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Author Topic: When does it feel "normal" to do Orthodox things?  (Read 1903 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carole
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« on: December 12, 2008, 12:19:34 PM »

I've pretty much got the Orthodox way of making the sign of the cross right.  I do sometimes forget which I am suppose to be doing - but it's mostly there. Cheesy

But other small things like venerating icons, kissing the hands of the priest, saying "Father Bless" and other small things all feel very odd.

Do you ever get to a point where it feels less like you're being a big ol' fake and more like you're just doing what you do?
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Carole
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2008, 12:23:35 PM »

I've pretty much got the Orthodox way of making the sign of the cross right.  I do sometimes forget which I am suppose to be doing - but it's mostly there. Cheesy

But other small things like venerating icons, kissing the hands of the priest, saying "Father Bless" and other small things all feel very odd.

Do you ever get to a point where it feels less like you're being a big ol' fake and more like you're just doing what you do?

Yes.  Sort of like driving stops feeling fake.  I do know, that seeing how natural it seems to my sons helped speed the process: they can't imagine life otherwise.
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2008, 01:20:30 PM »

I'm not sure at what point it happens, it just does. One Sunday I was driving hoke from church and I realized I hadn't needed to remind myself to not to eat that morning. the rest kinda gradually seeped in the same way.
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2008, 01:34:41 PM »

A big ol' fake? Don't feel that way! Smiley Nothing wrong with being in-process. You'll feel 'doxed eventually, if you're regularly doing the stuff.
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2008, 02:05:01 PM »

If all Orthodox-since-being-born were at least as half as sedulous as You are... When I compare Your attitude to religion to those of mine I start to think about improving myself. Thanks for that Smiley
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 02:05:18 PM by mike » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2008, 03:32:09 PM »

I used to feel this way too after I converted and it does get much easier.  It helped me to realize that no one is really paying attention to how I'm crossing myself or if I bowed low enough or if I kissed the icon or only nodded toward it (my preferred method of veneration with a squirmy one year old in my arms).  After some time one begins to fall into the patterns of prayer and action.  I still have to remind myself not to eat on Sunday mornings but crossing myself has become nearly automatic. 
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Xenia
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2008, 04:04:41 PM »

Dear Carole,

When things begin to feel normal, some of the meaning departs, if we're not careful.  I remember when I first heard the Creed sung in a church I visited. It was a defining moment in my life and tears came to my eyes.  I found an mp3 of it on the Internet and played it over and over.  When I began praying my prayer rule, I carefully read the words of the Creed.  I thought it was much to long to ever commit to memory. After a few years, I discovered that I had, in fact, memorized the Creed.  Now I can rattle it off like a nursery rhyme and if I'm not careful, it has just as much meaning to me as a nursery rhyme.  So while I have gained normalcy, I have lost something, too.

In other words, cherish these days when it all still seems a little strange.

Love,
Xenia
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 04:09:38 PM »

I've heard some people make he argument, that since the OC should be "incarnational" we should amalgamate what are "normal" "orthodox" practices, to the normal way americans relate to one another.  For example, instead of kissing the priest's hand, just shake it, as an american would "normally" do, since that would be incarnational. 

Any thought?
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 04:35:30 PM »

I've heard some people make he argument, that since the OC should be "incarnational" we should amalgamate what are "normal" "orthodox" practices, to the normal way americans relate to one another.  For example, instead of kissing the priest's hand, just shake it, as an american would "normally" do, since that would be incarnational. 

Any thought?

American alleged anti-hierarchism has to be put in its proper place.

The hand is kissed because it touches the eucharist.  THAT's incarnational.
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 07:06:51 PM »

Dear Carole,

When things begin to feel normal, some of the meaning departs, if we're not careful. 

Love,
Xenia

By "normal" I mean ... "Not so unusual and uncomfortable as to make one reconsider doing it all together." 
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Carole
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2008, 10:16:20 PM »

The greatest amount of learning that a person does of the Orthodox Church is not when they are a catechumen but rather once they are enlightened, a new creation in Christ, a member of the Orthodox Church.  There is our real journey of learning.  We learn of the small traditions and customs that are often  local and cultural and the greater Traditions that encompass the entire church.  Some of these may be foreign to us as converts but as the years go by they become  so common in our lives that our children and grandchildren don't have to think to do them, they are part of their religious life and expression of faith.  Your comfort will come with time and practice.

Thomas
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2008, 10:45:52 PM »

The point at which this is reached is referred to in educational circles as automaticity. For simple tasks, 3 to 9 repetitions are required to reach automaticity. For more complicated tasks, it may take up to 30 repetitions, and if there is interference from previously learned skills (such as crossing left to right when you're trying to learn crossing from right to left), it may take up to four times as long as if there is no prior skill at all. Interestingly enough, you actually use less brain power the more you perform the task, so that you use hardly any one you reach automaticity.

So it's not that you're being fake right now, but that you have to force yourself to do things it's not used to doing, until such time as it adjusts.
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2008, 12:55:51 PM »

Yeah you get used to it. Like on Wednesdays and Fridays we just don't eat any meat. As for rubrics you just get the hang of it. The hardest part is dealing with all your friends and family because you've changed and they stayed the same, and all of a sudden you're the "weird one"  even though you're the one doing the things Christians were always supposed to do but because of protestantism and Vatican 2 they don't know these things...or don't care. We converts do all the things we're supposed to do because the priests taught catechisms and they told us to do them. One habit to break is not asking the abbot for a blessing when the bishop is there, because only the bishop gives them when he's present. By that mean bowing and saying "Bless master" or whatnot. We have a constant flow of converts (Praise be to God!) and they always remind the "natives" what they're supposed to be doing.

Then visit your old sect and you see it much much differently.
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2008, 01:29:34 AM »

So it's not that you're being fake right now, but that you have to force yourself to do things it's not used to doing, until such time as it adjusts.

I concur. A few short years ago I never greeted anyone but immediate family members with a kiss. . . and now it seems like the most natural thing to kiss the cheeks of female friends when I greet them. . . most especially when we are at church. Some things just become an ingrained response. . . and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

When I was a new inquirer to Orthodoxy I read that making the sign of the cross is related to the Jesus prayer (I read that certain words relate to the pattern of where your fingers are tracing the cross). Once I learned that, I realized that making the sign of the cross is then equated with praying that prayer. Rather than becoming meaningless (since it is easily possible to make the sign of the cross dozens of times during a service) I find that making the sign of the cross reinforces the prayer.

Hope that made some sense to you. Smiley
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