OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 23, 2014, 01:47:00 AM *
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 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Honest Threads about the Problems with Orthodoxy  (Read 6980 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2009, 10:26:15 PM »

Quinault

I've stated being orthodox twice, and you already know what I think about creeds and rigid formulations. It’s like reading an ad for a restaurant and confusing this for actually being there, remember? The orthodox police are illustrating this far more succinctly than my posts ever can. God bless the orthodox police   police

To answer Quiault directly, please recall what theory of truth I’m appealing to: “The freedom of Christ will set you towards truth, not the other way around”. What other truth are you expecting to find? One that condemns you instead?


Maybe think of the Nicene Creed as being more of a menu.  You have to know what to order, right? 

Is there a particular reason that you are caught up on creeds?  I'm not sure I understand what you are looking for, or what the problem really is.  You ask where the Spirit is.  Are you asking if the Spirit is in the Orthodox Church?  I'd like to try and respond to help you, but I'm not sure how to respond because I don't quite understand what your crisis of faith is about.
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #46 on: January 05, 2009, 10:35:00 PM »

I have split off a tangent and merged it here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19079.msg282120.html#msg282120
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Eleos
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Posts: 251


« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2009, 12:39:36 AM »

Ok Guys, you're right we need some specifics. Let's start with creeds and the Christian conception of "truth", topics I know almost nothing about. My problem is that I'm not so sure I care much about the truth. If I really wanted truth I would pursue it in science or logic or something else. At least for myself, I don't believe I would ever label my hunger as a hunger for truth. When Jesus declares, "I am the way, the truth, and the life", this is not some protocreed as I have read it. On the contrary, it sounds more like he is asking us to abandon our false gods, including this dubious one we have been calling truth. "You want the truth? Let Me be your truth". It's a personal truth, not an objective one: truth found in the advocacy of Christ. The freedom of Christ will set you towards truth, not the other way around. Many Orthodox Christians (including myself) feel plowed over by this monolith of truth...and I haven't even bothered doing any homework on the bloody history of creeds and creed wars, many of you no doubt know it too well.

Anyways, the point is not that Orthodoxy implies polytheism; simply that creeds may have attained this inordinate importance, at the expense of perhaps something more crucial for salvation.

thanks to the last few poster for their welcome

My response to this is two fold...

First, we are told in 1 Timothy 3:14ff the following:
Quote
4 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
So, apparently, someone way back when felt that the truth the Church proclaims is important.  Smiley

Secondly, as far as creeds go...
We hold only ONE creed.  The Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed.  This is the only creed that matters.  The others came after.  The others are not ours.

Welcome to the forum, by the way!! 

Greetings, and welcome to the forum C38.  Greetings Greek Chef.  I would like to add that the verse quoted above, is even more relevant to this discussion if quoted in the context of the next verse, a biblical creed:
Quote
14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

      God[c] was manifested in the flesh,
      Justified in the Spirit,
      Seen by angels,
      Preached among the Gentiles,
      Believed on in the world,
      Received up in glory.
I Timothy 3:14-16

In fact there are many creeds in the bible itself, it's not hard to spot them.  They take on a certain linguistic and grammatical format, in a way that stands out from the context of the sections they're found in.  They can be discerned much like the way we differentiate between verse/chorus structure listening to folk songs. 

The practice of reciting an orthodox creed was even happening during the time when Jesus Christ was instructing His Apostles:
Quote
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 16:13-17

And this very same creed is repeated by one of the very first catecumens, the Ethiopian eunuch, as a condition for baptism:
Quote
36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Acts 8:36-37

So for me it's hard to blame creeds for any wrongdoing.  They have their place in Christ's relationship to us now, just as they did with St Peter face-to-face.  That being said, they are not all that the Holy Spirit has deposited for our edification, though some people are content to analyze, defend, expand on and even perseverate on the content of creeds as if that is all that's necessary for them to be Christian.  Clearly though, the lives of the saints, their spiritual writings and sayings, the prayers and hymns they've left for us are also a part of the whole deposit of faith which is the mark the Holy Spirit on the people.  I relate to much of what you say actually.  In my case I've been through periods where I was mostly critical of people around me, disappointed that things in the church and the world are not different than they are and it seemed as if these things were the cause for an inner emptiness I felt.  These cycles can be an opportunity to seek God in a deeper and more meaningful way.  Perhaps, while asking for God's blessing, taking the time to open up your relationship with your priest, or read a spiritual work such as the Philokalia, or serve the poor, learn to play and instrument or sing or some other art, make an effort to understand God's creation in a better way through furthering your education or taking up a new activity like gardening - or something could help.  I don't know what to suggest, I'm sure you know yourself better than anyone here.  One thing I personally strongly believe is that I'm not given a life, a mind, soul, reason, free will to be on the sidelines, I must activate and participate.
Logged

"The Unity of the Church, as Your Holinesses well know it, is the will of God and ought to be an inspiring example to all men. It should always be a help and not a hindrance to the unity of men of different religions."-Emperor Haile Selassie To the Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 1965
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 31,435


EXTERMINATE!


« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2009, 02:37:34 AM »

The first Christians did have a Creed; it was called the Rule of Faith, and St Ireneaus talks extensively about it.

If you had an aunt who did not know how to use the internet and was unable to speak on the phone, and you were too poor to travel to her, but her son were able to communicate to you the details of her existence, you would only know your aunt through the accounts provided by her son.

In the same way, we can't know Christ apart from those who saw him, and we can't know them apart from those who passed this knowledge down in public. The creeds are simply the succinct treatments of these experiences.

Without creeds, we could not know Christ in order to have this spiritual experience of him. We can only be focused on salvation within the ark of salvation which is the Church. Otherwise, we will have "mysticism" without the real Christ. It's no wonder there are so many sects that claim a direct and pure "spiritual" experience of God.
Expanding on what Fr. Anastasios said, or maybe just adding my perspective:

Creeds are not necessarily formal definitions of abstract concepts to be analyzed under the microscope of human reasoning, neither are they the very focus of our faith.  Creeds, rather, are formulated to protect true faith in Him whom the Apostles preached.  Living faith in Jesus Christ is what is most necessary; creeds only set protective boundaries around this.


BTW, c38, welcome to the forum. Smiley
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 02:40:21 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
cizinec
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 941


There ain't no way but the hard way.


« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2009, 10:08:21 AM »

Once again, c38, I would emphasize living the life of an Eastern Orthodox Christian through:

  • A disciplined prayer life, including working through the Jesus Prayer
  • Partaking of sacraments every Sunday at Divine Liturgy, especially confession and communion
  • Fasting and almsgiving
  • Connecting with a spiritual father at either your parish or a monastery

Once you've perfected all that, then maybe all the intellectual endeavours should come. 

Orthodox theology is a *lived* theology, not something to just think about.  I'm not saying, "don't think."  I'm saying that you will be unable to grasp the theology if you will not grasp it with your body and your mind.  Since you say you are already Eastern Orthodox, I would hope you would put the faith you have into action and then worry about the minutiae of theological arguments.

Arguing about what's wrong with everybody else's creed or outlook won't get you what you seem to be looking for.
Logged

"Brother, your best friend ain't your Momma, it's the Field Artillery."
c38
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Yes
Jurisdiction: Christ
Posts: 45



« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2009, 11:36:40 AM »

Thank you Peter, GreekChef, Elos, Cizinec, and others. Things are moving along in a workable direction. Biblical professions of faith are certainly creed-like; they share some of the characteristics of creeds. And the earliest true creeds were “protective” in essence, rather than an attempt at defining all that is Christian. Nevertheless, we are accustomed nowadays to think of Christianity as somehow being demarcated by creeds. In my opinion this stance has come about from a mixing of various truth traditions – Greek philosophy, the scientific revolution, modern symbolic logic, etc. – each having something to say about “Truth”, and each influencing the ways we interpret and make use of the Nicene Creed. Early Christian (Jewish) Truth is yet another variety, and one we seem to have definite difficulties with today – i.e. “To know God’s love and forgiveness is to know the only real truth that matters”. For the first Christians, God’s love is the source and inspiration for what we are now calling truth, and it is absurd to ever believe that any formalism that came along afterwards could trump “what we have known and seen with our own eyes”.

Why *is this problematic for the Orthodox? Simply put, it is driving us away in droves, and will continue to do so until the matter is properly understood and corrected.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 11:39:16 AM by c38 » Logged
SolEX01
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of New Jersey
Posts: 10,976


WWW
« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2009, 02:03:45 PM »

Early Christian (Jewish) Truth is yet another variety, and one we seem to have definite difficulties with today – i.e. “To know God’s love and forgiveness is to know the only real truth that matters”. For the first Christians, God’s love is the source and inspiration for what we are now calling truth, and it is absurd to ever believe that any formalism that came along afterwards could trump “what we have known and seen with our own eyes”.

Why *is this problematic for the Orthodox? Simply put, it is driving us away in droves, and will continue to do so until the matter is properly understood and corrected.

I don't understand;  Huh What is driving the Orthodox away in droves? 

Do you realize that there are more tangible reasons for Orthodox leaving in droves besides formalism?  Must we list all the tangible reasons in this thread?
Logged
jnorm888
Jnorm
Archon
********
Offline Offline

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


Icon and Cross (international space station)


WWW
« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2009, 02:22:21 PM »

Welcome to the forum, c38. One problem that I struggle with with Orthodoxy is the whole "vain repetitions" thing. Try as I might, I can't seem to make 40 "Lord have mercy" anything but useless repetition, even in my own prayer life where I can do it as the speed and tone that I want. However, I should say that I do the repetitions anyway, because I am praying under the assumption that part of the problem is with me if something seems amiss.

I see repetition in prayer as a form of focus. It helps me keep my mind from wondering, and it also helps me to meditate and ponder on what is said.

In that way, what comes out my mouth, is also meaningful to my mind.






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/
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,903


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2009, 02:54:42 PM »

Welcome to the forum, c38. One problem that I struggle with with Orthodoxy is the whole "vain repetitions" thing. Try as I might, I can't seem to make 40 "Lord have mercy" anything but useless repetition, even in my own prayer life where I can do it as the speed and tone that I want. However, I should say that I do the repetitions anyway, because I am praying under the assumption that part of the problem is with me if something seems amiss. 

I still struggle with it, especially when I'm in front of a group of people doing the repetition (like during the Great Hours of Christmas and Theophany - 40x Lord, have mercy for 4 different Hours Services).

Monks are given bits of repetition as well, in their prayer lives - the repetition of the Jesus Prayer being the most well-known of these disciplines.  Of course, ultimately, the object is to worship God as much as possible.  However, the secondary object, which will aid us in the primary one (worshiping God), is to have the prayers become as indispensable a part of our lives as breathing; our Body breathes without conscious thought, and can still breathe when we chose to control it - each breath is to the glory of the body, providing it with life-sustaining oxygen, and giving it the opportunity to expel life-threatening toxins (CO2).  Prayer can serve in the same capacity for us: by not only memorizing prayer, but also by making it a part of our lives as integral to us as our bodily functions, we can be constantly glorifying God and warding off sin.  This is the essence of the prayer of the Heart, to integrate prayer into every moment of our existence and, though this discipline, attain oneness with our Lord.

I'm awful at doing it, but remembering this discipline, and this repetition's purposes, can be a great boost to our prayer life - more so by how it affects us after we've done the repetition.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
c38
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Yes
Jurisdiction: Christ
Posts: 45



« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2009, 03:00:38 PM »

Do you realize that there are more tangible reasons for Orthodox leaving in droves besides formalism?  Must we list all the tangible reasons in this thread?


SolEX01

I suspect many of these "more tangible reasons" are symptons of something clandestine. It's going to take time to get this out in the open.
Logged
Sarah
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 111


« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2009, 04:48:13 PM »

My understanding is that "vain repetition" refers not to saying a prayer repeatedly in vain (as in no hope), but vain as in proud (look how pious I am).
Logged
Eugenio
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I love them all
Posts: 460



« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2009, 11:49:23 PM »

c38 wrote:

"To tell you the truth, I see only the hardened traditions and a toxic congregation. What is going wrong?

"This *immediate experience of God is lacking for many of us today. Where is the Advocate! Where is the Helper! We need something to strengthen us in this life so we can stay focused on salvation."

c38, I don't know what about your congregation is frustrating you. But many of your other questions are to vast to be fully explored online, let alone in a forum like this one. You sound like you are experiencing great spiritual turmoil. I would ask that you seek out your priest and share these concerns with him. Orthodoxy is an experiential faith - there's only a very limited amount that online discussions like these can teach you. Please, I would urge you to seek a spiritual father and raise these very serious and thought-provoking issues with him.

Now I'd like to comment on a couple of things you wrote:

"The first Christians had no creeds whatsoever; but they still appeared to possess something of value."

Yes, when the Apostles were gathered in the Upper Room, they were of one mind. Glory be to God! Unfortunately, after their ministry the church was beset by a number of heresies - Gnosticism, etc., etc., too many to name. It was in response to those heresies that the Church, in its wisdom, came to the conclusion that creeds were necessary - to state clearly what its position was on matters of faith.

"I haven't even bothered doing any homework on the bloody history of creeds and creed wars, many of you no doubt know it too well."

Yes, enough to know that to the many believers who died in defense of those creeds, they meant a lot!

"A living Church embodies these doctrines and therefore has little need for an abstract Christ."

Orthodoxy does not proclaim an "abstract" Christ. For example, we venerate Holy Icons because they proclaim the Incarnate Christ - the God who took on flesh and dwelt among us.

"Someone mentioned that orthodoxy doesn’t lend itself very well to evangelism or spreading of the Word. Why is that?"

"Someone" has not heard of Fr. Peter Gillquist - possibly the best Orthodox evangelist today in the U.S. "Someone" should read his book "Becoming Orthodox,"  which describes Orthodox evangelism that has been going on in recent decades in the U.S., glory be to God!  Grin
Logged
c38
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Yes
Jurisdiction: Christ
Posts: 45



« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2009, 09:39:05 AM »

Hi Eugenio

Thanks, I need a couple of days to respond and sound coherent. Like I said, it's "not the usual rant".
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 10:04:17 AM by c38 » Logged
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2009, 01:44:03 PM »

It should be noted that every line of the Creed is taken from scripture:

I believe in (Romans 10: 8-10; 1 John 4: 15)
One God (Deuteronomy 6: 4, Ephesians 4: 6)
Father (Matthew 6: 9)
Almighty, (Exodus 6: 3)
Creator of heaven and earth, (Genesis 1: 1)
and of all things visible and invisible; (Colossians 1: 15-16) and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, (Acts 11: 17)
Son of God (Matthew 14: 33; 16: 16)
begotten (John 1: 18; 3: 16)
begotten of the Father before all ages; (John 1: 2)
Light of Light (Psalm 27: I; John 8: 12; Matthew 17: 2,5)
true God of true God, (John 17: 1-5)
of one essence with the Father, (John 10: 30)
through Whom all things were made; (Hebrews 1: 1-2)
Who for us and for our salvation (I Timothy 2: 4-5)
came down from the heavens ((John 6: 33,35)
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, (Luke 1: 35)
and became man. (John 1: 14)
Crucified for us (Mark 15: 25; I Corinthians 15: 3)
under Pontius Pilate, (John 1: 14)
He suffered, (Mark 8: 31)
and was buried; (Luke 23: 53; I Corinthians 15: 4)
Rising on the third day according to the Scriptures, (Luke 24: 1; 1 Cor. 15: 4)
And ascending into the heavens, (Luke 24: 51; Acts 1: 10)
He is seated at the right hand of the Father; (Mark 16: 19; Acts 7: 55)
And coming again in glory (Matthew 24: 27)
to judge the living and dead, (Acts 10: 42; 2 I Timothy 4: 1)
His kingodom shall have no end; (2 Peter 1: 11)
And in the holy Spirit, (John 14: 26)
Lord (Acts 5: 3-4)
the Giver of life, (Genesis 1: 2)
Who proceeds from the Father, (John 15: 26)
Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, (Matthew 3: 16-17)
Who spoke through the prophets; (I Samuel 19: 20; Ezekiel 11: 5, 13)
In one, (Matthew 16: 18)
holy, (I Peter 2: 5, 9)
catholic (Mark 16: 15)
and apostolic Church; (Acts 2: 42; Ephesians 2: 19-22)
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; (Ephesians 4: 5)
I expect the resurrection of the dead; (John 11: 24; I Cor. 15: 12-49)
And the life of the age to come. (Mark 10: 29-30)
Amen. (Psalm 106:48)

(Taken from http://fr-d-serfes.org/orthodox/holyscripturereferencestothecreed.htm)
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
c38
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Yes
Jurisdiction: Christ
Posts: 45



« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2009, 03:48:44 PM »

Thank you HandmaidenofGod, this is an excellent reference.

But once again, I'm not too worried about the accuracy of dogma.
Logged
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #60 on: January 09, 2009, 01:31:43 AM »

Thank you HandmaidenofGod, this is an excellent reference.

But once again, I'm not too worried about the accuracy of dogma.

I am having trouble understanding what your problem is. Whatever problems there may be in the Orthodox Church are not with the teachings of the Church, but rather with the laity. People choose to remain uneducated about their faith, misinterpret the meaning of things, and walk away in frustration. Fortunately, resources are available for the laity to learn about their faith if they choose to do so. The choice is theirs.
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
frost
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian, grew up in OCA
Posts: 108


« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2009, 12:26:08 PM »

Dear Friends:

I don't think we need to be offended or defensive about c38's inquiries. Her concerns are shared by far many more than we might realize.

While we hold that our Orthodox faith is holy, pure and complete, we must admit that we Orthodox Chrisitians, have so often failed, individually and communally to live up to the faith we profess! This is a simple; but profound truth, and perfectly obvious, if we are honest with ourselves. We need look no further than the headlines, TV or our own internet sites to see this.

We know that there have been serious scandals in our midst - the OCA financial scandal (and what has been reported is not all of it); sexual abuse by clergymen. This past year we saw Orthodox Christians bombed and driven from their homes by other Orthodox Chrisitians !  Vladimir Putin once told Presdient Bush that his baptismal cross was his most prized possession. This year Putin told French President Sarkozy that he wanted to kill another Orthodox Christian, Georigan President Saakashvili :" I want to hang him by the balls" . Whose conscience can bear this kind of hypocrisy without shame ? ! ?

Here in America, we have too often failed our church and our children. Those of my generation (50-ish) know that 80-90 % of our contemporaries left the church. Universally, the reason was "I don't get anything out of it" or "It doens't mean anything to me". While we were encouraged to be successful (ie be American) the church was maintained as a bastion of a foreign language or culture. We are just now waking up to the fact that our children have left the church in droves. The OCA last year admitted it's membership dropped by 50% over the past 3 decades., and its administration was living of the bequests left by deceased members! If we reasearched carefully , we would see a similar picture in many of the jursdictions. The GOA commissioned a Gallup poll of the Archdiocese somewhere around 1990, I think. They found that the average parishioner was over 70 years old. If it was not for the influx of converts, most of our churches would have closed a long time ago.

We need to admit our failures, in order to be honest and faithful to our church. Even the Apostles failed and sinned. St Peter denied Christ three times. The Apostle Paul said : ... I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. "  St Jon said: "If we say we have no sin, we are liars and the truth is not in us"

Let's be honest about our failures, while upholding the truth of the Gospel. St. Seraphim said: " learn to be at peace, and thousands round you will be saved."

Best wishes to all

Francis Frost
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2009, 12:32:34 PM »

We need look no further than the headlines, TV or our own internet sites to see this.

Dear Francis,
Do you see any problem with using virtual reality to judge reality?
I don't know about you, but the way I experience the Church is in the Church, not on a screen with a 15 Amp plug on the end of it.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 555



« Reply #63 on: April 14, 2009, 01:38:48 AM »

Dear C38,

Based on what you have been posting it sounds to me like you are experiencing the formal doctrinal traditions of the faith without any recourse to it's charismatic tradition...the personal incarnate don't need no creeds but live them anyway kind of thing. You don't have an Orthodox spiritual context in which to evaluate your experience in your parish. You know that real spiritual life must exist not just its forms. You know real spiritual people must exist not just their biographers. You are surrounded by a hundred liturgical references to the sweetness of honey but not one taste of it is to be found? And so far as you can see neither has anyone else, indeed it looks like half the time they were baptized in vinegar for all the mug puckering sourness in their lives. Your experience of Orthodox parish life has been a full body immersion in the pickle barrel.

What you are looking for are lives who are both Orthodox and make you long for Christ...people whose lives in Christ are their own justification, not just their intellectual assent to a 1500 year old creedal statement.

Am I mistaken?

If not I have a very simple suggestion. 1. Quit judging your parish, even if your assessment is right. Pray for them instead. 2. Get hold of some recent lives of saints from the past couple of hundred years: St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Isadore, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Arsenios, St. Silouan, St. Joseph the Hesychast, and read the lives of their disciples some of whom will surely soon by canonized, Elder Cleopas, Elder Sophrony, Elder Porphyrios, Elder Paisios, Mother Gavriella, Fr. Arseny, St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, to name a very few. Pray. Ask these saints and holy elders to teach you what the faith is, how it lived, and doubtless one by one books of their lives and teachings, even their icons will start to come to you, and you will learn what this missing part of Orthodox looks like when lived.  Then you will be equipped recognize it in others more easily, and you may indeed learn of places you can go to make a connection with such souls as these who live in our own time.  The Lord may even lead you to another parish.  But until then, let me recommend the lives of recent saints and holy elders.

Just speaking for myself I recent finished reading a book about the pastoral care of Elder Pasios called The Young Man the Gurus and Elder Pasios. I had to keep tissues handy, and many times I had to pause to reflect, to pray, and to dry my eyes.  A book about Elder Porphyrios which I read shortly thereafter affected me similarly.  When I was first becoming Orthodox, it was the life of St. Seraphim that convinced me, not a boat load of theological arguments, as useful and helpful as those were. 

If you want to see the living Orthodox faith, make connections with the lifes of those who lived it, and in time they will help you find connections to those who live it still and who can start you one your way to living it as well.


« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 01:42:02 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
Tags: prayer 
Pages: « 1 2  All   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 0.095 seconds with 46 queries.