no car fare. Having nothing to eat for dinner yourself you may find how 'filling' it is that someone else is having a meal in your behalf.

Take time to go to a nursing home and sit with those who are infirmed with age.

Take time to talk to a person at an A A meeting. I mean to sit with the cases as if you are one yourself. Yes people may laugh at you because you are an alcoholic (atlease they think so) but do not bother to defend your reputation.

Talk to a parent, child, brother or sister that you nerver thought you would talk to again. Take the blame for everything and accept whatever un-earned scorn they dish out with patience and understanding.

Take the blame for someone who is guilty (made a bad but innocent mistake) so that they may have a real example of mercy in this cold and cruel world.

Read the bible with the young kids playing on and damaging your lawn. When I did this the results were far beyond words.

Treat your wife 'as if' she was the church of God; especially at times when you think she deserves your scorn and correction.

Do not use a foul word ...ever!

We do not want to do these things at all. Doing these things domnot make us feel strong...in control. Of course since God is our strenght and our guide.

I guess we will become a religious fools...

Paul was truely foolish to give up his wonderful life as a young, rich, Pharisee who also enjoyed having Roman citizenship. Can't be more of a religious fool than that I suppose.

These things are embarrassing and are "beneath" us.

We are proud of our degrees and "upstanding" lives.

Sad thing is Christ is not.

I am no good at these things either. Please pray for me. Since as true believers we must accept hardshhip and scorn and avoid pride.


Selaam

I have enjoyed reading your posts.
Logged
jnorm888
Jnorm
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,516


Icon and Cross (international space station)


WWW
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2009, 03:57:32 AM »

This question has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. I'd like to think this is a safe place to be honest and open with one's struggles, although I'm not sure if it really is that.

I've now been Orthodox officially for 4 years. I've been exposed to Orthodoxy for quite some time prior to that as well, and have always been highly attracted to all it has to offer. However, I've had many questions from the very beginning but was baptized very quickly without much instruction and feeling not quite ready for this step.

The first year I had a great deal of zeal and all the "triumphalism" of the typical Orthodox convert. After awhile, I took a few steps back and examined all my attitudes and was thoroughly appalled by what this spirit of superiority was doing in my life and how it was affecting my relationships with my Christian, but non-Orthodox friends. I felt it simply wasn't mature to have such an arrogant attitude towards my former faith, which had so many good aspects to it.

I then realized how very difficult it actually is as an adult to shake off all the teachings and influences one has experienced previously. I began to think of the Slavic penchant for 'syncretism' (which still lingers to this day-never having been successfully eradicated by the Church). I thought, "Wow. After all these centuries they're still clinging to aspects of paganism and I'm supposed to feel ashamed for clinging to aspects of my christian past? Something seems a bit wrong here. Or at least I think it should be understandable if it is difficult to totally remake myself and my religious thinking in 4 years time."

Has anyone else experienced these problems/struggles, or is everyone else able to embrace Orthodoxy and totally turn their backs on their religious pasts?

What do you think?

Since you came from the Anabaptist tradition, you may be missing the strong sense of community and simple living that they have. You are not alone in this, for there are alot of people that admire the way the Ahmish and Mennonites live. And I'm with you in regards to the "syncretism" you see, and this is one of the reasons why I tend to ignore some of the ultra Orthodox traditionalists or traditionalists that want us converts to see our protestant pasts as nothing, worthless.......etc.

I tend to agree with the mainstream Orthodox as seeing our pasts as having some value, some aspects of truth......etc. If we can see some aspects of truth in pagan cultures, then surely we can see some aspects of truth among protestant and Roman Catholic cultures as well (mainstream Orthodoxy....both here in North America, as well as overseas in Eastern Europe and the Middle East already embraces aspects of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism anyway, they probably don't know it, but we know it....for we came from these backgrounds. We know what higher criticism is, we know what latin Icons and statues look like, we know what western science looks like, we know what celebrating Christmass on Dec 25th looks like, we know what alot of these things are...and where they came from).

 We also know that everything in protestantism and Roman Catholicism isn't all bad, and we know that everything we see among us Orthodox isn't always all good. The communing of muslims isn't good, the not trying to make a marriage work, but rushing to get a divorce isn't good (Which is one of the reasons why I am scared in wanting to marry an Orthodox woman....for how do I know that she won't divorce me as soon as we have our first argument? How do I know that she won't divorce me, if her parents and friends tell her that she should leave me? I already told you about my plans in wanting to see some type of Orthodox marriage counseling. The Roman Catholic woman I dated last year was a marriage counselor, but she didn't want to go to church with me and so I gave up on trying to convert her. But this is one of the things that concerns me, and I know that Orthodoxy can do a better job in this area). And so there are some things that aren't good. I think alot of mainstream Orthodoxy knows this as well, and so, it will take time for Orthodoxy in North America to find it's way......it's mold in this land.....just as it has in everyland in centuries past. And as Orthodox in North America, we naturaly will play a part in that process.

But since you come from an Anabaptist past, it might be good to connect yourself with some type of Orthodox community, sisterhood/brotherhood/order(I know what some say about orders.....they say we Orthodox don't have orders, well my jurisdiction does), monestery, .......or something that actually does stuff. For you need a sense of family.....a sense of belonging.....a community.

Having a sense of community can go a long way when it comes to dealing with "internal" issues...of how to deal with emotional strife, confusion, and pain when you are being criticized by your priest, a fellow parishiner, someone from another jurisdiction, or by non-Orthodox family and friends. You need Orthodox people that will help you deal with issues. You need someone to call or someone that will call you......and so, having a sense of family/community will always be good.








ICXC NIKA
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 04:29:04 AM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
SDMPNS
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: raised in Metropolia which became the OCA now I belong to a GOA parish..
Posts: 540


Praise God for the beauty of Creation


« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2009, 06:43:06 AM »

I am "cradle Orthodox" and in a way I deal with the same issues.This is hardly an Orthodox country...
I do get a little tired of converts trying to be "more Orthodox than the Orthodox".It can be somewhat amusing.I do ,however,wish I shared their zeal but it hardly never seems to last.
A few weeks ago an former Episcopalian in my parish voiced her regret that "lay people do not have a bigger role in the Liturgy". I wondered who catechized her.
The good thing about Orthodoxy is all we have to do is show up...pray the Liturgy and let it seep into our bones.
We dont have to grow beards,stop taking baths and carry 50 prayer ropes.
Logged
Punch
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Body of Christ
Posts: 5,073



« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2009, 01:06:35 PM »

The Church is a beautiful place with its sights, sounds and smells.  I attended Matins a couple of weeks ago with my wife.  I slept through most of it, having been working night shifts seven days a week for the last six weeks.  Even then, being barely conscious of the sound of the chanting and the smells of the incense, I got more out of that Matins than I did in many services that I was wide awake in as a Protestant.  Just being in the Church is something special.
Logged

Orthodox only because of God and His Russians.
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2009, 01:12:58 PM »

We dont have to grow beards,stop taking baths and carry 50 prayer ropes.

Is this really that common amongst some of the "intense" converts?  laugh
Logged

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Faith: BZZT
Posts: 29,219


« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2009, 02:25:06 PM »

We dont have to grow beards,stop taking baths and carry 50 prayer ropes.

Is this really that common amongst some of the "intense" converts?  laugh

Unfortunately, if they want to emulate monks, but still live in the world... yes, that's a practice they might consider taking up.  Shocked
Logged
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,186



« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2009, 11:18:21 AM »

Quote from: TheProdigalSon link=topic=16616.msg385041#msg385041
...This discomfort is very challenging, but I know it's for my good. What makes things hard is because I really felt like I was a "Good Christian" person, you know, I felt like my intentions and desires were Godly and there was a confidence that came with that which is hard to shake...However, I know this is false thinking.

I hear ya, brother. At one time, I really felt like a was a "Good Christian," too. That was before confession! It seems to me that confession shows us clearly how much is really going on. Each time we go to confession we experience a greater realization and understanding of how deeply rooted and systemic our sins are. For example, I might confess to being impatient and sharp with my husband, but the roots go deep - to pride and selfishness and self-centeredness.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 11:18:43 AM by katherineofdixie » Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.143 seconds with 60 queries.