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Author Topic: Wow - I've been here over 2 years  (Read 2654 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carole
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« on: November 11, 2008, 10:25:41 AM »

Granted it has been off and on - but I've been a registered member for more than 2 years.  And I'm still in the same place - sitting in between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Y'all must be really sick of me by now.

I feel, though, that a time to make a decision has arrived.  I must either move toward Orthodoxy or commit myself to remaining Catholic and then truly be Catholic.  The time for spiritual stagnation has ended. 

But I do wonder - is Orthodoxy the next step in a logical progression?  Or just proof that I am spiritually immature and flighty?

I was raised in the Lutheran denomination (though it was a "Sundays Only" kind of religious upbringing).  I became disillusioned and embraced atheism as a teen and young adult.  At the age of 30 I returned to Christianity.  Choosing the Lutheran denomination as my place of return because it was familiar.  After 2 years as a Lutheran I started to see the shortcomings of the Protestant religions (thanks to something my Lutheran pastor said).  So I started doing some research.  In spite of living near several Greek Orthodox parishes I didn't feel that I could be Orthodox because the parishes were heavily ethnic and I thought, "I'm not Greek.  I can't be Orthodox."  So I didn't really research Orthodoxy and I converted to Catholicism.  Not so much because I believed that the Catholic Church was somehow better or more historically "right" than the Orthodox but because of a mistaken belief that the two Churches are essentially the same and if you're of Western European descent then you're "supposed to be" Catholic and you can only be Orthodox if you are Greek.  Forgive me for that over simplification - but honestly I'd only ever known Greek Orthodox and had no idea what Orthodoxy truly was.

Now I am edging up on 40 years old.  I have been a Catholic for nearly 6 years and I have been investigating Orthodoxy for close to 3 of those 6 years.

On the one hand I know I look like the poster child  for the "5 year itch" - but I've been uncertain about certain doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic Church since before I became Catholic (universal jurisdiction, Immaculate Conception, the Filioque and the nature of Original Sin).  We chose to become Catholic because we truly believed that we could not be Orthodox due to ethnicity. 

I don't want to be, or seem to be flighty.  I worry too about appearing to be an example of the 5-year lifespan of a convert.  Yet I feel that this has been a logical progression from a very lax Protestant upbringing to Orthodoxy - by way of the Catholic Church - where I learned that you don't have to be of a particular ethnic background to become Orthodox.

What do you think?  Logical?  Flighty?  Or something in between?
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Carole
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008, 11:20:45 AM »

Carole,
 Do not worry about bugging us with your questions.  OC.net is a wonderful community where you can share you problems.  There are a number of clergy as members and many opinionated individuals who can be a great resource!  I have found comaraderie  with many people here.   
   As to your crossroads question:  It is my opinion (as a convert from RC) that if you have problems with some of the Roman Catholic dogma (as I did) then it is imperative that you resolve it...instead of just "settling" with it!  Pay no mind to your concerns of the "five year itch...burn out, etc."  What is more important that searching for the true church to be closer to our Lord?  Have you spoken to an Orthodox parish priest?  There may be a parish that offers an Orthodoxy 101 class where you could get more answers.  I will offer a prayer for you Carole. 

God bless you,    Juliana Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 02:11:15 PM »

Granted it has been off and on - but I've been a registered member for more than 2 years.  And I'm still in the same place - sitting in between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Y'all must be really sick of me by now.

I feel, though, that a time to make a decision has arrived.  I must either move toward Orthodoxy or commit myself to remaining Catholic and then truly be Catholic.  The time for spiritual stagnation has ended. 

But I do wonder - is Orthodoxy the next step in a logical progression?  Or just proof that I am spiritually immature and flighty?

I was raised in the Lutheran denomination (though it was a "Sundays Only" kind of religious upbringing).  I became disillusioned and embraced atheism as a teen and young adult.  At the age of 30 I returned to Christianity.  Choosing the Lutheran denomination as my place of return because it was familiar.  After 2 years as a Lutheran I started to see the shortcomings of the Protestant religions (thanks to something my Lutheran pastor said).  So I started doing some research.  In spite of living near several Greek Orthodox parishes I didn't feel that I could be Orthodox because the parishes were heavily ethnic and I thought, "I'm not Greek.  I can't be Orthodox."  So I didn't really research Orthodoxy and I converted to Catholicism.  Not so much because I believed that the Catholic Church was somehow better or more historically "right" than the Orthodox but because of a mistaken belief that the two Churches are essentially the same and if you're of Western European descent then you're "supposed to be" Catholic and you can only be Orthodox if you are Greek.  Forgive me for that over simplification - but honestly I'd only ever known Greek Orthodox and had no idea what Orthodoxy truly was.

Now I am edging up on 40 years old.  I have been a Catholic for nearly 6 years and I have been investigating Orthodoxy for close to 3 of those 6 years.

On the one hand I know I look like the poster child  for the "5 year itch" - but I've been uncertain about certain doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic Church since before I became Catholic (universal jurisdiction, Immaculate Conception, the Filioque and the nature of Original Sin).  We chose to become Catholic because we truly believed that we could not be Orthodox due to ethnicity. 

I don't want to be, or seem to be flighty.  I worry too about appearing to be an example of the 5-year lifespan of a convert.  Yet I feel that this has been a logical progression from a very lax Protestant upbringing to Orthodoxy - by way of the Catholic Church - where I learned that you don't have to be of a particular ethnic background to become Orthodox.

What do you think?  Logical?  Flighty?  Or something in between?
I think that conversion is a difficult process. I will pray that the Lord leads you to where  you belong.
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 02:19:01 PM »

Carole, I'm sad to hear that the culture barrier is separating you from the Bride of Christ.  If there are other non-Greek Orthodox Churches in your area, try to visit them for a different experience of the Divine Liturgy (which is the same across Orthodox Churches).  I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in the right direction, Amen!   Smiley
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Carole
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008, 02:34:26 PM »

Carole, I'm sad to hear that the culture barrier is separating you from the Bride of Christ.  If there are other non-Greek Orthodox Churches in your area, try to visit them for a different experience of the Divine Liturgy (which is the same across Orthodox Churches).  I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in the right direction, Amen!   Smiley

Thank you.  Actually since moving from Florida to Alabama this is less of an issue.  The Greek Orthodox parishes in the area we lived in were large and heavily Greek.  Here in Alabama it is a Greek Orthodox parish but it is more "pan-Orthodox" in the ethnic make-up.  As well as a much smaller parish.  We feel less as though we are the "Who Does Not Belong" item in the group.

Now it's all down to history and theology. Cheesy

Thank you, as well, Papist!  We are always grateful for prayers.
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Carole
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2008, 04:54:17 PM »

Well I'm probably accurately described as flighty at this point, does that mean I'm less or more qualified to weigh in here? Grin (I've been Orthodox for 7 years now, but I had a 2 year pit stop in agnosticism/atheism along the way.)  I would say follow the path that will lead to the most spiritual healing, and away from the most spiritual harm. If you don't accept the Catholic doctrines, I'd think that Catholicism wouldn't be that place. But of course I'd say that: I'm Orthodox! If I was a Catholic I'd be trying to persuade you to rethink things. Nonetheless, whatever my bias, I still have to say that the healthy path is probably the right one. Where can you pray and work out your salvation best? I think when you decide on that question, you'll have decided where to end up. That's my 2 cents anyway.
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Carole
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2008, 02:26:03 PM »

Thank you, Asteriktos!  You are right - I think in many ways I have been "over thinking" and complicating a relatively simple issue out of a fear of how I might appear to others. 

Thank you to everyone here at OC.net for their infinite patience and incredible generosity!
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Carole
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2008, 05:09:28 PM »

Carole,

You know that you are in my prayers. I'm no longer in B'ham, but I am not that far away, either!

+Fr Chris
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2008, 07:17:14 AM »

I think that the Church always stands as a sign of contradiction, its divinely designed that way. It seems whatever part of the Body of Christ you find yourself in you and everyone will have some aspect of the faith that is difficult to accept. I think that's divine pedagogy at work. The key questions are authority and humility. If you accept the authority of the Church then you must have the humility to accept its judgements on matters of faith and morals when the contradict yours. That applies whether you be Orthodox or Latin. If you have the courage to accept that you might be plain wrong and those with authority over you may be plain right then you will find that you are in the correct Church.

This does not mean that you should not be also guided by your God-given conscience. It means you should be careful to differentiate between your own personal opinion and the voice of God speaking in the centre of your being.

Whatever you discern God Bless you and help you on your path.

 
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Carole
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2008, 09:12:14 AM »

I think that the Church always stands as a sign of contradiction, its divinely designed that way. It seems whatever part of the Body of Christ you find yourself in you and everyone will have some aspect of the faith that is difficult to accept. I think that's divine pedagogy at work. The key questions are authority and humility. If you accept the authority of the Church then you must have the humility to accept its judgements on matters of faith and morals when the contradict yours. That applies whether you be Orthodox or Latin. If you have the courage to accept that you might be plain wrong and those with authority over you may be plain right then you will find that you are in the correct Church.

This does not mean that you should not be also guided by your God-given conscience. It means you should be careful to differentiate between your own personal opinion and the voice of God speaking in the centre of your being.

Whatever you discern God Bless you and help you on your path.

Thank you.  I understand your point.  I think the "catch" for us is that these issues (and they're major issues) were present when we converted and we tried to push the "I Believe" button and accept the authority if the Catholic Church.  The problem is that over the past 6 years that button has been popping back up.  It won't seem to stay pushed down.  We're realizing, as we walk this path and ponder both the issues and the ramifications of the choices before us, that if we had realized that Orthodoxy was not barred to us based on our ethnic backgrounds we would probably never have become Catholic in the first place. 

Thank you again.
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Carole
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2008, 01:09:14 PM »

The key question is always one of authority. Where, in this world, is the authoritative source of guidance for Christians? Where can we learn the full truth about Jesus Christ? Who or what has been Divinely commissioned to unfold the treasures of God's self-revelation without being in any danger of misleading the faithful? For Protestants the answer is Scripture alone. We do not believe that. Under its head, Jesus, guided by the Holy Spirit and protected by the prayers of Mary the Body of Christ the Church is our indefectable guide. The only question then is which Church? How are we to decide? Reason plays a part in this decision but prayer and recourse to the sacraments is no less important on our faith journey. My advice is make use of all three extensively and then do what your conscience makes clear to you you should do. And don't arrive at one particular decision just because someone you love has come to that same decision, you and you alone must make that choice.

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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2008, 10:25:16 PM »

Carole,

I tried to push the "I believe" button too. I thought that once I began participating in the sacraments and the Eucharist specifically that my concerns with Catholicism would resolve themselves. Six years later, I'm Eastern Orthodox. I had the same fear you did, especially because I went through my "conversions" previously as a teenager. I do relate, but I also say follow your heart.  This isn't a simple one answer fits all situation, though I've certainly wished at times that it was.

Bridget
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Carole
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2008, 12:38:05 PM »

Carole,

I tried to push the "I believe" button too. I thought that once I began participating in the sacraments and the Eucharist specifically that my concerns with Catholicism would resolve themselves. Six years later, I'm Eastern Orthodox. I had the same fear you did, especially because I went through my "conversions" previously as a teenager. I do relate, but I also say follow your heart.  This isn't a simple one answer fits all situation, though I've certainly wished at times that it was.

Bridget

Wow - Bridget.  That is exactly what I thought.  If I act like I believe everything then I would eventually grow to believe it.  That my problems with the dogma would just sort of resolve themselves.  6 years later I am realizing that it doesn't work that way for me.  In fact the longer it goes on the less I am able to even pretend to myself that I understand and accept it.

Thank you for writing your response.  It is nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels/felt that way.
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Carole
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 11:39:01 AM »

What do you think?  Logical?  Flighty?  Or something in between?

Being born and raised in the RCC for 35 plus years--I spent eight years in the Byzantine Catholic Church. One day, I appraoched the priest privately and said,

"Father, I have a big problem. I have come to reject certain doctrines and teachings of the Latin Catholic Church. As an Eastern Catholic, I am aware that I must accept everything that the Latin Church teaches. But I cannot accept papal infallibility/universal jurisdiction, purgatory, Immaculate conception of Our Lady, the Latin understanding of original sin, or the Filioque (even though we did not recite the Filioque as Eastern Catholic). When I look back into Tradition, I do not see these doctrines and teachings as part of the undivided Church."

He responded to me:

"Hmmm? You do have a big problem."

I was received into Holy Orthodoxy within four months after that conversation.

Oh yeah, and I have embraced the Slavic tradition within Holy Orthodoxy even though I am German and Italian.  laugh

Peace and blessings to you on your journey,
Mickey
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Carole
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2008, 09:28:08 AM »

Being born and raised in the RCC for 35 plus years--I spent eight years in the Byzantine Catholic Church. One day, I appraoched the priest privately and said,

"Father, I have a big problem. I have come to reject certain doctrines and teachings of the Latin Catholic Church. As an Eastern Catholic, I am aware that I must accept everything that the Latin Church teaches. But I cannot accept papal infallibility/universal jurisdiction, purgatory, Immaculate conception of Our Lady, the Latin understanding of original sin, or the Filioque (even though we did not recite the Filioque as Eastern Catholic). When I look back into Tradition, I do not see these doctrines and teachings as part of the undivided Church."

He responded to me:

"Hmmm? You do have a big problem."

I was received into Holy Orthodoxy within four months after that conversation.

Oh yeah, and I have embraced the Slavic tradition within Holy Orthodoxy even though I am German and Italian.  laugh

Peace and blessings to you on your journey,
Mickey

Mickey,

I think I could easily have had that same conversation.  Cheesy

Which is why we attended the Divine Liturgy last week and after Christmas we will be talking to the priest about officially beginning our journey of entering Orthodoxy.
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Carole
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2008, 02:47:22 PM »

Mickey,

I think I could easily have had that same conversation.  Cheesy

Which is why we attended the Divine Liturgy last week and after Christmas we will be talking to the priest about officially beginning our journey of entering Orthodoxy.

Slava Isusu Christu!
Slava Na Viki!

God bless you Carole. I will be praying for you and your family--and if I can remember, I will light a candle for you.
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Christopher McAvoy
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2008, 05:20:29 AM »

I was told be a scotch-irish dixieland friend who wanted to convert to Orthodoxy that he was more or less thrown out of a Greek parish in Alabamba for not being greek. I told him all he had to do with grow a beard, learn some greek words and wear some evil eye amulets/jewelry and say "no speak english" and he would be accepted but he thought that was too much effort. I also had a native american female friend in Florida who had a similar experience. In the south over in Tarpon Springs they once had "no negroes, no injuns, no greeks" signs around the town. I think that the experiences of greeks in the deep south has led them to turn inward and return the coldness shown to them to others. This is sad but I understand it. It is amazing the diversity around the USA as far as different behaviors encountered in Churches and peoples.
Like you carol, I also have been sitting on the Orthodox/Catholic fence for a long time and wonder when I will decide for certain.

Where I live there are equal amounts of 100% white bread convert antiochian churches side by side 100% immigrant, russian, south india, syriac/lebanese, ethiopian churches where they are amazed if someone with white skin sets foot in the door. I am 50 miles from Fr Gregory and Presbytera Frederica Matthewes Green's Church and 25 miles from their mission in Westminster, MD.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 05:21:14 AM by Christopher McAvoy » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2008, 02:05:57 PM »

Hi Carole,
I am mostly a sometimes lurker here as well as a former RC who converted to the Orthodox Church after a long, bumpy road of almost 10 years.  It was not easy but I know this is where God wants me and this is where my salvation lies. 
I have a RC friend who is, like you, on the fence.  She saw me convert and now has been learning about Orthodoxy ever since.  She even made pilgrimages with me to Orthodox monasteries. 
I will remember you in my prayers. 
Marie
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2008, 03:52:02 PM »

Hi Carole,

I'm in the same situation. I converted to Catholicism about two years ago and I have been struggling for the past six months or so on and off about what to do. Yesterday, ironically enough, I came to the realization that I can no longer in good conscience remain a Catholic. I am going home in a few days and hope to attend a Divine Liturgy at one of the local Orthodox parishes. When I come back to school (Ave Maria University, a Catholic school) I plan to meet with the local Orthodox priest, God willing, and have him help me make the journey to Orthodoxy. I'm rather scared, yet excited at the same time. You are in my prayers as you begin your journey!

God bless!
Andrew
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