Author Topic: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now  (Read 8762 times)

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Offline theistgal

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Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« on: March 26, 2009, 11:38:55 AM »
Hi everyone -

I started posting again yesterday after a self-imposed absence of at least a few months (will have to check my profile to be sure).

I have been attending the Byzantine Catholic church with my now-husband for almost five years now (our two-year wedding anniversary is next month  :)).

Over the years I have gotten heavily involved in activities at our parish:  I'm a cantor, an ECF (Sunday school) teacher, and I run the gift shop! (Whew! ;D )

So here's the thing:  intellectually I am still very much attracted to the idea of Eastern Orthodoxy.  There is an OCA church very close to ours.  We have friends there, and sometimes attend Vespers and parish events there.  I have read a lot about the theology of the E.O. and though there are still many things I need to learn, I find myself in agreement with

However, emotionally I love my B.C. church - and especially the people there - so much that just thinking about leaving makes me feel very sad - it would be such a wrench.

I'm at the age now (over 50) where I really value having "roots".  Most of my life I moved around a lot, and didn't make a lot of friends.  Now I'm settled into a good place, and for the first time in a long time, I have people around me who I've known for years.  And I know the names and faces of almost everyone in my church!  That means a lot to me.

If I were younger and hadn't gotten so settled in, it would be easy.  But I'm not, and I have. 

And my past history is - when I have left the RC church, I haven't left for another church.  I've left for nothingness (aka atheism).  So I'm really hesitant to leave.

Yet every so often (like now), I come across a book or an article about Eastern Orthodoxy, and think about it again ...

I was going to write more, but this is already way too long!   :D  Anyway, thoughts and prayers welcome!  Thanks!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 11:39:48 AM by theistgal »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 11:58:36 AM »
I think I understand you, Theistgal, and sympathize with you. I know several Ukrainian men and women who say that they love the Orthodox Church, and yet stay with the Eastern Rite Catholic Church because in Ukraine, the ERCC is very patriotic, has many activities, etc.

Maybe you should contemplate a bit on Luke 10:41, 42... That is not to criticize your current involvement or activities, but just something to give a thought.

Best wishes,

George
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Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 12:47:45 PM »
Thanks.  Yes, just looked it up.  So perhaps the "one thing necessary" is not necessarily a change of church. Perhaps it's more a matter of figuring out and focusing on what Christ thinks is the "one thing necessary".   :)
"Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.'' (owner of Coney Island freak show, upon learning he'd been outbid on a 5-legged puppy)

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 01:37:00 PM »
Hi Theistgal,

(our two-year wedding anniversary is next month  :)).
First, congratulations!

So here's the thing:  intellectually I am still very much attracted to the idea of Eastern Orthodoxy.  There is an OCA church very close to ours.  We have friends there, and sometimes attend Vespers and parish events there.  I have read a lot about the theology of the E.O. and though there are still many things I need to learn, I find myself in agreement with
I don't want to discourage you in any way, but you may want to make an inventory of questions and talk about them with your husband (does he feel the same way?) and the OCA priest and probably even your current priest.  You also may wish to attend the Divine Liturgy for a month of Sunday's as Fr. Peter Gillquist (another convert) suggests.  

However, emotionally I love my B.C. church - and especially the people there - so much that just thinking about leaving makes me feel very sad - it would be such a wrench.
 
But maybe you're presupposing that you'll have to give up your friends?  Let's say you do become EO, we all have friends outside of our church community and why not?  As long as their morals match yours and they're true friends who love you and appreciate you for you?  I don't see any reason to give their friendship up.  And who knows, maybe they'll follow you to Orthodoxy?

Just a few things to mull over.  Forgive me if I overstepped any boundaries or offended you.



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Offline rwprof

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 01:45:17 PM »
And my past history is - when I have left the RC church, I haven't left for another church.  I've left for nothingness (aka atheism).  So I'm really hesitant to leave.

Ah, yes. I understand that. Leaving for nothingness isn't apostasy, and that's your fear. That same fear was thoroughly ingrained in me, and I'm afraid I made the priest work very hard for his collar, but he earned it, and I was chrismated in 1984.

I agree with another participant. Talk to your husband, and talk to both priests. And may God guide you!


Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!

Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 01:57:42 PM »
Hi, GabrieltheCelt --

No offense at all!  I appreciate having this forum in which to hash things out without  :police: interference!  :laugh:

Yes, I should speak with a priest about all this.  But perhaps you'll understand when I say I'm hesitant because doing that would bring the final decision just a little closer ... and I'm not sure I'm ready to make that decision!

However, it would certainly be the smart thing to do, so perhaps by the end of Lent I'll wise up and do it!  :angel:

Thanks!

Christine :-)
"Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.'' (owner of Coney Island freak show, upon learning he'd been outbid on a 5-legged puppy)

Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 02:02:34 PM »
Ah, yes. I understand that. Leaving for nothingness isn't apostasy, and that's your fear. That same fear was thoroughly ingrained in me, and I'm afraid I made the priest work very hard for his collar, but he earned it, and I was chrismated in 1984.

I agree with another participant. Talk to your husband, and talk to both priests. And may God guide you!


I appreciate your thoughts.  Yes, having fallen into atheism more than once in my life, and returned humbly to the same little Catholic church twice in a row (each time confessing to the same very sweet elderly RC priest, who welcomed me back like the Prodigal Daughter each time, bless his heart  :angel:), I really feel like it would be better to be in the "wrong" church ... than in no church at all.

It's awfully cold, out there in the dark.  :(
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 02:02:56 PM by theistgal »
"Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.'' (owner of Coney Island freak show, upon learning he'd been outbid on a 5-legged puppy)

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 02:25:14 PM »
Christine is it?  You might wish to petition St. Christina to intercede for you...

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Offline VirSpeluncaeOrthodoxae

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 03:30:47 PM »
I understand completely. I don't I'll ever stop being a "convert". I'm not trying to influence you in any way, just saying how I see things.

Well, there are pros and cons for both. With us you get a jurisdictional mess in "non-orthodox" countries, two calendars and a heavy emphasis on ethnicity that the RC Church had 100 years ago (where there were the irish parish, the italian parish, the croatian parish, the polish parish and the mexican parish etc and you didn't go to the others because they not your race, even though they had the same exact Mass, in Latin and the same bishop!) and I at least feel like a second-class citizen because I'm not the "right" ethnicity, meaning I'm not russian, greek, arab, romanian, bulgarian, serb, copt, ethiopian etc. There you know who's the boss: the Pope followed by your Metropolitain/Patriarch, though the latter has FAR more involvement with you. The Eastern Rite synods just inform the Vatican what they're doing.

On the other hand you'll have to try being BOTH an Orthodox Christian and a Catholic, meaning you'll have to settle for all those dogmas that are incompatible with Orthodoxy: Infallibilty, the Filoque, Immaculate Conception etc. I hear Byzantine Catholics saying they feel schizophrenic, and you'll be in communion with those "Spirit of Vatican 2" folks with their heterodoxy, liturgical dancing, modernism and everything the Byzantine Catholics despise.

I don't know. You just have to do what's best for you, and not necessarily the easiest.
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Offline Douglas

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 10:13:35 PM »
Hello

I had a similar decision to make several years ago. It's not easy. The mere fact that you are asking this question suggests that things are not as set and decided within you spiritually and psychologically as you might like them to be. And delaying is not really the answer; it won't resolve anything. You really should sit down with your husband and both priests and talk this over... sooner rather than later.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2009, 10:45:00 PM »
I really feel like it would be better to be in the "wrong" church ... than in no church at all.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. :o
If you will, you can become all flame.
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Offline AMM

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2009, 10:49:18 PM »
Bloom where you're planted.

Offline stanley123

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2009, 10:54:58 PM »
Hi everyone -

I started posting again yesterday after a self-imposed absence of at least a few months (will have to check my profile to be sure).

I have been attending the Byzantine Catholic church with my now-husband for almost five years now (our two-year wedding anniversary is next month  :)).

Over the years I have gotten heavily involved in activities at our parish:  I'm a cantor, an ECF (Sunday school) teacher, and I run the gift shop! (Whew! ;D )

So here's the thing:  intellectually I am still very much attracted to the idea of Eastern Orthodoxy.  There is an OCA church very close to ours.  We have friends there, and sometimes attend Vespers and parish events there.  I have read a lot about the theology of the E.O. and though there are still many things I need to learn, I find myself in agreement with

However, emotionally I love my B.C. church - and especially the people there - so much that just thinking about leaving makes me feel very sad - it would be such a wrench.

I'm at the age now (over 50) where I really value having "roots".  Most of my life I moved around a lot, and didn't make a lot of friends.  Now I'm settled into a good place, and for the first time in a long time, I have people around me who I've known for years.  And I know the names and faces of almost everyone in my church!  That means a lot to me.

If I were younger and hadn't gotten so settled in, it would be easy.  But I'm not, and I have. 

And my past history is - when I have left the RC church, I haven't left for another church.  I've left for nothingness (aka atheism).  So I'm really hesitant to leave.

Yet every so often (like now), I come across a book or an article about Eastern Orthodoxy, and think about it again ...

I was going to write more, but this is already way too long!   :D  Anyway, thoughts and prayers welcome!  Thanks!
It would be nice if there could be some sort of amplification of the Zoghby initiative.

Offline Douglas

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2009, 12:46:28 AM »
Bloom where you're planted.

Ah... I was told that by a Lebanese friend who strongly disagreed with my becoming Orthodox. Had I listened to him... well... who can say?
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2009, 12:52:40 AM »
I probably don't know 70-80% of the people who attend my Church these days; Yet, I would never leave the Orthodox faith because I didn't know anyone.   :o

If I knew 100% of the people who attend my Church, I would view my Church as a social club and not as a place where I can work on salvation, prayer, etc.

I've attended Orthodox Churches where I initially didn't know anyone (besides the Priest whom I met at a Baptism in 1997) and wound up meeting 30 people (it helps when a relative is originally from a nearby community).

I've attended Roman Catholic Masses where I didn't know anyone before AND after the Mass.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2009, 11:53:35 AM »
I've attended Roman Catholic Masses where I didn't know anyone before AND after the Mass.

Jesus was there. You didn't know him?
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2009, 12:06:35 PM »
I've attended Roman Catholic Masses where I didn't know anyone before AND after the Mass.
Jesus was there. You didn't know him?

Nice try.   ;D  ::)  ;D

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2009, 12:17:22 PM »
I probably don't know 70-80% of the people who attend my Church these days; Yet, I would never leave the Orthodox faith because I didn't know anyone.   :o

If I knew 100% of the people who attend my Church, I would view my Church as a social club and not as a place where I can work on salvation, prayer, etc.

I've attended Orthodox Churches where I initially didn't know anyone (besides the Priest whom I met at a Baptism in 1997) and wound up meeting 30 people (it helps when a relative is originally from a nearby community).

I've attended Roman Catholic Masses where I didn't know anyone before AND after the Mass.

Sol, I am kind of like you. I like to interact with people, talk with them (although not too much or too long), but I do not see the Church primarily as the place where I meet people and do various "activities." When I was (or, rather, thought that I was) a Presbyterian, I became absolutely SICK from these constant "activities" and it began to make me mad at people who valued these "activities" above everything (for example, they had a special "Worship Committee" that constantly battled with their minister, forcing the minister to shorten the services because "people need their social hour"). To me, Church is about worship. I would not be bothered even if I never got to know anybody in my parish...
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Offline username!

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2009, 12:36:37 PM »
It would be nice if there could be some sort of amplification of the Zoghby initiative.


Talk about promoting a movement within the Roman Catholic Communion here and being totally off -topic.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 12:37:35 PM by username! »

Offline Rosehip

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2009, 12:47:05 PM »
I probably don't know 70-80% of the people who attend my Church these days; Yet, I would never leave the Orthodox faith because I didn't know anyone.   :o

If I knew 100% of the people who attend my Church, I would view my Church as a social club and not as a place where I can work on salvation, prayer, etc.

I've attended Orthodox Churches where I initially didn't know anyone (besides the Priest whom I met at a Baptism in 1997) and wound up meeting 30 people (it helps when a relative is originally from a nearby community).

I've attended Roman Catholic Masses where I didn't know anyone before AND after the Mass.

Sol, I am kind of like you. I like to interact with people, talk with them (although not too much or too long), but I do not see the Church primarily as the place where I meet people and do various "activities." When I was (or, rather, thought that I was) a Presbyterian, I became absolutely SICK from these constant "activities" and it began to make me mad at people who valued these "activities" above everything (for example, they had a special "Worship Committee" that constantly battled with their minister, forcing the minister to shorten the services because "people need their social hour"). To me, Church is about worship. I would not be bothered even if I never got to know anybody in my parish...

Increasingly, I am becoming like this as well. Socializing a great deal with people becomes exhausting and tiresome. My former church was like this Presybterian church in that we had constant social events. Friday night was youth activity and Sunday after lunch we all went to sing in a hospital and during the week most people were in touch with one another. We had services at least four times a week and attendance was obligatory. The concept of attending church merely to "pray" and not to "fellowship" with the other members was unheard of. The church was seen as a family, a brotherhood, a community of believers and therefore it was important to be together a great deal-this was seen as beng a "New Testament" model. While I have never been one who has enjoyed this constant what amounted to cocktail party life, I still wonder if the concept of the Church as a brotherhood, a community of closely-knit believers isn't thoroughly biblical and christian and possibly lacking in the Orthodox Church? Maybe this should be the topic of another thread. I don't want to hijack this one. My apologies to the OP.
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Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2009, 12:50:05 PM »
To me, Church is about worship. I would not be bothered even if I never got to know anybody in my parish...

But doesn't that imply a "Jesus and me alone" theology?  Isn't the Church our family?

Part of the appeal to me of the Eastern churches I've been involved with (both Catholic and Orthodox) is that they tend to be small enough that that sort of intimacy is a real option.  I used to go to the "Rog Mahal"* in downtown Los Angeles, and never saw the same person there twice in a row.

I like having a parish family.

(*Los Angeles residents should know exactly what I'm referring to  ;D)
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Offline Rosehip

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2009, 01:04:23 PM »
I am still wondering why the idea of the Church as a brotherhood- a caring, loving community of believers - is taken to mean "social club" by many Orthodox? For myself, I  interpret "social club" to mean a group of people who meet at a cultural hall in order to savour their ethnicity to the exlusion of those who sadly do not share this culture- NOT a group of believers whose primary aim is serving God, and, by extension, one another.
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2009, 02:20:46 PM »
I am still wondering why the idea of the Church as a brotherhood- a caring, loving community of believers - is taken to mean "social club" by many Orthodox? For myself, I  interpret "social club" to mean a group of people who meet at a cultural hall in order to savour their ethnicity to the exlusion of those who sadly do not share this culture- NOT a group of believers whose primary aim is serving God, and, by extension, one another.

I agree!  And when I said I thought of my fellow parishioners as a family, that's pretty much what I was thinking of.  Thanks!  :angel:
"Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.'' (owner of Coney Island freak show, upon learning he'd been outbid on a 5-legged puppy)

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2009, 03:03:55 PM »
To me, Church is about worship. I would not be bothered even if I never got to know anybody in my parish...

But doesn't that imply a "Jesus and me alone" theology?  Isn't the Church our family?

No, I don't think so... Only my family is my family. Church is not the same. Church is the Body of Christ, i.e. the body of people who all come to the same Chalice during the Holy Eucharist and eat His body and drink His blood. That is a mystical thing, that defies all human imagination and rational "scientific" explanation. Christ lives in us all - not in just "me," but in "us." That's why we are the Church. And yet, I do not think that we absolutely must, from a purely theological standpoint, be engaged in group "activities" with those people who are members of our particular parish. In my home city, Kyiv (capital of Ukraine), there are Orthodox parishes where several hundred people gather during the Divine Liturgy, and they do not really know each other socially. Maybe that's an extreme, but I would prefer that to a situation when my parish is the place where I must do "activities."
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Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2009, 04:57:15 PM »
No, I don't think so... Only my family is my family. Church is not the same. Church is the Body of Christ, i.e. the body of people who all come to the same Chalice during the Holy Eucharist and eat His body and drink His blood. That is a mystical thing, that defies all human imagination and rational "scientific" explanation. Christ lives in us all - not in just "me," but in "us." That's why we are the Church. And yet, I do not think that we absolutely must, from a purely theological standpoint, be engaged in group "activities" with those people who are members of our particular parish. In my home city, Kyiv (capital of Ukraine), there are Orthodox parishes where several hundred people gather during the Divine Liturgy, and they do not really know each other socially. Maybe that's an extreme, but I would prefer that to a situation when my parish is the place where I must do "activities."


OK ... but didn't Christ Himself enjoy going to "activities" (like the Wedding at Cana)? 

And I think you are perhaps misunderstanding my closeness to my parish "family" - I'm not talking about people that I "only" socialize with.  These are people who helped my husband and me with our wedding.  These are people I pray with regularly, at every Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Akathist, etc.

Nothing wrong with that ... right?
"Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.'' (owner of Coney Island freak show, upon learning he'd been outbid on a 5-legged puppy)

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2009, 07:10:49 PM »
No, I don't think so... Only my family is my family. Church is not the same. Church is the Body of Christ, i.e. the body of people who all come to the same Chalice during the Holy Eucharist and eat His body and drink His blood. That is a mystical thing, that defies all human imagination and rational "scientific" explanation. Christ lives in us all - not in just "me," but in "us." That's why we are the Church. And yet, I do not think that we absolutely must, from a purely theological standpoint, be engaged in group "activities" with those people who are members of our particular parish. In my home city, Kyiv (capital of Ukraine), there are Orthodox parishes where several hundred people gather during the Divine Liturgy, and they do not really know each other socially. Maybe that's an extreme, but I would prefer that to a situation when my parish is the place where I must do "activities."


OK ... but didn't Christ Himself enjoy going to "activities" (like the Wedding at Cana)? 

And I think you are perhaps misunderstanding my closeness to my parish "family" - I'm not talking about people that I "only" socialize with.  These are people who helped my husband and me with our wedding.  These are people I pray with regularly, at every Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Akathist, etc.

Nothing wrong with that ... right?

No, nothing wrong... it's not you, it's me... I guess I am just very radically un-American. :) In my culture (Ukrainian), there is a very strong distinction between family and the rest of the world, and also friends (real friends, not just "people I socialize with") and the rest of the world. Among the Americans whom I know, I guess, this distinction is not as strong, hence the love for the "activities." And again, the Church to me is the place of WORSHIP, period. I don't know whether the example of Christ going to the wedding in Cana means the endorsement of all these various "youth groups," etc.
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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2009, 07:36:59 PM »
No, I don't think so... Only my family is my family. Church is not the same. Church is the Body of Christ, i.e. the body of people who all come to the same Chalice during the Holy Eucharist and eat His body and drink His blood. That is a mystical thing, that defies all human imagination and rational "scientific" explanation. Christ lives in us all - not in just "me," but in "us." That's why we are the Church. And yet, I do not think that we absolutely must, from a purely theological standpoint, be engaged in group "activities" with those people who are members of our particular parish. In my home city, Kyiv (capital of Ukraine), there are Orthodox parishes where several hundred people gather during the Divine Liturgy, and they do not really know each other socially. Maybe that's an extreme, but I would prefer that to a situation when my parish is the place where I must do "activities."


OK ... but didn't Christ Himself enjoy going to "activities" (like the Wedding at Cana)? 

And I think you are perhaps misunderstanding my closeness to my parish "family" - I'm not talking about people that I "only" socialize with.  These are people who helped my husband and me with our wedding.  These are people I pray with regularly, at every Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Akathist, etc.

Nothing wrong with that ... right?

No, nothing wrong... it's not you, it's me... I guess I am just very radically un-American. :) In my culture (Ukrainian), there is a very strong distinction between family and the rest of the world, and also friends (real friends, not just "people I socialize with") and the rest of the world. Among the Americans whom I know, I guess, this distinction is not as strong, hence the love for the "activities." And again, the Church to me is the place of WORSHIP, period. I don't know whether the example of Christ going to the wedding in Cana means the endorsement of all these various "youth groups," etc.

We are called to the sanctification of ours souls and the world around us....worship is not limited to a physical building...
“Find the door of your heart, and you will discover it is the door to the kingdom of God.” - St. John Chrysostom

Offline Rosehip

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2009, 08:30:45 PM »
I'm not sure if I would call my fellow Orthodox Christians just the "rest of the world",though. To me, they are family-very precious family-and more precious in many ways than my earthly family, many of whom are not Christians and with whom, for this reason, there will never be any true kinship or understanding. Also, I am not married, so for me life can be very sad and lonely, and I believe the Church, those of "like precious faith", our brothers and sisters in the Lord, can become the family that such in my situation are grieving the absence of. I think christianity is all about relationships-with God and each other as Christians. We are called to be God's sons and daughters, and we call each other "brother and sister" for a reason. Also, since we are only to marry "in the Lord", I think the church youth activities are a very good place for young men and women of the same faith and convictions to meet their potential life companions.
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2009, 09:29:05 AM »
I'm not sure if I would call my fellow Orthodox Christians just the "rest of the world",though. To me, they are family-very precious family-and more precious in many ways than my earthly family, many of whom are not Christians and with whom, for this reason, there will never be any true kinship or understanding.

I am different... Like I said, to me the only people with whom I really interact is my family - my wife, daughter, mother, and, since about one year and a half ago, my son-in-law and his parents and siblings. In addition, there is just a handful of my real, old friends - but I feel like I am losing them (and not acquiring any new ones). I was never able to establish any kinship with anyone outside of this small group of people, whether or not these are Christians. Maybe it's just because it has not been enough time, but I suspect the reason is different. I am very "liberal," a very devout secular humanist, even though I do believe in God and in the Logos Incarnate; any close communication with people who are "conservative" is excluded for me because of this reason (big experience proves it - God be my witness, I tried...). Also, in any Orthodox parish, it seems, there are people (usually cradle Orthodox of non-Anglo-descent) who come there because they really are a family (for example, my current co-parishioners, Greeks - they really are a big extended family), and I do not belong there; and there is another "subset" of people who are converts and, hm, how to phrase it better, of the Evangelical mind frame; with these, I can not communicate either. Not that I accuse them in being "phoneys," but just this kind of mindset is absolutely alien to me, it's like socializing mith Martians. So, I stick to my little "gang," even though my wife is a self-proclaimed agnostic, my daughter a militant and even rather venomous atheist, and my mother a "universalist" ("God is one and he/she/it is in any good person's heart, so don't tell me about all those "churches")...

Also, I am not married, so for me life can be very sad and lonely, and I believe the Church, those of "like precious faith", our brothers and sisters in the Lord, can become the family that such in my situation are grieving the absence of.

I understand, dear sister... May the Lord help you find your real true kin.

I think christianity is all about relationships-with God and each other as Christians. We are called to be God's sons and daughters, and we call each other "brother and sister" for a reason. Also, since we are only to marry "in the Lord", I think the church youth activities are a very good place for young men and women of the same faith and convictions to meet their potential life companions.

Maybe you are right, but again, I don't belong there and I just can't "do" this kind of "activities." I am a professional teacher and I love to interact with students, but I do think that Christianity is a very "adult thing," it must be suffered, so to say, and I don't really see how youngsters can be "taught" it by "youth group" leaders and peers.
Love never fails.

Offline AMM

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2009, 10:02:36 AM »
Bloom where you're planted.

Ah... I was told that by a Lebanese friend who strongly disagreed with my becoming Orthodox. Had I listened to him... well... who can say?

Whose to say he was wrong.  Who knows.

Offline lubeltri

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2009, 08:00:17 PM »
I used to go to the "Rog Mahal"* in downtown Los Angeles, and never saw the same person there twice in a row.

 :D

If you were going to that place, I am in complete sympathy!

Offline theistgal

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Re: Still on the fence, and it's been over a year now
« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2009, 12:42:17 AM »
I used to go to the "Rog Mahal"* in downtown Los Angeles, and never saw the same person there twice in a row.

 :D

If you were going to that place, I am in complete sympathy!

I've also heard it called the "Taj Mahony".  ;D

By the way, someone who was reading this thread apparently sent me a private email, but I accidentally deleted it before reading - sorry!  :-[   Whoever you are, if you're there, please re-send - thanks!  :angel:
"Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.'' (owner of Coney Island freak show, upon learning he'd been outbid on a 5-legged puppy)